Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Queen of Chaos and Her Realm

I laughed yesterday as I looked around our house - chaos everywhere!  I told the story of my studio in the basement and how it's all torn up due to water seeping in and how we're evaluating waterproofing companies.  Finally met with the last one last night.  Let me just say, hahahahahahahahahaha...yeah, right... um, no.  At least now we can move forward on the project.  BUT, that's just one room.  Oh, honey, I've got it goin' on everywhere! 

Okay, I finished my brick project for the Scarab Club's Garden Party auction last Saturday, so I was able to remove all the gilding supplies and paint from the dining room table and take them back to the abyss in the basement.  I quickly replaced the detritus with a lamp, the TV, and other assorted knick-knack nonsense from the TV room WHICH is being recarpeted BUT the installer could only lay the tack strip yesterday and the padding (long story, never mind...) so he's coming back today to complete the install.  So therefore, ALL the furniture is in the living room from the TV room. Yeah, it looks like a warehouse, pretty much.  Oh, and of course, I decided to change the wall color and treatment in that room as well, once he's done with the install.  I managed to get the base color on the walls and ceiling yesterday.  Today the "pretty" happens.  Just sittin' here in my "happy pants", waitin' to get in there.

But that's not all, folks.  If you step out of the back door, you'll be amidst the restoration of the breezeway, which consists of burning all the old paint off (house is c.1926 so it's has many layers of paint that have now "alligatored" down to the original wood.)  In order to have a new and proper paint job, we have to remove the old paint. We had hired it out for the exterior portion of the house.  It was a two year job and way expensive because it intailed restoration of the orignal wood windows and wood storm windows and glazing of over 500 panes of glass.  I got to help out as much as I could because the painter is a dear friend of mine.  He taught me to glaze windows and restore the frames when needed.  I then did faux touch-ups on the brick where painters over 84 years had dripped and where the English ivy had left "footprints" on the brick.  The exterior looks like a million bucks!  And I loved working on it. But then again, I'm "twisted" that way.  We're about 2/3 done with the burning and then I get to repair the old clapboard where needed, sand, caulk and paint.  Steve (my husband) isn't a painter, but he has proven to be pretty darn good with a heat gun! Okay, so anything that we keep in the breezeway is piled into the screened-in porch (which also has to have the paint burned off...) on one side so I can still sit on the wicker settee on Sunday mornings and plan my attack on the gardens after breakfast.  Normally, the cushions for the patio chairs aren't on my settee...

The second floor is pretty "safe".  The only chaos up there is in my old studio, which I have to "set up shop" in while I wait for the basement to be fixed.  But that should be pretty easy to organize quickly.  The third floor is fine.  That's Lizzy's old room and I haven't been up there.  So I guess what I'm saying here is "chaos" follows me?  Haha!  No, not really.  I just like to stay busy and this house certainly provides the oppotunity to do so!  Just call  me the Queen of Chaos!  My sceptors are a paint brush in one hand and a heat gun in the other.  My crown is my respirator.

And poor Steve... not Mr. Handyman, is glad when the weekends are over so he can escape the clutches of the Queen! Haha!

Friday, June 17, 2011

When Will It All End?

I'm just checking in with a short post because I'm still in chaos and mess in my studio.  I'm waiting for company two to come out and tell us how they're going to fix the basement wall.  Nothing has changed - except no water in the studio anymore, but it's a long way from being usable.  I've managed to complete "Sarah and Annie" by taking the minimal amount of supplies and a field easel up to my old studio.  Bailey, my wheaten terrier,  likes me better up there - at least he'll come and visit me - and it doesn't require food!  But I'm feeling "homeless".  I have another project going on the dining room table.  Gold leaf is drifting around the table... *sigh*  It's just not comfortable. 

So anyway, here's the completed "Sarah and Annie" and I guess I'll go back upstairs and try to "corral the kittens" of gold leaf fluttering about.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Just When I Thought I Had It Made...

"Sarah and Annie" WIP
What a difference a week can make, huh?  A week ago, Monday, I was feeling pretty good about my "artist life".  My studio was humming along - I had three projects underway: one on the "paint wall", one on the floor easel and another "Stuffed" piece on the table easel.  I even managed to get a plein air piece done in my garden. And then it happened... I discovered water seeping under my interlocking floor tiles.  I thought it was another situation where the outside drainpipe had gotten dislodged and the rain water was running down the foundation wall.  It had happened before, no big deal, all I had to do was put the drainpipe back on, right?  Oh no... that would have been easy....  We discovered water was in the pantry as well and it wasn't coming from the notorious corner culprit.  It wasn't coming from the drains because the drain in the laundry room was dry and that's the first drain that would overflow.  Where the heck was it coming from?  Ugh... behind the "paint wall"... and there's only one way to find out what's going on behind it - demo the wall.  So, that's what my husband, Steve, and I did today.

Before we could start the demo, we had to move the love seat out of the studio.  I had moved every possible thing I could out of the way and the love seat was simply taking up too much real estate. It was never meant to stay in the studio anyway.  We removed anything that could impede the path of the love seat on it's way up the stairs.  The idea was to take it to my old studio space, off the second floor master bedroom. Ha! Hahahahaha! Yeah.... that didn't work out.  We got half way up the basement stairs and that baby got wedged.  Steve, at the top end, kept trying to pull and I could see, from my end, that the feet were not going a-n-y-where.  Ladies, you know how that goes, don't ya?  I made the decision we should smash it apart with a sledgehammer and take it out in pieces. After all, I said, it really wasn't worth saving.  Our Lizzy had wanted us to save it for her, but her memories of  it's condition didn't match its reality.  I think Steve thought I'd lost my mind.  It took a bit of convincing, but I won out and went and got the sledgehammer.  BAM! BAM! BAM!  Okay... forget that.  Let's saw this baby in half!  And that's what we (mostly he) did..  So much easier to get it up the stairs!

Behind the "paint wall" - YIKES!

Now for that wall demo... Living in a house built in 1926, with a number of renovations in the basement, over the years, led to a hap-hazard mish-mash of paneling, mouldings and 2 x 4's.   We managed to get enough off the foundation wall to see an old wall, damp footing in spots, but nothing that was obviously the problem.  So, now it's time to call in the professionals.  I've placed the call, I'm awaiting a callback. 

Needless to say, studio work is not happening right now.  I guess I'll do some more plein air work in the garden and maybe start a new anatomy and figure drawing notebook.  I'll think of something...