Tag Archives: renovations

Art du Jour 49

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Eons ago I bought a beautiful stretched canvas with art on it that I didn’t particularly like. It was the perfect size and shape to cover up anchored screw holes that were no longer needed to hold up a cabinet on my bathroom wall.

I love easy solutions to annoying little problems. I planned to one day paint over it with colours that better matched the weird purple fixtures that the original home owners chose, for reasons I can’t fathom.

One day we are also going to renovate this 1970’s bathroom because the fixtures are looking like hell. Well, they always did, but now they’re worn out as well.

So, the first ‘one day’ finally arrived and the canvas has been repurposed at last.

Here’s the process:
imageI painted over the original with gesso, added some glued on tissue paper and then sponged on colours I like better for the background.
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imageAdded butterfly and more bits of printed tissue.
imageAlmost done.  This is the part where I don’t know when to stop.  Shapes with oil pastels, random stencils, ink stamps, splatter, and on and on until…..
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Voila!  Done.  Back on the wall to cover up the holes.  Until the renovation.  Hey, it could happen!  This did.

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Dear House

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Ever felt like writing a thank you letter to something you take for granted?  I mean without someone prompting you to do it?  Nope, me neither. (Because, duh, taking it for granted….)

Well this is not how I wanted to start a letter to my house, so let’s begin again.

Just like I don’t understand the need for ridiculous extravagance when you marry somebody, I don’t get it when it comes to building yourself a crazy-ass mansion to live in, with thousands of square feet that you love to look at and admire but rarely use.  There are many people in my life who have gorgeous new homes, or homes that are old but have been renovated to look like gorgeous new homes.  This is obviously important to them and makes them happy and that’s all good.  My house is not new, not renovated, and not gorgeous.  And that’s okay.

Dear House,

Hello.  Just wanted to let you know I love and appreciate you and I’m sorry for taking twenty-eight years to tell you this.

I don’t know how you felt about your builders way back in 1973,  or your first owners or your second.   But I’m pretty sure you loved us when we moved in all those years ago, right?  Because three’s a charm.  We were lucky to find you at a great price, and thankful that you didn’t need too many changes right away.  However, we wasted no time taking down those gawd-awful green drapes in your living room and getting rid of the brown leafy wall paper, a crappy carpet in one of your bedrooms and your ugly kitchen linoleum.  You’re welcome.  Eventually we got around to painting everywhere.  I hope you like the colors.  Or should I just say I hope you love yellow.  We promised you we would finish the unfinished room in the basement and put in another bathroom downstairs.

Yes, I know you’re still waiting.  But your attic needed new insulation, and your roof now has excellent shingles, and there’s the new kitchen counter and the beautiful new floor that looks like real wood and a new furnace to keep us both warm.  We do try to keep you clean and presentable.  Maybe gorgeous just isn’t in the cards for us.

Hey, we could have abandoned you and moved on and let somebody new fix you up properly, and that’s still a possibility for some bright day in the future.   I know I’ve used it as an excuse to delay the things that should be done, saying ‘what’s the point, whoever buys this house will probably change it anyway.’

Did that scare you, hearing me say it all the time?  I’m sure it’s gotten so old and repetitive now that you don’t pay attention to it anymore.

We no longer need the unfinished room to be finished, and the time when we really needed that extra bathroom has come and gone.  I AM promising you a renovated main bathroom before we leave,  because I think both of us are just completely sick and tired of purple in that seventies style.  A few more years and it will be an amazing retro feature – except that bathroom fixtures (even annoyingly durable purple ones) don’t last forever.

And right now you are beautifully functional and you suit us just fine.  Every one of your rooms holds wonderful memories of growth and change.  I look at the little bedrooms and remember who used to occupy them and how those teenagers grew up and left home and came back and left again.  And then how they brought their own little people here so that we needed the unfinished room to morph into a playroom.  And the downstairs bedroom to accommodate two beds and mattresses on the floor and the library to double as a guest room.  One of these days we won’t need all that.  We won’t be able to so easily go up and down your stairs or shovel your driveway or paint your ceilings.  You will be too big for us, and you’ll start longing for another family to fill your rooms with noise and laughter.

Meanwhile, we will continue to love you and look after you in our hap-hazard fashion and appreciate you until the time is right to let you go.  I don’t think there will be any new red walls in your immediate future, and I am trying really hard to stop hanging strange things on the ones you already have.  You may not be gorgeous, but wow, you have character and you are able to hold an amazing amount of junk.   You are warm and cozy in the winter and bright and breezy in the summer.  We are blessed to have you.

Thank you house, for being our very fine house.

Sincerely,

Charming Owners Number Three

(who love their home, have dubious interior decorating skills, but very big hearts.)

Quality Time With W

Yesterday W and I did some things TOGETHER.  I’m still reeling from the weirdness of that.  Since he won’t be here for the election we decided to go together and vote at an advance poll.  I asked him on the way there what exactly we were electing.  (Sigh.)  Yes, I should be better informed.  But come on.  I’ve been away.  And I cast my vote for three people on one ballot and one on the other, just like they asked me to do.  Not one of those votes was for a PC candidate, so I’m feeling quite confident that my votes will hardly matter anyway.  Isn’t democracy an incredible thing.

Then while I went to get my drivers license renewed, W went to the liquor store and bought two bottles of the EXACT red wine I asked him to get.  Shocking.  It was also astonishing to spend less than twenty minutes in the registry office.  Handed over my old license, checked the information on a printed form, signed my name twice, initialled once, paid cash, looked as neutral as possible for a photo, and then gawked at the long line of people that had suddenly materialized behind me as I left.  I have a temporary license now for a week or two which cannot be used for identification purposes.  But my passport arrived while I was away, so if I need to prove to anyone who I am it’s all good.

Then W decided he would come shopping with me.  This pronouncement didn’t fill me with dread exactly, it was more like mild alarm.  No, who am I kidding, it was dread.  All I wanted to get was a simple curtain rod and a panel to cover the opening to the master bedroom closet.  I’ve moved my paint desk over beside the window for better light (wistfully hoping this will encourage me to actually paint something) and the stupid folding closet door which has annoyed me forever wouldn’t open properly with things shoved up so close to it, so I removed it.  Leaving a gaping hole in the wall and the insides of the messy closet on display, so that definitely needed covering up.

So off we went.  Before I was anywhere close to the curtain rod department my cart was half full of miscellaneous items – a case of water, a package of C cell batteries, a case of Pepsi, several coloured lightbulbs (I’m afraid to ask), two long lengths of rope, cable ties, nylon cord, some kind of electrical thing, three bags of potato chips.  Honestly.  So seeing as I was being seriously out done here,  I quickly threw in laundry detergent, bars of bath soap, a little chest (to store the ancient documents I carted home with me so that I’m less likely to throw them into the paper recycle) and FINALLY a black expandable curtain rod and a deep brown panel with dark  brushed gold metal rings.  One hundred and forty dollars later, we headed home.

Where W decided immediately to put up the rod and the curtain for me.  Lord love a duck.  That’s all I really want to say about that.  Many trips to the basement and back for the EXACT drill bit later, the gaping hole in the wall is successfully concealed.

Then he poured me a spiced rum and pepsi on ice.  Making it much less likely that I would kill him.  Instead I used my sharp knives to cut up a gigantic salad which we ate with cold chicken and a glass of wine.  Nerves all calmed and brain in neutral,  I foolishly mentioned to him that I would need to pick up a few groceries the next day because our daughter is bringing her car over to have the tires changed and will probably stay for dinner, leaving Kenzie here for the weekend.  He beamed his million dollar smile at me and promised to come along and help me with the groceries.  GAH.  I don’t know if I can AFFORD his help.

Also yesterday morning my boss dropped off a work schedule for me and stayed for coffee and told me all about the renovations (which thankfully are done and I missed the whole thing) because I work alone on Monday morning and apparently am too stupid to figure out what’s been done simply by looking at it.  I’m still annoyed that she didn’t phone first and that I hadn’t showered yet.  After next weekend, all the Saturday/Sunday shifts will be mine, so this will be the last Kenzie weekend until that changes, if it ever does.  My other two days are Tues. and Wed. lates, all starting in May.  When W will be blissfully fishing every day and not putting up curtain rods for people or filling up their shopping carts for them with random items that he can’t live another day without.

We are listening to a different station on our satelite radio!  Hits from the 50’s!  I was thoroughly enjoying being able to sing along to all the early rock and roll stuff they were playing while I cleaned up the kitchen last night but then W thought it would be fun to make me guess who the groups and artists were.  I am not good at this game.  And I’m terrible with names.  When I say I don’t know, telling me that I should know does not make me want to try harder.  It makes me want to tell you to piss off.  And go to the bedroom and watch Netflix on my laptop instead.

Ooooookay…..I think I have this all out of my system now and I’m ready to face another day with W.  Maybe sending him on errands will help me stay reasonably sane.  It’s worth a try.