Sunday, March 31, 2013

The bedroom accent wall

I was reading on my favorite vintage-house blog, Retro Renovation, about vintage houses that featured wall murals. I guess it was a thing back in the day. So I went searching around on the web for vintage wall murals, and found a site which features just about any image you can imagine, blown up to wall size. Intrigued by the boldness of a wall-sized image, I started searching for 70’s style images in the colors I was interested in, and found one I thought was pretty awesome and 70s looking. Only problem - wall size murals cost about $200. That’s a lot of money to pay and then decide you hate it. On the other hand, if I painted it myself, for the cost of less than $50 in supplies, I could decide if I liked it or not, and then just paint it all a solid color if it was not to my taste.

And hey, I was home sick anyway this weekend, so why not have a little fun?


I laid out the tape by hand, following the top half of the image above as a pattern.



At this point the first layer of colors are in, and I can’t wait to get the tape off and see how it looks with white outlines.


I laid on a second coat of all the colors late last night, and this morning, stripped off the masking tape to see how it looks with white outlines – I love it!


The masking tape had a lot of bleed-under that needs to be touched up.


All the touch-ups are done, and the final touch is a piece of wall art we picked up a few months ago. I knew it was going to fit perfectly in here somewhere!


And the outdoors/geese theme bedroom is complete. We love it!


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Art around The Rancho


We have been having so much fun picking up art for our new home, decorating it with little fun things that make us happy. Really, to me even the furniture seems like art, since it’s all old and unique – it’s unlikely to find similar pieces to the ones we’ve found.



Let’s start with the centerpiece of the bedroom – the geese painting. We found this at an antique store in Portland, but I went home and thought about it for a day before going back to buy it. It wasn’t expensive, I just wasn’t sure about it. I’m glad we got it though, the colors are great for the bedroom, and it started giving us a nature theme to decorate around.

I like the style of it – it feels 70s to me. The way the clouds are just shapes with no definition but the geese look more realistic. The trees and brown grass and reflections in the water, well, that all reminded me of our home in the country and our visits to the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge.



It appears to be an actual painting, not just a print. That’s kind of cool to know we have something which someone actually created with their own hands. Good job, ‘Jane’, whoever you are!

Now we have a goose/nature theme going on in the bedroom. We were buying our couches at another antique store when I spotted these wall plaques, and had to have them:


A closer look:


These were probably part of a triptych, with the center piece being a clock, but the clock is gone. I saw a very similar set with flowers instead of geese on them. But I’m happy to have these, they look great on the wall behind the TV.

There are more bedroom geese coming, but I have one more wall to paint before I show those off. Maybe this weekend.

In the front room we have the Japanese silk paintings, which I’ve shown off before, and the picture of Barclay, and I just added a matching picture of Navi, so these two make a cute set on the wall.




And then there’s the Matador…


Every 70s home needs a Matador! Dave grew up with a Matador painting over the fireplace in his parent’s house. We saw this one on CL for $40, but it was about an hour away. Eventually we saw it in an antique store for $100 and we thought, well, they must have bought it and marked it up and now it was way out of our price range, which was too bad because it was pretty impressive in person. It’s a print with painted highlights. Then we saw it on CL again the next week! There were two of them in town! So we ran out to the folks selling it for $40 and bought it. As the lady handed it to us she gave us a funny look and said ‘Are you sure this fits into your décor?’, in a way that indicated she didn’t think it could possibly fit into ANYONE’S décor! Oh yes, we assured her. And it fits very nicely into the living room, particularly with the yellow couches. We LOVE the Matador!


My latest acquisition was a Goodwill find. This afternoon after volunteering at the barn, I went back up to Battle Ground to order food at our favorite Thai place and bring it home. I had a little time to kill so I went to Goodwill to look for frames I could buy and put my own photography in, and spotted this:


Hmmm, I thought, that’s pretty groovy. It says John Eastman, 1973 on it. I couldn’t decide if I should buy it or not though - fully framed and behind glass, it was a whole $4. Maybe I am a little cheap!

So I called Dave after I picked up our food and asked him what he thought, and he was like ‘duh, for $4? GO GET IT!’ So I went back, and poking around found another one! (the lines down the middle are reflections)




And yeah, they are pretty groovy. I hung them in the kitchen, which is the only place we still have some bare walls!



So that’s it for now. We’re having so much fun decorating our vintage house. Just wait until you see what I have planned to finish off the bedroom!



Hiking to Steigerwald Wildlife Refuge


Sunday I headed out with a few friends to walk on the Washougal Dike Trail. It starts at Steamboat Landing (note: there are no steamboats anymore!) and goes to Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge. It was a bright sunny morning, and the Columbia River looked pretty and blue. I’m glad it gave us a little taste of that before returning to March’s standard—issue grey.



As we walked along the Dike we enjoyed the cottonwood trees that lined the river.



Steigerwald looks a lot like Ridgefield, and it’s probably closer to our new home, so I guess we should get used to coming out here.



This shot of the ducks with Mt Hood in the background was my favorite shot of the day.



I was a little partial to these leaning cottonwoods too.





We saw evidence of wildlife other than just the feathered kind.



Soon we came to the end of the road…


Time to head back.




On the way back we stopped at Cottonwood Beach for lunch before continuing towards town. We saw (though I did not get pictures of) several people horseback riding on the beach.



The sky was overcast and grey as we trudged back to the car. It was six miles all together, not a bad distance for a first hike of spring. It was nice and flat, just to get us in the mood for hiking again! It was very windy the whole way! But a nice walk with friends all the same.



Thursday, March 14, 2013

Engine pulling day!


Let me kill the suspense right up front – the engine is still in the car.




I scheduled ‘engine pulling day’ and put it on my calendar a month or so ago, hoping that if I set a deadline and said it would happen, it would finally happen. So on Saturday morning Dave and I went and rented the engine lift, brought it home, and then he had to go to rehearsal. I puttered around for a bit, and then our friend Scott (Daddy to the other two Eskimos who stay with us occasionally) came over and helped me get a bunch of stuff done to it. We pulled the driveshaft, disconnected the shifter, and pulled out a bunch of AC parts that were going to get in the way, including the carburetor, radiator and tranny cooler. We were definitely getting closer, but by the end of Saturday, we were pooped, and the engine hadn’t budged!

On Sunday Dave helped me, and we got the exhaust on one side disconnected, but the other side was being a bear about it, and wouldn’t budge. I was still sore from the previous day. I forgot how much exercise was involved – getting down on the floor, getting back up, crawling underneath, rolling around, scooting back out, stretching, pushing, pulling, shoving, lifting – I worked on the car for about ten hours, and I was drained by the end of Saturday. Sunday I was beat.



Me, under the car, contemplating an inaccessible bolt…

So we gave up, doused the stubborn bolts with WD-40, and returned the lift without even assembling it. When we returned the lift to the rental place at Parkrose Hardware (a great, locally owned hardware store) we also picked up a few items I needed for finishing up organizing my tools, pegs and socket organizers. I got a new retractable droplight too. So my garage is pretty well outfitted now, and my hand tools are all hung up where I can easily access them, and can easily see if something is not where it belongs. I even seem to have extra room, which I wasn’t expecting considering I’m squeezing everything into a much smaller space than I had before.




Having the tools mounted on the wall right in front of the car is really nice, it’s handy to grab a tool when I need it. The signs and license plates brighten it up a bit.

Today I went out in the garage after work, and looked at that engine, and thought about how defeated I felt giving up on Sunday. Then I saw a hose I thought I could remove. I put on my gloves and went for it. An hour or so later I’d removed several things, bagged and tagged them, and started plotting my next move. That’s when I realized that ‘Engine Pulling Day’ was a mistake. Putting pressure on my project wasn’t what I needed. Projects are supposed to be fun. It’s good that I got busy and finally made some progress, but renting the lift to try and pressure myself into achieving a BIG goal just made me miserable and defeated when I couldn’t do it. Today I was making tiny progress on my car, but most of all I was enjoying myself. I was blowing off a little steam, the gears in my head were turning as I figured out my next move, and that’s the stuff I really enjoy.



We’ll rent the lift again some other time, when things really are all ready to go. Until then I will enjoy chipping away at the project, and sit out in the garage with my pony, dreaming about how great it will feel to drive it down the road, and know I made it happen. That’s the best part of the project, but a project like this isn’t all about the destination, it’s about the journey, and there’s no need to rush it.