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Moving to a New House and a Song About Home

The blessings came in waves
and could be felt for days
O, how my bones still shake at your names
In sweat we set the stones
in blood we brick the roads
a holy breaking comes for every home

Give me your hand, we’ll climb up the balcony
Ditch the front row and sway with the symphony
Make as much noise and be as we want to be
Your voice in my voice and hands are the canopy
Feel the old rhythm play what’s inside of me

The fields are glories now, the fields are glories now
So guide your wild eyes down
The promise in the pain, the code that’s in the grain
We’ll move beneath the weight ‘til you raise


When I was a child, around this time of year on the orchard my dad would prune all the apples trees. I would help look for branches that were crossed, or growing in at strange angles. We would then clip off the offending branches and sometimes prop them with these little red supports to help them grow straight so that they could get the best light possible and eventually grow the best fruit.

Tim and I are moving to a new house in 10 days. We bought a “fixer upper” in the middle of town near a big park. It’s a MUCH bigger house in a nice quiet neighborhood. We weren’t really planning on moving yet, but then suddenly everything fell into line at the same time, like it does.

This whole moving thing is crazy… crazy exhausting, crazy nerve wracking, crazy exciting, and crazy scary.
Ten Years.
Ten years we have lived in this house I am sitting in right now.

I know where every light switch is and where to step over the crooked floor boards.
I know the name of every plant in the garden,
why there is a funny hole in the kitchen screen,
how to walk in the middle of the night so the squeaking floor doesn’t wake the children,
the funny trick to the bathroom door downstairs,
and the story behind most of the nail holes on the walls.

It’s where I found out I was pregnant for the first time and where I brought each of my four babies home to. It’s the place where we’ve had so many wonderful Christmases, Thanksgiving feasts, and simple, every day meals.
It’s where my children took their first steps, laughed their first laughs, and tried their first foods.

It’s also where Harriet broke her leg,
where the basement flooded too many times,
where I had my anxiety breakdown,
where Tim and I had our most difficult fights,
where we had belongings stolen off our front porch,
and had to call the cops on the neighbors so many times.

This house is old. It’s been around more than 100 years.
It really has seen its fair share of marital fights and make ups.
It’s flooded but it’s dried back out.
It’s been cold and drafty and also cozy and safe.

I hope it will be around for at least 100 more years. I hope it will be the same gift to the next residents as it has been to us. (Please take care of my planty’s!)

I am sure for this home, 10 years is just a blink. But it feels so significant to me. 

Somehow leaving this house feels much more substantial then leaving high school or leaving college. I suppose if you look at it that way, those were only four year institutions. This home has been ten of mine.
Ten years of themed birthday parties and late night hard conversations with friends sitting on the kitchen floor (the best place for those kinds of talks),
nights pacing back and forth with wakeful babies,
ten years of pinching pennies to patch the wear and tear of everyday life,
of having tea on the front porch,
hosting cooking clubs and wedding showers,
play dates,
years with miscarriages, mistakes, and misadventures.
All the rhythms of our days and what I know have been centered in this place for ten years.

You can hear it in my lists… It is breaking me to leave. It feels like a close friend.

Like family.

And I am scared.

Scared this new home won’t be me.
Scared I’ll hate it.
Scared something will happen to the kids and I’ll somehow blame this decision.
I am scared it will change me. Change us.

And yet it’s time.

Time to move on, time to adventure out, time to try something new, try our hand at starting with a blank canvas, try this new place out. It’s time to move.

Time passes so damn fast, doesn’t it?

My babies are getting bigger. It comes to the end of the day and I wonder. Wonder if I did it right, wonder if I could have played it out differently, wonder if this is it, wonder are we centering our lives on the right things? Wonder if we are making the right choice.

10 days. We are moving in 10 days.

So I’ve been obsessing over this new place. This new house.

It’s not the one I would have picked. I did not like it at first.
I love old and history and craftsmanship.
This is black shag carpet and popcorn ceilings. And florescent lights. And 80s. On a cul-de-sac.

So I have created every pinterest board, design mood board, photoshopped room, shopping budget, detailed plan I can possibly do with out actually living there.

And I am starting to see it.

See the lovely that could be revealed there.

I know I can make it beautiful.
I know WE will make it beautiful.
I think about how it’s only about a block from a huge green space,
and a pool,
and how I found rhubarb sprouting up near the fence,
and how this one room feels like the barn I grew up in,
and how the layout is perfect for us,
and how we will have room to spread out,
and be able to have people over more easily,
and host house concerts,
and how I want to give every room its own theme,
and how we are going to start off by pitching tents and camping in the great room,
and so many other new things.

It will be a challenge to start from a blank slate.
But we can’t wait. We are so excited.

And still, the packing and processing all the memories and moments sucks. It is such an emotionally wrecking experience. 

Is this pruning?

Pruning is painful but good. It helps us grow straight and true so we can bear more fruit.
The truth is that I am scared about not being able to find the light switches,
and whether I can hear the playroom from the kitchen,
and having to use a 1980’s electric stove for the next ten years,
and life on a cul-de-sac,
and even more that feeling of being exhausted and wanting to go home and not being able to.

But then I take that step back.
I am reminded of my white privilege and how we are going to be living in a mansion compared to the rest of the world, and how millions of refugees can’t ever go home again, and I feel stupid. Stupid white suburban mom. Ha.

You make it work and you make it beautiful and you invite people into the mess,
because it is NOT about it being beautiful.
And it is NOT about it being ugly.
And whether it is HERE or THERE doesn’t matter.

It is about WE. And US. And TOGETHER. And HOME. And LOVE in the best way we can.

And so, let’s adventure on family.

Studio Tour (with Before and After Photos)

As part of our January theme, Clearing, we have been massively cleaning and refreshing our home and work spaces.

We shared some of the before and afters in this post.  But because I am so happy with it, I wanted to share a little more in depth look at our studio space.

First lets look at some BEFORE photos.
And, have some grace with me on these. This is as bad as it would get (post several big art shows.) My poor studio gets the brunt of the creating chaos around here.

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Here it is in the midst of creating the Becoming series –

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Even the windows started getting crowded….

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Notice the floor before, concrete with leftover glue from old tiles

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Here is the studio in the midst of painting all the walls white. Already after moving out all the shelving and paintings it felt SO much bigger.IMG_0506

And here it is finished! Isn’t it lovely! So much better. I might just move it. Or paint a whole new series of paintings... ha ha ha…

 


Remember that bad floor before? My sweet husband helped do this sweet epoxy floor coating. Doesn’t it look like a million bucks?

Obviously the two budding artists in the family are enjoying the new space as well.

Speaking of those little girls, since I usually have some helpers when I am out painting, I made them their own little play corner.


Lots of little corners of prettiness – and the windows are SO big and bright now with the white walls.

A freshly painted and organized pegboard for tools.

I found the perfect corner to hang our calendar.

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This stain glassed window was one of Tim and my first purchases as a married couple. Now it is hanging by the door.

 

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I can tell lots of fun creating is going to happen in this space now.
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The Medals Ceremony: Thanking the Artists Involved with “Becoming”

 

There were many incredible artists who played on the new album, “Becoming”. These contributions took the record from my guitar/vocals/toys-from-the-basement sound to a lush recording that included stand-up bass, drums, more vocals, violins, guitars, trumpet, etc.

In order to thank them properly Betony and I wanted to do some sort of meaningful and creative celebration.

So we had a Medals Ceremony and Listening Party. It was so wonderful and we wanted to share pictures.

First we started with a homemade meal that had several courses. If any of you are ever invited to a dinner that my wife is making… drop everything. I know you like her paintings… well, she’s also an artist with food.

After the meal I put on the music from the Star Wars IV Throne Room Scene. It’s a triumphant fanfare and fits just how I feel about these musicians. They are heroes.

I presented them each with a vintage medal (most were from midwest music programs in the 80’s, where they did honors right).

As I gave their medals I said some silly lines about each of them. I’ll recount those here now! And, fair warning, they involve a lot of private jokes.

Mary Claxton (vocals, electric piano)
This aspiring female comic is also an amazing female drummer who masquerades as a female teacher during the day. (she also hates the adjective female)
Girl Woman: Mary Claxton

Brian Claxton (drums, marimba)
One of the best male drummers in Greeley, his playing is both tender and delicious, like slow-cooked brisket. Ladies and gentleman, Brian Claxton.

Hayden Farr (barri-saxophone)
Of all the Becoming musicians, I knew him least of all. But we had a beer together so now we’re best friends. Giants & Pilgrims rookie of the year recipient and the token saxophone player: Hayden Farr

Graham Bylsma (electric guitar)
This young man wins the “most easily mistaken for having just smoked weed” award cause he’s just so chill, is the best guitarist to ever have a bike stolen off of my front porch: Graham Bylsma

Melanie Haskins (violin)
Known for making the best lattes and having the loudest cannon-blast laugh of WELD County, the concert-iest of all Concert violinists: Melanie Haskins

Johnny Burroughs (vocals, guitar)
He’s Greeley’s most eligible bachelor eliciting desire from 12 to 85 year olds, he also wins the award of “most reminds me of Kanickie” from Grease: Johnny Burroughs

Wes Sam-Bruce (video director)
To quote 90’s classic The Addams Family: kitch… Down kitty!” Here’s the Macully Culkin of art! A boy wonder wonder boy: Wes Sam-Bruce

Craig Basarich (trumpet)
The sultan of slice, king of cheese, the colossus of crust, The pope of pizza, the padre of the pie, the great bambino! One of my best friends: Craig Bassarich

Bron Khan (bass)
He wasn’t able to come… so I didn’t write anything silly about him.

After these ridiculous intros and hand-shaking and photo-ops with their medals, we headed into the living room to hear the whole album while eating desert.

As I said, it was a magical night and I’m so thankful for these wonderful artists. I’m honored they would share their gift with Betony and I. They are one of the main reasons I’m so excited to share this album with you.

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Documenting Our Creative Process – A Photo Series

This post is part of an ongoing series we post every couple of weeks, sharing our journey as working artists. Sometimes it is good to take the veil off of the creative process and showcase how we get from A to Z. See some of the other posts here.

So many little aspiring musicians around here.

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This creative mixer/master, the elusive Dave Wilton of Saint Ida’s studio, has been working his magic on our new “Becoming” album. I am almost giddy I am so excited about it.

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Tim has been experimenting downstairs with a new creative venture. Notes, harmonies, layering….sound and smell aren’t that far apart.

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We have been enjoying lots of Chalk art, especially in anticipation of one of our favorite Greeley, CO events, the Greeley Chalk a Lot on Sept. 12th.
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While momma has been painting away on her own projects, Lucy hatched out this fluttery, neon butterfly.
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I have slowly but surely been closeted away working on this new series of ours (“Becoming” will be an album AND art series). I truly can’t wait to share it with you all.
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I love my little studio view of the Treehouse Village. This window also becomes a temporary landing page for collage pieces I haven’t yet incorporated but that are providing inspiration.  IMG_6387

 

Documenting our Creative Process – A Photo Series

—This post is part of an ongoing series we post every couple of weeks, sharing our journey as working artists. Sometimes it is good to take the veil off of the creative process and showcase how we get from A to Z. See some of the other posts here.

A week ago, Tim had the opportunity to play at our downtown’s Friday Fest. He wrote a song called “My Unexpected Home” that was showcased as part of the kick off of our city’s “Greeley Unexpected” campaignIMG_4957

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He has also been busy tracking away with all sorts of amazing musicians on the new “Becoming” album – which is already sounding FABULOUS.
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Lucy has been perfecting the art of self portraiture

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I have been working on some of the smaller pieces for our Becoming series –

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The girls and I have been drawing on a bunch of sketches for a calendar we are designing! Hopefully to be released next month.

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I finished up this logo project for my Mom’s button business.


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And finally, I cleared out my studio of all my old series art pieces and have had a “Summer Clearing” show up at the Blue Mug at Margie’s coffee shop this month.

Betony Coons from www.giantsandpilgrims.com Summer Clearing art show

Documenting the Creative Process: a Weekly Photo Series

Here are some bits and pieces from our creative process this last week:

I finished up a sweet poster design for the band the Burroughs.  They are doing a LIVE recording at the Moxi theater on May 8th & 9th. We were going for an old school Art Deco feel of a downtown greeley street. My artwork will also be used as their album cover and a T-shirt (and tank-top!).
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tshirt mock up

 

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Tim and Charla Bultman are working on the beginnings of a stellar new project, details still to be announced. But as the person who gets to hear all the songs in their infancy stage, its going to be incredible.

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Harriet (and Lucy) have been creating and coloring all kinds of chalk murals on our driveway. Thank you sunshine.

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I also finished up this Alaska painting for a wonderful couple in town. They spend half their year in Alaska near this really cool mine. Lots of fun symbolism in the various imagery – including the newspaper which is an Alaska paper from the 40’s we found in the crawl space of our house when we moved in

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Whipped up some quick series artwork for Atlas Churchs spring series “Changed”

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Figuring out how many animals I can cut out of a piece of plywood 🙂 Project still TBA….
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Documenting the Creative Process: a Weekly Photo Series

Here are some of our projects we have been working on and some snippets of our artistic process from the last couple weeks.

I submitted a design for the city of Greeley Manhole cover design contest

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Tim has been continuing recording on our new album “Becoming” and working on another still to be titled album. One song uses this sweet antique musical organ toy.

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I’m in the middle of this commission depicting a mine in Alaska. Still has a long ways to go 🙂

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I made a whole series of little sunprint bags for John Galt’s Boutique

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And finally, I have been working on an Art Deco poster and CD cover for the new Burroughs live album!

sweaty greeley soul

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“Branches” Online Art Show

CREATE ART!

So, with the theme of “branches” and this exploration of how so many different things emulate the shape, how about we have an
online art show? (The writing I did that talks about why we’re doing the theme branches is here)

 

We will be taking submissions until the end of August. Betony and I will curate the pieces that are turned in under the theme of “BRANCHES” and will showcase the art online!

Would you like to submit a photograph? A painting? A mixed-media piece or even a sketched idea? If not you, do you know someone who’d love this idea? Invite them to get involved.

Post artwork submissions to the Giants & Pilgrims’ Facebook page or email directly to timthreshingfloor@hotmail.com.

Spread the word and look for the show online
(giantsandpilgrims.com) come the end of August.