Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Almost there

The end is in sight (just in time for the end of the world...). Needs the bathroom fixtures and my work sink and cabinets. The plumbing needs to be hooked up. But it's really looking good and I'm really eager to get moving in.

The floor is linoleum. A real wood floor would be lovely, but I do not want to have to be careful with the paints and the dyes. My current studio has a rug and it has been highly decorated with spilled paints and hidden pins. 

The view on October 25.

From the same spot today. The earlier view is from before we decided to add the powder room. I regret loosing the space, but in the long run, having the facilities close by is a better choice. There will be a chair and  end table and such comfy stuff in the yellow alcove. It will be a nice place to sit and contemplate my good fortune.

And looking back towards the stairwell. That very long wall on the right measures 18 feet and I'm going to cover 4 4x8 sheets of insulation with white fleece and it will become the design wall.  We're really getting down to the nitty gritty stuff at the end of the project. I have so much stuff located in so many places around the house that it's going to take a massive effort to relocate everything into the studio. I sure hope there is room for everything.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Heat and Doors

Things are really starting to move along quickly now. A few big things and a bunch of details. It's the details at the end that usually get us. The projects we do ourselves get to the 99% complete stage in a reasonable amount of time. It's that last 1% that can take months, nay years to get done. But when you've hired a contractor to do the work, he has a very strong incentive to finish it 100%: the final payment.

The steps up to the patio are finished and the brickwork is beautiful. I guess when you've been doing something for 30 years, you get really good at it. There is going to be a wrought iron railing up the right hand side. Apparently the building codes require it - a safety feature so someone doesn't fall off the edge.

This is the heat pump. I've heard positive and negative things about heat pumps so I was so-so on this. But the other option would have been to install a regular furnace. The carpenter who is working in the studio cutting trim and doors has it set at 60 degrees, but it felt a lot warmer than that. There is a ton of insulation, double the required amount in the floor, so I think it's going to be toasty. In the studio there is a unit that blows the air around; it's located up near the ceiling. It's so quiet I had to stand directly beneath it to hear the fan running. I wouldn't have liked a noisy fan.

The powder room now has a door.

One of the elf doors going into the eaves area. 

This is the garage side of the stairwell. That door leads into the area where there will be a hot water heater and another heater to keep the area warm.

Classy brick steps coming from the walkway into the garage.

Painting on Monday, garage doors on Tuesday or Wednesday, flooring after that. Finish up the electrical work and plumbing, install the powder room fixtures and my work sink and cabinetry, lay a new front walkway and put in a new driveway. Bank balance, zero.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, a day late. Although at this house, it's a day early as I do the big cook on Saturday. Have to work around other peoples' families' plans. Here are a bunch of pictures. The siding is almost completely up and the brickwork is moving along nicely. The spackle guys are beholden to the humidity and have to wait for each layer of spackle to dry before sanding it. There are fans blowing full blast in the studio to help the process along.

Door to the studio, notice the beautiful step.

These are the steps from the walkway up to the patio. They weren't part of the original plan but the drainage issue forced quite a few alterations and this is one of them.

We paid extra for these fancy garage doors.

This is the covered walkway from the house. It's going to make a very nice little sitting area.

The interior of the garage. Another change resulting from the drainage issue: those two windows in the back had to be shortened because the grade is coming up a lot higher.

The stairway up to the studio.

At the top of the stairs, looking into the studio. The half wall on the right goes to a full wall and my work sink and cabinetry will be located along this wall. The doorway on the right goes into the powder room. The short doorway goes into the eaves storage area.

Looking into one of the storage areas. It's not totally obvious, but at the far end we were able to extend the available area into the space above the stairwell. So that's about 16 square feet of extra storage. Can never have too much storage space.

This is the other storage space. I'm working on a plan to build moveable racks for quilt storage. Have to think in 3 dimensions in order to allow for the sloping ceiling. 

What's left: finish the siding and trim, finish the brickwork, paint, install the flooring, install the powder room fixtures, install the work sink and cabinetry, install the fixtures and lights, install the garage doors, install the HVAC system, rip up the driveway and make a new one, rip up the walkway to the front door and lay a new one, finish fixing the window in the master bedroom that had to be adjusted to compensate for the drainage issue. I'm sure there are lots of other things on that list, but this is what comes to mind immediately.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The guys have been busy

A lot has happened in the last two weeks. We have had plumbers, electricians, masons, along with the regular crew, all running up and down ladders and stairs, inside and outside. I have a ton of pictures of duplex outlets, switches, light fixtures, and pipes, all of which are boring unless it's your own space. The most interesting is the brick on the front of the garage and in the walkway. It would have been fantastic if we could  afford to brick the entire building, or even the entire front, but that's not going to happen. The brick looks really nice, and it matches the house nearly perfectly.

Pipes and electrical boxes. It's amazing that these guys know what everything connects to and that when it's all installed everything will work as expected. Probably why we're paying them the big bucks.

The fuse box at the back of the garage, along with the drainage pipe. 

Lighting in the studio, or at least the wiring for the lighting.

This week I also picked out flooring, bathroom fixtures, a work sink, and cabinets for around the work sink. This coming week the insulation will be installed and then they can begin hanging the wall board. Also the siding on the outside. I think the end is in sight. Hopefully it arrives before we run out of money.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Waiting for Sandy

The roofers arrived at 7:30am yesterday; it was just barely light. They put their harnesses on and had tether ropes so they could swing back and forth across the 1 in 12 pitched roof. It was amazing to watch them work, and a little bit breathtaking. The main house has a slate roof, but putting slate on the addition would have priced it out of an acceptable range. There are slate look-alike products that from a distance are almost indistinguishable from the real thing. They even install slate catchers to further the illusion. That's those little copper colored things along the lower edge. With real slate, having one of them slide off the roof and clock somebody - well, it would probably take their head right off.

Below is the full view. That ladder leaning up against the side will have to be taken down and stored until Hurricane Sandy passes through. The predictions are pretty dire, with high winds and lots of rain lasting two days. I have my fingers and toes crossed that no trees come down. The authorities are saying to prepare for power outages of several days. We have gas for the generator and it's been serviced since its last non-performance in July. At the grocery store this morning all the store brand water was gone but I could buy a more expensive brand. Not exactly sure why I need water, since we're not on a well, but I guess it's possible for the pumping station to be out of commission. The dumpster is full of potential flying objects with no way to secure any of them. And I expect the spot-a-pot to get blown over.

These bricks for are the front of the garage and in the walkway area. I don't know if these are real used bricks or bricks that have been made to look used. Either way, they probably cost more than "new" bricks.

And the powder room area has been roughed in. I'm getting better at climbing the ladder, but that moment when I have to get back on to climb down always makes me pause. I wonder if it's something you get used to. The construction guys go up and down the ladders without a thought, sometimes carrying a heavy load. Of course, their knees are most likely in a lot better shape than mine are.

I doubt that there will be much work done on Monday and Tuesday. But we'll have an excellent opportunity to see how the drainage system works

Thursday, October 25, 2012

First Views

Climbed the ladder for my first good look at the studio. Good thing I'm not very tall because those doors into the storage areas are pretty short. The slanted roof makes it difficult to make them any higher. But look at all that nice storage space.

Looking towards the stairwell. The contractor convinced me to install a powder room. We had already planned the rough in for plumbing in case future owners wanted to install a bathroom, but I guess it's a good idea to do it now. I won't be giving up too much space and I won't have to leave to use the potty.

Looking down the stairwell.

Below is a sketch of where the powder room will be located. Along the wall to the right will be my work sink and cabinets.

And just now a very long truck pulled up with the shingles for the roof. The plan is to install all the shingles before we feel any effects from Hurricane Sandy. Which I hope heads far out to sea long before it gets this far north.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

What a difference a week makes.

Actually, not even a week. It rained most of the day yesterday so they couldn't do any work. We have the shape of a garage/studio. The first photo shows the dormer in the front. On either side under the dormers I will have storage space. I'm thinking that little alcove will be a very nice place to put a comfy chair for contemplation. Earlier in the week I climbed a ladder and walked around the future studio. Discovered I do not like high ladders, and so won't be visiting the studio space again until the stairs are built.

The is the full view from the front. Between the garage and the house will be a covered walkway.

The view from inside the garage. This is a huge space and is going to have lots of storage space for a lawnmover, leaf blower, table saw, and a snow blower (which we have never had, but will be getting soon).

Sunday is the opening of Part II of Contemporary Threads, the show at the Marietta Art House in Pennsylvania where I have work. The show runs through December 22. And there will be a Fiber Art Bazaar on November 16 with lots of buying opportunities, just in time for the holidays.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Some Vertical Progress

The concrete slab was poured the beginning of last week. On Wednesday and Thursday lumber deliveries began to show up. Friday, nothing happened.

This morning a crew arrived before 8am and began unloading their tools. They worked until after lunch, when they were stopped by a heavy downpour. Things are beginning to take on a recognizable shape: two garage doors for cars, a door into the garage, and a door to go into the stairwell up to the studio.

Looking towards the driveway, you can see the struts for the roof. My sunflowers have bloomed and are now growing their seeds. We had a slight frost over the weekend, but it was enough to take out the basil and pretty much finish the tomatoes. I grew the tomatoes in pots and not only have they grown hugely out of the pot but they are spreading all over the euonymus and into the pachysandra. Next Spring there will be many, many tomato seedlings. 

Last Monday I received an email from Quilt National. It's different from the old days where, when you got your notification from a show, if the envelope was thick, they were returning your slides, and you knew it was a rejection. And you could shred the letter. Nowadays, notifications are by email. If there is an attachment, that is a good indication that it's an acceptance. My email from QN had an attachment, but I was still a bit hesitant to open it. But, yeah! it was an acceptance. Hooray! An eleven page attachment with all sorts of forms to fill out and electronic signatures. They want all that information, plus the quilt, by this coming Friday. I shipped my quilt out today and it should arrive there by Wednesday. I would love to post a picture here, but they have very strict rules about publishing the quilts before the show. I could display it, but I can't prevent somebody from taking the image and publishing it somewhere else, and that is a big no-no. It will be under wraps until next May when the show opens at the Dairy Barn in Athens, Ohio. 

Friday, October 05, 2012


If you've been wondering about the progress of the garage/studio and waiting to see lots of pictures, I'm afraid there isn't going to be much here of that. We have been looking at a cinder block fortress for a month now. During that time, the plumbing and electrical rough-ins have been installed and passed inspection. Several tons of stone have been delivered. The dirt has been pushed around, filling up most of the trenches around the foundation. And today the base for the concrete slab has been laid out.

All nice and neat, very nicely gridded, just like a quilt. Weather permitting, the cement will be poured on Monday and the trusses will be delivered on Tuesday. And then we should really see some progress.

Meanwhile, I've received acceptances for two shows. Quilts=Art=Quilts, in Auburn NY and Art Quilts VXII in Chandler AZ. Here is the info from the postcard, just in case you're in the area. 

And right now I'm plowing through the information about Medicare enrollment. This is one more indication that growing old is not for the faint of heart. It's all very confusing. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Slow going

Not much has happened on the studio these last 10 days. Another round of cinder block was added and the outside of the building was covered with cement. The plumber and electrician will come next week, they say. And the frames are being constructed off site, partially assembled. So we are in a holding pattern and getting a little tired of only seeing cinder blocks. I have found a considerable number of good sized rocks for my future rock garden. I imagine that there are quite a few more buried under all the dirt. I have this vision of a huge mesh screen, piled with the rock filled dirt. And then washed with bucket loads of water until all the dirt is washed away. And I have a ton or more of rocks.

Meanwhile, in my art world...I was invited to be a part of this exhibit in Marietta, Pennsylvania. Contemporary Threads, with 13 fiber artists, is at the Marietta Art House and runs through December 16. Midway in the show, the current pieces will be swapped out and new work will be on display. And in November there will be a Fiber Bazaar, with all sorts of small items for sale, just in time for the holidays.

The show is in an old house with a beautiful wrap around on three sides porch. The floors are intricate inlaid wood patterns, something you would never see today. The show is open Wednesday to Saturday, 12 to 5, and Sunday, 1 to 5.

And this is the view in my back yard. The workmen made a nice swirly pattern in the cement. I think they were killing time.

The view from the bedroom window. Not much has changed. Let's hope something happens this week.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Lull in the Action

Nothing happening on the studio construction yesterday. The contractor came by to see what had been done and said one of the walls needed to be another round higher, so they will have to bring back the cement mixer and add a few more cinder blocks. Meanwhile, we heard that the sunflower fields were in bloom, and off we went. The farmer only plants the sunflowers every other year, crop rotation I assume, so we didn't get to see these last year. It was foggy when we first got there. As the sun rose higher in the sky, the fog burned off and oh! the beautiful colors.

Twining up the sunflower stalks are blue morning glories, the perfect complement to the yellow sunflowers.

The seed pattern is a perfect example of the Fibonacci series. To read a short explanation of why this is the most efficient way to fill a space, read this. Because I sure can't explain it.

There will need to a lot of bees and insects to help fertilize these millions, and maybe billions, of possible seeds. Busy bees, indeed.

The fog has burned off and it's sunflowers as far as we can see.

I'm growing sunflowers in my garden. It's been a real struggle. I planted seeds, some came up, and then the birds or bunnies ate the seedlings. I planted more seeds, some came up, and the birds and bunnies ate them again. I planted more seeds, and protected them from the birds and bunnies. Some came up. They grew to about 2 feet tall, and the deer ate the tops. I planted more seeds, protected them from the birds and the bunnies and the deer. Some came up. But I didn't protect them well enough, because the deer ate the tops again. Luckily, the plants sent off replacement shoots, and now they are about 6 feet high with incipient buds. Unfortunately, they seem to be right in the path of the future driveway. So it will be a race to see if they bloom and go to seed before the new driveway has to be excavated. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cinder Blocks

Yesterday the guys left earlier than usual and it is apparent that they have pretty much finished with the cinder block foundation. Today they were here briefly to set a few more blocks and take away the cement mixer. They've cleaned up the area a bit and it's ready for the next phase.

This is where the covered walkway is going to be, with the entry way to the garage and the entry way to the stairway up to my studio.

In the process of digging up the yard, lots of big rocks were uncovered. I'm gathering some of them with the intention of putting them in a future rock garden. Granddaughter Zoe informed me that "rocks do not grow in gardens." I don't know, there seem to be an awful lot of them in those piles of dirt.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Fortress

There is definitely progress. It's beginning to look like a fortress. The engineers and architects had to do some re-planning in order to compensate for the water drainage problem. They are going to build the grade up higher around the back of the garage so that all the water will drain into a swale. In order to support the increased amount of soil, there has to be more cinder block. Looks like lots more cinder block. It's not all that clear to me, but then I'm sure they wouldn't understand how to do surface design on fabric.

Over the weekend it rained. Lots and lots. This space here, which still hasn't drained totally, had water covering the first course of cinder block, about 8 inches. Would have been more if we hadn't move the pipe attached to the downspout so that that water drained down the driveway instead of into this area. 

I'm beginning to think that this would be a whole lot less stressful if I could go away and come back to a finished project. But then I would still want to know what was happening, so staying around is better.