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So, this is where I started on Monday morning. My mission was to make this entire wall the colour of the patch of orange.
It took me about four hours to clear the shelf units and prep the walls and skirting board for painting. This is where I got to at the end of the first day.
Our huge kitchen table was covered so I eked out some space in a corner for dinner. It was cosy. I love being in our kitchen even when it’s a bit chaotic. I had easy food during the kitchen revamp. That night it was leftover roast chicken, carrots and sweet potatoes gently warmed up in the oven whilst I was taking a bath.
I also have to live with the new colour for a day or two, in all sorts of light, just to make sure it’ll work. I can’t just pick a colour and say ‘Yes’.
The colour has to prove itself with the decor as well.
I made sure to stop periodically for a cuppa and to read a couple of chapters of my thrill lit book.
I had to pop into Exeter the following morning for another can of paint so I could give the wall a thorough second coat. I had a high protein breakfast of scrambled eggs with cheese, spinach and tomato to get me started.
In Devon and Cornwall we have a saying, ‘Proper job’, which expresses satisfaction. The border where the orange wall and the white skirting board meet was a challenge to negotiate. I did use masking tape, but in the end I had to go to and fro, alternating with each colour, with a very small paint brush and got a pretty darn good result.
Today, I re-stocked the shelf units. They’re great. Ivar from IKEA. The shelf spacing can be adjusted almost infinitely. I’d also given the shelves another couple coats of varnish while they were bare. It makes then easy to keep clean in a high traffic area.
Today, I painted the remaining three kitchen walls a pale cream colour and the skirting boards pure white. I should have it all put back together tomorrow. It’s funny, painting the kitchen felt like the biggest job, so we saved it for last. But it somehow seemed to go the quickest. I’m a well-seasoned painter by now! Plus, Steve’s been away all week so I want to get it all finished so he can enjoy it when he gets back tomorrow.
And you know what? It’s not over yet! I have decided to re-paint my studio in bone and pussy willow grey. I’m just looking for the right paint.
We are nearly finished though! Today I’m going to put a final coat on the minstrel gallery railing on Steve’s mezzanine office. We painted the chimney breast a regal shade of gold which picks up the antique brass fittings and golden brown fabrics in our salon.
It looks great behind the iron candle sconce we designed and had made for us.
I’m also psyching myself up to remove everything from these shelves, including the shelf units, in our kitchen and paint this wall Nasturtium. Then I’ll carry on and paint the remaining walls a pale cream.
im·pas·sioned adj. Filled with passion; fervent
Still painting our flat. Still a bit tedious. I feel like Sisyphus. Only with paint.
I paint one wall. Then touch up the trim. Then discover where the wall needs to be touched back up . . . . . . .
Steve’s lucky. He can escape to Buckinghamshire a few days a week. But he’s always happy to come home and do the tedious (to me) detail work. And he’s great at it! Patient and thorough.
Me? After we started on this re-decorating lark, I kvetched* about it to a couple of artist friends. They both agreed that DIY is horrible. As my artist/hair dresser Libby says, ‘Decorating is great fior the first hour’. We visual artists have the vision, but loathe the ploddingness of DIY.
It’s weird. I can spend ages fulminaing over the craftmanship and construction of one of my art pieces, but when it comes to DIY, I want a quick fix. I have the vision and want the result NOW! I’m quite appalled that I can quite rapidly become the worst sort of obsessive-compulsive, perfectionistic bitch during a bout of DIY, even when I’m not actually doing the work. Afterwards, I apologise profusely to Steve and he says, ‘Don’t worry about it. It’s just DIY’. Wonderful!
Anyhow, where this may (or mayn’t) be leading to is that my husband and I are re-decorating our flat in our fourth year here together. It’s discombobulating as we’re living in semi-chaos and looking great!
The cool thing I did today was finish painting one of our bedroom walls an impassioned and fervent colour of red. I proposed the hue, and we both chose this particular colour, Redcurrant Glory. This is the wall at the head of our marriage bed, upon which hangs our wedding quilt ‘Cleaved‘.
This is one thing I’m very good at. Picking colours. I’ll post some more piccies when the room is put back together.
Today was the first sunny and dry day for a fortnight. I went into Exeter (missed the Queen’s visit by a hair) and bought these beautiful pussy willows . . . . . . .. . and finished painting the wall when I got back home!
*To complain persistently and whiningly.
I’m feeling better about decorating. I figured out that aside from the tedium of the trim, we had somehow bought stinky solvent-based gloss. It doesn’t bother Steve at all, as the man has no sense of smell. It’s true, although he can taste things OK. I advise him on which cologne to buy and that my perfume, Beautiful by Estée Lauder, smells divine. Go figure. I hate the cleanup with oil based paints, too. Such a mess. And I really don’t like the look of gloss. My eyes find it very noisy.
Anyhow, when I went into Exeter yesterday to get my hair cut, I went to B & Q and bought some water-based satin paint for the trim. Cleans up with water and dries in an hour. So, I’m much more enthusiastic about doing the trim.
It was a grey, rainy day. Sometimes when I have to be out, not by choice, in the rain, I feel a bit aimless and depressed. Not sure why. I think it stems from when I was a teenager, playing truant from school and not really having any place to go. As I was walking back into town, along the River Exe I turned my head just as four chalk white swans were flying low against the pewter sky, coming to land on the water. It was a magnificent sight and made me feel better inside. I also had about 20 minutes to pop into the library and got a really good stack of books. I did some trim painting when I got home yesterday and carried on this morning.
I was listening to ‘Essential Classics’ on Radio 3. They have a question feature, called appropriately enough ‘What am I?’ Clues are given and listeners are invited to text and email in their guesses. It was something sticky and used by ballet dancers, boxers and gymnasts. I suddenly knew it was rosin, although I associate it with baseball pitchers. It’s a classical music show and my sister used to play cello and had rosin, so I figured I was right. I emailed in and had my name read out on the radio (along with lots of other people). So that was fun. By the way, I learned a new word today. I looked up rosin just now and ‘colophony’ is another word for it. I’d have thought it had something to do with noise. Apparently the term “colophony” comes from colophonia resina or “resin from the pine trees of Colophon,” an ancient Ionic city.
So back to painting the trim. I’d set my self the goal of painting all of the trim and most of the doors in our foyer and gallery. I was starting to feel ‘eleven o’clockish’ and though about stopping for tea and toast with honey. But as I thought more about it, what I really wanted was a hamburger patty. Though I wasn’t quite hungry enough and it would be a longer break, since I had to go to the Co-op for some ground beef. So I set myself the goal of the end of the gallery skirting board and imagined a big, juicy beef burger waiting there. When I got out of bed this morning, I’d also sorted the 20 or so books next to my side of the bed into ‘Read and need to be put or given away’, ‘Not read yet’ and ‘New library books’. The library books were waiting on the kitchen table.
I had a fabulous hamburger, studded with jalapeño peppers and topped with melted Cheddar cheese and sautéed onions, just as I’d imagined it. I read ‘The Intoxicated’ by Shirley Jacksoon, from a collection of short stories. She’s probably best known for ‘The Lottery’, de riguer in high school English classes. I obviously hadn’t ditched that day because I remember seeing a film version of The Lottery. But I love all of her writing and it’s great to be reading her again after many years. She’s written novels, “true-to-life funny-housewife memoirs”, and my favourites, short stories. Most were written in the late 40′s and the 50′s and reflect “our distressing world of the concentration camp and the Bomb” and mirror humanity’s McCarthy-era fears. According to Jackson’s husband, the literary critic Stanley Edgar Hyman, “she consistently refused to be interviewed, to explain or promote her work in any fashion, or to take public stands and be the pundit of the Sunday supplements. She believed that her books would speak for her clearly enough over the years.” Another of my favourites, which I hope is in my book, is one about a commuter husband who comes home from NYC to Connecticut, or wherever, and neither he nor the family he goes to realises he’s in the wrong house. The conformity of the 50′s and alienation of modern life all wrapped up into one gem of a story.
Info source – Wikipedia