Renovation Update

An overdue update of my life-sized home renovation.  The living room and hallway are done, and the dining room almost. 

I don't have much in the way of 'before pictures'....

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The kitchen, dining, and living rooms all had different wall and floor coverings.  They aren't one large open space, but all three rooms are visible at the same time no matter where you're standing, so I wanted to make them consistent, to flow together.

After the dining room wallpaper was stripped and the walls painted, we built a shelving unit for my husband's beer mug/glasses collection, to match the shelving units we built in the kitchen and living rooms.  The new shelves replace two small secondhand shelving units I used elsewhere.  His collection fits nicely and leaves room for growth.  I would rather have art hung on the dining room walls, but I don't live alone.

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The dining room table is one that Matt's Grandfather made his Grandmother for their kitchen, which Matt's brother inherited and used until his death.  The top used to be painted, but the finish is mostly worn away now.  We contemplated sanding down the top and resealing, as it's fairly rough, but Matt wanted to preserve the little bit of remaining paint.  There is only one chair left of the original four, we put it in the corner of the room.

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The only new purchase for this room, other than shelving unit materials, was the area rug.  Oh!  That's not true.  I replaced the window air conditioning unit with a floor standing model.

I'm not quite done here yet.  I painted two chairs burgundy, but need to paint the other pair to match.  I also bought fabric to reupholster the cushions.   I need to wait for warm weather.

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There was no wallpaper in the living room, thank goodness.  There was a wood paneled featured wall which we previously painted light yellow, when we painted the kitchen cabinets years ago, to lighten the room.  I wanted to remove the paneling and replace it with drywall, but that effort and expense was the one thing Matt protested vehemently during the entire remodel, so I painted it the same color as the rest of the walls.  It doesn't stand out as a feature wall anymore and isn't noticeable as dissimilar unless one is attentive.  I can live with it.

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The biggest challenge in this room was finding a lamp for the end table next to the sofa.  The end table is, really, rather short, but it was made by Matt's father from a piece of black walnut milled by his grandfather, so is irreplaceable.  The short, narrow table means I need a tall, narrow, lamp.  I looked, and looked, and looked, then one day Matt text me a picture from a resale shop.  Perfect (except for the 70s shade).

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My big splurge in the living room was on lampshades.  I custom ordered, to my specific measurements, new, white, lampshades for both lamps.  It was worth every penny.

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The hallway is, well, a hallway, and not at all glamorous.  I painted the walls the same color as the kitchen, dining, and living rooms.  I ripped out the old baseboard and installed new because the previous painter didn't prep properly and I couldn't stand the thought of stripping and sanding.

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The only room left to remodel is the bathroom.  I'm still thinking about what to do there.


I’m back

I’m afraid this is a rather lackluster post...no pictures of anything I’m working on.  I’ve got a new (another new) job.  The one I took last March, which sounded like a dream job, was absolutely horrible.  I started looking for another almost immediately, and after an interview a week for six months, I selected another.  I am now working in the corporate finance department of my regional health care system; I’ve been there two months now, and love it.  The pay is less than I was making, but the responsibilities are significantly less, my coworkers are warm and inviting, and I appreciate, and am grateful for, the difference.

Today I started a massive studio clean out/clean up project.  I am giving myself a month to get it done, then will participate in next year’s Creatin’ Contest.  

I owe you a post or two regarding my home improvement projects.  I’m not sure if anyone remembers, or cares, but it seems something incomplete to me, so I’ll finish.  I have to login to an old computer to find the pictures, but I’ll set a goal to get that done before the end of the year. 

 One last note...I haven’t been commenting on most of your blog posts the last year or two, but I have been reading.  Blogger blogs don’t seem to like my Apple devices.

 I’ve been  posting on Instagram regularly during my blogging absence, as it’s quick and easy, but it lacks the text that is our connection.  I hope to do better next year. 


Peapod part two

I botched the build a little bit, but thankfully not so much so that it can't be salvaged.  

I was so attentive to gluing the ends of the planks to the stems cleanly that I didn't pay enough attention to the middle of the form.  I realized about four planks later that I was not flush, and the only thing I could think to do to get back on course was to flip the planks on their sides to make loose contact with the form.

Once I got to the relatively flat bottom of the boat I flipped them back to the correct position.

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Hopefully once I've finished sanding I'll have a boat shape made of wood, and that's all that counts.

I didn't take a picture before I started sanding the outside, which is going to be insanely more difficult because of the plank flip.  I had to stop sanding because I was making a dust storm in the air in the house; once it warms up outside I'll resume work in the garage.

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I dread having to sand the inside.  I suspect I will need to glue additional stripwood or quarter round into the deepest steps so that I don't sand through the hull.  Or perhaps a combination of  sanding the highs and wood filler in the lows would be better.  I'll decide once I get the exterior sanded and can remove it from the form.

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Notre Dame

There have been many horrific catastrophes throughout my lifetime. None have touched me as I was touched this morning, watching, on the TV news, Notre Dame de Paris in flames. 

 I believe that the me of 10 years ago would have acknowledged  that it is a building of historic and cultural significance, but that it is just a building. However, nine years ago I visited Paris and laid my hands upon her walls. I have stood in the light shining through the rose windows. Today I am in tears.

 I am not a spiritual person. When I visited Notre Dame, which was the most magnificent work of art I think I will ever experience,  I touched my hands to her stones and felt love pour into me. I felt the love of craftsman who toiled with care for centuries to make her beautiful, I felt the love of parishioners, worshipers, visitors. She is truly magnificent.

The only thing I have to ask of you is this, don’t underestimate that which is incomprehensible to you.  Have love in your heart.


Catching up

It’s been almost three months since I’ve written a post.  Time flies.  I’ll catch you all up...

I started looking for a new career af the beginning of the year. Most good positions in my area are filled by word-of-mouth, not many are posted. Those jobs that I found posted had a very long list of responsibilities, with a very small salary (like, a quarter more than starting wage at McDonald’s small).   I finally decided that if I had to accept that significant of a cut in pay I would also take a job in line with that, so accepted a position as a cashier at a grocery store.

Fortunately, before I could fill out my new hire paperwork, a word-of-mouth opportunity came my way.   I am now with a company I like, in a position I fit into well.  It’s the same type of work I did at my last job (purchasing and accounts payable) but in a completely different industry,  with different regulations, and using different software, so I’m busy learning all sorts of new things.  It feels good to shift my brain back into gear after a few months off  :)

I’ll be back in my studio soon.


Dinghy Dismay almost complete

I did have one of Nancy's pointy leaved echeveria kits in stock to make water lilies from.

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After those were done and color accents added to the lily pads (not pictured), I set about sculpting tadpoles and minnows.

I started with air-dry clay, because I already had some and figured the first practice batch would end up in the trash can anyway.

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I gave up on minnows rather quickly, and transitioned to polymer clay for the tadpoles.  Tadpoles would be impossible to create to proper scale, as they'd be too minuscule to be noticeable, so I created them in multiple sizes.  I only used the smallest nine or ten babies, the rest I deemed too large, so they'll join their air-dry prototypes swimming in the rubbish bin. 

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I finished installing lily pad stems on the base, sanded it, then sorted through my jar of 'stuff I pick up on walks' for some natural materials to add to the bottom of the pond.

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I used tacky glue to add acetate strips to the side of the piece (which will be removed later), positioned it on a turntable base, then poured the first layer of resin.

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I'm using a mesh dome Sheila gave me to protect the piece from cat hair and airborne debris while the resin drys.

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I have poured a layer of resin each morning this week, adding tadpoles between layers.  I took these pictures prior to pouring the last layer this morning.  I have now used all of the resin that's been in my supply closet far longer than recommended, I'm surprised it was still viable.

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Did you see the fishing bobber floating in the boat?  I made it from a piece of leftover tiny turnings.  I save all the little leftover bits in an empty spice jar, for when I need a wee little odd something.

I will give the final pour a few hours to cure most of the way, then cut the stems to size and lay down the lily pads while the resin is still slightly tacky.  Final pictures tomorrow (hopefully), then I'll move the piece to the dining room table for a couple of weeks to completely cure.


The Winter Cottage

Exterior full

Exterior full

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Snow and icicles made with Woodland Scenics' soft flake snow and water effects.

Horseshoe

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Fishbowl by Miyuki Kobayashi

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Granny square crochet throughout build by Tiffsniffer.

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Leather coat by FIGLot, pink knitted scarf and hat, purple pillows, and multicolored afghan by Fabulously Flawed Minis, yellow and blue kid's sweaters by Sharon's mini knits, purple sweater and yellow hat/scarf/mittens on radiator by MinniesMiniatures.

Shelves coat

Shelves coat

Wall art by Nancy Enge, Vincent VanGogh, and myself.

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Most cutting boards by Miniatures in Theory.  Kitchen cart made from a kit by ELF miniatures.  Coffee mugs by April Wright.  Echeveria and basket by Nancy Enge.
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Basket from a kit by Nancy Enge.  Cat pillow by Brae Oktober.
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Teddy bear by LugartPetit.            

I'm afraid I'm not feeling particularly garrulous today.  Any questions?  Please ask.