March 24, 2013

Painting the Moon!

When we bought our home one of the things we had to do to pass inspection was to make some repairs in the basement walls. It was disgusting down there! The previous owner had huge dogs, or some similar stinky creature and it was dusty and nasty! They painted the outside of the house (with a broom I think) so the door looked so lovely when you opened it, I'm sure I was not supposed to notice anything else!

 Before we moved in:

We made the repairs and my husband suggested we paint the plaster walls to make the place more decent. We had gallons of paint around so we mixed it all together and got huge brushes and painted. After a few feet he remarked that it was like painting the moon. I bet the moon is cleaner!

While we worked hard for 10ish years to make the places we actually used daily inside the house better, the basement became the "catch all" for all of our tools and supplies. I did venture there regularly since the washer and dryer are down there and after some time my husband moved his musical stuff there and it became a place to practice. We bought a better washer and dryer and the band added a drummer and I swept and cleaned, but the basement remained a disaster area. The band guys didn't seem to mind, but I did. When we put in a new back door with beautiful open window panes and the lovely southern sun began to stream inside I could take it no longer and it was time to fix up the moon!

The mess of 10 years:

It was gross. We had taken all the carpet and rugs that were in the rest of the house to put down on the cold cement floors. I cut them up and hauled them out. It was grosser than gross. Then I cleared out everything and scrubbed the floors... a lot. Then I scrubbed them again. Now it was time to paint the moon... again. I had just been to a coffee club that had painted their walls in chalkboard paint and I loved the dull black. When I priced chalkboard paint I went with the next choice I could afford. Deep charcoal. It didn't cover perfectly, leaving some white spots I could not get paint into, but it was such a huge improvement I kept at it. It was so worth it! Then I painted the floor.

I bought two pieces of indoor/outdoor carpet and painted an old bureau and filled it with tools. Anything I didn't want to see and didn't toss I put behind curtains in two places. By the tool bureau, in the little room are my holiday and seasonal decorations and my cleaning supplies. Next to the AC unit are all of the table saws and large tools. All hidden!

Air hockey table on painted floors after painting the walls:

The new laundry area, tool bureau and carpet. I put a skirt around the basin that hides bug sprays and rose food and stuff. On the bureau are my laundry supplies:

 I took an old bureau from the guest room and put the TV and stereo on top. All the curtains are the cheapest muslin I could find ripped and then sewn only for the casing to put on the curtain rods:

I had these neat window clings that looked good nowhere else in the house, but looked great on the old basement windows. Magical!

In the main area I got a cheap futon then I gathered up a bunch of picture frames and printed out our favorite musical artists. I couldn't nail into the crazy walls so I stapled gross grain ribbon to the back top of the frame and then stapled the other end of the ribbon to the rafters in the ceiling and the pictures hang down. The little black cabinet on the left has now been replaced with a tiny black refrigerator:


  The Original Basement Door:

The New Door:

From Inside:

It was a huge job, I did alone, but it was worth every minute and all the aches and pains. When I walk in and out of that door from the yard on a lovely summer day I still, after two years, cannot get over how much I now love my basement!

More creative spaces!

It's a Sunday and I have more time to post, so get yourself a cup of tea, I have tons of pictures today and two postings!
After cleaning up this morning and getting that washer and dryer humming I set to making a couple of birthday cards for some Kathy's I know.

One is for a friend who loves butterflies and the other for a friend up in the north:

When I cleared out my closet in my Studio it became obvious that I could not fit everything back in with any kind of hope of having it be more than just a huge pile of stuff in the closet again. It was time to come up with a better plan. I kept all of my "thread" work up in the studio, my yarns and knitting supplies and tatting things and books about those things and my lace making supplies and tools and all of that sort of stuff. Mostly the overflow was my paper and general art supplies. There was a corner in the basement I cleared out last year (next posting) and I set to finding supplies to make up a card-making area. There's more room down there. It's cool in the winter months, but in the summer there's a screened door that leads out into the yard where I can hear the birds and feel the breeze going up the stairs.
I needed a table, there was one down there, but it was an air hockey table that almost never got used. I drug an old door in from the garage, cleaned off all the spider eggy things and put it on top of the air hockey table. It was funky, but it worked. I had some pretty tablecloths that I put on until a better idea comes along. I also set up a card table I had rattling around. It looked lovely, like I was planning a wedding, my husband said, but it was not practical. It was also getting climbed on by cats...arggghhhh!  It was however a great place to work!
After making cards for a couple of months until I had the money for a better plan, and being terrified I'd spill paint or ink or something awful onto the tablecloths I invested in some heavy vinyl, black fabric and thumb tacks. I stapled the fabric onto the sides of the old door then  covered the tabletop in the vinyl and used thumbtacks to make it look like upholstery or something. The fabric hides plastic shoe boxes filled with embellishments, wooden stamps, flattened cereal boxes I save for the great cardboard and my paper-making supplies. It looks neat and works great!

My beloved little Singer Featherweight is down there, great for sewing and piercing cards.
On the left side of the table is a jar of buttons and an old metal tray, painted white, which holds my scissors and other tools. The "store bought" shoebox has finished cards organized inside. For Christmas my daughter gave me a little electric picture frame that I keep loaded with pictures of the cards I have made:

On the card table to the right I keep my cutting tools:

In a metal basket I bought for silverware at potlucks I keep my glues and some envelopes in the center of the table:

I have a little net book down there in case I need to get online for an idea or something, a little basket for fabric scraps and my box of sealing wax. In the basket is a spray bottle and a jar of cotton and swabs:

My Big Shot paper cutter cuts shapes with metal dies which I keep in a metal basket under the table:

In the basket are a few paper punches and in the CD cases are those thin rubber stamps:

Under the sewing machines (there's an old machine inside) are boxes that hold my "colors": paints, brushes, colored pencils, chalks, embossing powders and in the other box, adhesives:

 Next to the stairs is a big basket of canning jars filled with ribbon wrapped around wooden clothespins:
On a crate beside the sewing machine are all of my markers:

From the other side of the area you can see the wash basin, handy for cleaning up glue quickly and washing stamps.

This area makes it a pleasure to work on my cards and other projects as well! It's open and quiet and removed from the rest of the house. A great place to escape and I actually get my laundry done while I'm down there!

March 18, 2013

Learning Bobbin Lace all the time!

I've got a long way to go learning bobbin lace, and I was getting frustrated, but a little light went on while trying a new bookmark test yesterday and I'm keeping at it! Bobbin lace is not hard. I think learning to tat was more frustrating, but it's challenging. I have made a little strip of lace, but it has a consistent mistake I finally have figured out so I'll start a new piece.  I also made my first bobbin lace spider, which is making me proud. I have learned from my knitting students to try to find the balance between being a perfectionist and actually making something, even if it is less than perfect. I have had students that are so fussy they never turn out any projects, others that are so casual they make a million things, but none are ever done well. I want to strive for something beautiful, finished and good enough to take pride in.

My first lace spider.

I also made up a straw filled cookie pillow and have given up on the ethafoam pillow, which I think I will sell now. It was great to try, and perfect to see if I wanted to continue making bobbin lace, but nothing like the traditional straw pillow. This pillow is a whopping 24", packed with barley straw and I love it!

The bolster pillow has a strip of fan lace that I'm going to finish up and start again hopefully better this time.

Creative Spaces - My Studio

After a bit of a taste of the upcoming Spring last week, the weather has returned to dreary and chilly so it's back to being indoors. I don't mind since I have a big house that all of my children have outgrown and plenty of toys to keep me amused.

Our home is a Colonial Cape Cod. The Colonial part means that it is bigger than the usual Cape since there is a hallway down the middle. It is like most other Cape Cods in the way that it has one bedroom on the main floor. It is one of the things I love about my house. As soon as we looked at the house I claimed the main floor room. It didn't look like much at the time, the vinyl floor is old and glued to the wood floor, but I had vision.

Now the room is my office/sewing/den room. I run my own business from home so I need that space, but mostly it is a place to love.
Welcome to my Studio!
For my birthday one year my husband cut my door in half for me. It keeps out small grandchildren and is loaded with charm!

My Studio is jammed packed with things I love! I painted it a soft green and splurged on a big corner desk.

There's an old TV someone gave up for those creative TV shows in the background while I work.

There is no overhead lighting so there are lamps everywhere.

Connected to my corner desk is another old desk I have converted to house a sewing machine. Between the two desks I have put in a little fold-up ironing board made from wood covered with cotton quilt batting. The "leg" fits into a square made out of wood scraps and comes off. The board is attached with small hinges. It also hides a mess of cords and wires between the desks.

I made the table in the 80's to put on a porch we had in another house. It has two drop leaves. The front one stays down unless I need workspace.

The back window in the room has full Southern sun that my violet loves. Once I discovered self-watering pots the thing is in bloom constantly.

The parasol is a gift from a friend that I thought was too pretty to keep put away.

The closet has bi-fold doors, but if I close it, it magically fills with junk and is a nightmare inside. This is a picture taken a few years back:
I opened the doors, pulled out the closet pole and put in wallpapered shelves. Now it stays open so the mess gremlins don't take it over again. There's a lamp in there too.

The glider is a cast-off from my grandson's nursery.

I hope you like my studio tour!