Tuesday, August 28, 2007

(Today my voice will be played by this reddish type. -- Jodi)

Sorry, no house photos to share this week... 

We’ve spent the last few days in Illinois attending the wedding
of Jodi’s nephew, Adam. It was a medieval affair

complete with a friar, fair maidens, dashing men with swords and lots of meat!!! Jeff and Judy (parents of the groom) throw a mean party!

On Sunday, Jodi’s brother had a special “red-neck” (his words) surprise for the city girls. We participated in the 13th Annual (that's 12 + 1 if you're superstitious) Lawn Tractor Poker Run in the town of Sheridan, IL. 

How can one describe this event, other than to say it is a blast?! (except that I wanted my John Deere to go much faster).

Yes, we drove tractors through the streets and I must say that the more you drink, the faster the tractor seems to go.     

(Obviously, I did not drink enough...).

How the event works is, you drink in the hot sun while waiting for things to start (a long, long time). Then you drive your tractor through the streets to a bar and pick a card. I ended the day with a full house (3 Aces & a pair o’ nines) although I don’t think I won…and a mean hangover!!! .... Just in time for a sixteen-plus hour drive home. Wheeee!


Monday, August 20, 2007

Studio Photos

I'm all moved in to the new studio and, as promised, here are some photos. It's an amazing space with roof access and 12' tall ceilings. The building was built in 1872 and my studio has a really good, calm feeling. It's very solitary, just the way I like it. Hopefully some good work will come out of it. It's a sharp contrast to our home - always in a state of deconstruction and construction. I only wish Jodi had a similar space of her own, but her studio will be in our house, so a while to wait...

Friday, August 17, 2007

Found objects

Just passing along photos of things we found in the master bedroom and attic before too much time passes. We have been shamefully remiss in our postings, for which I apologize. Life is much different here now than in the beginning...much more full. Will follow with pics of the spaces before and during. (We are saying "during" now, not "after", for that has yet to be.

Cool attic stuff

(Click on photo to enlarge)

Bedroom tidbits

The grass continues to grow too fast, our time with Hilary is waning, the mosquitoes voracious and the weather heavenly. The smell of rat piss will fade, I know, from experience in my Seattle house (rat hole). Alicia's new studio is absolutely gorgeous and perfect. My preoccupation is keeping enough weight on (weird).

To all of my friends left behind, please drop me a line on occasion. I think of you all individually, but have not the time and focus to write to you or call. If you make contact, I promise, I will answer.  -- Jodi

Sunday, August 12, 2007

To the City

Last week I was missing Seattle and feeling a bit out of sorts; it's been over a month since I've had a place to paint. That problem will be fixed this week (thankfully), but I woke up one day and just needed to go to the city. I walked up the street, was on a train in less than 10 minutes and in NY by mid morning. I scoured galleries in Chelsea, made my way to Brooklyn and was home in time for dinner. That was the end of feeling blue. We really do live in the perfect place. Today we drove into the city with Hilary. We had breakfast in a French bistro, CD shopping at the Virgin Mega store, a picnic lunch from Dean & Deluca and laid on a blanket in Central Park. The drive on the Taconic is lush and beautiful. Not much more to say, except come visit...next year. When we have a home instead of a construction site. xo Alicia

I leave you with photos...
Hil actually let me take her picture! 

 Jodi in Central Park                   

Jodi's stylin' belt

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A sigh of relief

The 30-yard dumpster was picked up yesterday (Monday) morning, nearly full. All five of us, who LABORED to fill it, can rest easier. The biggest sigh of relief, though, comes from the house itself -- being liberated from literal tons of plaster and badly hung drywall. Its gratitude was palpable to both Alicia and I on our last day of gutting. Woo-woo sounding but true...
In all of the houses and buildings I have worked on in the past, there have ALWAYS been numerous evidences of the past: nearly infinite layers of paint and wallpaper, ancient homemade recipes of varnish on trimwork. But I didn't really see the age of this house in its demolition/excavation (still to relatively small degree) until we got to the second floor bedroom level. Old, old stained walls covered up. Tiny traces of varnished trims older than elsewhere in the house. I could NOT, however, find a single hint of wallpapers, except for the visible patterns painted over so many times. Finally, I wondered aloud to Alicia how it was possible to NOT find any beautiful old paper samples.

Not ten minutes later, while tearing apart the master bedroom closet, the house granted my wish. Almost eerily covered up by wood constructions of wainscot and trim, like an intimate secret timidly shared, the entire closet was random treasures of oh-so-delicate, oh-so-beautiful wallpapers -- the oldest I've ever seen. Despite their fragility, I managed to save some larger scraps that I want to frame as artifacts from our beloved old house. I am feeling quite tenderly towards it these days, and cherishing the new life that we are breathing into it.

I have lost all suspense in the telling of my wallpaper tale, but please do contemplate that this house is 142 years old and only in the last corner of the last room to gut (out of nearly 3,000 square feet of house) was it revealed! Amazing to me.

My body finally succumbed to what we have exposed in this structure. Although we carefully constructed plastic walls and ceiling for our temporary bedroom, my allergies (or a cold) have taken hold these last few days. I am feeling better today. I love my ShopVac as much as I love my full-face respirator (which I am actually quite tired of by now).

Hilary has become a master screw- and nail-puller. She is a bull-dog of a worker. I cannot express the bliss of working along side Alicia on our house after so many weeks of solitary labor here. She works so hard! We work seamlessly together in perfect complement.
We have found both a wonderful stair and metal artist and a fine architect. It has been a good week! Mary will return as our cabinetmaker, furniture maker, fine woodworker -- her true milieu.

Things are coming along...


Hard to explain house camping to a dog.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Farewell to Lakey

Oh, where to begin!? After three weeks, one poisonous bite and an almost full 30-yard dumpster, we bid adieu to Mary. Phew. Much plaster has been bludgeoned and hauled. The weight of 142 years of plaster has been lifted from our more-beautiful-by-the-day house. We have but two rooms left. Jordan should rightly be in this photo, as she helped to fill 2/3 of this dumpster. Sadly, we have not the time or energy to Photoshop her into this picture. Sorry, Jordan, and THANK-YOU!!!

Jodi got tired of blogging, so passed the laptop to me...

So, she got a little bug bite on the train ride home from NY. Just a little itchy. Then a little swollen. Then a little sore with a red line moving up her arm. By the morning, when it was painful up to her arm pit, I finally talked Jodi into visiting an emergency room. Well, I think the fact that she was in pain and felt weird might have had more sway than I did. We'll never know exactly what bit her, but she'll live to swat bugs from her arm another day. Sorry, no photos.

Due to popular demand, we will be adding before and after photos of the house.

Future master bath before.............

...and after!

Tonight's blog is sponsored by "Cirac" vodka from France. A grape vodka of excellent distinction. (Jodi's quote)

Also sponsored by hydrogen peroxide and bakers chocolate. A fine combination, if you are Digory, the suicidal Cardigan Corgi with discerning taste. Excellent bakers chocolate for breakfast. Peroxide chaser for brunch. FYI, a doggie's Ipecac. Digory will also live to eat more things he shouldn't.

Oh, Becky...I found a 1938 Liberty dime, in beautiful condition. Photo later...