Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Moved in

I swept the bare floor, took one last look, closed the door on 4-11 and turned in the keys. Kinda made me a little sad. I have a tendency to get attached to places. But I have a beautiful new studio needing my attention now, so I am moving on. Plus my lease was up on the temp one.

My studio (no longer have to distinguish which one...) is in a separate building from the other artist studios. Mill A is attached by a little ramp at the third floor. There are at least 17 units in there. When we were all painting our rooms and introducing ourselves, it felt like we were moving into the dorm the first week of school. (We hope we are the "cool kids".) So far it's a great mix of photographers, a textile artist, a jeweler, a graphic designer and this guy whose work I cannot describe, but I dig it. Plus he and his wife are so nice!

All my supplies are piled on shelves or on the floor against the wall, but I was able to set up my work table in the middle under the (ack!) fluorescent light. I've been in constant motion all week, moving load after load from one studio to the other. I was so sore this morning I took aspirin.

I had bought some self-stick rubber base molding because the drywall couldn't meet the uneven steel floors properly. I thought this was an easy solution. Tip from me to you: self-adhesive rubber base molding - isn't. I did this yesterday. A half hour after I had it up and was feeling pretty clever, I turned around and all 40 feet had done a face plant onto the floor. *sigh* My neighbor had gone through the same experience and kindly lent me some glue in a caulking gun and a putty knife. So I redid the whole job and went back to schlepping.

This morning, you can imagine I was not surprised to see it all on the floor again. I still need 24 more feet of it (waiting for Home Depot to restock, I bought the last boxes in both Nashua and Tewksbury). This time I'll buy the adhesive intended for the job and the little notched trowel-head you can attach to the tip of the glue barrel. I am not daunted!

I needed two book shelves of very specific measurements to put a jewelry display case on top of. I had shopped around the web and in some real stores but saw nothing in my size or price range. So I made a drawing and a cut list and took them to Home Depot. I was lucky and found someone to work the saw and had him do all my cuts. The wood is crappy and the cuts are all off, but I got the materials for two cases for about $50. A little sweat, some screws, putty, primer and paint, and they will be great!

I pulled out the cordless Makita my brother-in-law once sent my dad. (I stole it away one day and conveniently never returned it, thanks dad!) It's an old work horse and the battery has seen better days, but it still holds a charge and as long as it doesn't blow up on me, I'll keep using it. Builds my forearm just to wield it! I used it to drive all the screws and one charge almost made it through both cases.

I didn't get a chance to paint them yet and I have an Open Studio this weekend, Saturday, so I draped a cloth over the cases and a computer desk to make some displays at eye level. I filled the spinner rack with mom's cards, I'll put the earrings, and felt flowers out Friday or Saturday morning.

Then I turned off the overhead light which was harsh and ruining my NPR reception, instead switched on the table lamp D had given me. I sat at the table (also swiped from dad, you're the best!) and made a pair of earrings. There, now it's a studio. Now it's my studio.

Friday, August 24, 2007

News (not so) Brief

So I'm home from 9 days on MV (we stayed with my generous folks in their cottage, pictured above) and we had a very good time! I'm keeping a visual journal of our trip on my flickr page. I'm still processing and uploading pics. I've gotten to Friday when we went to the Agricultural Fair, so I'm almost done.

I attended a special event on Wednesday, August 22nd at Western Avenue Studios. Nikki Tsongas had a fundraiser and invited her supporters to come view and purchase art, whatever they paid for the art they would then write another check for 20% of the price toward the Tsongas campaign. It was an innovative idea that got some local folks to WAS who didn't know it was there. I made sales to two really nice people (one of them pictured to the left) and ended up having a fun evening. Also I always get a lot accomplished as soon as I sit down at my desk in the studio.

It was my last event in the temp studio! I have mixed feelings as I move into my permanent home on the third floor. I will miss the bright sun, my new space is darker (but less stifling too). And I will certainly miss my fourth floor buddies, but hopefully I will be able to maintain the friendships I made in the past two months. Also I am enjoying the new connections I am making with my Mill A peeps!

Our friend, Scott, watched Chester for us while we were away. He is the husband of my dear friend, Mirja, who runs the best toy shop in the world. We left Chet home and Scott came in daily. It was extra heroic that he did that because Chester has been pretty ill and we were afraid if he didn't improve, we would have to leave our vacation and come home to put him in surgery. So we left Scott with the odious task of giving the cat medicine (chicken flavored liquid, but still!) and reporting to us daily on email.

Well, Scott did a tremendous job of not only fulfilling his duties as cat sitter extraordinaire, but also in sending us reassuring funny emails that allowed us to relax a little and enjoy ourselves. (It was also fantastic that mom has WIFI! Yeah!) As it stands, we believe Chet is on the mend and will not require surgery, but we are still watching closely. As sad as I was to be leaving vacation paradise, I was just as eager to get home to my fur child.

When we walked into the condo we saw the mail stacked neatly on the table but one envelope had been ripped open and was on the floor! We were surprised because although Chet loves to chew on paper, he really only does it while we are watching to let us know we forgot to fill his bowl to the brim with tasty kibble. He's never been a destructive cat when left alone. We thought he must have really gotten to the end of his rope, but then we saw that the envelope was addressed to him! He had found and opened his own mail! The gift was sent special all the way from Alberta, Canada, for no reason other than to be super friendly, by Amy of Button Empire, it was a packet of garden grown catnip! We laughed pretty hard at that. Thanks Amy! You are a delightful human being :)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

On Island

I'm away from Lowell, but I am on Martha's Vineyard in my parents' house where I used to live, so it is like being home in another way.

Nothing too profound to report; we go to the beach in the afternoon, we go to the thrift shops, flea market. We get coffee, we visit book stores and sometimes eat dinner or breakfast out. Mom makes great scrambled eggs so we stay home a lot in the mornings :)

Outdoor showers, warm days, cool evenings. The sounds of cicadas in the day, crickets at night, the occasional June bug bouncing off the screen. The wind in the oak trees, the smell of earth. Sand in my pant cuffs. I see old friends, I shop familiar stores. D likes reading on the deck, I like chatting with my mom. Dad goes for a sail.

Last night we went to Illumination Night, the Agricultural fair started today, the fireworks are tomorrow night, yes we come this week every year on purpose :)

I am enjoying myself thoroughly, but I do look forward to getting home to Chester and moving into my new studio. But also, I love to see D relax, I wish I had the power to give him another month off!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Studio Is Painted!

I did it :) All by myself too. On Monday I wiped the walls down with a damp rag, they were covered in dust from when the drywall guys taped the joints. Then I primed all the surfaces, that took all my energy! I scrubbed a few bricks in the windowsill to see if the dirt would come off, the answer? Yes! And ew. SO dirty. 100 years of dirt. Then I took a day off to save on chiropractic bills and went back today.

I played a Sarah Harmer CD also listened to NPR and it went much faster. Also more satisfying to see the color going on and guess what? I LIKE IT!! Actually, I LOVE IT. Which is good because I bought too much and have decided to put it on the walls in my bedroom as well.

Which one did I choose? The less yellow one, Water Sprout. Amanda and her mom came by to see my progress. Her mom, who it turns out is a color guru, said "It has just enough yellow in it to have the benefits of yellow with none of the drawbacks." Yay!

Also I hope it captures a Martha Stewart vibe (yeah, I like her, don't be a hater!) and at the same time the color of municipal trucks or old post offices. It looks great with the wood and the bricks. I've decided to paint the door a burnt orange And I can't wait to see those colors together! This kind of feeling:

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Taggity Tag Tag

I was taggged by Impybat, and though I often ignore the tagging, I thought this one was painless enough and it's been a while. This round of tagging is 4 Things About Yourself:

4 Jobs I Have Had:
(only 4?)
T-shirt painter
Porcelain Restoration Specialist
Folk Art Figurine Molder
High-end Wedding Invitation Assembler

4 Films I Can Watch Over & Over:
The Sure Thing
Broadway Danny Rose
The Royal Tennenbaums

4 Places I Have Lived:
Newton, MA
Edgartown, MA
Bloomington, IN
Knoxville, TN

4 Favorite TV shows:
Project Runway
The Office
30 Rock
Best Week Ever

4 Favorite Foods:

4 Websites I Visit Every Day:

Various Blogs
Etsy (it's a sickness)

4 Places I would Love To Be:
The beach
My new studio
In the car with D, on a road trip
Visiting friends

4 Favorite Colors:
Light blue
Burnt orange
Certain combinations of two (mint/orange, red/aqua, brown/cream, etc.)

And that's it! I am supposed to tag someone next, which I hate. I wonder if I should let the tag die here...I'll think about it :)

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Open Studios Redux

I had my second open studios on Saturday, it was the last in my temp studio. It went really well! The Lowell Quilt Festival is going on this weekend and Western Avenue Studios is a part of that. Ann Lee of Friends Fabric Art hung small art quilts on the wall outside my studio and people came by on walking tours to view them. Buses were shuttling people in from downtown so we had a nice crowd despite the oppressive heat.

I was happy to see a lot of artists in their studios with their doors open. I only wished I could have walked around more and socialized, but I wanted to stay close to my room in case I had visitors. Which I did! I talked with a lot of really nice people and made a few sales. In the afternoon, an Etsian dropped in and surprised me! Dedicated Mill Girl readers will recall I did the South End Open Market with Candace of The Intuitive Garden and Intuitive Designs. I locked up for a minute so I could show her and her husband the new space. On the way we stopped in to see Amanda of Brick Mill Studio, her space is looking excellent and her sparkly jewelry is gorgeous!

At five I closed up shop (so nice not to have to break down the display!) and we headed for Caffé Paradiso in downtown Lowell for a light dinner alfresco.

Today, my sweet husband is taking me to buy paint! If you are like me, you will see this as very romantic :)