Sunday, September 20, 2020

Pandemic Diaries Week #26 & #27

10 September 2020


I've been going down to the beach for afternoon and sunset walks, hoping to find a day where the birds and the sea foam reflect the changing colors of the sky and the sunset.  

I finally found one day that came close to that early evening a few weeks ago, when the colors were perfect.  Close, but not quite the same.

And of course, birds fly by and aren't always cooperative about being

photographed.  They always have places to go and things to do.  They don't really care about artists trying to capture reflected colors on their white feathers.

Ah well, I did manage to find two delightful older women sitting in the tidal zone, where the waves wash up and ebb back into the ocean, leaving the sand wet and reflecting their colorful beach chairs like a slightly grainy mirror.  The two women stayed in the same location as the tide came in, low waves washing their feet and leaving that watery sheen underneath.  I walked a couple of miles, and these two were happily chatting away as the sun began to set and the colors changed around them.  Thank you, ladies, you made a lovely photographic composition!

14 September 2020

I've been staying busy with various art projects, including a few more crocheted mesh bags.  I changed yarns so I'm now working in a recycled cotton yarn.  I thought there was a nice symmetry or continuity to using recycled yarn to create reusable shopping bags - saving the planet one bag at a time.

The recycled yarn is a bit thicker that the yarn I used on the first two bags, so I had to revise the pattern a bit.  For music people, this is kind of like re-writing musical scores into a different key, or maybe for another instrument or voice.  Taking music for a soprano and changing it for a baritone.  For knitters and crocheters, I had to use a larger crochet hook, scale down the number of stitches per inch, and thus revise the number of stitches at the corners.  This took a lot of visualization of the pattern as well as a lot of math, but it was good brain exercise.  And given our more monotonous lifestyle these days, any way to exercise our brains and stretch our thinking is good!


I also finally figured out that the handles run across each side of the bag, as in across the front or across the back, and not from front to back as I had thought originally.  Whew, no wonder the instructions in the pattern didn't make sense to me!

19 September 2020

It turned cold this weekend.  I mean COLD!  Nights are in the upper 40s F (about 6 or 7 C!) and daytime highs might hit 64 F or so (15 C?).  I think the baseboard heaters aren't working, or maybe there's a master switch that turns them on first, but we are so cold!  Plus the AC units in the bedrooms windows don't fit well, so the wind comes through the gaps.

The wind picked up as well, either from the storms hitting the southern US states, or the weather changes caused by the fires in the Pacific coast states.  Or just climate change in general.

At any rate, I did start the park sign two weekends ago, and will eventually do a blog about the entire process.  But I thought I should add a few photos, since this took up much of my time off and on since late April or early May.

The first step was picking up the sign, which is made of high density urethane, or HDU in sign maker parlance.  Then a trip to the paint store, where I bought primer and my paints.  I set up the porch as my studio, and on Saturday gave the sign a few coats of primer - and of course this included working on one side and the edges, paint-and-dry and paint-and-dry.  Then flipping it to the other side, and a few more times of paint-and-dry.  I have a little corner in the living room where I'm keeping my materials and supplies, to the sign can dry there overnight.

On Sunday, I did the background color.  And while the letters are outlined with a channel for contrast color, I had to paint the whole thing green to get paint on those negative areas that are inside letters - you know, inside the O, or D, or whatever.  More multiple layers on both sides, and cleaning out any extra paint in that channel.

I leaned the finished and dry sign against the house and brought in the paint, brushes, newspaper, and the cardboard boxes I'm using to prop up the sign so it's higher than the table and not resting on the newspaper.

And when I went to bring the sign inside, a piece peeled off the bottom because the paint was still too sticky.  Uh oh!!!  The paint AND the primer peeled off that one section!  NOT GOOD!


Nothing to do but bring it inside, surround the sign with newspaper, and let it dry some more.  I did a little research, and it turns out that exterior latex paint needs 30 days to cure, or fully dry.  Just one more setback.


So, I contacted my friends at the Department of Parks & Recreation, as well as Public Works.  Parks & Rec got the final approval and they're in charge of signs in the parks, but Public Works will install the sign.  They seem to be excited, and are coming up with new posts to hold the sign.  And they're fine with hanging the sign in mid-October, when at least the background paint will be fully cured.


That's the excitement here in New Jersey.  Projects, sunsets, signs, and just trying to keep busy and not worry.


And be happy!

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