A little of everything, including the Pleiades!

So, I needed a 31"-32" diameter metal hoop. I held the image in my mind for a day, then walked into the thrift store. Bingo! $12 manifestation!

So, I needed a 31″-32″ diameter metal hoop. I held the image in my mind for a day, then walked into the thrift store. Bingo! $12 manifestation!

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31' diameter. Perfect.

31′ diameter. Perfect.

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[caption id="attachment_509" align="alignnone" width="535"]Working out the idea for the shower curtain. I'm going to cut this in half and somehow attach it to the roof. It must be able to hang balanced and sturdy, rotate out for use, and rotate out of the way easily. Um, it's a work in progress.... next! Working out the idea for the shower curtain. I’m going to cut this in half and somehow attach it to the roof. It must be able to hang balanced and sturdy, rotate out for use, and rotate out of the way easily. Um, it’s a work in progress…. next!

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Hmmm, inspiration parked outside my window...already thinking about the next...OK, back to work...

Hmmm, inspiration parked outside my window…already thinking about the next…OK, back to work…

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The new desk top! I bought a table someone was selling for cheap- that just happened to be 5' long. It was 3 feet wide so I cut it down to 2 feet. Voila! Desk est fini.

The new desk top! I bought a table someone was selling for cheap- that just happened to be 5′ long. It was 3 feet wide so I cut it down to 2 feet. Voila! Desk est fini.

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I finished the attic walls. Fabric and adhesive applied in a 15' high space. I discovered that I really am a contortionist after all.

I finished the attic walls. Fabric and adhesive applied in a 15″ high space. I discovered that I really am a contortionist after all.

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Starting the shower -that-flips-down-to-counter half-wall. I cut out the moon, and got some nice bronze and cobalt blue paint. I love cobalt blue- that deep, bright electric color of the New England sky at about 4:30 pm on Winter Solstice

Starting the shower -that-flips-down-to-counter half-wall. I cut out the moon, and got some nice bronze and cobalt blue paint. I love cobalt blue- that deep, bright electric color of the New England sky at about 4:30 pm on Winter Solstice

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Pouring the first layer of epoxy resin. Somehow I thought this weight would keep it firm and keep the epoxy from seeping out the back. Um....

Pouring the first layer of epoxy resin. Somehow I thought this weight would keep it firm and keep the epoxy from seeping out the back. Um….

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While the epoxy was drying, I put some color on to the walls- a nice rich gold-ish yellow I mixed from a few cans of leftover paint.

While the epoxy was drying, I put some color on to the walls- a nice rich gold-ish yellow I mixed from a few cans of leftover paint.

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 Once again, the thrift store never disappoints. I was feeling overwhelmed by the daunting task of buying foam and fabric and making cushions just the right size for the couch/ dinette. I held the image in my mind of what I needed for a few days, and went to the thrift store. Voila! There was a wicker couch for sale, cheap, with these cushions. No muss, no smell, just a little tear on the underside. AND it just happened to be 2 feet wide, 5 feet long- and the smaller ones (for dinette seating) are 2 feet long and 18 inches wide. PERFECT!  I even like the color.

Once again, the thrift store never disappoints. I was feeling overwhelmed by the daunting task of buying foam and fabric and making cushions just the right size for the couch/ dinette. I held the image in my mind of what I needed for a few days, and went to the thrift store. Voila! There was a wicker couch for sale, cheap, with these cushions. No muss, no smell, just a little tear on the underside. AND it just happened to be 2 feet wide, 5 feet long- and the smaller ones (for dinette seating) are 2 feet long and 18 inches wide. PERFECT! I even like the color.

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The finished butcher block and sink.

The finished butcher block and sink.

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I added beach glass and more epoxy. It is looking so pretty!

I added beach glass and more epoxy. It is looking so pretty!

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The Pleiades.

The Pleiades.

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The bathroom wall nearly finished! I got it installed. I have discovered one of my least favorite things in the world to do is to install hinges by myself. One more coat of epoxy to go.

The bathroom wall nearly finished! I got it installed. I have discovered one of my least favorite things in the world to do is to install hinges by myself. One more coat of epoxy to go.

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The shower/bathroom with the wall down, making it a useful counter surface.

The shower/bathroom with the wall down, making it a useful counter surface.

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We interrupt the other stuff to take apart the loft- and re-enforce between the joists, so I can add a big bolt through the frame of the cab, for extra security.

We interrupt the other stuff to take apart the loft- and re-enforce between the joists, so I can add a big bolt through the frame of the cab, for extra security.

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The bolt.

The bolt.

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The marked holes in the frame of the cab are where the sun visor goes. The others are empty. I drilled though the metal and secured a bolt (one on each side) that goes through the loft floor

The marked holes in the frame of the cab are where the sun visor goes. The others are empty. I drilled though the metal and secured a bolt (one on each side) that goes through the loft floor

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The reinforcement bolts from the loft to the frame of the cab.

The reinforcement bolts from the loft to the frame of the cab.

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The cab of the Taj has a silk purple paisley ceiling, with fringe. Were you expecting anything less?

The cab of the Taj has a silk purple paisley ceiling, with fringe. Were you expecting anything less?

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The loft is nearly done!! The futon is in, the walls are covered with fabric and adhesive, the mahogany around the sky window and all exposed wood is stained and topped with polycrilic.

The loft is nearly done!! The futon is in, the walls are covered with fabric and adhesive, the mahogany around the sky window and all exposed wood is stained and topped with polycrillic.

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Bathroom, Kitchen and French Doors.

Kitchen and bathroom so far.

Kitchen and bathroom so far.

The French Doors on slider track. Reclaimed windows, edged in maple.

The French Doors on slider track. Reclaimed windows, edged in maple.

Kitchen cabinets are almost complete, backsplash is up and the butcher block and sink (under the cardboard) are done. The stainless steel sink was a free score from the dump.

Kitchen cabinets are almost complete, backsplash is up and the butcher block and sink (under the cardboard) are done. The stainless steel sink was a free score from the dump.

Kitchen backsplash.

Kitchen backsplash.

Hammering out copper flashing to be flat. The start of the kitchen backsplash.

Hammering out copper flashing to be flat. The start of the kitchen backsplash.

The bathroom is (almost) finished. The walls are lined with reclaimed galvanized metal panels. They were part of the A Gallery's patio- the memories of many fun nights under the stars around a fire pit with good people and gallery events are in these panels. The bucket is fillet with sawdust for composting, and is removable for a full shower.

The bathroom is (almost) finished. The walls are lined with reclaimed metal. They were part of the A Gallery’s patio- the memories of many fun nights under the stars around a fire pit with good people and gallery events are in these panels. The bucket is fillet with sawdust for composting, and is removable for a full shower.

Towel rack complete!

Towel rack complete!

This will be the towel rack in the bathroom- copper pipe and fittings!

This will be the towel rack in the bathroom- copper pipe and fittings!

Startintg the butcher block kitchen counter. 2x4's cut down to a clean straight edge, glued and using 4' screws from the back so they are not visible.

Startintg the butcher block kitchen counter. 2×4’s cut down to a clean straight edge, glued and using 4′ screws from the back so they are not visible.

The shower/bathroom. The counter is hinges to lift up as a wall, down as a useable surface. The copper is reclaimed flashing someone was throwing out!

The shower/bathroom. The counter is hinges to lift up as a wall, down as a useable surface. The copper is reclaimed flashing someone was throwing out!

Circles and Portholes

Thanks to the folks at GREENPOWERSCIENCE, (http://www.youtube.com/user/GREENPOWERSCIENCE , http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23kkZZN1ACs) I now know it’s possible to cut a perfect circle on a standard table saw, and just how to do it. The trick is to go slow.

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A porthole! Attic access, and a sense of more ‘up’ space, and adding stability to the aluminum roof. Plus, it’s pretty. A little more work, and I think it will operate just like the Transporter on the Starship Enterprise. At least that’s the plan.

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Work resumes on Taj- one year later

It’s been almost a year since I had to stop work on the Taj and resume my regular life. Finally I’m able to get back to it, and I hope to finish in a few weeks. The warehouse building that formerly housed the “A Gallery” still hasn’t been knocked down, so I am able to use the space again. Though I’m not looking forward to being cold and covered in sawdust and carrharts every day, I am looking forward to finishing soon, and I’m glad to have indoor space to work in.

When I moved Taj out last year, I had to remove some of the trim on the overhead door to get the truck out, and put the sky window on top while it was outside. Bringing it back in was… interesting!

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First project- the pass through door between the cab and the back. I was able to re-use the truck panel piece I had cut out for the opening. I cut down a 2×4 to make the trim, and cut down the track for a closet door.

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Finally! The windows! These I got from an old truck cap someone was getting rid of. I made a cardboard template to get the measurements just right- no room for mistake. I used a skill saw and a jig say, a lot of silicone caulking, and – voila!

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These are the rigid foam insulation panels that go on the attic ceiling. I took them down, edged them with duct tape and then cut fabric to wrap around. I used spray adhesive to secure the fabric to the foam. and ‘liquid nails’ to glue them back on to the ceiling. Inexpensive, light weight, and looks great.

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The ceiling of the driver’s cab- purple paisley, of course. I took out the fitted foam piece a while ago, and cut a silk scarf to fit. I used spray adhesive to attach the fabric. It is a thing of beauty.

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Stopping point for now~ current progress :)

Here are the most recent photos- there has been a bit more progress than this, like some paint colors- but these are the most recent photos.

I brought everything up to a current stopping point, for now. Cleaned up, packed up, left the warehouse space I was renting and brought Taj back out into the big world! And the first night outside, it poured! Yay, better to find out sooner than later…

The good news is the whole loft and attic structure is water tight!! Yeah!  The major “oops” moment is that I forgot to final silicone/ caulk where the attic walls meet the roof, and water made its way in where the bolts come through. The good news, again, is it’s an easy fix and there was no damage. I had cardboard down on the floors, and that soaked it all up.

For now, Taj is packed up with all the rest of the materials for cabinets, drawers, finish trim, etc. The desk,  kitchen counter and french doors are off to a friend’s warm paint shop being final coated, and will be back next week.

This is a temporary stopping point, I had to draw the line somewhere- I have some major catching up to do in all other areas of my life! And my body needs a break. I enjoy this creativity tremendously, but the physical aspect takes a toll on my shoulders, wrists, hands and back. It will be good to be out of those filthy carrharts – and the cold grey warehouse- and back into clean clothes and warm places!

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The desk is built to fit a big slider shelf under the top- that’s why it’s so funky looking.

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The dinette box seats will have thick cushions, but I am thinking of removing the wood top and putting lawn chair webbing- to give it a little spring for comfort.  The  “dining table” is cut, coated and ready to be placed.

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The “false wall” I still have to secure the sides somehow to the ceiling ,and create a weather tight barrier from interior to exterior, but keeping the garage door free to go up and down. Still thinking out several solutions,. The french doors will be mounted on sliders to the side doors. I kept them hinged so I can still have the full access width if need be.

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 The kitchen counter will have drawers on the left side, and open under the sink with a curtain covering. Hot plate or propane stove top will go over the fridge, a slide-out cutting board under the hotplate space above the fridge, and the sink on the left. Above the sink I will mount the instant hot water heater, and run one line to the kitchen faucet, and one to the bathroom shower.

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Shower wall detail. I’m so sad that copper sheets are so expensive, because I think that would be so beautiful to line the inside, and make the water tight enclosure. I may go with layered wide aluminum flashing for now, since I have leftover, and it will give that industrial -chic look.

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First night out in the elements since the finished exterior and fiberglass and paint. The dome sky window fit perfectly!

Taj Ma-Even-Smaller!

The past few days I’ve taken a diversion  from working on “Taj Ma Small” to build “Taj Ma-Even-Smaller” : a groovy mobile workshop maximizing use of space, surfaces and transformability. No more hauling the table saw and chop saw to the 2nd floor closet and 3rd floor attic-! No more having tools in 3, 4, 5 locations and spending a whole day gathering them!   Now I can pack up all my stuff and have a mini-garage/ workshop.  All the walls are hinged to make table/ work surfaces.

So I will now finish the last bit of cutting/ table saw work for Taj- dust off all the tools, pack up everything, load up the Taj Ma-Even-Smaller and get outta there! Back to the out-door parking lot, but at least now Taj is watertight and finished on the exterior- and the bulk the interior work is cut and sanded. Really all that is left is final coats of varnish, paint, make cushions and curtains, finish the pretty stuff. And the french doors. And put in the side slider windows. But that’s about it.  And seal off the area between the cab and the loft. And finish the bathroom. And make kitchen cabinets and drawers. And add water tank and propane tank and roof ladder and and and… yeah, it could be endless..

That’s why I have to just draw the line at a stopping point, for now, and do little bits here and there, not endless days and weeks. It is time to come back to my daily world- and get back to work! I’m grateful, soooo grateful to have had the space at A Galley to work on Taj when I needed it, but I’m ready to be done, finish up the essentials and get back to being clean and warm! Get out of the cold, the gray,  the concrete, the sawdust and those filthy stinky Carrharts…..

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Almost done! With sides and front folded up- secured with eye-bolts into barrel bolts

 

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The walls are hinged and fold out for work surfaces and easy access to the insides. 2 levels for maximum stuff-a-bility. the top tier is perfect milk-crate height. Just the back door and roof left to go. Should take a half hour. 😉 she said…

 

“You had me at SteamPunk…”

Today was a very productive day! The completion of 2 key things- the back hatch and the plexi-dome sky window. I was also able to start to put together the french-style doors and “false” wall with windows. Those pics will have to be tomorrow, as my phone ran out of battery.

The lovely Lesli joined me for several hours work and fun! What a treat.  She was very impressed with the mahogany loft ladder, but asked why I hadn’t recessed the screws and filled them with bungs. I said I like the clean crisp hardware/ “SteamPunk” look. Say no more-  I had her at SteamPunk! Then I was treated to a fresh mix of music- including SteamPunk- on her iPod 😉

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“You had me at SteamPunk.” The back hatch door is done, and so pretty!

 

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Full back view with back hatch door installed

 

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Attaching the 45″ x 45″ plexi-dome to the frame- finally! A heavy bed of silicone on the frame, then the pelxi-dome, then sticky foam weatherstripping, topped with aluminum flashing, and hand-tightened screws. The bottom has a layer of foam weatherstripping also- with 2 recessed hinges to attach to the roof, and the frame has been primed and final coated. It fits like a glove.

 

Attaching the 45″ x 45″ plexi-dome to the frame- finally! A heavy bed of silicone on the frame, then the pelxi-dome, then sticky foam weatherstripping, topped with aluminum flashing, and hand-tightened screws. The bottom has a layer of foam weatherstripping also- with 2 recessed hinges to attach to the roof, and the frame has been primed and final coated. It fits like a glove.
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Plexi-dome. Almost finished!

 

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Plexi-dome skywindow completed and ready to install.

The overall picture so far. I am very proud and excited of how the skywindow and the hatch frame on the truck turned out!

Kim's Taj MaSmall

The overall picture so far. I am very proud and excited of how the skywindow and the hatch frame on the truck turned out!

 

The plexi-dome sky window is done, the back access hatch is done and on, the whole exterior is top-coated and everything is sealed! YAAAYYYY!!!!  The Taj is now officially watertight and will be ready for all weather, once I attach the plexi-dome to the truck. I can’t do that quite yet as I don’t have enough clearance with the garage door, I will have to attach it when I am ready to move the truck back outside for good.

 

Now to finish the insides. SO close to being done!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiberglassing the exterior!

The roof is sanded and cleaned, ready for fiberglass! The truck is in another bay of the building with open rafters, so I can walk around on top of the roof. I have surrounded the area with tarps and plastic, and have 3 heaters going- plus an electric blanket on the surface. It’s about 38*F outside, I am inside waiting for a steady 60*F so I can glass! All week the temps have been in the 30’s, maybe 40’s. The heaters each require their own outlet- of which there are only 4 in the building that currently work.

The thermometer got to a balmy 55*F the first day, then slid back down. The following day was 50*F outside, so I had much better luck.  I spent the next 5 days in a Tyvek suit and respirator, covered in resin. Needless to say, I don’t have any “during” pics, I didn’t want to touch my camera with epoxy resin everywhere. But I will have some FAB “after” photos! Today should be the last day of glassing- fingers crossed ( or, stuck together with resin!) I’ll be glad to be done the Tyvek and resin.

That said, I worked out a handy glove system: I bought a few 10-pack bags of thin vinyl gloves. Put one layer on, pull them high over the wrists of the Tyvek suit, and put a strip of duct-tape around to secure them.  Then put another layer on, duct-tape, and another, etc. the gloves are thin enough that I can get 4 layers on and still have great dexterity. This way I can peel a layer off when they become too resin- saturated and unworkable, without having to stop and put on another pair, risking skin contact.

Working with the fiberglass mat and the resin wasn’t so bad. Thank you to boat builders and DIY people that post to YouTube, I managed to watch enough “how to” that I felt confident. I think it’s all in the prep. The horizontal glassing- (the surface of the roof) was very easy. The sides- vertical glassing- uh, much more tricky! And messy!  But the final coats look great, and I’ve already primed the bulk of it.

I did end up having to sand/ grind some, and I sanded the top coat of resin to scuff it for primer. That was a HUGE mess. I spent an entire day vacuuming every last bit of fiberglass and resin dust from every last nook and cranny, inside and out. And, I killed my vacuum in the process- but luckily not’ til all the vacuuming was done.

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The roof is sanded and cleaned, ready for fiberglassing!

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Tarps and Tyvek

5 Days, 4 tarps, 3 heaters, 2 electric blankets, and one very challenging, cramped cold space to work in!
Kim's Taj MaSmall

5 Days, 4 tarps, 3 heaters, 2 electric blankets, and one very challenging, cramped cold space to work in!

Kim's Taj MaSmall

Fiberglassed and ready for paint!!!

Floor, ladder and nose!

For 12/12/12, I decided to take a zen day off from sawdust. I will be back to it tomorrow, with a fully charged iPod and hot cuppa coffee. For now, this is the fruit of this week’s labors. so far. 🙂
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The floor! Red oak hardwood, recycled scrap leftovers from someone’s home. I had just enough pieces! The walls are almost all paneled, and getting ready to cut the RV slider window holes. I’m still holding out in hope of finding some newer, smaller windows. The ones I have are 4′ long and 5′ long… which is fine. But bigger than I want.

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Making the loft ladder from mahogany decking I was going to use for another project but never did. I’m cutting the step insets with multiple passes on the table saw. Perfect!

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The loft ladder! Sanded smooth and ready for some varnish or poly-crilic or something.

Cutting a piece of 1/8" ply around a piece of Lexan plexi for the skywindoow on the rounded nose. Over top of this I will glue a sheet of 1/4" ply, with a smaller oval window cutout. on top of that, another sheet of cut Lexan plexi. Lots and lots of silicone caulking, then covering all this with fiberglass.

Cutting a piece of 1/8″ ply around a piece of Lexan plexi for the skywindow on the rounded nose. Over top of this I will glue a sheet of 1/4″ ply, with a smaller oval window cutout. on top of that, another sheet of cut Lexan plexi. Lots and lots of silicone caulking, then covering all this with fiberglass.

Kim's Taj MaSmall

Loft Window! I was going to try to make it a window that opened, but I decided it wasn’t worth endless potential leaks.

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The nose is almost ready for fiberglass! Gluing the 1/4″ ply with oval cutout on top of this. On top of that will be fiberglass, another sheet of lexan plexi, and more fiberglass.  Silicone caulking everywhere!

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A thing of BEAUTY 🙂 So close to being done on the outside!

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Belt-Sanding Overhead and Upside-down. Yay!

Did I ever think I would choose to take time out of my nice clean, warm day job to voluntarily belt-sand overhead and upside down for the better part of a Saturday afternoon, in 35 degree weather? Psychology majors, if you would like to interview me for your next term paper, you know where to find me. BYO-Dustmask. And coffee. The good news is- all the sanding is done, and ready for the shop vac and fiberglass!

Moving Taj indoors

I have taken a little break from working on Taj, as the days are short and cold. Too cold to get much done, especially thinking and fiber glassing. So instead I focused on a search for indoor space, and found it! The former A Gallery is laying vacant as it is scheduled for demolition in about 4 weeks, and the owner agreed to rent it to me in for the short time. I am so psyched! The light-infused heart-vibe that Tanya and Maria created in this space this summer is still in there ❤ and now Taj and I have a temporary home to make this dream real.

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I got about this far and had to stop because of the cold. I was able to cover the sides with 1/2 ” r-board, so they are ready for glassing. I am working out the nose- I got some covering in place, and I am working out ideas on how to make a lexan window that I can open, use as an emergency exit- and make it tight and waterproof.

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Oh what a beautiful sight. Taj’s new temporary home in the former A gallery. Art lives on!

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Taj just barely fits!! I think I had a whole 1/8″ of clearance driving in. I will most likely have to glass the very top on a warm day outside, but then I have the inside to let it set. No more spending an hour each morning removing the tarps, unloading all the tools and plywood, setting up the saws- and an hour  in the dark each night putting the tarps back on and putting all the tools and wood back in the truck!

Kim's Taj MaSmall