What is a true eclectic to do when her passions lead her in different directions?
This is a blog for the unfocused, the round pegs in the square holes, the short-attention span types, and all those who just can't bring themselves to join the ranks and adhere to a single category of activities or interests...whether sketches, drawings and comics, fixing an old farmhouse in Oregon, or whatever else strikes my fancy.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Lights are Installed! (11-20-10)

I never thought this would ever happen, but we finally got the lights installed in the studio (can't really call it a "shed" anymore).

The big chandelier was in the dining room when we bought the house, and I immediately hated it with a passion; it was too big for the small room. ( It made me think of a monstrous space alien mothership looming in the sky, with tiny people running in panic on the ground.) But in this space, it looks just right.

The light in the foreground is a lovely small 3-light chadelier I got it at Hippo Hardware many years ago. It was on the upstairs landing in our old house, set with flickering flame bulbs (it drove Gary nuts, since it didn't light the staircase at all).

Next in the project is coating the OSB floors with polyurethane, to protect them and give them some sheen.

The New Harry Potter Movie (11-20-10)

We went to see "The Deathly Hallows" at the cinema, and I did these quick sketches while watching the movie.

The Weasely Burrow.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Front Yard (11-18-10)

I was trying to draw my front yard with a fence on the side (there is none presently).

Ideas for a Fence (11-18-10)

I was trying to draw my front yard with a fence on the side, to try to get a visual idea of what a fence would look like in the lower part of the property. Right now, there is no fence because the old fence erected in the early 1980s was all rotted out and had to be taken out. Unfortunately, for lack of funds, there is just not a way to get a new fence at this time...
Fence idea.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Portrait: Marcie O. (11-14-10)

A simple portrait of a young woman whose beauty reminds me of a 19th century woman, her hair separated in the middle and tied in a bun adorned with fragrant flowers, hands folded in her lap, her radiant, yet mocking smile suggesting words and opinions not said. A perhaps simpler way to describe her would be to say she looks like English actress Kristin Scott-Thomas.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Rain and Water Update, etc. (11-11-10)

Gary was able to patch and repair the back gutter and downspout. The issue is not totally resolved, but with this temporary fix, we've gained a few days to get a couple more gutter estimates. And at least, I sleep better when it rains.
We live on a hill...

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Water Issues (11-06-10)

This freaky weather is just killing me. It's been raining pretty hard for a while, and all I can think of is the missing gutter at the back of the house, with pouring water saturating the ground touching the area where there is a missing segment of concrete foundation wall. I don't know what to do, because none of the gutter contractors I talked to made me feel confident about how this project would evolve; but not dealing with the issue at all is clearly not the right solution either.

An Incredible Find! (11-06-10)

I was browsing at Portico when I came across this superb chaise in the back of the store. It looked absolutely perfect for the studio (if and whenever it gets done...). I hope there won't be any bad surprises with this purchase; I still remember the Toxic Couch of a few months ago...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Are there any competent gutter contractors around? (11-03-10)

No kidding! I learned a lot about gutters in the last few weeks: steel is terrible because it rusts; aluminum is terrible because it expands; wedges will work to support the gutters; wedges won't work because of the angle of the upper fascia board; screws are the best; screws are impossible to remove; spikes are the best; spikes damage the wood underneath; corrugated downspouts are in; rectangular downspouts are the best; metal filters can't stop pine needles; fibrous spongy filters will literally save mankind; 5 inch gutters is perfect; no, only 6 inch gutters will do the job...

And, so far, thirteen guys came over to look at the gutters. As already demonstrated, contractors come in every types imaginable.

Here are some highlights:

- The Reconverted Happy-Go-Lucky-Marginal: comes in an old beat-up truck, steps off, takes one looks at the gutters, and exclaims that he knows exactly who did the job! When I ask who that might be, he refuses to tell. There is nothing to replace, he says: it can all be repaired. I am bemused. What about the bowed porch gutter at the front, with waterfalls of rain pouring down the middle? No worries, life is too short; it can all be repaired. What about the upper gutters that look like they're hanging by a thread? All fixable. He hands us a scribbled estimate, with vague descriptions of repairs to be done.

- The Hostile Slavic: acts clearly annoyed to be here, but he can do "everrrrything, everrrrything!" (The accent never ceases to delight me). But I need to commit now, because of the "special prrrice." He leaves several enticing messages over the next three weeks. He wants to come over, to do the work, for the special price. He wants me to call him back, please, "special prrrice." When I finally call back, he is dismissive and hostile; there is no special price. He never left a message. The price is the price.
Yet, the temptation is great: the price is rock bottom low, but with no details about any materials used. A check of his license number on the Contractors' Board website reveals a myriad of business licenses tied together, some of them pulled as a result of disciplinary actions...

- The Old Timer: has been in business for 30 years, and makes his own gutters in his metal shop. He does not need to measure; he looks at the gutters, hem and haws. We got some tricky stuff here, he says, but he can make things right. He can put wedges to secure new gutters on the upper roof, and it'll be fine and dandy in no time.
As would be expected, he is not Internet savvy, and leaves a message on my phone: he'll do the work for $1,800. Not wanting to solely rely on my memory when making a decision, I call his office and request a written estimate. The estimate comes in the nail a few days later, for $2,200. I call again point out to him the apparent discrepancy. He calls me a couple of days later; he says he made a mistake the other times; the estimate is now for $3,100!

- The Mellow Man: is very nice and has an interesting and unusual product to sell: half-round gutters. They look like some of the pretty cool-looking gutters I saw in (Eastern) Europe in September. Unfortunately, these gutters are made of white vinyl (looks suspiciously like PVC to me). I am not sure they will last, and plastic makes it looks kinda slapped together. I don't know how to nicely thank him for coming over.

- The Aggressive Salesman: on the phone, he volunteers that he has been in business for 19 years and had only two complaints during that time. He promises to call back the next day, but does not for several days. When he finally comes by the house, he seems belligerent. He talks down to me, points out that the roof is bowed at the front (Well, duh!). I interject that, yes, it is, but the gutter is also bowed in the opposite direction. Amazingly, he argues with me that I don't see it right: the roof is bowed, he claims, but the gutter is straight! He then suggests that we ought to rebuild the roof, to straighten it! When I ask him about the advantages of aluminum vs. steel, and question another one of his peremptory statements, he answers that he has been in business for 19 years and had only two complaints during that time (feelings of "déja entendu"). I can't put my finger on it, but this guy gets on my nerves, big time. He claims that he can fix the upper gutters. I point out to him that they are pretty twisted. I suspect that his motivation is due to the placement of hanging straps if new gutters are installed. I need, he then adds, to get some expensive spongy filter that sits flush with the opening of the gutters, and nothing will clog the spongy material; wet leaves will be blown off by the wind, as if by magic. This is the only filter material I ought to use. He leaves me with a brochure to read about this revolutionary product (imagine a very thick kitchen scouring pad).

So I am still looking... In the meantime, the coming rain season is an issue because we are missing a section of gutter at the back of the house.