In 1927 Claude Friese-Greene shot some of the earliest color film footage around London. Never mind the slums, though -- this is idyllic and beautiful. And sunny!
I painted our family room four years ago. It was a LOT of work and it took several weeks, but eventually I got it all done. Since then, I've been working my way through the rest of the house, one room at a time. Well, we're now officially in year five of "The Monster Painting Project" and I've started to tackle the living room / kitchen / hallway space also called the "great room." This is a major milestone because once it's finished, I'll only have one bedroom, the mudroom, and the laundry room left to do. The challenge isn't just the size of the space (it will need nearly 10 gallons of paint); the hard part is that I am 5' 1" tall, and our 6 foot ladder only gets me 3/4 of the way up to the 15 foot vaulted ceiling. My pal Sarah has offered to loan me her gorilla ladder. But if that doesn't work, my plan is to paint as high as I can go and then hire a professional to finish the job.
Over the past two weeks I have finished most of the hallway and the north wall in the living room (including trim!). I can't believe what dramatic difference this color makes. I have been wanting to refinish our floors a medium walnut shade (darker than the front door), but the new paint makes the floors look so good, we may cross that off the wish list!
That's how long since I've updated this blog. I've been busy reading about how others stay inspired or find the discipline to post regularly. And I've been busy with all kinds of projects, work, holidays, walking the dog, name your excuse, so naturally I chose doing over writing about doing. And who is reading this anyway?
I am over-full of self-criticism. "Everyone does it, why can't I keep up?" And when I really think about it, I only have one friend who does it several times a week, and does it well. Everyone else is busy being a parent, working, walking the dog, renovating their basement, and so forth. My flagellation is clearly not justified.
So what do I want this space to be, if anything?
[ insert reflection and consideration here ]
I think I want this space to be a once-a-week-record of what's been going on in life, whether it is videos of the dog or cat, project progress, interesting things I've learned, or something beautiful.
Since my last post, I've done so many little projects and can barely remember them all.
- Pear-Vanilla jam for holiday gifting -- it smells like tuberoses, one of my favorite floral scents
- Spice rub, also for gifting. It works on fish, chicken, pork, or rattlesnake
- Lavender-short bread cookies, more gifting.
- Cranberry curd. I was greedy with this one, and only one person got this as a gift.
- Painted my office
- Sewed window valances
- Tea-dyed linen curtains
- Sewed a new ironing board cover. Twice.
- Painted and hung a peg-board for sewing room tools.
- Sold a bajillion things on eBay to fund fabric purchases
- Hung art and mirrors
- Re-purposed a hand-towel butler as a jewelry stand
- Stripped the paint off of a vintage chandelier
- Put up and took down 'Christmas'
- Painted the hallway
- Stripped old, cracked, and peeling sealant from around the windows and replaced with new sealant
- Hung slat blinds in my office and sewing room
Wow. Just making that list makes me feel like I actually DO something with my time! I now have an endless source of DIY projects from Pinterest, so in the worrisome event that I find myself with nothing to do.... no fear!
Beauty is boundless, and I can't even begin to list all the beautiful things I've experienced in the last couple of months. Bowling with my dad is probably at the top of the list. He has Alzheimer's and I got to spend my holiday break with him and the family before the disease takes most of who he is from him, and from us.
I've learned a lot lately.
Butter and olive oil do NOT produce the same result in a saute pan. If you want your veggies to brown, use olive oil. If you want them to become super soft and tender, use butter. Animal fat and plant fat are not the same.
Ambien is the first drug to have gender-specific dosage requirements. There are a LOT of drugs that should have gender-based dosing, but this is the first one in its class. The differences between men and women's bodies should not be underestimated -- there is enormous potential in understanding how diseases and drugs work differently in biological systems that are flooded with different hormones.
There is a canyon in the Antarctic that is nearly the same length and width, but nearly twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. The earth is still a mystery to us.
Suffering is part of the human condition because humans exist in a state of irreconcilable contradictions. We are greedy and generous, hubristic and humble, good and evil. And because of this, I doubt we will have world peace, an end to hunger, or any real moderation in wealth disparity. On the day after Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, it's a cynical person who says humanity can't do any better. I don't intend to be cynical! I don't mean to say we can't improve upon or eliminate the needless pains and injustice we inflict upon ourselves -- after all, if it's man-made, it can be un-made! I mean that I am replacing a vacuum of disillusionment with compassion for human kind. With compassion comes a kind of acceptance that we are flawed. Should we not strive to transcend? Of course not! The journey is as important as the goal. I am here but 90 years if I am lucky, and I hope to contribute my drop of life to the sea of humanity's potential for good, but it's just a drop in the tides that crash on so many shores. I read some where that our 50s are about acceptance.... I guess I'm on my way.
Finally got the roman shade, some art, towels, and a plant in the bathroom. I think this project took about ten months. I'm generally pleased with how it turned out, but it all makes me hate the slate tile even more. I kind of think I made the tile worse, not better, by going so bold instead of going with your standard neutrals. But it's happy and finished!
My idea of a really good Friday night is a bottle of wine, my local jazz station, and several hours in my sewing room. Here's where I ended up with the drapes.
Here are the various versions, pinned in place for at least an hour's worth of OCD consternation before I made a decision: single frame, double frame, or stripes:
And here is the final result:
I'm very pleased with how they look, but I am not so pleased with with how I had to get the ribbon to stay in place. I bought 20 yards of stitch witchery, a kind of fusible webbing that glues fabric together with a steam iron. It's not messy and it doesn't stiffen fabric the way fabric glue does. Well, I spent an hour trying to get the stuff to work. I followed the directions and even triple checked to make sure I was doing everything as I should. But it just wouldn't adhere the ribbon to the fabric. So I whipped out the fabric glue and got to work. It's good enough, but if you were to see it up close you'd say it's not the kind of professional looking treatment you'd expect, say, from Pottery Barn.