The studio build has been consuming my spaghetti brain for well over a year now, and look! I built this! With the help of a few lovely friends, my backyard art studio is finally complete.
Originally I had planned to keep posting detailed progress updates throughout building my new studio, but, oh man, life. It has its own ideas about things.
If you are hoping to build a workspace on your property, I would be happy to give you more step-by-step thoughts and instruction--just shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org or comment here. Otherwise, continue reading for process pics and good times.
PERMIT was this monstrous, scary word I had avoided in all of my previous home projects. At our home in Florida, I would research residential code and skate just underneath the requirements for permitting (or, in the case of running electrical to my backyard shed studio, seek help from genius friends and plan to claim official idiocy if the need arose). My permit-avoidance strategy worked until my current big project: designing and building a backyard artist studio from the ground up.
When we bought our lovely little brick home in Arvada, the backyard was outfitted with a rusting metal shed flanked by gnarly tree bushes and lined with diagonally-embedded bricks. Now a spoiled backyard artist, I knew this metal tetanus heap was sitting on the hallowed ground of what would one day be my new den of creative wonders. I also quickly discovered that in order to create this palace of art, I would need to get permits.
My mom tried extremely hard to instill in her children a good habit of cleanliness and knowledge of how to keep a proper home. Her weekly chore list of "clean the bathroom mirror", "shine the faucets", and "use the vacuum hose to clean the corners of each room" was certainly intended to raise up responsible adults with a flair for tidiness.
Dave and I have lived in this house for over a year, and I don't think I had ever cleaned the bathroom mirror, shined the faucets, or used the vacuum hose to clean the corners of each room a single time.
That changed last week. We are in the process of adopting two sisters, ages 12 and 14, from our local foster care system. We have been visiting with the girls for a few months now, but this past weekend they came to our home for the first time. I spent all of last week trying to channel every bit of cleaning wisdom my mom had ever given me--I wanted the house to be absolutely spotless (because obviously 12- and 14-year-olds really care about clean houses). I even washed the windows inside and out (which, Dave pointed out, I had not done since we moved in, which explains why I had to wash them twice before they were sparkly). Did you know that the little tracks on windows get super gross and full of dead bugs if you don't clean them for a year? Ick. From now on, I promise to clean more thoroughly than my habit of "vacuuming sometimes" and "intermittent sweeping."
I haven't shown off our little home since we first moved in, so I am taking the opportunity of this unprecedented cleanliness to show off what we've done with the place in the past year (other than the kitchen--it looks nearly identical). We have made some pretty big changes as we prepare for adding more members to the family.
My friend (and adorable flower child at our wedding) Riley told me that I should make a blog about my chicken coop. Riley is really smart; taking her advice is probably always a good idea. I'm taking the opportunity to cover all things backyard chicken-y.
It's been five months since I spontaneously brought three little chicks home from the feed store. Since then Starfox violently "played" with Savannah, our plucky little escape chicken, and killed him (Savannah turned out to be a rooster). They say that one of the rules of having chickens is that at least one will die a horrific death, and we had ours. It was a sad day, but I am thankful for the lesson. We have better secured the chicken area from the rest of our yard, and I am glad that, because roosters are not allowed in my city, Starfox saved me the inner turmoil over sending Savannah (Savannoh?) to chicken heaven.
Back in February, I made the irrational, irresponsible, and spontaneous decision that Dave and I needed to get chickens immediately.
We have always talked about having our own little backyard flock, but it was a distant-future sort of desire. Sketched plans for a coop adorned our refrigerator since last October. I leisurely researched chicken breeds, space requirements, and care for months. I thought that once I really had this backyard beekeeping hobby down, some egg layers would be a nice addition to our little ecosystem.
On Valentine's Day, after my creepy pillow creation went viral, I was feeling weird. February 14th was spent in a daze of interviews and emails, and everyone wanted to know all about my whimsical novelty craft. My brain doesn't deal with that kind of attention well. It felt like a big whirlwind of horror craziness that I couldn't control. So, after talking poultry dreams with fellow chicken-desirer Rox at a baby shower (which are big whirlwinds of horror craziness unto themselves), I drove to the nearest farm shop.
When I was in middle school, everyone "joked" about making out with pillows for practice. I'm assuming that I was not the only one for whom the jokes had some truth. Let's just all admit that we all practice made-out with our pillows and we looked really silly doing it. Those poor pillows.
There seems to have been little innovation in the make-out practice pillow department despite the rise in popularity of decorative "Let's Make Out" pillows and cuddle pillows so it is time that I step in and offer a new solution to the middle-schoolers or lonely hearts of the world: a pillow with a mouth. You are welcome. You are so welcome.
As you know, we just bought our first house in June. The house had a wooden shed in the backyard which we've been turning into my art studio.
Two months later and the project of transforming the wooden shed into my epic artland is done. DONE. I even made my first project in there tonight (right after I took all these pictures--the studio's cleanliness has been replaced by nylon scraps and rope bits).
So here it is! Bask in the beauty of my wondrous studio. Come visit and sit on the settee from last post. We can make crafts together and laugh and stuff. It will be great.
I wanted a comfy place for people to sit if they were visiting my studio, but the space is so small that the piece of furniture needed to be an odd size and visually lightweight. Figuring out this little conundrum was not on my radar at all--the studio still needed a lot of work, so furnishing the new space seemed far off. BUT THEN I found these gross chairs.
We passed the one-month-in-our-new-home marker!
Everyone is feeling comfortable and finding new favorite spots in the new place. StarFox is fond of staring out the window and watching bikers pass our house on the Pinellas trail, Nemo prefers to cuddle up to anything that was recently laundered, and Dave has been reading/devouring an Orson Scott Card series my mom recommended.