1.30.2010

My Own Business Card

I finally made my own business card (with 37 part time jobs, you don't really get a PROFESSIONAL one). I'm not really sure WHY I made them (well, mostly because my mom says people ask her about the shoes, so now she can give them something more professional than my name and contact info written on a napkin, otherwise though I'll have to find another use for them). She and Chris have been telling me to do this for about a year, so I decided I should actually get around to it.

I got them at MOO which is AWESOME. You can upload a TON of designs of your own or use their templates. They have good prices too. I got 100 mini cards for $20, but you can get 50 of the regular size ones for $20.

I wanted mine to be fun and playful (because I don't take myself seriously), but also clean and organized (because, lets be honest, I have some OCD tendancies).

Here's the front


And here's the back

What do you think? I quite like them myself, the polka dots and colors make me smile :)

1.28.2010

A Shower Solution

Well my loyal readers, you should have expected nothing other than a severe overreaction from Miss Meryl. I was so nervous for Chris' reaction to our lovely shattered shower glass problem, but his reaction was nothing more than a mere chuckle.

A CHUCKLE! I was thinking, "Oh my lord, what are we going to DO? What sort of shower surround could we have that would be cheap? [that wouldn't cause more mold issues than the bathroom has already presented us with] How much more is this going to cost us? How long are we going to be without a shower?"

Well, Chris answered all those questions in about 10 minutes: We will have a modified water proof white board as 1/2 of our shower enclosure. It will cost us $32. And, while I was gone at work (after I cleaned the area), Chris would install the whiteboard, so we only had ONE showerless day!

Really, that easy? My, don't a feel a little sheepish? Well, yes, yes I do.

So, after I had calmed down and Chris left for a Dr.'s appointment (we're both starting to suffer from allergies ALREADY, so we're getting allergy tests and hopefully they can help solve our sniffle, sneeze and snot problems), I got to work cleaning the bathroom and removing the glass. I cleaned out the shower

prepped myself

and lined the bottom of the shower with plastic - both for easy cleaned up and so glass didn't go down the drain

(see that lovely mold? Thanks, previous owners, thanks)

Then I started pushing the shattered glass into the shower with a big bucket/bin

And after about 25 minutes I had gotten all the glass out


Around the time I finished cleaning up Chris came home and we headed out to my dad's to help fix his gutters, and when we got back it was time for me to go to work at the Warriors (on camera for the 3rd quarter, woo-hoo!) BUT, when I got home we had a WONDERFUL shower surround


It just took a quick sweep and vacuum this morning, and we're good as, er, new. Well, seeing as this bathroom needs a total remodel as well, it's as good as it was before, ONE day it will be new :)

So there you have it! A wonderful, shower surround that attempts to not cause more mold and dry rot problems for the next 6 months (?) that we will have to still use this crusty bathroom.

But, the real question is: what the HELL caused the shower to shatter? Well, we're not really sure, but we think we have a guess...the back addition to the house isn't exactly a wonderful example of superb construction

(the bathroom is that window to the left of that lovely pink "curtain." Again, what the HELL were our previous owners thinking? Who would do an addition like this and think it was okay?)

The bathroom is not level and the walls are a bit bowed (in corners of the shower you can actually see tile jut out in strange angles). So, we think that the sheet of glass was essentially shoved into place and has had pressure on it from all angles, thus enduring a lot of constant stress. And, certainly the amount of work we've done to the addition so far to get it CORRECTLY level and plumb has probably added MORE pressure to it. So, our best guess is that, basically, it finally just cracked (pun intended :) hehe)

1.27.2010

I Woke Up To a GREAT Surprise

And by great, I mean it was terribly fucking awful.

We are very lucky that we have two full bathrooms in our house. One that is in shambles, and one that functions, but isn't very lovely, clean, or liked (but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do).

Currently, the main bathroom renovation is priority number 5 on our 2010 house plan, behind finishing projects from last year, working on the garage (for which we have already begun consulting an engineer), and FINALLY getting heat to our FREEZING house

The main bathroom currently looks like this

With a big hole (that will get much bigger) because of all of the dry rot

(yes, that's right, you can see all the way down to the foundation)
So, while this bathroom has been out of commission, we've been using this LOVELY half renovated piece of crap that the previous owners left us


(and yes, that's a TOWEL on the back of the door because the idiot previous owners had a see through GLASS door as the bathroom door. No thanks. I would prefer my houseguests NOT be able to see me while I PEE.)

I hate this bathroom, but there are other issues with the house that I would prefer get done first, so Chris and I have made due. It has a sink, toilet, and shower, so I really don't care. I don't LIKE it, but at least it works.

Well, that's when my lovely surprise reared its ugly head this morning.

I got up and went to the bathroom to brush my teeth and wash my face and get ready to do some organizing before Chris and I leave later this morning to work on my dad's rental property's gutters (they're leaking, ther roofers didn't attach them properly to the eaves). As I reached for the towel that hangs over the shower enclosure I heard some creaking and tweaking noises. I looked all around for the source (I had no idea what it could be, but I thought AT LEAST I should look around). I didn't see anything that looked out of the ordinary, so I continued to dry my face.

As I was about to hang the towel back up, I thought, "hmmm, the shower enclosure looks strange." But I couldn't really put my finger on it. So I looked at the other side where the door is

Well, the other side of the shower enclosure DOES have something VERY different to it than the door side...it's got quite an interesting pattern


A pattern of SHATTERED GLASS. How THE FUCK did that happen?
Chris hasn't woken up yet, and honestly, I'm a bit worried about what his reaction will be. I'm the emotional, over-reactor and Chris is the calm, thoughtful one in our relationship. But sometimes, this house and it's "surprises" can really get to him, and I'm afraid this will REALLY get to him.
The questions is, what will we do and how will priorities change? The simple thing would be to buy another shower enclosure and just replace it. BUT, this bathroom will get renovated in 1 1/2 - 2 years, in which case we would be bound to certain changes by the enclosure and who knows if it would survive the demo (I can't even IMAGINE the dry rot in this bathroom). At best we would not be able to renovate how we wanted, and at worst we would have wasted a bunch of money.
We could shoot the main bathroom reno to priority number 1, but it would still take a LONG time: we have more demo to do, dry rot to fix, framing to fix, plumbing to replace, a tub and sink to refinish, fixtures and tile and SHOWER ENCLOSURES to buy, tile to install, a window to install, a tub and sink and toilet to install, a closet to build, and all those other fun finishing touches that will take a LONG time. The OLD saving grace of it taking a long time was that at least we always had the other bathroom...Well, now it looks like we may be showering at my brother's or the gym...for the next 4 months...
Sometimes renovating is a real fucking bitch. And Chris hasn't even SEEN this bitch yet...

1.26.2010

Converse for Kim

I've been drawing on Converse shoes for a little while now and giving them to my mom as presents (I think I've made 3 for her thus far)

Then I made a pair that she gave to the owner of her gym

And I've made a pair for myself

One day when my mom was at the gym a lady there LOVED the shoes she was wearing (they were green and yellow and had words like Power, Peace, Love on one shoe and "In My Own Skin" on the other shoe - of course I didn't take a picutre of them when I made them for her this past Christmas, damnit). I loved how inspirational they were (without being overly cheesy) and so did her friend Kim. So my mom asked if I would feel okay if she gave my information to Kim because she wanted a pair of her own. I said, "Sure!" So Kim and I wrote back and forth and talked about colors, the design she wanted, and what words she found most inspirational and I drew up some pretty awesome Converse for her (actually, I think these are my favorite so far)



Kim chose the words Strength, Hope and Peace. I had done 4 words on my mom's but 3 was the perfect fit for Kim because her feet are a bit smaller. She wanted the same colors on each shoe, but a slight variation to give them some fun definition (I had done this on my mom's so she knew it didn't look totally wacky).

Isn't that tag cute? One of the lawyers at the law office I work at got them for me for a Christmas present, so I can toss one in with the fun art projects I make for people.

If YOU want YOUR very own pair of fun, drawn-on Converse, email me at meryl.phillips@mindspring.com I charge $100 (that is for the shoes, art work, and shipping) for adults, and $75 for kids and babies.

1.24.2010

Spray Painting Frames

I have to admit, I was a bit worried about this project. I was a little unsure how well the spray paint would cover all my picture frames, but it actually turned out pretty marvelous (if I do say so myself).

The plan: to spray paint my picture frames that will hold art, awards, photographs, ephemra in my art room to match the colors of my art room fabric.

The paint: I have slowly picked up the correct spray paint colors at various home goods stores (warm yellow, apple red, key lime...all in gloss). I wanted to make sure I got colors I really liked and I really thought looked good with the fabric. The green was the most difficult to find, but I think it's my favorite color out of the three

The set-up: A few days ago (during a break from the rain) I took out all the frames I have (so far) and took whatever was in them out, sanded them down a bit, and then wiped them clean
I put all the frames together that would be sprayed the same color and got to work

The yellow and green took two coats, but the red took three (not surprising, red is always more difficult to deal with, no matter what project you're working on). I held the spray can about 1-1 1/2 feet away from the frames and tried to spray as evenly as possible, and also not to spray TOO MUCH (otherwise it would drip down the sides). I waited about 30-45 minutes between each coat, then an hour before I handled them and a full day before I put anything back in them. I think they covered pretty good

I normally have an aversion to decorative frames and get frames that are as plain as possible. But, I'm actually sort of curious to get some decorative ones and spray paint them to see how they turn out. Who knows, maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised.

I would HIGHLY recommend using spray paint rather than regular paint to refinish picture frames. It went A LOT faster, and there is no streaking or visible paint strokes. There may be a little bit of dripage, but if you're super careful you can avoid it, and if not at least it's on the top and bottom, so you can't really see it very much. Plus, each can is only about $3.50, and it can probably cover 3-6 frames (depending on their size)

Now I just have to get some MORE frames for all my stuff that is so far frameLESS and hang up these babies

My walls are naked, they need artwork!

1.21.2010

Noah's Arc

With the much appreciated rain (really, it is actually much appreciated) comes the NOT so appreciated drainage issues we have discovered around the perimeter of the house. Our house may now be leak free, but there are some other problems affloat (hardy har har)

Yesterday as we were working we decided to walk around and look at what we were up against during a break in the downpour. It turns out, we are up against a lot.

We have this issue I already spoke of...

As well as standing water under the animal room/behind my art room

AND under the house.

So what to do, what to do??? Well, the long term plan will be to dig out a trench, install proper draining and extensions on the downspouts, and lay some gravel on top, and then hopefully that solves the problem. But that will also have to wait till we have consistent good weather (no rain please, we don't want a backyard full of MUD while we're trenching). So, what is the short term plan you ask?

About 2 years ago I took a ceramics class at Mills. I was taking a Modern Art History class at the same time and had developed an extreme dislike for Mr. Marcel Duchamp, and specifically his work, Fountain

I won't begin to discuss my thoughts on this piece because I could really go on for paragraphs, posts, days! But, yada yada yada I REALLY don't like it. SO, in my ceramics class I decided to build a urinal out of clay, put it on a pedestal and insert a water feature into it so the urinal actually became a fountain (much to Mr. Duchamp's delight I'm sure, mua ha ha ha ha)


(water spouted out of the top most hole and collected in the bottom of the urinal and filtered down through those 6 holes that make up the triangle at the bottom, through a tube, and into a bucket that sat on a shelf inside of the pedestal, that also housed a pump that pumped the water BACK up out the hole at the top. Phew! Sadly, I don't have a picture of it as a working fountain :( ).


Ha ha! Screw you Marcel Duchamp! :)

Anyway, what does this have to do with the house you say? WELL, I decided to save the little, teeny tiny water pump thinking, "hmm, maybe I'll use it for another art project someday..." Well, that art project is our HOUSE. We plugged in the baby pump and sat it in 1 of our 3 pools of standing water around the house. It pumps REALLY slow, but at least it pumps SOME of the water out


An actual solution will be needed, albiet down the line. Now this little problem has made it onto our 2010 revised to do list. How pathetic is that? 21 days into the new year and we already have a revised list. Damnit.

1.20.2010

Foyer Progress

It's nice working on a project that actually shows progress (mostly because it's small). Working on the mud and tape in a small space goes A LOT faster than the kitchen

On the list of what we've been doing...

Cleaning the FAKE stained glass pattern (gross) that left a lovely film when it was removed on our great orginal lead closet window

Now gross residue free! (just needs some windex and dusting)

Patching the holes in the wall with plaster

Patching cracks in the closet


And putting up another layer of drywall around the front door, installing quarter round, mudding and tapping



Now we need some more mud and tape, sanding and cleaning, texturing, painting, and installing baseboards. Still a decent list that will take some time, but at least I feel like we're slowly working towards a goal that may get finished RELATIVELY soon :)

1.19.2010

It's Raining, It's Pouring, Our House is Dry!

It's been raining pretty steadily for the last few days here in Oakland, which is GREAT because we haven't had much rain for quite some time (and, there were LOTS of fun puddles to drive through on the way home from the gym this morning)


And, with our new roof we have no leaks!!! Look at that downspout hard at work!

But I did discover a SLIGHT drainage problem on the side of the house

Looks like we've got another project to add to the list...