Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Living Room Project

Since we moved in three years ago we knew we wanted to paint the living room. For three years we had not done anything to this house. Every room was pretty much colors we would have chosen, or at least weren't hideous enough that we didn't feel it necessary to do anything right away. As our three year anniversary came and went, we received news that Bill's parents would be coming back to visit. Their first visit was July after we first moved in. That kicked me into gear.
"We haven't done anything!" We have to get going. The other thing that was holding us back was choosing the right color for the living room. The dingy beige had to go. Especially after Bill did some patching and painted with the existing paint did we realize how dingy and dirty the walls really were!

I quickly took down the wallpaper in the bathroom and painted the walls there. You can see a picture here. Maybe in that post I mentioned how we came to chose the new color; if not here is the reason. I was reading about the difference between old Colonial Revival interiors and Craftsman interiors. Colonial interiors were often white walls. While Craftsman interiors reflected colors in nature, typically green. That was also the opposite color [on the color wheel] of the natural wood trim found in these style homes. That was my "ah ha!" moment. The unpainted trim in our living room has orange hints in it. Blue is opposite orange on the color wheel. That was it. Blue walls would enhance the wood trim that is throughout the first floor. In my mind I knew what color blue I wanted. Bill and I thought we found the right shade and bought a quart to try out. Thank goodness we did that. It was too blue. Smurf blue! Yikes. Back to the paint store. We finally found the right shade with the right tones. It's really difficult to tell in the photos, but the blue has hints of gray. It may still be a little too blue, but the white molding helps offset the walls.

But that's just the beginning. As we started stripping the paint off the trim, the paint started peeling off the walls in sheets. We don't think there's wallpaper under all the layers of paint. We think that there are just too many layers, latex over oil-based, and eighty years worth of paint on the walls.

We're working in sections. Or at least we started that way. We have the one corner finished, with the exception of the trim being painted. We worked from Bill's week off while his parents were here until Labor Day weekend. We took a break and are back at it. We hope to be finished by Christmas! I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, if you come and visit, please pardon the dust!

Over the framed opening into the Dining Room.

The fireplace and framed opening into the Dining Room.

Looking back at the finished half.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Art in Grand Rapids

Art has taken over the city of Grand Rapids. In an amazing contest, over 1200 artists have set up work in more than 150 venues. Grand Rapids has embraced art since the Endowment for the Arts funded the sculpture La Grande Vitesse in 1969 by Alexander Calder. You can take a sculpture tour of the city, click here for a map. Perhaps all this existing art is why I like Grand Rapids so much. Whatever the reason, I am inspired to be downtown and to be creative. Last spring this Art Prize event was announced. I think it is bigger than anyone could have imagined. The first day of Art Prize, I went along with Sami and the "Whatever Wednesdays" group as they looked at the art. Here is a little sampling of what we saw, and what is out there.

Venue signs are outside of the buildings hosting art work. (By the way, the sculpture used in this sign is at Meijer Gardens.)

This sculpture didn't look like anything as we walked up to it, it was in front of an art studio. But if you walked around, the light came through the glass and it suddenly looked more like a stained glass window when the sun shines through it.

The table and chairs on top of the pedestrian bridge.

The big bench with the sign that read, "Have a seat". We did, thank you very much. The bench was all carved wood. The scale was amazing!


A cool piece of sculpture hanging on the wall inside the old Federal Building.

Okay, so here is a stamp of the Michael Jordon logo. Remember that? Well, this is up close, the stamp was about six inches.

This is what it looked like when you stood back. I stopped reading the info from the artist when I realized what it was. So I don't know who the portrait is supposed to be. Does it really matter? It's created by all those stamps. On the drywall.

Here is another installation piece inside the Old Federal Building.

These "quilt" panels were actually tiles, hand-painted by different people. Up close you could see all the different details in the tiles.

If you want to see more, check out the website Art Prize. I find it interesting to see what 1200 artists consider art. From what I've seen all you had to do was sign up. Your art could be whatever you consider to be art. I think Greg could bring a collage here next year!

So again, I ask; what inspires you?

Monday, September 28, 2009

What inspires you?

I am often inspired while driving the four hours to my parent's house. I pass things and I think, "oh that would make a good blog!"

For instance, the North/South Continental Divide. I had no idea what it was and I pass it on Hwy 31, outside of South Bend, In. I have always been curious and finally decided on my own that it must be the dividing line between the northern half and the southern half of North America. That makes the most sense. During our trip to Cleveland, Bill and I were discussing the length of I-90 and where it starts and stops. It is the longest Interstate Highway in the U.S. He has a blackberry so I googled it (something I never remember to do when I pass the N/S divide). It turns out that there was a link to the North/South Divide because I-90 runs close to it. It is actually the dividing line for which direction the waters in rivers flow. North of the line they flow into Lake Michigan, which eventually flows into the Atlantic. South of the line the water eventually ends up in the Gulf of Mexico.

Or I'm inspired by the flat cornfields and the round barns. I love the round barns and even have a barn book. I pass three on my way to Cicero.

Often times I'm inspired but by the time I get in front of a computer, I can no longer recreate my thoughts or excitement.

What inspires you?

Thursday, September 10, 2009


The morning of 9.9.09 I found Felix resting in eternal peace under a chair in the dining room. He looked as though he had been giving himself a bath with his back left leg up in the air when he had a heart attack. The way he was lying suggests that he fell on his leg. The way he was under the chair suggested that he did not fall off. He also did not cry out, which I believe he would have if he had been in any pain. Felix was only seven, we shared his life with him for six of those years. Here are a few of the memories...

The wool sweater from Mom and Dad U. that Felix liked too

Skylar loved Felix

Felix played hide-n-seek under Amy's wedding dress

Felix loved laying in the sun

This was sent to me and seemed very appropriate for the end of this post:

Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.

The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...

The end of the summer

Summer is over if you mark the end with Labor Day weekend. We had a very busy August. Skylar came to visit, followed by the Dau's, followed by Don & Judy (Bill's parents), I squeezed a trip to NJ in between the latter to help Cate move the office. Then we had one week "off" before Tammy flew in for a long Labor Day Weekend. Alex and Jason came up for a couple of days too. We had a cookout on Sunday with a good turnout of about 26.

Here are a few pictures from the end of the summer:

Of course Skylar and Aunt Em took a trip to Meijer Gardens.

Bill and I are ready to go to Chandra and Jason's wedding.

I also took the Dau's to Meijer Gardens.

The Dau's, Schrumpf's and Uebbing's met in Chicago to watch the Cubs host Philadelphia. Sadly, the Cubs did not win. But for the second time, Bill and I got to see Jim Belushi live. (The first time was in Vegas for a Blues Brothers show). He threw out the first pitch.
It was my first time at Wrigley Field. And then it was promptly sold the following day. I'm still not sure what's up with that...

And we (er, I) decided to paint during all of this!

The bathroom had this wallpaper in it, which wasn't too bad, but it was peeling. So I took it all down and painted the walls Lavender Blue.

For those of you who have never seen our house, or upstairs bathroom, there is white wainscotting 3/4 of the way up the wall. Only the top portion got painted. Everything else in the bathroom is white. We like it, even though Bill will try to complain about the purple bathroom!

The Living Room is being stripped of its paint. Painstakingly. Section by section. The first section we finished was the fireplace. The wall color is Solitude and the darker color is Montpelier (and yes, the bricks were already painted). The way we figured it, we have about six more weeks of scraping and painting before we finish. The stairway walls are painted now too. Our next big decision will be an accent color around the hearth (the white part), which may also be the upstairs hall color. My vote is for a cinnamon. Look for more pictures as we continue the process.