My Almost New Bathroom

Recently, I shared a photo of what my bathroom used to look like: a pit, really, painted gray-blue and with only a small north-facing window for light. All the fixtures were over 50 years old. Maybe the toilet was replaced in 1972, but other than that….it was very sad.

My carpenter pal Rob Saunders is 74 and does (still!) beautiful work; he built me beautiful bathroom cabinets. He worked with his son to take out all the crap in my old bathroom; once the drywall was patched, this is what I was assigned to paint…

…along with this…..

I took the photo above  from the bathtub. It’s a very small bathroom, a little over 8 feet deep and not quite 5 feet wide. Aside from beautifying things, the purpose of the remodel was to maximize the small area with as much cabinet storage space as possible.

Here are the very sad looking towel racks from the old bathroom:

I started with a coat of primer. Even in the middle of the day (remember, it’s sunny here in the winter so there’s lots of daylight) I had to use a very bright, scarily heat-producing lamp to see what I was doing.

I left the original blue where I knew the cabinets would be placed; you can see some of the color I picked to go over the primer, a nice soothing warm color called Parchment, appropriate I think given the amount of time folks spend reading in the bathroom.

I also took this time to do my own “remodel” of my small hall closet, which is 2 feet deep, 2 feet wide and about 8 feet tall. Here’s a view from floor level:

Like the bathroom, the closet is blue: and let me just say that once you put something in a dim dark blue closet it’s impossible to ever find it again. Here’s the closet once I took out all but the 2 highest shelves.

My goal was to turn the closet into something I could use for shoes, coats, bags…like any normal hall closet…so that my front door area could be tidier, and not look like this:

I painted the closet Parchment, too. And because I no longer had a bathroom mirror, I didn’t notice that painting such a narrow space made me get paint in my hair, which was pointed out to me at work the next morning.

I put in a dowl and some small hooks for hanging stuff up.

Once I finished painting, Rob and Tom put in my new cabinets, new sink and new water-saving Toto toilet. The cabinets have recessed lighting and a recessed fan. I can now see myself in the mirror, and the bathroom is nice and bright.

Now, if you didn’t notice the disgusting green tile in the background….that’s being replaced next month with something much nicer. Be prepared for another bathroom blog post!

New Bicycle

I got this new bike yesterday from Roadrunner Bicycles; it’s a Giant Cypress DX.  This one is red, the same color as my first-ever bike when I was 5.

Just recently I was reading a bicycle magazine while I was at the dermatologist (in this climate, with my complexion, I need stuff burned off annually). When I saw the magazine I picked it up because I thought I’d like to ride again some day. The Giant Cypress was reviewed in the magazine as an affordable hybrid “comfort” bike.  After that, I had a very bland “eureka” moment (my generation is a bit disaffected) and thought this could be a good idea. I did my research over the next few days and learned lots of tallish and slightly wide-ish people like me have had good success with this model as a commuter bike.

The folks who helped me at Broadway BicyclesRoadrunner Bicycles –Elliot and Paul–were very helpful. It was a low stress environment, and the whole process of being sold a new bicycle (even though I already had the model in mind before getting to the hop) was very pleasant and charming. I really appreciated the friendliness and enthusiasm.

My last bicycle didn’t fit me, and riding it caused too much pain: had to stop. I used to ride to work several times a week; looks like I’ll be able to get back into that very soon, especially as my ancient Mazda just completely conked out in traffic yesterday, and will be towed to my mechanic tomorrow!

Tubac Center for the Arts Member’s Juried Exhibit

I joined the Tubac Center for the Arts earlier this year, and I entered an art quilt in their annual Member’s Juried Exhibit, which is showing now through January 2, 2012. I went to the opening last night, and there were so many lovely paintings and photos on display. The show was put up very well; it’s a very beautiful space.

More of What Gets in the Way of Artmaking

I have felt so burdened lately by getting stuff done. Usually I feel OK about daily chores and routines; I appreciate some structure to my artmaking. Lately, though, there’s been too much structural work going on: yard and garden upkeep, bathroom remodel, shopping for a new commuter bicycle, etc. And not enough time for art, making me cranky. I’ve mentioned in prior posts I’ve had some painful back problems (which have turned out to be painful–but less serious–hip problems) so that hasn’t helped my irritability.

Anyway.

My winter garden is looking good, thanks to an inch of rain last week and recent work to tidy up the yard. Here’s the kale, lettuce, beets, parsnips and carrots:

The cabbage is a bit sluggish in comparison, there is a bit of lettuce in there, pink trumpet flower in the foreground…

I’ve put in a few new perennial beds in my effort to make it impossible for weeds to get a successful hold; you can’t really see it here but there’s a red salvia, a Gregg’s Mist flower, Chocolate flower, canyon creeping verbena stuck in the ground here with the existing hollyhock, desert grass and yellow bells:

Here’s a new bed of evening primrose, verbena, white sage and a euphorbia:

Finally, as disgusting as this photo is, I’ve been working on my bathroom remodel. One look at this and you can see why I’d put time and effort into improving this mess, which I think has it’s origins in 1958. This is being gutted tomorrow!

Art some time soon, I hope!

Juki Arrival

A while back, I posted about my first experience machine quilting with a Juki, and how I thought this machine would help improve both my quilting and my body mechanics while sewing.

Well, my Juki arrived today from Ed Raichert’s sewing machine shop in Phoenix, Arizona.

I haven’t had time to set it up yet, but, you can see it’s a bit bigger than my Riccar (in the back) and I’m hoping that this slight increase in size will be helpful. There’s also a really nice big table attachment for the Juki, but that’s not pictured here:

Hope to start quilting with it soon.

Where’s the Blog?

Yes, well, I’ve been having lumbar disc-related pain the last 3 weeks, aggravated by sitting (which puts the most pressure on the lumbar spine) so I haven’t been sitting much, hence not sitting and updating my blog.

But I’ve done plenty of non-sitting things recently; and I’m feeling better enough, and optimistic enough, to park myself here to get back my good blogging habits.

First off, I had one particularly sore night and went–I must say–for the Screech (OK just one drink); and then I made preparations for sausage rolls:

Above, you can see the sausage on the left. I got it from the University of Arizona Collegiate Cattle Growers weekly meat sale; it was too salty I thought, but, I wasn’t about to taste-test raw pork ahead of time to check, so I didn’t know until the rolls were done.

Below, the rolled out pastry. Made with lard. I mean, the sausage is already there, right? Crisco would hardly make any difference.

Here’s the actual sausage roll before being cut and baked…

…and here’s the finished product. I took these to work for a potluck.

A few days later, I had the women in my art quilt over for an afternoon of fabric dyeing. Here is everyone having a go at scrunching wet fabric and pouring dye on top. Even my mom made it!

After all the work, a well-deserved break while we wait for the dye to work for an hour.

Here’s Bearbear, clearly intent on learning how to knit. It’s about time he started making some sort of contribution around here so I’m completely in support; perhaps he could learn how to spin during the 8 months a year he sheds.

The next week I had an Octoberfest dinner at my house for friends from work and their kin. I made bratwurst and sauerkraut, german potato salad and a single-layer black forest cake. It was superb. As you can see, there was plenty of dopplebock:

And then yesterday was Tucson’s annual All Souls Procession; here’s a shot of a couple of skeletons at sunset:

Also, during this blog hiatus I started the steps for a bathroom remodel….and….I ordered a new Juki straight-stitch sewing machine for machine quilting. More on that later.