Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Update: Writer’s/Artist’s Oasis or How I wait patiently for construction to begin

I picked out my door, paid my deposit and now I have to wait another week. Construction should start 10/22.

What have I been doing while waiting? Not counting the weeks it took me to pack everything up (except my desk and computer, and printer, and scanner, and TV, and some heavy furniture) and move it to the shed and the garage. (Yes, I had that much stuff in this room. It's 12x24.) I have finished the memoir Story of an Immigrant: a Russian boy born in China prospers in Canada. I’m waiting for my second proof from Create Space. The first proof had the pages starting on the left instead of the right, which was my fault because Word2011 PDFs pages differently than I was used to with my old version. And my old version was incompatible with my new operating system. Wait, does that make it my fault? Hopefully the proof comes soon, is right, and I can send proofs to the others involved in the publication for a final ok.

I joined two blog challenges that have engaged my creative mind: 31-Day Purge over at A Bowl Full of Lemons and Fall Style Challenge over at Get Your Pretty On. Both are fun, instructional, and positive experiences that have helped boost my confidence and cleared out some cobwebs.

I also did a little crafty thing: Upscaling an old clipboard. My mother was going to throw out two old, water-stained clipboards. I grabbed them. I love to upscale items.

A pretty basic project anyone can do to spiff up their writing space.

If you’d like to try this, here is how I did it:
  1. I dusted, washed, dried then I spray pained the board and clip with Rust-oleum Painter's Touch paint and primer in satin Aqua I had left over from my 'Flights of Fancy' peacock pendent light project (there may be another blog in that). I lightly sanded the board when dry. Some paint gathered where the clip meets the board and I had to sand that smooth.
  2. A couple days later I bought the same brand paint in gloss White and satin Lagoon. I couldn’t find the turquoise I really wanted. I masked off the clip and painted that gloss white.
  3. When that was dry (more on that in a minute) I took off the masking, then I masked the board with painters tape in a diagional pattern. I laid one piece of tape down. Laid another right next to it, then another next to that. Then I lifted the tape in between, leaving a space. I did this until I reached the bottom corner. Then I sprayed the darker blue.
  4. When dry, I flipped the board over and painted the back because I didn’t think to do it after step 1, which would have been the better process.

I’m impatient and didn’t allow enough time for drying and ended up with smears on the back, and blue fingers. I recommend always allowing proper drying time. The gloss over the light blue matte reacted weirdly in that is started to crinkle. I buffed it with fine sand paper so the blue under coat shows a bit giving it a distressed look.

With my Writer’s/Artist’s Oasis room decoration I plan to refinish some items, upscale others, and just freshen up this and that with spray paint. I have several older drawer dividers that I am thoroughly tired of. I’m going to spray them with the Rust-oleum as it is made to cover plastics, too. I’m going to spray the inside of my work bench drawers with the white gloss paint then put the colorful dividers in those drawers. If I can find the right turquoise I will spray some of my office fixtures that will be sitting out, like in/out trays, etc.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Writers/Artists Oasis update, or how I saved $450 on a chic message board

I'm getting antsy to start decorating my Writers/Artists Oasis (office/studio remodel) and construction hasn't even started. The plan is finalized, I'll be handing over my hard earned money for a deposit, then it will start. I hope it's all finished before Thanksgiving as my brother's family will be visiting from Texas.

Meanwhile, I saw this cute bulletin / message board on Unfortunately, the price is more than I can spend.

This is the 3x3 Made By You Pool Style Tile 2.0 Set from Pottery Barn Teen. I love it, just can't afford it at $449.

I went to Michael's and found similar tiles and a frame. At Staples I got a Martha Stewart Living tile module, which I can change up with attachments that snap in and out easily. The items from Michael's were 50% off, including the frame. I paid about $30 for the whole thing.
My photography isn't so good and the frame isn't exactly like the sample but I'm happy with the result. I may add some turquoise at some point. I could paint one of the cork boards. The waves on the 3x3 above are on a cork board. I prefer the 3x2 size, the 3x3 would be too big for my space. 

How I made it. I laid out the squares the way I wanted upside down, then laid the frame and plexi that came with it over so everything was placed even. I marked on the plexi where to drill holes and drilled through the plexi and the wood frame of each square. Two near the top side, and on centered on the bottom of each square. (Be careful not to drill all the way through, which is something I usually do on projects that call for drilling.) I replaced the backer board on the back of the frame and drilled the holes through it, using the plexi as a guide. I then put spacers, because the screws (6x1 round head screws, you want the kind with threads all the way up) were too long. I used 1/4x1/2 inch balsa wood sticks and drilled through them, through the backer and plexi and into the wood frames (or plastic in the case of the MSL square) or each square. I won't be hanging this board but will have it set on a frame shelf. It's a bit heavy anyway to hang on the hardware that came with the frame. It was an inexpensive frame. The frame has an opening for 23.5x35.5 and a mottled bronzy metal finish with square lines. The Michael's squares are 11.5x11.5 and the MSL panel is almost 12x12, which means I had to do some fudging to fit it in.

I ordered these frame shelves, in 10"x4', 10"x3', 2"x3' and 2"x2' and will use them to prop paintings and objects that I can change around without making more holes in the walls. 

Check out all the beautiful things on my wish list on Pinterest.

Have you found any great organizing idea that would work in a Writers/Artists Oasis?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Update: The Road to a Writer’s/Artist’s Oasis.

Last month ago I wrote about my “too much stuff” and how I want to make my office/studio into a Writer’s/Artist’s Oasis. I’ve made a lot of progress. I’ve filled the shed and a quarter of the garage with boxes and bags of my stuff. I gave a bunch away, threw a bunch away, and set aside a bunch for a yard sale. I dismantled my drawing table after years and years. It was the first piece of new furniture I ever bought myself, back when I got my first “professional” job, moved into my first apartment, and got my first paycheck. I haven’t decided yet if it will come back into the room. I have a maple dining room table that my mother’s mother bought her when my parent bought their first house before I was born. It has seniority. I think it will be my main art and craft table, instead of having a table for each.

A modular bookshelf my dad made
for me many years ago.
I have a few more pieces of furniture to move out. The last bits are too heavy and will be moved or rearranged by the contractor. Poor guy. The last two bookcases have to be dismantled.

Last week the contractor came by to look at the job and I gave him my wish list. He was supposed to get back to me in a week to give me the quote, but no show so far, 9 days later. He comes highly recommended by a friend who had her small kitchen remodeled. If I accept his quote, or agree to hire him with some things cut back, he can't start until mid October! Argh!

I should get another quote. I’m so bad at that. Someone gives me a quote, I want to get the job done, I accept it.

To give myself motive to get this job done I have purchased some things for the new room. It will be peacock themed. I got these items from

Peacock themed items from Touch of Class

I bought the 2’6”x8 runner size rug. The vase will hold my 25-year collection of peacock feathers that the semi-wild peacocks- that roam my neighborhood –have dropped over the years. They- the birds and their feathers -are directly responsible for my fixation with peacocks. The paintings will go on each side of the large feather painting below, which I bought at Pier 1 (50% off!). I'm going to touch it up with more turquoise and maybe some of the iridescent paint I bought for the pendent.

40" x 40" statement piece from Pier 1.

I found a pendent light at a rummage sale for $5 and decided to peacockify it. I dare not confess how much I spent on the do-dads to decorate it. I call it Flights of Fancy. It’s fun to be purely whimsical when making something. 
Too over the top?

Do you always get more than one quote or estimate when you hire someone? I'm very inexperienced with it.