Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Opening for business on Monday August 3 -- finally!

The day has finally come when I can announce my opening date -- yeah! I will officially open for business on Monday, August 3. FINALLY!!!

I had an open house Saturday night, during our county fair, but it was so HOT in there that no one stayed long. The power had only been turned on the day before and we had not been able to get the combination heat/ac unit installed. It is in now and appears to work, although to be honest it has not been hot enough to really test it yet this week. I tested the heat this morning, as it was actually CHILLY in there!

The display side of things is set up using dressers borrowed from home since the totally awesome display unit my neighbor is building for me is not ready yet. It will have two towers with 16 total shelves, plus a wide area in the middle for displaying lots of art. The towers will have cabinet doors below them and the center section will have drawers. Storage! Yes! Display area! Yes!

The walls are textured and painted, but the decor is not quite what I had planned, as my budget and time constraints, along with prior damage to the caboose did not allow me to go with the original plan of sumptuous dining car design, which would have included refinishing the hardwood oak floors.
A fire under the diesel stove had burned through the floor, up the wall and into the ceiling, plus water pouring through two leaky upper windows had warped a huge chunk of floor and what was left was damaged by the 24-volt battery that leaked all its acid out onto the floor and ate it through. So, I pieced in what I could with plywood and covered it with a nice burbur carpet that is predominantly cream and tan with flecks of blue, hunter green and burgundy. It should mask the dirt well, yet is light enough to keep the room bright.

Since track lighting for that tiny 8x13 room was going to run $800, I decided to chuck the whole dining car theme and go for the ultra bright, commercial gallery look, with bright white walls, flourescent shop lights and exposed wiring -- painted white, of course. It makes the space appear very large and bright -- but cold. The addition of some plants and some touches of hunter green help to soften that appearance, as do the warm tones of the dressers I am using for display. The coming display cabinet will feature posts with hand-carved oak leaves -- made by my neighbor for a customer who decided against them after they were made -- his loss, my gain! Since I love the outdoors, they are right up my alley. So, green accents with an outdoor flair it is, in that totally white space.

On the working side, my jeweler's bench is put together, but it didn't fit behind the door as planned, and due to the setup of the wiring, only fits where the wood stove was to go. So, no woodstove. I sure hope that window unit heats well! I have commandeered a plastic folding table to use as my metalsmithing bench until the real workbench arrives (also being built by my neighbor, but strictly utilitarian).

Last night I used my Foredom drill for the first time ---OOOH! I had forgotten how much I LOVE those things! Tonight I was able to polish my wedding band myself for the first time since I got married. It looks brand new! I started a few new PMC projects that I will probably fire on Thursday, since tomorrow I am off to judge the 4-H photo show at the Lincoln County Fair, followed by a trip to the Robert Henri Museum in Cozad to take down my first one-man show.

This all follows a perfectly HORRENDOUS day which began this morning when I realized that my Passport storage device, which houses ALL of my data - including business data and all of my photos and artwork, had crashed, taking all of that info with it. I store NOTHING on my computer which has been threatening to crash for the last six years. Then this evening we found out that last's two-inch rainfall had flooded our storage unit from above AND below -- everything in it is ruined! Since we moved from a 5BR 3Bath house with a 30x40 shop and four other outbuildings and into a tiny 2BR trailer, nearly 95% of our belongings were stored in that storage unit! The worst thing is the tools and furniture I got from my grandparents' estate as well as all our hunting clothing, my extra art supplies, my Ansel Adams prints that I had no room for in this tiny house, etc... are all totally ruined! I'm so numb I haven't even been able to cry -- two totally catstrophic losses in one day is just too much to take in!

Better go, gotta get up early to drop the kids off and make the 75-mile drive to judge the show before 9:30 a.m. After the judging comes another 60-mile drive to pick up my art show, followed by a 120-mile drive home.

First, I will post some caboose photos -- the ONLY file I had on my hard drive!

Oh yes, I DID design a new ring today in addition to the PMC pieces. It is a wire-wrapped double onyx bead offset ring that I am really quite proud of -- even if the first one DID turn out to be a size 12! Anyone wear a size 12 ring?

Happy creating!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Texture, paint and insulation plus working plumbing and electricians on board

Following a vacation to see my family -- whom I rarely see as we are scattered from Minnesota to Texas, I came back to complete work on the caboose so I can get my business open.

I have another electrician lined up (this is number 6 -- the one who wouldn't break down his quote for me, but I'm desperate at this point). Hopefully, this one will actually show up instead of letting me wait several weeks before deciding he is too busy to take on such a small job.

I went in search of track lighting and deck lights yesterday, only to come home with no lights and no ceiling fan. The track lights were of highly dubious quality and the ceiling fans only came with those tiny candle flame shaped lights -- which put out NO light at all. I couldn't see spending the money for lights that wouldn't last more than a week, or for a ceiling fan with lights I couldn't see to read by. I'll check out an actual electrical supply outlet later this week, and hopefully I will have better luck.

I did pick up some bright white paint (in a slightly warm version of white) and some drywall mud, which my hubby and I proceeded to mix together and splatter on the walls with a texture gun today. I added some citrus scent additive to help combat the lingering odor of that nasty bathroom, and it smells nice and fresh in the east end of the caboose now.

The paint is blindingly white, but a darn sight better than the previous 1950s institutional green. Tomorrow I plan to texture/paint the west end, and put the floor boards back down.

The floor remains an unknown. If the floor boards go back in well, I will continue with the plan to sand and varnish them. If not, I will patch the holes with plywood and paint the floor with that lovely gray they make floor paint in. Then I will add throw rugs for color and dimension.

Tuesday the gas station is hosting a huge lottery event, so I will paint my sign for the business tomorrow as well. I want everyone who stops in to the station Tuesday to know there will be a jewelry design/repair business nearby soon. I HAD planned to be open by that day, but we all know how the best laid plans of mice and men work out. Bummer!

I DO now have a working bathroom -- with a flushing toilet and running water in the sink (cold only). Hallelujah! My daughter is much happier with that setup, and my son, who is potty training, even used the "new" big boy toilet. :)

I have been "playing" with my new kiln and PMC too. I have made two pendant/earring sets and one set of hoop earrings. Fun! Now I am off to investigate belt buckle designs.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Boxes, Boxes and More Boxes -- missing plumbers and electricians -- and my first one-man show

My inventory has arrived, but the plumber and electrician didn't -- so I now have all the inventory and equipment for my shop, but it is housed at my tiny trailer, because the caboose isn't even close to ready! Frustrating!

The water and sewer lines are in, the septic tank is buried and the plumber was supposed to come Friday and hook up the sink and toilet. He didn't show and didn't come over the weekend or on Monday or Tuesday. He is also supposed to help me with the missing planks in the floor. So, still a gaping hole in the floor and no bathroom. Grrrr!

The electrician was supposed to come Monday. He never showed. He didn't show yesterday either. Grrrr!

What DID show up, was the inventory -- so our tiny 2br trailer is now packed full of boxes. We can barely eat in the kitchen or sit in the living room. Exciting, but frustrating -- I want so badly to begin creating, but I have nowhere to set all this wonderful stuff up so that I can! GRRRR!

On the other hand, I got the green paint around the window covered up, and I started painting the railings on the ends red -- it adds a nice pop of color against the yellow. I'm also going to paint the door frames red. I noticed that coming from the east, you can barely see the caboose, so I have to do EVERYTHING I can to make it catch the eye from that direction.
I DID have some fun yesterday, as I got to hang my first one-man show! Yeah!
I was invited (my first invite as a solo artist) to show at the Robert Henri Museum in Cozad, NE, so I have jewelry displayed in one room and art and photography in another. Fun!

Better go, TONS of stuff to get done today!