Sunday, August 4, 2013

Easy Does It

I'm saving the chair and file cabinet for cooler weather (read: procrastinating). 

So I'm starting with a more manageable project--my lamp. Good thing, too. Because the lamp remodel hasn't gone as smoothly as I envisioned. I've had to work very hard not to get discouraged. 

I asked for this lamp a few years ago. Oddly, I didn't notice the rainbow nature of the coloring. I think it was due to an immunity built up from childhood. For many a young year, I was ardently passionate about rainbows. I'm quite certain that I inspired a toy executive skiing in the German Alps to create a doll called Rainbow Brite. The doll came out wearing my ski outfit in 1983. (Coincidence or wretched result of a young girl's affinity for rainbows and a mother's determination to be able to find said child anywhere?)

Our new house doesn't have a lot of red in it so the lamp sticks out like WarHeads Chewy Cubes in a room of ocean sighs. 

Time to bring it into the family.

First, I used clay to fill in a big crack. I'm a tiny bit cheap so I bought clay that doesn't have to be baked. And was on clearance. And designed for children. It kind of worked. 

Since the lamp was already fixed with super glue, I skipped special polymers. I feel this was wise or I might have glued my face to the table. As it was, I leaned into the wet gesso and painted my shirt. Oh yeah, I'm a messy person who can't be bothered to change my shirt, wear an apron, or generally take precautions. THIS IS WHY I DON'T CRAFT.

Deep breath. 
New things. 
Remember the office goal. 
(No, don't think about the Barbie doll mansion your 12 yo self made from a dog house. Just because Grampy had to ask you a question to save Barbie from crawling through the front door doesn't mean this project will be disproportionate. The lesson here is to slow down.)

I meant to test a spot with the gesso--make sure it would cover the red. Then I was going to tape off the areas like a good little crafter. As usual, I got sucked in and tried to do it all free hand. Nothing actually went wrong but I forgot to take pictures for this series and frankly, there were brush strokes drying on my lamp. None of the links I found on Pinterest had brush strokes.

I walked away, distracted myself by picking up two paint samples. I tested them (restraint!) and it's a good thing. They were horridly pale. 

So I walked away again and decided to change tactics. I will buy spray paint and start with one uniform color. Take that, you impatient little ... ummm ... self.

But wait, what about the lampshade? If it's white, the base can go many ways. But what if I buy this scrumptious option? 
Hello, lovely

Uh-oh. I feel the panic rising up again. What color should I do the base? Do I start white, then add color? Are there reverse stencils--as in paint over the shape not the cut-out? I don't know about you, but stencils and I aren't fond of each other. I always leak under their edges.

If this lamp can derail me, I'm going to be sobbing before the chair is finished. Me and my big ideas.

Monday, July 29, 2013

It Started With A Chair

I own my second house. With my second husband. Hell, I'm in my second life. I woke up one day, screamed STOP and picked up the track of my life and changed course.

Now I sit in my first office surrounded by hodge-podge pieces of furniture collected during this transformation. Nothing matches. Nothing coordinates. It's a room of tiny opportunities. When I needed new furniture, it was a daunting process to take my pocketful of cash and find an unyet defined identity. Eating and paying rent in California meant I bought pieces off of Craigslist and made do.

My filing cabinet and chair came from a couple moving to Boston. I found that ironic since I transferred from Bean Town only the year before. The filing cabinet was a steal and the chair ... well, I was insane to want this forlorn seat made for a midget. Yes, I just wrote midget. If you're looking for PC writing, go find a Borg blog.

This chair is small, like me, and that's part of its appeal. When we met, I saw potential--its future was lit up in beautiful fabric. Picking the right hues required a few life details to settle so I could hone in on that perfect shade.

I've had my chair since 2005. For eight years it's been waiting. Waiting for me to find the courage to say, "I am a writer and I deserve an office built for me."

All writers dream about the perfect writing space. I've had several wonderful places. Boston featured a nice cubby. Berkeley gave me a second bedroom that was far roomier than my current space. But this space is truly all mine. I don't rent anymore. I answer to me and I say, HELL YEAH.

I'm going to transform this little room into the office of author, Ellen Harger. I'm going to sew, paint, saw, nail, screw, and from these two little hands (and the help of a few others), I will create my identity. It's my gift to me for finally publishing Strong Enough and being so fulfilled that I'm hungry for more. 

I'm writing my next novel and it's going like turtle on roller skates fueled by comet dust. All this extra energy is spilling over and well, let's just say that Cinderella's Fairy Godmother may have been faster with her little wand, but my way will be infinitely more gratifying.

So first up, I'm collecting fabric. I've asked my mother to help because frankly, the only thing I've successfully sewn are curtains. With straight edges. And no special pieces. My mother sewed dining room chair covers the same day of a dinner party while nine-months pregnant with me...and without a pattern. It's not always about personal skill. Sometimes you have to surround yourself with people who know how. 

I'm standing on the second step of a life long dream--creating with my hands the place where I will work every day.