Down and Dirty Blogging: Up-Cycling Dusty Drafts

Sara hasn’t exactly banned me from my studio.  She hasn’t forced me out or forced her way in.  But we’ve been cleaning at our house this weekend, Sara upstairs (where my studio is) me, down.

Admittedly, the place needs tidying—a sponge, a mop—

“Backhoe is more like it!” Sara yells from the studio I can’t get to.

You see, a stairway separates us—the one I fell down more than a month ago, the one I’m renovating with paper and paint, protecting with polyurethane, the “fast drying” variety, which takes merely days, instead of decades, to dry.

The last 3 steps completed to date–

Wet spots make it nearly impossible to traipse up or down.

Talk about a trip hazard!

So, upstairs, where I can’t get to, Sara’s cleaning, and there I’m afraid a frenzy of house-keeping enthusiasm will tempt her to trash my crafter’s valuables— my jars of buttons, my Coketabsbottleslids.  I’m, justifiably, afraid a fit of cleansing crazy will turn her tidy into toss—end in an untimely and unfortunate paper purge of junk mail, labels, lists—

“And empty cat food cans,” Sara screams from somewhere over head.

Okay, yes, I saved a few cat food cans back in my feline-loving days, but like the stairway I’ve redeemed, it’s all been transformed into art, literally, in fact:

In the meantime, I’ve been downstairs cleaning, preparing for the arrival of my blogging buddies Tuesday—Tori (“The Ramblings”), driving up from Tennessee and Lisa (“Woman Wielding Words”), flying in from Massachusetts.

I’ve swept, scoured, scrubbed—discovering more dust than any WordPress-worthy blogger has right to.

I’ve shined the stove.  I’ve pledged the surfaces, promising Sara upstairs that I’d reform my down and dirty ways.  But I’m a collage artist, a mixed media, paper lovin’—

“Shit-lovin’s more like it.”  I hear Sara’s echo from above.

It’s true.  I tend to collect stuff—stuff that kindly collects dust in return, the upcycler’s inevitable thank you.

It’s true.  I’m elbow deep in paper, dust, and dirt, but sometimes you have to scrub a bowl to serve a meal.  Sometimes it takes a little dirt to make a better blog.  Sometimes we write grit.  Sometimes we write grime.  But once the writings polished, the comments (or in my case, visiting bloggers) will arrive.

How do you house-clean your writing before pushing “publish?”  What seeming trash, have you upcycled into treasure?  Have the comments, we as bloggers treasure, ever transformed in actual friendships for you?

Note:  If you will happen to be in the central Kentucky area (Lexington, Louisville, Cincinnati, Knoxville) on Wednesday, Tori, Lisa and I would love you to join us for lunch at Third Street Stuff (downtown Lexington).  If you’d like to come, please email me at or leave a note in the comments below, and I’ll be in touch with more details.

Please forgive me if I’m not reading your amazing posts this week.  I’ve got actual, in-the-flesh bloggers in town to entertain.  I’ll be back to the virtual world as soon as possible.

75 thoughts on “Down and Dirty Blogging: Up-Cycling Dusty Drafts

  1. The stairs. My God. So cool. The cleaning? Forget about it! I have a dirty toddler whose hands are almost always smudging a path behind me. It is a natural phenomenon, how kids always seem to be somehow stickier and smellier than the rest of us 🙂
    Excited to see everybody tomorrow!


    • Oh, but we don’t want to supplement the Man Child’s filth with what was already on our hardwood floors. Imagine how it would stick to his peanutbutter-and-jellied hands. Yikes! Can’t wait to see you guys! Glad you like the stairs. I look forward to your seeing them in person.


  2. LOVING the stairs!
    I think the “comments” turned friendship has happened. I have genuine concern for people I have never ‘met’. I worry about bloggers I don’t see for awhile once I’m accustomed to their posting. I pray for those who have personal pains and medical issues. I cheer for them when something incredible happens. I think actually meeting many of them would be a blast.

    My publishing clean up often comes with a post publishing clean up as well. It never fails, as often as I read, re-read, walk away and come back to it blog…once I hit publish I find even more to fix.

    I hope you have fun at your lunch. I wish I could join you!!!!


    • Oh, I feel the same way about readers I’ve never actually met in person. It’s the comtemporary equivalent of pen pals, Sara says.

      Where do you live in Ohio? Sure you don’t want to take a road trip? I know it would likely mean spending the night for you, but we’re actually going to do tons of fun stuff besides just lunch, if you wanted to drive down. I was going to email you last night about it, but I suspected you lived closer to Cleveland for some reason. We would have SOOOOOOO much fun!

      Sorry to have missed your posts over the weekend. Will try to catch up with you today. Hugs, my friend!


  3. I think this is awesome. I love the truth of humor! You two are too funny. I love the stairs, the cat cans are cute… hey at least your using your clutter.

    I think I need to clean my brain before I blog, for no blogging has been happening! Too much clutter!


    • Hadn’t thouht about the truth inherent in humor, but you are so right. My inclination to collect and Sara’s to trash what I collect remains one of our biggest challenges. We definitely need to work on meeting in the middle.

      I suppose cleaning up clutter is reasonable preparation for posting. My head is pretty full, as well. It wouldn’t hurt me to do a brain drain prior to writing. LOL Great to hear from you, Jeff.

      Hope we get to meet you one of these days!


      • Truthfully!
        I have collected all kinds of things to with the purpose of using them too but guess what? There they sit. It is good to have a balance in your life.

        Meeting you would be a real treat! I will place that event into my intentions….


    • Absolutely! She loves me lots, and, actually, it IS easier to have her do the tossing. I’m nearly incapable of it–not totally–but almost. And, really, she is quite good about it. I just have to tease her a bit, as she does me, of course. LOL


  4. Kathy, I love
    Sara’s: “Shit-lovin’s more like it.” I hear Sara’s echo from above.

    I think Sara and I may have been cut from the same bolt of cloth (shades of Felix Unger), and you and Len (my husband) may have been cut from the same bolt of cloth (shades of Oscar Madison)…


    • So happy you like the post, and the stairs, as well. I suspect our dust bunnies are worse because we have pets. Does that impact you, as well? Our Ralph sheds terribly in the summer. Lucy, our Maltese, not at all–thank GOd! But then again, it’s winter for you right now. At any rate, happy dust-bunny extermination!


  5. I hope you, Tori, Lisa and Sara have a blast this week. I wish I could be there, but making words is my top priority these days. Lots and lots and lots of words. I can’t wait to read about what you ladies get up to.

    Love the stairs.

    Many of my close friendships have come from online meetings. I’m really grateful for them.


  6. So jealous of your blog buddy visits – enjoy them! Your post made me realize something a little more clearly. I will spend a great deal of energy cleaning and putting the house in order because, unlike my mind, it’s something I’ve deemed myself capable of doing. I love your crafty, stuff-keeping ways, though if I lived with you I’d probably be more like Sara yelling from upstairs. 😀


    • That’s such an interesting observation–about needing to control your environment since you can’t your mind–as I’ve said that about myself before, as well. However, in the years since Sara and I have been together it’s manifest itself differently, but I’m not sure how. I need to give it some thought. Wish you didn’t live so far away so you could join us this week, Rose.


  7. …am loving the stairs, please keep posting your progress!

    Again, I so wish I could attend. Stars just aren’t aligned this week, I’m afraid.

    As far as ‘cleaning house’ – I tend to edit as I go, although I do sometimes cringe at a few of my choices or omissions later on. I try to quietly fix them, without much to do.


  8. Just like cleaning house, my writing could always use more polish. No matter how long I let my writing sit and fester, no matter how many edits I’ve done, there’s always more, always something I missed. I am the Sloppy Copy Queen. Have fun this week!


    • Me too, Sista. I edit, ENDLESSLY! No matter how many times I look at something, I always find something else to change. It’s borderline insane for me. Wish you coould be here this week! I’m going to miss you!


  9. Oh, Kathy, how I wish I was going to be in Kentucky this week. I’d love to meet up with you all. Sounds like fun. Look forward to seeing the pictures, though. Your stairs are coming along beautifully. I love your creativity and ability to take something like cat food cans and turn it into art. Can I assume you also got rid of the cat food odor?


    • LOL, yes that odor is long gone! At least I hope so and I’m not just immuned to it. So happy you like the stairs so far, and I would LOVE you to be around this week to meet up with us. Bet you don’t make it to Kentucky very often. Great to hear from you, my friend!


  10. Kathryn (and Sara, hear me? Are you still up there, girl? lol), what a delightful post! I was grinning at every one of Sara’s interruptions. Ha ha! Your stairs and your art are just lovely and inspiring….as is your writing. I grinned the entire time that I read it. Thanks for the smile. And the treat for my bloggers tastebuds! You never fail to amaze me. Love to you and Sara. xoxo Julia


    • Oh, so happy to have made you smile, Julia. Sara’s a hoot isn’t she! Oh, yes, she has come down now–not stuck up there forever. And, darn, she made my studio look incredible. I have to admit. Take care, my friend. Hugs to you!


  11. The stairs look amazing! I love the color and shapes. It looks like a bright spot in an otherwise un-extraordinary staircase.
    I’m so excited to hear about your very bloggy get together. 🙂


    • Oh, it’s fun to have everyone here. Tori and Thomas got in this afternoon, and Lisa arrived this evening. I think tomorrow is going to be so much fun! Take care, my friend. One of these days we’ll meet!


  12. Kathryn, darling — I have to admit I’m on Sara’s side here (although your steps ARE gorgeous and I’m in awe of your creativity) … but that reminds me of when I lived with the first love of my life (maybe the second) who was an artist and he constantly reminded me that Picasso almost killed somebody who cleaned his studio (probably the current love of his life) saying that “after an inch of dust collects, it never gets any deeper.” Whatever THAT means. But I feel you, kiddo — and I especially can commiserate with Sara (sorry — just had to be honest!) xooxoxo B
    p.s. I want to visit you! I’m so jealous of your blogging friends!!!


    • Oh, I would love you to visit us! We’re about 6 hours north of you. We’ve made that drive back and forth to Atlanta a number of times for Habitat stuff.

      And I’m delighted for you to be honest. I’m sure you’re right. And you have made Sara’s day, so we’re all happy. Take care, my friend!


  13. I want a house, and I want those stairs in them!

    I don’t tend to debate too long before posting, not anymore. I set a post free as soon as I feel done. And I’m glad for that, too, because a few good friends have been made from the heartfelt comments to those heartfelt, sometimes grimy words. 🙂


    • Oh, Deb, you have made my day. So happy you like my stairs. It has been a really fun project! And, you are so fortunate to not agonize over posts. I do, not because my aren’t heart-felt—-just trying to speak as clearly as possible what is on my heart. Great to hear from you, my friend!


  14. Ummm….. Kath? Is there another set of stairs somewhere in the house that allows you to get from one level to the next? Because from the looks of your photos, you’ve got it pretty much roadblocked! 🙂 All kidding aside, the stairs are looking great! A real work of art for sure!

    When I write, I read through it a couple of times, hit the spell-check, and that’s about it. If I muck with it too much, it loses the emotion with which I wrote it.


    • So glad you like the stairs, Terri. No, there are no other stairs, but we don’t have to go upstaris, if we don’t want to. And if you are up there, you’re okay to be there for a while, as there’s a frig, microwave, bathroom, two bedrooms, etc. It was aa separate apartment once.

      You are fortunate that writing isn’t agonizing for you. It’s interesting that you think your writing loses emotion from editing. I feel just the opposite. So funny to hear how we all write differently. Great to hear from you today, Terri!


  15. Good grief you have a ton of comments on this lovely post!! Finally getting back to catching up on things—-and your post today made me smile especially as I think of the totes lining my garage that I brought back from Ohio from our storage unit of things we have saved from Chris’s dad’s house. (How’s that for a run on sentence?) What to do with it all?? I am not quite sure but there are treasures in there for sure—old crocks, irons, yearbooks from years gone by, old books..the list continues. We will get to it but it is hard to part with things that have memories attached to them as well as the neat factor!!!
    I usually write a post and then let it simmer in my drafts or on FastPencil until it is good to go. I have “archives” that someday…..someday….may be in a book of short musings or whatever. Who knows. But for now I try to let them perk a bit before I publish…..we all do it differently!!!
    The steps are looking fabulous, darling, by the way! And enjoy your real life bloggers. “Jealous”


    • Oh, how funny that you think this is tons of comments, as this is fewer than usual. However, I’m with you, Beth Ann, about not wanting to throw things out until you’ve gone through it. You’re right. Who knows what might be in there! Great to hear from you. How does it feel to be getting back into the swing of life at home? Sometimes I have very mixed feelings.


  16. I am so loving your stairs. I don’t suppose you’d want to come to the Bogs and help me with mine? I’m going to be cleaning out my “art desk” area soon, but maybe I should save it for the stairs. (I wonder if M will buy that excuse? Like Sara with you, he thinks I collect too much stuff.)

    Have fun with your blog buddies!! 🙂


    • Oh, I would LOVE to come help you do stairs, Robin. However, it’s a slow process, so you might have me longer than you’d like. LOL But, seriously, I LOVE the idea of helping other folks do something similar. And, yes, save the stuff in your desk. I don’t know exactly what’s in there, but I imagine you could do incredible stuff with your own photos! Seriously, it could be incredible!


  17. Flesh and blood blog visitors! How lucky are you, Ms. Kathy? And you are just an artiste extraordinaire! Your steps are wonderful, and I love how you described Sara screaming and echoing from up above. **grin**


    • Oh, Kathy, we are having SO much fun! I can’t even tell you. Other bloggers are becoming such a huge delight to me. Is that silly? I just can’t believe the truly amazing people I’ve met this way. And I bet you feel something similar. Hugs, my friend!


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