Tuesday, September 28, 2010

To hot to paint, so I worked on Eyes

Again, thanks for the comments.  I feel like I have some very wise and honest friends out there on blogger.

It sure has been hot here for the last few days.  Not as hot as L.A., and not even as hot as Santa Cruz or San Jose (on either side of my mountain)  But very hot.

There is a big RV show going on about 50 miles from here in Plesanton that I went to on Friday and would probably have wanted to go to again this week, but it is too HOT!  Can you imagine going in and out of a bunch of RV's in a sunny 100 degree dirt lot!  I may be dreaming, but not that much.

On Sunday I primed, and yesterday I did the first coat of paint on two of the last "hard to get at places."

On top is another one of those little eves. I have been using a foam pad to lie on as I paint so it isn't as hard as it looks.

The other is a  part of  the overhang on the upper deck that is also above a bit of roof. From my 8' step ladder I can reach the back corner if I have my paint brush taped to a length of wood.

It was way to hot to go up and do the second coat this morning, so I just worked for awhile on sealing the exposed beam (above the ladder) with a good coating of Bondo.  The picture is a half way shot.

Then I decided to give up on outside and work on something in the studio.

 Hot weather IS good for one of my processes.  Making the eyes for my sculptures.
The shiny surface they have is a flow on coat of resin  and it always sets up best in hot dry weather.

The first step to making eyes (which I did weeks ago) is to cast numerous half balls out of plaster of Paris. Using hot glue I attach them to little portion cups so that they are easier to handle.  Then I sand and paint them.

The eyes above are being painted, and  the ones in the foreground to the right are all painted and ready for the first coat of resin.

The ones in the back were done a few days ago and are ready for the second coating.

After I paint on the resin, I put them into a lidded box to set.  This protects them from dust in the air.

It usually takes at least 24 hours for them to cure.

In hot weather it goes faster and there is less of a chance of getting dust in the wet resin.

I started doing the eyes this way about ten years ago.  Craig was talking about our going full time and I needed to modify some of my steps so I could do them on the road.  I had been mounting the plaster shapes into each sculpture, painting them, and coating them with resin.  I would put little cups over the wet resin to protect it, but  I would have to protect the whole sculpture for days at a time because I always do several coats of resin.

So thoughts of RVing lead to this improved method.  I now make enough eyes during the summer to last all year, and I can work on them at odd moments.  I can see myself sitting at a picnic table in a nice friendly RV park, sanding and painting eyes!  When safely tucked in their drying box they will fit into the basement quite easily.

Daily countdown:

400 days Or 1 year, 1 month, 5 days  to get the house ready for sale!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Thoughts and a rhino

First off I want to thank those who left comments on my last blog, There will be storage.  They made me think.  Does he really want to Full Time?  Do I really want to Full Time?

 So I asked, and Craig first said "yes" he does want to full time eventually.  But later the same night he said he needed to amend his answer and although he "probably" wanted to full time someday, he knew for sure that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me, in a house, condo, or apartment, or RV.  As long as we were together.


On the other hand he has been really giving his all to getting the painting finished.  Taking  Wednesdays off, and working a long day on the ladder on the weekends.

I went to an RV show on Friday and saw one rig I really liked.  Unfortunately it was a gasser.  When I mentioned it to him on Saturday, he said nothing.  Didn't ask a single question.   This is quite typical of him however.  He won't be open to discussing options until the time comes to be serious about buying one. Then he will do tons of research.


Oh well.  I just have to wait and see how it all goes.  No mater what we do, we definitely need to get this house fixed up.  If we can do that, we can look at other possibilities.

 I have not given up on the idea.  I just might start to think about the possibility of being "Anytimers" who have a house and a RV!  Because I want to live with him too!

Now, about that Rhino.  I have been busy all week getting one done and shipped.  I had a big problem however.  I was out of the gray fabric I like to use and after checking at three stores could not find anything to replace it.

I did have a yard of a wonderful textured cloth, but it was brown.

So I did what Merikays do best.

I painted it!  He also gained a great rough hide-like texture!

Daily Countdown:

402  or 1 year, 1 month, 7 days until something happens!

Monday, September 20, 2010

There Will be Storage

If it were up to me, just about everything in this house would either get sold or donated.

 If it were up to Craig, just about everything in this house would be kept.

Somehow we will have to come to a meeting of the minds.  But one thing I do know is there will be storage of some size or another.  Perhaps two units would be appropriate.  A closet size one for me, and a warehouse for him.

I'm determined to not let this issue get to me.  At this point it is definitely "putting the horse before the cart."

Craig has been working very hard to help with the painting, and I think when we get thru that he will be equally motivated to work on the inside.

But every time I mention getting rid of something he looks very unhappy!
Either we pay rent on something like this

this may be our toad!

All of the full timers out there have gone thru it.  

Many of the future full timers are working on it.

Does it ever go easy for both husband and wife?

Daily countdown:
 408 days  Or 1 year, 1 month, 13 days until the house goes on the market.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Not on a ladder

Not all of my painting is done on ladders!  When I'm working on the lowest edge of the walls I sit on this little one step.  It was left in the garage by the former owners of the house 22 years ago, and has been just right for many jobs.

Or in the case of this hard to reach place, under an overhang on one of the dormers, I find I can reach if I lay down.

 In fact this place was so difficult to get at that it wasn't painted the last time the house was done!

Craig was on the other side of the house most of the day doing his part.

We might get a few drops of rain tomorrow!  So when we cleaned up today all of the tarps and other stuff had to be picked up.

September is very early for rain.  We shall see.

Daily Countdown:

410 days Or 1 year, 1 month, 15 days until I hope the house will be ready to put on the market!  

Friday, September 17, 2010


I was cleaning up some of my files today and came across this.  It is not original, and may be from Erma Bombeck.  But it is  good for a smile and close to my own personal philosophy.  I don't believe in housework!

Subject: Philosophy Of Housecleaning

1.  I don't do windows because ... I love birds and don't want one
     to run into a clean window and get hurt.   (I am compassionate )

2.  I don't wax floors because ... I am terrified a guest (or dog) will slip,
     hurt themselves, I'll feel terrible and they may sue me.
         (I am careful and poor )

3. I don't mind the dust bunnies because ... they are very good
    company, I have named most of them, and they agree with everything
    I say.     (I am imaginative )

4.   I don't disturb cobwebs because ... I want every creature to have
     a home of their own and my family loves spiders.  (I am kind )

5.  I don't Spring Clean because ... I love all the seasons and don't
     want the others to get jealous.          (I am fair minded)

6.   I don't plant a garden because ... I don't want to get in God's
    way, he is an excellent designer.   (I am courteous)

7.  I don't put things away because ... my family will never be
     able to find them again.  (I am considerate)

8. I don't always do gourmet meals when I entertain because .... I don't
      want my guests to stress out over what to make when
      they invite me over for dinner.    (I am thoughtful of others)

9.  I don't iron because ... I choose to believe them when they say
      "Permanent Press".   (I am trusting)

10.  I don't stress much on anything because ... "A Type"
       personalities die young and I want to stick around and become a         
       wrinkled up crusty ol' woman!!!!       (I am very practical)

 Is Life is a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely
 in a pretty and well-preserved body, or rather to skid in broadside,
 thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming --

                   "WOW!! What a Ride!"

411 days, Or 1 year, 1 month, 16 days until I want to see the house on the market.  When we leave is unknown and beyond my control.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The value of reading Blogs, and what we did this weekend.

First off I want to thank all of you who take the time to share your experiences and pictures via your blogs. I don't know if what I write will ever help anyone, but I hope it does when some other "wanna- be" reads about my hard work to get free of the "sticks and bricks!"

I started noting the interesting things about the blogs I read, but found there was something about every one of them.  If not today, then certainly in past postings.

One that I particularly enjoyed today was twiggy by Wandering Sville.  Interesting pictures of a praying mantis feeding at a hummingbird feeder.  OK, maybe not earth shattering information, but something I had never seen before.

Another thought provoking Blog is Thoughts for Tuesday by an non RVer, Lynilu, about the effect we all have on the world every day.

Mentioning these two among the many  is probably preaching to the choir, but I felt compelled to anyway!

Now on to the less interesting:  What we did this weekend!

On Saturday, Craig built a platform over the stairs outside the kitchen so that I could safely paint there.

Started that work on Monday.

On Sunday, while Craig was doing some more high painting, I worked on some of the animal sculptures I have to do.  I finished the Zebra Monday morning and will continue adding layers of paint to the elephant until I am happy with it.  The Rhino in the back of the picture should be ready to ship by next week.

So there is a peak into my trivial and boring life!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Friends vs relatives

Our friends are the people we choose to know and associate with.

We do not choose our relatives.

Without either we would be alone.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Interesting Possibility

For the last nine years or so, Craig has worked as a contractor for a company that he had once worked for as a full time salaried employee.  This happened when a small start up he had gone to went under and he was laid off.  The downside of contract work is there are no benefits.  The upside is he has some control of the hours he works.  This suits him just fine since he has enjoyed working fewer hours each day than he had in the past.

Last night he mentioned he might talk to his boss and arrange to take off on Wednesdays for the next six weeks or so.  (We have about six weeks of really good weather ahead.)  This would give him a bit more time to work on the exterior of the house.  

In my opinion this would be great!  There are so many things that need to be done that I cannot do, or I cannot do alone. 

Daily Countdown:
418 days Or 1 year, 1 month, 23 days until I want the house to go on the market. 

Re: Yesterday's post:  I plan on tossing my "To Do" list book in the trash at the Grand Canyon.  

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Painting clothes

I'm going to save one set of my painting clothes, and toss them into a trash at Niagara Falls!

Daily Countdown:

419 days Or 1 year, 1 month, 24 days until the house goes on the market. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Busy day, but a good busy.  Expect a busy week!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

My Art Work

Things have been quite different around here this summer.  In the past I have spent most of my time working on animal head sculptures in my studio.  It is cool in summer, and since the base of my work is paper mache I took advantage of the hot dry summer air to sun bake my work.  I always had lots of orders, and if not I would work on "spec" pieces for the fall and winter, or new designs just for fun.  Over the years I have hired help, usually a teenager, to work part time in the summer doing basic lay-up work.
A few years ago the average wait for someone who ordered one of my pieces was four to six weeks, and I had a good international following.

Then the recession started.  If you are unemployed, or your house is in foreclosure, you just don't have money to spend on original art.  The international business lasted longer than domestic.  The commercial (as in office decor) lasted longer than individual purchases.

Last year was worse than the year before, and this year I have had weeks go by without an order on the books.  I have not been building extra either.  I only have a few finished pieces in inventory, and even fewer unfinished.

The good thing is that this has given me time to work on the house.  Now when I check the email in the morning I feel strangely glad when there are no orders. And the place has been quiet without a summer helper.

But then suddenly things have changed again.   I have gotten three orders in the two weeks, and I am working out the details for another custom piece.  It's good to see a little money coming in, but in a way my time is probably worth more when I'm painting the house than when I'm making an Elephant!

I have wondered many times if I can take some of it with me into our next life.  I have narrowed down the list of the most popular critters I make and could easily fit what I need to make them into our towed.  I have imagined a variety of working set ups, including an Easy-Up next to the RV, or perhaps in an activity room at a resort. Marketing would be the same as it is now.  On the internet.  On my Web Page.  If I could make just a few pieces a month it would certainly help pay space fees at nicer places.  Our living the RV life isn't dependent on  the extra money, but I would be happy to have it, and my identity is still very strongly tied to my work.  If I leave it behind, who am I.

Oh well, only time will tell.  For now I have to finish a Large Elephant, start a Large Zebra, design a custom Dragon, and send a customer fabric swatches for a Pig.

If you would like to see my work, there is a tab at the top of this page for my web site.

 or click here  animalhead.com  

Daily countdown:
423 Days, or 1 year, 28 days till the target date for having the house on the market!

When we hit the road is anybody's guess!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A bit of Elegance for the old place

The new garage door were installed today.   All I can say is Wow!  I watch a lot of HGTV and this really gives the place some "curb appeal."  Considering we don't have a curb, and nature does our landscaping, these doors are really an Upgrade!

You really can't see the detail in this picture, but each window has a beautiful leaded glass design that goes very well with the leaded glass in and next to the front door.

Each window does have a "frame" around it and I think we will be painting the frame brown and the main part of the door the blush of the house.

I'll take a close up after we finish the painting and the front door area.

It has been a busy week!

Looking forward to the three day weekend.  We shuld get a lot done.

I really do enjoy all of this.  It's the biggest craft project I have ever attempted!