Saturday, 28 April 2012

Patience and Time

I haven’t been around Blogland much lately as I’m painting. No, not the Van Gogh type, but the decorating-the-house type.

It’s something I have been putting off for far too long. So long in fact that the “white” paintwork was more of a cream and in some places almost yellow. And once you start, of course, the whole house needs to be done.

So far I’ve done the stairs and most of the landing and bits of the bedrooms, oh and the bathroom. Quite a lot really.

I did make a start in the hall a few months ago, but ran out of steam. I dislike the smell of gloss. It makes my throat sore and gives me a headache. I hate all the preparation, the cleaning and sanding etc. And most of all I hate trying to get the brushes clean.

So what has caused this new burst of enthusiasm? How am I getting it done? Well, a bit at a time, but with a difference. First of all I invested in some really good brushes and a load of masking tape. Then I bought some Crown Breatheasy quick drying satin for wood and metal. I still had the preparation to do, but wow! What a difference.

The paint washes out of brushes with water. So I can do as little as an hour of painting and know it will only take me a minute to wash out the brush. It goes on like a dream and has a lovely finish. I think it looks nicer than traditional gloss.

I’ve never used masking tape before, but I’m a convert now. I’m not a messy painter, but it gives peace of mind knowing I can go right down to the carpet without splodging or picking up any stray Indy hairs on my brush!

It says it is non-yellowing. Time will tell. But even if it does yellow, it isn’t going to be such a big job as painting with gloss. And unlike gloss, if you finish halfway round a door, you can just take up next time where you’d left off. I’ve always found gloss to be very unforgiving and an all-or-nothing affair, but this stuff is different.

We’ve bought paint to do the stairs and landing walls and the living room. I’d already bought some in the Focus closing down sale for the dining room and hall. My beloved has made a start on the walls and it’s all starting to come together.

It may take us a while, but we’ll get there! In the old days we would have forged ahead and worked on it until it was finished, but we are pacing ourselves.

And it occurred to me that it’s the same with writing a book. I used to write books – steaming along with them in a great big rush, desperate to get them finished.  When I lost the ability to work as intensely as that, I more or less gave up. But why not tackle it a bit at a time?

It’s like the paint. You can take up where you left off and gradually, bit by bit you’ll cover it all.  So instead of fretting that I’m not writing with traditional gloss – so to speak – I shall try to write with satin. Well that’s the theory anyway, whether it will work in practice is another matter.

Writing news: I went to Ipswich last week and I did not go to Staples. Yes, you heard that right. I did NOT go to Staples. Beloved said, “Shall we go to Staples?” Was I tempted? Of course I was, but I said, “No! I shall not do the stationery thing today.” So we drove right past and very virtuous I felt too.

Sadly, I did somehow find myself in WH Smith’s and, oh dear, pens and notebooks, notebooks and pens…

And I’ve joined an online writing group. I have never critiqued someone else’s work before or, indeed, been critiqued. I have read things for close friends and vice versa, but never in a group situation.

Oh and finally – I’ve got the new Blogger interface thingy. No major problems with it touch wood! No, not that bit – I’ve only just painted it – aargh!


  1. I'm sure Staples missed you! Good luck with the decorating - sounds like you got it licked!!

  2. I did hear Staples profits were down! Well done on all the decorating. Glossing is always the bit I hate most.

  3. Elizabeth McKay28 April 2012 at 18:03

    I'm decorating too, Teresa - well not me exactly, a couple of friends are doing it for me. My bedroom has finally been repapered and painted after XX years! (Too embarrassed to say.) It's also the room where I write so I've had hardly any access to my computer and now I'm frantically putting together the programme for a writing workshop I'm running in a couple of weeks (lost all my original notes when my laptop crashed a couple of months ago). I made a pledge never to go into WHS unless accompanied by a responsible adult but sometime I manage to give them the slip - lead me to the notebooks, folders, pens...

  4. I admire you for tackling such a lot of painting. And it definitely makes sense to pace yourself. The new paint sounds wonderful. I need to paint some window-frames so I'll try it. I used to throw away brushes rather than wash off the paint. And washing rollers takes forever.

    Well done for joining the writing group and for resisting Staples. That is very impressive!

  5. Well done with all your painting. I want to paint my son's room soon, but keep putting it off.

    We don't have a Staples here, but we do have WHS and Paperclix and I'm a regular visitor.

    I'm a little baffled with the new Blogger, but I'm sure I'll get there in the end! I think...

  6. You passed Staples?! Wow - go you. If it had been me I would be a drooling mess by now. I love Staples - it's almost an addiction! Thanks for the tip on the Crown paint. It sounds like a good idea. Caroline x

  7. Good luck with all that painting, Teresa. Sounds like you’ve taken on quite a job there. But it’s like your analogy with writing; the feeling of achievement when you’ve completed the project makes all the effort worthwhile.
    Speaking of painting, I have a tip for keeping expensive brushes in good condition. Before storing them away, a spot of ordinary hair conditioner worked into the bristles after cleaning keeps them like new.

    I admire your willpower for resisting Staples by the way. (What is it with us writers and stationers?) But WH Smith…Now who can be expected to walk past WH Smith?

  8. Quick drying for woodwork sounds brilliant - especially when there are two very hairy rough collies around and the house only has a front door and no back door.

    I'm sure you'll enjoy being a member of the online group.

    Happy painting

  9. They did, Pat. I could see the staff with their faces pressed up against the window as I passed - I'm not sure if it was relief or disappointment :-) x

    I feel guilty now, Joanne - perhaps I should go back :-) x

    The upheaval is a pain isn't it, Elizabeth, particularly when you can't get to your computer (and how awful losing all those notes!) I love the vision of you giving your responsible adult the slip and nipping into WHS :-)x

    Thank you, Joanna. I certainly would recommend that paint - you won't have to throw your brushes away x

    Paperclix sounds interesting, Debs! I was dismayed when I first saw the new interface, but it doesn't take long to get used to does it x

    I know - I couldn't quite believe it myself, Caroline, but I already had a cunning plan to go into WHS - but not a word to the beloved who thought I was genuinely being strong ;-)x

    That is a brilliant tip, Rena, thank you! I hope you've sent it in and been paid for it somewhere. I'll remember that when it comes to putting my brushes away.
    I don't think I've ever known a writer who didn't have a thing about stationery x

    It is, Pat - and so far Indy hasn't got a single drop on him. It's been amazing. The amount I've been doing, I'd have expected him to look like a hairy dalmatian by now!
    And I love the group :-) x

  10. Well done for all that painting. It's ages since we've done any but we always use satin finish rather than gloss - don't think we've ever found the kind that washes off though (but will now)! How strong of you to resist that stationery - in one shop at least.

  11. Ah this sounds like the kind of paint I need. Thanks very much for the hint. The upstairs doors are starting to look a bit sad. |Well they are a bit sad (the doors) but a nice coat of paint will improve them ! :)

  12. Yes, well done with the decoration. I don't like decorating much myself, but we do have a lot to do this summer as we've just moved in to our house.

  13. I tend to be slap dash happy whenever I paint a room - so do this as little as possible (oh and I always forget the masking tape!).

    Hope your decorating is going along swimmingly!! Enjoy your writerly group - sounds very exciting!

    I still say boo to new blogger! LOL! take care

  14. Oh I hate the smell of gloss too, and always end up with it in my hair - even if I'm doing skirting boards! I used to love painting, and was forever changing the colours in each room, but seem to have lost the heart for it these days.

    Maybe it's because the writing has
    taken over (that's my excuse anyway!)

    I do love Rena's tip though and will store it away just in case :o)

  15. That sounds like hard work. And thanks for passing on the info about the paint - I also hate gloss.


  16. It's fantastic, Rosemary - when I dripped a bit on the dark blue carpet, it just mopped up and didn't leave a mark x

    This stuff is so easy to use, Jenny. I just hope it stays looking as nice as it does at the moment x

    Sounds like you'll have a lot to do, Biddy! x

    I'd never used masking tape before, Old Kitty and I'd already started yesterday when I realised I'd forgotten (after I splodged paint where it wasn't supposed to go) so out it came x

    How does that happen, Karen? I had it on my chin yesterday and I'm sure I didn't stick my chin anywhere near the paint. Writing is much nicer than painting :-) x

    It's not as hard as it could have been, Suz x

  17. We have also been converted to the satin wood finish, and oh boy what a difference. Well done for doing so much. We writers all have that guilt thing nagging away at us for not getting on with things. Glad you have put the demon behind you and feel more relaxed about your writing. Life if for enjoying.

  18. I admire your painting project, Teresa. I am hopeless - I just get it everywhere - and I hate doing it.

    I also hate the new blogger interface, not least because my PC refuses to co-operate. I'm back on the old one for the time being, but keep getting threatening messages saying I'll have to get used to the new one soon. Oh dear. AND it's still raining...

  19. Sometimes, when you do something else creative other than writing, you can access somewhere in your mind to write better when you begin again I think Teresa. Glad you've joined a critique group, they can be helpful, though your stories are so lovely I couldn't imagine you'd need any critics.

  20. I'm going to try that Breathe Easy paint as I have the same problems as you. When we bought the new house it looked fine but now all the furniture has been moved out we can see how desperately it needs redecorating.

  21. Thank you, Maggie - it's reassuring to know you've used it too. You're right, life is for enjoying x

    What a pain, Frances. These things are never as straight forward as they should be. Hope you can resolve it soon. And when will this rain ever stop? x

    Very true, Susan - it sort of gives your writing mind chance to take to its legs when you do something different. Thank you for your lovely comment. I think I'll find the group very useful - they are all so lovely, it's nice to be there x

    Good luck, Lynne. That paint really does seem to have everything going for it! x

  22. Staples! Oh, I will have to have a visit in September! WH Smith! I will have to go there too, and Waterstones, and sit in the library, and...and...and...there are only a few things I miss living out here, bet you can't guess what they are. LOL.

    I went to a UK market place yesterday for towels. I came home with a purple, swirly notepad, a pink one and a pack of pretty paperclips. :D

    Good luck with the painting!

  23. You're going to be busy in September, Glynis :-)
    And I think notebooks and pretty paperclips are much nicer than towels :-) x

  24. Hi Teresa. I liked the comparison to writing. Very clever ;-)

  25. Well done for getting so much done Teresa.
    I will have to look at that Crown paint- I usually can't be in the house if gloss paint is being applied.
    You have more willpower than me avoiding Staples. :-)

  26. Thank you, Carol - since I posted this I haven't done any painting - oops!
    All I know is I will never use gloss paint again! x

  27. My wife only has to mention decorating and I have to lie down in a dark room for a couple of hours.

  28. We have three painting projects in prospect (emulsion bought and reproaching us from the garage)but have yet to start. Thanks for the tip about this paint - gloss is hideous to work with, isn't it? Well done, you on getting so much done.
    Like the analogy with writing. I'm sure the key for me is accepting that I'll probably never be the hard-working writer I would like to be and accepting myself and being grateful for what I do achieve!
    Paperchase is my own personal addiction by the way - such notebooks, sigh...x
    Happy Birthday again for today!x

  29. I think you deserve royalties for your excellent review of Crown's new paints Teresa! I shall be looking at that Breath Easy paint - sounds just the job. I was in Staples this morning though it was but a fleeting visit. All those gorgeous notebooks and pens...I ignored them all and just picked up a box of copy paper.
    I like the analogy you draw between the painting and writing a book, like you, I am no longer in such a rush to complete everything - 'slow and steady wins the race' as they say! :-)

  30. Ha ha, Keith - I know someone just like that and he's not a million miles away (unless I mention decorating of course) x

    I love that, Lydia - the paint reproaching you from the garage! My daughter bought me a Paperchase notebook and it is my favourite.
    Thank you for the birthday wishes :-) x

    Maybe Crown should send me some free samples, Deborah :-) It must have been hard, going into Staples and just getting copy paper!! x