Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Swimming in a sea of boxes

The studio is up and running but not necessarily tidy. There is a plan in place but I keep getting distracted by the things I find in boxes. Like that fish. I haven't seen that fish in a long time. I made her eons ago in a time before the creation of dirt. And then packed it up in one of the seemingly endless moves we've made.

I've got oodles of space in this new studio. A full 16 feet of table top. Woo Hoo! And light, glorious light.

I wonder how long it will take to cover those tables in projects (err untidness)?  Actually, there is a fair bit of untidyness happening already. It feels like home that way. I think maybe I will just adhere to the motto that "a messy desk is the sign of an uncluttered mind." I love rationalisation.

This is my secret weapon for coralling the mess. I've got one big tall utility shelf. I've got tubs and containers that each contain the things I need to do a particular type of thing. Like etchant and stamps and stuff for etching all neatly organised in one container that can be pulled out, used, packed up and put away when done. I started this plan in my old studio. It didn't work there either. But ever the optimist, I just know that I can make it work here.

Then there is this. This is the office end of the studio. Rather sad looking, isn't it? It's the boring stuff to unpack and organise. It has the left over furniture, the table that I wish was something else. The packing boxes, paper, bubble mailers, printer.

And this. A totally unrelated to studio work enterprise. They are little news print seed starter pots filled with my very own special blend of seed starter soil. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and brussels sprouts. Yes, brussel sprouts. I know it's a very unpopular vegetable. I know that Peter doesn't like brussel sprouts. But he will once he's tasted it home grown in autumn, picked after the first light frost, cooked and smothered in butter.

So how do you do it? How do you create order out of chaos? Or do you just close the door and hope the fairies will come in and sprinkle a bit of magic organising dust during the night?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Progress in the Studio

Just so you know. I have not become a peculiar old lady, wearing a stylish but out dated straw sunbonnet and floral patterned garden gloves while muttering to her flowers and sipping mint julips. I do like the idea of becoming a peculiar old lady and I do have garden gloves (practical not stylish).

The new studio is in progress. It's a big project. I'm pretty danged excited about it. But there's a hurdle to overcome. Two actually, but one is done.

That big boy up there is Bob. He's patroling for squirrels. He may be old, somewhat deaf, with not quite perfect vision, but he can still spot a squirrel. We will never, ever, be overun by a marauding band of squirrels. He's at the back door of the new house which also happens to be my studio door. See what he's standing on?

Carpet. The bane of my studio existence. I am messy. What I do is messy. I need to mop things up, even though I do not like to mop. We were really hoping that under this brand new carpet was old lino. Just like we were hoping that the water heater would heat water and that the fridge would not sigh its last breathe on the day we moved here.

 But nope. Under that carpet was old adhesive, really, really old adhesive from the lino floor we were hoping might be buried under the new carpet.

Looks kinda like a wood floor, eh? We took out all the carpet strips and 2, 438 staples (seriously, I counted them) and put down our faux wood floor. Actually, this is a 'deluxe vinyl plank' floor and almost all of the 260 square feet of it are done. It was the least expensive flooring we could put in ourselves and I think the 'deluxe' descriptor was put there just so we wouldn't feel bad about being thrifty. We'll finish it off this morning and then head off to the home improvement store for some finishing bits. Even if we didn't need to go, we'd need to check in. It's been a few days since we've made a major purchase and I'm sure the staff are worrying about us.

BTW, Alice and Bob are not posing on the new floor to provide interest and scale. Peter is behind me somewhere with treats. Treats are such a great motivator. I'm pretty motivated by treats. In fact, this whole flooring adventure has been motivated by treats, like, iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk. Yum.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Death of the Killer Tree

This lovely, serene Snowberry Coreopsis now lives in the home of the Killer Tree. The Snowberry does not mourne its loss and neither do I. It was an awful spiteful tree and deserved its fate.

The Killer Tree was lurking here disguised as a trellis for about a million different types of vines that call this fence line home. We did not know it was there until we started taking out the vines that were threatening to take over the garden, march across the lawn, and consume our house. The Killer Tree bit me badly each time I tried to pull vines away from the fence. Who knew that gardening could be so dangerous? I am scarred for life.

See? Huge, deadly thorns on this tree. Not only did they cover every branch, and there were a lot of branches, they went right down to the base of the tree. Awful, horrible, malicious tree. Quite pretty bark and leaves, but still, who needs a tree that is so evil in their garden.

Just as a small diversion from this tale of the battle between good and evil, I think the Killer Tree is a hawthorn.  It derives its name from the old English 'haw' for hedge and translates literally to throny hedge. Brilliant. The internet is chockers full of interesting information. Like this little nugget: 

" After the British General Enclosures Act of 1845 hawthorn was used extensively as hedgerow because of its thorny nature and quick growth, angering peasants who no longer could enter the lands they previously roamed at will. "   

Totally useless information for this particular garden battle and since we have very few angry roaming peasants in the neighborhood, the Killer Tree had to go. 

It was a pretty fierce and dangerous battle involving saws, axes, bare hands, sweat, blood, tears and many harsh words. But in the end good triumphed over evil.


Re-stacked stone wall, top soil and compost, a few perenials. Good triumphs over evil, and the universe is saved from certain destruction.

Early Sunrise Coreopsis

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hunting for buried treasure

We are here! Three days of travel, one night of air mattress bed, many boxes unpacked, and on the sixth day there was internet.  We are feeling very at home here in North Carolina. We have fantastic neighbors, one who even came over with his chain saw to help us liberate the gardens. This house we are in was empty for three years and nothing was touched in the gardens.

That daylily up there was a surprise yesterday morning. A beautiful house warming gift.

But finding these little garden gifts is truly like hunting for buried treasure. The good news about living here is that it is lush and green and the soil is beautiful. The bad news is that the vines and weeds and all of the not so lovely things thrive in this environment just as well as the garden treasures. That lovely daylily bloom was just peeking out of that mass of vines and grasses when I first spied it.


The side garden at the front of the house looked like this when we first got here. Completely overgrown and very hard to see what was in it. We knew from neighbors that the previous owner loved her garden. So we had high hopes that there would be a lovely garden lurking somewhere beneath it all.

A few hours later and lots of sweat and only just the tiniest bit of cursing, I found these beautiful hostas, a viburnum, iris, a hydrangea. I hope that I can help this garden to be happy again.

Setting up the studio is in progress. But for now there is nothing like getting my hands in the soil to make me feel connected to my new home. And I feel that given enough sun, water, and tender loving care that the work of the studio will flow from the work in the garden.

Life is good.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Universal Truth and the Zen of Moving

I feel like this.

The Truth

* Using harsh language with the packing tape dispenser is not effective.

* Using harsh language with your partner is even less effective.

* Dogs go on hunger strikes to protest change. But only for breakfast.

* The cleaning you did a month ago does not last for a month.

* It’s nice to be on a first name basis with the clerk that you buy boxes from at UHaul. But it won’t get you a discount.

* Packing boxes after 5 pm goes better with a gin and tonic. But only one.

* The important papers that you did not sort 6 years ago are still not sorted and maybe not so important.

* Sleeping on an air mattress is not more comfortable if you pretend you are camping with air conditioning.

* You really only need one bowl, one glass, and a spoon for each member of your household. You can throw the rest away.

* Pizza is a complete food and you can eat it everyday for at least a week. And pairs nicely with gin and tonic.

* It is lovely to see someone else load your things onto a truck.

* It is not so lovely to see that your movers need larger jeans and a belt.

The Zen

There is no zen in moving. This is probably a universal truth.

The End.