Tag Archives: paper projects

project addition: week… who’s counting?

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I finally got a response last night from my web host on my lost post query. The short version is that I’m not going to be able to retrieve anything that was lost when the site was migrated to its new server without losing newer work. Mildly annoying, but I’m over it. It’s actually kind of funny / ironic. It’s been so long since I’ve talked about where we are on the addition project – even when I try to get back into the swing of things, I’ve got nothing to show for it in the end!

(Side note: CT, thanks for the Roots + Blooms rec – they reopen for the season this week, and I will certainly stop in. Sorry our conversation got lost in the server switch.)

So instead of trying to recreate the original post, I’ll just jump in with this brief update and move on. We have a schematic package together, and we have meetings scheduled for Wednesday morning. First, we’ll be stopping into the Cultural Resources office to discuss the project and run a few ideas past them. Our house is in a Federal Historic District, as well as a local one, so there are many restrictions on what you can and cannot build, and also what materials you can use on the exterior. So we want to run a few options by them, and get an idea of the review process from their office.

After that walk-in meeting, we have a scheduled meeting with someone in the Zoning Department. We’ll be reviewing the site plan, floor plans, and site section with him, and we’ll talk about any variances that we might have to apply for. When I was talking on the phone with him, he used the phrase “let’s see if we can avoid hearings if at all possible”- and I am totally on board for that. I’m hoping that we leave the meetings tomorrow with a clear plan of action for getting these plans approved!

In that lost post I talked a lot more about my frustrations last year – about how I thought that documenting the process each week seemed like such a great idea. But it took so much time, and it added such a layer of frustration to the project that didn’t need to be there. I’m easing up on that pressure this time around, even though I acknowledge that it was totally self-inflicted. I might not be as organized and as regular in my reporting this go-round, but we are getting stuff done, and that’s what really matters.

I do want to document the process, I just need to figure out how to organize it all if they aren’t technically weekly progress reports. But for the moment, I’m sticking to this format, and I’ll let you know how tomorrow’s meetings go (with photos!)

Fingers crossed!

P.S. Want to see something really funny? That photo above is from when we first bought the house in 2000. Want to see something really scary? Here’s what it looks like now.

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It sort of pains me to show this to the world, but the ‘after’ photos are going to be that much sweeter.

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I’m not a very bold color person. My wardrobe is pretty neutral, lots of blacks and whites and creams, a navy or blush occasionally. I tend to wrap my presents in a similar fashion each year as well – typically kraft paper packages and twine. Last year I got really daring and went all black. Certainly neutral still, just a bold (weird?) neutral for the holidays!

This year I went red. I’m not sure that it was a conscious choice of mine, but I can’t help to think that it might have been influenced by my grandfather’s favorite color. He loved red – red cardinal birds, his own beloved capital-C Cardinals (Louisville), red roses, red vests during Advent. Our house has been full of red. I even have a (not quite) red holiday dress – and glittery shoes – the girls don’t know what to think. Maybe I’m channeling a bit of my niece this season as well. Whatever the reasons, the red has been a nice change. I love the way our cranberry liqueur gifts turned out – how they transformed the kitchen into a ruby-studded, sun-filled oasis. And I love the way our packages turned out too. Flat for packing and stacking, they are ready to go.

snowflake paper supplies

Bulk Red Paper – from Artmart, sold by the foot off the roll. The quality of their colored paper has vastly improved over the old bulletin board type paper they used to sell years ago.
Spray Paint Montana Black Series (Matte Finish) in White (I purchased at Artmart)
Bakers Twine – my gigantic ball is just about gone…
Wooden SnowflakesMichael’s – I originally had E make some paper snowflakes, but I knew they would shift as soon as I sprayed the boxes. When I spotted these at Michael’s I knew they were perfect. I used them as tags on other gift bags when I was done.
White Prismacolor Pencil
Double Stick Tape – so no tape shows, and paint goes on everywhere.

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I wrapped all the boxes, and then spread out a drop cloth on the back patio. It was a sunny day with little wind – which is what I needed. I placed the snowflakes on in random patterns and then started spraying.

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I stood way back and built the layers up gently. I also controlled the spraying enough to create the snow splatters which really made the paint look great. Everything dried quickly, and I was able to shift the snowflakes around pretty easily between boxes without smearing.

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Because I went light on the paint, the edges of the snowflakes aren’t super crisp – they look like etchings in the snow. I love the way they turned out.

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When they were completely dry I brought them back in and tied them with the bakers twine. I wrote the recipients’ names just above the twine, opting for a colored pencil over a white gel pen to keep the look the same sort of shadowy, dusty look. I’m really starting to embrace the wrapping constraints placed on me by travel – just because we can’t deck everything out in splendid bows or wrap things in festive gift bags, doesn’t mean they can’t be unique. Or Red!

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Wishing you all a peaceful and safe holiday season. I’ll be back sometime over the next week to share our annual holiday / year-end letter. Until then, all my best to you and yours. Thank you for your friendship.

’tis the season of late nights


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NPR recently posted their Best Music of 2015 roundup (click on the photo above to check it out), and just seeing that triggered a bit of sadness in me. Every year I wait for it to go live – it’s become the soundtrack of my late night work sessions during the Christmas season. It’s not that I’m having any sort of shortage on late nights around here, it’s just that I’m not spending any of those hours doing things like this:

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I’ll write in more detail about this later, but this year I’m not churning out one hundred handcut cards. I had an idea for cards this year that I loved, but once my grandfather fell ill a few weeks ago and then passed away – well, the idea just felt really hollow, and I knew my heart wasn’t going to be in it. And I really have to feel strongly about what I’m making in order to sit down and do the work for so many hours on end. I remember how numb we were two years ago, right after my niece died. I couldn’t imagine sitting at a table by myself each night for several weeks. Our family only functioned that season by piling into the same room and hunkering down together. But I was able to turn some of those long, hard hours into something beautiful like her – I just shifted the way I usually do things, and I cut evergreen branches out of paper with scissors as I sat with my family close beside me.

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It’s been harder for me to come up with an alternative idea this year. And since we traveled out of state three times over four weeks, there really hasn’t been a lot of time (or energy) to get started. But late last week I did come up with an idea for a New Year’s card – and I’ve got that in the works now. I worked on the design for it, but I’m having it printed by someone else. It’s nothing like the intricate cards of past holidays, but I’m okay with that.

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There will be new ideas again – that’s the one thing I can count on. The thought of that brings me great joy, even in this quieter season of reflection and grief.