Checking In

Greetings, friends!

I hope and trust you are all doing well.  It’s been a while since I last blogged, and at the time, I’d been discussing some of my life’s new changes.  One of the changes since that time was that I started taking chemo pills for my Lupus, and they made me so sick and sore!  I was on them for sixteen weeks, and they were causing me so much pain, I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t walk well, and it was excruciating to use my hands.  About six weeks in, my rheumatologist actually increased the dosage because she thought the Lupus was the problem, not the medicine.  But I became much worse over the next ten weeks, so she took me off everything except the drug that protects my organs, and I got Cortisone shots in my shoulders and wrists.  Fast forward a week, and I’m currently feeling the best I’ve felt in the two years since I was diagnosed!  There’s still a bit of pain, but it’s not nearly debilitating as it once was.  Anyhoozle, I’m not here to focus on that today, but rather to share some cooler things…

I mentioned the time before last that I’d been working on decorating the new house (as well as remodeling, renovating, remediating, etc.!).  From my medical status mentioned above, you can probably guess that I’m growing increasingly frustrated that this project hasn’t moved along faster than it has.  I’ve got several rooms in various stages of repair and decoration, and I have several art projects in various stages of completion.  Two of them will require a trip to the beach for sand and shells to complete, so I’ve been quite anxious to feel good enough to venture out.

Today’s post will just feature a few of the projects that have been finalized.  Nothing as far as the remodeling is completely finished yet, so I don’t yet have before/after photos of that hard work.  Anyway, here goes…

As you can probably be able to tell from my living room, Joanna Gaines is my hero!

The only clock that is actually running is the red one.  Actually, they’re not all clocks:  One’s a barometer, one’s a thermometer, and one’s a hygrometer.  The other clocks are all set to different “secret codes.”  (The codes aren’t that secret, and in fact I’ll share them with you now:  They’re set to birthdates of all of us in the house and a couple of important anniversaries.)  Above the clocks is one of those 1990s shelves they call “dust catchers.”  I intend to drywall that closed, but we’re considering leaving a secret door when I do and putting a time capsule inside since the wall is themed with time.

The initials are also for the people in the house, myself, my sister Michelle, my son Jeremy, his girlfriend Jahanna, and her 7-year old son (my sweet little buddy!) Cameron.  (Cameron doesn’t realize that the “C” also stands for my son’s, sister’s and my last name.)  The top left “J” is Jahanna’s.  It was white when I bought it, so I painted it and added the diamonds.  The “C” was orange, so I painted it.  My sister’s “M” was purple and wood colored!  That was a little trickier to paint.  Jeremy’s “J” was a lot rustier than I wanted, so I cleaned it up quite a bit.  And my “R” was plain white.  After I painted it grey and sanded it to grunge it up a bit, I covered it with chicken wire to give it texture.  (Don’t worry; it’s nothing psychological like I feel caged. LOL!)

(This is Cameron.  Isn’t he adorable?)

This bit of work was a bit trickier.  I went to the library and copied an old map book of the area where my new house is.  (Back when this map was printed, my yard was actually part of a large phosphate pit!)  I then printed the map sections out in red and, here’s the tricky part, I made the canvasses.  My sister cut the wood for the frames (I hate using the chop saw!), and I stapled then gessoed the canvas to the frames.  Then I painted them black, ripped the edges of the maps, and Mod-podged everything.  And to finish it off, the old-fashioned key is where my house would be built a couple of decades later.

Moving on to my bedroom, it has (or rather will have) a writing theme.  Or, as I like to call it, a “writerly” theme.  [WARNING: THIS PART MAY ANGER SOME AVID READERS.  Because I have transferred my library almost exclusively to digital, I gave away a bunch of books a few years back, but I saved some favorites, knowing I’d be using them for art.]

This “R” is made out of “Gulliver’s Travels.”  I got the initial idea from this “W” on Pinterest, but I didn’t want the flower, so I had to rack my brain to think how I could theme it to the book.  That’s when the giant nails and string hit me like a ton of bricks.

This copy of “1984” is mounted on a board, and, no, the camera mounted on the book is not real.  (Though it’s funny how many people are actually tricked by this.  What’s not funny is that when I explain that it’s just art, more often than not, the people I’ve come across then have a vacant stare because they don’t realize why a camera on a book is art.)  The backboard is just covered with book pages and a few of my favorite excerpts are outlined in black paint.

If you can’t guess from this one, it’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.”  The roof was a bitch to make!  I used comic book collecting backer boards to cut the individual circles, but I should have used card stock.  The thickness of the material made it difficult to work with.  I glued cut out book pages to the circles, then painted a black wash over them, then painted the edges of each “shingle” and attached them all to another backer board to make the roof.  I don’t know if you can see it well in the photo, but there’s a little bird on the roof, and a cat and a lantern in the upstairs windows.  The fence is partially whitewashed and partially dirty, and that’s Tom’s fishing pole waiting to be used on the left.  For the base of this, I actually glued sand to the wood.  (I was going to use sandpaper, but it was a little too small.)  The “grass” is floral moss.

Finally, here’s “Alice in Wonderland.”  I used the 2, 5, 7, Queen and King cards because, if you know the story, those are the key players.  I don’t know if you can see everything on the teacups, but there’s a flamingo, a key, a keyhole, a “Drink Me” vial, a white rabbit’s head, a tag that says “In this style 10/6” and a pocket watch with the numbers going counterclockwise.  I wish I wouldn’t have spread the embellishments all around, but placed them where you could see them all from the front.  I didn’t think that though at the time.

Well, that’s all for today, friends, but I hope to be back soon with some more updates as well as to check on all of you.

Let’s talk:  Would you deface a book in the name of art?  (Do I really want you to answer that?)  Have you created anything that hangs on any wall in your house?  If so, what?  Do you know why the camera is significant to “1984”?

26 thoughts on “Checking In

  1. welcome back – I very much appreciate sharing the details and changes occurred in your journey. Hope you are doing much better and healthier.

    Decorating your house and changing the colors is great joy…Hope to see you more and wishing you a very blessed life!!

  2. I’ve got a giant spider hanging about under my guitar rack. I’d hang him on the wall if I could catch him – he’s as big as a dinner plate. I tweeted this, by the way ~ George

  3. Welcome back, good to see how some of your decorating projects have worked out. You’ve crafted some really nice works of art from those books as well. Wishing you all the best with everything and hope all goes well 🙂

  4. Those are some wonderful creations. I know how creative you are, and these are exceptional. I would deface a book for art. Not maybe a first edition, or collector’s edition, but why not. I love the ones where someone carves scenes out of old hardbound books. I really hope you’ve finally found some relief. I often wonder how you’re getting along.

  5. I’m so glad you’re feeling better, Rachel! Cool decorating–I like the clocks, maps, and book art–though I would never deface a book, unless it was already damaged or a really cheap version.
    Of course a camera–Big Brother and all that. Winston and his girlfriend tried to find spots where they were not being watched.

  6. Creativity will out! I love your artwork: I’ve seen some amazing book art by “professionals,” and yours ranks right up there with all of them. 🙂 What you’ve been doing is similar to what I did in creating all the graphics-based autograph books and the bookplate books, when I was too sick to write words. The ill-health gremlins may knock us down, but they can’t knock us out! ❤

    • That’s right, my friend! We’re in it for the count. Thank you for your kind words.
      (I have seen and admired your bookplate and autograph books — very cool ideas!) How are you doing these days? ❤ xo

  7. I know your place looks awesome just by the artwork you shared! You’re inspiring me to create some art for my space. I too am trying to reduce the amount of paper books I have and go digital for simplicity reasons. Unless I really like the book and think I’ll read it over and over again, I choose ebooks or donate the physical book when I’m done reading it 🙂

    • I know what you mean. I was really getting overwhelmed with books, and when I moved, there were SO many HEAVY boxes, I couldn’t stand it. Now, to imagine all those plus more are on a device — where I can increase the font size! — and the entire library weighs a little less than a pound (or so). What a good deal! 😀 I hope you’re doing well! ❤

  8. Well done on all the changes you’ve made to your house, especially with the health issues you’ve had. We are trying to make changes in our house, but it’s a slow process. We are attempting to convert part of the attic into an office and storage space but it’s more complicated that it first seemed.

    Would I deface a book in the name of art? No. But I’ve written notes all over my Bible. That was quite a big thing when I started doing it, but now it seems the obvious thing to do.

    I’ve made nothing to hang on the wall, but my mother’s embroideries and applique work (most of them done during enforced periods of sitting down, during the first stages of multiple sclerosis).

    I am a camera are the first words of Christopher Isherwood’s ‘Goodbye to Berlin’, but I don’t know how it relates to 1984. Presume it relates to Orwell’s 1984 in some way. (I haven’t read 1984.)

    Good to read your blog again. Keep writing!

    • Thank you so much, sweet friend! Yes, the remodeling, I am finding, is always more complicated than it first seems. I’ve also found out the hard way that good help is hard to find. That, and that YouTube is an excellent teacher, and it’s sometimes easier, cheaper, and more sturdy to just do the job yourself. I hope you’re doing well! ❤ Best wishes! xo

  9. OMGosh!! You are so talented Rachel! I’m envious! It’s all so beautiful. But most of all, I’m soooo happy you’re feeling better! I’ve missed you terribly! ((((Hugs))))

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