Hello lovely peeps. It’s been a while, I know.
I gotta level with you; some shit went down last month and there was a period of time where I wasn’t coping so well with it. So rather than blogging, I did a lot of paper-journal-writing. Ian found me a sulfite free wine at my local liquor store and I did a lot of drinking, a lot of popcorn therapy and a lot of mental and moral grappling with things. After a couple of weeks, I was more or less coping, just that situations were taking up a lot of my time, still, and blogging, having slipped already, wasn’t a priority to me. And then this week I realized that more than a month had passed.
So I’m trying to get back into the blogging groove. But I’m just going to post some pics off my phone, show you what I’ve been up to and ramble a bit, yes? (Aside: with regard to vagueness, which I realize can worry people, and also with regard to my own coping, I am actually fine. The stuff that went down was mostly someone else’s events and issues – I just take these things really hard and had a lot to process and was trying to figure out what I could do to help and subsequently have needed to rearrange a number of things in order to be there for people who need people right now.)
Anyhow, I have, otherwise, been pretty productive on some various projects. So let’s talk about that.
Last Sunday, at the end of a weekend fraught with social functions and maintenance work, I was suddenly, as I am habitually on sunday nights, seized with panic that the weekend had done nothing to advance our tasks and goals. And so I grabbed three projects and managed to make some good progress on all of them. I fetched some corbels we had been working on and put a couple of coats of varathane on them.
We need corbels for so many things, so I recently decided we should try making them. These ones will probably go toward holding up a bar-height shelf in our dining room, but we also need a number of them to go in archways throughout the house. There are two untrimmed archways in our livingroom/dining room space and eventually we want to add another one. There’s also an awkward space at the back of our upstairs hallway where the hallway opens onto a landing. The hallway can’t afford to be narrowed into a doorway because it’s already too narrow. But some corbels and a little arch at the top would delineate the spaces nicely.
Future corbels may also be more ornate – you know, with some additional details on the sides, etc. We shall see if I can expand my corbeling skills.
Anyhow, I also began taking apart a thrift store picture frame and painting it to turn it into a dining room chalkboard.
It still needs a couple of coats before it gets hung on the wall.
And I put together a fixture for this three-chain vintage light shade.
I had picked up the shade at a thrift shop a couple of years back, and it’s been sitting in my basement ever since. Unfortunately it didn’t have any part of any light fixture to go with the shade, and the shade had three holes, and 3 chain fixtures are not really the most common. So the shade sat around for years while my subconscious noodled the problem. When a neighbourhood friend of mine redid her bathroom recently, I told her I would totally take her fixture off her hands. It was just a brassy, seventies-style thing with a
horrible totally retro frilly frosted shade, but I figured I could toss the shade, paint the fixture and do something with it. and then, on inspection, I saw three holes in the top fitting and concluded that I had found the fixture that could work for this vintage shade I had sitting around.
If anyone is ever interested, I can totally post more of a tutorial, or at least a parts list, to explain how the chain is fastened on there.
There are many, many more projects in the works around here.
We recently redid the kitchen ceiling, covering it with reclaimed fence-boards for a paneled look. Now we need to make a new light fixture for the kitchen (also using vintage shades).
I have a spice rack I want to paint and hang on the wall to disguise our thermostat. I want to put up the previously mentioned bar-height shelf in our dining room. I want to clean and organize an office space in the bedroom so that I can occasionally retreat to get some work done away from children and noise. I want to sew many, many slipcovers and paint all my rooms and make new pieces of furniture and cabinets.
I also have to really finish the above projects: put the final coats on the chalkboard and mount it, finish and mount the corbels, and I want to replace the acorn nuts on that light shade with ball nuts because I think it’ll look better.
After all the recent crappy situation went down with my friend, and while I was trying to sort out how to help, I said to Ian, “I’m going to quit working. Programming isn’t important when my life is full of people who might not know how important they are to me. I’m just going to devote all my time to being that person in the neighbourhood who fixes things for you, brings casseroles when things are going badly, watches your kids when you need a break, sets up coffee dates whenever you need to talk, and helps you paint your living room.” (Ian, for the record, was so very understanding about that rant/wish.)
But then also lately I’ve been saying, “I need to quit programming work and just work on all our household projects.”
I need to sort out my priorities. Let’s be honest, while I’m out having coffees with all the people I see more of these days, I’m also thinking, “I just want a couple weeks to buckle down and really program. God I miss deep programming.” I need three of me.
Four, since even if I could be there for all the people that I love, and fix up my house, and really program, I’d also want to be writing full time. Errrr… and dancing full time.
On a different topic, sometimes Ian and I joke about being musical soulmates. I think maybe it started with our mutual appreciation of Primus. And The Tragically Hip. And various other bands that we just agree are gold, and integral to a musically complete life. On the topic of Primus, we used to commiserate about the paucity of fellow Primus-lovers in our lonely teen years.
But the joke really solidified when we found ourselves agreeing on a lukewarm positivity about something like Soundgarden or some such. One of us said, “I love their music, I’m totally happy when I hear it playing anywhere. But it’s not like I ever thought to buy one of their albums or pursue being a fan.” And the other one said, “that’s exactly the space they occupy in my musical tastes.”
There are certainly differences. Ian adds bluesier and jazzier things into his repertoire. I love me some trashy 90s techno in a way that I don’t expect him to ever understand.
The other side of it is that there’s a way that your tastes grow in response to the person that you’re with. One day you’ll find yourselves drawn to the same pieces of furniture and you wouldn’t be able to say which one of you introduced that esthetic to your collective tastes – but it certainly is there because of the relationship, because of some design consensus between the two of you.
“I never used to appreciate old trucks before you. Now I’ve probably surreptitiously photographed a significant percentage of the city’s 60s Fords,” I told him once after coming back from Home Depot with pictures from the parking lot.
“Well, I never used to notice character home trim and mouldings before you,” he countered. But with his being a lover of vintage cars, and someone who appreciated a certain “old-timey” music and vintage aesthetic, Ian has certainly been receptive to my vintage-house love.
A couple of days ago, he arrived home from work and I began trying to explain to him how that afternoon I had been realizing that I wanted a different style of couch. (Eventually. Because our current couch is really perfectly serviceable.)
I fumbled through describing something camel-backed, and with some carved wood trim but not too fussy. 30s or 40s, maybe as late as the 50s, I said. Fabric covered, but not brocade or velvet. Probably something manmade, something reminiscent of fortrelle. With a few curvy lines – like a Queen Anne style, but not straight up last-century Queen Anne style. Probably not tufted. More like if someone in the 30s had bought something that was definitely 30s (modern to them), mostly art deco, but evoking a Queen Anne style.
Once we’d gone through that discussion and looked at a few sofa pictures and he’d agreed with most of my vision, I thought about how long it had taken me to explain that vision, and how at the beginning I had been concerned that he might not grasp what I was trying to describe and would seize on the wrong thing like “fortrelle” or “50s” and would say something scathing about how he didn’t think that sounded like my tastes. But I think we’ve been together long enough that he knows how long my descriptions will take and is fairly confident that he will like it once he’s grasped it, or will get to refine it if he doesn’t.
Today I sent him links to various woodworking projects. “You could make me this map-maker cabinet.” And he replied, “I like that a lot.”
And then, “I found the perfect design base for the shelves I want to build at the bottom of the stairs. It just needs three cupboard sections intead of two.” And he agreed, “I like that too. We just have to figure out how to replicate the finish on that piece.”
“The blog post on it says she stained it walnut and then sanded it down unevenly.”
“Oh!” he said, “maybe we need to sand down the corbels you stained this weekend.”
“I WAS JUST THINKING THAT! We are totally woodworking soulmates!” I told him.
So, add that one more thing to my list of project tasks. But then, maybe, hopefully, I will get them mounted and put a shelf on top of them.