Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fiddly And Other Art Forms

The coat hasn't moved forward, not even one stitch. I know what the problem is; it's the patch on the back. It's too bright for me and I want to reverse it to the darker patch with a lighter strip only that will require not only removing the stitching, but reheating the glue and peeling off the patch. It's not impossible, just fiddly, a word I've come to apply...

... to painting this weekend. The metal bed ends are now a solid black. I wanted these for our guest room and found the white/brass/floral ones at the second hand store. They've only sat for a couple months which is good. Getting the spray paint where the spray paint was supposed to be was fiddly but I know for sure that a brush would have been worse because...

... I used a brush on the fireplace... and a rag roller... and a teeny tiny sponge... and a thin detail brush... and it is almost done. There's just some touching up to do and I'm leaving that until the glazed tiles are well and truly dry so I can tape off. Right now, it feels like I fix the tile and get paint on the mantle and then I fix the mantle and get paint on the tile and that scenario...

... totally convinced me that painting - walls, furniture, fireplaces, stuff like that - is not my thing, at least not a long term thing, or a money earning thing. Doing the work for myself is enough and I'm glad to have that skill because it's a lot more expensive hiring someone to turn the below into the above especially when you have to do it twice. I repainted the base color turquoise and then reapplied the black glaze over top and now I like the look.

This is what all the original fireplaces in this complex looked like. I "borrowed" this picture from a recent listing because even though the decor is different, the fireplace is identical to what I had. It's good to have the skills to paint what you want to paint when you want to paint it even if you'd only ever paint for people you really Really REALLY love... like my kids.

While I was spraying the bed frame, I also sprayed the end table bought several months ago. I can't find an original picture so either I've labelled it some weird name or I didn't take one. It just needed some glue to firm up the frame, wood filler for a scratch on top, and a fresh coat of paint. I remember it was really inexpensive - like $5.00 - and it's perfect at the end of our couch upstairs.

AND... I primed the coffee table that I want to cover with buttons. It's in the studio waiting to move forward once I figure out how to support glass above it. I want to talk to the glass store about options first but other than that, I can begin as soon as I want to begin. I find there is more pressure in unfinished projects like...

... the fireplace, the bed ends, the end table, the coffee table, and this "self portrait" above - which has been waiting ten years to be finished - then there is in all of my studio stash. I tend to see the stash as potential and these types of projects as work. Wondering why that is had me thinking about other art forms. I've occasionally wondered if it's better for my primary art form if I have secondary ones that stimulate creative juices in entirely different ways. When I begin one of these other projects, I think YES YES and by the time I finish them I'm in the NO NO camp. Perhaps they are simply breathers to help me appreciate my love of fiber and what I can do with it. Perhaps some things - painting fabric - can ease their way into the mix and become part of the flow and others - painting furniture - are not so destined.

When we are focused on the competition, we are avoiding an action we need to take for ourselves. When we are jealous of another, we are probably avoiding a part of ourselves. We must be gentle with ourselves in these moments. We are avoiding ourselves because we are afraid. We are afraid that, even if we were to give it our all, our all won't be enough, that we're second-rate, that God's will is for us not to be as successful and acclaimed as the person we are fixated on. God's will is for us to be fully, completely, prosperously ourselves. WE are the treasure we are seeking. But until we focus our gaze squarely upon ourselves and redirect all those jealous energies toward our own projects, we will never find the pot of gold. 

The sentences above are from Julia Cameron's book The Prosperous Heart. I was impacted by them in today's reading which I found rather strange since I didn't think I was focused on any competition, jealous of another, or even avoiding a part of myself BUT... when something strikes you, there's always something else to think about... like am I afraid to give it my all, afraid that my all won't be enough. Most likely because I've been there done that and that might be part of what had me thinking about other art forms, a grass is greener kind of thought, and yet once again spending a weekend doing other things has only confirmed that for me that fabric and yarn are it and when we aren't having fun together, it's not the fabric's or the yarn's fault, it's just a blip I need to work through. It's normal.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - Re-Store

Laying aside every sense of burden or false responsibility, losing all fear and uncertainty from my thought, I enter into my kingdom of good today. 
- Ernest Holmes

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Fireplace Glitch

Adding an hour of dog walking a day seems to be playing havoc with my schedule. I'm not getting as much done as I'd like however we've only had Miss Chloe a week so hopefully I'll figure things out soon. I imagine - just possibly - that sleeping in, catching up on errands, and a few appointments are also contributing factors.

Above is as far as I got on the coat yesterday - playing with adding secondary patches to the large back patch. It's too big as it is and looks like a square bullseye. I think this arrangement has potential.

Mostly, I worked on the fireplace... which hit a glitch... and may or may not be finished... but definitely needs some final touch ups. It's amazing that no matter how well you tape off or how careful you are, paint always ends up where paint is not supposed to be.. or maybe that's just me.

My intention was to add black over the turquoise and lime splotches only when I sampled it with the oil base, it still looked splotchy. I ended up changing to acrylics so I could mix the black with a glaze. First I added...

... a layer of a blue over top to even out the colors only - as you can see on the hearth - I ran out and when I went to the store to get more they no longer had this color. It was an acrylic decor paint. I bought another one that should have been similar but it was actually quite a bit brighter and thinner. The one I had was quite old and that changes the color somewhat and the texture definitely. I tried mixing the new blue with a bit of black and that didn't work either. In the end, I decided that it would probably be okay because one was vertical and one was horizontal. NOT. The difference in color is bugging me and I'm not even sure I like the color. It's such a change from the blush pink that was there. I'm giving myself a bit of time to think about it.

The top photo is the vertical tiles around the fireplace and the bottom photo is the horizontal tiles on the hearth. I hoped when I added the black glaze that they'd blend better but they are obviously different so...

... I'm debating another coat of black over the brighter tiles and if that doesn't work, re-priming and starting over OR painting the tiles black OR another coat of a lighter color and then another coat of glaze. Either way, you can see some white splotches on the floor where the tape peeled off the paint and it needs fixing. I should have removed the tape while the primer was still wet and then reapplied it for the next layer.

The primer is Benjamin Moore's Stix. It's designed for difficult surfaces. The paint I'd intended to use is called Advance and it's fabulous for tiles and countertops. My friend used it on her kitchen tiles, even around the stove, and it's held up great with heat and steam and another person I know of used it on their countertop and even with cutting... which I definitely do not do on my countertop... it's held up great. Depending how I feel later today, we'll see what happens. Either way, I definitely prefer the silver trim to the brass.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - the ability to try and try again until I get it to a way I like it

It can be said that our talents are gifts from God and our use of our talents is our gift back to God. 
- Julia Cameron

When I read this quote, I thought about my grandson and how delightful it is to see him growing and learning new things. No matter how small his accomplishment may be, I am thrilled and I smile, clap, and praise him as much as I can. I take delight in his accomplishments.God sees me as I see my grandson. He smiles and claps and is delighted with my accomplishments no matter how small they may seem to me.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

My Very Own Painted Fabric

Both of my goals for yesterday were accomplished. I put three coats of white on the fireplace mantle and splashes of lime and turquoise over the primer on the tiles. Today, I'll cover those with black and plastic and create a marbled look. I'm excited to see how both it and...

...my coat turn out. I started choosing the patches by pinning the darker ones around the hem and the lighter ones along center front and then I played with which fabric should go where for the rest of the patches. Above, the lighter one is on the left shoulder and the right pocket. I think it's too bright and too blotchy. I decided to have the light ones up center front and the dark ones everywhere else.

At first, the back patch looked too big, most likely because I narrowed the back shoulder width by 1 1/2". When I cut that same amount off the patch, it looked more proportional. The strip of the darker print seems to break up the lighter expanse and add a point of interest. I'm debating stenciling letters. I'll see after the collar is on.

To attach the patches, I used a short, narrow zigzag. I wanted a dark color but not black. The olive I used for the first stitch sample was exactly right so I went with that.

All of the hemline patches are centered over the darts except for the two closest to center front. If I'd centered them, they would have overlapped the patch next to them so I drew a chalk line 5/8" from the edge and placed that over the dart making sure the two center patches matched side to side.

A 2" band is sewn to each side of center front and the button patches are sewn to the band. I have enough of the lighter painted fabric to cut out the under band - the one with the buttons - which might nicely compliment the over band with the buttonholes. I'll play with that idea once I'm further along. It's tickling for now, as is an idea for the collar. So far, I'm really pleased with how the coat is turning out and I'm especially thrilled to be using my very own painted fabric. YES YES ! ! !

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - "perfect" patches

I believe that God never wastes our time no matter how slow we think he is going. If we are waiting, we can assume God is working on the other players in our situation. Always. 
- Suzanne 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Just A Fireplace

Yesterday, I blogged, went to Starbucks to journal, took Miss Chloe for a long walk, gave the house a thorough cleaning since it hadn't been done for weeks, cleaned the downstairs fridge, sewed the darts, serge finished the seams, and sewed the center back seam on the coat, finished knitting the grey scarf, picked up groceries for dinner, and went to the paint store to research fireplaces, tiles, and countertops.

And then, I started painting the fireplace. I sprayed the insert with a gloss black and removed as many of the shiny brass pieces as possible to spray them silver. I had to paint the ones on the doors (including the handles) in place. Tricky. The tile is primed and ready for a faux finish. I'll paint the mantle first so I don't drip paint on my hard work doing it the wrong way around.

My goals for today are to put two coats on the fireplace mantle and to work with the painted fabric to make the patches for the Vogue 8934 coat. The main fabric seems to be working well and I've decided to use two of the painted fabrics for the patches and need to play with the placement of each on the design wall. I really wanted to get to that last night only there wasn't enough time and I didn't want to rush the process trying to get a picture for the blog so.... just a fireplace today.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - that tile and countertop paint = a color change with less mess and less expense

Tenacity is when you follow your heart - when the whole world is screaming to get back into your head.
- Sonya Choquette

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Defluffing, Eating Clean, And Not Enough Time

This week last year was one of the worst I have ever lived through and the 365 days that followed have been filled with roller coaster ups and downs related to my husband's health and to the impact of his health on mine. By the time the issue came to a head, I was already beyond exhausted and at first all I could do was cry and cry and cry. Thank God for the friends who were there for me. As sick as I was of crying, I can only imagine how they felt. Eventually...

... I caved and did something I almost never do - asked for medication. The anti-anxiety drug my doctor prescribed has worked wonders. In fact, there have been times since when a good cry was what I really wanted and it's darn hard to cry on those things. They've really helped me cope.

At first I wasn't hungry and actually lost weight and then - over the last few months - I've been packing on the pounds to the point that I've reached an all time high, numbers I've never seen before and hope to never see again. This is not the kind of "personal best" most of us are aiming for. Being this heavy is incredibly uncomfortable both physically and emotionally. Something has to change. I either need to tone up and lose weight or acquire an entirely new wardrobe because I'm at the edge of all my big clothes. I'd prefer to tone up and lose weight.

Yesterday, I researched the clean eating approach because it eliminates many of the foods I'm already sensitive too. If you've tried this way of eating, I'd love to hear your opinion. It seems it could also help with my goal to learn more about cooking and - from what I've read - it's important to incorporate exercise. Now that I have a dog that needs to be walked regularly, that should be less of a problem but I'm definitely a fair weather walker. Right now, we - as in Miss Chloe and I - have been taking a long walk in the mornings and a shorter one in the evenings. Hopefully, I can carry on with that when the cold weather comes.

One of the things that's so much better these last seven months is the work in the studio. Once the crying quite and I calmed down, I started putting a lot of emphasis on skill development including my two trips to Oregon. Before, I couldn't seem to push myself to do the work and the days were filled with endless, empty hours and now, I have so many ideas that there's not enough time in the day to get them all done. This is good. It's energizing. A fabulous bonus if you have to take drugs when you're not a take drugs kind of person.

Yesterday, I cut out the Vogue 8934 coat and then sewed up the underarm seams on the polka dot sweater that I'd painted the day before. Now that I have some experience, the next time I take a sweater apart I'll do a better job but right now, it's painted and back together and turned out not half bad for a sweater that was "ruined" by running dots. Once I pulled the tape off, there were a few places to touch up and in other areas I spritzed some black paint to imitate runs and achieve better balance of the grey tones. All in all, it's pretty great for a first try if I say so myself.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a now wearable sweater

We are made anxious by a life filled with too much velocity. But a life with too little velocity also hinders us. Great swaths of time before us can be intimidating. Relieved of any excuse, we feel pressured to perform. Instead, we are often most productive when we have limited time. 
- Julia Cameron.