If someone called you in the middle of a holiday weekend, and said “I’m out on a chicken farm with my girlfriend, you should come out here too”, would you go?
Apparently, some people would. I’m not sure I myself am one of them – and it was my party and we were having a pretty good time, but that just seems like a kind of strange phone call to me!

I’m sorry, I’ve been falling completely behind on this blog thing. I’ve been spinning. Because you asked, here is a picture of the now-completely-finished-and-functioning wheel:

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I made it be pretty.

And here is a picture of what is going to be a so-called traditional aran sweater for my brother, when there is enough of it.

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So-called, because some company in Ireland is selling these sweaters, with all sorts of “information” about how each sweater pattern belongs to a particular family, and what the stitches represent. I find it very funny, but I’m knitting one anyway, because our “family sweater” is kind of pretty, and what the heck, people get all silly when presented with a ‘clan tartan’. Same difference. (This sweater is the actual and whole reason I made the wheel. I want to knit this sweater for xmas, and with a drop spindle – it simply was not going to happen!)

When I wasn’t spinning last week, I was painting. In the course of the Giant Re-Plumbing Project, Raven will be moving the water heater to a different spot. We thought maybe we’d try having pipes on inside and/or insulated walls, rather than what we’ve had since moving in, which is pipes resting up against uninsulated stone. For a novelty.

Since it isn’t often that one has a chance to do a really good job painting behind a water heater, I took the opportunity to paint the wall before we move the thing, and to do it in such a way that I won’t have to do it again for some time. So I decided to do fake wooden boards, on the theory that if when I change the color of the room later, it still won’t matter that there are fake boards behind the heater. I’ve got the same thing over the counter in the kitchen (adjoining room) so it will sort of blend in. I hope.

If you want to paint fake old boards on something, you will need:
your base paint (latex not-gloss)
your board paint (ditto)
a paintbrush of whatever size you find convenient
a teeny tiny paintbrush for fine lines
some very light acrylic paint for highlights (I use dollar-store craft paint, it’s fine)
some very dark acrylic for shadows
a woodgrain tool (something flat with notches in it, pictures below)

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Isn’t that a scary green? It’s ok, there is no place where it will exist unaltered. Anyway, the scary green is the background – you can use whatever you like, to go with your room, just be aware that a) it will show between the ‘boards’ and b) there is going to be some high-school art level colour blending going on here, so it will affect the surface shade.

Paint your boards on. This does not have to be neat and tidy, I definitely do not mask it or draw straight lines or anything. I mean seriously, have you looked at old boards? This is the part where that colour blending happens. Due to the fact that I’m taking pictures in a small room with no windows and fluorescent lights, it was durned near impossible to get a decent image of the boards colour, but they look like a very dark rich brown. What I actually used was purple (because I had that) but if you’ve done kool-aid dying you probably already know that if you mix purple kool-aid and some green, you get a brown. These paint colours are eerily similar to kool-aid colors, and the results are also the same.

The purple that I used is in fact one of those glaze paints that stay wet for a bit longer. If I were Debbie Travis, I would tell you that you really really need to use that. But I’m not. All you have to do is make sure you do this next bit before the paint dries, which means you’ll probably be painting two or three lines, then doing the next bit, then back to painting lines.

The Next Bit:

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Take your wood grain tool or Other Object with Notches Cut In. (The first time I did this, on the chicken coop, I used a piece of rubber that I found lying in the road and cut some notches in the end with kitchen scissors. Later, I found that thing in the picture above. I don’t know what it is, but it works. What you want to do is drag it through the paint, VERY GENTLY, so that it scrapes off some of the wet paint. Vary the angle at which you hold it, and the ‘grain lines’ will get closer together or further apart. Swoop it in a narrow arc, down then up or up then down, and you’ll get a knothole or a place where a branch was.

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Next, take your light colored acrylic and paint lines on the tops of the boards and down one side. These are supposed to be highlights, so be logical and put them either facing the actual light source, or most common light direction (if outside.) This part is very very very boring. Sorry.

Now guess what you’re going to do with the dark colored acrylic? Yup. Shadows on the opposite side to where you put highlights. This is also very very boring, but it has the advantage that when you begin to feel you’re going mad, you can mix it up a bit by painting dark spots in some of those knotholes. I usually paint little nailheads at the tops and bottoms of the boards too, and then when everyone is impressed I laugh and think, “you have no idea how bored I was! Ha-ha!”

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…and that’s pretty much it. If you wanted to, you could do a wash over top in green or gray, to make them look kind of mildewy. My laundry room tends in that direction all on it’s own, so I didn’t feel like encouraging it, although I did do so in the kitchen. Just mix a bit of (not glossy) paint with water – half-half or so (have you gathered I am not precise?) and paint completely over everything you just did, then take a rag and pat the whole surface, removing most of the paint wash, and wondering why you bothered. But there will be a light tint on the surface that ‘ages’ it, I promise.

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Now as soon as I get around to painting the wall around this corner, I will look slightly less crazy. I hope.

(The chicken coop door on which I used that chunk of rubber stuff and regular paint instead of glaze):

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