Thursday, July 30, 2009

Crazy Past Two weeks

I got tired of my kitchen table looking like this:
Underneath it are power drills, saws, hammers, nails, name it. I wanted my kitchen back.
The solution?
Put the last shelf up in the bathroom so that I can put towels on them.
Yeah, well, if only it were that easy!
I was going to use the extra shelf I bought accidentally for the living room bookshelves. But I used it to make a mistake (ahem - not on purpose), and so I'd patched the holes, stained and sanded them and they still looked like crap. Not to mention that I would have had to saw the darn shelf down! So my brilliant idea was to go to Home Depot and have them cut the shelf to size.
I swear I measured. I KNOW I measured the distance as 3 1/4" and I KNOW I told the Home Depot guy (at the third store because apparently all the guys who could use the store saw were watching the Phillies game) the right size. But somehow the new shelf doesn't quite fit. :(
Oh well. I can still get it up there, I stained it and polyurethaned it, and it looks gorgeous and is functional. That's all I want. Now I can actually keep towels in my beautiful bathroom.

I'm still unpacking. I don't know if it will ever end. I ended up going to Lowe's to get rubber tubs so I could put stuff in the basement. Only to read while I was prepping for a conservation workshop that this is actually the worst thing you can do because you make a little microchamber environment of humidity. Now I've got to go in there and prop all of the bins open somehow so that they can "breath". But I did get enough unpacked that I can get to my board shear:
And my studio table. This is a good thing because I have tons to do before I leave for the big trip next week!Yep! Goin' to Australia next week. I can't tell you how excited I am. Three weeks. I'm jurying a book arts award, having a show, doing a collaboration and getting to know a country I had no idea I wanted to know. I met two people in Korea last year from Australia and I'm soOo excited I get to see them both again so soon! It's incredible! I got two email this morning about possible things to do with them. I was so excited I couldn't read them. I will have to do that tomorrow morning with a cup a coffee.
Suffice it to say: I'm really excited to go. But I have a ton of stuff to do:
Here's the weekend agenda:
1. finish wedding album for Rachael and Ben
2. Finish two books for show in Australia at Julie's gallery.
3. read guide books
4. clean
5. host Stitch 'n Bitch Philadelphia (we are making socks! - the perfect airplane project)
6. Countless other things such as clean some more, pick up farm share, make sure I have "mitbringsel" gifts for people in Australia, and generally realize that I did actually manage to get things done at HSP before I left! Woohoo!
7. Console Jacques. He know something is up. Claire and Lisa - two of my fabulous students will be staying at my house. And he was very lovey-dovey after they came and left. He knows... they always do. Wait 'till I pull out the suitcase - he will crawl right into it and park himself there. sigh. If only he was a good traveler. But alas.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Unpacking - PS

I was so tired last night I forgot some vital things!

1. I have two orange cherry tomatoes on one vine. Yippee!
2. With all the unpacking I've done - I finally was able to get the recliner out of the kitchen.
3. Lowe's has redeemed themselves: They are selling lime green Rubbermaid containers. Well, don't you know I had to buy those! Apparently no one else is though, because they are on sale, $6/each.

Tonight!: Mary and Adrienne came over for a summer evening of gin and tonic and chips and quinoa salad. It was so nice in the garden - still have fireflies!
Around twilight Adrienne shrieked, "Oh my god! There are three raccoons on your roof and they are all looking at us!" The family was out for a stroll! We watched them all go down the drain pipe, and I went into action. We trooped upstairs with some cardboard, staple gun, and Critter Ridder spray from Home Depot. I crawled out the window onto the ledge, stapled the cardboard to the hole I know they are using for access, and sprayed it full of the Critter Ridder while Mary and Adrienne leaned out the window, shining a flashlight on the spot and talking me through it. I also poured some of the Ridder onto the roof top. Let's hope this is the last of them!!! I really want them out. Permanently.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Unpacking and some more unpacking

I spent most of yesterday unpacking things in the studio. Found all of my teaching stuff - I wonder if I'll ever need it again. If I throw it out, I probably will. I've kept the bare essentials, but have decided some of the things can go. I've got some more furniture set up how I want it in the studio. Need to move a few more things there, hopefully tomorrow. Then this evening I worked some more on the second floor. I plugged all of the sunked (?) screws in the book shelves. I didn't know there was a special drill bit to do this. I went to Home Depot because I thought I just needed a 1/2" drill bit to do the sinking part. When we couldn't find one, the guy asked me what I was doing with it. I told him and he introduced me to this amazing new fun tool! It's a drill bit designed to sink the head of a screw. I learn something new every time I go there. Maybe in a few years I can just go into construction. For the amount I paid for my bathroom - I think I went into the wrong business. I could even just do tiling. What Jeff was going to charge me for tiling my shower alone would pay all my bills and have money left over, for a month. Well, it's always something to keep in mind. But back to the shelves...they look really great now with the little plugs. More professional somehow. My dad tried to tell me about these, but the Home Depot guy beat him to it. But it's definitely the way to go.
And so I unpacked more books and as I predicted those shelves are filling up fast. I've decided to only put up books that I've read, want to read, or ? I've discovered quite a few I think I should read. Including 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, some Jessamyn West books, and another book by Francis Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden), but this one is about a little boy, Little Lord Fountleroy. I was just reading about it on Wikipedia - sounds very interesting. I'll report back. First I have to finish those blasted Clan of the Cave Bear books. I had an English professor who said that Jean M. Auel wouldn't finish writing the series until Ayla had invented the wheel. I think she's right.
I've unpacked far over 1,000 books, some of them have been lined up in size order on the shelves. This is because I am my father's daughter and that's how they should be. But I may have to break with tradition because I do want certain authors together. All Madeline L'Engle books should be together, as should Barbara Kingsolvers books. All of the Charlie Brown comics are together as well. It just makes sense (right?)
Jacques was very curious about the shelves. They smelled funny, the books smelled funny and then they were so high up there. I had to stand and hold him for a while as he sniffed the air above trying to check things out. He finally settled for lounging on the folding ladder-chair. That's as close as he will get to christening those shelves.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Lots of drilling

Yep - LOTS of drilling. I'm surprised I didn't wear my drill out. I did strip several screws. What a pain that is. Luckily there are several YouTube tutorials about tricks to get a stripped screw out - I am now a pro! but I digress...

First thing I did was to finally put up the beautiful hooks Toni got for me at Cost Plus. These gorgeous things hold a lot of bags. It's nice to have them out of the way. Thanks Toni!And then I set to tackling putting up the book shelves. What a production! It is not easy to get these things up there - especially since they need to really stay up there and not come crashing down with loads of books. It's not especially gracefully done, but they are up and they don't look too bad. I still have to stain and polyurethane the little plugs which will hide the screws, then I will be completely finished. Here's the blank wall:
And here is the 32 ft of new shelves. NOW - that looks pretty good. In actuality ... I had to do the top row over because it was really crooked. What a pain in the patookus! My stud finder worked great - but things just kept going wrong, including, I think, I wore one of my drill bits out. It won't drill anymore, and I had these incredibly long screws that just didn't want to go all the way in. I finally gave up on those and pulled out some other mystery screws from my ziplock-bag-o-hardware. So far things are staying up.
I kept trying to find a system of the best and most fool proof way of getting the shelves up and I've concluded:
there isn't one.
I think this is true mostly because I can't see through walls. It took about 45 minutes to get each shelf up there. At any rate - I'm glad it's done.
Now I have to start deciding which books go up there. They have to be books I want around, but don't really need a lot of access to all the time. I have a lot of books.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bathroom Diaries: Callin' it good.

Lori Spencer, one of my prof's at UArts, had an expression for when she'd gotten the registration on our Heidelbor KORS offset press as good as it was it was going to get: "Let's call it good."
I'm callin' it good on my bathroom. I'm done. (for now)Bada bing....
Bada boom....
and stuff's in.
And of course the inspector had to be sure the shelves had been mounted properly.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Bathroom diaries: Closer and Ever Closer

Wouldja lookit that! - toilet paper. On a holder. Parallel, and functional. Ha HA! I am telling's the little things. :) I also managed to put up two more towel holders, and took a crack at wiping up the stain spills from the tiles. Still need to do that. The three shelves which will go up above the toilet are drying, they've been polyurethaned. And...
I finally decided I was done prepping the "bookshelves":
I'm not sure what happened, but they were really rough. I may not have sanded them after staining them - that's a real pain in the neck! I finally just sanded the third layer of polyurethane, and I'm satisfied. Now comes the real job - getting them to stick to the walls. Cross your fingers for me.
The mirror in my bedroom is sticking... so far. :) Let's hope it stays that way. In critter news, Jacques is recovering from a terrifying night of fireworks. Poor baby. Earlier he cringed at the sound of a plastic bag being crinkled up. It'll take a few days, but he'll get over it.
And just when I was going to say, no more raccoons...? They came back tonight. I called a new critter remover on Monday, but I'm starting to think that getting a hold of those people is like pulling a woolly mammoth from a tar pit. I hope they call me back tomorrow.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

What a day...

I went to New York City to install my "Diary Project 1" piece for the Center for Book Arts' upcoming show. In the middle of the day - getting into New York is not so bad. But once you're in...oi! - don't make a wrong turn. It took 45 minutes to get from the Lincoln Tunnel to the CBA. About 10 block south and 4-5 blocks over? And then ... the air conditioning at the center, wasn't working. UGH! because we are having one of those humongous thunderstorms where it is so humid it's absolutely disgusting! So yours truly - tried desperately not to drip on her artwork. It was so hot in there. Boiling....but it's done, it's up it's fine...I don't have to go back until September.
It's sort of in the printshop - which should be interesting. I hope nothing happens to it.

I got the approval to go - and it took another hour for me to be able to get off of Manhattan. That's because it was rush hour. But I managed it - and got close to half way home, when... I went over a thump and something dropped and started dragging under my car. I pulled over on the New Jersey Turnpike - which is scary enough when you're in a car and it's moving. Looked under my car to find that the splash guard has fallen off yet again. This happened two years ago. I can only blame the pot-holed streets of Philadelphia. It was completely worn away. I decided I needed to get off at the next exit or the next rest stop and call AAA. This is a lot easier, when you know where you are. I pulled into a hotel parking lot and asked the nice receptionist if he could tell me where I was and if I could stay in the parking lot until AAA go there - he said sure no problem.
While I waited for them to come, I spied a mommy Groundhog and her two little ones scampering around in the grass. They are really cute.
"Chuck" arrived really quick and decided I had to be towed back to Philadelphia. He didn't want to take the guard off and have something happen to me and have me blame him... It is a good 60 miles back from where we are. Thank goodness I pay my $100 every year for my membership - it pays off - I tell ya. Sophia (my car) got cranked up onto a flat bed of the truck and got a free ride home. Chuck proceeded to tell me that the only good groundhog was a dead groundhog - and animals are for hunting. We didn't talk much after that.
We got to Philadelphia just fine and he took me to my mechanic. It was about 7:30pm by that time. I was going to put the key into the night drop and call Tom in the morning. Here's why all the chocolate cake has paid off: Tom came out of the garage and asked me what the problem was (he was still there!) I told him and he said,"Well, how about if I take that off of there for you and you can be on your way." (because they're closed tomorrow and the weekend.) One more chocolate cake - comin' up!