Monday, August 31, 2009

Opening Up Our Perspectives ????

above photo...our neighbor's property looked dense and lush with native vegetation. But this is soon about to change.

At the time we moved into our finally finished, but not totally completed home, the real estate bubble had burst and almost every neighborhood had its share of lingering for sale signs. It would take a truly die hard optimist to believe there was going to be an immediate return to those halcyon days of overly inflate property values.

The people who own the lot directly across the street from us had pinned their hopes upon that old escalating market and had made plans to subdivide their parcel of land into 8 individual home sites. I'm sure they were rubbing their hands together in gleeful anticipation of all the money they would be making. Forever pragmatic, they ignored the grim real estate indicators around them and continued to work on their future subdivision. Time passed, first one year then another but the market showed little signs of rebound. Undaunted our neighbor would sporadically crank up his old bulldozer and clear a few patches of brush and saplings, or give his backhoe a work out filling in low lying areas.

photos above and below...Clearing begins

Just last week he spent several days clearing out a thick swatch of vegetation at the far back of his property, the end that abuts our neighbor, Linda's property. Linda, being the good-natured person that she is, cheerfully asked him if he was getting ready to start selling his parcels, to which she got the news that his 8 lot development was no longer going to happen. Perhaps the bank's construction loan expired or perhaps their expectations met the stone hard wall of reality...the real estate market was not the market it had been and it would be a long time before any of us would see the buying frenzy of those super charged days.

above photo...Was that always there ?
No, he had given up on his get rich quick scheme and was...darn, I have no idea what he was doing. Rearranging the dirt piles ? Just keeping the old bulldozer lubricated ? Wanted a better view of Linda's farm ? Whatever his intent he did manage to clear out a lot of growth and opened up our view to his amazing technicolored rusted shed and his small fleet of well used, earth moving equipment.

photo above...Yep. Cleared out and opened up the view. Wonder how long it will take for it to all grow back ?

above photo...If you squint real hard could you call it rustic ? Nope, just plain rusty !

photo above...maybe a closer look ? No,no, it definitely looks better the farther away you get ! The palms are nice though.

above photo...Well it certainly "opens up" our view.
Oh what the heck ! This is Florida and everything grows like weeds here. In a month or two the wax myrtle bushes, shrubs, vines and saplings will have grown up to hide everything and we won't even know it's there.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Lost Causes...conclusion

above photo...we begin work on one of many planters or flowerbeds. Have the stepping stones down and some of the larger shrubs planted. Each pink flag marks where we have yet to place a small plant. So many holes to dig...oh my aching back !

LOST CAUSES...conclusion

In conclusion, Brad was left without a business partner, though in reality BP had not been that beneficial to him. Most of his construction workers and subcontractors had left him, as they were all owed money; and he still had about 2 or 3 homes that were close to completion, but not close enough to be given that coveted CO ... certificate of occupancy.
Ultimately this led to his working every spare moment in a valiant but vane attempt to accomplish everything that needed to be done, doing whatever was necessary to get a home completed, approved and the CO issued. What's the big deal about a CO ? Well without it one can not close on a house but it is also to protect the homeowner. The house is inspected and the inspector makes sure that everything is in order, like there is a roof overhead, running water and that the bathrooms are all functioning... an out house in the back yard isn't good enough. Only with the CO can the homeowner go through closing and receive ownership of the house(though truthfully it’s the mortgage they receive). It is only with this certificate of occupancy that Brad could feel the house was legally finished. Sadly, landscaping is not required to receive that all important certificate !

A short amount of time, less than a year, and Brad’s business had bombed. Within 6 months he appeared to have aged 20 years. Tired, thin, worn to a nub, haggard and barely clinging on by his fingernails, it was hard not to feel some sympathy for the fellow.
The 1st Christmas in our new home I decided to send Brad a card. Knowing the ordeal he had been through, I didn’t have it in my heart to reprimand him, to be facetious or unkind. The card simply wished him a happy holiday, with our sincerest wishes that the new year would be a good and prosperous one for him.

above photo...Hours of labor and the last plant is firmly in place. Mulch has been spread and a once ugly patch of dirt and weeds now looks tidy and pretty.

Photo below...Same planter, different view. The large Ligustrum japonicum bush can eventually grow to be 20 feet tall, it was another one of our fortuitous acquirements. The plant nursery had two of these large shrubs and they were in dire need of being repotted. They offered them to us for half their regularly marked price, which was $120. Basically we got 2 for the price of 1. I'm grateful for any and all little favors that come my way.

Occasionally my hubby, John, would swing by Brad’s house, stop and check to see if anyone’s home. More often than not, no one responds to his rap at the door, but there are those rare moments when Brad would venture to see who had come by. On those rare occasions the two would talk, but not about money. John never asks for our money, that matter is a lost cause, it’s gone and best forgotten. However he does inquire about how Brad is doing. For a time the news was bleak; Brad was fighting to keep his home, it was on the verge of foreclosure, he and his wife were separated, he owed everybody money and couldn’t pay anyone. Then, the last time John stopped by and chatted, Brad was looking more cheerful, he told John how he had finally completed the last house and officially his construction business was out-of-business. He was now back doing what he had always enjoyed, working as a carpenter for a construction company. No hassles with permits and inspections, no longer hampered with a crew of slackers. He gets his paycheck and somebody else contends with all the headaches.

Perhaps, in the future, his wife will return and his life will be back on track again. I doubt that he will ever decided to return to the hellfire of owning his own construction business...or at least I pray that he doesn’t !

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lost Causes part III

above photo...One of the 3 young oaks that we bought and planted this summer. This one sits near the front of our house.

For 2 years I’ve longed to plant a few substantial shade trees, but at $200 apiece they would have to wait. Turned out fortuitous as the distressed real estate market had a cascade affect that effected such businesses as plant growers, nurseries and tree farms. Our $200 apiece oak trees ended up costing us only $70 each. Naturally, had they been planted 2 years ago they would have been established by now and we would be seeing signs of new growth, but a savings of almost $400 helps to ease the disappointment. It will be at least another year or two before these young oaks will start branching out.


I suppose I should mention that Brad had a business partner, I’ll not use her real name so let’s just call her BP (Business Partner as opposed to British Petroleum) for the sake of clarity. In the overall scheme of things, BP turned out to be more a bane than a blessing. She knew the home construction business quite well as her husband was a builder/developer, she had helped him run his enterprise and that enterprise was now thriving, of course that was back in the day of the real estate feeding frenzy.

Fate can be fickle and unpredictable, by chance BP met and feel in love with another man and decided to divorce her husband for a shot at "happiness". Seems her first mate was a workaholic and the family always came after the business. Grounds for divorce ? Perhaps !
BP’s new love was witty, humorous, a dreamer and a talker of such charm I'm sure he kissed the Blarney Stone, not once but many times. Can’t say as I ever knew what this new love of loves did per say, had something to do with music or films but it didn’t bring home the bacon. BP realized she needed to find employment in order to pay the bills, so after the divorce she talked to Brad about starting up a construction business together.
From what I could glean she was suppose to take care of the financial end, do all the paper work and tend the annoying legalities, pull permits etc., thus leaving Brad to do the actual construction and job of site supervisor. Unfortunately it didn’t pan out that way, Brad found himself juggling too many jobs and holding too much responsibility while his partner was quite often away enjoying time with her family.
Guess I mentioned that Brad didn’t have a knack for picking out reliable, responsible, dependable people? Perhaps he was just too soft hearted or headed, or maybe he just lacked that special common sense essential in business that allows one to differentiate an honest hard worker from a talk a lot, but get nothing done slacker? Whichever the case it cost him dearly.
At the onset of their partnership BP’s ex got the impression that BP was bringing his floor plans and home designs to Brad and that they were capitalizing on what was legally his copyright. BP on the other hand felt many of these designs had been her brainchild and she had right to such. Naturally this resulted in a lawsuit and all the headaches that go with it; attorney fees, and lost time on the job site in order to attend attorney conferences and make court appearances.
All this just added stress that Brad didn’t need. As things began to stack up, and construction deadlines were not being met the business started to crumble. BP could sense the ship was sinking and decided it was an opportune time to bow out of the picture, taking a job with another builder and leaving Brad with the whole can of worms...conclusion to be continued

above photo...2nd little oak at side of home

Photo below...3rd small oak at the back of our house. It will be a while before these young oaks provide us with shade.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Lost Causes part II

Photo above... 2 years ago our home stood on a plot of land that had been farm land. The front of our land had been cleared of trees and bush, most beneficial for farming but not that desirable for a home site. In the span of that 2 years, we've added a number of elements to our yard. A crushed shell driveway and where there was once a mud hole there is now a cement stone planter that features a small magnolia tree. Slowly we will transform it into a lovely landscape, or at least that is what I hope.

As stated in Lost Causes, we were left with a new home and no landscape nor any funds for creating one. Our builder had misappropriated our landscape budget in order to complete the next house and get it ready for its Certificate of Occupancy. He was in a perpetual game of borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, or John, or Charlie or whomever. It was a game he would never win.
Brad found himself working alone, nonstop trying to complete what is referred to as a "punch out list", those odd jobs that aren’t up to a new home owners approval such as ; touch-up painting of walls or trim work, doors that need slight adjustments, a window that doesn’t get the picture. Trying to do the job of 3 men was taking its toll, but he had no funds nor anyway of paying someone to help knock out this list of odd jobs and the bottom line in home construction is that "Time is Money". Brad was aware of this, each additional day spent in getting a home ready was money out the door.

above photo...different angle of front of house gives a little better view of small magnolia tree.

During the construction of our own home we heard such a litany of excuses that I soon began to tune them out. "I’m sorry but this week I’ve been taking my wife to the doctors. She’s been having some frightening episodes. We’re not sure if it’s her heart or if she’s having anxiety attacks."... "Would have gotten that done this week but my wife’s mother was in the hospital" ... "Didn’t get that done last week as my dad passed away." ... "This week’s been a bear. My wife’s dad just passed away and we have got to go to his funeral next week, so we’ll be gone for about a week."

Let me see I’m sure there were a few other really good, heart wrenching excuses, oh yes; "Man the past few weeks have been such a strain! My grown daughter has moved back home and we found out she has a bad drug problem. We had to put her into a drug rehab program. It broke our hearts but we had to do it for her own good. So we’ve been seeing and talking with her doctors just about everyday this past week."

There was also the one where his daughter was ill and in the hospital, his father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer, his mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer,his dad was diagnosed with dementia, he discovered he had an ulcer. Perhaps all of it was true and he was having the worst spat of luck imaginable, or maybe it was all fabrication, either way I had grown tired of hearing it and towards the end could no longer offer my condolences. After hearing so many excuses for so long I couldn’t decide if I should cry with him or laugh at him. Hard to decide if he was genuinely confiding in us or playing us for fools. Who’s to say ? be continued

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lost Causes

The above photo was taken when we first moved into our newly constructed home, the photo is a bit dark as it was taken just as the sun was setting. You may notice that the garden is nonexistent, the landscape barren, that green grass is really just a carpet of weeds. At this time the driveway was little more than dirt with a large mud hole in its center. It has taken us time, 2 years to be exact, to slowly transform our yard into a ... well into a yard, rather than a barren plot of land.

When we moved into our new home, we had an allotment of about $20,000 to do such things as install an irrigation system and buy plants for landscaping. But given the fact that our builder/contractor, Brad , was undoubtedly the worst businessman this side of the Mason Dixie Line our money disappeared. We are pretty sure that Brad over extended himself by attempting to construct 5 residences with his meager construction team, and I might add a very piss-poor team at that. Brad could easily have fired 2 or 3 of them and he would have noticed no difference in the amount of work being done. It’s sad that he was not able to see how he was being used by their laziness and ineptitude, to Brad they were good old boys, he had known them awhile and he placed his trust in them. Well sometimes the best of friends don't make for the best business partners.
I figured out that Brad was basically using money paid from one project to finance another, this game of musical funds is played much the same way as musical chairs with the outcome being very similar. When the music stops you end up with 4 chairs and 5 people, somebody ends up without a chair. Our $20,000 landscape allowance ended up who knows where, but definitely not in our yard.

Perhaps we could have taken legal action but it would not have gotten us our money. Brad didn’t have the money, the money was gone, long spent, matter-of-fact he was so in debt and over his head that his own electric bill often went unpaid leaving him in a dark home without lights or air conditioning, a condition almost intolerable in the heat and humidity of south Florida. Faced with a battalion of creditors who banged relentlessly on his door, plagued him with phone calls and sent threatening letters, his wife had taken all the harassment and hardship she possibly could and left him.
Many times we tried to reach Brad via telephone, calls were not answered as he knew all too well it would just be more demands for money, money which he did not have ... to be continued

Friday, August 21, 2009

Shop to You Drop

above photo: A clear blue Florida Tropic sky with soft billows of small white clouds...perfect day for shopping !

This week my daughter injured her knee and will be looking forward to knee surgery. When asked how she managed to tear a ligament at both ends, she replies; "Playing 'Ring-Around-the-Rosies' ". And yes, that is honestly how she did it, seems it happened during the "Ashes, ashes, we all fall down" part. Apparently as they all fell down, she heard and felt 2 distinct pops in her knee and then found she was unable to get back up.

At the present she is on crutches with orders to rest the knee. Once the inflammation and swelling go down the orthopedic surgeon will go in and repair the damage.

So that now takes us to my shopping trip. Since my daughter, Kathi, is basically immobile she asked if I could take the 2 girls shopping for school clothes. Having had 3 daughters I know what a chore it is to herd more than 1 small, young lady around the mall. After a short while they grow tired of the stores and the trying on of clothing and are soon taunting and teasing one another, hiding in the clothes racks and running down the aisle.
In order to make things controllable I offered to take Lexie, the eldest, shopping on Wednesday and her younger sister, Haley, on Thursday.

above photo: Haley outside of our local Bealls store, awaiting her chance to acquire a new 2009 school wardrobe...of which she'll probably out grow before Christmas !

Though it was a joy to spend time shopping with my lovely granddaughters, this old gal is no longer the "Shop to you drop; Spend to the end; Buy to you die" shopaholic that she use to be. We arrived at the stores at 10:00 am, just when they opened, and by early afternoon I was beat.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

UFO No More...

At long last my UFO (UnFinished Overhead cabinet) project is completed, hallelujah, pour the champagne! John and I are both quite happy with the results. Our UFO is now officially a coffee table.

photo below - No this isn't the finished piece ! This is what it started out as. Note the UFO scrawled on the cabinet's side? Never fully understood just what it meant, perhaps Upper Fridge Overhead cabinet ?

Some of you may recall the initial project; an overhead wall cabinet that had been salvaged from a kitchen remodeling job. Of the 6 sides, only 2 were finished, the front with its 2 doors and the bottom, with a plain white melamine finish.

photo below shows unit after 4 sides were covered with a plywood skin. The original doors are attractive but very Red Oak with its heavy pronounced grain.

I've taken a number of photos along the way and am posting a few recaps of the procedure so any interested party can get up to speed on what has been accomplished.

Photo below - We chose chubby apple feet to support the cabinet off the floor.

Photo below - Gee they look pretty good on the soon-to-be coffee table.

below - Feet in place. Now measuring the top plywood skin.

below - Painting begins.

below - One of the faux finishes being applied.

below - Oops or "Oh S_ _ t!" 2nd faux finish was a disaster. Top looks like it has some type of contagious disease. Not pretty. No, not pretty at all. The funny thing is it actually looks better in the photo than in reality !

below - What to do ? How about peel-and-stick, slate look vinyl floor tiles ?

below - I'm pleased with the faux finish on the doors.

below - Just one small piece to cut and stick, then the top will be complete.

below - Yea it's down! Now to put the doors back on...where did we put those hinges ?

below - Uh, honey, do you remember how these things went on ?

below - Hinges on and doors in place.

Below - Simple black knobs, like that little black dress...a classic.

Below - Complete...completo...finished...finito...done...terminado !

below - And lots of storage room for stuff !

Now that the project is complete we've been able to put the saw horses, tools, paint cans, brushes, sand paper etc. back in the garage where they belong.

Ciao Bello Italo, one of Italy's 349 most handsome men. We have a garage that you could help us clean up...maybe a small lizard or two but no mice.

Jenn of Random Lunacy - should have taken your advice regarding the faux finish, instead I tried what Valspar's representative suggested. What a mess ! John brought out the electric sander and sanded the top for me, to be honest it looked much better once it was sanded smooth but it still was not the look I was striving for. Somehow I didn't envision a coffee table with acute eczema. Oh well that disease has now been cured.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Diabolical Email

John often forwards me emails that he thinks would be of interest to me and yesterday was such an occasion. The email was a power point slideshow of picturesque places in Venice, Italy...lovely old buildings, villas, palazzos, the canals and gondolas. His email came with a disclaimer that on his PC the background sound would not work, so I imagined I would experience likewise. However I turned on my speakers just in case.

Powerpoint opened with photos of beautiful Venetian imagery and Pavarotti singing "O sole Mio" in the background, quite Italian and most enjoyable.
Perhaps the presentation was a little overly long as toward the end I had heard Pavarotti's rendition almost 3 times through and was getting tired of it. That's when it happened. My PC froze up, the powerpoint slideshow stood motionless, frozen on one photo frame. No cursor. No exit or click buttons to be seen.
Trapped on screen with no apparent way to exit. I attempt "Ctrl - Esc". Still nothing. Meanwhile Pavarotti's now in the fourth round of "O Sole Mio". Somehow, most likely out of sheer luck, I manage to call up a toolbar menu window but had no idea just where to head to find this now annoying program and shut it down. Went to fetch my hubby, as the musical strands of "O Sole Mio" continued to play. By the time I found John, Luciano Pavarotti's now on his 5th encore.

John was impressed that I had gotten the sound, but he insisted I should right click my mouse and not bother with the pop-up menu that I had gotten. Did so. Things got ugly, now there was absolutely no mouse function at all , the pop-up window would no longer pop up. My monitor is frozen on a picture of a Venetian canal and of course the ever present strands of Pavarotti's "O Sole Mio" relentlessly filled the room .

No way to shut off the speakers as the speakers are a part of my monitor and I no longer had any control over my monitor. Helpless, unable to escape, it was akin to Chinese water torture ! Last recourse is to shut down the whole PC. I pushed the off button ... NOTHING ... just Pavarotti singing his heart out.
Pushed and Pushed and Pushed again still nothing, was becoming disparate enough to take my chances and unplug the whole unit, cut off its power source and stifle Pavarotti before he could utter yet another volley of "O Sole Mio".
Finally there was a familiar "Click" and with a sigh of relief my computer shut down, screen went dark and Pavarotti fell silent.

Oh blessed silence !!!!

Now I'm not a Pavarotti hater, his voice is quite lovely and I can take a bit of opera, every now and then, but this incident had truly stretched my limit of endurance. I told John he had been fortunate that his computer wouldn't play the music, to which he replied; "Yeah, it must have known something was up and said; 'Hell no! I'm not going to activate the sound on this one'. "

I responded, "How come you got the Smart Computer? Wish mine could have been so smart. Having the computer freeze up wasn't so bad it was listening to "O Sole Mio", over and over and over and over again that was tortuous !"
Pretty soon we were both laughing so hard that we could hardly take a breath. I had tears of laughter streaming down my face. Neither of us have laughed that long or that hard in ages ... felt really good to do so.
Thanks Pavarotti ... ah but I don't think I'll be replaying that powerpoint slide show any time soon.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

By The Dawn's Early Light...

Morning found me awake and tossing in my bed, my mind sorting through the files of things to do today, unable to return to peaceful slumber. Finally, in resignation, I arose, donned my robe and quietly shut the bedroom door, allowing my spouse to continue his sleep.

When one is attempting to be "quiet as a mouse" it becomes an imposing task, every small action resonates in the darkness of morning. Just making a cup of tea in silence is a challenge, can't use the microwave as every button pressed beeps out its electronic cadence, even opening and shutting the units door seems to make a deafening sound. A pot of water would have to do and on stove top it would take much longer to reach a boil, but the morning hadn't yet been born so I felt that time could be spared. As I waited I watched as the dark night sky slowly lightened, tinged with the promise of morning. Old Sol crept and crawled his way towards the horizon, bringing with him ever more light and tentatively the dawn is born.

Sunrises are seldom as spectacular as sunsets, it's almost as though the sun itself is just awakening, groggy from its bed. For only a moment the Eastern sky glowed faintly, gold with a blush of rose, and then the golden orb crested above the edge of Mother Earth. And the day began.
Yes, definitely, sunsets evoke more recognition, more wonder and awe as they paint the sky with fluorescent color. Perhaps life should be much the same; to be entered into with a tiny cry and exited with breathtaking flamboyance like the setting sun.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My 2 Cents...

Photo above: One of my new pieces in my Artfire shop.

Realize this is going to be a little different but I received an inquiry in my last post from a blogger whose pseudonym is Melvin (a blog about Muchois a purebred Himalayan cat born with primordial dwarfism). Melvin asked:

How do you like ArtFire, so far? I just recently made my way over there and haven't been too sure of it, although the Etsy fees are starting to push me away so I had to try it.

(In a previous post I wrote about my opening a new ARTFIRE shop ) At first I was going to reply under the post comments but decided the question is one of general interest, one I would myself be intrigued with. So I've decided to post my reply here:

As you know, Artfire has 2 accounts; a basic which is free ( doesn't have all the bells and whistles), and a verified which cost $12 a month. I think the basic could be successful if one has all the outside networking in place such as twitter, facebook, myspace, flickr, etc.

Like everything on the web one needs to make outside contacts or pay for advertisement to let people know you're there. This has been my biggest problem. I'm not very adept at social networking sites and seem to end up with a following of spammers trying to sell me their stuff while they have no interest in mine. LOL

But yes I agree 100% about etsy fees. The 20 cent listing fees sounds so cheap but then they encourage you to list and keep relisting so people will see your items and that adds up. Then when something sells etsy collects their commission and if you use PayPal it gets its 30 cents plus their commission. In a short time these "little" fees really add up.
I'd say give Artfire a chance, get the word out on your blogs and any other networking you have. All you have to lose is a bit of your time...shouldn't even have to take new photos for awhile as you'd have them already on file from your etsy shop. Good luck and please keep me posted as to how it eventually works out for you...I'll do likewise.

While I'm at it, I'd like to say a word to CaliforniaBlue.

I am extremely happy to hear how pleased you are with your purchase of the precious fine silver rose charms from my etsy shop, AlmostPrecious. They are one of my favorite items, as you well know.

You have done a fantastic job of creating a lovely pair of earrings with them and I can't tell you how much I appreciate your sharing pictures of the finished project with me. Both the necklace and the earrings are beautiful. I especially liked the way you used the modern gunmetal finished chain along with the fine silver and crystal, it brought everything together in a very up to date way. A very chic, hip, and fashionable accessory.
above photo shows the lovely salvaged treasure that CaliforniaBlue used to create a truly unique modern piece of jewelry.

California, I also love the fact that you used a salvaged treasure, by taking an older, outdated piece of jewelry and repurposing its components, bringing it into the 21st century. I know of several jewelry artists that frequent thrift shops and second hand consignment shops in search of such usable treasures. Quite often one can make fantastic discoveries in such quaint little shops, find components and beads that are truly one of a kind and unique. I applaud you for your creativity and resourcefulness.

Hope this, my two cents worth, has been of interest to both Melvin and CaliforniaBlue and most hopefully to all my precious blog friends and visitors. May your days be blessed with lots of sunshine, beautiful flowers, wonderful friends and very happy times.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

In One Word....YUCK !

Photo above : UFO-coffee table-to-be is getting its base coat of latex paint. Unfortunately I used eggshell finish instead of satin finish. Now I know there is a difference and that difference, well it really makes a difference.

Does anybody know of a Voodoo witchdoctor that can remove a curse ? Not sure when it happened but suddenly I realized that everything I do turns out wrong. Now if this was just something that began recently I would tend to let it slide, but this has been plaguing me for awhile...oh like the past ten years or so.

At this stage I'm truly contemplating a curse removal or ritual cleansing. Have someone adept at the mumbo jumbo arts, rattle some snake fangs and dog's teeth over my head, blow smoke in my face and chase the bugaboos right out of my life.

above photo: base coat down on sides and have streaked a glaze to resemble a wood grain, of sorts, kind of, maybe, perhaps !
Photo below: more of the same but pretty blue tape has been removed.

Have been fighting with the faux finish that I wanted to put on the top of my coffee table project(aka UFO). When I first applied the crackle finish nothing happened. Twenty-four hours later it still hadn't crackled so I emailed Valspar paints to find out what to do. Seems I used the wrong paint finish, bought eggshell and should have purchased satin paint. Valspar said to go ahead and lightly sand the glaze and then apply a coat of latex satin paint and once dry go ahead with the glazing technique. Wasn't exactly what I wanted to do for the next couple of days but, okay I'd give it shot...after all it's only time.

Well, I won't go into long drawn out details, just suffice it to say I followed their recommendation but didn't get the results I had envisioned. In a's a mess. John, my hubby, was being very diplomatic. "Ah, yes, it's cracking this time. That's good." But once I had rubbed the darker glaze into the crackled surface I told John; "I'm not loving it !"
Photo above: the type of crackle I had anticipated and desired.

Photo below: Uneven crackling, some very tiny.

Photo below: Don't worry it's not contagious ! This is not at all the look I was striving for.
The pattern of the crackling is very sporadic, and I made every effort to apply it evenly and thickly. At this moment it looks more like it is suffering from a bad case of mange than sporting a fine faux finish.
Guess I'll go ahead and apply the clear protector coat and then go look for some nice ceramic tiles to cover the top with !

Friday, August 7, 2009

Fractured, Photoless Friday

For 2 years now I've been fidgeting with our TV, seems every few months the reception goes wonky and certain stations start to break up. It usually starts off with slight pixelations and a few minutes later the whole screen looks like an electronic jigsaw puzzle. Shortly afterwards the sound begins to cut out. Interesting effect though very difficult to understand what's being said, but since I can't tell what the picture is anyway guess it doesn't matter. Have called out the cable company a couple of times over this issue, the latest being this past week. A qualified technician came out, checked things over and said our signal was so low he was surprised we were able to receive any picture at all. Strange that when the cable was installed no one else was able to see this apparently glaring flaw. Guess I expect too much.
The cable tech said we needed some type of booster but naturally he didn't have one with him so had to schedule another appointment, which was sometime Thursday. Odd how they can never tell you exactly when they'll be out. Oh sometime between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., unless something happens and then we'll call and reschedule for another day.

addendum: Cable tech showed up Thursday, late morning at just the precise same instance that the skies decided to burst forth a torrential down pour, emphatically accentuated by crashes of nearby thunder. He called us on his cell phone and said he'd return later in the day. Today is now Friday and still no call from him !

Talk about calls. I had to schedule a bone density scan, hadn't had one in years. The first radiology lab that was on our insurance provider's approved list, was no longer available. They had merged with another health care facility which was not on the "approved" list. Okay scratch that one.
Called the next one on the list and, well they didn't do bone density scans but they had another location that did.
Third phone call, yes they did bone density scans, were on the approved list but they needed to know "why" my doctor wanted me to have a bone scan. Uh gee, I just thought this was common preventative medicine ? Didn't realize I had to have a specific reason or aliment to have this done. "Okay" the girl on the other end of the phone intones dubiously, "let's give your doctor a call." I'm beginning to feel they think I'm some sort of creep who just wants to go into clinics to have my bones scanned for the fun of it, then realize maybe this is why I haven't had a scan done in all these years !

Granddaughter's birthday is coming up. Our little Haley is not your typical Barbie doll baby and I can't even imagine her playing with something like My Pink Pony. She has a strong tomboy streak in her, loves race cars, would prefer to play with her brother's toys and can't get enough of baseball. She is on a little league softball team and is quite an exceptional player. Think the best present would be a gift card to one of her favorite stores...Target !

Also want to get over to my own house of worship this week, say a few prayers and hope that maybe He will take mercy upon me and guide a few customers to my Etsy or Artfire shops...yeah a sale or two would really be nice. Dream on ! You would think that after this amount of time and my life's experiences I would have learned to appreciate and understand the meaning of the phrase; "Starving Artist" ! Well a prayer or two certainly can't hurt, in my case maybe I should do the whole rosary?

addendum: Went to my church of choice to meditate and offer up prayers. The church is closed on Fridays for the summer. Hmmm, wonder what the Lord thinks about that ?

You may recall my UFO, coffee table project. It is still a work in progress...or is that process? Yes there has been some procrastination on my part. I can't say as I detest painting, painting is fine, it's all the prep work I lose patience with. The sanding, the taping, the constant clean up of everything within ten feet of me, the clean up of brushes, rollers, trays and, ultimately, myself. In all honesty I almost had it finished. Had decided to do a porcelain crackle finish on the top of the table, seemed an easy enough project. I even took the time to study several books on the procedure and talked with a number of employees that worked in the paint department of Lowe's and Home Depot. Thought I had followed every step, every little nuance of creating a crackle finish but the crackle didn't crackle ! Guess what ? Eggshell finish is not acceptable, you need a satin finish base coat or your crackle won't crack ! What next ?
Valspar's hot line told me to lightly sand the crackle glaze finish and put down a coat of satin paint and then go ahead with the crackling steps. I'll get back with you on that one, as soon as I :
  1. Get a can of satin finish paint (color: New Penny)
  2. A new foam roller
  3. Another roll of painter's tape
  4. Sand down the crackle finish
  5. Remove all dust with a tack cloth 6. Tape off edges ..................

Hubby just informed me that the laundry basket is starting to overflow. Subtle hint that he is getting low on basics, like under shorts. Hopefully today I can throw a load into the wash, otherwise he will be going commando this week end.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Speed Racer...

On the loose in our house is a little lizard. Nothing really strange about that. This is Florida and many a lizard has found its way into the cool interior of our air conditioned abode.
Now if our newly acquired resident is a lizard extraordinaire I am hesitant to say. Unlike little Cameron, who was brilliant green with yellow lipstick, and who was able to change coloration, this small critter seems far more subdued and sports a skin of pinkish brown. Perhaps one would consider him mauve ? Also, unlike standard lizards, this little guy has tiny pads on each of his toes much like a chameleon or a gecko and he seems closer to the ground. I would have described him as squat to the ground, but that usually congers up images of slow, lethargic creatures and this wee fellow is anything but. I should know, I've been chasing him for several days now with little success. Not even remotely close to capturing him.
Yesterday I went to put away some freshly laundered towels and noticed a peculiar tail protruding from beneath the pile of linens in our linen cabinet. Carefully I lifted and remove the linens and, quick as lightening, Whizzie darted to the back of the cabinet. He turned around, looked directly at me and realized I was blocking his means of escape. With scarcely a moments pause he charged straight towards me, if he would have spoken, or if I could have understood him, I'm sure he probably yelled out something like; "Geronimo !" or "Die sucker, die !". Before I had an opportunity to blink he was flying through the air at me, shot over my right shoulder, landed on the floor behind me and darted out of the room to the safety of who-knows-where.
So we have a lizard loose in our house and I'm sure he has a black belt in one of the martial arts...perhaps he's a ninja lizard ?
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