Sunday, June 26, 2016

Swansea Art Show

Friends and family gathered on June 26th 2016 to view art created by two brothers who are ages four and five.

The spacious yard provided views from many perspectives.

 The wire legs of the mounting boards allowed the art to sway slightly in the breeze giving yet another dimension to the works of art.

Having artwork displayed on both sides of the mounting boards motivated visitors to leave the stone walkway to discover interesting and often surprising paintings on the opposite side.

The art show was Gabriel's idea and many of the entries were his creations.  However his younger brother, Nathan, had contributions in a variety of mediums.

It was helpful to have the young artists walk with patrons and describe their art as they moved along the gallery.

I found several pieces to my liking, however, not all work was for sale and no exceptions were made for Grandma.

These photos were taken before the crowd arrived. I was looking forward to getting pictures of the guests as they arrived.  However, the battery in my camera picked an unfortunate time to give out.  I captured a couple more of the artwork but the rest of the pictures were taken by, Jodie, mother of the artists.

This large canvas of a helicopter flying over a metrolink train was snagged by Uncle John.

The two paintings side by side done in intense blues, purples, and greens were scooped up by Uncle Dan.  I was told they were not for sale, but Uncle Dan came prepared with items to barter.  A kite and the stump shown in the next photo were enough to cinch a trade.

The little opening at the bottom made this a "must have" addition to the rather large fairy garden the boys have created under a large Japanese maple in the front yard.

For those willing to brave the heat a little longer, there was a cardboard table mat and crayons where visitors could get creative.

Inside we found refreshing drinks of watermelon lemonade, and cucumber ice water.  Coolers were allowed and, yes, there was beer too.

Snacks were plentiful and delicious.

I highly recommend this salsa.  It is from Trader Joe's and it is called Spicy, Smoky Peach Salsa.

The food displays were as colorful as the artwork.

Once everyone had fortified themselves, it was time to view the inside displays.

These miniature fairy gardens were created by Nathan and Gabriel at a class they took this month at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

This colorful stepping stone was created by Gabriel.  Nathan's is off to the side and I apologize to him for not getting a picture of his.

However, I do have Nathan's molded clay house that has strings of Christmas lights draped around the outside.

These paper trucks were made at the Magic House on a 3-D printer.  The boys colored a truck that was scanned and then projected onto a screen along with trucks by other participants.  It was then printed on a 3-D printer, cut out, folded and glued in place.

Another big attraction was the opportunity to have your portrait drawn by Gabriel.

Aunt Therese was lucky to be the first in line to have her likeness drawn.

Uncle John kept his eye on the mirror behind Gabriel so he could follow the progress.

Grandma just sat and hoped for the best.

And guess what, she got what she hoped for.  He even captured the fact that my earrings always hang unevenly because one ear is lower than the other.

While Gabriel was occupied drawing portraits, Nathan was was outside throwing the frisbee with Uncle Scott, and, getting some tips on how to spin a basketball on the tip of his finger.  I wish I could have captured that on camera along with so many more things that were happening.  (I will be buying a backup battery tomorrow!)  But...on with the art show.

 This was a very large mural about 2 1/2 ft. by 4 ft.

Here we have a scuba diver.

I must admit I did not get all the particulars on each piece of art.  There was so much to take in and such an interesting crowd that I am really going to have to revisit some of these pieces.

I made several attempts to purchase one or two from this series, but Gabriel stood firm.  These were just not for sale!  They were made with tinted shaving cream and had the look of marbled paper, although this photo does not capture that quality very well.  Luckily I know the proprietor of this establishment, and she was able to slip me a couple she had in the backroom.  They are done with the same technique by the same artist!

It would have been nice to end this post with a group picture, but I hated to keep pulling the hostess away from other guests to take pictures, And, no, I cannot operate her camera.  Maybe it all worked out for the best as I'm thinking this post is getting a little long anyway.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

A Duo Before and After

I'm starting this post with the briefest of reasons why I have not posted lately.  The explanation is "POLLEN" with effects I didn't even believe were possible.  That's all I'm saying about that since I am feeling much better and I'd rather let bygones be bygones.

The neighborhood is having a group yard sale this month and I started to pull out things I thought I should probably put out for sale.   For example:  Here is a chair I have had for years and it looks just like the day I bought it except for some additional cobwebs and dust.

I dusted it off to make it a little more presentable for the sale.

While I was wiping it down, I caught myself thinking what a cute little chair it is.

Then I got the idea to spray paint it to make it a little more appealing for the sale.  That would be quick and easy.  You know where this is going so I'll just cut to the chase.

Of course, I had to recover the seat too.

I used a matte black because I'm in that mode of using things I have on hand.  I actually prefer it in this instance so that worked out except.....I used what was left in the can and only then did I lift it off the table to discover I had missed a couple spots you could only see when looking at it from the top down.  So much for using up what I have on hand.  I now have a fresh can of matte black on hand.

I pulled the leopard print from my remnant pile.  The scale was right and because the seat is tiny, I was able to get the piece I needed.

I didn't realize I even had room for a chair in front of this secretary.

The chair shows up a little better on the inside photos.

You are probably way ahead of me on this one too.  It's too cute to let go, don't you thing?  I'll just have to wait and see how I feel on yard sale day.

Another piece I pulled out to put on the sale was this little footstool that someone had given me.

This is exactly how it looked when I received it.  The covering is like an oilcloth or a fabric backed vinyl but I think a cat may have been clawing at it for some time before it found me.  In fairness to the giver, he knows I'll take almost anything and just maybe improve it somehow.

I really have no use for this small stool so it was definitely a good candidate for the sale but not in this condition.

This is what I found under the oilcloth.  If you look closely you should be able to see the cat hair although you couldn't miss it if you were looking at it in person.  Then another snag (pun intended).  The flat surface under all this hair and fabric was busted!  That meant cutting a new foundation and padding that before adding another covering.

I didn't do the blow by blow on all this so we'll just move to the finished product.  

As before, I'm trying to use things I already have.  I pulled several pieces of fabric but nothing worked as well as this vinyl.  Wouldn't you know, the most difficult piece to pull around the curves.

I used a hairdryer to warm the vinyl so it would conform to the shape I needed.  However it was still not a quick and easy job.  Eight screws hold the top to the base and there is only one way they line up so that was a little tricky.  They are also very close to the edge of the frame so that involved cutting away small openings in the vinyl to allow the screw to pass through.  Enough of my sob story.  There was more, but, back to letting bygones be gone forever.

Will this one make the sale? For sure it will be out there.  Whether it sells or not remains to be seen.  The good news is, even if it doesn't, at least it's no longer an eyesore.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Reclaimed Wood

My version of reclaiming wood was salvaging the cedar on the walls of my enclosed back porch. When the porch was built these walls were a light creamy white, but over the years they turned orange and a blotchy orange at that.

At one point I had a little roof leak which added to the streaky mess on parts of the ceiling.

This is the entrance I use daily and the entrance used by almost everyone who comes to my house, I thought it might be time to come up with an improvement plan.

After discussing it with my brother, Dan, I decided to take his advice and scrub the walls with TSP.
The ceiling....well, more on that later.

This was the color of the water after just a few passes with the scrub brush.  Then came the rinse cycle and way too many trips to the sink for fresh water.

This is what this section looked like after it was scrubbed clean.

Dan and I discussed the weathered wood recipes we had seen on Pinterest.  After some deliberation I decided to give it a try.  I tested it on an inconspicuous spot.  This was taken after brushing on the black tea.  A meaningless shot since I took it while it was still wet.

This is the tea I used but any black tea should do the trick.

They suggest letting it steep for about 25 minutes.  At one point in the process I think I left the tea sit for two whole days before using it. That didn't seem to affect anything.

It is difficult to see any change in the color of the wood after the tea dries.  However, when you brush on the vinegar that has been sitting in a jar with steel wool, it does darken. This shot shows it while still wet with vinegar.

This shows the dramatic change in color.  Again this is still wet and it does lighten as it dries.

I let the first coat of vinegar dry and then brushed on a second coat.

You may have notice in the previous picture that the window trim on the large window had changed color.  The trim around the rest of the windows received the same tea and vinegar treatment.

The double doors really stood out once the walls were subdued.  Of course, it was part of the plan to paint them.

That little strip of wood above the blinds had been stained to match the doors and the large window.

That too needed to be painted.  This is just the primer coat.

Now about that ceiling.  There was just no way I was going to scrub and rinse that entire ceiling and then give it three coats of tea and vinegar.  Besides, it would have been too dark.  So I enlisted Dan to prime and paint it the same color as the painted brick wall.  I know painting the ceiling before staining the walls would have made way more sense but I was winging it and not sure where I was going when I started.  So, the walls had to be protected with plastic.

A little bonus is that the light colored ceiling bounces more light into the kitchen.

The doors went from this...

to this.

I was avoiding showing the floor in the previous picture.  I have some thoughts about what to do about the floor but have not decided for sure on that.  So the threshold you see in front of the doors is on hold until I decide on the floor.

The same goes for the tabletop in the corner.  (In case you are wondering, that box in the corner gives headroom to the outside stairs leading to the basement.

Since this post is really about the walls, I wanted to give broad shots of the room.  However, they show up very dark when shooting into the bright windows.

Other than the floor, there is one more detail to be worked out.

Like what to do about lighting.  The current lighting is the ceiling fan shown here minus the blades that were removed for ease in painting the ceiling.  The solution may have to be saved for another post.