Monthly Archives: April 2014

A masterpiece on which to tread

I’m no artistic genius either.

I went to art school and thought I’d become a famous painter and lead a fascinating jet-setting life.

One problem though…

I was a lousy painter.

Things would start off okay, then I’d over-work the canvas, then I’d try to fix it, then it was a total mess.

By my second semester, I’d wisely switched to another medium.

My parents even took down my paintings over a decade and a half ago – a few years with them was enough of a struggle.

But I’ve still got a painter’s cockiness and swagger.  I think that because I understand color and texture and shape and design, I can conquer any visual task – even a painterly one.

This is the only instance I have of over-confidence.

I’m also cheap.

And I like old sh*t.

So when I saw what was under our unfortunately rather new, but horrid, fake wood floating floor in the kitchen, I exploded in glee to see the original Armstrong linoleum floor in “Tuscany Tan” spatter pattern, c. 1954.

house-linoleum

Then I pulled up more to find a hole the size of a Spaniel in a very conspicuous area, so I called a flooring guy to write up a quote for new linoleum.*

The cost for the new stuff nearly made me come in contact with said floor, but we could make it work by buying the cheaper versions of some other things in which we intended to splurge.

linoleum restoration-2

We pulled up the rest of the floor last weekend…  and the rest of it was good!

A few hours later found me in the craft store buying oil paints.

(I can’t find my 20-year-old mostly unused paints at the moment – maybe I gave them away?)

linoleum restoration-3

I filled the hole with wood filler, sanded it, and started to make my trompe l’oeil masterpiece.

Only it was really, really off.

linoleum restoration-4

Naples yellow hue is really just beige, and my green needed to be mixed with some blue, so I went back to the store for a couple more tubes.

linoleum restoration-5

And then I got to the point where I started overworking it.

And then N became a backseat painter.

He almost became painted and feathered (or sawdusted).

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And in the end, it is convincing enough.

I need to scrub off a little more of the yellowy wax build-up in the surrounding area (which I should have done before I painted) and with a few coats of sealant, it should be even better?

We still have another floor guy coming out to give another quote this week just in case…

Oh, and rugs, right?  One of those will help it even more!

But really, this is better for all even if it isn’t perfect – being “green” is most effective when you can keep what you’ve got.  I’m able to donate the ugly but still perfectly use-able floating floor to a charity building organization too.

*Linoleum is not vinyl, it’s made of linseed oil, and is historically appropriate and “green.”  This also does not contain asbestos as did other similar resilient tile flooring before the 1980s.

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Filed under art school, home, home decor, recycling

Hello Spring

Just a little more than a week after moving in to our new-to-us home, we took a break.

We left behind the still weird smells, patched spots, the very beginnings of changes, and a basement loaded with things we miss on a daily basis.

We headed off in the car and stayed at one of my favorite hotels.

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Met up with my family who recently came across new old pictures that posed even more questions that no one can answer.

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Celebrated a birthday outdoors – the first alfresco meal of the year.

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The day was warm enough to stay out into the night.

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Broke up the drive on the way home with a stay at another well-liked hotel.

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And arrived home to find that the tree that we suspected to be a Magnolia, was one.

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I was a little sad I missed the unfurling, but new surprises are coming up in the yard daily.

I took some travel knitting along, but didn’t pick it up.

Instead, I mulled over colors for our walls.

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Filed under home, home decor, travel

Sticky situation…

So the move was hell – torrential rains, flash flooding, heavy book collections, sewing machine collections, general collections of sh*t.

house-move

(sadly, this is only about half of my stash.)

A hell that also spread to others who were thankfully helping us.  Others will find it a source of amusement if you have tubs labeled “houndstooths” and “herringbones” and “unravelers.”  They will accuse you of having chintz, but you will be glad you know people who know what chintz is and are willing to help you haul the aforementioned heavy, excessive collections in the rain.

The “new” house isn’t very old – a baby boomer in person years, and  isn’t very attractive (yes, the vinyl siding followed us and we can’t afford to replace it) but it is modest and cozy and all ours (along with its problems – we woke to a dead boiler this morning).

It is also filthy.

This is what happens when you don’t have an exhaust hood over your stove:

house-dirtyceiling

I have to go in for a second or third scrub before I can even think of painting.

The house also had kids in it, and every room has evidence of them – stickers stuck to walls ceilings floors, glitter everywhere, scribbles on walls ceilings floors, little toy parts in cracks and crevices, and dubious and disgusting sticky places.

Speaking of stick, many people like this decorative crap for a child’s room:

house-stickers

But each little cheery leaf and branch and bird leaves sticky goo.

And your kid is no artistic genius,

house-scribbles

so why didn’t you clean that sh*t off when you wanted to sell your house?

N triumphantly killed the rotting jungle gym in the yard:

house-junglegym

and I’m totally thrilled we’re surrounded by hills again and that we have a window over the kitchen sink once more, not to mention plenty of gardening space.

house-holes

I also love the little bits of residential archaeology that come with sprucing up a new place – the kitchen was at least two shades of green in the past – maybe it needs to be again…

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Second things sometime need a little attention too…

…a sequel to In praise of first things.

Years and years ago, after I made a few more garter stitch scarves for friends and family, and falling just as hard for knitting with wool as I did for alpaca, not to mention all of the other fibrous beasts, came what seemed at the time, a very massive project.

firsthingsshawlfront

Yet I did not stray from my comfortable garter stitch.  I may have started this as a poncho, or at least a shawl, but I don’t remember now, except that I didn’t have a pattern and I was afraid of them then.  But ponchos were popular then, and then weren’t, and maybe they came back, I don’t know?  Originally it was just going to be solid charcoal, though I ran out of yarn before it was a good length to wrap.  Then something happened at the Brown Sheep/Lamb’s Pride mill?  A fire?  I can’t remember that either, but for a year, or years, worsted weight yarn in deep charcoal wasn’t available.  When a new LYS opened in my old neighborhood, I bought four skeins (including a deep charcoal) in bulky weight.  I got the only four colors available that weren’t some ghastly shade of pink or pastel blue (but I kind of liked the pastel sage).  I didn’t really think about (or know?) the difference in yarn weights either, but ploughed through to the end, or enough of an end when I ran out of yarn again.

firstthingsshawlbackIt too has a beautiful drape.

The bulky striped end is thick and especially warm.  We use this most as a throw blanket lengthwise, with the bulky end wrapping shroud-like whichever is the colder end of the body.

I’m tempted to frog this once in awhile to get to the sweater’s worth of yarn, but it is the best way to stay warm when supine and corpse-like in the dead of winter.

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