27 September 2007

A Frame Up

Here's something I just did that's sort of house related. It will go IN my house on my wall so I guess it counts.

Here is the picture frame that my family has had since the 1960's. Someone had painted it with gold paint and it surrounded a paint by number that my Dad did. It fell to me, and not being exactly my taste (the picture) they were separated.

I recently acquired a wonderful photograph and decided this was the perfect frame for it. I started stripping the frame.

It was a very sunny day and you can't really see it, but there is an inner band of plaster interlocking circles, a band of white oak, another band of plaster with leaves, and a band of red oak. It's a beautiful frame.

It's also missing some large chunks of the plaster leaves. The worst spot is in the first picture. After I got the paint off the oak I started restoring the plaster. First I tried modeling the missing pieces with clay, but that didn't work, so back to the internet. I found this mold-making stuff and sent for it.

This stuff is wonderful! You get equal pieces from each jar and squeeze them quickly together and press them on whatever you want to make a mold of. It doesn't stick to it and turns into a rubbery mold that can be peeled off. I put it over a good section of the leaves and pressed it well into the carving and let it dry.

That's the mold on the right. Then I pressed some Paper Clay into the void of the missing plaster and lined up the mold and pressed it into the clay. It worked great! You can see a little of the pattern in the picture above. Sorry for the bad pictures. I can take close ups with this camera but the view finder doesn't show what I'm actually snapping.

Here's the mold and the impression.

This is the clay I used. It air drys and is easy to use and not sticky.
I went around the frame and repaired some other small missing chunks and let it dry. Then I painted it with Old Gold acrylic paint and put semi-gloss on the oak.
The next part was the hardest. I needed a specially cut mat so didn't want to attempt it myself. I had to go to three places before I found a decent price and a store that was open on Friday night at 8:00. I wanted a deep red or green because of the yellow tones of the photograph and the frame, but they didn't have the color I wanted in their custom cut inventory, so I chose the same color in a really wild plush that looks like the old Victorian photo albums, which is very cool, though not what I thought would have been used to mat a photo in the 1870's. I am really pleased with the way it turned out though it cost almost $45!

Can you tell which side of the frame had the repair?

Right here!

I wish I knew who these people were. That standing woman looks so familiar. The woman I bought it from (for $2!) is from around Lansing, Michigan and collects Victorian photographs. I will try to get a better picture later.
Isn't that a great picture? I have never seen such a large one of a group before from that era.

Hey! I'm Back!

After a long dry spell--in more ways than one--I am finally gainfully employed again and starting to feel like working on things around the house. I didn't want to start anything that might escalate into having to spend money this summer so I didn't do anything.

After the initial excitement of March, the summer was pretty uneventful around the neighborhood. A tree the city planted in our early Spring warm spell slowly died over the long, hot, dry summer, even with me giving it gallons of water, and is standing there on the terrace mocking me in all it's bare, brown glory. At least no one will be able to tell it's dead during the winter. When I called the city to replace it they said they only plant trees in the Spring. I told the woman that that's contrary to all I have read about how trees thrive and grow and that Fall would be a perfect time to replace it. No dice. It was a Pyrus calleryana Cleveland Select. An ornamental pear tree. It would have been beautiful in the Spring. Oh well, hopefully they will replace like for like.

Being on the Historic Preservation Commission has been interesting and also stressful at times. There is a lot going on in this town--some good, and some bad, and I enjoy having a say in what happens.

I didn't mention it before, but I quit my job last October because my boss was a crook and a liar and I got tired of being all stressed out. That was before I started this blog. This teflon snake started out by being charming and getting me all involved in the new business he was starting up and then when money started coming in he started "appropriating" more and more of it until we weren't paying the IRS, the subcontractors, employee's commissions, you name it. Who were getting paid were plastic surgeons, Harley dealerships, health clubs, girlfriends, restauranteurs, etc. Lawsuits developed. After I quit, the sales manager, and some project managers and site managers quit and formed their own company. The former company folded in March and this guy has run away to California, towing his Jaguar and Harley behind. Last week I was contacted by a Sheriff's Department detective to write down everything I know about this guy and how he spent his company's money for the County Prosecutor. They want him. If they find him they will drag him back here to face his creditors. They may want to speak to me again. Since he also owes ME money, I will be more than happy to help!

Two of my cats died last month, Tigger and Tidbit, bringing me down to only eight in my little family. As I volunteer at a cat shelter I have an excellent opportunity to interview prospective candidates for additional family members. I brought a cute little guy home last night who doesn't have a name yet. (He does now--it's Ranger!)
He's about five months old and came from a Louisiana kitten rescue. He wouldn't stay still long enough for me to get a decent shot just now.

Oh, and this weekend I had another feculent deceased mammal stinking up my yard! A very large bloated possum just inside my front fence on its back in the garden. I really don't think it died there, but was dropped there by someone. Probably the same possum that has been visiting my cat food on the back porch all year. Anyway, since I discovered it on Sunday afternoon I started digging a hole for it. I am running out of places for graves and the ground was too hard and full of roots so I just put it on a shovel and deposited it back in the street. I had to wait until Monday to call the city to come get it. I had called last week for a skunk in the street and they got it the same day. They didn't pick up the possum. My windows were open and I had to smell that thing Monday night, too. I thought it was gone in the morning, but it had just deflated and sunk below the level of the curb so I couldn't see it. I emailed the city and complained and it was finally picked up Wednesday. I don't know what their problem was, but I had to give the woman who answered the phone on Monday my address three times and she was asking again when I told her I had to hang up because I was at work and people were starting to look at me.

OK, now I'm caught up. Not really house related, but the next post will be, sort of.