Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Crisp, Sunny….

New Mexico.

Last week I indulged in some girlfriend time…..

Meeting friends from afar….with our Michigan roots in common,


here in town for the Wool Festival in Taos….

We conviened in Chimayo…..


shared a table


stitched a bit


(Michelle's work above, and Lori's below)


did some shopping here for siftings of Indigo and such…


and in to Santa Fe…. 
where our attention seemed to be on shopping, and not picture taking!

all this activity and the company of such amazing and talented and inspiring artists prompted me to flip out my fabric and start another project


Perhaps not as creative, but it's a start…..

and OH how wonderful it felt to feel my scissors cut into the fabric….and the first stitches felt like coming home.

Something nice to carry into my next journey while they head to 

Taos….


Friday, September 26, 2014

I can't tell you...



how many times I've started a post that has not come to fruition this past year.

It's been truly frustrating, as I've had some wonderful adventures, but this particular project has

overwhelmed me...

and

I'm forging ahead with this post….also started many times

Before I get swept away again.



A year has passed since I bought this homely* townhouse

*(most houses are little brown boxes in Albuquerque and this one is no exception)

and embarked upon a top to bottom renovation that involved much more work than I bargained for.

As this little house seemed OK for my purpose,

(small, easy to care for, in a safe, quiet neighborhood, and near my tree….)

my eye went to every crack, dirty nick and bit of dust that bore witness to the last 22 years of tenants

and their (hideous to me) paint colors hidden under crusty switch plates ….

So I set out to change out every part of this house that brought me any measure of unease

and that meant among other things


turning a bedroom closet door around


 so it swung into the room instead of into the closet

and

changing other closet doors


so they became double 'swing into the room' doors


instead of the heavy sliding doors they were.

I tore out the old built in closet systems and replaced them with


new ones

(using the 'not so' easyclosets.com system)

I had a new glass door installed to replace a solid door in my little attached garage to let in light and changed out the garage door for a new insulated model.  With the help of my wonderful retired electrician (Ray) we installed a garage heater and a string of new outlets in addition to moving the ceiling fan from the living room to the garage.
All that in anticipation of turning the garage into a studio.
(pics to come as that project moves forward.)

I changed out every hinge and door latch


 on every door from painted over brass hinges to


 new 'aged bronze' models

and with Ray's help, we changed out all of the electrical outlets and switches and old cheap builder's grade mismatched light fixtures to new ones.
We also recreated a new lighting system for the kitchen and added outlets where there were none.

I re-worked the cabinets in the bathroom with stain, and some in the laundry area with paint and painted the entire house inside and out walls and molding and doors.
(Suddenly Angels appeared to paint the outside….otherwise that would not have happened!)

 I took down the existing upper cabinets in the kitchen (and light fixtures!)


(note the only light in the kitchen is the fluorescent  fixture hanging from the ceiling)


had the upper cabinets replaced with new (stock unfinished) ones that reached higher to the ceiling

(Thank you Jeff for your expert installation.) 


and I painted all of them and the existing cabinets and doors.

Of course I'm sparing you of the interim photos!



OK, no I'm not. 



This was an amazingly difficult job, due to the many issues that cropped up due to the various conditions of the cabinets to be painted.

 I also added cabinets to the two bathrooms and finished them with stain and paint.

Of course they all got


New Knobs!
(and hinges and glides)

AND

 I figured out how to install under cabinet lighting in the kitchen with new fangled LED lighting.

Then as I realized I still did not have enough storage, I bought some
inexpensive oak cabinets on line




 and refinished them

then had them installed……


with a configuration like this in mind….

(and not the $2,100 price tag Home Depot quoted me!)


Next I had the existing powder room sink cabinet refinished because I ran out of steam.

And most recently, I decided to replace the front storm door and when I took the old one down,

I realized the paint was peeling from the door frame……


and had to remove that with a heat gun and prime and paint it….and while I was there I repaired,


primed and painted the porch ceiling.


I installed a new front door lockset and house numbers...

Oh, and I always forget, I had all the windows replaced with new ones.

and replaced most of the window blinds


with new ones...

and then there was that new swamp cooler I got because pigeons were nesting in the old one.

and that list goes on and on…..

I have more to do of course, a patio and block wall, new landscaping….and want to spiff up the studio/garage floor, install the vanity countertop, and have a new railing made for the stairway….

but right now

I'm busy moving my studio again….

and unpacking boxes I've had in storage for three years

aaarrrrrruuuuuuuggggghhhhhhhhh……

How many times can I do that?

yes….

I can't tell you

how many times…

but the one thing I want to say throughout this renovation, that I did it pretty much myself….

for reasons of thrift and convenience

and

because most times calling in help does not satisfy when one knows one can do the work

at least as well and many times better

than the 'guys' she's been conditioned to rely on…

Yes, the one thing I wanted to say, was that I never really felt like I 'knew' what I was doing

or up against

until I got into it.

Like flipping the door around.

I was sure the $50 an hour handyman 'guy' I consulted could grasp that concept and all he did was complain & say how much simpler it would be to buy a new door in a frame (and discard the old perfectly good one!?)

So what happened throughout this renovation, was that I put my face into each project, took one step at a time, weighed my options, did the research, drew on my past experience, complained a bit,

coveted my tools,

and my support system

and trusted

that

I could do this.

And when all else failed, some miracle happened, and I lost track of all time and space, and was guided to the finish.

There were times I was sure I couldn't complete a task……and suddenly the solution appeared….my brain functioned, or a heavy cabinet became not so heavy.

 I feel so blessed to have had the time, the means and the opportunity to carve out this little space for myself and thank those parts of me that kept the faith that we (my guides and me)
could make this work.


Same little brown box
a work in progress.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

dissing Pinterest….

OK. Get grounded.

This is going to be a rant.

I've been busy.  Really busy. And wanting and meaning and actually attempting to blog and comment on other's blogs.

only to be stymied by some technical glitches...

slow computer due to too many photos….and general lagging behind in technology syndrome due to being, well...
so
BUSY

And I've been OK with that.
and dismissed my failed efforts with the all too familiar….
"well I guess it's not meant to BE" 
justification.

And I've been planning a post
filled with accolades
for 
Pinterest

Because….

this image


of 
MINE

(my work, actually)

originally posted

HERE

has been viewed

2,823
times
on this blog

(It's hard to tell how many times it's been pinned.)

HOWEVER…

that it HAS been pinned
has been a source of

JOY

This is because, when I check my stats, I'm connected to the most

AMAZING

and

Entertaining

Pinterest sites….

And that was what I was going to blog about….

the AMAZING people (mostly women)
 who seem to have so much in common with

ME

specifically their
ESTHETICS….

and now for some reason

Pinterest

has

locked me out of viewing them

unless I join the ranks

and

open an account.

Although I can't blame them.

I'm

not 

happy.

Particularly since my image still can be Pinned without my permission.

Which never bothered me before because I could look at where my image was being freely pinned…..

and now

I can't.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Signed….

not really interested in social media because I'm enjoying my secluded

somewhat anonymous

 life….




Wednesday, July 16, 2014

re-novating….







"Look ahead.

You are not expected to complete the task.
Neither are you permitted to lay it down. "

~ from the Talmud

 inspired by calm things ...


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

recover...


verb recuperateget betterconvalesceregain one's strengthget strongerget back on one's feetbe on the mendbe on the road to recoverypick uprallyrespond to treatmentimproveheal,pull throughbounce back. ANTONYMS deteriorate. rallyimprovepick upmake a recoveryrebound,bounce back.3  the stolen material has been recoveredretrieveregain (possession of)get back,recoupreclaimrepossessredeemrecuperatefind (again)track down.ANTONYMS lose. salvagesaverescueretrieve.PHRASESrecover oneself pull oneself togetherregain one's composureregain one's self-control;informal get a grip (on oneself).

So from that problematic week, I have…..recovered in all ways above.
My new swamp cooler has been installed and it is working beautifully (improve). I called the telephone number on the bookcase assembly instructions and spoke to an amazingly helpful man who fed-exed the missing parts to me 'no problem' (rally).
I became my own handy-woman and clad my cabinets and cut down my cherrywood bed legs 3/4" to accommodate the height of the ceiling fan and should have made a Youtube video of that!…(salvage)
I hired an eccentric landscape architect to feed me some ideas for my back fence problem. OK, that one is still an issue…(bounce back)
and I became a sleuth and recovered my iPad (retrieve). None of it was simple, or quick, nor the stories complete. 
*Note to all you iPad users…….make sure you install 'find my iPad' and use a code to lock it.  I was advised by some great Apple techs on how not to proceed…..that is 'do not wipe the iPad' and do not take it off your account.  It is virtually useless to anyone if it is locked, and/or they cannot wipe it free from the cloud (whatever that means.)  This advice was from the Pawn Broker at Valley Pawn which was the first stop for my thief.  I finally found my iPad at the corner gas station, where a second Mr. Uptonogood, had it under the counter.  He presented it after I said, "I lost it and it's here."   Another piece of advice the Apple tech gave me…to say that, instead of  "It's stolen, give it back".And that Mr. Uptonogood was able to wipe it clean of my pictures, my emails, and my address book.  Happily most of it 'recoverable'. 
At least he was nice enough to change the language back from Arabic to English for me.
Don't even ask what the police did to help me recover it. I had to recover from that too.
So, Yes. I have recovered (pulled myself together).
Now I'm off to the coolness of the north to visit my grand pup-lets. The set of three. 
to (recuperate).
Thank you for your kind words and support.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Continuum….


A continuum is something that keeps on going, changing slowly over time

10 years have passed…and how I spent them 

2003-2008
Moved to and lived in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Maintained an artist's studio near Queen Street West
Studied Bookbinding CBBAG (Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild)
Took advantage of the many offerings at the "Temple of Paper" (The Japanese Paper Place)
Met and forged a special friendship with Wendy Golden-Levitt
Studied with Dorothy Caldwell at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts

2008
Moved back to Michigan after nearly 5 years as expat in Toronto
Reluctantly embraced major renovation of 80 year old house
Experienced an unusual and unexpected change in long term relationship
Fell to my knees in a puddle

2009
Remained in recovery from events of 2008
Readied dear old house for sale
Took respite in metals studio at my local Art Center
Introduced to energy medicine by Elaine Grohman in Michigan.
Started Studies in Sacred Geometry and Healing from the 4th Dimension
Said YES to a 'way over my ability' hiking trip in Yellowstone National Park.
Met many amazing uplifting spirits there (now dear friends) including Roz Hawker.
Traveled to Colorado for 2 weeks of bookbinding workshops with Daniel Essig at Anderson Ranch
Continued on to Taos, New Mexico for respite
Continued work in enamel and metal back in Michigan

2010
Gained courage and strength.
Continued studies in energy healing.
Put big house on the market for sale
Sold house in difficult market with unimaginable difficulty
Rewarded myself with two delicious summer workshops (India Flint/Shakerag, Helen Carnac/Penland)
Emptied old house of 30+ years of 'stuff'
Moved to rental townhouse
Said YES to India Flint's suggestion and...
Traveled to Australia for a workshop at Roz's then went on to explore Bali and New Zealand
Returned to Michigan for a difficult winter and contemplation

2011
Started the year unsettled with where I lived
Continued work in the metals studio
Realized my deep unhappiness
Decided not to renew my townhouse lease
Purged more stuff and packed the rest into two storage units
Said painful Goodbye to Michigan
Drove Shirley (my car) to New Mexico and rented a little house in the middle of nowhere
Began studies with Healing Touch Program

2012
Sunk into New Mexico life
Opened to Love
Drove cross country to experience Natalie Chanin workshop at Shakerag in Tennessee
made stuff
traveled some more
healed
Continued Studies in Healing Touch & also with Jean Houston

2013
Traveled to California, glorious Pointe Reyes & Yosemite in the Spring
Moved to new studio in Albuquerque
Finalized divorce
Bought a little townhouse in the north valley of Albuquerque
Traveled to Whidbey Island for Retreat with Joanna Colbert Powell
Studied with Claire Zammit and Catherine Woodward
Committed to advanced work in Healing Touch Program
Settled into renovation of new home

2014
Focused on home renovation, two steps forward, three back
Continued Healing Touch studies
Became and remain very quiet with all that
Enjoyed the Wisteria tumbling over my fence, then
Lamented removing tangled Wisteria branches as my neighbor dismantled the rickety arbor between us
Two steps forward, three back…..and three steps forward, two back.…mostly the latter
It's been like that

Continuum…..changing slowly over time

Which reminds me of an old saying my BFF and I use….."plan the plan and work the plan." And I added "and do not judge the plan while doing the work". 

I had many little setbacks this week.  I discovered a  pigeon was nesting in my swamp cooler, so I had to purchase a new one. This weekend, while finally assembling the last of three bookcases I ordered last December, I noticed some key parts were missing, and learned the cases are no longer available. Today as I was painting my kitchen cabinets I noticed I should have had my handyman install some finished side panels on them when he was here last week.  That's good because the new ceiling fan I installed hits the top of my canopy bed and the bed needs to be cut down. And of course I need to consider a new fence because my neighbor took down his arbor and the wisteria is now being supported by the fence which is also now crushed from the weight of it. And last but not least (and not even all of it), my iPad was stolen from my car last night. 

What is odd here is that I do not have the capacity to be upset by any of this.  Perhaps because it's still all part of working the plan and all of these issues can be resolved.  Or that the setbacks are so minor compared to many. 

ox