It’s like making a Giant Painting…

…overheard while eating chicken soup on a tuesday night…and the rest of the sentence was, ” but it takes three years of your life and a ton of money.”

Latest Zaitz Original!
Latest Zaitz Original!

Michael was referring to the renovation of White Church Gallery, specifically the altarpiece we’re working on.

The sides are the pillars.
The sides are the pillars.

This past weekend was all about putting some wood up on the front of the church. I started the ball rolling on Friday by pulling staples. It’s been awhile since I’d done it, and it seemed harder somehow than the last time. The staples were rusty and stubborn. It was the opposite of fun.

Ugly, ugly staples.
Ugly, ugly staples.

I had to clear the floor around the pillars, because work was about to commence on them. So I pulled staples and sanded around the front of the Church. Saturday morning, bright and early, we got to the church filled with eagerness and a bit of anxiousness. We’d been working on the wood planks for almost two months now, taking them from rough sawn planks all the way to the glorious art pieces they became. But now, after weeks and weeks of planning and plotting, we were finally going to see how the whole thing would look. Would it look as we intended- to be a glorious work of art? Or would it look like Dean Martin’s living room? (Actually- Dean Martin’s living room ain’t too bad!)

Owners: Dean Martin…Tom Jones…Nicolas Cage…then Citibank…
Owners: Dean Martin…Tom Jones…Nicolas Cage…then Citibank…

The first step was to do the bottom border. These border pieces came from giant planks of walnut.

Mitering needed!
Mitering needed!

This procedure took some hours, since it needed to be practically perfect. Level, fitted, and mitered.

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All went fairly smoothly; there was a rhythm of measuring thrice and cutting once.

Measure it one more time…
Measure it one more time…

And then it happened. A boo boo. A piece of walnut got cut too short. Red Alert, Emergency! Luckily we had a chunk of unprocessed walnut nearby. I ran it through the planer a few times, I jointed the edges, then did a quick but thorough sand job on it. It would have to be clear-coated in situ. But it looked fine, and work could continue.

All angles and edges…
All angles and edges…

Walnut is a VERY hard wood, but it keeps a nice edge.

Ah, mitered!
Ah, mitered!
Sweet! It all fits!
Sweet! It all fits!

Once the base was finished, we started on the upright pieces.

With a little help from our friends!
With a little help from our friends!

Thanks to Rybak’s owners Paul and Ann for burning the late night oil with us and getting the first layers of the altar piece up. It was grueling, exacting, tiring, but inspiring.

At last!!
At last!!

And so it goes…piece by piece, bevel by bevel. Screw by awkward screw. Awkward, because Mike had to screw each of the boards in from the back.

His arm had to fit through the space you see here at the side. And then somehow bend around enough to put pressure on the driver to screw into extremely hard wood from the back. (After drilling a pilot hole.)

There's not a lot of room behind!
There’s not a lot of room behind!

We had two different nail lengths depending on which wood it was going through. There was a lot of thought put into this! And it was exhausting work.

But we think it was worth it. Here’s the other side.

It looks better in person…
It looks better in person…

There are imperfections, and we’ll fix a few next time, but this represents so much effort that I hope it shows.

I had to take a selfie- and I think it’s my fave so far. Blurry, wrinkled eyes, weariness, but a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

Hey now!
Hey now!

The next morning, things still looked good, so we did a photo shoot.

The Artist
The Artist
And the apprentice!
And the apprentice!

Until we meet again!

 

– The White Church Gallery

 

 

 

Looking for a Sign

Look no further. Here’s the sign.

Well, maybe we should get out of the way?
Well, maybe we should get out of the way?

I know it’s hard to tell I was being literal, because if you’ve been following our progress, you know that we try to heed the “signs” that the Maker puts in front of us. We try to listen to Him and get out of our own way as much as we thick-headed humans can.

The Sign!
The Sign!

But this sign is metal and plastic, and it should last a good long time. The art is Mike’s, and we love the colors and composition. Most people seem to agree!

Before the sign could go up, preparations had to be made.

I'm prepping as fast as I can...
I’m prepping as fast as I can…

The painting of the outside of the church is an ongoing process, and I stifled my discouragement when I inspected the painted portion from just last year. It could use a touch up already! We’re using a more expensive Sikkens paint because it’s thicker and really soaks into the wood.  But the winter was brutal, and the bugs are ubiquitous.

Entering the realm of the spiders and wasps!
Entering the realm of the spiders and wasps!

As I was painting, my “brothers in height” (Mike, my husband and Paul Fisher, of Rybak’s) were across the way having their own adventure at Rybak’s Ice Cream Store.
The back portion of the building has to be addressed, and for this job, no skimpy ladder propped precariously against ancient wood slick with spider silk and squashed bug juice would do. They called in the heavy machinery.

What's this?
What’s this?

The name says it all.

No women allowed?
No women allowed?

Nope! Women get the aforementioned ladder. This is a MANLIFT!

Lifted Men! Having fun!
Lifted Men! Having fun!

Well, I know that working that high in the air has its moments of doubt, but from my perspective it sure looked fun.

This ain't no party...
This ain’t no party…

 

Thanks, David Byrne. Meanwhile, back at the cottage…

And for something completely different..
And for something completely different..
It’s good to know that it’s nap time somewhere in the world.
Back to the Church. After the paint dried, the sign went up. Construction of the frame took place first, of course.
Measure twice, cut once.
Measure twice, cut once.
The frame was cleverly constructed to allow contraction and expansion of the sign. Thanks to Paul Adams of Goats Graphix in Bad Axe, MI, we have a beautiful sign that will last far into the future. We were very impressed with Paul’s work and will no doubt be using him in the future.
The bottom piece of wood is gone now...
The bottom piece of wood is gone now…
So come on over to Grindstone Corners, grab a yummy ice cream at Rybak’s Ice Cream Store, and check out the White Church Gallery!
Opening Summer 2015!
Opening Summer 2015!
But don’t come too close, or I’ll rope you into helping me paint…
Just kidding- we'll get you a cold drink and sit in the shade!
Just kidding- we’ll get you a cold drink and sit in the shade!
– The White Church Gallery

Looking Down the Road

You know the road that leads from M-25 to Grindstone Corners, our little neck of the woods? It was a dirt and gravel road.

Our Little Piece of Heaven, and a dirt road.
Our Little Piece of Heaven, and a dirt road.
Rybak's Ice Cream Store and a dirt road.
Rybak’s Ice Cream Store and a dirt road.

Yes, that’s definitely dirt and gravel.

Dirt roads are...dirty.
Dirt roads are…dirty.

Bring on the asphalt, please!

You can even call it ASH-phalt, I don't care!
You can even call it ASH-phalt, I don’t care!

Mmm you can smell the progress!

Yeah, that smell is tar.
Yeah, that smell is tar.
It's definitely a Kodak moment for us all!
It’s definitely a Kodak moment for us all!

Now that Rybak’s Ice Cream store is open again, Grindstone Corners has come alive. Ann Fisher is the proprietress of this historic and delicious establishment, and people come from all over for the high quality ice cream, the pleasant surroundings and the friendly atmosphere.

GC- corner of Rouse and Copeland roads.
GC- corner of Rouse and Copeland roads.

Not sure why the church icon is out in the lake, but it’s pretty cute anyway. OMG! The FISH in Grindstone city are as big as a HOUSE!!!

Rybak’s isn’t on the old map, but it is the place to hang this summer.

We all scream for ice cream!
We all scream for ice cream!

Come on up- the people are warm and the ice cream is cold, and the road is PAVED!

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– The White Church Gallery

 

Rybak’s Ice Cream Store is Open!

Grindstone Corners is officially open for business. The first of three planned businesses is going strong! If you’re screaming for ice cream in an amazingly restored original Grindstone Building filled with jewelry, toys, candles, scarves and so much more, along with the tastiest ice cream, you need to stop in to Rybak’s Ice Cream Store.

Ice Cream, anyone? YES!!!
Ice Cream, anyone? YES!!!

It’s been a long, hard, $$ journey for the Fishers, but their hard work has paid off beautifully, don’t you think? Let’s watch the progress… (it began way before this first picture)

Dec. '12 - battened down for a Lake Huron Winter.
Dec. ’12 – battened down for a Lake Huron Winter.
Spring '13, Coming to life!
Spring ’13, Coming to life!

And now…Come on in!

Ice cream on the right, Candy on the left. It's a straight and narrow path you must walk...
Ice cream on the right, Candy on the left. It’s a straight and narrow path you must walk…
Candy siren!
Candy siren!
Proprietress Ann Fisher is ready to scoop for you.
Proprietress Ann Fisher is ready to scoop for you.

So what’s the verdict? Yummy or not?

"Dangerously yummy!"
“Dangerously yummy!”

And open late…

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Where is it?

See you there!

Rybak's Ice Cream! MMMM!
Rybak’s Ice Cream! MMMM!

– The White Church Gallery