Renovation Check In

Renovation Plans | Tracey Cameron CreativeIt’s been three months since my last blog post and we moved into our new house. I’ve been wanting to write a post for two months but have honestly not known where to start. The project is so large it’s hard to sum up in a few paragraphs, but I’ll try and be succinct.

I mentioned in the Our First House post that we had specific requirements for our first house. Our idea was to purchase a house where the basement could be converted into Income Suite. My parents introduced me to the idea with their handful of income properties when I was a teenager. Scott McGillivray further sold me on the idea with his dreamy hair and “cheques to the bank” battle cry.

But what fully convinced me to go down the investment property route, was the book Wealth Magnet, by Dr Dolf De Roos. In it he explains his buy and hold philosophy and turning your biggest debt into a positive that brings in monthly income as it appreciates. As great as being a creative entrepreneur is, I think it’s smart to diversify my streams of income and have something stable to count on when my art isn’t selling.

So far we have demoed the basement; replaced and resized a window; added a walk in shower to the bathroom upstairs; and started about half the reframing in the basement. Still left to complete is EVERYTHING! Jobs have been started but nothing is fully fully complete yet and it’s starting to get a little overwhelming to say the least.

Basement Demo | Tracey Cameron Creative

We need to; demolish the basement bathroom; dig and trench the basement floor for the new bathroom location; finish framing the basement bathroom; insulate the ceiling with safe & sound; hang, mud, and tape drywall; insulate the cement floor; install vinyl plank flooring; install cabinets; … oh my this list is getting long and it’s not even complete.

Our timeline is to have the basement finished and rented for June 1. Three more months? Can it be done? I have to keep reminding myself that little steps add up overtime so I don’t let the to do list feel insurmountable.

Renovation Progress Upstairs Bath Sneak Peak | Tracey Cameron Creative

One positive is the upstairs bath is almost complete. Just some waiting on faucets to arrive and to choose a paint colour. I will feel much better when the bathroom is done! It was a big difficult project to start with so it will feel like a major accomplishment to have it completed. Look out for my next post (it won’t be in three months I promise!) and I’ll sum up the upstairs bath project.

Our First House

Artist tries her hand at Real Estate Developing | Tracey Cameron Creative
Two weeks ago, my boyfriend and I did something I’ve been dreaming about for a long time… We bought our first house!!!

You may or may not know but I am a huge home fan. A little bit of a home body, but more of a interior decorating fanatic. I love to watch people smash down dark dated walls and build a beautiful bright airy space in its place. I’ve had my hand in a few interior projects, mainly my family’s Inn, The Prairie Creek Inn, but this is the first space that I can call my own. And I have to say I’ve been dreaming about our first house for a while.

The actual purchase and transfer of our first house was a bit stressful for us. We have specific plans, that I will expand on in a later post, which required a bit of a different layout, so finding the right house proved to be a challenge. After two months, 60 viewings, a very patient realtor, and two failed offers, we finally found our home.

I feel like this home was waiting for us.

The seller, put off listing for months, and when he finally did list, I saw it online and knew we had to see it in person right away. It was in the neighbourhood we like, had great curb appeal and a willow tree (a wish list item of mine!). We weren’t the only ones that were excited about this house. They had so much interest in the first few hours that we had to share our viewing spot with four other couples, according to our Realtor, that is usually not done in the home selling game.

After a rushed 20mins of walking through the house, and less decision time than it normally takes me to buy a sweater, we decided it was the one and put in an offer that evening. To my disappointment so did three others! It took 30 hours and a bit of back and forth, but late the next evening we heard the good news, the seller picked us!

It took 40 days to close escrow. I’m glad it wasn’t three months because I might have gone nuts with anticipation! But during those 40 days I was distracted by the piles and piles of paperwork required. I’ve discovered that working with a bank to get a mortgage is a little like standing naked in a cold room as people point out all your flaws. I felt like such a dirt bag. Being a self employed creative has not had me rolling in the green, YET, and they made me feel like such a loser for it. My issues I know, a future blog post I’m thinking, but thankfully my boyfriend has a steady job and his strengths balanced out my weakness and vice versa.

Moving day finally did come.

I was so excited I had most of our house packed up the week prior, but I can’t say the same for the seller. I don’t know the particulars but it really didn’t seem like he was as excited to move as we were and that was clearly evident when we did our final walk through. 12 hours until he was suppose to hand over the keys to us for good and he didn’t have one packed box in the house. All we saw were his possessions in piles on the floor everywhere! We took it in stride and hopped he was a night owl who would put on his superman cape and miraculously get his house all packed up.

Turns out no cape

He is a mere underprepared mortal who was still packing and moving his stuff out when we arrived with our full moving van the next day. We actually had to help him. An hour after we had legal possession, we were packing and moving boxes for this guy. Three hours after having legal possession he finally had moved all his stuff to the lawn where he proceeded to shove it in a rented van. Turns out though he forgot a few things, like the contents of the entire garage, eight bags of garbage in the backyard, bottles in the fridge and to clean the kitchen or bathrooms!

Needless to say it wasn’t the best first house buying moving day and it actually made our Realtor very mad. With his encouragement we contacted the lawyers and the seller agreed to give us some financial compensation for the state of the home. It didn’t bring back a nice happy moving day into our first home, but it did cushion the blow a little, and a least we have quite the story to tell!

So we have been in our first house for just over two weeks now.

The demolition has already started and our plans for the next step are solidifying. In the next post I”ll show where we started and explain where we hope to end up. I know this is a side tangent from my art focused blogging but this is a big chunk of what makes me me. I hope you’ll join me as we transform this little 60’s bungalow into our first step down the real estate investing rabbit hole.

Our new homes back

My Inner Moma Bear

Inner Mama Bear Wisdom | Mother Daughter Wisdom by Christiane Northrup | Tracey Cameron Creative

I dreamt last night about becoming a mama bear … twice!

The first dream consisted of a sleepover with a bunch of girlfriends and a lost kitten. It was clear this kitten needed to be taken care of and after listening to a cell phone message, I agreed to take in the kitten. In the second dream I was traveling with my family and had a newborn baby boy that I was insistent, had to be strapped to me at all times.

Dreams like this are not normal for me, not only because I don’t usually remember any of my dreams. But also because they don’t usually connect so clearly to what is going on in my current life. No I’m not expecting! but I have been reading Christiane Northrup’s book Mother Daughter Wisdom. It’s giving me a lot of insights into my own relationship with my mother, but also the kind of mother I want to some day be.

Now I won’t say that the book isn’t a daunting read, it is 625 pages long! And most people now have a hard time staying present while reading a paragraph (you’re probably doing something else while reading this blog post, or have gotten bored already and stopped reading). But it is a worthwhile investment in knowledge of the most important relationship we have during our lifetime. I’ve learned that my love of food stems from lovingly given baby formula and my deep feeling of ‘not enoughness’ stems from my first connection in the world. But the things is, it’s not just our mothers, it’s their mothers and their mothers and so on back into the stone age. Woman pass on the linage we’ve been taught and I believe it is up to us to reinforce the healthy messages and stop the negative ones. We are not all going to learn to be super human mothers, that is just a fairy tale. But I truly hope we can try to foster a generation of children/woman that are a little closer to knowing their power and worth on a cellular level.

How to Hang Textile Art

How to Hang Textile Art | Tracey Cameron CreativeNow that we’ve gone over the basics of how to care for textile art, let’s talk about how to hang textile art. We all had that friend in college who hung up a piece of fabric on the wall with push pins, we are going to be a little more polished than that.

There are two methods I choose to use when hanging textile art. For large scale pieces (ie greater than wide 20”) I used a hanging rod that is inserted into a hanging sleeve that I have sewn near the top edge of all my pieces. The rod consists of a piece of painted MDF baseboard with two to three small holes drilled through that can be then hung on the wall. I choose to use painted MDF instead of bare wood as the wood will leach acids into the fabric, that over time will either discolour or harm the structure of the fibres. Whereas the painted MDF will not.

Hanging Rod | How to hang large scale pieces of textile art | Tracey Cameron Creative

Flock of Ostrichs | Textile Art | Tracey Cameron CreativeFor small and medium scale pieces (ie smaller than 20” wide) I prefer to hang them framed, as it gives them a bit more visual presence and weight in a room. To hang I have sewn 2-3 velcro tabs near the top edge of the textile art which can be paired with adhesive backed velcro pieces mounted on matt board which is then inserted into a frame. I choose to leave the glass off the frame as I mentioned in the How to Care for Textile Art post, fibres need to breath and enclosing them in glass can cause premature aging.

How to Frame Small Scale Textile Art | Tracey Cameron Creative

Because of it’s world wide accessibility, I choose to size my pieces to fit within RIBBA frames from Ikea. If you are having your piece custom framed you can choose to include glass but have your framer insert some small vent holes in the side so your textile art can breath.

If you like the look of textile art hanging “naked” on the wall regardless of size, the velcro tabs also double as a hanging sleeve and can be hung in the same manner as the large scale pieces.

How to Care for Textile Art

How to Care for Textile Art | Tracey Cameron Creative

Textile art can be a little tricky. Although this medium has been around for thousands of years people aren’t always familiar with textile art and what are the best ways to care for it. Whether the piece is a wall hanging, an art pillow or a soft sculpture there are some basic rules you should follow when displaying your textile art.

  • Keep it out of direct sunlight and fluorescent lighting. Like most pieces of art, sunlight is a harsh mistress. The power of those UV rays can be quite harmful to textiles. At best it will cause discolouration and fading and at worst it will dry out and speed up the decomposition process of the fibres.
  • Ensure proper air circulation. Unlike paper or canvas, textiles need to breath. Keep your fibre hangings happy by leaving the glass off when framing or include vents in the sides. For sculptures, a enclosed glass case helps keep the work safe from water, hands and dust but does need vents to encourage air flow.
  • Keep away from heat sources, like fireplaces and radiators, and display at normal room temperature, 18-23C, in an area without high humidity. Meaning find another piece of art for the bathroom!
  • Avoid contact with liquids. If someone got a little trippy at your last dinner party and If the piece must be cleaned, spot clean with water, and if necessary, a diluted mild detergent.

If you follow the basic rules of care your textile art piece will be a treasured heirloom you can pass down through generations.

Check out my follow up post on How to Hang your Textile Art to get my tips on how best to display your piece.

4 Benefits of Wall Hangings

Snow Owl Wall Hanging | Textile Art | Tracey Cameron Creative

People don’t always think of fibre wall hangings when deciding on art work. Not only can they be visually stunning works of fine art they also have some practical benefits over a standard canvas painting or print.

1. Acoustic – Fabric wall hangings and tapestries provide a soft surface to absorb extra noise rather than a hard surface for sound waves to bounce off of.

2. Insulation – Have a cool exterior wall? Hang a wall tapestry to provide a little extra warmth and insulation. Just like a sweater helps keep you warm, a wall hanging will keep your home that much cozier.

3. Variety – The key to a strong room design is variety. Not only should you have a variety of complementary colours, textures, and shapes but also a variety of artworks. Paintings and prints are a great start, but layering in a wall hanging or two will add the 3 dimensional texture your eye loves.

4. Sense of History – Historically many different cultures have displayed fibre art to beautify and warm buildings. In Medieval Europe tapestries were hung on a castle walls and to cover door openings. The Greeks and Romans used fibre art as wall coverings for civic buildings and temples like the Parthenon.

Bibliophiles Unite

Today, Aug 9th, is National Book Lovers Day. There seems to be a day for everything but this is one I can get behind. A good book and a sunny window bench has been my idea of heaven ever since I was a young girl. Books have the ability to entertain, transport you to far away lands, open your perspective and teach you how others think and feel. I don’t think I would be the same person today if I hadn’t learned to love reading.

“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.”
— Lemony Snicket

So you have mine and full national permission to blow off work and crack open a good read!

Ostrich Flock Wall Hanging

 

Flock of Ostriches | Fabric Wall Hanging | Tracey Cameron Creative

I’m starting to run out of space in my studio to create new sculptures, so I decided it was time to work flat! Although I went flat, I didn’t go small. This mammoth 60″ x 30″ wall hanging put my sewing machine and my patience through it’s paces. But I’m very pleased with the results. I had a lot of fun working flat. Got to be a little more graphic and abstract with the shapes. Next piece I will try to mix in a little paint with the fabric and have the shapes dissolve and become a little more raw.

ostirch-group-detail2

Ostriches have such personality and individuality I wanted to create an ostriches flock but allow each bird to stand on it’s own as well. I layered cream, white and yellow laces and sheer fabrics over black shapes to create their form. And kept adding layers towards the head to create dimension and texture. Their eyes and long lashes are such a dominate feature I wanted to put the focal point there. If you look closely you can see I also added some lines of stitching in yellow, grey and white to give more depth and interest and line quality.

ostirch-group-detail1

 

Dove vs Pigeon Illustrates Inner Worth

Dove vs Pigeon | Tracey Cameron Creative

I was on a Walter walk this morning. We had just started out, crossed the street and rounded the corner, when we walked into a gang of pigeons … white pigeons!

I know some of you will read that sentence and think, those must have been doves, pigeons aren’t white. But fun fact, pigeons and doves are the same animal! They are both of the humble Rock Pigeon species.

So why do we look at a grey pigeon and think pest but we look at a dove and think peace? Somewhere along the line somebody decided that white pigeons or doves were beautiful, while grey pigeons were dirty and the scum of the earth. I think this is an interesting commentary on the power we give outside forces in determining our inner worth. Nobody has the ability to judge or determine your value from the spectator seats. The pigeon doesn’t give a flip about our opinion of it. They bop along, cooing contentedly enjoying the sun and their place in the world. Your value and power are an inside job and anybodies opinion of such are irrelevant.

Take a beat from the humble pigeon, do you and care not what others think.