Happy Birthday!

I turned 48 on Friday, May 15th, and I will tell you about the most exciting birthday I’ve had in a long time!

How sweet!
How sweet!

But not because of the cake, though it was sweet and thoughtful! It was about the Window!
The last time we saw the quatrefoil window , the frame was remade. Meanwhile, glass artist extraordinaire Tom Newton had been plotting and planning the glass art for the window.

 

Shadowed in Mystery!
Shadowed in Mystery!
???...
???…

Today was the day. The window was to arrive, and installation was to begin!

But let’s go back in time…on May 15, 1967, a young woman named Carolyn (Ma!) was giving birth to a 10 pound baby. That was me. Sorry, Ma.  Fast forward 48 years, and that baby now weighs 133 pounds and now a project taking nearly four years and much of her resources to gestate is finally coming to fruition. But, as with any good thing, its beauty is from the Grace of God and the reflection of him in the people around us. Tom and Sandie are such reflections.

Here’s Sandie putting the clear glass down on the outside.

It fits!
It fits!

Next comes the artwork.

The little sticker says, "Made In Germany"
The little sticker says, “Made In Germany”

The glass is pre-war WW2 german glass the Tom acquired in a business deal. The clear glass goes on the outside, the precious colored glass on the inside. I was honored when he noticed the glazing I had done on the Church windows and asked if I’d like to help glaze this window. Yes please!
So here’s the process:

Outer Pieces
Outer Pieces

Next:

Inner Circle piece
Inner Circle piece

And altogether:

Ahhhhhhh!
Ahhhhhhh!

And so. The little pieces of tape help align the glass pieces. The tacks (unseen) hold the glass in, and the glazing seals the whole bit.

Tom and Sandie cleaned it up and got it ready for the install.

They clean it with a fine powder that takes all the fingerprints off!
They clean it with a fine powder that takes all the fingerprints off!

The install was a feat of engineering. The chief engineer this day happened to be our electrician, Dave Schramski. It was a perfect example of teamwork. Dave had an idea, and we all wanted someone with a good idea to tell us how to get this work of art up a ladder without breaking it!

A frame was built!

That's Schramski on the faaaar right...
That’s Schramski on the faaaar right…

The window was laid in…

Careful there!
Careful there!

And then wrapped for uber protection aloft.

Are we mailing this to Hong Kong?
Are we mailing this to Hong Kong?

No, just trying to get it safely to the window opening…

It's not a hauling project without ropes!
It’s not a hauling project without ropes!

So two men were carrying it up the ladder, and Mike and I were on the ropes pulling it up. It went quite smoothy, but I couldn’t take pictures since I had promised to have both hands on the rope! Luckily Sandie did and was kind enough to send them to me. But I do believe Kind is Sandie’s middle name!

Upsy-daisy!
Upsy-daisy!

Up it went in its cocoon, and Chief Shramski went out on the ladder to make sure the window didn’t get pushed through to the ground. ( I still have shocking memories of having pushed an air conditioner out a second story window trying to install it!)

He didn't like it when a gust of wind pushed the door against the ladder…
He didn’t like it when a gust of wind pushed the door against the ladder…

Inside, the boys had to loft the window into place.

Careful!
Careful!
And of course, final adjustments must be made!
Rotate Counterclockwise. No, that's Clockwise to you!
Rotate Counterclockwise. No, that’s Clockwise to you!

It was a logistical puzzle. But we did it, and the window was installed. All that remained was for nature to light it up!

And, of course, nature showed up for the job!
What do you think?

It's in!
It’s in!

And so, God said, let there be light!

Let There Be Light!
Let There Be Light!
Happy birthday, Glorious Window!
Yes!
Yes!
– The White Church Gallery

Chipping Away!

This window needed to go in. The Church needs its eyes open!

Lemme get the wonder bar…
Lemme get the wonder bar…

Couldn’t find any of the three wonder bars we own, so pry bar it is! (This might be an old joke, but it occurs to me that that wonder bar is aptly named- we are always wondering where the HECK it is!)

First let's get the plywood out!
First let’s get the plywood out!
C'mon now…
C’mon now…

After some ughs and grunts, it came out!

I've got a "gut feeling"…
I’ve got a “gut feeling”…

…that the window is going to be awesome!

Engineer Mike made a temporary handle, of course.
Engineer Mike made a temporary handle, of course.

Once we remove the handle, the window, recently glazed and so as of yet unpainted, is ready for full sunlight transmission! It’s facing west, so by afternoon the sun streams in like crazy. So we had it tinted.

So did the tinting help?
So did the tinting help?

Well, let’s see…

Um…can't tell!
Um…can’t tell!

With my little point and shoot camera, I wasn’t able to get a good contrasty picture in the sunlight. But we could tell a difference in person. It’s just nice to have a window back in! It’s been such a lovely summer that the light and heat feel good.

The phrase “chipping away at it” feels very appropriate to sum up this summer’s work. Window by window. And meanwhile…

We’ve both been putting in a lot of time beating back the chaos at our other properties. One such project was putting up a retaining “wall” between our new cement and the neighbor’s yard, which somehow managed to be many inches higher than ours!

How did their lawn get so high??
How did their lawn get so high??

So we dug and measured, ram a plumb line because the cement sloped, and laid the giant beams in.

That's a good 6 inch difference in height!
That’s a good 6 inch difference in height!

So in went the wall.

"Cutened" up.
“Cutened” up.

Cuter, plus no landslides onto the new cement, hopefully.

Well we didn’t have long to wait to test it. The Great Flood of Royal Oak put it to the test, and I must say, it worked beautifully. The rest of the yard was under water, but no mudslides!

 

– The White Church Gallery

 

Glazing Over

P1010063

The Church has had its eyes shut for a few months. We took in the windows for repair and reglazing. We started by sanding down the old wood and giving them a few new coats of paint.

Red on the Outside,
Red on the Outside,
Brown on the Inside.
Brown on the Inside.

To keep the inside weather separate from the outside weather, we needed to glaze the windows. Glazing is when you put a special glazing putty on the inside edges and smooth it down.

I got the job!

I've got the gloves for it!
I’ve got the gloves for it!

But I had to be schooled first. Dr. Paul Fisher of the Institute for Glazing Old Windows gave me a tutorial. First take a glob of glaze. Then roll it out like a long snake. Then stuff it in the corners with your big Polish fingers.

Well I don’t have big Polish fingers, so I had to use several smaller fingers.

Roll and Stuff.
Roll and Stuff.

It looks a bit like someone stuffed their old gum into the windows. But there is a tool that takes the lumps and bumps out and gives it an edge.

De-lumped
De-lumped
I used it.
Of course, if the edges of the window aren’t smooth and sharp,  the tool that uses the edge as a guide isn’t able to make a nice straight line.
Uhh...maybe some paint will help!
Uhh…maybe some paint will help!
Yes, the paint did help. After I painted, I had to scrape the excess paint off the glass and clean the glass.
At last, we were finally able to install a window!
New wood inserts to keep it all snug.
New wood inserts to keep it all snug.
Of course there were some adventures along the way.
Whups.
Whups.
Pilot holes had been drilled, but the wood was pretty dry, so it cracked. But practice makes perfect, and we did practice!
Perfect!
Perfect!
And the Mastermind behind it all…
Pilot holes, baby.
Pilot holes, baby.
…had a very special event to go to, so time to get cleaned up!
Cleaned up!
Cleaned up!
Patent #4, and counting. Fancy-schmancy dinner in Rochester, MI. Mr. Zaitz receives his patent plaque and some very nice words. Mrs. Zaitz receives a delicious dinner and a big helping of gratefulness that she hitched her horse to this guy’s post
– The White Church Gallery

Floored Part II

Last week in our exciting episode of “Let’s Renovate an Old Church in Our Spare Time” we left halfway done with the floors. So what was it like to go back at it the following weekend?

It was awesome. It was like getting back on the horse, after you had fallen and broken all the tender bits on your body!

The Stage is set for more work...
The Stage is set for more work…

And work it was.

Plug and play!
Plug and play!

When we finished last weekend, it felt like we might be halfway done. Or even more!

Nope.

Lots more to love.
Lots more to love.

But it won’t get done by wishing, so let’s get started!

First we used the large sander. Last week we had the drum sander, but we wanted to try the circular one. It had about the same effect. It took off the top layers a little quicker than the drum sander, but it was a lot trickier to handle. If you tried to steer it,  it had a tendency to spin off into its own circular spasm of cyclonic motion, taking the handler with it. But if you got all zen with it and let it do its thing, it would drift along in a cloud of dust and swirl its way down the planks.

Swirly
Swirly
Gettin Zen widdit.
Gettin Zen widdit.

But to really finish the job, the Bronco had to be engaged.

Engaging the Bronco
Engaging the Bronco

You can see the difference.

Bronco Mike and his Bulging Biceps!
Bronco Mike and his Bulging Biceps!
Viva La Difference!
Viva La Difference!

And so it went. Circular swirls and Bronco bucking.

Next thing you know,

Are we done yet?
Are we done yet?

Yeah, we got done. But did I get a shot of it?

Not really, so this will have to do.

Dunzo.
Dunzo.

 

– The White Church Gallery

 

Uncovering the Window

For as many years as can be remembered by the living, there has been a red circle with a white cross in the front of the Church.

000_0428

000_0433

Here’s the story of the uncovering of the Quatrefoil window.

First light was quite exciting!

Now you see it,
Now you see it,
Now you don't!
Now you don’t!

I couldn’t take pictures of bringing the window down since I was holding the lowering rope! But she is down, and ready to be loved. It’s not clear yet whether she will be restored or will become a museum piece. She’s in rough shape.

P1010100

Most of the glass was intact, but in order to repair the window, all the glass had to come out. That meant all the brittle glazing had to be picked out. I did the best I could, but it became apparent that the glass was really not worth saving in this case. Yes, it was old and original, but we think the reason it was covered it because it’s too fragile for the westerly weather it had to take. So new glass will have to be made for it.

Antique brittle glazing + dry rotted wood = bye bye glass.
Antique brittle glazing + dry rotted wood = bye bye glass.

P1010104

I did manage to remove the center glass without mishap. And never fear, I saved most of the pieces for the future. I’m sure a project will arise that will call for antique warbly glass.

The bones.
The bones.

Exciting!

Meanwhile, the other window is coming along…

Primer
Primer
Nice sanding job!
Nice sanding job!

We’re still debating colors, so stay tuned…

– The White Church Gallery

Summer plans

So what’s going on at the Church this season? After the heating/cooling system went in, we had to huddle down, replenish the coffers, and plan the next step. After much thought and prayer, it became clear that we need more…space! Yes, the church is big and beautiful, but when we take out the plaster, insulate the walls and replace them, the church will have to be emptied. Where will we put everything? Where will we have work space? Where?

Where? In here?
Where? In here?

In the new addition! Yes, an addition. That’s the plan.

Commence the scraping!

New driveway!
New driveway!
Back yard. The addition will connect to the back of the church.
Back yard. The addition will connect to the back of the church.
Lumpy!
Lumpy!

So the landscape around the church is a little shaggy right now. But it’s in the name of progress. The side yard is still feeling the effects of having Geothermal pipes installed deep into it.

Rocky!
Rocky!

But what about the church? Remember our beautiful antique glass windows?

P1010011

We don’t want them to fall out, so we are going to take them out, one by one, and strip and reglaze them. There are 10 big windows, plus the one over the door, plus the secret special quatrefoil window behind the white cross in the red circle.
Whew let’s get started!
Church without its glasses!
Church without its glasses!
They are in pretty rough shape, especially the ones facing the weather- westward.
Paint and glazing must go!
Paint and glazing must go!
It was our first window, and we knew it was a matter of time before the first pane got broken. But who would do it, and how would it happen? The tension was thick.
Finally, one of us heard a sickening crrrackkkk and it was done. Chipping away at the hardened brittle glazing didn’t do it, but putting pressure on the glass with your knuckles will crack it.
lower right ...
lower right …
At least the worst was over. We resigned ourselves to the fact that we couldn’t make an omelet without cracking a little glass, and moved on with our lives.
Thanks to some advice and tools from Grindstone Corners very own Paul Fisher, proprietor of the newly opened, highly successful Rybaks Ice Cream Store, I used a heat gun on the glazing and paint which softened it enough to allow gentler scraping and chipping.
The man responsible for the immaculate restoration of Captain Peer's building. He knows which end of a heat gun to grab!
The man responsible for the immaculate restoration of Captain Peer’s building.
He knows which end of a heat gun to grab!
So I chipped away at the glazing, Mike worked with the sander. Sanding worked wonders, as well!
"I bet these windows haven't been touched since they were installed..."
“I bet these windows haven’t been touched since they were installed…”
It’s possible, but I bet they took them out when they moved the building in the early 1900s.
It took a fair share of effort to get the glass out of the windows, and I didn’t even want to try with the little diamond shaped top piece – it was way too intricate and delicate, but once the others were out, and with only that one breakage, we all drew a sigh of relief. It will take time and effort, but we can do it! The windows can come back to life!
Sand man!
Sand man!
But for now, Church is winking!
P1010064
She’s still so very pretty!

– The White Church Gallery

Rybak’s Ice Cream Store is Open!

Grindstone Corners is officially open for business. The first of three planned businesses is going strong! If you’re screaming for ice cream in an amazingly restored original Grindstone Building filled with jewelry, toys, candles, scarves and so much more, along with the tastiest ice cream, you need to stop in to Rybak’s Ice Cream Store.

Ice Cream, anyone? YES!!!
Ice Cream, anyone? YES!!!

It’s been a long, hard, $$ journey for the Fishers, but their hard work has paid off beautifully, don’t you think? Let’s watch the progress… (it began way before this first picture)

Dec. '12 - battened down for a Lake Huron Winter.
Dec. ’12 – battened down for a Lake Huron Winter.
Spring '13, Coming to life!
Spring ’13, Coming to life!

And now…Come on in!

Ice cream on the right, Candy on the left. It's a straight and narrow path you must walk...
Ice cream on the right, Candy on the left. It’s a straight and narrow path you must walk…
Candy siren!
Candy siren!
Proprietress Ann Fisher is ready to scoop for you.
Proprietress Ann Fisher is ready to scoop for you.

So what’s the verdict? Yummy or not?

"Dangerously yummy!"
“Dangerously yummy!”

And open late…

P1010059

Where is it?

See you there!

Rybak's Ice Cream! MMMM!
Rybak’s Ice Cream! MMMM!

– The White Church Gallery