We are the go-to people for certain kinds of stuff: a clearinghouse of a sort.  Crap in, crap out.  Our friends know this.  They turn us on to available stuff, and sometimes get things from us.  It is a free flowing dance.

My friend and colleague had a special problem with the building code in a small city near here, and his home shares our aesthetics.  He wanted a new garage, but the code said he could only renovate as the old grandfathered garage was too close to the property line.  The only garage that could be where his stood was THAT garage.

Larry_Jean_old garage

So the plan is to save the siding and the special details below the roof that makes it Craftsman style, eliminate the bad parts of the interior structure, and reinstall the old siding and details.  There you have it; an old/new garage that passes the code. He needed windows from us, and we were thrilled to provide them.  We have an ass of old wooden windows given to us by various people because they know that windows are my current raw material.


He came bearing pizza and took two six-paned windows larger than the originals, plus two six-paned smaller windows to install in the front and back of the garage just under the apex of the roof line.  That is a slight change from the original garage, but one has to live dangerously!


He was disappointed during the destruction phase that there was more damage to the structure than he had thought.  He wasn’t able to save any of the original bones, but did save the cement pad.   Above are three walls framed out, with larger spaces created to handle the bigger six-paned windows.

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Here headers yawn out to frame the front facade and serve as a base for the roof structure.


Due to the insect damage and rot, there was only enough siding to cover the front face of the garage.  Love the way the addition of the small window makes the building look like it has more than one story.  Perfect little detail.  These windows are hinged and can be opened for ventilation.


The side view of the garage shows a nice contrast in materials with the upright separating the two areas.  The two windows on the sides of the garage are not the ones we donated; they turned out to be squarish rather than square, so they will do something else at some time in the future, I am sure.

Larry extended the roof ends with brackets to match the two other buildings on their land. Electrical work still needs to be finished, and a system for the doors created.  No small task!

Building for his home is not all that Larry can do.  He digs far deeper into the trash heap to create his sculpture.  You must see his work by clicking http://larrymerriman.wix.com/art


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Glenn’s fine custom railings, long and short.  The short one is just amazing in its three dimensional aspect.

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Seen from the image above, the porch had a vacant space filled now by “moi”;  broken tile and found objects including metal dogs and hands, in a recycled wooden window frame.  All stuff from the flea market, or otherwise headed for the landfill.  The aqua lines are broken tempered glass.


Art for the patio and porch.  You can have one too.   See the dog, just above the bottom of the window frame?


My husband figured out why the photos in my Armstrong Linoleum scrapbook are so difficult to re-photograph for here.  They are colorized.  Therefore, there is no perfect concurrency between the contour of the object and its local color.  Nicely done, they cannot be near perfect.

Every time the book is opened, new pages appear.  Now I know a little bit about them.  They are from the back of the front cover of Ladies Home Journal; the paper is very thick.  As far as dating them, here is a paragraph that is repeated often in the captions: “Your linoleum merchant will help you plan an equally smart floor, even though his (only HIS?) selection is limited these days. “.  So these were the war years, WWII, when these ideas emerged in magazines.

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The  marks on the linoleum and the red handles on the cabinets are having so much fun together!  This is an energetic composition led by the use of the color red which always gets our passions moving.  Love the Venetian blinds.  They always make me feel so comfortable.  I have an early early memory of slits of sun across a floor.

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Another kitchen/laundry room with a great pattern of glass blocks under the cabinets on either side. Look at the ironing system!  Rollers, or is that simply a water extractor?  My grandmother had one in no way this grand in her basement.  Although I love the idea of a “constructed” linoleum rug within another pattern of linoleum, it feels odd to me not to see all four edges, especially with that tri color border.  Look how it blazes!  It makes one wonder if color shots of these rooms would look at all like this.  The colorizing makes the environment all feel so surreal.  Out the back door window feels like a landscape from Oz.  During the war, maybe this kind of escapism was necessary.

I own this red chair.  Below is the difference in reproduction.  Other details are not true in the above rendering.  Look at the seat of the blue and yellow chairs and their depth.  Now the red.  It has been played with for some reason.  My chair is like the blue and yellow ones.

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So now I have a better approximation of the date of the pair of red chairs here.  Wartime.  Paid five dollars for the two of them years ago.  Don’t ever stand on a chair like this to reach something; you have been warned.  This one has been photographed in front of a hand painted wall in my studio.

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Another kitchen with huge doors to store tools, utensils, as the first kitchen.  A similar pattern to the previous two, but with at least one more shape added within the repeat, makes it much busier.  This room seemed pretty ordinary to me until the detail shot with the doors closed was inserted.  See on the right side of the open door?  A farmer’s field has been furrowed and new plantings are starting to create line.  A sky represented by the edges of clouds is included at the top.

OK, so the above image with the doors closed is really hard to see.  But as ART, it is so important for the time period.  First we see the agricultural environment, and then we see, with the doors closed, a neighborhood forming!


Boomer heaven! Happy, happy, joy, joy the war is over and we are all going to be so blessed in our little spaces where as far as one can see, there are little happy houses just like ours!  Who wouldn’t feel that way after cruising through bombed out Europe for several years?  And who wouldn’t like to have a fabulous reminder like this in their kitchen?  It is the physical embodiment of what the government promised to all the GIs.


Having lost focus on my big walk-in shower as life rolled a bowling ball towards my perfectly established pins, I have to trick  myself to get working.  If the weather is fine outside, the job is more like bribery than tricking.  True, in this life with little artificial temperature modification it is most important to do any job at the time that the weather is most suitable.


Above is the message one has to fight.  Usually, not too hard, if the project interested you in the first place.  I had a friend who used to talk about getting through the “hateful part” of creating—that first twenty minutes (for her) of work where she was disgusted with what she was doing, until the rhythm snapped around and she figured out where in the paragraph of imagery that she had left off.

So Lady #1 is almost finished on the left wall of the shower which is about eight feet by four feet.  Her hair is made of marbles, and hopefully the rows in which they were planted will show up better with grout.  Except for the head, she is outlined with a slightly darker value of tile.  Those two white lines to the left of the head in the blue are the ends of an antler, placed at the shower to hold robes.  Even though we have no shower door, they will not get wet.


The second figure, holding hands with the first is starting to materialize.  Color is slowly shifting as well.  She is pinker but duller than the first.


For me, and this is true in my embroidery work and tile work, color is most beautiful when it is gradated from one value to another.  Or one color to another, in a systematic way.

Of course, the tile in this shower is waste.  That is the biggest “given” that dominates the project. Yesterday I found some small dark tiles that my sister used to cover her brick fireplace.  Cut off from the grid that one uses to apply them in the normal way, they are making great outlines for figures two and three.


This figure has one arm that looks like Popeye from the old cartoon.  One has to look at how the shape of the arm cuts into the ground space behind it to appreciate its strange dimensions.


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The position of this tree made no sense in my yard until we placed our house, which we moved from three miles down the road, in its current location.  Before the big house came here, I ran into the this tree more than once when backing up the car. Even now,  no one likes this tree but me; it is kind of like a Bradford Pear, but it has a more natural shape and huge thorns that the Bradfords do not have.

Listening to a garden show on the radio, it was mentioned that when placing the first structure of bushes or trees around a new house, one should pay attention to the corners of the house, and place trees where they will draw the eye out from those corners.  That was a consideration when figuring out where to place my “mobile” house.

Placed here, the Bradford-like tree now makes sense. There is another large oak in this picture, and it was the more important consideration when placing the house.  I have always wanted to live under a big tree, coming from a suburb of St. Louis where all the trees were razed when the subdivision was planned.  To start over then,  the homeowners all got two baby trees for free with the purchase of the house.  They were to go in the boulevard.  I would never live like that again, but of course it was boomer heaven.

I don’t know who planted the large oak on our acreage.  There was a tree down the road that was just as big, but it did not survive our ice storm in 01.  At that time, it was at least 75 years old, verified as someone knew a woman who remembered the tree from her youth.  This one has to be at least the same age.  Suffice it to say that no one who planted it could enjoy the tree at maturity.  One would have had to move a house under a tree like this to get to enjoy it.  And that is just what I did.