Happy 2024!



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DIY, expressive, family, happy, spaces

Happy 2024 — Good morning– Happy 2024!

I chose not to stay up for festivities on New Years’ Eve this year. I opted for a 9 PM bedtime.

It’s part of a decision I’m making to favor health and wellness over late nights in general. I was the first up this morning, though I slept later than I planned. So far, I fixed the sticky front door, have tended to the dogs, have laundry going, and have made a general plan for the day already this morning. It will be a good day.

I have resisted blogging (and journaling) for the better part of two years. For the past several days, I have made journaling a bigger priority. I am feeling better for it. It might be time to return to the blog, as well.

For a long time I have really wanted to pick and up and move to Atlanta. But the last several weeks I have been reinvesting myself in our home. I remember why I loved it so much when we bought it. (Plus, walking away from a 2.875% interest rate would not be the smartest idea). It is utterly amazing how just a few simple tweaks (that haven’t cost much, if anything) have made all the difference. I am trying to reinvest myself in our community a little bit as well. However, our church home will definitely remain in Atlanta. I am starting to think about getting out to volunteer somewhere. Maybe Open Hands will be the first stop.

Happy 2024 — Redecorating with Art We Already Had

Yesterday, I spent a good portion of the day moving artwork around different places. I rediscovered a watercolor my mother-in-law did that I always meant to hang but never got around to, a beach scene, whose frame glass had long since broken. I was able to re-mat it with a mat I had in stock for photo prints. All it needed was an 11×14 frame. When Jared and I went out for another project last night, we picked up a $13 frame for it. Voila! New artwork for our living room. The featured photo is the beach scene in question, as well as the new mat and frame.

I posted a photo of the artwork I moved in the kitchen on my personal Facebook, but here it is, as well. I’m super-happy with this configuration. From left to right the paintings were done by my Mama, Lucy King, two by a lady my French host family was related to when I went on a trip in high school, Gerald Byrd, and Laura Smith.

There is nothing to be done about the intercom command center on the left side. Jared would like to take them all out, but it would be a tremendous undertaking. Also, our doorbells are tied into the system. I haven’t given up on resurrecting the whole thing. The command center works and so do a few of the intercom panels throughout the house. But none of the doorbells on any of the three sides of the house work, and two of the three panels in the boys’ rooms do not work.

Art with Personal Meaning

Most of our belongings have some sort of personal meaning, and the art that hangs in our home is no different. The French watercolors are actually a funny story. I knew the lady was going to paint something for me because they asked me to pick between a few scenes for her to watercolor. They’d taken me to her home. She was such a talented artist. I picked a goldfish scene from a very old Japanese postcard. But the other scene is a road with a house and a castle in the background, which is the exact scene in Kaysersberg. We were there touring and my French host’s father very nearly ran over us, lol. He was a passenger bus driver. We were out in the road and had to hightail it out of the way quickly. When I looked up I saw it was him driving and he very clearly saw me. We all laughed when she presented me with the both paintings. I understood exactly why she had painted it.

I wish I knew the name of the artist. I called her the French Sarah Belle while I was there. She was not exactly related to my host family but she was close friends with them, kind of like our Sarah Belle was here. She only signed her work as “GW,” and I never knew her name while we were there. Google searches based on those initials with searches in the St. Die region in France reveal nothing. I’m sure she’s long since passed away, as she was an older person in 1997.

There’s a story about Lucy’s goat painting as well. Jared and I met online, and we watched a lot of movies over the phone together while we were dating. One of those movies being “Notting Hill.” I think Jared had the “Happiness is not happiness without a violin-playing goat” quote on his profile on Lavalife. So when Lucy painted the goat (even without the violin), I knew Jared had to have it. That painting was his anniversary present one year.

Laura’s painting of the Hubbard Slacks Factory in Bremen just reminds me of Ike and George, my Daddy’s parents. We’d always go through Bremen on the way to Rockmart when I was little. The cut through big Highway 27 hadn’t been built yet so 27 went through downtown Bremen. I swear I remember when I was super little (I must have been super little because George died when I was 5), driving through there with Ike and George and Ike talking about somebody she knew who worked there forever.

My Mama gave the flowers and apples painting to either either my aunt or one of my grandmothers. I don’t know who; we play “musical belongings” in this family and stuff ends up in other people’s household all the time. But I know she painted it in 1982 because the year is on it. I bet she gave it to one of them for Christmas that year. If I had to guess, because I don’t remember it hanging at my aunt’s or Nannie’s, I bet she gave it to Ike and then Lollie ended up with it after Ike died in 1994.

The Gerald Byrd piece is the newest addition. It came into the house because Jared and I got tickets to his painting party on December 16th, a couple of weeks ago. The theme was abstract art and the point of the painting party was really to do a new piece yourself. But I love Gerald’s art and wasn’t really interested in doing a piece myself, so I spoke up early in the demo piece and claimed it instead of painting one myself. Then watched him paint it for the whole class. It’s a reminder of a super fun night where we met some really great people, and we got to visit with Gerald and his pup Andi for a little while, It was a really fun date night.

Happy 2024– Meet Arthur

Arthur made an appearance on Facebook yesterday, too, and I learned that Arthur has a cousin, lol!

This is Arthur. My aunt named him.

Arthur was painted by my Nannie’s first cousin, Inez, sometime before 1925. He lives in our bedroom now, but for all my life until 2012 he lived at the end of my Nannie, my grandmother’s hallway. That hallway was dark even in daylight most of the time, so Arthur was ominous and scary to me as a kid. My aunt says he scared Nannie when she was little too, when she hung in Inez’s mother’s living room.

Inez and her Mama painted a lot of stuff– my aunt and my Mama have a lot of their paintings– oranges, different flower scenes, a moonlight beach scene.

When I posted him on Facebook, a friend of the family posted that their relative had also painted an identical scene to Arthur, and posted a picture of their family’s painting! My whole worldview shifted a little bit, lol, because I had always, my whole 44 years, thought Arthur was an original. But I called my aunt, and she was not one bit surprised that Arthur has a cousin. She knew of the friend in question’s relative and that person would have known Inez, who painted our painting, and they probably took lessons from the same person. So they probably used the same model for the paintings. It’s a very cool story. The community those folks grew up in and spent their lives in was really small and close-knit at the time.

I feel really fortunate to know (and be related to) some really talented people.

Making Home Less Scary

Jared working on our front porch

The scene here is not nearly as bright as it is in the photograph. This is our front porch, and last night the string lights went up. I am hoping this is a permanent solution to make our front porch less treacherous at night, especially when one of us needs to take the dogs out but also for when we have guests coming up and down the steps on the front porch.

The two lights by the front door do not give off really any light at all by themselves for some reason, so it has been really dark out there for a long time. It doesn’t bother the boys or Jared to take the dogs out there by themselves in the dark, but it bothers me. This will greatly help, as the street lights do not light up our yard at all. We were able to use command hooks to hang the lights, and I have ordered some brick clips to secure the outdoor extension cord powering the whole thing. Thankfully, there are power outlets on both sides of the front porch. Those power outlets are another indication that whoever designed this house was brilliant; we’ve known that since we looked at the house the first time.

Happy 2024 — Today’s Agenda

Today’s agenda includes working some in the studio, in the garage. We have to figure out a long-term solution to the power situation out there, which will likely involve calling an electrician. Eventually, I want a mini-split to heat and cool the whole thing. But, I think that is going to involve a whole second air conditioning unit. The house borderline needs one anyway. Not a today-type problem. But, the studio is supposed to double as an additional living area, especially when family who are allergic to cats visit.

There is still a dramatic lot of painting to do in the studio. Eventually the plan is to cover the popcorn ceiling with black decorative tiles. I also intend to continue the faux concrete polishing I started in October. The garage doors and tracks will remain in place because with white backgrounds, the outdoor lighting is pretty essential to getting the shot. I would have liked to have taken the tracks down and covered the doors, but Jared has convinced me it’s not practical. I am okay with that fact now

For today, it will be enough to concentrate on the sheer amount of cleaning there is to do, because there is a ton of it.

There are two huge closets in the studio. One of them is Jared’s office, and for now the other contains outdoor equipment and tool storage. The plan is to clear out the leftover things in storage in our tall finished crawlspace and store outdoor equipment in there, and then turn that second storage closet into a changing room and storage for the studio.

Jared is re-hauling his office today, too. A much-deserved space for him.


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