Archive for February, 2009

the plan

Now that the long-running house projects are nearly caught up, I can quit fretting about getting them done and move on. It feels good.   ( We do need a somewhat warm, clear day to finish the range hood/vent for cutting the roof hole, but the rest is done )  Richard can resume his work on finishing up the Falcon.

And I am looking forward to working downstairs for a while.

my plan:  
to help with my creative overload issue, I’m going to try out a new method of getting some of sewing & handmade items going. For one week, and one week at a time only, I will work on just one thing ( or several of the same type of thing ) on my ever growing list of things I want to make. (actually this is an adaptation of a method my sister has used for completing needlework )    Each week the goal will be to see how much I can finish in the allotted time frame. This should work for me because I am deadline driven – I like the pressure of having to finish something by a certain time. I think it forces me to work smarter, and pushes the creative side of my brain at the same time.  Of course, I can’t stop my brain from flitting all about during the week, but the actual doing will be on just one thing. Then the next week I’ll move on to another thing. I’ve not decided what I’ll be starting work first, but come Monday I’ll be in the sewing room working on something.      
I miss the working pressure of the studio – does that make me crazy?- which demanded that everything get done pronto. Before I went to work there, I was the queen of procrastination. I feel like I’m falling back into that old mode, and don’t want to go there.

That said, of course this will all go out the window for a day, if we make a dash into either the Portland or Seattle area to pick up the dining set. I’m stalking Craigslist, and keep just missing out. And it seems although it’s a busy world on craigslist, a lot of the people who post there are flakes. Either they post the same item twice a day ( which helps to account for over 100 dining sets a day in each of those areas ), they only give a little information, no – or worse, a lousy cell phone pic,  or don’t respond to any attempts at contact for days. And, I really don’t get it when they don’t take an ad down once the item is gone. The weekend is coming, and I might get lucky yet. You see, on the weekends, those postings spike to a couple hundred per day. Perseverance will pay off, I hope. 

Its been windy & rainy all week here; we woke to a blanket of white hail, but it melted quickly in the bright ( but cold ) sunlight. We walked on the beach for a bit, and Sunny got some good seagull chasing in. I got really spoiled for a couple of weeks thinking that spring was all but here. Reality says that it is still winter. 
Which makes it a good time to be sewing.


Read Full Post »

then and now

   This morning I dusted the mantle.

Its finally finished. I realized that since the first time I walked into this house, when I looked over at that wall – which insisted that you look at it – I was looking at something really ugly. No more.
  This is from a couple years ago:  
and this I took yesterday:    and a closeup :

It took two tries to get the color right 😦 but its good now. The colored area is inset from the rest of the wall by about two inches. We used the leftover wood from cutting the mantle and the upright supports to make the trim that goes on up to the ceiling, and also put a new ‘beam’ across the top. The beam is actually a 2×8, but once I stained and finished it, it matches the others in the room perfectly. And just because, here’s a shot of the whole thing in action last night ( complete with the man who made it possible )  I set a small picture on the mantle for now, but I need to figure out what to hang on the new wall space.  There is still the carpet / flooring issue to deal with, but that will come later. Little by little.

We also got the rest of the track lighting up over the kitchen counter, replacing this  with these:  the former kitchen chandelier was a match for the lovely dining one  which I replaced with .

I suppose that in thirty years or so, someone will walk through this house and think " oh, my " just as I did. Styles and tastes change over time, but I think I’ll be happy with these choices as long as we live here.

Read Full Post »


I’ve been working at sorting things out. Not physically. The other way. What to do, how to do it.  My main problem is focus – or lack of it. Too many things that I want to do, at any given time. Its always been that way, only now it seems worse.( I guess I could blame it on adult ADD or something, but that would get me nowhere. )Sewing – always – but what? If I work on this then I can’t work on that.

I set up a shop on Etsy, but haven’t listed anything. There’s the photography that needs to happen, and all that goes with listing. For months we were busy trying to put together the business purchase, so everything else took a back seat. That’s over ( for now ) so I need to get something going. But what?
The other night we were watching the always entertaining "No Reservations" and Bourdain said something to the effect of  "in a world where most people try to do so many things, it’s rare to find someone who has total focus on one thing. When they do, its amazing" It hit home for me. I see things that people make, and am awed, and always wonder it that all they do? How did they come to make such a stunning __________ without dabbling in a variety of other things along the way?

All of the things I make, I like the doing. But I really love the creating part, the choosing. I get so infatuated by the new project ; I lust over the ideas, variations, and then the new ideas that come from those. I have a hard time even imagining channeling all of my creative energy in only one direction. Focus. Focus. Any ideas as to how to achieve this focus would be appreciated.

While I work on figuring things out, we’re catching up on house projects that need doing. And of course it’s several things at once.
focus, Renee, focus.

I joined facebook, and  feel somewhat odd about it. Then, I happened on this amusing article.

Read Full Post »


In our area, we have a weekly newspaper for the community. Sort of like a weekly neighborhood paper that comes out in large metropolitan areas, but more news-y. Community fishing, high school sports, weather events, accidents, and plenty of opinion from selected editors and lots of citizen letters. Inside the front page is two columns, which are the must-reads: the Police Blotter, and the Dispatch Reports. Unfortunately there is a rising amount of reports of domestic violence lately, but there are always one or two items that are good for some lighter comic relief:
You have to remember that there are a lot of retirees in the area 

I really want to start ranting about other hot media topics, but fear once I get going I may never shut up.
But I have to comment on the thing that’s making me most crazy with only a couple of words: octuplets mom. shame on everyone involved. ’nuff said.

We’ve been working on the mantle, trimming, fitting, sanding. Here are the supports, and the mantle in the shop:
     I stained it yesterday, and we put it into place and gave those pieces the final trimming. Here’s a peek at the thing so far:     I used a nearly black stain ( which was left here ) and wiped it off quickly, which left the black in all of the worm and bug marks in the wood. I like it. Tomorrow we’ll go to Astoria for the materials for the rest of the project. We have to frame the area above it so that it can get drywalled, finished, and painted; then will come wood trim ( that we can cut from the leftover pieces ) on up to the ceiling. Finally we’ll add a piece of trim just below the mantle to cover up the tile/block gap there.
I can start to think of what will go on that big new wall space.

Other than that, life is pretty quiet here lately. I saw a couple of firsts —  yesterday there were four young deer playing in the trees across the street for about five minutes. Looked like a game of tag.  And this morning, there was a pheasant picking up scattered birdseed below the feeder. 

Read Full Post »

so far……….

The other day we went to the sawmill guy, and had our mantle cut from the log that we found on the beach. It was really interesting to watch the huge band saw work –  I love watching machinery in action, actually I love watching anyone perform a skill of any sort. I think its the interaction of man and machine that is fascinating to me. Doesn’t make a difference if it’s a person working a crab pot, an assembly line worker ( though I know it would be really tedious to do ) someone sewing, framing a house, whatever. Watching a professional at their trade is awe-inspiring for me.
But I digress; we went to the saw guy ( funny I don’t know his name??) and the log was cut. Here we were remembering that it was a 20" by 7′ long log, but in actuality it was only about 12" – I guess it just seemed really big hauling it off the beach. It turned out to be a beautiful piece of Alaskan Yellow Cedar, and he guessed it to have been down for 50 years or so. It should dry out pretty quickly, as its mostly surface moisture. Heres a couple pics of the action:    our log ready to be cut: I’,m a dork, so I took a video of it, which is even more boring than those couple of pictures. Anyway, we were able to get a 4.5 x 9.5"x 7′ piece for the mantle, as well as enough other cuts for a couple of upright pieces to support it, and more to cut for trim pieces to go from the mantle up to the ceiling. Yesterday a friend came and helped Richard notch out the mantle to fit it into the space above the tile. It sanded down beautifully, and I played around with finishes on some of the scrap. I think it will come out really cool.

Just because, I thought I’d put in a few shots I took in the past week. The first is a ‘sunbow’ ( sort of like a rainbow, but fairly rare, and much smaller )as we were on our way to Astoria:

and a shot of the bay just before sunset:
and lastly, a sunrise from a couple of days ago, before the weather turned :
I was thinking that maybe we would have an early spring with the weather getting into the upper 60s. But then reality set in, and we’re back to grey skies for a while.

So now I get to go and work on a big piece of wood. Mostly out of my element, but, how else are you going to learn anything?

Read Full Post »