Archive for the ‘Apartment’ Category

Chaaaaaaannnnnnge and an artist I like.

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

Hey, how’s everybody doing? Great? That’s nice. Oh, me? I’m in a teeny tiny hell of my own creation. See, I hate change. I hate it. Good or bad, it stresses me out.

I like to spread the pain of change over a period of time so I don’t get slapped by too much at once but alas, that is not how it’s going for me right now. FIRST, my parents sold their house and moved into my apartment building. Yep, that was my idea. I need to be able to keep an eye on their octogenarian selves. They went from a 3,500sq foot house with a garage and everything to a 1,300sq foot apartment. Ooof. So I had to deal with that drama. SECOND, my office is putting all of us in one office building. That meant I had to pack up all my belongings because of course the executives decided to go open-floor-plan and we each get a wee locker for our possessions and that’s it.

Did I mention this all happened the same week?

*breathes into paper bag*

So while I have not actively freaked out I am living on the cusp of freakage and I think it would be beneficial for me (and possibly for you if you’re going through something similar) to look at some soothing animated gifs. Let’s start with this one.

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This cat is very popular. Many people rely on him for the soothing.

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Other people have modified the cat so he can be soothing in a variety of colors.

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Next, the swallow. You keep flying, swallow.

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Then some geometric ones.

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YtgZgni

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And finally the work of Carl Burton. He is so talented. He understands atmosphere and mood so durn well.

LTDTXQN

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Here’s Carl Burton’s website if you want to check out his other work. http://carlburton.io/

So very artistic am I.

Monday, December 14th, 2015

I know I’ve been super-lackadaisical with my posting of late and I don’t want anyone to think it is because I have given up on blogging. That is way far from the truth. It’s because I’ve been so busy, all in positive ways. But I think work is slowing a wee bit and now I can blog at the furious pace (like two posts a week, but still) I had become accustomed to.

One thing I’ve been tackling is my kitchen. Ah, my kitchen. The Sisyphean task I took on, what, seventeen years ago or something? It feels like that. But the last of my glass arrived and now I’m in the home stretch (Hallelujah Moses!). I put the white strips of glass over the white paint I laid down. And just to clarify, but white glass, I mean opaque white, semi-transparent white, as well as very pale brown, yellow and blue. I wanted nuances of white, not a flat white. It looks a bit aged which is pretty cool.

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After I finished all of those I tackled the trees. I made trapezoids and rectangles and irregular quadrilaterals out of clear glass with little bubbles in it, rounded all their corners using a grinder and glued them to onto the wall. It took seven hours to do the big trees and two and a half hours to do the small trees. And since I was making up the patterns on the fly I had to stop every two or three pieces and assess how I would proceed. It was a tough process but it would have been infinitely harder if I had planned where every piece was going to go.

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After that I made the orange dots that go in the center of the branches. I can’t take full credit for the delightful blobular branches. I realized afterwards that I had totally ripped off another artist, a great lowbrow one named Jeff Soto. See?

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I don’t feel bad about it, I’m not making any money off of this project and it’s my kitchen anyway. Where was I? I was making the orange dots in the middle of the branches. I bought semi-transparent orange glass and then I traced circles onto it, roughly cut them out and then ground down any edges so they were round coins. Then I painted the backs with gold paint so they would be opaque and have a faint shimmer.

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Then I made the branches a dark red which look like a warm black, very nice, and now all that’s left is for me to do big background squares and I’m done. Done, I tell you! Home stretch!

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But wait, there’s more! In addition to working on my kitchen and doing my full-time job I was asked to make the photo op for our holiday party. And, like everything I do I went a wee bit overboard. I designed seven mountains composed of patterns containing our company colors (pink, purple and red) plus gold and silver. The three big mountains are on a background covered in snowflakes but the four smaller mountains go in the foreground, giving the photo op some depth. Here’s a rough mock-up I made so people would understand my vision.

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The studio we have (that have large format printers) printed out the back part and all the smaller mountains were printed and cut out. All I had to do was prop them up.

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But nope. This is when I got really excited, went to Michael’s, bought $300 worth of crafty goodness and started making glittery, three-dimensional bits and pieces. It looked like it took no time at all but it actually took twenty-five hours or so. Crazy how things take a long time if you want them to be tidy and nice. Totally worth it. It turned out excellent. Here is a lovely photo of me installing the photo op in the space.

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And here are some people posing with it. I feel very pleased with myself. *Pats self on back*

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Now that those projects are completed (or semi-completed) I shall hopefully get back to my usual schedule of getting things done (and blogged) in a reasonable amount of time.

Addendum: I got some decent pictures of the three-dimensional aspects of the mountains.

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Loads of creativity around these here parts.

Monday, March 9th, 2015

I have been crafting and painting and working lo these last few weeks in between having a raunchy bout of bronchitis. I horked and sniveled my way through several craft projects of which I am very proud. Remember the nutria project for the wedding I’m going to in New Orleans? In addition to that, I made the bride a parasol that she can carry down the street while a jazz band plays behind her. When I bought the parasol online, I noticed that it had ten distinct sections that I could use for personalized messages.

(Here is a picture of the parasol I bought. The only difference is mine is dark purple, not white.)

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First I sewed a festive black and silver sequin fringe around the entire outer edge.

Then I measured the blank areas and made five different stencils that I repeated twice:

1. The initials of the bride and the groom
2. The date of the wedding

3. The letters “NOLA” for New Orleans, Louisiana

4. A fleur-de-lis (a symbol of New Orleans)

5. And “2nd Line,” the name of the parade where a jazz band follows you around and you carry a parasol

parasol-stencil

Following that came the gluing of the Swarovski crystals. So many crystals, each one glued by hand. I bought a gross of white ones and I think I used about half, meaning there are 500 white crystals on there. That does not include the purple or pink crystals. Or the glittery hearts I ironed on. It’s… got some sparkle. But I think Ness is going to love it. Her wedding colors are purple and burgundy so this fits right in with her theme.

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When I’m lying in bed watching “Vikings” I work on the nutria that will go on my jaunty hat that I intend to wear at the wedding. I’m making him out of needle-felted roving so he will be lightweight. I began that project by making a structure in the vague shape of a semi-aquatic giant rodent out of some scrap illustration boards I had lying around.

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Then the wrapping and stabbing began. I didn’t want to use up all my fancy llama roving so I made the base out of regular wool. I wrapped and stabbed and wrapped and stabbed and then made two pads for the ample rump of the nutria.

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Right now I have it completely covered in nice brown llama roving, I’ve stabbed the eyes into place (that seems wrong to type but it is accurate), the ears and snoot are on and all I have left are the legs, tail and teeth. It’s going to be a lovely nutria.

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And finally, The Project That Time Forgot, the kitchen backsplash. I painted the trees on. Yay! And then I hated them because they were too thick and the branches looked horsey.

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So after HorkFest 2015 ended and I no longer wanted to lay in bed and gurgle, I returned and carefully thinned down one tree and all the branches. Much better. Very happy now.

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It might not seem like a big difference, but to me it changes everything. It is a vast improvement. Next I need to tile the pebbles at the bottom and then the scary stained glass portion begins. Eeek.

Kitchen: Part Actual Progress!

Monday, December 1st, 2014

I worked my rump off in an attempt to actually be in the “somewhere resembling done” zone when Thanksgiving came ’round. And I did! First I blotched and sponged until the kitchen was a cool browny-greeny-maroony blend.

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Then I borrowed a projector from work to lay out the white lines but since my kitchen is a limited space I had to find creative ways to place the projector to get the lines where they were supposed to go. Please note projector in oven.

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After I traced the lines (which looked like this):

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I took these crazy-complicated stencils that I cut (the foot is in there for size reference):

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And sponged them in their correct places and poof! Massive amounts of progress!

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Next, trees with magenta branches. Very exciting.

Kitchen, Part Never-Ending Ouroboros.

Friday, November 7th, 2014

Backsplash! I’ve started working on it. I waffled back and forth on a variety of ideas but now I have finally decided on this.

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In order to decide if I liked it I stared at it for several days to see if I would get sick of it. I did not, so I began the painting process. First, a brown paper bag-colored basecoat. Then I did the first layer of splotches but the sponges weren’t diffuse enough.

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So I got tiny round sponges on tiny sticks and started painting individual dots. It’s a long way off but it’s getting closer.

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After I paint several million more dots I will re-update. SO MANY DOTS.

 

The kitchen re-model, part WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING this is why people hire a contractor.

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Ugh, the countertop. I’ve been working on my countertop for like three months now. Painting, sanding, trying to get it perfect, etc. A week ago Cricket and I were going to pour the resin. We did everything right. We taped up plastic and put barriers on the edges to prevent overflow and I cleaned all the surfaces of debris, everything was going great.

Until.

I realized that I need some small cups filled with resin to get in between the tiles in the back. I couldn’t use the big gallon bucket we had mixed up the resin in, it was too big and clumsy and the stuff would splash. So Cricket gets the bright idea for me to put three cups down on the area of the countertop we’re going to pour next so when he puts the resin in the little cups if he overflows it won’t be a problem. So I lay the cups down and when I pick them up THE ENTIRE COUNTERTOP COMES UP WITH THEM. The resin on the bottoms of the cups pulled up all the paint, the spackle, everything down to the plywood. I had an epic meltdown like a overtired two-year-old in the supermarket. I screamed, I cried, I called Cricket a six-foot-three bag of garbage, it was not a good time. I had to take some pills and lay down for a while, I got myself all riled up. If I had been a little kid I would have puked. It was a big bummer.

After I pulled myself into some semblance of togetherness (it took about an hour), I realized that I would pour the resin on the parts of the countertop that did not look like it had been hit by a grenade, repair the damaged area, do a separate pour and then sand and polish the seam so it looked cohesive. This is not what I was hoping for. I was hoping to get a plumber in this week to hook up my sink and dishwasher, but you get what you get and you don’t get upset. Here’s what the affected area looked like after I spackled what looked like a big open plywood wound.

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I sanded and fussed and painted carefully and got it to look pretty perfect. Then I prepped it and did the second pour. Everything went fine except now there is a 1/8″ lip of difference between the two pours.

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Sigh. I would leave it with the seam but it will gather dirt and nothing will lay level on it so I decided to bite down and sand the countertop into some state of flatness. I’m using about seven different grades of sandpaper from 60 to 2000. (Did you know they make 2000 grit sandpaper? What is that, a piece of terrycloth towel? Does it have any scrape to it at all? We shall find out.) After that I’m borrowing Cricket’s oscillating multi-tool and polishing the afflicted areas to (hopefully) its original shiny patina. Pray for me. I will need it.

Kitchen countertop is painted!

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

I hunkered down and got some work done this weekend because I am running out of patience. I want to stop washing my dishes in the bathtub. It’s been months. I’m 100% over it. So I spent all weekend painting five fish (below is an example, first the stencil and then with highlights and lowlights added):

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And highlights on any part of the circles intersecting.

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I also laid out where all the pebble tiles are going to go. Now I need to glue down all the tiles, grout them and then finally – FINALLY!! – I can pour the resin and then call in the plumber to attach the sink and dishwasher. And then everything in my apartment will be washed and I shall rejoice.

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Kitchen counter progress!

Monday, June 9th, 2014

Remember when I did my test run on my test plank and colors that looked totally fine looked weird after I poured the resin on it? Here, look for yourself. Note the colors pre-resin:

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And post-resin.

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You’ll note the lighter color disappears completely, so I flipped the board over and did further color testing. I had to go really light to get the color I wanted post-resin pour. Which is why you’ll notice the highlight lines on my countertop right now are far too light. They will mellow and the darker tones will darken under the plastic-y resin.

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Next: fishies. After that: pebbles. I’ll explain. I wanted something to transition the countertop into the backsplash. I tried a bunch of different techniques, all of which were various types of fail. I finally came across some ceramic tiles that look like pebbles in pale green and dark brown on Overstock.com.

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I was so excited when the tiles arrived. Do you know what the glaze is? It’s crystalline pottery glaze! I collect crystalline pottery. I wrote a blog entry on it. It’s all going to tie together! Huzzah! I proceeded to pull the tiles off of the backing because A) there are no straight lines I can put across the back edge, and B) I want to mix and mingle the two colors. After I’ve finished the fishies I will start laying out the tiles at the back edge of the countertop against the wall. Then I will have them go a wee bit up the wall, creating a less harsh line betwixt the countertop and the backsplash. BECAUSE I AM A GENIUS. Hopefully.

Countertop test.

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

After much deliberation I came up with a look for my backsplash and countertop. If you remember correctly I originally planned to have giant goldfish as my backsplash.

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I loved that design, but after I went to Japan I was convinced to go with a less strident look. Now I’m thinking I’m going to do ferns and make the countertop look like a pond. Right now it’s bare plywood so I would spackle and sand it, then paint it and then pour resin all over it. Cricket wisely suggested that before I go all gung-ho on the real thing I should buy a sample piece of plywood and test out all my techniques beforehand. Wise man, that Cricket. I bought a 2′ x 4′ plywood panel and painted it to resemble the pond-y vibe I am going for. Ignore the green dots on the edges – I was trying to make duckweed and failed.

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Pond ripples! Cool, huh? I did that by printing out giant concentric circles, laying acetate over the circles and using a soldering iron to cut out those little islands that comprise the dark part of the ripples. I only burned myself twice, which is pretty darn good in my book. Stencils, they are a lifesaver, I tell you. I tap-tap-tapped the dark islands onto the blue background and then free-handed the light parts. And, if you pay attention, you will notice I recycled my backsplash fish. I used them as a guide to make the ghost-fish you see off to the right there. I might make a ghost-bullfrog too, I’m not sure yet.

Last night (because it was warm and the website I bought the resin from said you should pour it when it’s not cold otherwise it won’t cure properly) I followed the directions and slathered the board with a painted coat of resin, followed by a flood coat of resin four hours later. Here, a video to explain my journey. I’ve watched it more times than necessary. I find it hypnotic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIGV5qugAqg

The first thing I noticed (other than resin is sticky and gets everywhere) is that the middle tones went really dark. The fish almost disappeared except for the highlights on their fins. Gotta take that into consideration. The resin situation did not go smoothly from the start. I mixed up a batch and poured it onto the board. Due to my stellar mathematical skills it did not cover the correct amount. Not even close. Sooooo I mixed up a second batch exactly the same way. However, for some reason this batch was chock-full of tiny bubbles, making it look opaque. I poured it on the unresin-ed half and you could clearly see the edge where the good pour and the frothy pour met. It looked God-awful. I was sad and disappointed. I covered one corner in corn starch to see what kind of look that would be. Maybe it would give it a cool matte finish (corn starch is known to do that to resin.) Then I forlornly went to bed. I woke up the next morning to tentatively check on my resin-blargh.

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Huh. Everything seemed to work itself out. Wow. Look at that. No seam, the bubbles ebbed, it looks pretty cool. I will wash away the corn starch and see what that looks like. Even though it cost me about eighty bucks in supplies I’m delighted that I did a test board because I learned so much. Alright. Next to spackle forty-some-odd square feet of real countertop.

Update 5/18/2014: The corn starch looks not that great. I can’t just pour it on, I would need to get a sifter or something to evenly distribute a fine dusting. So that idea shall be scrapped. Shiny surface it is.

My kitchen. Progress!

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

All the cabinets are in! Boom! One thing down. Now the rest of this never-ending journey continues – the countertop, the backsplash, the plumbing. I’ll keep you in the loop.

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