Wednesday, December 27, 2017

cut the cards

One of my aims is to get back to making collages in 2018. My favorite blogger, Hanna, has proposed to challege herself in 2018 by creating 365 Collages and a number of folks are considering supporting her by cheering her on and/or by doing a 365 Project themselves. It seems like a good project for me, too.  I can get a bit of daily art practice, and maybe a bit of writing practice too by posting my progress.

I'm usually not very good at these lengthy challenges, but I have a different strategy this time. Almost every day I work on the crossword and Sudoku puzzles in my daily newspaper. I intend to treat the collage practice as just another daily puzzle. I'm not sure how how it will work, but it will be interesting to find out.

I've been searching my closet, desk drawers, and boxes of clippings to find any papers or cardboard that might be suitable as a base for collage. I was thinking of doing square collages, as they are out of my comfort zone, but I found pieces of cardboard here and there already cut to my usual 4 1/4 x 6 inch postcard size, so I'm going to compromise and cut paper for both  5" squares and 4x6" rectangles. So far I've cut enough paper for about 3 months' worth of collage. The two piles are way back at the top of this photo.

Normally I use flexible cardboard from cereal boxes for collage, but usually those collages are being mailed. Since this project is mostly for myself and will be more like a practice, I'm using anything I can find that can withstand glue and/or paint. I have some really thick cardboard, old envelopes, parts of catalogs, rejected postcards, watercolor paper, and even some magazine pages cut to size. I'm finally using papers from old experimentss and papers that have been sitting unused in boxes for ten years or more. I'm hopeful that using some of these materials will declutter some of my collection of "stuff".

Monday, December 25, 2017

makeshift work space

A longer shot of my counter top in the sewing room. The hole for the sink has been cut out and the new sink is the white thing on the floor. Back in the corner are the Wilsonart boxes the laminate came in. They are almost as tall as I am.

I didn't intend to be working on this project over the winter. I have been researching how-tos and collecting laminate samples for more than a year and planned to start the project next spring. It was hard to find a pattern I liked. I finally settled on a geometric retro pattern called Betty, an off-white ground with patches of aqua and pale orange. When Wilsonart announced they would be discontinuing the pattern December 1 I was forced to take action an buy the laminate in November. I had to special order the long piece for this counter.  I was told I got the last large piece of laminate they had; that it was already out of production.

I knew I wouldn't be able to store the laminate for long. It's not very thick and tends to expand & contract with changes in temperature & humidity. I started building the countertops, so I could get the laminate glued down and not have to worry about it getting bent out of shape. Wilsonart recommends particleboard as the substrate for the counter. I don't like particleboard, but its expansion-contraction rate is more similar to laminate than plywood is, so that's what I used.

I'm sealing the particleboard around the sink area with oil-based fast-drying polyurethane in the hope it will prevent damage in case there is a water leak in the future. All the cabinets in my house were made of particleboard and and the area under my kitchen sink has already been subjected to water over the last 30 years. It's no longer flat and parts of the surface have disintegrated. The same goes for the area under the bathroom sink. I hope to have some polyurethane left over to seal those areas, and then I may try to cover them with leftover laminate. I tested the poly on some scrap particleboard and it does seem to repel water, at least in the short run. I apply it with a foam brush, wait a few hours and apply another coat. The underside is done and I'm working on the top side now. I may be unboxing the laminate in a few days.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

weird Santa

One of the oddest depictions of Santa Claus I've seen.

It's appropriate, I reckon, since I'm probably having an odd Christmas compared to many folks. No children here and most of my family are a thousand miles away. It's just me and the dog.

The thermometer says 50 degrees F. but the wind is howling from the north at 25mph, so it feels closer to freezing, at least to me. It's a good day to hunker down indoors with a cup of hot coffee and some freshly baked cookies.

Instead of Christmas, I'm celebrating some accomplishments of the past year, and I'm looking forward to finishing some big projects during the new year. The last few days I've been deleting many old files from my computer desktop and organizing the ones I'm keeping. It can be hard to find something when you know it's in "Today's Stuff", but that folder contains a "This Week" folder, and that contains a "Files Accessed Today" folder, and at least a couple hundred files are only labeled "Screen Shot" or "some weird number downloaded from some website somewhere".

This is a detail of an 8 foot long kitchen countertop I hope to finish within the next month or so. I brought the unfinished counter in from the garage and it's now in my sewing room. Everything needs to remain above 50-60 degrees for a specified time during the laminating process and there was too much fluctuation outside. Also it's no fun working in an unheated garage. Needless to say, all progress on my latest quilt has stopped. All my sewing stuff is covered in sheets to prevent the accumulation of sawdust and other debris from working on the counter. There's barely room for me to move around anyway. I removed these clamps today and have begun sealing the area where the sink will go. More on this later.