Sunday, December 14, 2014

Holiday Decor 2014

Somewhere between painting and cleaning and life, I wade some additions to our holiday display and finished getting it in place this weekend. I know it isn't everyone's cup of tea but I think it is a nice addition to the street. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Dining Room Mural Progress

Now that the mural is starting to progress, the magnitude of this project is finally starting to settle in on me. I have a good chunk underway on one wall and over the past few weeks, I completed a terpintine wash on the other three walls and have started to fill in some of the major color areas. 
In order to save some time, I spent a day mixing all of the major colors in the painting: a yellow, orange, two greens, a dark brown and lighter brown, and two cooler blue and pink grays. I begin filling in the darkest areas and worked my way around the room trying not to make one part seem much more finished or different than the others. 
I am very happy with how it is coming but knowing how much more work I have to do to get to the level of finish I want, I am sure this is going to take me a long time to finish. So far, I think I have put roughly 48 hours into it. If only I had that kind of free time in large chunks.   

All in all, I am pretty happy with how it is coming along though. I've worked all of the areas with a very large brush but am happy with the drawing and the way that the colors are laying out. I will work the areas a couple more times with a finer brush in order to get to the level of detail I want. I don't want it to look hyper-real but still hope that folks can discern the depth of the landscape and comprehend that this is an "actual" scene.
Here is the best overall I can get at the moment. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Invasive Grass Dilema

I had a pretty good day planned yesterday. I was going to get a jump start on winterizing my yard, cleaning and taking down the rain barrels, etc. so that I wouldn't be in a mad rush when things started cooling down in late October. Everything was going pretty good until I started some digging and began looking more closely at the grasses that were growing on the corner of the front yard.   
These grasses aren't visible anywhere else in the yard and they seemed to be getting a little out of control. I figured that I better nip this in the bud, literally, and began pulling the grass out. Some of it came out easy but I could tell there was a more significant root system than I first thought.  
I started digging and realized that beneath the top layer of soil was an interwoven network of roots. These went to a depth of about 8 inches. I figured that I better dig it all out or else I may end up with an even bigger problem next year. This is when my small weeding endeavor turned into a four-hour project.  
I ended up removing all of the grasses, along with any other plant material I had in this area. This included several nice perennials and some hostas. I figured that it was better to be safe than sorry. I have a dilemma though. I am sure there are still plenty of small root material in the ground that might grow again. What should I do to keep this stuff from growing again? I tilled the area and removed what I could and then I sprayed it with vinegar to make the soil less hospitable. I think I am going to continue tilling and pulling out any root material until I get tired of doing so and then deal with it next spring. Any thoughts?    

I now also have to relocate about 60 tulip bulbs that were planted in this area. I may even just save them until late in the fall and try to get them back in place. I guess we'll see if anything takes root between now and then.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

I should have done this years ago: grouting the mosaic

It has been three years since I started my mosaic project on the garage. The first time I posted on it was August 6, 2011. It is embarrassing that it has taken this long to start on the grouting of the tile. I finished one side of tile work a couple years ago and it has sat, without grout. This year several tiles started falling off so I figured it was about time I get off my butt and finish this thing. 
Mixing  and applying the grout per the manufacturers instructions was simple enough. This is the first time I've grouted anything and it was an easy project. Easy is a relative term though. It still took time and I still needed to pay careful attention to what I was doing to make sure all of the joints were properly filled. After filling, you wipe it down with a wet sponge, ring it out, wipe again, repeat and repeat and repeat... until it is clean. Paying attention to the removal of the excess grout was also important. It was tedious but somewhat therapeutic.   
The result is great. The detail in the tile seems to pop a bit now and the shapes and design seem more refined. After I finished the damp wipe-down, I went over the entire thing with a dry rag to remove any excess dust.  
This has given me renewed interest in finishing this project. Sadly, the garden-side of the garage doesn't look half as good as the pergola side of the garage. It faces south and suffers from a lot of pealing paint. I also didn't take much care in adhering all of the trip boards to the substrate. I ended up spending a day screwing the boards back in securely and sanding all of the areas where paint came off. I hope to get another coat of paint on it today and start to complete the rest of the mosaic work.