Monday, January 24, 2011

Take a bow

It's probably time to take down the last of the holiday decor...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Hooray for Free Table!

Last year I once mentioned that we have a Free Table in the building.

This bears repeating and praising, again. It's just a table in hallway, in the middle of the school, where people can leave and find stuff. The rules are: Anything you leave is still yours until someone claims it. If no one claims it, it needs to be disposed of another way. (Supposedly this should happen after three days, but some things stay longer, and occasionally someone has mercy and takes the whole unwanted loot to Value Village or Goodwill.)

The Free Table is BRILLIANT! I think every community and apartment building should have one. It's a great way to recycle and save money.

In our 18 months (!) at the school, what have we gotten from the Free Table?
  • Furniture: A full-sized ottoman, and a little mushroom-shaped upholstered footstool
  • Appliances: A working microwave
  • Clothing: Rusty's full-length wool coat in immaculate condition; Dina's velvet dress and a summer jacket
  • Jewelry: I'm still ecstatic about the beautiful heart-shaped amber earrings I found last week!
  • A bread storage box
  • A table lamp
  • Candles, candle holders
  • Numerous cat toys!
But even better than scoring at the Free Table is donating to the Free Table. There's nothing more satisfying than leaving something that then disappears within hours (or minutes). It's also so encouraging to continually sort and purge our belongings: I have much less trouble parting with stuff if I know it will make one of my neighbors happy. Seeing Meg's face light up at the collection of small figurines that I collected for my shadow box when I was little made the parting that much easier! I've left clothes, books, CDs and tapes, and jewelry, as well as things we replaced. When I finally found a butter dish that did not squish the butter like the standard size does (pet peeve, anyone?), the old one was cleaned and went to the Free Table. And was gone within a day.

Yay for recycling and saving money!

And now for the continuing saga of the bald head and its piggy dinner:
Piggy prevailed! The white head now gets to enjoy a brussel sprout instead. With fly topping.

Next up: Froggies and rubber duckies go hot-tubbing...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Art expressions...

In a building where about 13 artists work and live, you can imagine that the public spaces get "decorated" very creatively.

Most noticeable is that the hallway is painted very bright colors, usually chosen by the person inhabiting their particular section. There are stripes, solids, collages, ornaments hanging from the ceiling, and of course no shortage of trinkets and pictures on top of the lockers. Stringed lights are popular too -- not just for the holidays, but year-round.

One of my favorite new pieces of "art" is the former "shrine" by the front door, now turned into a miniature theater stage. Every day a new scene appears and transforms ever so subtly. I should have started taking pictures from day 1, but I couldn't anticipate how quickly things would get updated -- so we all missed a hilarious series of various little plastic and rubber animals having a campfire with matches and sleeping in little rolled-up felt sleeping bags. Now we've moved on to Act 2: Dinner.

At first the pig was just worshiping the bust, but today silverware and napkins have changed the plot.

Stay tuned for how the pig escapes its fate...

But on the other end of the spectrum, I still can't figure out the origin of or reason for this piece of "art" that showed up in the laundry room:

She's been there for two weeks now. Why?? Why does Linda Evans care how many loads I did today, or whose laundry is waiting all week to be picked up?

(Btw, the yellow arrow says, "Please put in dryer." That way if I'm late transferring my laundry myself, the next person can go ahead with their load. We're a helpful community -- more than once did I put in a load to wash, and found it dried and waiting for me two hours later. Thanks, neighbors!)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year from the Principal's Office!

What a year it's been for us!
Aside from getting some snow time in Spokane over Thankgiving, here's what we were celebrating last night as 2010 clocked out:
  • Rusty completing his training as a cabinetmaker/woodworker through Seattle Central Community College (you can admire his finished projects here -- they sure make the rest of our IKEA furnishings look shabby!)
  • Dina starting school to become a German-English translator
  • We both became first-time aunt & uncle as Dina's brother had his first son in December -- baby Kai John Trageser. (We'll meet him in person in March, when we travel to Germany for a visit.)
  • We had lovely visits to Spokane, Eugene, Newport OR, Port Townsend, and Berkeley/San Francisco to visit with family and friends or just to relax
  • And still, home is best. We continue to feel very lucky to live in this little community of artists, in a funky little space that feels more and more like home as we continue to tinker with it.
We don't have a fireplace, but appeased Saint Nick as follows:

Other tinkering accomplishments:
  • We have a functioning toilet! It's small, but it works! (I'll spare you the photo...)
  • Rusty figured out how to fit the entire sectional sofa into the narrow living room in one piece:

(Hi, mom!)
  • More light for the dining area:

Note the daybed under the window -- made by the new craftsman in the house. All we need is a fitting mattress to make it functional!

Happy New Year, one and all! May it be a year full of creative accomplishment!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

On the road again

There are boxes piling up in the hallway. This means one of our neighbors is about to take her art on the road.

I should have featured her much sooner: Meg Hannan, owner and artist of Fabric Jewels. She creates beautiful jewelry from rolled-up fabric. That's a simplistic description -- the process is much more involved than that. And the results are varied and stunning:

Aside from an inspiring, inspired, and very hard-working artist, Meg is also the "good spirit" of the school. That's my unofficial assessment. Her living space and studio are in the center of the main hallway, and she frequently moves between the two (each a full-sized classroom) (check out her studio here!), so she's in touch with residents from the north and south of her. (You'd laugh, since the school is not that large, but we really rarely see the people on the south end. We wave from afar, but that's mostly it.) If I don't run into Meg every other day or so, something is just missing.

Well, I'm about to miss her a bunch, as she's taking her wares on the road for art shows in Houston and San Francisco. Bye, Meg!! Bring home lots of cash and empty bins!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


At the risk of making our living room look like a skating rink... those golden pipes just beg to have strings of lights wrapped around them.

The overhead lights are much too bright and make a buzzing sound. We mostly leave them off, unless we're cleaning and need a reality check on just how much cat hair is covering the couch and rugs.

We've had the colored lights up for a while, but recently added our new light covers from Bella Luz. Bella Luz (a.k.a. Joline El Hai) had her studio in the school for years, but recently moved out. We scored some of her artwork, including these light covers, at her going-away sale.

Each one has a different image on each side -- and there are far too many to show here.

You'll have to check out her artwork on yourself!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Office organization

I recently made a big push and organized our office. You know those cubby shelves that everyone has from Ikea? Yeah, it was getting out of hand with clutter. I finally straightened it out. Even emptied out my inbox. But you know how that goes... within minutes, the inbox was full again.
But that item on top is easy. It just wants some petting, and done.