Monument to Materialism

Enough IS Enough!

I can not remember a time when I went without. I can not remember a time when I did not have more than I needed. I have never gone hungry. I have never gone thirsty. I have never been too cold, or too hot, for too long. I have always felt safe, and confident of the goodness of the people in my world. And I have always had more than enough of everything I could possibly ever need.

Way more.

Enough is Enough

In fact one of the many gifts of my life has been the largesse of the material world. Maybe not in coin, but most definitely in goods. I have always been able to “turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse.” I can find it second hand and make it into something Anthropologie would charge you beau coup bucks to own, and as a result I have accumulated way more than I will ever be able to use.

I know I am not alone in reaching this stage in our lives when we gasp “Whoa Nelly, enough is enough!”

Enough is Enough

How did this happen? Wasn’t it yesterday that everything we owned could fit into our backpack?. . . Car? . . . Studio apartment? Can’t we blame this on the kids? Didn’t we accumulate all of this stuff in order to make a home for them? And what about the fact that I am an artist? I need this stuff as raw material for art — don’t I?

Enough is Enough

I have moved house many times, and every time I’ve moved I have purged and donated, recycled and thrown away tons of stuff. I do it as I’m packing and I do it again as I’m unpacking. This latest move is the first time that we are actually “downsizing” however, and that means I have a much smaller house in which to try and make everything fit.

Enough is Enough

It’s not working.

Enough is enough

Yes. This is my garage.

Enough is enough

And this is the storage room I’ve renamed the butler’s pantry/monument to materialism…

Enough is enough

but which is in fact an embarrassment of riches.

Enough is enough

If there isn’t a Twelve Step program for this kind of problem, there should be. I admitt I’m powerless over my ability to accumulate more than I need. I’m willing to take inventory. And I’m ready to give it back.

Most of it.

Well, a lot of it anyway.

When we moved out of our last house we had a driveway sale, and as the day wore on we switched our signs from “REALLY” “CHEAP” “STUFF” to “FREE” “STUFF,” “REALLY!”

Enough is enough

I’m thinking I need to do that again at our new place.

Enough is enough

Soon!

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!

Greetings from Limbo!

Bet you thought I wasn’t updating my blog because we were taking a Summer Vacation!

Nope.

In fact we have been caught in the sticky fingers of that ghastly place known as…

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where we have been ever so busy being chewed up and spit back out by the transactions known as “Selling Your House” and “Buying A Different House.”

This is what I have learned: when you are the Seller it is a “Buyer’s Market,” and when you are the Buyer it is a “Seller’s Market,” and if you are doing both at the same time it is simply “Not YOUR Market, Not NOW, Not EVER, So Sorrynotsorry About the Teethmarks, Market.”

And this is pretty much what it feels like:

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The only reason I am able to even attempt a new blog post is that I think I can just begin to almost see the slightest bit of the tiniest glimmer of a light at the end of the tunnel.

“How’s that?” you ask. Well, we have managed to “Buy A Different House” and I have painted many of its walls, and had carpeting removed from the room which will be our studio, and we have moved in the contents of 4 “Storage Cubbys” leaving only the biggest pieces of furniture to be moved by Cross Town Movers on Saturday, and that, as they say, is All Good.

I have even started a new Monument to Materialism in our storage room which is off the courtyard to our townhouse…

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Meanwhile we have been living in the “House for Sale” and bending over backwards in our efforts to get it to that golden moment when it is in fact, “SOLD.”

WISH US LUCK!

I may be smiling, but my back is killing me!

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Second Helpings: Wooden Animal Puzzle

The first stop I make at my favorite secondhand store is the aisle with all the wooden objects. I’m usually hunting with a list in hand, which is never a good idea.

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(Never shop secondhand with a list. Always buy BEFORE you need it. That way you have it when you do need it, and like me, you can create your own monument to materialism.)

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I found this wooden animal puzzle when I was looking for something else — which I may, or may not, have found on some later day with a completely different, equally unrequited wish-list in hand. Such is secondhand serendipity.

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Like the crocheted blankets I collect and pom pow, wooden hobby-kit orphans are a dime a dozen at these stores. They are all made by a kindly grandpa caught in a 1968 workshop time-warp endlessly carving small pieces of wood into shapes which are vaguely reminiscent of animals or furniture or farming implements and which fit together in cunning jigsaw arrangements. Get jiggy with grandpa!

Too far?

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This puzzle is wood. Pine I believe. I paint right on the wood with the acrylic paint because the acrylic paint serves as its own primer. Some colors are absorbed more by the wood than others. Pure hues without the addition of white tend to be more translucent and require more coats. So red might take 3 or 4 coats, but pink only 1.

Once I’m happy with the surface pattern and the paint is dry then I seal it with the Minwax Polycrylic Sealer.

And…Bric-a-brac-er fire cracker sis Boom bah! There’s another Second Helpings for you…Rah Rah Rah!!

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Second Helpings: Black Glazed Dishes with Quilt Motif

This week’s Second Helpings is another set of painted dishes, and in keeping with the theme which has popped up more than once in the last few days, their motif is quilts.

Hey, it’s that home + art + functional + decorative = Domestic Arts thang again. Somebody kiss me quick!

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A few years ago black glazed dishes were very popular, and then suddenly they weren’t, and you could find them for a dime a dozen in the second hand stores.
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I personally love black as a background for color and so I bought pieces whenever I found them and put together a few different sets of dishes. Some cups and saucers, the odd tea pot, a few bowls, but mostly dinner plates.

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For this project I used the same paint as for last week’s Second Helpings: the “pebeo PORCELAINE 150 water based colour for porcelain.”

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With the black glaze you need to be tricky and do an undercoat of white, or Ivory in my case, BEFORE you paint your colors on top of that. Otherwise they are completely swallowed by the black.

Paint one coat of white, then one coat of the colors you want to see on top of the white after the white is completely dry. Let that second layer of paint dry and then fire the piece once. I have fired pieces more than once, but they get a little over baked and weird looking so I don’t recommend it.

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Part of the fun of a project like this is its ongoing nature. Any time you find a little misfit black dish you can bring it home, paint it with your chosen motif and add it to your growing collection.

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Soon you too will need a whole room dedicated to your addiction!
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And now, it’s time to paint.
XOXO, Action Girl

Second Helpings

It’s a sunny Sunday morning and for the first time in days I’m taking a break. I don’t even feel compelled to go move a huge pile of stuff from one room to another! So to celebrate, I am introducing a new blog feature. One I am calling “Second Helpings” which I will share with you every Sunday. (I guess I could have called it “Good Gaudy”, but that might have been pushing it.)

As you know, I am a second hand object addict AND I paint everything, the end result of which is a houseful of painted second hand objects. Obvs. I even have one room in my house which is dedicated to the storage of said objects. We call it the Butler’s Pantry, or The Monument to Materialism. This is the door I painted that opens into that room:

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I’ll give you a tour another time, but today I want to show you my very first venture into “Second Helpings”.

I bought a set of oversized cups and saucers at a friend’s moving sale and because I appreciate both the decorative and the functional I wanted to be able to actually drink my mochalottachocolattes from the cups when I was done with their transformation.
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The product I use for this kind of project is a water based paint for porcelain and earthenware which have already been glazed and fired. In other words it’s perfect for the second hand dishes you can pick up for pennies. You paint your design, “fire” in your oven at 300 degrees, and when it’s done it is safe to eat and drink from and to wash and use over and over. Score!
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The color stays true, it mixes and blends fairly well but comes in such a wide array of shades there’s really no reason not to invest in the premixed colors which suit your palette.

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I’ll dish up a new visual treat for you every Sunday and share the products or techniques I use beyond the obvious “slap some paint on the sucker and call it good” method (which I have been known to use on occasion). Every post will involve a second hand find and my transformation of it, shall we say from the profane to the sacred? Ok, let’s not.
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Take a break, it’s Sunday. Even God would stop for a mochalottachocolatte in a hand painted cup this pretty!