Saturday, March 19, 2016

Spring Project Or Paperweights

All those things you say you want to do. The list can be long, long, long. I tend to have motivation come in spurts. I'll feel exceptionally creative or motivated to accomplish something. Pieces will be collected and I'll get ready and bam. The motivation fades as quickly as it come.

I've been dealing with some issues with RA which I didn't realize were RA issues. I knew depression was a side effect of this. You gradually lose mobility and that can be very depressing. I can tell myself, repeatedly, to find gratitude in every day, but I often have to face the reality that I just cannot; that this gloomy mood is what I have. I find acknowledging the mood; feeding it even; works for me to slowly leave it behind. In the interim, I don't do much of anything. That can feed my sense of worthlessness. "If only I felt better, this project would be done."

Enter spring. It's hard for me not to feel a tug toward positivity when the crocus bloom and the sky turns blue and the winter coat goes in the closet for a good two weeks before being needed. I feel I can conquer things. I feel I can take those steps I've longed for to make my surroundings happier. That's necessary for my overall well-being. "Time to fix this," I think. Many times that enthusiasm, however, crashes headlong into the reality that I get tired more easily. Still, here we go with the rebirth of the grass in the back yard and the cacophony of birds in the trees.

Target didn't help diminish that exuberance. In one of my news feeds; ironically, a business feed; there was a discussion about their new Pillowfort line. Targeted to kids, it's gender neutral and features things without designations for boy or girl. It's part of Target's stated objective to make as much of their kids things for all kids, inclusive, rather than blue for boy and pink for girl. You can still find those things but girls like trucks and boys like dolls. Kids shouldn't be pigeonholed into colors and items because of their gender. I can't agree with this enough.

The article showed some items from the collection and one of them was a shelf unit.

It's a whale! I read dimensions but I can't always get my head around sizes relative to anything else. I could order it online and pick it up at my local Target. As I had to get a few other things there, this was a score. It's big.

It's going to go on the wall opposite the medicine chest and sink. When I held it up to the wall, the sadness of the long ago paint scheme in the bathroom was overwhelming.

I need a fresh coat of paint on the walls. If I'm going to make this a focal point of the bathroom, I need walls reflective of that. As if they were mind reading, I got a flyer in the mail from Ace Hardware. There is, this weekend as I type, a buy-one, get one free sale on their best paint. Seriously? I would need painting accouterments as I tossed all that stuff last year, when I was cleaning in the basement for the new washer, because the stuff was old. But cutting the big cost, the paint, in half, could motivate me to actually do this.

When I went to get garbage stickers, I asked about the smell. That could be a deal breaker. The smell, the volatile organic compounds, released as paint dries, are not good for people with breathing difficulties. I don't want my house to make me any sicker than it possibly is. If I have to wait until June, when I throw open the windows, would the paint have settled out? The good news is the sale paint is low VOC, suitable for pregnant women to paint walls with and it is guaranteed to not settle out for up to 9 months after being initially mixed. I grabbed some swatches and stuck them on the wall.

There is light blue tile in the tub/shower. I have a nautical theme in the bathroom which is why the whale shelf appealed to me. It's important to match, as close as I can, the tile. Ideally, you take a tile piece with you and they match it, but I have no idea where the extra tile is that I had. So, I picked what I thought might be close or complimentary.

While I was there, I thought about the neglected back door area. I was going to paint that yellow to compliment the minion poster hanging there. If this is a buy one get one, what if I actually bought the yellow for the back? I grabbed some yellow swatches and slapped them on the wall by the poster.

I wound up going with the bottom blue and the left yellow. In my head, I thought a light lemon yellow would make the poster "pop" on the wall. But the light lemon they had seemed too light, washed out. Hence, I've gone with a color that is an exact match to the one there. Funny how that works out.

Here we are, the end of March. I have two brand new cans of paint in my house. One sits on the kitchen table and the other sits on the bathroom floor.

I'm going to paint the baseboards and the trim around the door this blue. It will be immersion, which is why having a light color on the wall will work. The ceiling will be a bright white, when I get that far. Right now, I have to get the counted cross-stitch project done and I have a few days upcoming when I can just sit and stitch. I also have to prepare the wall for painting.

Gone will be the fish stencils and those solid color fish "stickers". They are a gel plastic. I forget how old they are. Carole was living at home when we found them somewhere and thought they would be cool. They have been, but, over the years, they have attracted and held dust and dirt. I just didn't have the gumption to pry them off the wall and repaint. I'll have to take the towel rack off the wall. I don't relish that. My fear is that I won't get it back up.

In my mind's eye, I picture doing this wall, then resting. Next would be the wall by the door and a rest. Then the wall by the sink and stool and ending with the bit of wall above the shower. It's a month-long project or, if I take a week off work, a full week's painting. The same thing goes for the back door area. A wall a week and it's done.

So, with the advent of spring, this is what inspiration looks like. Supposedly, this paint can be written on with chalk. If so, that could provide some artistic avenues in a nautical bathroom. Or I could buy this or this. Maybe the fact that I have cans of paint will keep me motivated to get this done. These are awfully expensive paperweights.

Beverage:  Dr Pepper



This may be my lone cross-stitch project this year, it's hard to say. It is important to me to get this completed as it's going to be a wedding present for an end of June wedding. I need to have it done probably by the beginning of May so it can be framed in ample time. I thought about just getting it done and letting the couple get it framed, but they could be so busy that it never does.

The first thing we start with is the fabric. I knew exactly what I wanted. It's called "Stardust" and I've used it before several years ago, to do a cross stitch of the Eiffel Tower. "Stardust" is tough to find and I have only seen it at Hobby Lobby. It's become a bit of a chore to get to HL but I wasn't going to pay 20% more to order the fabric online. On one of our weekend luncheon excursions, Pam and I swung by HL where I could get the fabric. The Eiffel Tower was done on cream-colored fabric with gold glitter embedded. For this project, I wanted the very light gray with the silver glitter.

All set and with the colors for the project collected, I sat down to stitch. A couple hours and the form of the design is already taking shape.

Day 2.

Day 3 with more added color.

After day 4 stitching, it is clear what this is going to be.

I picked up the next color and realized I had miscounted. Around the dark circle, there should be two lines of color, not one. The dark color needs to be moved northeast, if you will, to allow for the additional color. My heart sank. Did I want to rip all the dark out? That adds time. Plus, I get down because I should have figured this out when I was stitching it. Could I just work around it?

The more I looked at the pattern and what I had stitched, the more I realized I couldn't make it work. If I really want this to look right, I have to remove the dark and do that area over. So, that's what I've done.

Has it set me back? Well, not really. Ripping out color is a chore, but once that was done, stitching went quickly to reform the circle so I don't make the mistake of miscounting. Now that this is fixed, I can go forward from here. The design is not the hard part, actually. The hard part is placing the wording. That's coming.

Beverage:  Dr Pepper


Friday, March 18, 2016

Stairway to...No, Not Going to Say It

If my knees or hips are hurting, stairs are a bugger. Up and down are painful. But, there is no denying they are visually interesting. Take the ubiquitous metal fire escape.

Seen from below, they parcel and slice the sky into small sections and snake up the side of a building. When I have to inspect an older brick building, I always fret that I will have to do the exterior by walking out onto the fire escape. You all know I'm afraid of heights and these metal fire escapes are the absolute worst places to be. I can't grip the railing any tighter and it feels as if I will turn to pudding and drip through the grate, falling to my doom x number of floors below. But there is no denying the photographic interest in a fire escape on the side of an old Chicago brick building.

And then there were these stairs.

These were in the service section of another apartment building. Not much additional space had been added for a widening of stairs. I don't know if there had always been a spiral staircase here or if the original had been wider and was cut down to accommodate larger apartments. The plus of this was no center view either up or down which would have made me feel queasy when we went from 10 to 12 and down to 11 and back up to 12.

At best, you saw down to the next level. The biggest issue was the narrowness of the stairwell and treads. I have to go slow now on stairs and felt I was holding people up behind me as I negotiated the climb.

Still, I like the look of stairs. If I can take my time, they can be very visually interesting.

Beverage:  Water


Electric Visions

I got to inspect an electrical supply company. They have been in business since the 1930's, helping businesses and multi-dwelling buildings (love that term) electrify and update. In addition to your regular stack of straight, long, fluorescent lights,

there were other shapes.

Piled in boxes, they made for interesting patterns.

Some boxes were old, and showed a history of electrical lighting.

The boxes were dusty which leads me to believe there is no practical use for this stuff. But, as long as the space in the warehouse isn't needed for anything, they just keep the bulbs around rather than pay to dispose of them.

A stack of trouble lamps was interesting.

There must have been, easily, a couple hundred spilling from this broken box onto the floor, like yellow snakes.

I wish I had time to chat with owners of businesses who have been around for this length of time. I'm always interested in their history and how they have seen their business change over the years. They had boxes and boxes of compact fluorescent and LED lights, but, as I showed above, older lights dating from the 1940's and 50's were at the far back. This company had "lit" some rather high profile jobs over the course of their existence.

As I was looking at the stacks, I came across this bulb.

I think this is so cool. It's a recent reproduction of a design from the 1920's. It's made to be energy efficient but retro. I'm going to start looking more closely at the lighting in the buildings I inspect. Who knew there was a 'cool factor' to light bulbs.

Beverage:  Water