Where I stood, checking out historic Detroit churches

Yesterday Mark and I took a tour of churches in Detroit.  It was a tour of historic churches put on by the Detroit Bus Company.  I highly recommend them, it was a wonderful tour (though a bit of a bumpy throwback riding in an old school bus).  Our guide was Kari Smith, an architectural historian, and she was amazing!

The floor of St. Aloysius church

The floor of St. Anne’s church

A mosaic at St. Aloysius church

Steps of Fort Street Presbyterian church

Window at Fort Street Presbyterian church

The old altar at St. Anne’s church

The ceiling behind the newer altar at St. Anne’s church

An angel at St. Anne’s church

One of the stained glass windows at St. Anne’s church

Starkweather school

Mark and I were in the right place at the right time and got to tour Starkweather School the other day.   They are closing it down, I suspect they may be putting it up for sale.   I am very hopeful that something good happens to this great school, and someone re-purposes the building without destroying the great details!

These are the tiles in the entryway.

How many schools do you know that have a beautiful tile fireplace?

Amusing animal tiles parade above the firebox.

This is an old, faded drawing of how the school originally looked, before they blocked in part of the windows and tool out the rounded doors.   Starkweather school is a wonderful part of our history, I hope it stays with us.

Where I stood, honoring my mother

This is where I stood last Sunday, up north, on a dock, checking out the stones.

This Sunday I am off to celebrate mothers.   But before I leave, I want to honor my mother by showing you the crazy quilt she made.   Any creativity I have I got from my mom.   At 53″ square, it’s pretty large for a crazy quilt, and I’m happy to say, it now hangs in my bedroom.

In this section is a portrait of two sisters, me and Jane.   I’m the little one.

This was my dad’s dog, Sparkle.

Dorothy, over the rain bow.

A child on a swing.     There is so much to look at in this quilt that I think I’ll show you a few more pictures of it tomorrow.   It is an amazing work of art!

How to replace a sash cord, Part two

I apologize for leaving you without a window since my last post.

We now come to the interesting part of the process. You need to get the sash cord over the pulley at the top of the jamb, and to get it to fall down into the pocket so you can grab it and tie it to your sash weight. Unbundle a bunch of sash cord.  Locate the pulley, it is near the top of the jamb.  You will push the end of the sash cord over the pulley. You must continue to push sash cord through that hole, until you’ve pushed enough to fall down into the pocket to grab through the space where the pocket cover was. You will check the pocket, look for the sash cord, and then push a bunch more sash cord, hoping it will fall down. You know that it is just balling up beyond the pulley, but perhaps if you keep pushing it will start falling, but it doesn’t. If it should happen to fall into the pocket, and you can grab it, you might as well know it was a fluke and it will never happen again. If it should happen to fall and you can grab it, tie it to the weight. If it doesn’t, it’s time to take a length of wire, bend an open hook at the end of the wire, and insert the wire upward in the pocket and go “fishing” for the sash cord. You might get lucky, and catch it. If not, keep fishing. Try not to swear at the sash cord, it is very sensitive. Keep fishing. Do not, under any circumstances, try to push the wire over the pulley to lead the sash cord down into the pocket. The wire will get stuck and never come out. So I’ve heard. We would never try such a thing.
Keep fishing, keep pushing cord, and eventually you will get the sash cord to come down behind the jamb and you can tie the end to the sash weight.  Make a good knot, double check that it will hold.  Give the cord a little shake, if the sash weight falls on your foot you didn’t tie a good enough knot.
You’ve got the weight tied, and now you need to put it back into the pocket. Just set it there, and pull the sash cord over the pulley until it is taut. Then pull it a little further, so the weight is hanging about an inch above the bottom of the pocket. As you hold this, pinch the cord right as it comes out of the pulley, this is where you want the knot. Pull the cord toward you, and keep your fingers pinching the place you want the knot. Cut the sash cord about five or six inches below the place you are pinching the cord. Do not let go of the sash cord. No, that’s not quite what I mean to say. What I mean to say is DO NOT LET GO OF THE SASH CORD! Yes, that’s it. You will tie a knot, like the one you pulled out of the window, in the sash cord making sure it tightens right where you are pinching. Generally, it is just a loop that you put the tail through twice instead of once. That will make the knot big enough that it doesn’t go through the pulley.
Once you have this knot tied (you have not let go of the sash cord, so you haven’t had to go “fishing” a second time) let the weight drop slowly. The knot should stop at the pulley, and the weight should still be dangling. If this is true, you’ve done it correctly.
Repeat this process on the other side. Cake, huh?
Now, with the two knots at the pulleys, and the weights pulling against the knots, you want to replace the covers of the sash pockets. They need to be pushed in, and slid upward. The notches at the top will slide around the nails in the jamb. You may have to use some gentle persuasion (like a hammer against a small block) to get the pocket cover to go completely into place.
Once the pocket cover is in place, replace the screws that you haven’t lost. Do the same on the other side. Now you’ve got smooth jambs against which a window can slide.
Go get the window. Put it back between the jambs, making sure the outside faces out and the inside faces in. Take one of the knots from the pulley, pull it down, and locate the hole in the side of the sash. Stick the tail in the hole first, finishing with the knot, that will hold the tail in. Otherwise the tail will lead the knot out of the hole. Do the same on the other side. Amazingly, you no longer have to hold onto the window, counter weights do keep it in place. Check to make sure the window slides up and down easily.
Replace the stops, making sure to put them on the correct sides with the flat edge against the window and the bevel at the top under the top trim piece. Pound the finish nails into the same holes they came out of and voila, you have a functioning window!

Cool, huh?

How to replace a sash cord, Part one

Let’s start with the basics.   What is a sash cord?   The sash cord is a cord that attaches the sash to the sash weight.   You remember in “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement Moore when he said “Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.”

Well, sash is not what he had for dinner that night.   The sash is part of a window, in fact, the “window” part of the window.   It’s the glass, and the frame around the glass, the part that opens. Unless the sash cord has worn through. Then the window opens only when you hold it, or put that stick under the sash to hold it up. Not ideal, the window can only be open the distance of the length of the stick. So we replace sash cords. Sounds easy enough.

First, you need to get sash cord. You can use clothesline, but I don’t trust it. It looks like sash cord, but does it have what it takes? I doubt it.   Sash cord used to be available at every hardware store and home center, but now you will have to resort to the internet.   Do this about a week or two ago so you have the sash cord now.

Start by locating the strips of trim on the sides of the window.   These are the stops, as they stop the window from falling out.   As you want to get the window out, they must be removed.   Take a putty knife and a small flat bar, wedge the putty knife between the stop and the jamb, and carefully coax the stop away from the jamb. Speak softly to it, all the while prying with the flat bar as close to the nails as you can.   Notice that the stop is cut at an angle at the top, so it must be pulled down to be removed.   It will take some wiggling. Keep encouraging.   Gently, because you don’t want to break it. Broken trim is a headache.   Glue it back together?   Try to find stuff that looks old then stain it to match?   You don’t want to go there.   Eventually, you will be holding the stop in your hand.   Set it aside, and do the same thing to the stop on the other side.   As you remove the second stop, know that the window is loose and keep a hand on it.   This is important as we are not discussing how to replace broken glass in a window today.   Once both stops are removed, you can pick up the window and set it aside.

Now look at the jambs. That is the side of the window, where the sash slides up and down.   The jamb will probably be dark grey or black, and smooth. There is a “pocket” there.   The pocket is a channel in the wall where the sash weight hangs.   The pocket is covered with a piece of wood.   You probably can’t see it.   I couldn’t.   “Mark,” I said, “this window has no pocket.”     Put on your glasses, get a flashlight, and you will locate two screws toward the bottom of the jamb.   Unscrew those screws, being careful not to lose the screws, you will need them.   The pocket will not magically open.   Again, you will need your coaxing skills.   Remember when you were wooing your first love?   Use that voice, and locate the bottom edge of the pocket. This pocket cover is cut at an extreme bevel, so you need to use your putty knife to pry the cover out a small bit, and then it needs to come out by pulling it down.   Voila!

Once you have the cover removed and in your hand, notice that at the top edge there are two notches, they are there to fit in two nails that are inside the jamb.   They are necessary, do not file them off or fill them in.   You will remove the pocket cover on the other side of the window, keeping straight which one is which.   Do not mix them up.   They want to go back to their original homes, they don’t want to move.
Once you’ve got the pockets open, you will locate a weight inside each pocket.   It is a long ugly cast iron cylinder with a hole at the top.   It looks like something you should throw out.   You shouldn’t.   Take the weights out of the pockets. Weights are not picky, you don’t have to worry about which pocket gets which weight. They are kind of heavy. Probably why they are called weights.
At this point lets take a look at the old sash cord. You want to remove it from the weight, but first take a look at the knot in the old sash cord. You will eventually want to recreate it. Go to the window, look at the sides, and pull out the cord stuck in the holes in the sides of the windows.   Again, check out the knot, it is probably a double knot.   Throw out the icky old sash cords, they do you no good.

Next, how to replace a sash cord, part two.