Friday, April 29, 2011

Playing with the Blog, and a month review

I decided it was finally time to add a picture of one of my animal head sculptures to my blog.  I didn't at first, because this blog is about getting ready for full timing, not about my art work, but my art work is a big part of my life and I do hope to take a small part of the business with me on the road!

I also played with my header picture.  My dream is getting more clear.

April has been a very busy month.  I have accomplished all of the work around the house that I had planned.  I sold stuff at a Flea Market, finished the wallpaper removal, and hung and steamed the new drapes, and did some art work as well.

I haven't decided what my May jobs are going to be yet.  These last few days of April have brought three new orders, so I will be spending most of next week in the studio.

I do hope to get out for a walk or adventure on Thursday or Friday however.  The weather has been just beautiful and the forest paths are calling.

Exercise Goal:
 miles on the treadmill or trail.
2 miles Thursday
2 miles Friday
Total walked = 340 miles  

Someday I will be hiking 1000 miles in National Parks!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Redwood Walk

A few weeks ago I wrote that I was going to try to get out a bit more and explore some of the beautiful places in my own home area.

Today I did just that, and met a fellow blogger Kate, at the same time.  

She and her husband Terry live almost across the road from one of our beautiful  parks, Henry Cowell State park.

I met her, and we went for a nice walk in the redwood grove. 

 The trees are SO TALL!

The grove is quite a beautiful place. 

 One of the interesting things about redwoods is how they survive forest fires. I guess if you live for hundreds of years you grow around the fire damage. 

There were also some very interesting gnarly tree trunks along the path.

It seemed every where I looked there was another interesting picture.  

After a while I just enjoyed the sights without bothering with the camera.  

The only negative thing about the park is that since California's budget is in such  bad shape, they have increased the parking fee to $10.  A bit stiff for an hour walk.  I guess I have to get used to paying these fees if I want to see the sights.  

We will get a National Parks Senior pass when we are on the road.

This walk wasn't  an exercise walk. Kate had a sore ankle so we kept it slow and not to long. But it sure was a "nature's eye candy" walk. 

I'm looking froward to getting together with her again in the near future.  She has also introduced me to a place that does auction sales of "stuff."  It doesn't have to be high class collectables, just stuff!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Good Read

I just finished reading "Water For Elephants" by Sara Gruen.

The Kindle edition was $4.19.

It was a quick read.  A good story.

I recommend it to anyone.

I have also read Jean Auel's new book "Land of the Painted Caves " this month.  I enjoyed her earlier books more than this one.  It seemed very repetitious and lacked an interesting plot line.

I feel like the $12.00 I spent for the Kindle edition was a waste of money.

I use the Kindle Application on my MacBook Pro, but we also have a Kindle. I have gotten several free Kindle books,  and  e-books from the library.

Have you read any books that you really enjoyed lately?
 Any Recommendations?

Friday, April 22, 2011

NOT the right place to start a family!

For several days I have noticed a Stellar Jay flit past the kitchen window carrying bits of stick and straw.  I knew he or she was building a nest somewhere, but wasn't sure where. Last year they had one over the front door, and I saw the fat babies take their first flight.

picture from web
Some people don't like these birds, but I have enjoyed their antics.  When I had a small hanging bird feeder, they would try to get the seeds by hovering.  It was almost funny.

They are also notorious for raiding pet food bowls that go unfinished. When our dear old lab was off her feed, at the end, I would often toss some of the uneaten food out for the jays.

Today Craig saw the bird with a stick, and I told him I though they were building in the tandem garage. (A place you will her more about once I get in there to clean and fix it up.)  

It has  a half dutch door, open on the top, and also a hole in the wall that I think might have been built that way so the cats could get in and out. I know ours always used it and now I keep a mouse trap near the entrance to discourage any new occupants.

We went out to look for the nest and saw a lot of twigs on the floor inside the pass thru.  I thought that was odd, because I didn't think a bird would nest on the ground like that.

A look inside  told the story.

There was a coil of rope hanging on a nail just inside. Apparently the nest on the floor had fallen down from the rope and the bird had then continued to try to build another.

The mass of sticks was huge and very disorganized.  It contained paper, twine, string, grass, and twigs.

We took it and the rope down.  I will check other nesting spots in there from time to time over the next week.

 There are plenty of trees around.  This is not the place to start a new family!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Another day, another task

I know, I know, you are all bored with my wallpaper removal projects!  

Although I did have to chuckle when I read I.M.'s comment yesterday: 

Now ya got somethin' else to put down upon yer workcamperin' rezumay. Outhouses no problem, willing to clean them down to the bare walls."

No I.M., strippen on the road aint in my future!

I did the first step on the removal of the paper from the upstairs bath today.  I call it "dry pulling."  You can get the top layer of the paper off without any messy glue remover by just carefully lifting the edges with your fingernail and pulling up large sections at a time.

I almost enjoy this step.  It's easy, satisfying and makes the room looks better already!

Craig is off tomorrow, so I'm flexible with my plans.  If he need help on his project, that is what I will be doing.  If not I guess I will be starting the harder, messy part. 

Exercise Goal:
 miles on the treadmill or trail.
2 miles Thursday
Total walked = 336 miles  

Someday I will be hiking 1000 miles in National Parks!

I have been there!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Nothing Much Happening here

I got most of the wallpaper and glue off the walls of the downstairs bathroom. 

I didn't do the areas behind the light fixture over the mirror or behind the toilet. They can wait. I don't want to take the light down yet. 

 I don't know what we will be doing about the vanity and mirror, so just getting the paper off was all  can do for now.  I will paint eventually.

My next project is the upstairs bathroom. It is the LAST ROOM with WALLPAPER!  Yes, it's on the ceilings too. It's a two room bath, and the paper is peeling and stained. 
 I know we want to replace the carpet with tile, and remove the large, cracking mirror over the soaking tub. 

 We might want to tile that area, so for now I will only be stripping the paper and glue until it's decided.

One step at a time. Do what I can.

On Sunday I went to an open house for a property that might be used as a comperable for ours some day.  The  similiarity between properties is the age, location, and type of construction.  We have more land, a larger house, more garages, and some upgrades. 

 That house has been on the market on and off as a "for sale by owner" for several years. I think the asking price is too high, but we shall see.  From what their realator said, they are not very "motivated" and aren't acknowledging the decrease in values.

I took lots of pictures of it so if it is used as a comperable I can show an appraiser the differences.

I've enjoyed my treadmill time this week.  I watched the classic Lucy Ball movie "The Long Long Trailer" available on Netflix. 

Exercise Goal:
 miles on the treadmill or trail.

miles Sunday
miles Monday
2 miles Tuesday
Total walked = 334 miles  

Someday I will be hiking 1000 miles in National Parks!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Got Out and Took a Walk

I had a very pleasant day today.

Levonne and I met up for a light lunch and a walk on the beach.

I think it was good for both of us.
Along with some real fresh air, we got in some good "friend talk."

Both of us brought cameras along, and both discovered the batteries
in our cameras were to low to use.

So here's a picture, that I pulled off the Web, of the cement boat we walked over to see at the Sea Cliff Beach in Capitola CA.

It was a perfect day for a walk with a friend.

I should do more of this.
I live in such a scenic area.
 No need to travel far to find great walks.

New resolution:  One day per week taking a long local hike!

Exercise Goal:
 miles on the treadmill or trail.

miles Thursday April 14
miles on the beach on Friday
Total walked = 328 miles  

Someday I will be hiking 1000 miles in National Parks!

Monday, April 11, 2011

"Army Wives" and other Odds and Ends

Fact:  We have not had TV at our house since December. 

 Why?  Because almost all of the satellites that transmitted signals for Big Dish reception have all gone dark.  This process has been gradual over the last year or two.  First we lost the East coast stations, then a couple of the networks, finally all were gone in December.  We can sometimes pull in a signal for a Costa Rica station, but we never bother to try. We have had several antennas but they have all blown over in storms, and we don't have cable in the Mountains.

As all of this was happening, Craig wanted to get a small dish system.  For me it was just  another expenditure, another tie down to this house. 

 Except for sports, Craig hasn't watched much TV for years.  I always had it on, but felt I could live without it quite easily. So far, not having it has been no hardship for me. In fact I think my life is far more peaceful without CNN, Fox News and MNSBC.

I did enjoy the food channel  and HGTV. 

I  watch movies from Netflix, and have also watched many HBO TV series that way. 

 I am currently watching Army Wives. 

I didn't think I would like it, but find it is really good!  I have it playing on my laptop while I'm working in the studio.  

I have watched the entire first season in the last two weeks.

I find myself wondering if life for the young military wives is anything like what these women experience.

  Not the drama parts, but the politics. 

 Because Craig was not in the service, and I really don't know much about the military. I can only imagine what it would be like to have your husband deployed.

Odds and Ends:  I took a couple of weeks off from working on the house to catch up with some other things.  The art biz has been remarkably good this spring.  I have had a number of orders and have also sold several pieces that I had done in the past on "spec."

I am currently working on a new design for a  restaurant in Chicago.  As with many of my more commercial commissions it has been ordered thru a decorator.  I wish I had kept better records of where some of my work has gone.  I'd love to be able visit as we travel across the country!

This past week has been a bit nerve racking.  The new drapes were done and we have been working on putting them up.  This is not as easy as it may seem since we are using the same old traverse rods.

Because of the size of the span of windows covered on each side, the main drape rod requires extra supporting brackets.  To get the sheers to slide under the brackets I had to repin them 1/4 inch lower.

As I was hanging the sheers I noticed the cord on the main drape rod on one side was badly frayed. I had to get new cord and Craig installed it.

The drapes themselves are very wrinkled.  I have located someone (thru freecycle) that is willing to loan me a steamer.  Picking it up tomorrow.

This whole project has been very hard.  I can see why someone would want to use a decorator and have them professionally hung.  For us the price difference was  $6000.  And that was with a consultant thru COSTCO! (There are two panel that are 185" x 96", plus sheers, a patio do and five dining room windows.)

I did make one mistake in ordering the dining room sheers.  I think I can change them myself, but if I can't and have to reorder one pair it will only be about $125.    I can live with that!

I have also started working on the walls of the bathroom by my studio.  Yes, you guessed it.  More horrible wallpaper to remove.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ruby Falls TN

Last week our daughter asked if we still had an old Super 8 movie she had made for a 5th grade class assignment.  I knew just were it was, and in the process of getting it out I also brought out a box of old family films and the projector.  She has offered to take them and have them transfered to a digital medium.

There aren't very many, and for the last few nights Craig and I have enjoyed, or groaned thru scenes from the late 70's and 80's.

Boy were we young!  And I was THIN!

One three reel saga is of our car trip from Wisconsin to Florida to go to Disney World at Christmas 1976.

We have lots of footage of driving thru Tennessee.  One place we have never forgotten is RUBY FALLS!

As we drove we saw sign after sign along the highway.  We had to stop.  It was well worth it. At least for a couple of very inexperienced travelers.

Ruby Falls is near Chattangoona, and in my humble opinion it is a tourist stop worth doing if you like caves.

I just thought I'd mention it to any one who is lucky enough to be going to the Rally.  I think it is to the South and West of the Rally, but in the same state! Some of you may be driving that way.

By the way, thanks for all the fun and encouraging comments on yesterday's post.  I've had my doubts about taking him along from time to time.  Now I tell him he can go if he is good.
(I did get one SPAM comment that Blogger caught.  It showed up in my email, but not on my blog.  It was for male enhancement products.  Must have been because of the title :~) )

I do take comments to heart and think about what others say. I have thought about doing a trial run, or some part timing, but that is a subject for another post.

Time to get to work!  I have both sculpture orders to do, and more wallpaper to strip!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Is Craig Coming Along?

On Sunday, we went  to a very nice BBQ celebration of a friends 50th anniversary.

We got to see a lot of our mountain friends that we haven't talked to much over the long winter months.

One of them reads  my blog, and when Craig was talking about our future RV intentions, my friend said he couldn't tell if Craig was going along or not. 
The answer is ...  

drum roll ....


It was his idea in the first place!  At times he seems reluctant, but it is not so much about the idea of spending a couple of years in an RV, as it is about the process of what we have to do to get there.

People have asked why we are "doing so much" to the house, why not sell it "as is"?  

The truth is we are really only doing things that we should have done over the last 20 year!  We have ignored a whole lot of maintenance and cosmetic repairs.  

I remember an old John Wayne movie where the rancher Dad kept saying "Come next summer ..."  when it came to some repair or other.  Well, our theoretical "next summer" has come.  Now is the time!

We made two big steps toward the future because of the BBQ.  One of our friends teaches photography at the University, and there was talk about how she had just put in a big new darkroom into her garage.  Does anyone still develop and print film?!!

Three houses ago, in the 80's, Craig had a darkroom.  We still had all the equipment in boxes in our garage.  We talked to her, and she agreed to take the enlarger and any other equipment we wanted to get rid of.  If there are things she can use, fine, if not she will take them to the University and find a student that can make use of them.

We hurried home, began unpacking the big old boxes and bagging up the disintegrating and (only slightly) mouse chewed wrapping papers.  Dusted things off and repacked them nicely.

We discovered the packers had mixed photographic equipment with fish tank stuff, so we unpacked all of that as well.  When we lived in Texas, 30 years ago, we had five salt water tanks.  When we moved, we sold a couple, but brought most of the associated stuff with us to California.  Living in earthquake country, I was not inclined to have a couple hundred gallons of water in glass tanks around the house, so we never got back into it.

It is all so old, we don't even want to offer it on free cycle.  but Craig has agreed to help me load it up and take it to the dump this weekend!

YES!  Yes, he is coming along.   He is talking about our plans to our friends and he is willing to get rid of the fish tank stuff!   

Great progress!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Good Day

Just a short note:  I had a very good day at the De Anza Flea Market.  It is not as "junkie" as some, and there was a steady flow of educated customers.  

They were knowledgeable enough to know what was a good price, and if I said no to a lower offer they still bought what they wanted.

The market is only held once a month at a local Jr. College.  You have to apply a month in advance.  This was my first time.  The lady next to me said that junk dealers might get in once, but were routinely rejected after that.

I won't be doing another until closer to the house being on the market.  I might do the one that is the first week of December and sell Christmas stuff.  We shall see.

The weather was good, so I didn't use the mold canopy.  I'm going to try spraying it with a bleach solution and if that doesn't work, just toss it .

Tired tonight.  Ready for bed.  I did see the sunrise this morning, but it was overcast.

Going to a BBQ party tomorrow.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Flea Market Tomorrow

Well, the truck is packed full of stuff.  I don't know if it will sell or not, but at least it is out of the house and out of the garage.

I'm less well prepared for this Flea Market than I was for the very small church one I did last summer.  I don't want to think about pricing until it is all out.  I did do a little, but I also noticed last month when I went for a look-see that not everyone had everything marked.

A chance of Rain has been forecast for tomorrow, so I packed my Easy-up Tent.  The big bag with the top in it was the last thing I stuffed into the front seat of the van and as I was reparking it in the garage I noticed a strong "musty" smell.  It was the tent top.  It has been in the bag, in the garage for several years.  

I have it spread out in the sun for the afternoon, and hopefully it will air out enough to be useable.  

I dread the fact that I have to get up really really early tomorrow.   

Think of me ...   I'm not doing this for the money ...  

I'm doing this as another step toward reaching my dream.