The Devil Queen

How my wife and I sold our souls to the Queen Anne Victorian we tried to save.

My Photo
Location: Crow Mountain, Arkansas, United States

Synopsis: This is a cautionary tale. A seriously disturbed couple find the charming, old ruin of a Queen Anne Victorian in Russellville, Arkansas, and buy it for $1.00. They tore the roof off, cut it in half, and had it moved to some land they owned sixteen miles away because they didn't know any better. Since then, they have hired and fired contractors, had all of their tools stolen, re-wired, re-plumbed, insulated, and essentially rebuilt the entire house. Their only problem is that after four years it still isn't finished. Now they are tired, broke, and wonder what in the hell it is they've done to themselves. And, it's haunted.
(Last updated on April 3, 2008)

Press: Russellville Courier Article - December 2003, HGTV website article, AP story - October 2006, and Victorian Homes Magazine - February 2008 (link coming soon).
Art: From time to time, I receive requests for my art. If you would like to look at more of my art, go to The Failed Artist. If you would like to buy my art, email me. I am more than happy to answer any questions you might have. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Test Runs

Here are two test prints of the home improvement monkey design for the tee shirts. Version three is going to be the "final" print design for the first run.

If anyone out there is interested in these one of a kind proto-types, they are yours for $10.00 each. The size of the actual print is roughly 10" x 10."

Update: Version One is sold, so only Version Two is still for sale. Thanks!

Update: These monkeys are sold! Thanks!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Cracking the Whip

Sure, it's wonderful that you're home from work now. Why don't you work on the freaking floor while you're here?

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Learning to Love My Heat Gun

So, I started in on the floors again. After eleven months of inactivity, it started again. Who can say why exactly? Fear? Loathing? Voodoo? Boredom? Hell, does it matter?

First, as the tumbleweed photo below indicated, I had to do a thorough cleaning to find the bloody floor. And move furniture. And this was just to finish the dining room floor, which is supposed to be finished for Thanksgiving. 2007. Just saying.

Really, I'm embarrassed at how quickly this went. I mean, I could have had this finished last year.

Here is the before picture of the unfinished portion of the dining room floor.

I finally put the old pine plugs Gary sent to good use. Thank you Gary!

Here is a gripping photo of a round plug in a round hole!

And a puttied round plug in a round hole!

And here is the money shot: the dining room floor with all of its sanding prep completed.

Of course, I missed a few spots. Details.

Since things were moving along, I decided to start on the living room floor. The wood putty I use is filled with all the marvels of modern science: carcinogens, toxic solvent, and other sixteen syllable compounds. I quickly deduced that mystery finish on the living room floor was shellac. The acetone and ethanol alcohol in the wood putty quickly reactivated it. Shellac is a lot better than lead based paint. Since I knew that it was shellac that I was dealing with, I could benefit from everyone else's houseblogging experiences. For once, I knew what to do. I dragged out my heat gun, near virginal in condition, and went to work on the shellac. Sure, I could have used the drum sander on it, but I'd be changing the paper every minute or two as the shellac gummed it up. At a dollar a roll for the sand paper, this will add up quick. I guestimate that stripping the shellac may not save me time in the long-run, but it's probably saving me $20-$30.

The shellac came right up. There appears to be three coats of it. The first is a light cherry color, the next layer is darker with an amber hue, and the final coat is a fugly poo-brown that is so dark that I originally thought it may have been paint. One wonderful thing is that they didn't shellac under the rugs, they just did the rooms perimeter. I guess they had different sized rugs over the years. The rugs seem to have gotten larger over time. This is how I can see all the different layers. Here is a picture.

Here is the next problem area. This corner is going to suck. Even after I strip the shellac, most of this section will have to be hand sanded since this corner is too small for a drum sander. Feel the pain.

Anyhow, more to come.

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Friday, August 08, 2008

Two More for the Giant Houseblog in the Sky

Well, two more old friends and favorites have found their way to the great big Houseblog in the sky: Fixer-Upper and Nightmare on Elm Street. I'll be pruning their dead links from my sidebar. I hate to see them go.

On a happier note, I have finished the "house portrait" of Nightmare on Elm Street. If you'd like to take a look, click here.

And, amazingly enough, I worked on the Devil Queen last night. The end times must be here.

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Omens of Things to Come

Or, a rare example of the Persian Cat Dust-Bunny Tumbleweed in its natural environment. Notice this fine specimens enourmous size.

More to come, cheers!

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Friday, August 01, 2008

Home Improvement Apocrypha

I found this while cleaning out some home improvement rat-holes in the living room. It is a 6" x 4" post card, drawn and painted by me. In an effort to de-clutter the house and raise funds for drum sanders, I'm offering it for sale. If you'd like to make an offer, email me.

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Houseblog Resurrection

I slit my throat this morning, so I believe the stars are right for resurrection.

The slit throat is an exaggeration of course. I did have a spectacular shaving accident this morning, probably the worst I've ever had. The blood was free flowing. It makes a strong case for thorough caffeination before grooming with razors.

I am serious about the resurrection. To put it charitably, this blog has languished on a becalmed sea too long. Not that this is particularly profound, but I had the recently realization that it's time to finish the Devil Queen. Really. Money is still a problem, but I can work around it for now. However, if I can find $135 by August 8th, I will rent a drum sander.

There is no shortage of things to do. What has been occupying my mind are the following:

1) The floors. They need to be puttied, sanded, and refinished. At this point, I would lay new floors in the living room and dining room if I could afford it. That would cost $2000, so it's not an option. Lots of wood putty and sanding is however.

2) The ceilings. All of them have been stripped down to the bar wood and primed. Most still need to be caulked (Gee, is that insulation I see?) and painted. As they are now, they are fucking hideous.

3) The front door. It is so warped that it is beyond repair. It's replacement is imminent.

4) Paint. Most of the Devil Queen's interior is painted. A good bit of it needs to be touched-up. This includes pretty much anything that is white, mostly doors, trim, and wainscoting. While I'm at it, I'm actually paint all the white the same white. Apparently, there is a noticeable difference between cheap white paint from Wal-Mart and cheap white paint from Lowe's. Well, I think so.

5) Caulk. Since I'll be doing lots of remedial painting, it's the perfect time to do some more caulking. You know, fill all the holes in the walls, giant cracks, spider dens, and other unwholesome crevasses.

6) Storm windows. Sure, it's hot ass the Devil's foreskin now, but winter cometh. I'd like to keep our electric bill in the low triple digits this winter.

7) The master bedroom has musty alcove separated from the rest of the room by an approximation of a door. I understand that this may in fact be a closet. If so, I'd like to line it with cedar of some sort and use it as one.

8) Kill the spiders. Does that really need an explanation?

9) Mow the goddamn grass. Or burn it, which is cheaper since I have a lighter but not a lawn mower.

Scarlet and Gideon will be away on vacation all next week, so I'll be all alone for the better part of 10 days. This includes two weekends. It sounds like the perfect time to completely trash the house, sleep in, have a few beers, and put the bugger back together. And, if I'm feeling frisky, I'll tackle Special Project #10, Satan's Bung-hole. This is otherwise known as "remedial plumbing." Don't worry, I'll post the money shot if I make it.

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