Friday, January 18, 2008

A New Leaf

As you can see I have PILES of paint!! This is somewhat not surprising as I do own/operate my own mural painting business. But even still a lot of this paint has just been accumulating and is too old to be good quality (I prefer not to use paint that's more than a year old unless it's been stored really well).

And besides the reason of the paint being past its prime, there's an even better reason to get rid of it. A few months ago I made the switch to zero VOC materials...both for my work and for our home. I've spent too many years breathing in nasty fumes laden with benzene, formaldehyde, heavy metals, and who knows what else. It's not worth it to me to endanger my health with the products I use. Not to mention my mural clients and often the children and babies who's rooms I paint. Normal paints off-gas for several months or longer and create bad indoor air quality (we won't even talk about carpeting, wood products, or household products...). So for our home I've been using zero VOC Yolo brand paint for all the walls, and good quality low VOC Fine Paints of Europe brand paint for small areas such as trim and our kitchen cabinets. We also use a zero VOC primer by American Pride. It's really fabulous to paint a space and not smell a thing...or feel like you need to exit the room in order to breathe!

The other lovely thing I have to mention is the present Jared brought home for me yesterday - what a sweetie :o) He was telling someone at work how difficult it's been finding a proper fitting respirator for me. All the ones at the hardware stores are huge on my face. Well what do you think they did?? They gave him one to take home for me to try - and it's fits me perfectly!! And can you believe the terrific colors it has? I'm loving the royal blue, magenta, and gray combo. Gotta appreciate a great color scheme :o) Thank you SO very much!! I really appreciate it.

I'm off to finish processing the paint into more manageable sizes. Tomorrow we'll take it to the toxic waste recycling drop off. It feels really good to be moving on from it all.

xo, devon

Ps: Here's a sneak peek at how my studio floor turned out...I LOVE it! Can't wait to move back in...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

missing the sunshine...but the heater will do

It's been SO cold today...not an especially low temp (maybe 52 degrees?) but overcast, foggy, drizzly. The kind of day that you want to watch from your window, in a toasty house, with a cup of hot tea.

For some reason we didn't even think about the weather as we started our floor project a week and a half ago. Why we didn't realize we would be needing heat for the house but preferably without mineral spirit fumes circulating throughout I have no clue. Yesterday was the breaking point for me. We slept out in my studio (with Phylo...Sanguine stayed in the house because we didn't want to schlep her litter box, etc. - I think she was peeved though) so we could have a little heat, then in the morning came back in the house. It was COLD! Jared went off to his toasty little corporate office and I sat at my computer with a little space heater on the desk. Because we thought we'd be done with this project in a week (sigh...more denial) I didn't pull out enough stuff to work on and it's been buried under half the contents of our house. I'm sadly missing my sewing machine, fabrics, and painting supplies - I wish I could be a little mouse and crawl in to find them.

After half a day I tried to let the supposedly warmer air in the house...but alas it was only 54 degrees out so even with that we just kept shivering. I eventually just had enough with trying to work in the icebox and went out to warmer, marshalls, the post office, trader joe's...yep, went to them all! I really didn't want to come home. But eventually I had to and when I got here it was, of course, still freezing and that's when I spiraled into a meltdown. I tearfully told Jared everything that was bothering me...the eternal chill in the house and my work space, needing to get back to work NOW, the total mess of the house, even the shopping cart someone had abandoned outside our house that hadn't been picked up yet. Jared turned into 'fairy godmother/miracle worker' and disappeared into the basement. I heard a bunch of clanging around and eventually I heard the heat come ON!! I was panicked the house was going to fill with fumes from the masked off space (everything is connected with the HVAC system) but it turned out that Jared had moved the air intake from our hallway (in the fume zone) into the basement (don't ask me how) and now the system was able to pull clean air from the basement and push it into the house. Huge SIGH of relief!! We were able to sleep in the house and our animals were as happy as we were. Thank you Jared!

So today has been so much better! The only time I had to brave the chill was out on my walk with Phylo where I was thinking it's silly to try and be cute in a skirt and knee socks in the middle of January :o)

In other less dramatic happenings...of which I hope to post more of soon!...Tilly the lapdog plush is all sewn up and snug as a bug in my shop. Please check her out if you like.

Tilly the lapdog

AND...I took advantage of the Marimekko sale at Repro Depot fabrics and picked up this lovely fabric. It will be so swell as a set of pillows when our living room is tidied up someday.

Warmest wishes to you!
xo, devon

Ps- The shopping cart is gone today too :o)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Marimekko on sale!!

Just checked out repro depot fabrics as I have a little refund coupon to use. Right now their Marimekko fabrics are on SALE till January 15th!!!

I really love love love these...

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

wrecking bars & loads of dust

We're at it again...digging into our pile of house projects crying for attention. I think last year at this time we were just starting to plan our total kitchen rebuild. & I think we were sprucing up our office spaces just a wee bit. Not all the way because the floors were pretty awful and would need fixing at some point. Our house was built in 1918 and is a really cool Craftsman style. Somehow over the years barely anything was removed and 'modernized' which makes for a place with lots of character.

Right before moving in (Oct. '05) we refinished the floors in half the house. Some people warned us not to do it ourselves but we're gutsy and stubborn & trust our own judgement so we went ahead with it. The floors came out fantastic & we were thrilled. But, there was no time or energy to do the rest of the house...till a few days ago!! We used the last few days of vacation to jump in and take care of the remaining original hardwood floors. So far we've stripped two tile floors, an old linoleum floor, and the backings from the linoleum floor and some tar paper that was hidden under the hall tile - probably from some really old linoleum that used to be there. Then we rented power sanders and began to refinish the floors. We're at the stage where we're just about ready to apply our finish. Just a little hand sanding needed to clean things up in trouble areas. The finish we're using is really cool and worth mentioning. It's called Osmo Polyx Oil and is also called a 'hardwax oil'. It's a product from Germany, is fairly natural & environmentally friendly and good for those concerned with indoor air quality and limiting harmful VOC's in their homes. The main ingredients are sunflower, soybean, and thistle oil, plus two types of carnauba wax. There's more info on it here and here.

I have a bunch of process pics at my flickr and will also post the 'after' photos there soon too!

Then finally (hopefully) by this weekend we'll be able to move all our stuff back in (which is currently ALL in the living and dining rooms - including our bed!) and can get back to more normal life. My shop is sadly neglected and I'm starting to suffer withdrawal symptoms from not having been able to paint or sew very much for FAR too long! I'll let ya know right here on the blog when I have new cuties available. I have a couple of adorable lap dogs and a really gorgeous owling in the works :o)

Thanks for stopping by!

xo, devon