Sunday, November 16, 2014

YoCP: Frame and Hang Art

Technically, this was a July YoCP project. Technically, I'm still working my way through some of August, September, and October. Technically, it is actually November. But technically, as of July, YoCP is on hiatus (according to an email from our fearless leader, Jolie Kerr), so I don't feel quite so badly about being behind.

But YoCP was a promise I made to myself, if not a commitment to the greater Clean Person Community. And I created these projects with a purpose, and I do plan on completing them. Even if it takes me all year. Which it might, because there are only 6 weeks left in the year. Holy shit, did I just say that? Is that true? Jesus.

Ok. Back on track, here. One of my projects was "Frame Art. Hang Art." We have quite a bit of artwork, both personal mementos and arty posters, and since we're likely not moving any time soon, I figured we might as well take them from "big pile in the guest room" to "things that actually hang on the walls". Turns out, it wasn't as simple as I thought it would be. Many of the pieces were oddly-sized, requiring custom mats and very specific frames. Framing delays meant it took longer to assess the stash, and busy schedules meant delays in actual hanging. But as of a few weeks ago, all of our art is framed and hung (ok, there's one poster that I framed that's due to be hung in the guest room, but I haven't quite figured out where I want it to go, so it's leaning up against the wall, but I'm just not going to count that one, ok?).

In the bedroom, I finally have the art wall I'd been envisioning pretty much since we moved in. There's a little room for more artwork if we have it, but overall, I really like it. It's a collection of pictures from trips we've taken, or of special or meaningful things to us (like the "Going to the mountains is going home" John Muir quote print I found totally randomly, and then just happened to find the perfect frame for when I wasn't looking). It's really lovely to wake up and go to bed looking at things that make us happy.

Have you completed any projects lately? Are you still YoCP'ing? What's the most complicated framing job you've ever done?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Front of House

Although it wasn't on my YoCP list, I've been meaning to tackle the front porch for a while. Over the last few years, it had gathered dust, grime, and assorted detritus, and with festive gourd season upon us, I figured now was as good a time as any to clean. Holiday decorating is one of my favorite for cleaning, after all. I meant to post this before Halloween, so just travel back in time with me a bit, when porches needed to be cleaned off to support jack-o-lanterns and ghosts.

 You see, the railing of our porch was once white. It was relatively white when we moved in three years ago. But the grime had gotten a little out of control.

I'm a bit embarrassed to share this picture, but I think it's important to share just how bad it was. Not only so you can see the progress (I promise, it gets better!), but hopefully to ease any shame you have at the state of your front porches.

It's ok.

We are none of us perfect.

We clean.

We move on.

It may be worth noting that the splotchiness is a result of several lanterns that usually reside on this railing - the grime gathered under them a bit, but mostly around them. Not sure about the clean white patch in the middle. It's a mystery.

I started this cleaning project with one goal: get rid of that black grime so that it looks pretty. I figured I'd tackle it with a little Dr. Bronner's and water, and all would be well. NOT SO, MY FRIENDS. NOT SO.

I scrubbed with Dr. Bronner's and a scrub brush, and a sponge, and all my (limited) upper body strength, to no avail. I busted out the 409. And the Comet. I scrubbed and I rinsed for about two hours.

Still, I was left with something that looked like this. Not a huge improvement - irritating, even, given the amount of time and effort I'd put into this should've-been-easy project.

And then I bought some Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. The heavy-duty kind, made for outdoor furniture.

They were not as strong as the advertisements made them out to be, or maybe my grime was just that bad. I worked my way through about seven erasers, which split and tore and turned irreversibly black as I convinced myself that this. would. work. Because it had to. I'd sunk too much time into this already, and dammit, I wanted to decorate for Halloween!

However, after about an hour of scrubbing and cursing, I was left with something that almost resembled cleanliness. It's more gray than white, really, and there are slivers of black grime that I just couldn't get out, embedded into the grooves of the wood. But overall, it's progress. And it was enough to make me consider the project a success.

I mean, look at those before-and-afters, eh? I later learned (upon bleaching a spot where a potentially-rabid-maybe squirrel had destroyed one of our pumpkins) that (oh yeah, duh) bleach is a *really* easy way to whiten things. Probably could've saved a lot of time by starting with bleach. Ah well.

I felt good enough to put the lanterns back out, and add some gourds (and a flying ghost) to the mix.

I later removed those hanging lanterns (which have been so destroyed by wind and rain that they were just a ragged mess), replacing them with a small metal hanging lantern (thanks, IKEA). I took the extra metal table and moved it to the yard, next to the BBQ, for extra "counter" space.

It's still a little dirty out there - it could use a good scrub, and would probably benefit from regular sweeping, but at the end of the day, it's a porch. A porch on a house we rent.

We do our best to keep it in good shape, but it will never be magazine-perfect, because we do not live in a magazine.

It's ok. We are none of us perfect.
We clean. We move on.