Thoughts Over Coffee -
What I Wish I'd Done Yesterday

I'm glad I made this mug with 
my younger son when he was a toddler!

(A repost from the past - something I still want to think about). 

I start my day with coffee.  And with thinking.  Sometimes I write my thoughts and prayers in a journal. Today as I was creeping down the stairs trying not to wake the dog or the kids I was a bit mad at myself.  Usually I make coffee the night before, and I hadn't done it.  That made me think of other things I hadn't done.  So I was mentally making a list of all I hadn't done and wish I had.  This is dumb.

But I might be wrong.  Maybe making a list of what I wish I'd done in my yesterdays can inform today's to-do list.  Do I wish I had exercised yesterday?  Yes.   Will I wish I had tomorrow?   Yes.   Shouldn't that be on today's list?   Yes. That way I can turn regrets into something positive.   Pssst!  It's called learning, Dixie.  There are other things on the list that are as important.    Maybe my list should be called "What I Will Be Glad I Have Done."  And then do it.

An Art Goal: Use Only Supplies on Hand

The comedy show we were planning for Project Graduation 2017 was a success. It made a decent amount of money. That is good! It was a tremendous amount of work, but the event was a tremendous amount of fun, so there was a built in reward for the work. Juston McKinney did a superb job performing for a crowd consisting of students, parents, teachers and grandparents.  When we booked him, he agreed to do a PG show appropriate for teens and adults. I think he hit the mark spot on. I would recommend him without reservation for your event, if you are looking for a comedian for a show. 

So now I am working on taxes.  Printing out documents of last years art supply purchases steels my resolve to only make art from materials on hand.  I got some books and supplies at Christmas that I am looking forward to using in the coming months. I have a few areas I want to learn about - the books above give a hint.  I will probably be working on two dimensional works for a while as that is easier to fit into how life and family are working right now.  

The Kind of Art I'm Doing

I've been helping to organize a fundraising comedy show for Project Graduation 2017 featuring Juston McKinney  on March 18th at our local high school, Hampden Academy.  You can purchase tickets here at Brown Paper Tickets if you are in the greater Bangor area. Juston is a very funny guy - and a national comedian who has appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and has also done TWO Comedy Central specials.  You can see view some of Juston's comedy clips on Vimeo.

One of the challenges in designing the poster was all the information that needed to be on it! So, in true Dixie fashion, I didn't just design one poster, I designed about 50 versions until I got something that felt good.  Not perfect, not right, but serves the purpose.

Good is my new goal in life which is way better than "unfinished."  A decent meal is better than no meal at all.  Although if you are a surgeon, I want your goal to be finished and if not perfect, at least very, very close to it.  ;-)

Posters need to look good, but that's not the only goal.  A poster's purpose is for people to find information quickly. I wish I had taken more graphic design classes when I was in art school, although I have learned some along the way by doing.  Here's one of the final versions that made the cut - it has the image provided by the comedian as well as information about the event and the generous businesses who have helped make the event even happen.

Soon poster-making will settle down and I will get back to art-making. With Christmas money I bought myself a book on antique tavern signs.  I want to experiment in some new areas in addition to art doll making: printmaking, sign-painting and also a return to fine art paintings. 

Lighten Up, Kitchen!

There is nothing wrong with the kitchen above.  It was designed nicely 30 years ago by the previous owners. It has a functional layout.  But it always felt dark in winter to me.  This past year I took Nesting Place's Cozy Minimalist course and it helped me to see I could change my rooms and have them reflect my taste.  I like a cottage - coastal - eclectic feel. 

So I decided to replace the black laminate countertops with lighter gray and paint the cabinets for a low disruption budget makeover.  

I had decided to go white on the cabinets, but it didn't feel right. I finally settled in a blue inspired by antique furniture. 

With that decision made, these kitchens below helped me hone in on the feeling I wanted.  I ended up painting the cabinets Benjamin Moore "Hemlock" and installing Formica laminate "Elemental Concrete" to get close to the bottom left and bottom middle kitchen (they are the same kitchen).  I also replaced the kitchen sink and the faucet.  I went with a Blanco granite sink to get a soapstone sink look.  

This was a big job! I started painting in late September. I finished in early January.  I did all but 10 doors myself which I sent out to a painter I know.  I paused for soccer season, Thanksgiving and Christmas. For 4 months some section of my kitchen looked like this: 

Here is what it looks like now.  You can see I had used the adjacent office as a storage room.  That's the next thing to deal with! 

Until I decide on a backsplash, I'm painting it and hanging pretty vintage and antique plates. 

The cupboard above the fridge is a nice display spot now. 

A reminder of the before and after: 

Paint is transformative.  I still have some "styling" to do, but am enjoying it as is for now.  It is definitely lighter! 

It was a long process: 

1. Clean cabinets with Krud Kutter. 

2.  Sand cabinets with 180 grit to take down the shine. 

3.  Wipe sanding dust off with tack cloth. 

4.  Prime with bonding primer.  I used Benjamin Moore's. 

5. Paint first coat. I used Benjamin Moore's Advance paint which is an alkyd based paint.  It needs to dry 17 hours before recoating. 

6. Scuff sand first coat of paint. 

7.  Wipe dust off with tack cloth.

8.  Recoat. 

9.  Ta da!

10.  Learn to cook again!

Planning to Laugh

I've been working on a fundraising project for Project Graduation.  The team decided to bring a comedian to the high school as a fundraiser.  Researching this has been so much fun. I have laughed a lot while viewing video clips of Maine and New England comedians who would be good for teenagers and adults.  And planning to laugh in March after a long winter makes me smile. 

Last night we decorated our tree while listening to swing music.  My oldest and I danced in a silly way until we laughed.  I loved seeing his beautiful smile, and hearing his wonderful laughter.    

"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden


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