mono-printing samples and we were just going to paint, right???

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Lots of changes (good and bad) in the last couple of weeks around here. We were able to enjoy lots of time this week with my nephew, D, who is a year older than my little guy. They had a great time but my nephew is sad because his maternal gramma, Mary, passed away from liver cancer last Sunday. She was a vibrant and outgoing woman who had beaten cancer two or three times before this last recurrance and it has been rough for D to see her weaken so quickly. Prayers for Mary's extended family and especially my brother, sister-in-law and nephew would be appreciated. They shared a home with gramma Mary for the last several years as her health became a bit more chancy.

But then last night I got some great news - my brother-in-law and his sweet wife had their first baby yesterday. It is a beautiful little boy and I can't wait to go down to visit and get my hands on him. However, this addition severely disrupts my balance of nieces to nephews. I have only 4 nieces and now I have 7 nephews. Someone in the family had better step up
and start producing more girls!

Most of you probably want to
see photos of my experiments with mono-printing. Well, here they are. I mostly followed the instructions in Quilting Arts, as mentioned in an earlier post. I used Procion chartruce, bright green, brilliant blue, teal and midnight blue on both sheer organza and white cotton muslin. I wasn't really pleased with my current results but here are 2 things I intend to try next time:

- Take time to find and/or create some interesting resists. I only had string to work with because there were no leaves here last week and I was too eager to take time to cut out paper resists. I found that if string is thick enough to act as a resist, it leaves a fuzzy impression because it is not flat enough to allow good contact with the plate. Scraping some of the dye away with my fingernail left a crisp and interesting deign but my fingertips are still purple.

- Get some different sponge rollers. I ordered some from Dick Blick that I think my 3 year old will love. They have a very open texture and would be great for tempera on paper but left a
very grainy texture on the printing plate. Watering down the dye paste and adding a bit of dish soap to the recipe might help with that, but I think most of it was the roller. A recent trip to Home Depot revealed a wide array of locally available paint roller thingies - including some very smooth and small foam trim rollers. I'm going to get some of those.

I can see that this could become a valuable technique. If I had taken the time to create some interesting resists I could be working with some fun quilted, embroidered and embellished layers right now. Maybe next week.

Now I also want to try screen printing with dye paste. I've been intimidated to try screen printing because I was afraid that it would be very expensive and complicated. Technology is getting more user friendly, though so I may try that soon.

Oh, BTW, my samples are not ironed because I couldn't get to the ironing board.
Which brings me to another issue. . . . We were just going to paint, right?

Well, we discovered that we couldn't easily scrape paint off the old woodwork without having serious lead issues. As we stood around looking at the room and worrying about what to do, my son ran through the front door and slammed it shut. It made an interesting noise, like plaster falling down inside the wall. Investigation of the noise led to the discovery that, indeed, plaster was falling down behind the door casing which was actually coming off the wall all on its own. All of the woodwork came off surprisingly easily. It is now all in the barn in the process of being chemically stripped.

Further contemplation determined that it would make the most sense to replace the two outer homasote walls and the ceiling now while the woodwork is already off. Removal of the ceiling revealed that we still have knob and tubing wiring in some parts of the house. From what is exposed, we cannot determine where the knob and tubing comes from nor where it goes. It is a great mystery.

Ceiling removal also revealed that a weight bearing wall was removed from the middle of the living room at some point and never replaced or shored up with an alternative. Also, a joist was sawn through to allow installation of a heating duct from the furnace to the upstairs. Hot air has never come from this duct in all the years we have lived here. Removal of the duct revealed that this is because the duct had a
big gap between two sections, allowing the hot air to just blow around between the walls. Removal of the duct also revealed a rotting joist and planking under what is left of the original, incredibly heavy, brick chimney.

We stared at the ceiling for many long moments. We began to wish that we had just left the room alone or given the kids some cans of spray paint. We looked at each other for many long moments.

I said "It would be a lot easier to make these decisions if we were drunk." My husband laughed like Tom Hanks in The Money Pit.

Unfortunately, we don't drink. All decisions are on hold.


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