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I've been struggling to write, but thankfully, I feel like I'm improving in other creative pursuits. Or, I'm just interested in a different style of photography now and it's not like my old stuff... so it seems "better".


Weekly Update: Week 22

It’s been a busy few weeks. Though none of it has involved writing, it hasn’t been totally void of creativity. From mocking up a new website to designing a whole house, things are moving along.


Explore your home

I had thought I was being more perceptive in my every day life. Until I came back from vacation and reemerged from behind my camera lens.


Weekly Update: Week 5

We're at the end of October with a good amount of success! And thankfully able to reflect on all my failures with no regrets.


DIY aka "Learning Opportunity"

Growing up my parents always had the DIY mentality. Most of what was broken in the house could be fixed in the garage. And any craft, creation, or refurbishing could be figured out and accomplished. One way or another. 

Lesson learned: mom was right, I did need to drill in some screws. Wood glue wasn't enough.

So it's no surprise that anything I find needs done in my house is always assessed with 'how can I do it'? With the exception of anything electrical or plumbing related, I would much rather figure out how to fix it ourselves. Not only would we learn something and do it better next time, but it saves money. The only thing I've ever really lost in doing things by myself is time. 

Hand stitched Calvin and Hobbes 'tacky Christmas' skirt that took 2 years to finish... I have yet to sew anything else.

Beyond fixing things, I find purchasing expensive decorations or pieces of furniture to be very difficult. Chances are we can find something in a thrift shop to fix up to be exactly what we want. The difficult part is, I generally only do that 1 project once. Once I have that particular piece why create another one? Move on to the next puzzle to struggle with as most parts are completely new to me.

Lesson's learned: wait for the impatient partner to leave before doing the slow task of leveling pavers. And remove stumps while you still have a shovel and ax. Though, in a stubborn pinch, a good hammer will do.

Case in point this bookshelf. 

While I was at work, my partner and his dad finished step 1. Build the entire thing.

My part was supposed to be simple...caulk and paint it. That's it. I've painted before. No big deal. And in saving money, we could simply use the wall and trim paint left over. Piece. Of. Cake. 

Except it wasn't. 

After assessing the bottom, and taking some constructive criticism (of other's work), I decided a 4-inch base would look a lot cleaner than straight on the floor. Bad news was that the proper tools were already gone. But being independent and loaded with a reciprocating and oscillating saw, I didn't think it should be too hard. Long story short. I will never use a reciprocating saw again. Pieces were flying, jagged, and downright horribly ill-fitting. I had even tried taping two pieces of scrap wood to my board to ensure the saw actually went in a straight line. It had not and no amount of wood putty was going to fix that hole. Eventually, I had to call it what it was and take my wood back to my parents so my mom could assist me with her miter, band, and table saw. All of which are miraculous inventions created to keep us level and sane. 

Lesson learned: just go home and use your parent's other saws.
Texts often received by my partner

I also discovered it's not that easy to drill 2.5-inch screws into the floor through 2 inches of wood. Even with pre-drilling the holes I struggled. I've helped screw down deck boards before, but these little pieces of 1 by 2s kicked my ass. Needless to say, the base is all wood glued down. After all, gravity is keeping it still. It just needs to lay there. Or so I assume...

Then there was the painting. Again, this had been the easy plan from the beginning. With the wood finally in place, just take some tape, a brush and have at it. Done deal. 

After the first square, I realized the paint was actually not thick enough to fill in the nail holes and all the joints should be caulked. Then that caulk is much easier than wood putty to smooth out, painters tape isn't 100% foolproof, "white" can be pretty far from "white", and you can tear off part of your ceiling with painters tape.

Lesson learned: don't use flat wall paint. And foam brushes can come apart and leave black flecks in your poly coat.

At each step, I did find a chance to do it quickly or do it perfectly. Most of the time, I would choose the painstaking perfect option. If you look under the shelves, where the 1 by 2 hangs over, you can see I perfectly lined up the tape so that the brown shelves and white trim don't run on to either part. Will anyone ever look that closely? Probably not, it's literally a pain in the neck to do so, but I know it looks good. However, by the end of it, I found I wasn't a slave to such thoughts. I'm free from perfection. At least that's how I look at it when I see brown marks on the tan wall, edges that could be caulked, or parts of wood putty that could still use sanding. 

Perks of changing your mind about the base later on

In the end, my half of the process took about 4 months, while the first half took all of 1 day. So there is something to doing a task enough times to make it efficient and well done. But in my four months, I have learned a good deal, have a beautiful looking shelf, and will never. paint. it. again. 


After it was all said and done, I did enjoy trying to plan out a theme in each square. Admittedly, some are more interesting than others...

Art shelf meets science shelf