Thursday, February 28, 2013

Pay It Forward #4: Share how you feel...completely

This video by SoulPancake got me thinking...I can not remember when I last told someone ...truly told them what they mean to me.  I give compliments...freely.  I share my feelings... regularly.  But, sharing with someone how their presence in my life has changed me forever...maybe not as often...or ever.

So this is my challenge...and my pay it forward this week.  I will share...truly share...with three people in my life, how they have changed my life forever.   So, I may not have a sound booth and a huge pair of headphones, but I do have a pen and a few pieces of paper.

As I got started with this week's PIF, I realized the reason why I have never done this before.  It is HARD.  One-liner compliments are easy...almost as easy as texting...but thinking about and acknowledging the reasons why you love someone, and telling them is much harder.

...But it is SOOOOOOO worth it.  

I don't know about you, but a blank page completely intimidates me.  I started off by drawing  " i love you..." on the paper.  This simple thing made it easier to start writing. 

I then just wrote...and wrote...and wrote. Maybe not as eloquently as I had hoped, but putting all of my feelings down on paper, made me remember why these people have been so important to me and my life. 

And just as I did while watching this video...I got quite emotional while writing these letters.  Thankfully, Jason has been out of town for work- I was able to write in peace with no one to witness my embarrassing display of emotion : )

Keep sharing the love.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Artist Spotlight: Ron Mueck

I first saw Ron Mueck's work back in 2000, but I am still blown away by his hyper-realistic sculptures.  What I really love is how he plays with scale in every one of his pieces.  From a gigantic newborn baby to a couple spooning on a display cube.  A photograph can not truly do justice to this type of artwork. The magnificence of Mueck's vision is most obvious when you see the spectators walking among the pieces.

Ron Mueck's decision to sculpt people full of flaws make this work much more interesting than if we were looking at a room full of beautiful people.  And often, you see these awkward people in awkward positions- some are naked, some are sleeping, some are performing work naked... which can definitely be seen as a "bad" naked and some are just heads.  No matter what state these people are in, the attention to detail that Ron Mueck has given them is absolutely amazing.  From the the the splotches of the skin...nothing is left to the imagination. 

Ron Mueck works slowly, so exhibitions of new work happen very rarely, therefore,  I was excited to find out that he will be having an exhibition at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, in Paris,  from April 16th through September 29th, 2013, which will include several previous works and three all new pieces.  

 "Big Man" 2000

"Woman With Sticks" 2005

 "In Bed" 2005

"Spooning Couple" 2005

 "Two Women" 2005

"Boy" 2004

 "Big Baby" 1996

 (images via My Modern Met and designboom)

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Can't Wait!!! : "Renoir"

Give me a heart-wrenching...I can not breathe without story.  Give me a beautiful background full of artwork and amazing scenery.  Give me a soundtrack full of hauntingly beautiful classical music.  Give me the passionate French language...with subtitles of course : )  Give me insight into how one of the founders of Impressionism lived.

Give me one of these things, and I am happy.  
Give me all of these things, and I am in heaven. 

My love affair with Renoir started when I was 9 and I asked my mom to buy me the first piece of artwork I was to own- a print of the Renoir painting, "Girl With a Watering Can".  As the years have gone by, my love of art has evolved, but Renoir will always represent the beginning for me.

Renoir!!! I can't wait!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Saturday Song...

As the years go by, friends that you had as a child make new friends, they go to different schools, they move to different places and inevitably your lives go in slightly ...and sometimes drastically...different directions.  It has always made me so sad to think of friendships that I have had, and no longer do...people who I truly miss and that I wish were still in my life.  This was the case a few years ago, when Jason and I lived out in Kansas City.  We moved more than 1000 miles from everyone we knew and loved.  And I felt almost all of my friendships weaken and sometimes disappear.  Distance does that so easily. 

So, I was very excited when a group of my high school girlfriends started planning an annual trip- we meet up in one of the cities we live in, and rotate to another city the next year.  It has been wonderful to know that even if we do not talk for an entire year, we are going to see each other again and catch up with all we have missed.  We have been to Huntsville, Raleigh, Charleston, New York City and this year we are meeting in...Charlotte!  The city where I live.  A stay-cation!!!  I have always wanted to do it, and now I have the perfect excuse.

So, here's my Saturday song...and I feel I need to explain.  I clearly remember having the eight of us girls piled into a car that was way too small for all of us to be crammed into...the windows were down...this song was on the radio...and we were all singing it at the top of our lungs.  I know this dates us terribly, but I felt the need to reminisce.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend : )

Have you ever been on a stay-cation?  And if you have...did you see a side to your city that you hadn't seen before?

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Friday, February 22, 2013

The Friday Five...

{ceiling done, walls painted, "big girl" bed in for the fun stuff}

{two happy girls making snow angels...the three hour drive was worth it}

{still one of my favorite design books...constant source of inspiration}

{packing for a "stay-cation" in Charlotte with some high school girlfriends}

{experimenting with some name art for Isabella's room...mind not made up yet}

What are Your Five?

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Tiny Confessions...I'm in love

Have you ever looked at your dog or cat, and in that moment, you could tell they wanted to say something to you.  This happens all the time with our dog Jada.  And these days...since she is now an old lady...I imagine she has much more to say.

I came across these adorable art prints today on Etsy, and I had to share.  Tiny Confessions is a series of illustrations that share your pet's most inner thoughts.  The first one I saw was the one above, and I couldn't help but is a thought I have had once or twice before : )  I really love that they will customize the print for you- if you find your pet, but wish they had a different confession, they will change it for you.  Tiny Confessions is the creation of Christoper Rozzi.  You can visit the Tiny Confessions Etsy store here.

A couple of my favorites- the rabbit, the pug and whatever kind of dog the last guy is...I have no idea, but he is really cute : )

(all images via the Tiny Confessions Etsy page)

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The truth about removing a popcorn ceiling...

Everyone has something that makes their skin crawl.  Maybe yours is rats...or maybe cottage cheese...or even politics.  Mine is popcorn ceilings...they are the bane of my existence.  Last year, we had a leak in our master bathroom which led us to cutting a hole in the ceiling downstairs ...which in turn led us to have the popcorn ceilings scraped away and replaced with lovely, smooth, beautiful, snow white ceilings (you can see it here).  At that time I told myself I would never undertake removing popcorn ceilings myself.

A lot can happen in a year. 

After I finished the design for Isabella's "big girl" room, I was ready to start painting when I realized that no matter what I did in that room, I would not be happy with the end result, if the popcorn was still there.  I called the same company who scraped the ceilings downstairs, to see how much it would be to scrape that one room...11 sq ft of flat space...and was told it was going to be $350 dollars.  I couldn't do it.  Not for one room. So, I resigned myself to the fact I was gonna have to suck it up and deal with it.

So, once again, I pulled out the paint, laid down the plastic drop-cloths, and was about to begin, when I acknowledged what I knew all along.  I was going to have to do it myself.  Crap.

I headed to the hardware store at 7:30 pm and was scraping by 9:00pm.  I do not mean this to be a DIY or a "this is how you do it post".  I am not going to tell you how simple this procedure is, or how you can do it in a day.  I am going to to tell you what I experienced.

This is what I started with:

I bought 3 packs of 3 drop-colths, a spray bottle, a 10" scraping blade, a large plastic bin and a roll of painter's tape.

 Usually, people will drape every surface with plastic.  I knew I was going to paint the walls, so I concentrated on making sure the carpet, the doors and windows were sealed with plastic, and I left the walls bare.

I started by spraying the popcorn with warm water and then began to scrape.  The popcorn literally peels off and falls heavily to the ground.  It is a very messy job, but surprisingly, it went very quickly.  You have to wear a mask during this part.  Not only is the popcorn being scraped, but some of the joint compound underneath is being scraped away as well, so there is a massive amount of dust falling down on you.

I could not take pictures while I was doing it, but the scraping looks like this-


The floor looked like this after all the popcorn had been scraped.

 ...and the ceiling looked like this

There were no surprises during this part of the process.  I was actually very encouraged, and maybe a little over-confident at this point.  The next thing I did was the clean-up.  This part I know I did right, even if I made several other mistakes along the way.

I placed the plastic bin in the center of the room, and rolled the plastic towards the bin, until it was a big ball full of popcorn.  I put the plastic bundle in the bin, which made the possibility of spilling popcorn throughout the house impossible.

You will have a few places where the plastic does not catch all the popcorn, but those spots are easily vacuumed up.  Over all, I was very pleased with how clean the room was. 

The next day, I laid down more plastic and taped it off around the room.  I bought another 10" mudding blade and joint compound.

While scraping, you may loosen the tape around the room, which is what happened with me.  You may also scrape down to the drywall screws which also happened with me.  I went around the room and re-mudded all the spots that showed imperfections or needed a little bit of smoothing out.  This process was tedious, because in several spots, the mud will be thicker and you will have to wait for it to fully dry and then sand it, and then realize you will need to apply more compound and then sand again. 

Expect to look like the guy from "Powder"- you remember that movie right?  Let me remind you...just in case.  


I could not take pictures during any of this, because of the amount of dust.  Every part of me was bright white.

I had been told to use my hand to feel whether I was done sanding instead of looking.  I did this, and what I learned was that my hand thought the ceiling was smooth when it actually wasn't.  When you are done sanding, you will need to prime the ceiling.  But once you do this, you can not go back and add more mud, or smooth out any imperfections, so be happy with it before you go to the next step.  I mudded and sanded three times, and I don't know if I really thought I was done, or if I was just tired of sanding. This was my first mistake.

Lesson learned: Don't rush.  Realize it will take longer than you think it will, and your arm will be exhausted by all the sanding, but you can do it.  The pain will go away. 

Next time, I will apply a skim coat to the ceiling before I prime.  I totally forgot that this is what the professionals did downstairs.  Jason kindly reminded me of this...after I had primed the ceiling.

Before I primed, I wiped down the walls and the ceiling with a lightly dampened cloth.  I used an oil-based primer, so that all the dust and joint compound would be sealed before painting with the flat ceiling paint. 

Here's another mistake I made.  I think the oil-based primer did a great job, but it smelled soooooo bad.

Lesson learned:  I had opened the window, and closed the door to the room, before I started painting.  This was not enough to keep the whole house from stinking.  Not until I put two fans in front of the open window, blowing outside, did the smell begin to dissipate.  I am still debating whether the benefits of the oil primer were worth it. 

This is what the ceiling looked like after the primer and 3 coats of flat ceiling paint. 

I have my smooth white ceiling now, but it is not perfect by any means.  In the daylight, the ceiling looks amazing, but at night, when you flip the switch on, all of the imperfections are highlighted.  

Here are a couple examples-

Lines around the room are not as sharp as I would have liked

The tape is visible in a couple of places.

I am usually bothered by "not perfect", but in this instance I am at peace with it.  I do have a plan to correct my mistakes next time.  And I do know there will be a next time- we still have five more rooms upstairs that we will eventually have to de-popcorn.  It will be a while before I tackle this particular project again, but I do think it was worth it.

What would have cost me $350, cost me a little over $100 including all of the paint and supplies. 

Another lesson I learned through this whole experience: all it takes for my mind to be made up about tackling a project is someone telling me how messy and difficult it is.  I don't know why, but I consider it another challenge in this ongoing adventure of home ownership.

The take-way: You can do this. It will be messy, tiring, and not perfect, but there is always something to be said about doing it yourself.  I love every project we have tackled in this home...whether it be laying down hardwoods, knocking down a wall, or rebuilding the front porch columns...with each new project, I gain more confidence.  And with all the imperfections come wonderful stories : )

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