Dining Room

Home At Last!

I am so happy to tell you that that light I mentioned in my last post, the one I was just begining to glimpse, did in fact turn out to be the EXIT sign from Limbo!

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What a relief!

It has been a week now since the sale of our wonderful artists’ home went through — yes, 3rd time is apparently an actual charm — and we are finally the owners of just ONE house!

We could not have weathered this process without our amazing realtor Linda Bishop, who fought for us time after time. She is a treasure. And a pit-bull. A pit-bull we truly treasure!

And, I would have been a lot less sanguine about this meat-grinding we went through without the constant upbeat support — daily emails and frequent phone calls — from my friend Peggy Jo — who is suffering through her own tumultuous sojurn through Limbo. YOU, my dear friend, are amazing!

So. Wanna see some pictures of the new house?

I knew you would!

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I work in sections, “perfecting” as I go, and creating islands of sanity within the sea of chaos. Those are all photos of the sane islands.

Lest you find my “perfecting” process depressing in light of your own journey through Limbo, Mom, — here are some pictures of that sea of chaos which I still need to calm:

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Feel better?

Ok, blog break over. Time to get back to work!

Delight is in the Details

Our house is now officially on the market and there are photos which you can see everywhere including right here on our virtual tour.

There is also a flyer:

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What we don’t have are the “detail” shots which I think make this house special, and which are of things I’ve done to our home which will stay when we sell it.

Things like all the rugs I’ve painted on the floors.

In our Living room/Dining room:

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In the room we’ve used as a cosy dining room, but which could be a study or bedroom:

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In the hall between the main floor bedrooms, (as well as the door to the front bedroom):

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In my little studios upstairs (which could also be bedrooms):

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I’ve also painted the door in the upstairs hall between the two studios:

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As well as the door to the Butler’s Pantry:

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And three hallway light fixtures:

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The house was built in 1938 so it has tons of character, and wonderful details like coved ceilings in every room on the main floor as well as the arched setback for the kitchen range and refrigerator:

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And the 29″ deep window ledge in front of the wall of windows in the downstairs living space:

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This is a wonderful big hug of a house, and there is a lot of delight in it’s many unique details.

Spread the word! This house is looking for someone new to love!

Second Helpings: Painted Chairs

I don’t know what makes people think matched sets of things are so special. Personally, I prefer the intentionally mismatched. The sets where everything is the same, but different, like in SET, the game.

GOOD……………………………BETTER……………………..BEST:

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So when I set up our new cosy dining room and we needed two more chairs to round up our seating capability to four I looked for a couple of “Windsors” to go with the two we already had. I found two which were similar — same rounded back, but smaller — giving me the kind of mismatched set I like the best.

Then I decided to paint them in entirely different ways.

The first, I painted black. You may have noticed by now, I love black as a background.

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I painted glazed donuts with sprinkles as the motif. Better I should sit on them than the reverse, if you know what I mean!

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I used acrylic paint and sealed with Minwax Polycrylic Sealer.

For the second chair I looked to my traffic box painting “Good Luck Sweet Cookie” for inspiration and cobbled together a variety of Chinese mofifs.

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I used three shades of blue, and metallic copper acrylic paint and sealed it the same as the first chair.

I’m pretty sure the characters translate to “Do not sit on the Donuts.”

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Second Helpings? Yes! The same but different? Yes!
Intentionally Mismatched? Yes!

SET!

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My Cosy Dining Room

Since the beginning of the year I have either been swamped with my public art project; in the process of taking down (Foray III) or putting up (Metamorphosis) an exhibition for TVAA; or on artistic “hold” waiting to shake off the throes of inertia.

One of the things which I neglected during that time was my ongoing remix of our house, now that Logan has moved out and our space has essentially doubled.

I left off working on our cosy dining room in December. I was really happy to have gotten as far with it as I did before the holidays, and now that things are returning to a normal pace, I’m back to work on that room once again.

Here’s how it’s looking now…

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Tomorrow I’ll show you the two chairs I’ve painted so now we can seat four. It just keeps getting cosier!

Second Helpings: Gee’s Bend Jewelry Box

Jewelry boxes and chests in all variations of delicacy and heft can be found crammed in with the mismatched sets of salad bowls and oddly shaped cutting boards from well intentioned children’s shop class Christmas projects at your favorite secondhand store. My personal favorites are the jewelry boxes which never saw the mass market. Like this one.

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This is a wooden box with metal hardware, which I painted with acrylic paint. The kind of acrylic paint you can buy at any art supply or craft store for less than a dollar, in a hundred different colors with names like Tuscan Red or Bluegrass Green.

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When the box was completely painted I sealed it with Minwax Polycrylic water based acrylic sealer. I go through gallons of this stuff. It comes in satin and gloss finishes, washes up with water, and forms a clear, hard, protective surface that you can literally walk on — it’s the same sealer I use on the rugs I paint on the floor, like the one I just finished in my dining room.

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What made this project special was my inspiration. Ever since I saw a traveling exhibition of the Quilts of Gee’s Bend at the Art Museum in Milwaukee, WI in 2004 I have been over the moon for their patterns. I have a book of 30 postcards from that show which I refer to over and over.

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I referred to at least six of the quilts for this jewelry box like this one called “Medallion” by Loretta Pettway for the top:

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and “Strips” by Annie Mae Young for the inside front:

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The inside of the doors was inspired by “Pig in a Pen” by Minnie Sue Coleman:

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“Housetop” four-block “Half Log Cabin” variation by Lottie Mooney inspired the right side of the jewelry box:

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A quilt by Martha Jane Pettway described as only a center medallion with multiple borders and cornerstones is on the left side:

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And on the back, one of my absolute favorites, “Bars and String-pieced Columns” by Jessie T. Pettway:

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So much of my surface pattern design is inspired or informed by patterns from other cultures, or as I’ve mentioned before from the traditional or domestic arts. My intention is never to copy exactly — though the element of “flattery” in this piece is obvious — rather to use the patterns together to form something new. The inspiration for this piece came from quilts but the end result would barely cover your lap, much less look good spread on your bed. The end result in my opinion is, nevertheless, a treasure.

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Coloring Inside the Lines

Finally!

I finished painting the rug on floor of the dining room, (Woot woot!! Toot horns and dance jigs!)…

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And then immediately moved in everything, including the Christmas tree, the minute the sealer was cured enough to walk on.

It went pretty much like this:

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The dining room was the last in this batch of rearranging I’ve been working on since Logan moved into Supported Living, and Mike and I reclaimed the whole house and emphasized its function as studio space. I still have refining and reorganizing to do here and there, especially in my painting and paper studios, but overall I’m done, and it feels great.

And now I’m going to go have dinner in my new cozy dining room by the light of our faithful old Christmas tree.

I said it feels great? What was I thinking? It feels AWESOME!

Dining Room Painted Rug, Part 2

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Gaaaaahhh! Caught not quite finished with my project. I really only have one or two more colors to go and then the sealer, but for now I’ve got to call it a day. Here’s today’s progress sequence:

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We’ll see how dedicated to this paint job I am tomorrow. NOT! It’s Thanksgiving and I am getting excited about that. I got my pies and the cranberry sauce made today and the only brush I intend to pick up tomorrow is the basting brush! Gobble Gobble!!

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New Dining Room Painted Rug, Part 1

It would seem there are very few projects lately which can be accomplished in one day, making this whole daily blog post ambition, well, ambitious. I wish I could accomplish things as quickly in real life as I can in my cartoon fantasy brain. Guessing I’m not alone.

So, today’s project (which will probably take up to four days but I will attempt to cram into two because I also have Thanksgiving and decorating the house for Christmas to get done in the same four days) was painting the “rug” on the floor of our new cozy dining room. The same room which used to be Mike’s studio.

Today’s post is going to be short and to the point because I’m just going to show you my progress so far:

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There, I just saved you 5,000 words. Part 2 tomorrow, assuming real life doesn’t get in the way of my cartoon fantasy plans.