Friday, August 28, 2020

Moving Right Along

And now for the next episode in the Peripatetic Life of the Johnsons...
The movers will move us on Sept. 2 but there are lots of things we can bring over ourselves in the meantime.
Closing day: What a great day we had. Wednesday night we loaded the car prior to closing on Thursday and went directly to the new house after an effortless closing where we met the guy, Vadim from Poland, that flipped the house. What a lovely man and so clever with his work. It just goes to show how important immigrants are to creating the American dream for themselves, and then of course for moi.
We entered the house through the garage, and looked about at all the rooms which to me appeared a lot smaller after all my imaginings over the last few weeks. But they are just the right size after all, so not disappointed in the least. I chose the larger of the two bedrooms in the front of the house for my studio, since I have to fit in my newest twin size bed, aka the Nap Bed. For this first trip I just brought the two Janomes and my serger and the light bars that go with, and almost all the canvases I have been storing for lo these many years. With many more blank walls and bright light from the many windows, it is the perfect setting for paintings, collages and of course quilts. I am back!!
And then we returned to the East Ridge home for the second load. Most of what we brought were small appliances, pots and pans, canned goods and paper packaged goods. The cabinets, pantry and cleaning supply closet gave me oodles of choices of where to put the stuff, which I will no doubt move around as I use them.
It took all of 15 minutes to unload and put away things and as I promised Dave, we went to eat lunch. It was 2:30 by then and while we aimed at Hardee's, we ended up trying the El Cortez Mexican restaurant right behind it. We were the only customers and began with a celebratory Negra Modelo beer. It has been so long since we ate out! And the food was excellent, carnitas of course. A great start. 
With a full belly, we headed back and I fell into bed for a deep sleep. 
Friday we will fill the car up again and make two trips, chipping away at the stuff we can move ourselves. Should be cooler than the jungle temps we had today.
We saw our neighbor's doggies today, two little shih tzus. Barkers both, to join with our barkers. Hopefully our neighbor will agree to let our pugs into their fenced yard to play and cut down on the barkathon.
Vadim left us with partial cans of paint ( o NO!) which Dave is all thrilled about. There is one big chip that needs patching over the jacuzzi tub. Other than that, nothing I must attend to. New shower heads have to be purchased since I like a handheld head to rinse out those nooks and crannies, and a shower curtain for the guest bath.
We discovered that the street light is on the pole at the end of the driveway, but luckily on the other side of  bedroom windows, so I will have a dark night for sleeping.
The only utility I haven't taken care of is the gas company (for our new water heater), and will find out who it is and get that changed tomorrow.
Peace reigns supreme for us now and we are thanking God for providing this new place for us. Currently the high school behind us is having a football game, with blaring loudspeakers. Won't miss that! We have no neighbors behind us at the new place, just a long field and then woods. Yay!
The view from the back yard. On the right are Concord grape vines. I can tell you right now I will not be making grape jelly. They gotta go. But the framework they are on might become a setting for climbers like clematis or roses or both. We'll see. 

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Dumb, dumber, dumbest

You'd think at my age I would have the good sense not to move furniture in open toed sandals. I dropped a bookcase on these innocent two toes and that cut short my big plans for the day. Arrgghh. Today the big toe is bluish and the second toe is downright purple. But I managed to get back in the moving mode and got one or two bookcases emptied and the contents have arrived in the garage.

This is the culprit. We have 8, yes 8 of these Billy bookcases from IKEA:
BILLY bookcase white 15 3/4 " 11 " 79 1/2 " 31 lb
I have seven and Dave has one. Over the four previous moves, these have become shabbier and shabbier and will not be allowed in my new studio but will live in our new voluptuously large and dry garage. I'll store my art supplies, finished paintings, mounting boards, garment fabric, and polymer clay tools and findings on them. 
I am paring down as I sort through and condense these items. Seriously decluttering. Purging. Dumping. 
We are bringing the empty cases down to our garage and then I am bringing the contents down and refilling them there. Why? Because we have learned that they can be wrapped with cling film which keeps the contents in place as the shelves are dollied onto the truck.
A.A.C. Forearm Forklift, Inc.  Stretch Wrap

And we are planning on emptying all the upstairs rooms before moving day, so we can save time and money in this, our LAST MOVE. Movers are coming Sept. 4th. Just thirteen days to go. Woowoo!

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Moving Surprise

In preparation for our move (movers coming Sept. 4th!!!) I have been sorting through boxes of stuff from the Way Back machine. Imagine my surprise when I found these patterns intact! I used to sell these to my students and eventually when I retired and put away all my work stuff, I still had some left.
I'd like to make these available to you. Each one makes a small quilt, 18x24" and they are designed to be fused, using Wonder-Under or whatever fusible you like. Originally selling for $10 each, I will offer them for $8, or all 5 for $35. Paypal preferred, using my email fibermania at g  mail dot com.

Summer Floral is a mini version of my award winning Sunflowers #2.
Sunflowers II fits the bed wall | Melody Johnson | Flickr

Tulip Party is also a mini version of my winner, Triumph of Tulips.
triumph of tulips | Some of the fabrics are silk, so they sh… | Flickr

Yellow Bird (up high in banana tree) or in this case some fancy interpretation of a banana tree. 
Then we have Mi Amiga Laura, which was one of a set of three. I no longer have the other two. But luckily I still have the original quilt from which this pattern was made. Note the ancient copyright date. Where has the time gone?

And last but not least, Fuchsias.

So if you'd like one or more ( and save me having to move them again) then please email me your address and I'll send them off asap. Yay!

Update!!! Tulip Party is all sold out. However I do have the original pattern drawing and can find a printer here to reprint them, so all is not lost. I will post them for sale (same price) when that happens. Keep in mind I am in the middle of moving so it won't be til September. 

Update #2. Only Fuchsias and Yellow Bird remain. $8 each. 

Monday, August 17, 2020

August Garden

This was the yard when we moved in.

Of course the angle of the photo is different, but the change is evident. We have been blessed with lots of gorgeous rain, sun and no terrible storms. The new trees are showing mega-growth and I have more basil than ever.  

I'm taking photos for my memories and to provide examples for the listing. We are now definitely closing on the new house September 4, and then listing this house around September 16.

The landscape crew I hired got rid of all the weeds and the downed limbs which the city came and removed in two days!
What a lot of wood we had in the yard! Lots of mature trees mean lots of branches dying and falling, but it is a trade off, as we so enjoyed the shade and all the birds. 

O my, have I got tomatoes! These cherry tomatoes never got staked but with raised beds they can spread and tumble over the edges without meeting the ground. There is already a big bowl of fruit in the kitchen and I will be sharing the bounty with friends.
I decided to plant flowers instead of a lot of veggies that didn't do well in a spot that gets a little too much shade. The zinnias and cleome are huge and we also have a lot of cosmos plants but not a single bloom. Must be that they are living in the shade of the other two flowers. 
I'm still waiting for the figs to ripen, but judging from last year, it will be October or November before they are bursting and ready to pick. We'll be gone but then the new house has two trees also loaded with fruit, so I won't miss these so much.

May I recommend Profusion Zinnias if you are buying plants or seeds next season. These yellow ones continually bloom and spread out to fill a lot of space. These were grown from only two plants.
Calla lilies, top right, which are thriving but produced no flowers! Wha? But the begonias more than make up for the loss of color.

Note to self, verbena seem to thrive in pots and love the heat. I'll be making a point of planting those again next year. 

Yup, the basil has gone to seed. 

But at this end there are still some big leaves to harvest. That zinnia at the end is a different variety, and is just one plant. Gotta love their enthusiasm.

There was a fleeting desire to uproot all my fave perennials and bring them to the new house, but I am resisting the urge. Except maybe the newest tree, (above) the pink dogwood. O dear. I guess I could always just get another, and leave this for the new owner, which I really hope is a gardener...thirty years younger than me.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Unhung Artwork

I'm cleaning out closets and trying to decide what goes and what gets moved to the new house. I really, really don't want to keep holding on to stuff that is no longer 'sparking joy' or useful or necessary or whatever. I am not very sentimental, and Dave on the other hand is way over-sentimental so I must decide without his influence or nothing would ever get tossed. Early today, before light, I took a carload of stuff to Goodwill. Some of it was artwork, not worth mentioning, and lots of it was clothing that either doesn't fit or doesn't fit my actual lifestyle. Before Covid I would occasionally stay in my pjs while working or creating and then shower and dress. Since Covid I have stayed in nightwear continually unless I have to grocery shop or go to church. And nightwear means short and tees shirts, indistinguishable from regular clothes.
My closet is now greatly condensed, but still jam packed, so there may be another attempt at limiting what i keep. 
In the bottom of the closet, untouched since we moved here, are artworks from mostly 1981. Arrgghhh. Not hung in the last three houses and stored in the garage attic of the first Tennessee house. Dusty and faded in some cases. What do I do with this stuff????

 House in St. Augustine
Watercolor, 18x24, matted and framed. The whites are muddy yellow now, so the whole thing has an antique look. Possibly not archival watercolor paper, but I was a student and this is from student days.

Dave in bed. Pastel, 18x24". The top version is enhanced by the computer but it really looks like the second version, dull and dusty. 

Same with this pastel painting. 18x24" And really, why would I want to hang this in my home?

Nasturtiums, watercolor, 18x24". I was not so careful about making these flowers look right, and it has always bothered me. Calling this impressionistic, is a lie. Lazy drawing is more like it. However it remains fresher looking and may be a more recent piece, like maybe 2005. Can't recall where we lived when I painted it, but it was after school by a long shot.

 Yellow Hat, watercolor, 18x24". It has come loose from the matting and while nicely painted, it is still of a student grade, hastily done for class assignment, not suitable for home hanging.

 Cyclamen, watercolor, 18x24". I still kinda like this one, but only this one detail.
I was not very good with watercolor, mostly because it is immediate and if you fuss with it, you can so easily destroy the spontaneity and kill it. Whereas with oil paint, it is so much more forgiving and goof proof. 
And now that I use so much more acrylic, I really can do things never considered in art school. 

So back to the question...what do I do with this stuff? I am thinking of de-framing them all, and just saving the paper in a big flat box that holds lots of drawings from this era. The frames and mats can go to Goodwill. I won't be using them ever, as I prefer mounting artwork on wood panels now, something I can do myself rather than taking it to a framer.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Here we go again

We moved to Tennessee in 2007 after 18 years in one house in Cary Illinois. Since then we gave four houses the chance to be our fave place to retire. They all had their good points and of course bad too, and as Dave's  health changed, our need to adapt continued to change too. 
I loved having a huge garden when I had the time and focus to attend to it, but that has changed as I am spending more time being a caregiver and less time working with a capable partner in our yard. Because Dave can't do as much as he once did, the garden has become overwhelming for just me. I have hired a landscape team who will come at the end of the month and hopefully they can clean up the fallen limbs, kill the weeds and make the yard beautiful again.
But what is the point of having a garden when it becomes someone else's work? Hmmm.

And then inside, I am focusing more and more on just keeping the house clean, battling an ant invasion (conquered I think!) and keeping Dave from hurting himself. The other day I was napping and heard a strange noise. I went upstairs to find Dave had crawled out my studio window onto the roof with the shop vac to try and clear the gutters! This is a man who loses his balance easily on flat ground, and has been falling out of bed on a regular basis. No way should he be on the slanted roof. 

Since we moved our bedroom downstairs to the living room it was only a matter of time before I decided that another move was in the offing. We began looking to see if we could live closer to my sister and her new husband since they moved way over to the east side of town. It didn't occur to me how much we depended on each other when we lived just minutes apart, and now she lives far enough away that I have to get on the busy interstate to get to her house. 

House hunting began last week and we put in a bid on a house with a large in ground swimming pool. No garden at all, but at least a fenced in yard. The housing market is so tight here that a house goes up for sale and is bid on just from the listing pictures, which is what happened with that pool house. We had one of the first appointments and minutes before we got there, a contingent contract was signed by someone who never even visited the house. We offered a cash back up bid, but no, it didn't take. No biggie. It was nice but so unrealistic for our situation, as my friends were quick to advise me.
The more I looked the more I realized that we needed to downsize again, and I hoped for single storey living, which was so difficult to find. But when I changed the search criteria for a town on the far side of where my sister moved, I was able to find a listing for the perfect home for us. Ooltewah! (everyone here says oo-da-wah)

Dave and I immediately took a ride out to see the house and looked in the windows and knew we found the right place. 
I called my fave realtor who has worked with us over the last three moves and we got inside to look at it that very night. Dave and I loved it and we put in an offer and it has been accepted. We close on September 3rd.

Penny round tile backsplash up to the ceiling, a big wide single sink, just like I love, and white carrera marble floors. Across from this view is the big recessed refrigerator with floor to ceiling cabinets, which weren't pictured in the listing and a great surprise. There is an eat in area backed by big windows and then a formal-ish dining room too. A cute screened porch and deck are out that door. On the other side of the room is the laundry room with a big window. The many windows make all the rooms sunny and bright with lovely views. 

The house was built in 1993 and a flipper got his hands on it and brought all the finishes up to date. I just love the master bath, with a bubble tub, separate shower and closeted commode. So fancy. The guest bath is just as nice. 
The house is smaller, 1600 sq. feet, which is just perfect, and has three bedrooms and the two baths and no icky carpet. The living room is huge, with a wood burning fireplace (not gonna ever use it until we change it to gas logs) and high ceilings.

The painted deck is facing east for morning coffee, has a mountain view and is cossetted with mature redbuds, which offer some shade for the pugs to enjoy.
While the yard is large and long, a half acre, it is mostly grass, which will be handled by a yard crew, not me. The really happy surprise is that there are two big healthy fig trees, full of fruit, roses, hydrangeas, buddleias, peonies, crape myrtle, a wisteria (gotta go) lilies and iris, not to mention a couple of bedraggled apple trees and concord grape vines. So I am not too sad to leave my garden since I will have all these to enjoy.
The two car garage and drop down attic will serve to hold my accumulation of art supplies and yarn and I will have a studio and Dave will have his, um, whatever room. Just enough of what we need and nothing extra that goes unused, like our entire current upstairs. 
My bestie Patsy lives in the same town just 10 minutes away and my sister is only 16 minutes away. So perfect! 

Now, to again prepare to put the current house on the market, and unload a bunch of accumulated stuff that has been moved and moved and never used. I still have framed artwork from my undergraduate exhibit (1981) which hasn't been hung since we got to Tennessee. Lots of irrelevant clothing and decor items have to go, so Goodwill will be getting new inventory.

Because the house is so pretty and shiny, I just don't want to be bringing in stuff that has seen better days. I'd rather live skimpy for a time until the right piece shows up. 

So today I am focusing on one closet and making piles to keep and donate and that will feel good. We'll move into the new house first and then clean and fix issues here before putting this house on the market. 

Lots to do, and excitement to motivate. Yay!

Monday, August 3, 2020

What goes on here?

I've been thinking about what to tell you to keep you in the loop and the fact is that NOTHING is going on.
Peace reigns supreme at Casa Johnson, and I am just enjoying the calm. 

In our neighborhood on Friday there was a fire in the apartments a block away, and no one was hurt. Miracle! We even got to see a fire truck come down our cul de sac, only to turn around and go back to the firehouse. 

We've  had some good rain and only medium hot days and that is welcome. And now my tomatoes have finally begun to ripen into shiny red beauties, so tomato and basil sandwiches are on the menu, at least for me.

Knitting continues as I try to create a new design to bring me that 'thrill'. I got an order for two knits from a previous collector who has lost a lot of weight, so I will be making littler sweaters for her this week. Yes, this week. Smaller is faster. In a few weeks I will again post yarn combos and will take orders for the cooler days to come.

Dave has begun getting physical therapy at home which will happen twice a week for the time being. Hopefully this will ease his stiffness and help him walk better.

We have been invaded by little ants and I am ready to evict them with boric acid-sugar water soaked cotton balls in spaces where they congregate. 

My sister is starting to move into her new house and this provides me with a place to send some of our excess furniture, since she has many more rooms to decorate. Yay! We have a family trade system going, and I will in turn get back some chairs I lent her about eight years ago which will fill our needs better.

Altho we don't really use our upstairs now, I need a dark quiet (doggie free) place to take my daily nap and ordered another bed frame and mattress to put in the former master up there. This will greatly enhance my patience and endurance to be the caregiver for Dave and the pugs. 

I am so missing my friends, but am taking Covid more seriously and staying apart as I hear of the terrible things people are enduring, even after 'recovering' from this horrid disease. Altho I haven't been in direct contact with someone who has been diagnosed, a lady at our church is ill and has thus forced our pastor to self quarantine. 

Weeds are taking over the yard space surrounding my garden and I must find a service to come and take care of this mess. It looks like no one cares, but I do. There are also a few home repairs and some gutter cleaning we need for the house, but getting someone to come out is more difficult these days. The recent tornado damaged some really high end homes on the other side of town and all the work they need doing has kept the contractors busy.

Today the agenda is as usual for a Monday, laundry and vacuuming. I might wash the floor in the kitchen too. Can I put in a word for the Bona mop?
Bona Mop Review 2018 | The Strategist | New York Magazine
This is the best system ever for washing my floors. The pad is stuck onto the base with Velcro and peels off to be rinsed and reapplied. It is so smart! I just spritz my floors with cleaning solution, like water+Pinesol and swipe the dirt right off. Easier than Swiffer and no need to keep cleaning pads in stock. Yay!

I've never been a great housekeeper, mostly because Dave did a lot of upkeep in the past while I was being creative elsewhere, but things change and it is now my responsibility, so when I find a gadget like this, I can really get excited. Duh. Who knew?

So that's the gist of what is going on. Should something thrilling happen, I will surely let you know. Stay safe and healthy, until next time.