Sunday, May 12, 2013

Cleaning for Tour of Artists' Homes and Studios

With less than a week before the Tour of Artists' Homes and Studios (buy your tickets today at Larson Gallery, Oak Hollow and The Bindery--only $20 per person; $5 with a student ID card), we tried to spend most of the weekend cleaning. We've lived in the house for about 6 years now, so some of the things we cleaned haven't been cleaned in at least that long. I washed a window that required me to climb on a ledge over the stairs. As far as I am concerned, that window can be cleaned again in 2019.

We worked on the house last weekend too, but the pressure was a little less intense so we didn't work quite as hard and we interspersed other activities. Friday was a school holiday so I mostly cleaned my studio, dusted and cleared all the magnets off the fridge. The biggest task I took on last weekend was trying to make the front of the house more attractive.

Our beautiful-ish house

When we moved into the house there were thorny overgrown rose bushes everywhere, including on old trellises in the front. We took them down and took out the brick edging around the entire yard but never quite figured out what to do to replace them. On a trip to the Master Gardener's Plant Sale, I got some good advice about putting out some planters in front of the house. Getting the right planters and plants took a long time, but planting was pretty easy.

This type of plant is easy to grow, it prefers a large empty planter and a reasonable amount of silliness to flourish.

I'm not much of a green-thumb, so hopefully the plants will last through next weekend at least. It would be a bonus if they actually make it through the summer. Apparently you have to remember to water them regularly. I also put out some sculpture, but sculpture in the front of the house runs the dual risks of the lawn mower and general vandalism. These pieces are already a little hard-worn, but I think they do okay for the lawn.

I couldn't find the actual plants that were recommended to me, hopefully these will play well together.

The sculpture to the right has mysteriously lost at least three of its original parts, but not because of the lawnmower.

This weekend, with the time running out I was all over the place. I washed windows, inside and out, climbed over the stairway to dust and rearrange sculpture in the high window area of the laundry room (it's hard to picture until you see our house) and started hiding the food containers that don't normally fit in the cupboards. (We have a lot of storage in the house, but the kitchen storage isn't ideal.)

The view (up) from my studio.

On Saturday, thinking I had tons of time I guess, I decided to install some of my sculptural wall pieces above the oven. I'd been planning to do this for a long time, but never got motivated before. I had a good run Saturday morning, so I was extra productive between about 7:50 and 11:30am.

They say you can catch the drill dust with a post-it. They lie.

A lot of potters keep "kiln gods" above the kiln. I am more likely to need them above my oven.

The wall installation went so well in the kitchen, I added to the laundry room/stairway as well. I only had ten pieces installed there before I started feeling scared of standing on a stool at the top of the stairs. I think I also ran out of L-screws.

Admire the beautifully clear window, washed at great personal risk by your author.

My husband, meanwhile, decided to take off our dining room door and hang it from the tree in the back yard. It seems bizarre at first that he wanted to paint it, but I had gotten used to the missing handle and hadn't considered that might be strange for guests. The handle has been off for a few months. He wanted to repair the drippy paint before replacing it. Preparing it to be painted with a sprayer yielded a weird photo. Now it is back in the house, has a handle, and we don't have to stick our fingers in the raw wood hole to open the door.

Magical levitating door.

On Sunday I helped out with Larson Gallery's booth at Articipate downtown by the Farmer's Market. We were trying to sell tickets for next weekend and we had a texture rubbing Mother's Day card activity going on as well. I helped set up around 7am and then came home for a few hours to install some more bulbs on new L-screws and clean the spiderwebs out of my daughter's sandbox. Children are welcome at my house for the Tour and we will have a fresh clean sandbox and will have some other kids and kids toys in the back yard. Buy your tickets today!

More bulbs (window still clean).

A few hours after I finished the installation, I opened another cabinet in the studio and found about 20 more bulbs hiding in a corner. There have been at least three 100-bulb sets of these used for various installations. I'm starting to think that the little guys reproduce.

Seriously, from whence didst ye come?

The newly sanded and painted dining room door was to be painted with a second color in the afternoon. The paint was half-done and wet when my daughter and I came home from the Farmer's Market (second trip). She immediately went to her swing, where a towel was draped. She picked up the towel and tossed it behind her where it landed, with all its little dirty tree droppings, on top of the wet paint. I took over painting, since my husband couldn't handle the horror, and picked out little bits of tree gunk (don't look too closely).

I was thinking of using half of this picture as my Facebook profile. Know why?

Getting the house ready is a bizarre experience. We cleaned things we never ever clean (things we literally have never cleaned before) and worried about washing windows and making sure top shelves are dusted and paint is patched right. But how surprised would I be if anyone commented on the clean windows or even paint job during the tour. Seriously, you should come. My work will be all over the house. My advanced clay students will have their work at my house and the talented Monika Lemmon will have (hopefully a bunch of) her paintings at my place. And of course there are lots of other artists and homes to see that day too.

The main attraction: my bizarre studio. There's no way to improve that wall carpet.

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