shades of blue

Painted Frames 1

The girls and I made these sun prints a few years ago, out of objects we found in the jungle that is our backyard. I loved the way they turned out so much that I wanted to get them framed – mostly to protect them while I figured out where I might use them. I bought these so-so frames, mostly for the white mat and glass and protection factor. The profile didn’t do much for me, but they were safe and we boxed them up and sort of forgot about them.

Painted Frames

We’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about our backyard these days (!), and we’ve also been cleaning up and working through some smaller projects in the house, and I remembered these sun prints in the process. M brought the box up from the basement and I unwrapped them. The prints themselves still look great, but the frames were really uninspiring. I don’t like the white at all – I might like it if it were a really thin metal frame (like my favorites here), just a thin profile line at the edge. But I laid them out for a few days to just think about it a little more.

I thought some contrast might actually be nice, and I wondered about trying a slim black frame like the one I just used on E’s VW print upstairs. But I still wasn’t feeling it. I thought about a custom frame in an indigo hue, but there are six frames and that was really going to add up. I did get some gift certificates for framing for Christmas, but I’m working on the big portrait wall in the stair hall, and I just wasn’t sure about committing that kind of money to these prints. I’m a little unsure how these will fare as the years go by – even with the UV glass that these frames have. But if they do fade or I tire of them, I’m not really sure what I’d do with six custom indigo hued frames in the futures.

Turns out M was wondering about blue frames too, so then we wondered if painting the existing frames might do the trick. Seemed like a better use of framing funds – I just went to Art Mart and looked at the dozen different blue options and picked the one I liked the most – Montana Black, Color: Space

Painted Frames 2Untitled

I didn’t want the frames to be a really bright blue, I was looking for a neutral blue that worked well with some of the darkest areas of the prints. Last weekend we had nice temps, so I applied two-three light coats on each side of the frames before bringing them inside to cure for a couple of days.

Painted Frames 4

I’m not really thrilled with the way the colors are rendered in this photograph, but, as I mentioned in my post yesterday, the light is really tricky right now. In person, I love the way these turned out. The prints still stand out, but the frames really make a difference, particularly when these are grouped on the wall. This weekend I’m going to mess around with some layouts in our room, and try them out in one of them.

Painted Frames 5

The color of the frames is almost indistinguishable from the color we’re leaning towards for the master bath. When I hold the frame up to the blue walls, it nearly disappears. the spray paint has just a smidge less green in it than the paint swatch, so I might end up color matching the formula of the spray paint for the room. It’s such a lovely muted indigo in person.

We’ve got another small repair / painting job in the master bedroom – but we need for it to WARM UP before we can get to that. Once that’s done, I’ll take some good pictures of that room, and how it’s looking these days.

random lately bits

It’s been a very white and gray week. It’s early morning as I type this. I’ve been trying to take some photos of a project, but the daylight is bright and flat at the same time. It just keeps snowing, but not in joyful amounts, just in the kind of amounts that snarl rush hour traffic and pack down firmly onto the streets, rutless. I only have a few spare moments, but I thought I’d at least start to write a bit under the original title of “random lately bits”. I have lots of little, insignificant things I’m thinking about, but these days are long long long, and I hardly get the chance. When my alarm goes off before six, it takes an extra mental push to both acknowledge the next seventeen hours, and to embrace all that will transpire during them.

M slips out of bed long before me, and my body wakes to his absence just enough to burrow into the warm spot he leaves behind. I stretch out in a diagonal swath across the bed, into my favorite position, face down with my toes pointed to the floor and just hooked over the edge of the bed. I used to be afraid of things, animals, monsters, stealthy criminals, under my bed, just waiting for an exposed ankle to attack. I’m not nervous about those things anymore. I always slept on my back, head slightly elevated and facing the door, ready. No longer, not when I can slide out of a warm tub and underneath a down comforter, stretching my arms alongside my ears until they brush the bars above my head, hooking my feet over the opposite end of the mattress, face planted into the sheet until I’m forced to turn to the side for air, a reluctant concession. He’s nearly silent in the bathroom in the morning, and I’m nearly asleep, but awake enough to think about what’s changed in me. I’m curious about how this fear escaped me. This is not the sort of thing I’d be curious about in the middle of those seventeen hour stretches, but only in the still dark thirty-six minutes of extra sleep stretching I get once the muted sounds of water and fan mix in the adjacent room.

I settle on two possibilities before drifting back into a half-sleep. The first is a theory about forbidden pleasures. I didn’t fully appreciate how delicious it felt to stretch out across a bed in any fashion until I was unable to do it for the better part of a year. For weeks following my surgery I was limited to one uncomfortable position, and I remember waking every few minutes to shift an inch or two. It was not unlike those nights when I was carrying my girls, limited to lying on one side, and then shifting, hourly, to the other one. For now, at least, I’m free to occupy as much or as little space as I wish to in those sleeping hours. I will not surrender one ounce of that freedom to the creatures under the bed.

The second possibility is deeper, and perhaps too strong a dive to make when I still have twenty-two more minutes before the quiet whirr of the second alarm static – the radio never stays properly tuned to a station these days. I wonder if I’m no longer scared of the unknown lurking just under the surface because it’s no match for the real fear I’ve met, or if I’ve just resigned myself to its randomness, relinquishing control I never had. I ponder both ends of this thought sequence before employing the yoga techniques I’ve been practicing for just over a year now. It’s habit now, but it took me months to connect that practice to my own bedtime ritual. Why did it take me forty years to master the art of shutting everything off, step by step? I relinquish everything, surrendering it all for sleep that comes quicker now than it ever has. Is that a form of prayer, or merely a deliberate relaxing of the jaw? I think it could be both. I’ll take it, either way.


I started this post as a reflection on the early morning February light, and planned to tie it into the photographs of a small project I recently finished in our bedroom. But the paragraphs kept writing themselves, turning away from the photographic challenges of blogging in the early, stolen moments, towards the thoughts that swirl before that first bit of light hits the corner of this bed I’ve still claimed for eleven more minutes. I can save the indigo hued sunprints for tomorrow. I’ll delete the photos now from the end of this draft.

Maybe it’s just February, a month of juxtapositions. The month of love and letterpressed cards. And the month when everything turned upside down. Love can do that flipping, but fear is more precise, more practiced at it. Maybe that is what I know now, and why I stretch into this void, still warm, and stay there for six more minutes before launching into the next seventeen hours. Forty years minus three of them, to know that this sequence is on repeat for as little or as long as it is, no more, no less. I nestle into that last thought, the one about relinquishing control I never had, and it makes the stretch and the warm spots all the sweeter. Often we meet in the middle, between the two whirrs of radio static, early and later, both of us giving up something on each side of it. Because it’s February, and the light is slow, and this space is warm, and it’s the month of love and fear, and the stretch between the two is delicious.


scenes from a weekend: mardi gras edition

Mardi Gras

This weekend was the big Mardi Gras celebration just down the street from our house. Our city boasts the second largest Mardi Gras event outside of New Orleans – and it can get a little crazy around our parts. Since we don’t have off street parking (yet!), our Saturday becomes an “out” day or an “in” day – we either camp out at home for the day, or, if we venture out, we stay out until after dark. Otherwise we’re parking blocks and blocks away from home and walking.

E took the ACT at a nearby university on Saturday morning as part of the Duke TIP program, and F had a 9:00am indoor soccer game, so we had no choice but to have an “out” day.  E tested for four hours, and M and F headed out to Frisco Train Store to play with some trains after the game. We met up for lunch and then headed over to one of M’s library projects to while away the afternoon hours. After the girls finally made their selections, we hung out with friends for a few hours before heading out for a late dinner, and finally, home!

And while our Saturday Mardi Gras strategy ended up being avoidance, on Sunday the girls participated in the their own Mardi Gras parade down Cherokee Street. This one was organized by their aftercare instructor, and the kids pulled the floats they’ve been working on after school over the last couple of weeks. The Saint Boogie Brass Band led the parade, and it was just a fun afternoon of music making and float pulling.  We rounded off the afternoon with cones at I Scream Ice Cream, and now we’re half-watching a football game and gearing up for the week ahead.

It’s about to get cold again here, but it’s been a nice weekend of moderate temperatures and bursts of sunshine to usher in February.

Mardi Gras 2

Mardi Gras 4

Mardi Gras 9

Mardi Gras 10

Mardi Gras 5

Mardi Gras 6

Mardi Gras 3

Mardi Gras 1

Mardi Gras 7