White or White?

Did you know how many shades of white there are? If you’re looking for updates on “the room,” well, join the club – so am I! And it’s white of all things that has me stuck now. Should I paint straight out-of-the-can white, or a tint (still white but with the edge taken off). If I use the tint, will really white shelves on the walls look bad? THIS, people, is why projects take me weeks (or months, but let’s not go there!)

I finally found some unfinished furniture – cubes that I can mount on the wall and some other pieces that will work well, so I’m going with the tint. Magnolia Blossom – doesn’t that sound wonderful? I wonder who comes up with the names for paint colors? I might want in on that opportunity.

In the meantime, we’re planning one of our little jaunts where we just get in the car and go. We have a destination in mind, had to because we’re taking our dog. Wonder what he’s going to think – he is not a great traveler but it’s time he get used to it. He doesn’t get sick; he’s just a little bit neurotic. Not sure he’s going to love being crated in the hotel room while we swim or get dinner but again, he has to get used to it. The majority of the time we plan to spend exploring a new little town, hit a state park and take a driving tour. I finally got a camera that takes really great pictures . . . ones that will be great for manipulating with software, so I’m looking forward to trying it out on this trip.

No room updates but I’ll leave you with a few pictures from my new camera. And with that, I’m signing off of this oh-so-cheesy post!


And It Was All Yellow

Finally! The transformation is starting to be apparent now. The room no longer makes me want to puke when I walk in there. After agonizing way more then necessary over paint color, it’s pretty much in the books now. A little touch up and I can move on. (And no – you’re not seeing things. The walls are intended to be two different shades of yellow.)

I love the colors I picked. The more I read about yellow, being a great color to both absorb and reflect the light, the more I realized how perfect it would be for a place where I hope to create beautiful things. I too want to both absorb and reflect the Light! Although I will mostly be the only one using this room, except for the occasional overnight guest, I want it to be inviting. And I want my life to be inviting as well.

The temptation certainly exists to hole up by myself for days on end, but I know I can’t do that. Part of me struggles with reading other’s poetry and viewing their art, because on the one hand, it makes me feel extremely inadequate. But equally so, I feel like it’s cheating, to expose myself to the creativity of others. As if my own ideas and reflections materialize out of nowhere!

I’m learning that art and creativity are, by nature, a give and take process. We need art and beauty, and we need to regularly expose ourselves to the art of others. Receive it as a gift. Drink it in, let it wash over your soul and don’t worry how it will affect your own ability to create. We shouldn’t feel constrained by the way others do things, as if their way is the only way. But as we receive it, and recognize where it resonates with us, it somehow changes us and we have more to offer others. Life is about both the receiving and the giving, the breathing in and the breathing out.

And as always, when I talk about art and creativity, it goes far beyond just visual images or words. If you cook, how much richer is your experience when you watch the cooking shows, or spend an evening browsing foodie magazines, and then you cook for some friends! Even if your creativity is limited to your parenting efforts right now, isn’t it easier when you share the experience with others via playdates and learning from other moms?

Wow, all that from a can of paint! Must be the paint fumes. I amaze myself sometimes, but then I hate when I do silly things like let paint dry on rollers, forget to cook Mike dinner, etc. so I better move on. Lots of new things in store for Unfinished Work, I think – some to be revealed very soon. In the meantime, I’m now ready to tear out the carpet and hang a few curtain rods. Stay tuned!

(Song lyrics excerpted from Yellow, by Coldplay)

Ten Interesting Paint Factoids

Oh, the stuff that flows through your brain when you’re wielding a paint roller:

  1. Haven’t they come up with any ergonomic painting equipment yet? I’m thinking something that would allow me to enjoy a Diet Coke with Lime in one hand while I watch paint mysteriously and painlessly appearing on the walls!
  2. What’s with the Vs all of a sudden? For years, standard painting instructions were to roll a W on the walls, then fill in that area with the roller. Now it’s a V? Does it matter that I rolled two walls with Ws and two with Vs? Actually, I can think of more words beginning with Vs that that I like, so I  don’t exactly mind. And W is a hard word for kids to pronounce anyways . . . although you probably don’t want your three-year-old painting anyways! Who said change wasn’t hard!
  3. Did you know if you cut a slit in the bottom of a zippered sandwich bag, you can drop your paintbrush in there and call your sister or make yourself some iced tea or check your email, and your paintbrush won’t be all crusty?
  4. You can also slip a roller in a plastic bag if you’re taking a break between coats and it won’t crust over either.
  5. Thank heavens for husbands who don’t mind easy meals like grilled cheese and frozen pizza during painting projects.
  6. I’m equally thankful for whoever came up with the brilliant idea to sell the little jars of paint samples. Ounce for ounce, they’re a huge rip-off, if you’re the kind of person who buys the 32 oz bag of shredded cheese because it works out to .05 cents cheaper per ounce. But when you’re talking about gallons of paint, it works out perfectly, if you’re stricken with a bad case of indecision, as I am.
  7. Did you know that trying to choose the right paint color can land you in bed? Just ask me; that’s where I ended up Monday afternoon. I can laugh about it now, but believe me, it wasn’t pretty.
  8. Did you know yellow is one of the hardest colors to get right? That’s because of the way the light is absorbed and reflected by it. Seriously. Apparently even Martha Stewart’s style editor got it wrong once with a yellow painting project. I know this because I did a ton of internet research on the subject. You may think it was a huge waste of time, but it made me feel a whole lot better and it beat staying in bed all evening!
  9. Did you know that I have two walls completely painted and two walls awaiting the final coat and I’m still.not.sure!
  10. You should know that I’m going to call this room the Happy Room. Not exclamation-point, bouncing-off-the-walls-happy (the padding would obscure the lovely paint color, whatever that ends up being) but just aaahh-sweet kind of happy. Not belly laughs, just satisfied grins. You’ll have to come visit me here sometime.
  11. In the next life, I want to be the person who comes up with all those fabulous names for all the different shades of paint. I wonder if they (the paint names) are all top secret, or if they’re regularly the topic of business lunches or what? Seriously, what an awesome job that must be.

Sorry, but the above post should explain why no pictures accompany this post. And sorry I couldn’t stop at ten but you should know that I despise even numbers! And now back to my regularly scheduled indecision over paint color and prepping for my daily mecca to Home Depot tomorrow morning.

New Music

I would tell you I’m not musical at all. The truth is, I have no desire whatsoever to sing or make music (well, except for my secret little itch to try the drums), but like I’ve always said, someone has to listen and appreciate the music others are making. I contribute in a big way in that respect.

My collection pretty much runs the gamut from worship to new age instrumental, and a whole lot in between. I’ll even confess to being a Barry Manilow fan. Growing up, we pretty much only listened to classical and a few “Christian” groups. Then I married Mr. Music, and my husband, who loves the music of the late 70’s and the 80’s, began to expand my musical horizons. This was primarily done by him flipping the radio dial and quizzing me – “who sings this.” I’d baffle him by pulling a name out of my limited knowledge (Olivia Newton-John? Linda Rondstadt? REO Speedwagon?) To this day, I still lose the game most times but I am constantly adding to the list of possible answers!

Music is surely what got me through this long, strange summer, especially during my love affair with paneling. So I thought I’d share what I’ve been listening to and I’d love to hear what’s in your iPod or CD player.

Sara Groves – Her latest album, Fireflies, has some surprisingly deep songs about relationships. Her voice is easy to listen to, and although she falls into the category of “Christian” music, much of her music is done in a ballad style, or reflects her insights into life.

My pastor turned me onto Jason Poe a while ago, knowing I’m always looking for new (and free) music. I downloaded this EP and started following him on Facebook. Several months ago, he announced that he was taking on a challenge to write seven songs in seven days, and offered a free download of that as well. He is working on an album now, to release in September. I think this guy is going to leave his mark on the musical world in a unique way.

I was sitting in Barnes & Noble this past spring and the music that was playing just spoke to me in an inexplicable way, which says much since their music selection is usually underwhelming, just not good music to read by. The clerk in the music department informed me it was probably Josh Ritter. I’m glad I resisted the urge to buy the CD on the spot, because I was able to download it for about $5. Worth every penny, I tell you! It was the tunes that grabbed me at first but the lyrics are equally compelling and brilliant. (You can also download some songs from his previous works on his web site, and while you’re at it, check out this video of The Curse – amazing!)

I can’t remember how I came across Sanctus Real, but some of their songs were just what I needed to hear recently. I actually downloaded a mix of songs from different albums but mostly from this one, We Need Each Other (also a great song which speaks to the power of community).

So that’s pretty much what’s been running through my MP3 player the past few weeks. Good company for long days spent with a crow bar and paint brush! What’s in your music list?

Random Midnight Musings

Just a few scattered thoughts keeping me awake tonight:

  • Got the ceiling painted. Yeah me.
  • My shoulder and arm are killing me. Thank goodness, the need to paint ceilings only comes about once every five years or so. I can’t imagine there will be ceilings in heaven!
  • The walls will have to wait until I get back. Can’t say I’m looking forward to more rolling of paint, but the end is in sight and I’m trying to stay focused on the vision! So looking forward to getting my art stuff out again.
  • I’m trying to figure out how to best maximize the space in this room. Right now, it’s like a big blank canvas, and that’s always just a bit scary. The freaking perfection thing wants to kick in.
  • We picked up a sleeper loveseat for the room on Craigslist. The cool thing was, we knew the sellers. It will be nice to have something to offer besides an air mattress for the occasional overnight guest.
  • I’m leaving soon to head for the hills with my sister and her kiddos for a few days. With five nieces and nephews, I’m not expecting this to be one of those “peace and quiet” vacations. But I’m looking forward to lots of cooking and being in nature and just being an aunt. Oh, and lots of late night talks with my sis.

Stay tuned!

More Power, Less Control

Twice I read something to this effect yesterday, that the more power you exert in a given situation, the less control you are apt to have. The context was in reference to the caution that must be used with certain hand tools, knives, etc. One illustration was by a butcher’s apprentice; the other, a home remodeling expert’s web site.

It sounds like a paradox almost. Shouldn’t more power result in better control? But thinking back over the times I’ve slipped and cut myself with a butcher knife – yes, I can agree. I almost lost a few fingernails yesterday using a razor blade to remove window caulking.

It seems like control, or the need for it, is at the root of many of our life situations. Things get out of control because we ignore them or live in denial. Or issues arise over struggles resulting from our need to control our circumstances. This is especially apparent to me in the relational realm. In most situations, I am learning, I simply have no control over anything but my response. And then I’m reminded that self-control is one of the manifestations of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23-24). So why do I continually grasp for control of external things, when obviously, control is hardly where it’s at?

I’m not given to cheesy analogies, but the Galatians passage brings to mind an obvious application. The more my life becomes infused with the power of the Spirit, the less control I will have because I will be giving it over to God. Perhaps that should read, the “less control I will need.”

Much food for thought as I go about my day. And now, back to our regularly scheduled room makeover efforts!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-25

A Hole or Two (or Three)

So finally, I’ve moved past the paneling nightmare. Truly, I hope to never look at another piece of paneling in my life. As I washed the walls, I realized these walls have a few little problems. Nothing beyond repair however. Adrenaline surged and, after a good wipe down with my super vinegar/baking soda/ammonia concoction, the spackling job went pretty easily.

I don’t know, you tell me. Did the guy use a lot of nails to hang his paneling or what?

What, you can’t tell from just one picture? Okay, here’s another.

Mike did say I’m doing a good – no, make that great – job! Thank you very much! He did comment on the amount of joint compound junk around each hole, until I informed him that many of those patches are covering anywhere from two to eight nail holes! Do  you think the guy was that bad at finding studs? Or maybe he just had nightmares about the paneling sprouting legs and running away!

So I’m onto sanding, some caulking (the windows need recaulked as well as the random cracks at the ceiling joint) and then woohoo! PAINT! If anyone’s bored, feel free to give me a call this week.

I spent some time at Borders the other night, perusing home decor books. I’ve pretty much settled on a color scheme – any guesses? Or suggestions? As well, I have some exciting ideas to add a bit of whimsy and fun to the room! Stay tuned for further progress updates!

Previous posts in this series:

Speaking of Green

Connecting the Dots

Getting Unstuck

A Cup of Creativity


The Junk Man Cometh