Thursday, November 17, 2011

"The chief forms of beauty are symmetry and order and definiteness."

"Snow" by Elizabeth Tibbetts, from In the Well. © Bluestem Press, 2003.

The old, blue-eyed woman in the bed
is calling down snow. Her heart is failing,
and her eyes are two birds in a pale sky.
Through the window she can see a tree

twinkling with lights on the banking
beyond the parking lot. Lawns are still green
from unseasonable weather. Snow
will put things right; and, sure enough,

by four darkness carries in the first flakes.
Chatter, hall lights, and the rattle of walkers
spill through her doorway as she lies there—
ten miles (half a world) of ocean

between her and her home island.
She looks out from a bed the size of a dinghy.
Beyond the lit tree, beyond town, open water
accepts snow silently and, farther out,

the woods behind her house receive the snow
with a faint ticking of flakes striking needles
and dry leaves—a sound you would not believe
unless you've held your breath and heard it.

Before the snowstorm:

Post title quotation: Aristotle, Metaphysics, book 13, part 3

Possibly related:

Possibly today's soundtrack:

This message brought to you by:  Old White, Country Grey and English Chestnut.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Symmetry is a Trap

When I went to pick it up, the day-glo yellow on this desk was so intense I almost couldn't hear anything, but managed to make out the owner mouthing "twenty dollars." 

At home we called it 'the taxi cab.'

Shocking.  Normally I'd have painted right over it, but took it as something of a challenge to rid the desk (and the western hemisphere) of this color.  Let the stripping commence.

It took awhile.  And see those top outside drawers?  Interesting (in a good way) contour, but there was no access to the screws holding on the pulls.  I puzzled over that one for awhile, ultimately to discover (thanks Dad) that there was a dowel system in place to install the pull on both drawers.  Getting the existing screws sawed off took a special Dremmel saw attachment and a time-intensive effort.  Again, golf-clap for Dad.

Worth it?  Worth it.

Body talk [eyebrow raise].  I'd read people writing diabolical accounts of the dreaded, deadly-treacherous red mahogany stain.  If only I'd known that removing the cornea-damaging yellow wasn't the end of the transgressions visited upon this poor desk; I began to paint the body in off-white only to see a reddish-pink color staining through each coat (...after coat, after coat, after coat).  I switched to Kilz primer after four coats.  Bunch of passes with Kilz, then finally one more with the paint.  I wondered how this would work when it came time to distress.

In music, a hemiola is a rhythm of three beats against two.  I wasn't feeling like being symmetrical and wanted to see how some of the drawers would look stained, some painted.  After a lengthy search for 2.5" pulls that  work on contoured drawers (ooof, kids), results below...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A table changed

There it was, sturdy old piece just sitting around in the garage looking mopey, getting dusty and knicked up by wheelbarrow and lawn mower fly-bys.

While the piece is solid wood, after attempting to sand it I discovered the top was actually some sort of hard-board with an applied woodgrain look (read: no beautiful grain available to stain).  Top would be painted.

Result, body in gray and the top and doors in white (with floral detail by hand), a little mellow mustard drama on the single drawer.  Anthropological knobs for added dimension: