Monday, May 25, 2009

A Three Day Weekend

Ah, a lovely weekend. Three-day weekends are fantastic, so much more time to get more done.
I went for a bike ride every day, got all the bills paid, and spent a LOT of time in the studio, even though I should have been moving myself back downstairs.
I did try to paint the window molding in the bathroom. I got the first layer done, and should have closed the door behind me, but . . . I didn't. And of course, who had to go hopping up on the sill? The little lord of the house. I actually managed to get there in time to see the cat - hopping up on the window sill, sliding on the wet paint and yowling his indignation while looking at me in shock. Thank goodness he was so stunned I was able to grab him before he hopped back down with the wet footprints.
We then proceeded to have a very unpleasant "washing of the paws and tail." He made sure I understood how awful this was, and how unhappy he was. I did manage to get most of the paint off despite the indignant struggling and howling. He was then banished from the room so that I could fixed the sill. Later I found him sulking in his basket. Poor little guy. After this blog post, I'll put another layer of paint on and too bed. Tomorrow I can put the rolling blind back up. Then I have to decide if I keep the purple curtain or go with the white? or none at all.

With a three day weekend, one might expect that I would want to spend all of my time getting my house in order, especially when I'm so close! But I decided instead, it was high time to get my rear in the studio. So that's what I did.
I finally finished the edition of Pacific. (Only to discover that I am short two covers, and I've got one page missing from the last book, grrrr.) But I'm so close! I also made all of the clamshell boxes for the edition. I decided that these three books need to be together. I've got to write a colophon which explains it all. Then I think it will be complete.
I also worked on the Perennial edition. I decided to change the paper and the cover. The paper will be a printmaking paper rather than blotter paper and the covering will be blue calf, rather than alum-tawed pig. The content will be the same.
All of the above will eventually turn into this:

Sorry for the bad pics. They will be better once I've got a good edition. That will also hopefully be soon. I realize the value now in editioning books right away. Then they are finished and one doesn't need to worry about them.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Takin' Care of Business

Look at this great photo that Ann took while she was here! Isn't that adorable? She sent me a bunch of really great photos today. This one wins. :) Speaking of Jacques - he caught a mouse tonight. I was working in the studio and heard quite a commotion upstairs. Got up to investigate - and here comes Jacques with a mouse for me. Yippee. He was thrilled...
In other news. . .
It's Leah's birthday today - and I really wanted to get her a sledge hammer. Remember how much she loved knocking down the kitchen wall with me? But I couldn't find the right one, well I found one at a flea market - but then when I went back, it had been sold. I told her this over breakfast and she loved the idea - but thought it was good I didn't buy her one. She thought she'd be tempted to start knocking random walls down. Then she added that there is always next year . . . hee hee! That's true. Happy Birthday Leah!
After the very fun morning of breakfast, walk around Northern Liberties and Art Store, I had to get down to takin' care of business. My California car registration expires this month. Sadly, Sophia (my car) will no longer be a California girl. I went to pick up the new plates and tags today. I just can't bring myself to change them yet. I also finally got my PA licence changed to the right street address. Two things to cross off my list.
And the third thing to cross off was taking care of a new phone.
Last weekend, the phone decided it would cut out half the sounds. The important one at that - the one that lets me hear incoming callers. The sound when I shut the phone still works, as well as the alarms. But since I was missing important phone calls, I thought it best to upgrade.
And look how pretty it is!:
And lookit what it does!!! Isn't that cool???
You must understand, I was working with an ancient relic from 2004. When I showed my old phone to the sales people at Sprint they laughed. Keeping a phone for five years is pretty much unheard of. Although that seems a little wacky to me - why can't a phone last for five years. Does everything have to be disposable? This one is a super dooper upgrade for me, I can't believe all it can do. Internet, google maps, it's got a camera, built in gps, and a 512 MB card for extra information like music. It even has that old fashioned phone ring. :) So it's basically all of what I'd want from the iPhone, but for free. Yep - because I was upgrading on my plan - this phone was free! Wooohoooo! Now I just have to figure out how to work it. I managed to get to the camera - and I wanted to make the first picture be special - not something dumb. So I took a beautiful shot of one of my amaryllis blooms (I can't show you the pic. because I haven't figured out how to get the images off my phone . . . one thing at a time) Then I was done but couldn't figure out how to get out of the camera mode. So I promptly took pictures of my finger, the trashcan, and random carpets.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The More the Merrier!

The More the Merrier
This is Stella. She is a starling and I found her floundering in the side meadow this afternoon. She couldn't get herself off the ground. Since there were cats and dogs and all kinds of madness happening, I scooped her up and she is now (miserably) residing in Jacques carrying case.
I did some research, Starlings have to hop around on the ground for a couple of days while their parents teach them how to fly! How do any of them learn? I couldn't just let her hop around in the evening with everyone on the prowl, so I will probably set her free in the morning and hope that she makes it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

This,That and the Other

*parents visited for the week: this included, murals, Bryn Mawr, the American Swedish History Museum, Old Swede's church, Flea Markets, Laurel Hill Cemetery, visiting acquaintances, crafts, and the Masonic Temple - to say the least.
*fixing up the yard
*a new boarder
*the finished bathroom.

The New Bathroom
I might as well start with the saga. Here's what I could manage in terms of photographs:

The bathroom is mostly done. What remains is the the minutia. Cleaning up the tiles from where the stain got on the tiles, deciding on curtains (or not), blinds, and of course all of the hanging stuff: towels, robes, soap dishes, toilet paper holder. . . But it is now completely painted and usable. I'm thrilled.

The Visit:
My amaryllis bloomed just in time:

Ann took some great pictures of Jacques and the flowers. He's just so cute. I hope she sends me copies. The roses over the front arch way bloomed as well and are just gorgeous!
We had a great visit. As usual we packed everything in! somehow. On Friday I took them to the American Swedish History Museum, which is really quite interesting. Turns out the Swedes were here long before William Penn. Funny how that's not really mentioned, ever (she said sarcastically). Ann wrote a bibliography of Carl Larsson (Swedish Painter) and since the Museum had one, I thought it would be a good idea to visit.

Saturday we went to Flea markets. Although, I didn't really plan things well. We went to the Berlin Flea market in New Jersey and it was sort of ho - hum. It was flea market weekend though, and we should have just stayed in Philadelphia. We did hit Old Swede's Church and Clark Park - where I think we had the best luck. I ended up getting a henna "tattoo" on my hand. The henna-lady was already mostly closed, but I was desperate and she said she could free-hand something for me. I really like it. Sometime, I'll get something more elaborate. Sunday was a half studio day. Ann wanted to make a box. She bought a kit from the Paper Source and I said I would help her make the box. It turned out so cute! She chose an adorable parrot pattern on paper with a very light blue book cloth. Meanwhile, my dad got acquainted with the board shear - which he said was a great machine. :) yes. it. is.

In the afternoon we visited a friend of theirs, Marjorie DeHartog. She is the widow of the writer, Jan DeHartog. She's just moved to Pennsylvania from Texas. We spent a wonderful afternoon with her in Gwynedd, PA.

On Monday we crammed everything else in. Ann had done some research on her Aunt who had written for the Pennsylvania Ledger and lived in Philadelphia. So we went and saw her house, and photographed the Ledger building. We also wanted to tour Laurel Hill Cemetery, a beautiful cemetery which overlooks the Schuykill River. We took an adventure and drove up to Laurel Hill on Ridge St. This was great because I got to see at least 5 or 6 murals I'd never seen before! We did have to take the scenic route (because I didn't know quite how to get there) around Mt. Vernon cemetery, but in the end it all worked out. It's quite a beautiful place.

This morning we had breakfast and went off to the the Masonic Temple. Wow. What a place. It is quite a beautiful building. The tour was a bit too quick for me. I just wanted to stand and stare and things. Then we went off to PAFA (Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art). They house a really wonderful collection of American painters.

And then all too quickly it was time to take them too the airport. It's always too quick.
Them's the breaks when ya live across the country I guess -

So I came home - and went to the Sprint place to see if they could fix my cell phone - which has, ahem, become inabled. If anyone calls, I can't hear them. They can hear me - I can't hear them.
Bottom line - they couldn't help me. So now I need a new phone. I'm thinking of an iphone. . .but $$$ . . . I'll keep thinking. It might just be too much technology for me. But then again. . . .
So after the Sprint store I went for a bike ride and because I had a lot of pent-up energy I attacked the yard. I mowed the back meadow and the side meadow. I had bought a weed whacker which my dad put together for me - so I whacked the weeds. My "lawn" looks really nice and flat for a change.
However -
I discovered that I have a new boarder.
Can you see him in the little black hole in there?
Here's a close-up:
yeah -
I can't believe it. I have a raccoon in my attic. He even had the nerve as I was sitting in my freshly mowed back yard to walk right past me and slip under the shed. Jacques went tearing after him and hissed at him. I'm kind of surprised because he did absolutely nothing about the squirrels, but the raccoon - who is not only the same size but twice as mean - that's what Jacques decides to go after. Great. Maybe he thinks the raccoon is a funny-lookin' cat.
Bottom line - I need to call a roofer this week. Stuff needs to be taken care of.
There goes my tax return.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Anniversary to Me!

I bought my house exactly one year ago today.
It was a rainy day, Tom took me through my house to be, I met Grace O'Donnell downtown and signed my life away. Of course it wasn't until the end of the month that I could go running through the place shouting, "mine mine mine!" But that's okay it became mine soon enough. I've spent the weekend looking around, thinking that this can't really be reality. This is really my house, and look how much I've done in a year. My second floor is so beautiful - and better yet - it's almost finished.
Speaking of which . . .
I spent the day working on the house, what a surprise. My dad and Ann are coming to visit on Tuesday so somethings need to be taken care of by then. In trying to budget my time for the weekend, I decided to patch and spackle the bedroom. Those are the holes Lee the Electrician left me when he put the extra circuit up to the third floor. Fantastic Jeff left some dry wall scraps and some joint compound so that I could patch things up. I had at it. It's really not that difficult. I'm hoping that nothing will fall out. I did screw the patch to the lath underneath, but you never know how gravity works.
Here it is all taped up and ready for spackle.
All patched up. This needs to dry over night, then I can put the third and hopefully final layer on, sand it, and paint. It's so humid today, I really hope it will dry by morning.
In the mean time, I need to tackle my bedroom mess:
Can you believe this? And you can't even see how much dust there is everywhere.
I also decided to work on the bathroom at the same time. I didn't think I'd have to see it like this again, but - it needs to be painted.
And I painted my purple ceiling!
It looks really beautiful. I've been dreading finishing this up because it will be so much work. But now that the ceiling really looks as beautiful as I was hoping, that gives me a bit of a boost. I bought two miniature orchids at Home Depot today. They are a sort of fuchsia color and I think they will look really lovely in the bathroom.
Oh yes, Home Depot. I don't know what I was worried about in the last post - I had plenty to buy. I also bought a weed whacker - but didn't have the presence of mind to see how it was powered! The one I got is powered with oil! Now I have to go back and exchange it for an electric one. I did replace the bulb on the porch and got molding for the door. A new mop, soil, and the green gardening tape are also now in my possession.
In other news, I'm playing the run-around game with PECO - our electricity company. For the second time someone came out today because they can't read my meter. Last week I received a letter that said if I didn't let PECO onto the property to see what was going on, they would shut off the power. So I called and talked to the most unhelpful person. She refused to listen to me about what the deal was - which is different than what is on her computer. To sum up; Lee combined the first and second floors into one meter back in October. I've been lazy and have not had PECO come out to verify this. Then we had a rainstorm the first weekend in April which knocked my power out. Mitchell came and jerry-rigged the power back on. Since then two guys have come from PECO to replace the meter - only to say the same thing - oh, we can't because there is a different issue. So did Mitchell not report the problem? Because the sweetie on the phone WOULD NOT BELIEVE ME when I told her that the meter wasn't the issue. Grrr.
But other than that . . . I love being a home owner - it's all mine - my responsibility - mine mine mine. My beautiful garden, my blue kitchen wall, my yellow bedroom, my orange hallway, my beautiful kitchen/living room, my giant studio, my green tiled bathroom floor and my purple ceiling.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Lost in the Garden

I lost track of time gardening today. My purple poof balls are blooming! Aren't they beautiful? It's so exciting to be working in a beautiful garden. And what really cool is that all the bulbs and stuff I planted last fall really payed off! (except for the Irises, I don't know what happened there). I can't wait to budget in more bulbs. This time I will make sure the squirrel won't get them. The tulips are all done, sadly, but there are still things blooming, including the anemones - all red so far. I thought I had bought a variety pack, but I guess not, not that I'm complaining.
I went out at noon today to mow the meadow and get some basic gardening done. I had every intention of being out there for about two hours and getting back inside to finish the Upenn book and start on the bathroom. A while later I came in for some water - and was shocked at the time. I still had so much to do. I couldn't believe it was already 4! How did that happen? And mowing the lawn, well - mostly I just flattened it. The grass was too high. I really need a weed whacker. Then I can get some real damage done and move on. I did attack the giant weeds that almost took over last year. I cut them down and put some nasty Round Up on the ends. I hope it does the trick. I really need to be able to get the roots out so that I can grow other stuff there. I want to grow sunflowers and tomatoes mostly. I wanted to get some seeds started in some egg cartons, but that didn't happen either. I did however, bundle up three bundles of "twigs" from the garden. Let's hope the City will take them. There is so much junk in the garden. I just want to get it semi- under-control.

Now, apparently - Home Depot has noticed that I have not been doing my part on keeping them in the black, so they sent me this lovely coupon for $20 off my next purchase of $150 or more. Shouldn't be too hard. . . .

I need:
a weed whacker
new mop
more Round Up
light bulb for the porch
a rubber washer for the kitchen faucet
molding for the front door
shelves for the bathroom
shelves for the living room
shelves for the kitchen
other little stuff most likely
That should get me to $150 - don't you think?

I also had a lovely surprise in the mail today! Melanie sent me a replacement snow glove ring!

Sorry for the terrible picture - but it's basically a ring that's a snow globe. And it is soo cool. I bought one when I visited her for Easter in April and the first time I wore it here, my finger swelled and when I went to take it off, the top popped off and there is glitter all over the place. (sigh) Lovely Melanie understood my pain and replaced it for me!! Yippee!!
It was a good day.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Studio Day

I will say it was a lovely day - although I'm not sure to many will agree with me. I was a dark, gray, rainy day. I slept in which was nice. Then I got myself together and got on my bicycle despite the rain, and despite another walk-a-thon on West River Drive - I rode all the way out to Falls Bridge. But I decided not to tackle any more crowds at the Museum and went home on surface streets. I arrived home, drenched. Jacques had insisted on going outside. He showed up quickly and wanted to get inside the house. Can't say I blame him. I took a long hot shower and put on my magenta pj's and had a very cozy day in the studio.
That's why I think it was a lovely day.
Perhaps the universe was encouraging my to get into the studio to finish the UPenn project. It was very hard last weekend with the beautiful weather. Not hard this weekend. The weather definitely encouraged me to give up the war with the dandelions. Maybe next year.
I worked quite a bit on the UPenn project: Its a full leather binding with stingray hide inset. Its been put to rest for the night. Tomorrow I've got to finish up the inside hinges and the paste downs. I really hope to get it finished soon. I want to cross it off my list.
In between things drying on the UPenn project, I worked on editioning something else that is long past due. Here is the third book in the series of my washed books. The Hybrid Book Fair is coming up the first weekend in June and I hope to have things finished by then.
I've got my list of things I need to order ready to go. If I could just order more time . . . now that would be something.