of the

January 23, 2016
I finally have the studio cleaned out enough to bring in the two big storage units.

January 25, 2016
I had some wonderful young men come to my rescue today and help me with one of my big storage units.

February 12, 2016 
Moved everything out of the cabinet and began sanding.

February 14, 2016
Happy Valentines Day!  Yesterday I put the wallpaper on the sides of the cabinet.  Today is paint day! I’m trying something new- using layers of Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint with resist between and then I will sand to give it a distressed finish. 

The cabinet now has four layers of color applied with the petroleum jelly in streaks between each.  I have followed with the scrubbing to lift off the upper layers to reveal underlying colors in places.  Maybe too many places? We shall see.  I can always paint out some of the excess with the top color.  Now for the trim. 

February 15, 2016
Last night I began measuring for and cutting part of the trim moulding.  This part scared me because this stuff is not cheap and I must get it right!  I cut twelve pieces.  This is being done by hand with a miter box and hand saw, and takes a bit of elbow grease.  Today I have twelve more pieces to cut.  I have no idea how I will get these attached to the doors of the cabinet.  I do not intend to take the doors off and fear that hammering it on with finishing nails might prove to be to much pounding.  I thought about drilling tiny holes to anchor them in place with small wood screws that I would sink and then fill in the holes to cover.  Or screw into them from the back.  At this point I always question myself and wonder what I was thinking starting a project without all the skill and knowledge needed for completing it.  But that has never stopped me before.  All I ever fully weigh out is how the finished product will look.  Even that is up to chance and skill.  I see it clearly in my mind.  And then rush forward like the buffalo in the plains, not knowing my fate.  I just hope mine is better than theirs. 

After I finish cutting the trim, I will paint before attaching.  Even that has several layers of treatment- although different than the doors themselves.  Each door has three panels.  One part I am excited about is the middle panel in each door.  Those will have the same wallpaper I put on the sides.  And in these panels will be my beautiful new decorative vintage-look door knobs with plates.  That makes me push on through all the time consuming, sweaty work of sawing each piece of trim- twenty four pieces.  That is forty eight cuts!

February 18, 2016
Shopping trip to Home Depot with son to buy the materials for the cabinet.

February 19, 2016 
Began the construction of the paper storage section on the top. 

February 20, 2016
I am slow to get started this morning.  Not as eager as yesterday.  It was a long day and although we got a lot done, we didn’t finish anything.  The problem is- my son and I both have Attention Deficit Disorder, better known as ADD or ADHD. The “H” would be for hyperactivity.  We have that in spurts.  Put two people together with ADD and have them work on multiple projects, while each has their own swirl of thoughts storming around in their head… well, you can probably image the chaos of confused activity.

My dear husband had the good sense to stay out of our way.  He occasionally looked into the studio when it was quiet and took a look at the progress.  Made a few comments to me about points I might want to take into consideration.  He is helpful like that.  Always on target too.  The cats were also smart to stay clear of running saws; pounding hammers; drills and whatnot.  We tried our best to do as much as we could because we knew the rain was coming in today, but finally had to stop because we were both so exhausted.  If we had pushed on, there might have been disastrous mistakes.  

I can “see” it as it will be when finished, and it is almost depressing to look at the reality and feel the strain of all that must be done to get to that “finish line”.  Today the sawing will have to take place on the porch.  Not ideal, as that is my hubby’s refuge.  That is also where the cats like to hang out on rainy days.  Not today though. Also it will be darker working in the studio with the cloudy skies, as my two main lights are not yet installed.  Enough complaining.  I must take my coffee to the work and make a gallant effort to get this thing done. 

Before beginning, my status on Facebook was: 
“Day Two Makeover Madness.  Let their be calm, energy, brilliance of thought, loving compromise, and completion of the three big projects with all else in tact- especially our nerves, sanity, and love.”

It turned out to be one of the best days I have had in a long while!  Is anything as joyous as when someone else catches your vision and becomes as animated and in love with it as you are?  This is what happened.  Not only did Jody do this job well, he went beyond the imagined with his excellent carpentry skills to put those extra touches on it that made it better than I imagined!!!  We were both like little kids with  giddy pride over a job well done.  Even my child-cat Mozzie thought it was beyond his wildest dreams.  He checked in to give his approval of all the nice places to climb. 

As the day came to a close and tools were being put away, Jody said that he would have to do something about my doorway.  We couldn’t have it look tacky with all the nice stuff we were doing.  So it looks like the studio will get an upgrade all around. 

This is my special paper storage on top of the cabinet. The area right on the cabinet is for a variety of paper that comes in large sizes. The area above that is a plywood sandwich Jody made to encase the two Safco Giant Stacking Trays for the very large papers.

Yes these extend over the front of the cabinet, but that also serves a purpose. I designed this "awning" effect to house my shop light underneath. There will be a lift-up door in the slanted section for reaching the stacking paper trays. When it is all finished, it will be pretty.

February 25, 2016
The beautiful brass piano hinge I salvaged off an old piano we used to have. Johnny had to work on it with good old WD40 to get it to work again and Jody spent hours scraping off the black paint and varnish to finish freeing it up. Then he shined it up for me. Today, I put the lid on the top of the cabinet with all 54 screws needed for the piano hinge.

Today I got the top section painted; the light up; trim on the top section; and the door installed on top.  Then I put the front edge trim on. 

February 27, 2016
Got the shelves installed on the side. FINISHED!

March 12, 2016
Studio Makeover Update: 
It is now at that irritating stage of bringing in the odd boxes of stuff that had been sitting around the living room and on the kitchen table, and under the piano.  Then the shifting of what I had put into the new cabinets enough to fit this stuff into the places I had in mind.

Then finding out that it doesn't all fit.  Imagine that.  Which brings me to the IRRITATING job of sifting through stuff AGAIN to actually throw out those jars of acrylic that have dried up, and packing up those colors I will never ever use again (for school).  And it forces me to empty that drawer of all the little journals I have made or collected (to take to the basement) and replace it with things I will be using instead of things to refer to for new works.

In other words- the focused refinement stage is upon me and it is sloooooooow work.  Boring work.  But oh so necessary.  When this stage is over I will have a truly functional studio with all my tools and supplies ready to get happy and do some art.
But the making of art will wait a bit.  For there are several other projects to do in here before I give in to that.  And I will be oh so glad to do a project instead of this refining thing!!!

Getting close, but not there yet. My goal is to be finished by the end of May.

I had to remove everything from the middle section of the cabinet to put a couple of shelves inside.  [This cabinet was filled up and unloaded three times thus far and I still may have to do it again.]

March 14, 2016
I believe that beginning my art studio makeover during the second semester of my year before retirement (36 years teaching art) was such a good decision.  It is getting harder and harder to leave the studio to go to school.  Otherwise, this semester would have been so sad.

TODAY, April 15, 2016
Since that cabinet was finished, there have been several other big projects completed.  Now there are only a couple more to do: a new small divider wall on one side; and painting the floor.  This cabinet gave me the spark I needed to push forward and zone in on a vision.  I could shut out the clutter around me as I sorted through five long years of a stagnated wasteland of countless creative dead ends; while mentally and emotionally “seeing” where I was going.  By keeping my focus on that, I was able to establish the patience and fortitude to press on when it looked so hopeless.  

I also learned that we cannot do everything ourselves.  It is OK to ask for help and bring others into the vision and the journey.  I could never have done all this without the help and encouragement of my family and some special friends.

By managing my fears and self doubt through this project, while experiencing a mirror of the same as I move toward retirement, I learned a lot about myself as well.  Like I said, this cabinet became a journey.  It evolved from those many sketches and funny little model to become the central focus of my studio.   But even more than that, I am still in awe of the storage capacity this one piece of furniture provides.  It cheers me to walk in the door with the little collection shelves to greet me.  When I sit down to my drawing table, it stands by me like a wall of assurance- strong and beautiful.  I even love how the awning of light hovers over my working space- showing me the way back, back, back into the pathways of my art. 


This is not the end. 

It is only the beginning.