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paint blues, then success

I haven’t been able to keep up with my goal of writing every day, but I’m enjoying the gentle nudge to write more frequently than I had been writing in April and May. Sometimes I think that it might be nice to have a physical journal to write in – I often think about things I’d like to write down when I’m nowhere near a computer to do so. Longhand writing is something I rarely do anymore, but I love to go back and read my travel journals still today.

These summer days have been busy but they feel different, which is nice. It’s something I needed after the month of May. It’s felt good to jump into a physical project for a change, to get out of the computer on some evenings, and even to stay up late with a paintbrush in a sleeping house.

Speaking of paint – I thought I’d write a little bit about the paint drama that almost took me down a few weekends ago. Now that we’re on the flip side of that, I can talk about it without triggering feelings of despair and exhaustion.

We’ve planned to paint the wainscoting in the bathroom a deep indigo blue for ages now. Here were my five inspiration photos for color:

melanie acevedo dark bathroom stand alone tub

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melanie acevedo dark blue bedroom

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eclectic-

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indigo-blue-wall-white-couch

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ashely-putman-blue-room

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Before we even installed the wainscoting, I sampled some colors on the walls. That was my first hint that deep blues are HARD! I had some really lovely swatches, but once they went on the walls they looked so bright. I broadened my range a bit, and sampled three more colors – too dark, too navy, too teal. Then I bought some spray paint for a different project and really loved the color of the frames I painted. I decided to custom color match the spray paint and I purchased a sample pot of that paint.

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When I had the paint matched, they sprayed some of the paint on the end of a wooden stir stick, dried it with a hair dryer, and then color matched it from that. The sample paint looked great on the walls, so I thought we had found the perfect one. We finished the wainscoting, patched, sanded, caulked and caulked and caulked – there is roughly 600 linear feet of caulk in the room – and then primed.

M took the sample pot to the store and ordered a gallon of “real” paint, and he started on the long wall, cutting in and painting for hours.

Two things – the blue was pretty, but really, really dark the longer it dried and the more area we covered. Plus, the paint was also really, really annoying to work with. On a nice blank wall with a roller it would have probably been fine. But painting in a dark color with a slight sheen (matte or eggshell) was nearly impossible – the paint dried so quickly that brush strokes were really obvious everywhere. We decided to do a second coat on that wall to determine if we liked the color, because coverage is important on dark colors.

A few bays into the second coat, M threw in the towel and refused to use that paint anymore. It was just too thick and difficult to work with for brush work.

Round two – he tried a different paint that would brush on better, but they couldn’t use the formula from the first can to match it. So he went back again with one of the frames I had painted. The color looked okay when they dabbed a bit on the lid and dried it with a hairdryer, but I started painting with it on a Friday night, and after seven hours of painting and drying, we admitted it was not a match. But it wasn’t an awful color – maybe it just needed more coverage! We gave it another coat, but no dice. It was dark, and a little bit teal, and just not right. Again, if these had been straightforward walls with rolled on paint, it wouldn’t have been such a big deal. But cutting in for hours and hours and hours, and painting behind a freestanding tub and installed toilet and pedestal sink is NO FUN. Especially when you finish a coat and step back and it’s just so very wrong.

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Not the right paint.

It was wrong at one o’clock in the morning, but it was really wrong the next morning with the sun streaming in. We held up new swatches against the painted walls and realized that it was now so much easier to see the “right” color against the wrong one. M wisely got us all out of the house to the market, then the circus. Refreshed with some Ted Drewes and some perspective, we headed back to the paint store with a new swatch. Screw the custom colors. We went with BM’s Gentleman’s Gray. The following photos are all taken with my phone, and at various hours of the day and night, so the color rendition isn’t so great, but I’ll take some good photos when we’re all done.

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Mind you, between every coat we sanded every square inch of wainscoting and then vacuumed the dust and wiped everything down before painting the next coat. Then we both painted on opposite walls – I got the short straw and had to do the areas behind all the fixtures because I have a foot less in height to bend and contort.

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(Side note: this angled brush with flexible short handle is awesome for tight spaces!)

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We collectively have untold hours of painting in this room behind us, and the end result is nothing short of gorgeous. We got it right. Finally.

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Since then, I’ve painted four coats of paint on the underside of the tub and we’ve removed all the blue painters tape. The upper walls and ceiling are just perfection – crisp white and lovely.

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We have new recessed LED lights and they look great in the ceiling. M’s sanding and repainting the ceiling grilles to get them nice and white and refreshed in there. We still have to paint one coat of trim paint on all the remaining white trim – around the door and the window. The window needs a little love as well, and some paint. But then our painting days (in here) will be done for awhile. Which means our project pile in our bedroom is dwindling. Hooray! Hooray!

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(question): i really wish i could…

Kristin piano

Me, piano recital photo, circa early eighties, dress made by my grandmother. Also, I have trouble imagining myself with bangs, but apparently I used to rock them.

…..

Good question: Is there something that you can’t do (at all, or very well) that you wish you could do?

I liked this question when Caroline first asked it, but now I think I love it, because it made me stop and think about the differences between talent and practice, something that’s been on my mind a lot lately. Sometimes when I post things I’ve made or projects that I’m working on, I get a lot of feedback that includes the word “talented” in it. It’s always a sweet thing to hear, but I never really think about my work as being driven by talent.

As someone who works in a creative field, and is also surrounded by (and perhaps attracted to) creative people, I feel like I spend a good portion of my days being inspired by, and in awe of, many talents that I don’t possess. Not in an envious way, really – I’m just constantly amazed by the diversity of talents and infinite variations on the shared fruits of these gifts, so much so, that I often find myself saying “I would love to try that out sometime”.

But in naming something that I can’t do, I also have to think about those things that I can do, and it’s not a small amount of things. I’m not the “best” at any of these things, but I do think I’m pretty good at generating an idea in my head, gathering up the resources to try it out, and I’m patient (and sometimes lucky) enough that it turns out like I imagined. Most things that I do well, I do them because I practice. A lot. And I don’t really consider that a talent, just a good effort.

My initial response was this: I’d love to be able to speak other languages more fluidly. That probably has more to do with practice than talent, but I do believe that some people pick up languages far easier than others. I love to read things in other languages – it’s an enjoyable stretch of my brain – but I’m a reluctant speaker, and not a great conversationalist in a foreign tongue.

At times I’ve thought it might be cool to be a great athlete – or, to be honest, have any sort of athletic tendencies at all. I’m (not so) secretly terrified of things flying towards me that I have to catch (or duck). I tend to freeze, or turn around and run away screaming. But I don’t think I really wish for this talent. I’m okay admiring athletic skills in others, particularly when they are playing for my team.

This is a tough question! But I think I know what my answer is. I’d love to be able to sing. Like, really sing. I can carry a tune or sing in a crowd. But I’d love to have one of those amazing voices that stops you dead in your tracks. I’m not sure I’d ever have the confidence or desire to be the one that is called on to sing something in front of a crowd, but I’d love to have some pipes good enough to encourage me to try it! I recently attended a funeral, and an 85 year old man was one of the speakers. He spoke of a well known German poem / prayer that is frequently sung as a lullaby by children, and he recited the English translation. After he spoke, his wife opened her mouth and began singing it in German, no microphone, just her lovely, clear voice that filled the space and brought everyone to tears. I think I’d love that talent – not for the applause or the attention, just for the ability to lend sound to the moment, and give voice to deepest grief and purest hope.

a weekend at home

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It’s been a few weeks since we’ve all been together at home, and this weekend that felt really good. I wouldn’t call it a lazy weekend, because we had plenty of things that we needed to get done. But it still felt relaxing despite the lists.

I took these pictures of the lotus flowers at Tower Grove Park after we left the Farmers Market there. They are stunning – really, there are so many gorgeous corners of this city. Vacation was lovely, but it’s still good to come home and walk the same paths each week.

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The week following vacation always seems to be the busiest, as we all scrambled to play catch up. M traveled several of those days, so by the time Saturday rolled around we were ready for some down time. We called a sitter, headed over to the Hi-Pointe, and saw the movie Trainwreck. (Two thumbs up.) It’s been awhile since we’ve been to that theater, but we used to be able to walk there when we were students and dating. We thought about getting drinks afterwards, but ice cream won out. We skipped dinner, but not dessert. Not a bad way to end a Saturday.

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I’m so excited for the upcoming weeks. I know the summer is on the downward slide, and there are projects we want to rekindle this fall. But for now I’m enjoying the heat, the pace, the conversation, the company. Especially the company.