Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Vacation From My Vacation

Did you ever have one of those 'vacations' that you need to recover from?

I closed my Etsy shop for the month of May, sort of a 'vacation'. I had a large project that I was involved with for my children's elementary school that required my full attention. I am on the ArtsDay Committee and agreed to organize a mural for the fifth grade ArtsDay project. In addition to the mural came all kinds of "heck breaking loose".

Before I even began the mural I went to an Orthopedic doctor about shoulder pain I've been having and discovered that I have a partially torn rotator cuff and pinching acromion and will need surgery -but that's being put off until August so let the mural begin!

I decided that the mural would be comprised of small Masonite/hardboard panels that the children would paint. They would then be assembled like tiles to complete the full mural. First I needed to buy a table saw, which I did on Mother's Day as a very nice present to myself. :^) Then I needed to assemble the table saw, which I did myself -thank you very much!

To complete the murals I needed 120 Masonite panels so I cut them, sanded the edges and gave them three coats of primer on the front, two coats on the back, painted the edges and finished them with one coat of gesso on the front.

The school's art teacher let me borrow her 40 year-old, rescued-from-a-dumpster-in- the-1970's opaque projector to enlarge the mural artwork onto the panels, then I started painting the artwork lines.

Right about now was the point that life started to become a little crazy. Driving to the bus stop with the children one morning I heard a thumpthumpthump and discovered a bolt embedded in my tire. Is this from the table saw?!? I deny it...

After putting them on the bus it was off to the tire center. A few hours later I headed home but the steering wheel was shimmying more than I liked. At home my husband reminded me that last time our tires were rotated they mentioned that they had trouble balancing one so they put it on the back. The tire center re-rotated my tires and the off-balance one was now on the front...I'll need to have it fixed, but back burner this -we'll deal with it later... time to paint more murals.

The next morning I'm about to take the children to the bus when we notice that their two gerbils who share a cage are involved in a "Gerbil Death Match" there is gerbil blood! A quick check online informed me that upon maturity gerbils will begin to prepare for potential mates by eliminating the competition and will fight to the death. So there is no way I can just convince them that a cute female gerbil just ain't gonna happen?!? So off to the pet store for a complete second gerbil habitat. So much for the 'very social and friendly' promises of the pet shop employee. Back home for gerbil re-habitation and more mural painting. You will notice there are no photos of the bloody gerbils... I thought that best.

I'm starting to feel a little frazzled and have been putting in a lot of very late nights on these mural there's my own "oh that's right I have kids!" to be fed and laundry and dishes...oh and a very patient husband...

ArtsDay arrives and the kids have a lot of fun painting the panels.

I've coded the backs to a grid. As they finish their panel they place it on the grid. They really get a kick out of placing their piece and seeing the mural come together. The painting sessions are a huge success and the kids are so excited that their work will be hung in the lobby 'forever!". I leave the murals at school to dry over the weekend.

Sunday the neighbor tills our garden and my husband informs me that the groundhog family living under our porch has eaten the kale and broccoli I started before I can even get them planted. :^(

On Monday I bring the finished murals home to re-do the black line-work, then I run the car to the tire service center again and we decide to buy two new tires. One to replace the earlier fix and one to replace the off balanced one. My husband calls in an appointment for my daughter, since she's been complaining that her sternum hurt from being hit playing laser-tag. I pick her up early and have her seen by the pediatrician... she's okay, probably just a bruise...whew!

Uh-oh! After we come home my daughter informs me that the basement play-room 'smells funny' and is 'wet'. We discover, after my husband rips up the (two year-old) carpeting and removes some drywall, that there is a pin-hole leak in the piping in the wall. Small favor, at least it's trash night.

Tuesday morning daughter stays home with a 24 hour bug. She is ill once, runs a slight fever and sleeps most of the day. I'm still re-painting black mural line-work. Son comes off the bus with his glasses broken. My husband takes him to get a new pair. Luckily they're still under warranty! I finish up all the line work and give the murals a coat of protective finish. To bed by 11:30. Wow! An early night!

Wednesday! Installation day! I'm at school by 9:30 with coffee, panels, duct tape, and paneling adhesive in hand. Another Mom comes to help. We stick all the panels up with duct tape first to make sure everything is straight and square. Once they are up we remove them one by one and apply adhesive. Anticlimactically it takes us only an hour per mural to finish them. As children pass in the halls they comment on the murals. The children who painted them point out their panels. Teachers stop to look and comment. People smile. They're done. Really? Done? DONE!

So am I. I need a vacation.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sweet Little Garden Break

So I haven't been out in the garden as much as I need or promised myself to be.

I've been involved with a mural project for my children's Elementary school and it's eating up all my time and energy. I'm a little nervous about how it is going to turn out. I bought a table saw to cut up Masonite into roughly 7 x 11 inch rectangles. I designed the mural based on questions I asked the fifth graders about their school experiences - favorite subject, favorite book, what they learned in school etc...

Each fifth grader is going to get one of the small Masonite pieces with a section of the mural on it, kind of like a puzzle. The finished murals will be 35 inches high x 66 inches wide and there are four murals. All the pieces are cut. They just need to be primed, gessoed, and painted with the line-work. The final, color painting will be done next Friday, ArtsDay at the school. I'm very nervous.

I took a break for fresh air and a chance to check out the garden. This is a blossom of Calycanthus floridus, also known as Sweet Bubby bush, or Carolina Allspice. The flowers have a leathery, stiff feel to them, and the aroma is pleasant but a little odd. It reminds me of cider or overripe apples.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Today is Mother's Day and I am posting in appreciation of all the Mothers out there, but especially with love for my Mother and Grandmother.

In this photo my Mom, Lorraine,is to the right and her mother, my Grandmother Violet, is holding me after my Baptism. My brother Michael is on the left, Andrew on the right -I love their jackets and bow ties! My sister Sara is adorable in her pink dress and hat. Only my youngest brother, John, is not in the photo.

My Mother raised five children. I wouldn't say we were poor, but I'm sure money was tight. We didn't always have the most or the newest 'things' but we did have a lot of love. When I was little my Mom made cheese sandwiches so I could picnic outside. My Mom taught me how to drive. Now that I have children of my own she always is happy to help out. My children love their Nana. My Grandmother Violet's house was always a place full of laughter, love and excellent pies. :^) I am sorry that my Grandmother passed away before she could meet my children. I know she would have delighted in them. She had a special place in her heart for little ones.

To these wonderful Moms I say thank you and I will love you always!