Friday, June 12, 2015

Another House with Glitter

This is my new favorite house. I call it the "Silhouette House" because of the cut out pictures in the windows that let light through and cast shadows. This house is painted rather than papered and partially glittered. I put too much glitter on the roof so I will get a little brush and scrub some of it off. The body of the house hasn't been glittered yet. You can't really see the bat in the middle or the spider in the lower right window.

Here is a little bit about the design process.

First here's the basic house. I did a much better job with the windows this time than I did on previous houses.

This is the window insert with the cutouts. It's a little bit difficult lining them up so I tape them temporarily until I am sure I have them properly aligned.

These are the side window cutouts. See how the eye socket has been cut out. It's looks kind of spooky letting the light through. I need to color the edges where the white part of the paper shows through.

I will layer these inserts between clear sheets of acetate to protect them so they will be more protected and then glue them in the windows. I've got to glitter the base part of the house first because if you don't, the glitter sticks to the acetate. 

That's the latest house. Thank you for reading about my glittering adventures. More to come (and later in the month another blog post on energy efficiency).

Candy Corn Glitterhouses

Still making little glitter houses and still having lots of fun doing it. It's kind of like being a kid again.

I got the idea to make some houses based on the shape of candy corn. I thought it might make a good house for little kids to enjoy. Here is the design process (including the design fail - the wonky circular base). Design no. 1

Ok, so I wanted the house to be relatively simple to make so I drew a simple gable house and covered it with white, orange and yellow paper. I cut out a candy corn door and some windows. The windows were kind of wonky so I lined the windows with orange and white baker's twine. I'm not really very fond of how it looks so I will not likely repeat that design element.  For the base I cut out a bunch of circles and glued them to several layers of circular corrugated cardboard with the center cut out. The center is large enough for a LED tea light. When I glued all the circles together they got all wonky (my new favorite word - for me it means warped and not straight and not the way I intended) and look like a warped vinyl record. I have to design a better base.

Design no. 2 - didn't even make it to the prototype phase. I was basically a triangle house and was not interesting.

Design no. 3 is much better. I love the rounded top. Still having trouble cutting out good windows though. I may line them with a thicker layer of glitter to obscure the uneven cuts.

Design no. 4 is a variation of above, but I wanted to roof to have a better overhang so I made the base, the yellow portion, have straight walls.

I also cut the windows better on this one. Another difference here is that I painted the house rather than covering it with paper. I don't think it is much easier. I finally found some orange glitter that I really like so that made the orange color more prominent. On the previous houses I just used a transparent glitter.

So those are the Candy Corn Glitter Houses. Next is what I call the "Silhouette House" because all the windows have pictures in them so that the light shines through them. It looks really cool. I am very happy with this house. I'll post it later.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Attic Insulation - May Energy Report - Proof that it WORKS

I could't get my scanner to scan so I had to make do with an iPhone photo. 

In March and April I spent many hours in my attic air sealing and insulating hoping that getting the insulation to an R-20 level would make a difference. I have plans for putting in 10-12 inches of blown-in cellulose in the fall after I do some more work up there such as beef up the rafter supports for one thing as my roof is only held onto the house by a few nails toenailed to the rafters.

I elected to use denim because I was SO tired of itching from all the mineral wool insulation which I love, but I do not love the itch that comes with it. Denim is a dream in terms of installation compared to mineral wool. Still mineral wool, specifically Roxul (Carlton, my carpenter, calls it Roxie), is my all time favorite insulation. Just remember that even when I talk fondly about denim as an insulation material.

Anyway, I got my May energy report from Duke Energy and I used about 15 KWH per day for a total of 428. Though on my energy report it shows only 368 for the month. They must have used a different interval for their report.

I have saved all my energy bills for more than 10 years, but I can't find the complete collection for a better analysis. I do have some from this year and last though for comparison. My sister and her husband lived with me from December 2013 to October 2014. Also my younger brother lived in my basement while we were building his house from sometime in 2013 to September 2014. You can see the drop in consumption in November with only one occupant, but I was above the green energy efficient home during the winter, probably from heat loss through my attic until I started insulating the attic in March.

So I have graphic proof that just getting my attic to R-20 has made a big difference in energy use. I will tell you that the house is so much more comfortable.

One of these days I hope to show a chart of energy use correlated with the work I've done on the house - metal roof, 2 inches of polyiso under the HardieBoard siding, new windows, attic insulation, etc, but that will take some research.