Friday, January 31, 2020

no clever title, no clever ending

I thought I had made a decision on the design of the tile for the tub/shower but I just had a flash and I can't believe I didn't think of this before so I'm going to draw it up one more time and compare.      

I have picked a light fixture (doesn't come with glass shades, they must be bought separate and haven't picked those yet).

Still need to select a faucet for the sink and knobs and spout for the shower/tub, grab bars (thinking ahead since we don't plan to move again), and soap dish, hand towel bar, pick a stain for the wall cabinets, paint for the walls. Rocky didn't show up today and I have no idea when he will again. Maybe Monday but this is the end of the two weeks he had while he waited on something to be done on the job he was working on before me.

We finished our beach landscapes Wednesday and I'm pretty happy with mine (8.5” x 5.25”)

and then I completely forgot it was a yoga night and didn't remember til class was over but speaking of yoga I've been very good with my home practice, haven't missed a day yet since I started back up again so the new time slot seems to be working out.

Our daughter and son-in-law are moving in this weekend as they are moving out of their rent house in Houston but can't move into their new house out here because they still don't have a septic system (been raining too much) and they don't get their power til March 6. The child still at home, youngest grandgirl Robin, will be staying with friends. This ought to be fun...4 adults and one itty bitty bathroom with an itty bitty shower. They'll be sleeping in the work room so I need to take down the folding table to make room and they'll be up and gone commuting to their jobs mostly before we get up. They do have a generator so it's possible that once the septic system goes in they might go ahead and move to their house. We'll see.

It's been cold and windy and overcast, wintry, most this past week but stuff still thinks it's spring. I saw a peach tree in the neighborhood blooming, two of my azaleas are sporting bright pink buds but just a few. The rest of those two bushes are already putting out new growth so I won't get any more flowers on them and I have no idea why these two aren't blooming this year. 

A sparrow is making a nest in one of the bird houses. 

And the other day a red shouldered hawk came to the birdbath in the little backyard. It stayed there for a while getting drinks and then it moved over to perch on the rim of the turtle pond and then moved to the top rail of the fence before finally flying off (pictures are terrible as I was shooting through the door glass on high magnification with my phone/camera/device).

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

now that we've closed the lid on Pandora's box, progress is being made

Besides the whole plumbing replacement that went on last week, Saturday Rocky worked replacing the subfloor in the hamper/water heater closet that had become rotten from the dryer on the other side of the wall that was vented through the wall and through the floor of the closet straight down underneath the house causing the damp air to eventually rot the subfloor around it. Now the dryer is vented to the outside. That's the last thing that needed repair I think. He still has to remove the large ugly fluorescent light fixture like you would see in an office from the ceiling (done) and move the wiring to the wall where the new light fixture will be centered above the mirror.

Monday the green board around the tub went in 

and yesterday the sheetrock in the rest of the room went in and started on the tape and float. 

I made another trip to Lowe's to look at their roll vinyl and pencil tile and Floor and Decor to return all the samples I knew I wasn't going to use. I've decided on what tile I want to use. I've looked at tile at Lowe's, F & D, and another place in Bay City where I got the tile for the little bathroom when we did it and haven't found anything I like better than what I've got here. Still not sure of the flooring, down to two floating plank  (right)  and the other roll vinyl (left) which I'm sort of leaning towards.


What I haven't decided is how I'm going to use the tile. I've been drawing elevations with both the blue and the flower border at the top but I'm not sure I like it so I'm going to draw up some different arrangements. Maybe drop the blue tile band some but not in the middle. I've never cared for that, to have an accent band through the middle of a shower.


I have no idea what color to paint the walls which are just going to be sheetrock in the rest of the room, probably just an off-white. I decided against the bead board (so far) as being too much of a good thing.

And the vanity was delivered yesterday but I haven't opened the boxes yet. Maybe today. Or not since I have my watercolor class today.

Speaking of watercolor class, this is what we did last week. A monotone of a woodsy landscape

and the sky part of a beach scene which we will work on today. 

I was a little distracted last week because of the whole bathroom thing and my impending trip to look at tile so I'm not best pleased with these. But as I used to tell my students when we taught that they are there to learn a technique, not create a masterpiece.

We'll see how today goes.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

did someone mention old corroded cast iron and galvanized plumbing?

Oh. My. God.

Let me add 'nasty'.

no picture of the new PVC under the house as they did that and replaced the subfloor while I was gone yesterday

Every bit of plumbing in that bathroom has now been replaced...the toilet, the vent pipe, the sink, the bathtub/shower. All of it. Well, not quite all. The copper pipes in the wall for the shower remain. The bad news? It added almost $1400 to the cost of this remodel. The good news? We should never have plumbing problems in that bathroom ever again.

I did go to Lowe's after the watercolor class on Wednesday and looked at tile and molded bathtub surrounds and light fixtures and faucets, took a lot of pictures and decided on nothing. I did order the vanity and already I'm worried the 'tobacco' stain on the wood will be too red and wondering if that can be toned down (yes.

Thursday was estate sale day and this one was no great shakes. Looked like the house had been decorated by Hobby Lobby. Pam and I passed two manufactured home businesses on our way and so on the way back we stopped and looked at what they had to offer but this is a story for another day.

Yesterday I drove the 40 minutes to the nearest Floor and Decor and spent a couple of hours there. As soon as I walked in a woman asked me if I needed help to which I answered 'yes'. After I explained the situation she showed me what they had to offer, what was new, what the industry had moved toward (larger and larger sizes of tile) and what they had left behind (square tile). I picked two possibilities for the bath/shower walls and one for the flooring (vinyl floating plank), then I wandered around on my own and picked some accent pieces and one possibility of tile for the vanity wall. Some of the stuff I picked I know I won't use because of the price but I brought home the samples anyway.

Today I decided to take out the two cabinets above the tub which I don't and never will use because of the steam and moisture that rises up into them and if I leave them I'll have to tile underneath them, so they're going (Rocky's working a half day today so now they're gone).

Later today I'm going to Bay City to look at vinyl roll flooring and then spend tomorrow pushing numbers around and considering combinations and hopefully make some decisions.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

here we go again

As mentioned previously, the toilet in the big bathroom is flushing very slow and never completely emptied before filling back up again and the shower is also being very slow to drain and the sink had had a leak underneath but that seemed to have plugged itself back up and we knew we needed to re-do that bathroom which I had already talked to Rocky about previously but weren't ready to do yet since I still had to make my choices about everything except the vanity, you know...wallboard or beadboard or tile or molded tub surround or paint colors or flooring if the vinyl in there now could not be saved (and it's looking like not)...and so could you just come and get all the drains flowing again for now? So Rocky showed up Monday on his way to lunch and before heading back to the job he was working on down the street to make us an offer. The job he has been working on (not the one down the street) which was on hold so stuff he wasn't responsible for could get done before he could continue, which was why he had the time to come fix my drains and do the bit of work down the street, had been pushed back another two weeks and he was looking for work for the interim and so he gave us an offer, good today only if we would go ahead and do the re-do now instead of later, a lump sum for labor no matter what he found during the demolition and regardless of the choices I made for the re-do plus materials, an offer that was too good to pass up even if he didn't encounter any bugaboos. We took it. So Rocky and Henry showed up yesterday afternoon after finishing up down the street and commenced to tearing that bathroom apart. 

He's already kicking himself in the butt. The cast iron flange under the toilet is busted, the plumbing overall is an old and corroded nightmare, mold in the walls from all the leaking, and he hasn't even finished the demolition.

Of course, we're not going to hold him to that ridiculous price he gave us because he has always been very fair with us, more than fair in some cases, and we aren't just neighbors but friends.

I drew up my elevations yesterday morning so I could draw in beadboard or tile or whatever to help me visualize a finished space (the blue rectangle is the turquoise bathtub). 

I have the beadboard left over from before but I don't know if I want to use it, if it's too much of a good thing since it's not only in all three rooms that were remodeled after the flood but also in the hallway and the dining part of the dining/living room. In its favor is the fact that I already have it.

Tomorrow is my third watercolor lesson, also a yoga class night which I will forego, and then after the watercolor class I'll head out to Lowe's to look at everything and note prices and hopefully make some selections and order the vanity by next Monday while Rocky finishes the demolition and works on the plumbing et al.

So no agonizing, no dithering! I'm not remaking this room from top to bottom like I did the little bathroom, just giving it a face lift. I don't make decisions like this quickly as anyone who followed along with the little bathroom knows, but, quickly I must.

I hate making decisions under pressure.

Monday, January 20, 2020

weekend activities

I've done almost nothing for the last two days and not getting much done so far today. My sister Pam and I went to Roots and Relics in Rosenberg Saturday to check out a new vendor who has taken over the patio area with talavera pottery and colorful metal yard sculptures and decorations from Mexico. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures and neither did Pam but there was lots of cool stuff, some kinetic sculptures, one of which was an octopus and it's arms rotated. You might remember that Roots and Relics is the store that the woman who had Miss Hattie's Antique Store here in Wharton where Pam and I both worked. She went into partnership with another woman and they opened that venue in Rosenberg that gets way more traffic than Wharton and then closed the store in Wharton shortly after the tornado came through in early 2017 and blew half the roof off. The only other things I accomplished on Saturday was washing the dishes that had stacked up, plus it was a rainy day (and the new downspout is doing its job).

I did wear my new shirt on Saturday as it was very warm that day and now I'm looking for a simple long sleeve shirt of an appropriate color to wear under it in the winter. 

My friend Joanne Noragon of Cup On TheBus made it. She not only made the shirt, she wove the fabric it's made from and she also makes the most luscious cotton kitchen towels and sells them on her blog so if you don't know Joanne, you should check it out.

Sunday was cold and sunny but also windy which made it unpleasant to be outside for long but I went out several times for long enough to pull up handfuls of clover and to walk the dog who was up for a longer walk even with the wind which she doesn't usually care for. The squirrels or some critter finally ate the pecans so I set more out and they were gone this morning.

The other thing I did Sunday was to finally glue the broken art piece back together, the one I accidentally knocked off the wall with the broom handle a while back.

I managed to glue back all but four tiny pieces of the ones I was able to salvage.

I know where the rounded one on top goes but it's almost paper thin and I don't think there is enough contact for the glue to hold it. I know where the little piece bottom left goes also but there is a sliver missing and so the contact point is very small, like the head of a pin, and there will still  be a gap between the pieces and the one bottom right I haven't figured out where it fits. The last chip is off the back somewhere I think. I might, after the glue has had time to cure, use my little diamond grinding bit to round some of the more obvious broken points.

I ought to be getting out my model making or modeling glass stuff and get started on a few things in case we do do the discussed spring open house but it's already after noon and I have to leave at 4:40 for yoga tonight and I'm really into the book I'm reading so after I pull up a handful or two of clover I may just settle down with it.

Saturday, January 18, 2020


I saw a group of geese flying west and a large group of geese flying southeast. In mid-January.

I saw a daylily had bloomed. In mid-January.

Woodland violets, dandelions, and 10-petal anemones are blooming. In mid-January.

The woodland petal pinks are starting to put up bloom stalks. In mid-January.

The red climbing rose is blooming, the confederate rose is putting out new growth, the clover is rampant and starting to bloom. In mid-January.

I cut back one of the confederate roses earlier in the week and should cut back the other one before the new growth gets too far along. I thought about planting the camellia today since it's done blooming but decided to wait til next week. What I did do today was continue to cut out the dead canes in the climbing roses and pull out the dead branches caught in the tangle of canes. I had already cut the ones I could reach from the ground so today I got the ladder out and worked higher. It looks a lot better, cleaner, even though there are three long thick canes maybe 3/4 to an inch in diameter that I'm pretty sure are dead but they climb really high into the crepe myrtle and I'm not sure if they have growth on the ends. As you can see from my pile, I do occasionally cut a cane that looks dead but isn't. Oops.

If I had our 10' ladder I could get high enough to see but Marc basically gave it away to the guy who comes around and does some tree work for us. He asked to borrow it one day, would bring it back when he finished and Marc told him no hurry. That was before last winter. I'm going to have to go buy a new one.

I also picked up errant sticks as I happened upon them and pulled up a couple of handfuls of clover, my annual spring task to keep it from smothering the bluebonnets. My neighbor drove by and stopped one day last year while I was out there pulling up clover to tell me you know it's gonna grow back. Yes, I know.

Rocky finally got the extra downspout put in (the one on the left) and the gutter screens on to keep the leaves out Thursday. Now, hopefully, when it rains hard all the water that poured off that section of the roof (two valleys feed water onto that section) will be diverted away from the slab. I get a little nervous when it rains hard and the water starts standing along the slab.

The other thing I did yesterday was drive to the Evil Empire and get a plunger. We used to have one but it is nowhere to be found so we think it floated out of the garage and off during the flood. Anyway, the toilet in the big bathroom is flushing very slow and never completely empties so you don't want to do anything in it that you don't want to be seeing. The plunger did not remedy the situation so, luckily for me, Rocky was working at another house on the street and I was able to tell him and he'll be down to fix it.

For all it feels like spring out there, winter is supposed to make an appearance Sunday and Monday. We'll see.

I'll leave you with squirrel acrobatics. I put some shelled pecans on a slab of stone on the ground for the squirrels hoping to distract them from the bird feeder. They have so far ignored the pecans.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

pending bathroom re-do and lesson #2

Years ago, years before Harvey, the toilet in the big bathroom got rocky and a little leaky and so Marc pulled it up to find that the subfloor underneath was rotten. He patched in new plywood and reseated the toilet and all was good. Now, two and a half years after the flood when the subfloor got soaked from underneath, the toilet is once again rocky and a little leaky. After the repairs and renovations from Harvey there were only two rooms in the house that have not been upgraded since we purchased this property...the big bathroom except for the flooring I replaced several years ago 


and the small bedroom Marc uses for his office which didn't get so much a new coat of paint before he took it over. So now that we have to pull the toilet up again and repair or replace the sub floor, we're going to update the whole bathroom, well, most of it. I like my turquoise tub and the vinyl flooring that has been discontinued and the upper cabinets on either side of the mirror are handy but need to be freshened up. I want to replace the built-in vanity with a furniture piece with a marble top and the sink in the middle in front of the mirror instead of off to one side like it is now and I want to replace the wallboard around the bottom of the walls and around the tub/shower with tile. I think. Definitely tile around the tub/shower. I may use bead board again on the wall behind the vanity and under the window. And so I've been looking at vanities and I think this one is my first choice (second choice is very similar)...

I'll lose 10” of counter space but that's fine as we don't really use all the counter space we have now and this is the longest one I can find that has two drawers and three cabinets which is basically what we have now. I could find 60” vanities but they all have one cabinet and multiple drawers and I need the cabinets more than I need more drawers.

Yesterday was my second watercolor lesson. We made a color wheel and I made one mistake on mine using the wrong blue (turquoise) instead of blending the color like I was supposed to.

Then we practiced brush strokes with a round pointy brush and a square flat brush

and then we painted a picture using the brush strokes we practiced. The instructor had two examples for us to emulate shown below.


This was the one I did...

Not too shabby.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

no winter to speak of so far, maybe even spring, and boxing up art

It's been overcast and wet and drippy the last several days and one night it dipped down in the 30s and there was frost on all the rooftops and open ground the next morning. Yesterday, while it wasn't so cold outside, the house was cold and I could not get warm, felt achey and tired even though I slept nearly 11 hours Sunday night. Thought about not going to yoga but I went anyway and actually felt better for it. Spent the rest of the evening on the couch under a blanket with the electric heater on. Last night I was out like a light from 10 PM to 1 AM at which point I tossed and turned for several hours but eventually got back to sleep. This morning, it was 70˚ at 8:30. If it wasn't the middle of January I'd swear it was spring. It may be spring. The early spring weeds seem to think so, I've seen a few 10 petal anemone blooms and things are sprouting new growth that shouldn't be coming out for at least another month.

I got the two art pieces boxed and double boxed for shipping last weekend, cushioned in their inside boxes on Saturday and on Sunday I ran up to the Evil Empire to get some bigger boxes because the ones I had on hand were not the right size and of the two I purchased, only one was the perfect size, the other I had to cut down by 4”.

I did finally completely unpack the magnolia leaves and it's a good thing I did since whoever packed them at the gallery in Dallas when they were sent back to me had the outside box filled with loose peanuts (and there was a hole in the outside box that I hadn't noticed before), a tall kitchen trash bag full of them.

Loose peanuts are a nightmare for a gallery to unpack and they will shift so I never use loose peanuts when I pack my work. I do use peanuts but they're bagged up in the plastic sleeves that the newspaper comes in. This is how I pack my work to withstand the gorilla...first the pieces are wrapped in several layers of bubble wrap and surrounded by 2” of upholstery foam on all six sides in the inside box. Ideally, the outside box is 2” larger all the way around and I nestle the inside box on a 2” thick bed of bagged peanuts and then fill the space between the two boxes with more bagged peanuts and then another 2” layer on top. I want to make it as easy as possible for the gallery to return my work after an exhibition so that all they have to do is remove the top layer of bagged peanuts, open the inside box without removing it from the outside box, remove the top layer of foam, and then remove the work. To repack the piece if it doesn't sell, they just need to repeat the process in reverse.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

another few days in the life...

We got some rain last night, maybe half an inch, as a cold front blew in. It was accompanied by lots of lightning though not much thunder but even so the little dog was in panic mode trying to dig through the blankets and pillows and mattress until I threw her off the bed a couple of times at which point she just laid next to me trembling and panting and there is no consoling her when she's like that. It had been overcast and windy and humid the last two days and I got out the ladder and cleaned out the gutter on the driveway side of the house Thursday and the one in the little backyard yesterday. Rocky is supposed to come by Monday and get that last downspout in and the gutter screens on. He was going to do it months ago but I put him off since I had dental work that needed doing and I've finally got around to calling him about it.

I went to the first watercolor class last Wednesday and all we did was this...

It's a chart of color combinations blending the main color with a different color. The circles were supposed to have just the right amount of water on them that the second color would migrate and display different variations of mixing. I was bent over my paper with my usual amount of meticulousness and had the top two rows done when I looked over at the other people at my table and other tables and everyone else was on the last two short rows and the teacher was calling up those who were finished to demonstrate the large rectangle of dense to light wash. Oops. Guess I need to hurry up a bit so I sped through the rest and did get done before the class was over but I think in my typical fashion I was probably the last one to finish.

Today the plan is to get the Seapot and Coral Cup packed up for the show at the gallery in Dallas that opens February 1st and runs through March 1st 

as well as the magnolia leaves set for an invitational exhibition at a gallery in California. 

The magnolia leaves are already boxed up since the gallery in Dallas had them and sent them to me which I haven't opened yet to make sure everything inside is intact. I'm sure it is but I should check just to make sure.

Other than that it's a nice winter day even if it's been spring like the last couple of weeks and the pansies have been liking it. 

I saw a blue jay in the yard this morning (picture taken through the window on high magnification). 

Haven't seen many of them since the Harvey flood.