With A Building Passion ready to release in a week, I thought I'd write a bit about my inspiration for the novel. For those who know me personally, there are some obvious inspirations that can be dealt with at a later posting. But the one main inspiration is my husband, Ted.
Ted: the name does not in and of itself get the heart pitter-pattering does it? My husband and I have actually latched onto a theory when it comes to this name and how it is perceived. The next time you hear the name Ted in a movie or television show, take heed. I can tell you with my ESP that the guy will - 99% of the time - either be a terrible boss, an idiot, or just an all around not that likable of a character (sometimes an amalgam of all of the above). Don't know why, it just always seems to be the case. (If you are a Breaking Bad fan, I reference the episode titled IFT. That is all that needs to be said, I think.)
And now that I've told you that, let me tell you about the exception to the name rule: my wonderful husband. I tease him to death, but I'm allowed since I also love him to death. We started out acquaintances through a mutual friend, eventually started hanging out within a group of friends and about three years after that started dating. In fact, as I type this, I am realizing that we met for the first time ten years ago today - on the Fourth of July. Yes, corny: there were fireworks the day we met. ;-P
We've had a lot thrown at us - he was diagnosed with MS a few years back which really turned our lives upside down. But, through it all, we've hung in there for each other. I've learned to appreciate and be thankful for the little things. A good night's sleep cuddled up to him is one.
My husband is huge into DIY. When I was trying to think of a story line for a book, I realized the inspiration was staring me in the face. Tons of projects starting, in stasis, and being completed all over the house.
I had tried to start a blog a couple years back, but then real life got in the way as it tends to do. (Damn you, chronic illness!) Anyway, I thought I'd share one of the posts I wrote about our DIY project below. Hope it inspires you.
I'll try to write about some other sources of inspiration for A Building Passion soon. Thanks for reading.
DIY Blog Post - Sometime in 2012
Ted and I are at the point now where we are trying to save money and be reeaallly good with our finances. But, saving money is like dieting... if you do it for too long and don't allow yourself a little treat now and then, you are likely to go overboard and binge on a gallon of Edy's Ice Cream at midnight. (I use to have a specific way of eating a gallon of ice cream, by the way... you had to keep the top level as you worked your way down. The ice cream around the outer edge would always melt quicker, so once you got that out of the way, then you could take care of the middle. Oh wait, this post isn't about ice cream.) In our case, that tub of vanilla was going to be a new bedroom set soon.
In our attempt to lessen the pain of saving, we are trying to give ourselves a little bit of guilt-free pleasures - spending a little money to revive items that we already have around the house and change them up. The feeling of *almost* having a new piece of furniture without the high cost really does help with the cravings. And, you feel even more pride and connection to an inanimate object when you've spent the time and attention with it to give it a well deserved face lift.
After a night of stumbling, I came across a really great site that explained how to paint wood furniture. If you are at all interested in tackling this subject, you definitely need to read this:
This was the project: an old lingerie chest... it's been very functional and great with storage for me over the years (I keep my bed linens in it); but, it was just sooo dated.
Upon more searching online, I decided to go two-tone with the paint. The chest will end up in a hallway, so I wanted to have it pop a bit more and not be afraid of the busy feel it might have. Flat black paint was my idea for the box (which we purchased a quart of) and a cream color paint for the drawers (which we had from another project we did a few months ago). Tip: Check in your hardware store's paint section... they sometimes have great colors that people decide not to purchase on a small rack by the paint mixing area. You can get what's normally a $30 Gallon for $5. We bought a quart of Zinnser primer - suggested in the blog I read. And some black cabinet pulls. Because my handy hubby had paint brushes in his work area (aka The Basement) that he religiously cleans after each use, the supplies needed for this one were already on hand. You will also need sand paper or sand blocks, if you don't have a power sander, so that you can prep the area between coats of primer and paint applications. This really does make a difference in the overall look of the finished piece.
You'll need to clean the wood, and really get into the nooks and crannies of the piece if it's heavily detailed. Fortunately, this chest just had some "teeth" at the top that looked like they would be a bit of a hassle. Also, inspect the cabinets. Make sure they are in good shape, and repair if necessary before you actually get to any painting. We had one bottom drawer that unfortunately had not been repaired right the first time, which we missed. We didn't realize how obvious the error would look, as you'll see later on.
After cleaning, make sure you sand everything. Give the primer something to adhere to before you start to paint. We probably could have gotten away with just painting the box of the piece black after sanding; but, Ted wanted to make sure it was done correctly.
Ted primed twice and sanded in between each time. After you sand, always wipe down. Ted would use a damp paper towel after each application had dried. He also used a little dowel and skewered each of the drawer holes for the pulls, to make sure there wasn't any excess paint that might get in the way later. He even let me help clean a bit.
This is the finished box after two layers of flat black. We considered painting the entire inside as well. But, unless someone is very nosy, they wouldn't be opening our drawers and peeking inside.
These are the drawers after two coats of the cream color.
Again, he used the dowel for the holes to make sure they didn't get gunked up with paint for the pulls later. As you can see, we just painted the front. I mentioned to Ted that the bottom two drawers gave the appearance of being smaller separate drawers. I thought it would be a good idea to paint that space between the two faux fronts black. After the cream paint dried completely, he carefully taped and painted the spot black, also making sure that the little wrap around part was black as well to maintain the illusion.
He surprised me for Valentine's Day and finished putting the cabinet pulls on, and, voila:
I was so pleased with how it turned out. It was only when we looked at it head on in the hallway that we noticed how that bad repair I mentioned earlier affected the slant of the bottom drawer.
I still love how it turned out and I can live with the bottom drawer for now. Because it's in our hallway, it won't be too obvious. And, Ted said he might try to repair it down the line. We aren't going to place anything on the top of the chest, so we didn't add any protective coating to it. I like the way the flat black contrasts with the glossy cream color.
I'm pretty inspired now. I have a little hallway table that I may give the same treatment in a month or two. And, we have a little cream-colored settee with cherry legs that might be getting some black ones instead. Will have to wait and see. But, I must say, I'm pretty proud that we only had one serving of Rocky Road (Spent about $35 for the whole project and a few days of hard work.)... we won't be beating ourselves up about it later.