Cabin Fever Woes and Floorcloth Progress


Tumbling Blocks and Flowers; Large Floorcloth (WIP)

Feb 18, ‘14

Another snow storm, another day’s extra-mural activities cancelled.  Ho hum.  Seems to be the norm, these Cabin Fever days.

Within these walls, another day of rampaging kid activity upstairs.  Yep, 2 of the kids who rampaged upstairs last winter have returned to rampage again.  Listening to them day after day is beyond maddening.  I relate to the young mothers on FB who are despairing of every snow-storm and school cancellation and say they think they’ll need a lot of wine to get through….  I haven’t resorted to wine but I have resorted to playing my stereo full-blast in order to drown out the sound of ill-behaved, rampaging children who, by landlord decree,  aren’t supposed to be living here, but are.

With added children, there’s added laundry for the grandmother with whom the children are living.  This means that for me, there’s hours and hours of listening to the clothes dryer in the basement that squeals like a stuck pig with every rotation of the drum.

The clothes dryer has been squealing like this for months.  I left the owner a note asking her to please fix it; that was also months ago.

I appealed to the landlord that he talk to her about the clothes dryer.  That was weeks ago and the squealing continues, unabated.

I’ve been playing Angry Birds a lot to release my sense of frustration, resentment and hostility.  There’s something that satisfies from shooting a tiny little bird at a pile of stones and wood and turning that pile into debris.  The sounds of shooting and the stones crumbling is soothing, to me.

This owner of the squealing clothes dryer reminds me of Bartleby, the Scrivner,  who, when asked to do certain tasks,  commonly says, “I would prefer not to” leaving everyone around him dumbfounded and frustrated.   (Bartleby, the Scrivner by Herman Melville)


In these past days of relative inactivity and needing to spend time hunkered down by the heater I’ve spent a lot of time working on my plan for the border for the big floor cloth I’ve been commissioned to do.     I also spent a lot of time cutting out stencils and working out the designs on a flower pot and some dark file-folders before beginning the designs on the border of the floor cloth.  With a rise in temperature the past week, I’ve been able to spend more time in the studio, especially on days when there’s also full sun.    Having a plan made the job go relatively quickly.  Having this project in a stage of advancement sparks my energy; I look forward to doing one more little bit and watching the color appear. 


Blue flowers.  The gray is the underpainting that still needs the work of coloring.  I’m planning to save the leaves and stems for last.  The carnation-looking flower to the left is all underpainting.  I have many more blue flowers to do first.


Yellow flowers.    I consider these ¾’s finished.  All the yellow flowers need centers, which I plan to do in a single session sometime in the near future – after I finish with the blue flowers.  After the blue flowers comes the red and then the carnation-looking flower.  I’m aiming to finish this and deliver it to the new owner in early March. 

Wish me luck.


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4 Responses to Cabin Fever Woes and Floorcloth Progress

  1. beetleypete says:

    I love those 3-D effect blocks in your work Gretchen, a real eye-popper!
    Shame about the neighbours upstairs. When I lived in the flat in London, I had noisy neighbours above, running some sort of workshop, from a residential apartment. The noise of banging and drilling drove me crazy, and they would never answer the door, when I went to complain. The owners told me that nobody was actually living there, so I guessed that someone had a spare key, and was good at hiding!
    Regards from England, Pete.

  2. beautiful floorcloth! I love tumbling blocks!

  3. Floor cloth seems add real charm and extra dimension to room like one wall of mirror does too.

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