Six new windows were installed on the front of the building this week! I cant' believe how bright and cheery the store looks now. Next week the new doors will be installed. Work on the rest of the building front will be happening soon.
Activity is increasing in Lincoln Park as businesses open or prepare to reopen. We are hoping to open in June if all goes well.
Enjoy the sunny weather this week!
I’ve enjoyed working at the shop everyday since we purchased the building January 3. During January and February Jack (previous owner of the building and owner of Carr’s Hobbies) continued to run the store and sell out his remaining merchandise while Mark (my husband) and I worked in the office and basement. Everyday we’d take breaks, talk and joke with each other.
Jack was always willing to answer my questions and give me advice. He was a very wise man who lived an interesting life. I loved listening to him and I told him more than once that he should write a book. Mark also cared deeply for Jack. He told me he thought Jack was probably the nicest man he ever met.
In March and April Jack would stop in every-so-often and we would visit. He was having some health issues, but I thought he was improving. When Covid-19 struck and we were self-quarenteening, we didn’t see Jack, but he called a couple of times.
This past Saturday I called Jack to catch-up and tell him how things were progressing with the store. He didn’t answer, so I left a message. Since it was the fishing opener Saturday, I figured he was fishing. I found out later that day, that Jack had died Saturday morning. I was crushed. I considered him a very special friend and hoped that he, his wife and my husband and I would be able to spend fun times together in the coming years.
I regret the fact that I didn’t call him sooner. I hope he knew how much I respected him and enjoyed knowing him.
I could write much more about this wonderful man, who honorably served his country in the military for seven years, who enriched the lives of his customers and friends through his generous spirit and who never really grew up when it came to toys and hobby crafts.
The last couple of days at the store have been very sad. I see constant reminders of Jack. He was a very good man. I can’t wait to see him again.
The Minnesota Fishing Opener and Mother’s Day will be celebrated this weekend. We hope the fish are biting and Mothers everywhere are treated to a day of special appreciation, relaxation, presents and pampering!
These 1950s showcases really needed a facelift. At some point in their 70-year history, they were painted. My original plan was to repaint them to match the Boathouse decor. Then I discovered there was beautiful walnut wood beneath the paint and I decided to restore them.
Here are the steps to the restoration.
Left, the old paint was some of the most stubborn I have ever tried to remove. I tried two different paint strippers and neither worked. Then I tried using a heat gun. This worked great! The heat softened the paint and then I could easily scrape it off. Unfortunately there was a black coating beneath the paint that would not come off. The photo on the left shows me sanding this black material with 80 grit sandpaper. this worked well. After sanding with the 80 grit I sanded with finer and finer grits until the wood was very smooth. The next step was to clean off all of the sanding residue with a tack cloth. Center, Both ends of one case seemed to be lighter than the front, so I stained both ends with a matching walnut stain. Right, I used a semi-gloss poly finish. It is always exciting to see the beauty of the wood come out at this stage.
Attention to detail is very important in any refinishing project. The corners and top edges on the cases are incised making them difficult to strip. In the Before picture the corner looks blotchy. I decided to paint these areas with Burnt Umber artist's acrylic paint. The after photo shows how dramatically this added effort improved the finished showcases.
Restoring furniture is very rewarding. There are many helpful tutorials on YouTube. Give it a try sometime!
We’ve been installing a new decorative ceiling for the past 11 days. The work is slow and tedious, but the new ceiling is really pretty. We should be done by Saturday.
We are hoping that most/all of the build out will be done within the next few weeks. Then we can start to stock the store.
I just refinished two, mid-century display showcases and will post step-by-step photos next week. They turned out really nice!
This recipe is the perfect blend of sweet and savory —- a great “restaurant style” burger you can easily make at home. It is one of my favorite summer recipes. They are a must-try this grilling season!
Raspberry Chipotle Bacon Cheeseburgers
4 fresh bakery hamburger buns
1 to 2 pounds ground beef (depending on how big you want your patties)
8 slices cooked bacon
4 slices white cheddar or gouda cheese
Fischer and Wieser Raspberry Chipotle Sauce
Other burger toppings of your choice (lettuce, tomato, onion)
1. Form ground beef into patties and season with salt and pepper.
2. Cook patties to desired doneness. Near the end of cooking add cheese and cooked bacon to burger. Let cheese melt and bacon to warm up.
3. Assemble burgers. Place one bun on a plate. Next add burger with cheese and bacon. Drizzle with raspberry chipotle sauce.
4. Add other burger toppings of your choice.
5. Serve and enjoy!
We've heard many wonderful stories from former Carr’s Hobbies customers. We heard another one this week from the Wisconsin couple who purchased the 32-foot-long awning that had been on the front of the building.
They plan to attach the awning to their barn to provide shelter for their horses. After removing it from the building, I asked if they were going to keep the words “Carr’s Hobbies” on the awning. They said they were.
I asked if they had ever shopped at Carr’s Hobbies and the man told me he would buy Breyer horses at Carr’s Hobbies when he was young. He had a big smile on his face as he told me. I'm sure shopping at Carr's must have left him with many happy memories.
Now his REAL horses will be able to enjoy their new Carr’s Hobbies awning!
Please be safe this week and stay healthy.
This week we’ve been working on the platforms at the front of the store. The platforms were covered with three layers of flooring. Beneath the flooring is tongue and groove pine boards that resemble dock boards. I bet I pulled 1500 staples out of those boards! The staples had been used to attach the original flooring to the pine boards. It took me about fifteen hours over three days, my fingers are really sore, but the demo is done!
Now we can finish the platforms to look like docks with wooden pole railings and rope connecting the poles. The docks will be used for our window displays. We also removed sheetrock where the new windows will go.
Lincoln Park has been very quiet during the past week. Many businesses are closed, have reduced hours or have limited service. Ecolibrium 3 has a list of resources for businesses and residents on their homepage, check it out for the latest information.
Since the coronavirus concerns began in our area last week, I've witnessed amazing examples of generosity and kindness by members of our community. I've seen this attitude of kindeness many times since I moved to Duluth ten years ago. Thank you to all of you great people! You make Duluth a wonderful place to live.
We've been staying home as much as possible. The only other place we go is to the shop, where the work continues at a much slower pace this week!
On a lighter note…these tomatoes are "The Bomb"!
We bought these tomatoes at Sam's Club about a week ago. They were so good that I dried seeds from several of them and planted them tonight. It will be fun to watch them grow!
These "Flavor Bombs" are sweet and taste as good as homegrown. The seeds originated in France. I sure hope they grow because I love homegrown tomatos!
You can't see the new roof from ground level, but the new flashing is visible and looks great. I'm so happy the roof is done and we can now focus on replacing the ceiling tile and painting.
The shiny, restored terrazo floor is also done. I learned a lot about terrazo floors this week. The process originated in Ancient Egypt and Italy. New methods include tinting the concrete with rich colors and embedding decorative metal shapes into the terrazo. The Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport recently commissioned a huge public art project using terrazo, check it out!
We have been hoping to open in mid-to-late April, but our plans may be delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Although this is a bit disappointing, it is a small inconvenience compared to the hardships being faced by many businesses.
My thoughts and prayers are with all of those people who are impacted. Please protect yourself and others.
The captain's Blog
Ahoy! Visit our blog each week where we will share fun information about the shop, exciting events in Duluth and Lincoln Park, restoration tips & tricks and more!