Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sitting On The Fence with a Broken Heart

I'm back from my self-imposed hiatus, my dears, and I have missed you all terribly.  I have oodles of blogs to read and much to catch up on.  Life, once again, reared it's ugly head and demanded time for other things besides art and blogging.

I actually have been dabbling in art the past month, just not in the form that you're used to seeing.  Some of the wood fence that surrounds our patio needed replacing, so we started researching options.  I wasn't happy with the flimsy examples exhibited at the big box home-improvement stores, and was even less happy with the gaggle of estimates gleaned from several fencing companies.  Being a Custom Kinda Gal, it was time to take matters into my own hands.

We have an affinity for the Craftsman style of architecture, signified by simple, elegant designs using natural materials.  Of course, trying to incorporate this refined style into a 50's tract ranch is sort of like putting perfume on a pig,'s our pig, and it's smelling a little sweeter with every project we do.

Lots of internet research turned up the Gamble House, an extraordinary example of the style by Arts and Crafts architects Greene and Greene.  One particular detail in the house caught my eye: the angled pieces in the upper parts of the windows that are said to simulate the rays of the rising sun.

Well, we can all use a little more sunshine in our lives, right?  With this detail in mind, I sat down to design and build a fence.  (Yes, stand back...I have power tools and I'm not afraid to use them.)

A few sketched plans and several lumber purchases later....

... a fence began to take shape.

After a couple of weekends of work, I had my sturdy, custom-built fence at a fraction of the cost of having a fence company build it, a money-saving strategy that would make my penny-pinching Scottish ancestors proud.

In between jobs and fences and holiday get-togethers, we were caring for one of our kitties who was recently diagnosed with cancer.  Yesterday, we chose to end Maxxine's battle, and she is now at peace.

Maxxine was 16 years old.  I found her and two sisters in a hollow log when they were about two weeks old.  I took the kittens home, bottle raised them, and of course couldn't part with them and kept all three. Samantha passed away several years ago, and Gracie is still fat, happy and healthy.

Maxxine definitely wasn't the smartest sister, but what she lacked in cerebral abilities she more than made up for in cuddliness.  She had a raucous meow that she used frequently, and had a purr that was so loud and deep that you felt it in your bones.  If you closed you eyes, you would swear that you had a cat-sized motorboat sitting in your lap.  With Maxx gone, the house just seems too quiet.

Queen Maxxine Jean the Jellybean
1994 - 2010
Thank you for sharing our lives these past sixteen years.


debwardart said...

Your varied talents amaze me, the fence looks great (did you let you husband help at all??). And so very sad to hear about your beloved pet. They become a part of the family and we miss them so much when they are gone.

RHCarpenter said...

You are amazing! Whenever anything mechanical involving power tools has to be done, I just take out my fan and say, "I've always depended on the kindness of strangers" and let someone who knows what they're doing fix it for me. I'm just not mechanically minded. This looks good, too :) So sorry about the passing of your lovely kitty.

Cynthia Schelzig,Cynnie said...

What a fabulous fence you looks great!!
Sorry to hear about your sweet kitty thoughts are with you.

Lisa Walsh said...

We appreciate everyone's sympathies about Maxxine. We really miss the little goofball.

Thanks oodles, Deb. There's no hubby, I'm the construction maven around here, and it's something I enjoy. I thought about becoming an architect long, long ago, but got bitten by the zookeeper bug.

LOL Rhonda, I can just picture you sitting comfortably on the veranda, fan in one hand, glass of iced tea in the other, and fluttering your lashes at a capable handyman. hee-hee

Thank you, Cynnie. Your thoughts are always appreciated.

Claire Beadon Carnell said...

Your fence is amazing! I love how you translated the design from the Arts & Craft window. Have to admit that I wanted to take shop when I was in junior high - not home economics - but it wasn't permitted. Sweetest revenge - I have my own power tools now :)
When my daughter was born I designed and made a cradle for her doll babies - and she is now using it for her daughters.

So sorry to hear about your beautiful, sweet kitty cat. There is such a hole left behind when they are gone.

Lisa Walsh said...

Thank you, Claire. I wanted to take shop too, but in that day "girls couldn't do that". So instead it was Home Ec, where I regularly burned meals and "sewed" a couple of things that were supposed to be some type of garment. Humph. I think we've showed them now. ;-) I would love to see the cradle you created for your daughter. Could you email a picture?

Murr Brewster said...

I too was wretched in Home Ec, but I have a suspicion I would have sucked equally in Shop. Which, as you noted, was not an option. Dang, we're old.

I can jag out a tear any time I think of my old cat Larry, who was a similar age. Sorry.

Lisa Walsh said...

Imagine being told "girls can't take that class" today...can you say "civil lawsuit"??

Those little fuzzballs certainly make an indelible impression on our hearts, don't they Murr. I picked up her ashes yesterday, and haven't stopped the periodic weeping since.

Terri Buchholz said...

oh my - I haven't hit the blogs for awhile and just read this tonight. I'm so terribly sorry for the loss of your little Maxxine. What a lucky girl she was to have been discovered
by you and loved in your family. Blessings to you all.
And that is one magnificent fence!