Friday, September 6, 2013

Every Room A Cabin


Photo courtesy Flickr

When our son was small, we opted for many days in an inexpensive cabin at the beach rather than less time in a more dignified structure. I learned to love lounging on a jack bed in the corner of a small room while keeping an eye on the fire. I had to stay in bed-the space was too small for me to be up and around if anyone else was on their feet.

Lately we’ve been shifting inventory from one “chamber” (as the 1890 plans call the rooms on the second floor) to another in response to the shifting patterns of privacy generated by new construction on the block. 

For years I have thought that every room requires a place to sleep, a place to work, and a place to take a meal. The closer this layout comes to fulfilling that brief, the more we get out of a building that is generous to begin with.

It helps immensely to have furnishings that are light in weight, foldable, and/or mounted on stout wheels or magical nylon sliders. Setting up for overnight guests, a new project, or major maintenance takes seconds where it used to take hours or days.

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More after the jump.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Notes On A Wounded Lampshade


Photo courtesy Flickr


from an Email to a friend who grumbled that someone had accidentally knocked a tear into a very expensive silk shade
People are doing interesting things with dead lampshades. [A  fashion site] is ornamented with a photo of a vestigial lampshade,  just the armature with a carbon filament bulb. City
Outfitters used to be lighted with huge commercial bulbs shaded by the bones of those giant, awful, cheap Fifties table lamp shades-just the upper wires with a round of fabric tacked in place.

Given the current state of appreciation of the worn, doing nothing with that shade might be a viable strategy. You could also glue a patch in place, using a fine Japanese paper, and then spray it with water to bring it up tight.

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More after the jump.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sour


Photo courtesy Flickr

Ines de la Fressange’s Parisian Style has yielded many useful tips. Not the least of them is the old-school advice to rinse one’s hair with diluted vinegar, the cheap stuff. My hair is happier, and so, it seems, is my sink.

I use the same liquid “green” detergent to wash dishes, hands, and hair. I also use it to clean the sink and tub, scrubbing judiciously with a fresh tuft of the finest steel wool. The same plastic bottle of watered vinegar that rinses hair holds the second pass at the porcelain, that now gleams like new. Even the original clawfoot tub gleams like new, as does the odd batch of cotton laundry.

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More after the jump.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Neo-natal


Photo courtesy Flickr


Saturday was one of those fine garden days, the soil freshly moistened and fragrant from a heavy rain, with hot and cold running neighbors strolling by, some on their way to the largest arts festival in the country. Grooming the front bank, I chatted for a while with a new tenant on the block. He’s subletting for a couple of months while he does an internship.

When my son was born, it was my privilege to hear many birth cries on the ward. I’ll never forget the sound. The new neighbor mentioned that he’d been raised in a rural area of northern California and had lived on acreage all his life. His avocation is equestrian eventing, and his new digs are the first time he’s ever lived in a city. With a faint tinge of wonder in his voice, B. mentioned that he’d “walked up to Safeway” earlier in the morning.

Congratulations. Many more pedestrian joys to him.

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More after the jump.