Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fancy Letters

Back in the fall I was perusing the art books at Barnes and Noble and stumbled upon Calligraphy Made Easy by Margaret Shepherd.  I was instantly drawn to the book's straight forward approach and oodles of practice pages, and immediately began having visions of adorning everything involving the handwritten word with my future calligraphic mastery. 

These sorts of things happen rather often.  I have to be careful in that section of the bookstore.

Fortunately, as I approach my twenty-fifth year I have gotten to know myself a little.  The impulsive taking-on of new hobbies does not usually end well. I decided against purchasing the book right then and there and following it up with a calligraphy pen shopping spree (it would have been so easy!  JoAnn's was right across the street!  But I was strong.) and instead decided to go home and mull it over for a while.  After a bit of mulling I decided to throw the book and a calligraphy pen set up on my Amazon wish list and see what happened. 

As it turned out, my parents gave me the pen set for Christmas, so I snapped up Ms. Shepherd's book and set about learning.  My progress has been slow, which is entirely my fault, but now that we are semi-settled in our house and I have my Chamber of Craftiness, I have renewed my efforts towards achieving Glorious Calligraphic Master status.

While I mentioned earlier that this book has oodles of practice room, it became clear to me that I was going to need even more oodles of practice room, so I've been using tracing paper over the practice pages.

I actually think the used sheets of tracing paper are kind of pretty, except for a few letters.  N and I did not get along, which I don't really understand because M and I had a swell time.

For now, the monotony of practicing each letter a few zillion times continues.  When I'm done with each letter, I'll get to do really exciting things like words.  And then sentences!  And then illuminated manuscripts!!!  Ok maybe not that last one...

Friday, June 17, 2011

Spur-of-the-moment Home Improvement FAIL.

We have a shingles problem.  No, not those shingles.  These shingles:

Yep, that is the main entry to our house. The only reason I can come up with for putting that much cedar up on the wall would involve some really large moths, and that just seems improbable.  And even if your house is being overtaken by cat-sized moths, is a wall of shingles really the best solution?  I think not.  In that situation you should probably just get a new house, because the moths have already won and they are sacrificing your favorite wool sweater to their evil moth god as we speak.

But the shingles.  The shingles are terrible and they have to go.  So the other night at around 9:30 I was feeling adventurous and suggested to my husband that we just get rid of the crazy shingles right then and there.  I can only assume he was also feeling adventurous (or maybe just indulgent), because he agreed and started prying them up from the top down.

Our first discovery was that the shingles were not affixed to the wall with just nails as we had imagined. No, the nails were just for show.  It turns out the shingles are mostly stapled to the wall.

Someone should be arrested for gross misconduct with a staple gun. 

Then we discovered that not only were they STAPLED, they were GLUED.


We had a quick pow wow and decided that between the two of us, we did not have time in the next two weeks to sand, spackle, prime, and paint the wall, and two weeks is really all I could handle looking at a crazy glue wall with staple holes.

So we put the shingles back.  You can't tell, right?

Score so far: Shingles - 1, Steph and Lance - 0.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

We don't need no stinking basement door!

File this one under "It's My House and I Can Do Whatever I Want!"  Because I am five.

Our house came with a Dutch door at the top of the basement stairs instead of the regular variety.

At first glance, we kind of thought, "Oh cool!  A door that can be closed and open at the same time!  YAY HOUSE!!"  Needless to say we were not really thinking rationally about it. As we moved in all our stuff, it quickly became apparent that the door was actually pretty annoying.

You see where it stands against the wall there?  It is rather inconveniently blocking access to the hall lightswitch and the thermostat.  Also, I regularly bump into the door handle as I stagger around at dark o'clock trying to leave for work, and that sort of got old really fast.  And since we never close the door on account of the cats' litterbox being in the basement, there was really no need for the door to even exist.

For whatever reason, even though my husband and I both agreed the door was a nuisance, we hadn't taken it down, even though taking off a door would be much simpler than some of the other home improvement projects we had already tackled (see project "Hello horrible giant shrubs, meet our new friend Mr. Chainsaw!" and also, "Let's move this twenty-foot long railroad tie!  It only weighs 5,639 pounds!"). Tuesday, however, I arrived home to discover that my husband had installed our new dishwasher while I was at work (sneaky!!), so, not to be outdone in home improving, I took down the door.  Then I took it out to the garage to meet its new friends, the closet doors from the master bedroom (which didn't even make it through the first night we were in the house.  Doors just don't stand a chance in this house.).

Much better!  Except for the really obvious holes in the door frame.  Just pretend I very cleverly covered those to seamlessly blend in with our blonde wood trim.  Yeah... just picture it... just like that... doesn't it look great?!!