Lolo is getting some jewelry

Bits by bit we get work done on Lolo the 1959 Shasta Airflyte. She had no original light or step assist so we went shopping. ( Yay! Shopping is one of the best things about restoration projects.) Love the LED porch light we found and the step assist is a stainless handicap grab bar. I think they look good! Ron got the DOT exterior marker lights on and working while I worked on stripping the nasty black paint off all the original cabinet hardware. It’s an icky job but this CitriStrip at least smells like oranges. I plan on stripping the black paint off her wings and shining them up. I am also planning on adding a silver stripe in the black.

Project Red aka Painted Pig

This is what happens when you start undoing all the bad things the previous owner did. New flooring looked nice but there is rotted wood underneath the edges. So the seating had to be taken out so we could see the extent of the damage. See those arrows? That’s the front wall that is no longer attached to the trailer frame. HUGE repair that cannot be ignored. They did the walls and not the floor. Dumb dumb dumb. Ron has the AC going out there now so he will be able to work without getting heat stroke. We were hoping we could get some camping in this fall but there is a lot of work ahead.

All the cabinet doors and drawers had to come off to correct the really messy paint job. So very sad they painted the original birch paneling in this 1959 Shasta. To make it worse they spray painted the cabinet hardware black and it is chipping off big time.

Project Red Lolo is Getting an Awning

I had an awning made for Lolo to go over the door area so the fur kids can go in an out and Ron won’t get soaked. Love the awning. I forgot to have tabs sewn into the hem to hang lights from so now I have to add them myself.

It’s the preparation that takes so much time. After the tabs are cut, I pinned the tabs to hold the D-rings in place. They are plastic to avoid rust. Next I had to burn the ends of the tabs so they don’t unravel. Now onto sewing! I located my spool of heavy upholstery poly thread for stitching and a No. 16 Jeans needle. Nothing will do this job better than my wonderful vintage Singer 403A. I moved to the dining room table since my studio is a disaster and not enough room for the awning. Can’t wait to get this on Lolo!

Lolo, the word for Red in Romani

This lovely old lady came to live with us a few weeks ago. She was born in 1959 in Goshen, Indiana. She is a Shasta Airflyte. We are her 4th owner and she was not treated well by previous owners, sort of like a pet rescue. And like a rescued pet she is going to take a lot out of our pocket book. But we will love her and make her a well cared for family member.

She had been painted red on the outside by the previous owner. Since we are travelers in our souls it seemed fitting to give her a Romani name. I hope you will follow along as we restore and remodel her to her new glory.

Sassy my little Spinning Wheel

I found this little vintage castle spinning wheel at a garage sale. It is a linen parlor wheel and has a distaff which I removed and put away for safe keeping. The European painted designs just didn’t work for me. I decided it needed a little jazzing up since the spinning I plan on doing will be contemporary art yarns and even paper. I think I am done with it but it could still get a little tweaking of the stylized jasmine design. I also altered it to make it a spindle spinning wheel. It will be a few days for the paint to cure before its final clear coat and then it will be ready to spin spin spin.

Pandemic Anyone?

Some of my artist friends are like me, at loose ends with art projects never quite getting off the ground. Others are continuing to work, making good use of their time while sheltering in place. We are all doing our best to stay physically and mentally healthy.  

I am the kind of personality ( type A++++) who works best on deadlines. There are no shows or exhibitions to enter in the near future that I am interested in. The Arkansas Guild gallery and gift shop is now open limited days. I have plenty of completed work to send there but future plans with the gallery and closures due to the virus are open ended. I could photograph current work and populate my Etsy shop and I even have a great photo area set up in the office.  But nothing is particularly exciting me, especially if it demands too much effort.  I started this time thinking I would destash and organize the studio….please, stop laughing!! 

Every morning presents itself as a new day with new possibilities. I have files full of inspiration. A computer with endless inspiration just clicks away. The thing is, after awhile it becomes just so much visual clutter. And too much clutter is like being in a tornado with thousands of things swirling around you and nothing to hold onto that is your own. There really can be too much of a good thing.  **Note, flash back to the studio disaster***

The outcome of this isolation period has been the gift of time to reflect and evaluate. I have stepped away from too much online surfing time to reduce the mental clutter. I have pulled books and magazines off my shelves and revisited why I kept them. Was there a  technique I thought I could incorporate into my own work? I have revisited photos of my older work that is now  living someplace else, trying to analyze what spoke to the person who now owns it. What was it about pieces that were juried for exhibits and publications that caused it to fit? 

 So what is the answer for me creatively? I think it is to regularly take time out and reflect. Take time  to do things that give you joy. That cluttered studio will still be there whenever I get around to it. In the meantime, I will enjoy my gardens and reflect. Enjoy some of my favorite garden photos.

Baa Baa

Last fall I started using more wool in my work and exploring adding needle felting to the mix. Through the kindness of a friend who was no longer interested in using wool, I was gifted a large bag of multiple colors of roving. Another friend sold me her embellishing/felting machine and later sent along a bag of mixed colors of wool.

My normal thrift shop haunts turned up some small bags of colors as well as a bag of raw wool. You can see it is really dirty, probably why it was only 50 cents! A bargain for a pound of wool.

Now my issue became how to clean this. An internet search produced a few possibilities. First clean it with Dawn basic liquid soap or Orvis Paste. Well, that got the dirt out but not the stains.

Internet to the rescue again. I found an older blog with experiments whitening raw wool with hydrogen peroxide. Honestly, what did I have to lose?

My first batch in the peroxide bowl did great. It whitened up to an off white color. I’m happy with that. The rest of the wool is being washed and then laid out to dry. I may try some hair lightening peroxide to see if I can get a brilliant white. Yeah yeah yeah…I know I can BUY white wool and white locks but what’s the fun in that? I will save some of the locks and curly bits to use for texture as is. The rest will be hand carded.

I used some of my Christmas money to purchase some high quality felting needles. I plan on using my machine for large areas and my needles for details. I have more wool coming in extra colors and I am watching some outstanding tutorials on YouTube.

I am excited about the possibilities to incorporate this into my work!

Stay at Home Project

So what have you been doing during the Pandemic? My home is my sanctuary so being isolated hasn’t been much of a burden. I took the time to give the master bedroom a needed makeover . I ordered a new bedcover to go with the new velvet drapes. Both are getting some added pizzaz with Pottery Barn linen fabric trim. Actually, the drapes were too short and I didn’t want to move the curtain rods! I finished the drapes and made a matching curtain for the adjoining bath. I ordered new hardware to update the vintage 1980’s dresser. It’s coming from China so it may be awhile before it gets here. When it is all finished I will decide if the dresser still needs paint to bring it into the new century. It is huge and heavy and would take professional movers to get it out of the room so it is a permanent fixture. With the left over linen fabric I will make a quilted bed scarf for the end of the bed because Buddy and LuLu have claimed that area as their own. Baby steps to get it done.  We aren’t going anywhere soon even if our state is opened for business.