Friday, February 28, 2014

Fashion Fusion


Photo courtesy Flickr

Canny women have long worn dance wear on the street. The black tight is hardly worth mentioning. Caterine Milinaire and Carol Troy’s Cheap Chic laid out the code in the Seventies. The Good Old Leotard Company is still at it on line, with low prices, presumably the same brilliant quality as ever, and an interesting page about nutrition and fitness. 

The emerging synthesis of field and urban clothing is blossoming at the Great Big Hiking Co-op, Deep South America, and Dinosaur. Dance clothing enables the pedestrian, supports healthy movement all day, and is the foundation of emergency preparedness. The brands and vendors I allude to supply righteous quality whose cost per use is hardly worth measuring. Two exercise bras I bought fifteen years ago have pencilled out at .013 cents per wearing-so far.

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More after the jump.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Notes On A Cool Apartment


Photo courtesy Flickr

Enjoying the water view from a Market breakfast table the other week, a waiter caught my eye. At least I think he was a waiter: he was wearing a white shirt and trousers and wiping down a table with a practiced hand.

The fellow was working behind generous corner windows in some kind of mid-rise dwelling unit a couple of blocks from my seat. I wondered momentarily if there were a restaurant in the building, and then a companion in a white T-shirt stepped into view. Behind the table was wall storage that could have been either a back bar or kitchen support. 

No matter-the function and elegance of the scene was clear.

I’ve been edging toward coffee shop style since I saw a glossy shelter Manhattan apartment fitted out with chromed wire storage racks and thick white industrial china. The approach is the toney version of Fifties’ populuxe, low brow without question, efficient without question, and as comfortable and supportive as the daily mug in Andy's Cafe' of blessed memory. I knew the design direction was viable when an old school English china company brought out its high end version of Homer L’s heavy dishes in vanilla with a glaze to drown in.

Um, quite a while ago I chose wedding china in two variants of the same body, plates in plain grey, bowls, cups, and serving pieces in an ornamented version. The stuff is also old school and English, and there has been no breakage over two generations. I stack the plates with the ones in best condition on the bottom of the pile. The uppermost plates have acquired the fine haze of well-worn china shared and maintained by many hands.

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More after the jump.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bask


Photo courtesy Flickr

Some time ago, I bought a UL rated heat mat to set under a small rug. The mat is a heavenly place to bask in the chilly pits of a Seattle winter.

As a furniture-arranging experiment, I moved a small collection of foot lockers into a nearly empty room. Sliding the lockers around on their Magical Teflon feet, I pushed the trio into a block and realized they make a first-rate platform, raising the floor like a Japanese sitting area. The platform is about the height of a skater’s fun box, high enough to avoid drafts, and closely resembles the meditation structures of the one American zendo I have visited.

The lockers vary slightly in height. I finesse the irregularities with a small rug and a couple of sheepskins. The platform is covered with a flokati rug from The Great Big Northern European Furniture Chain. In classical times, Greeks covered their sleeping platforms with sheepskins. The flokati looks like a sheepskin that spares the sheep. It covers the storage platform neatly, lying in well-mannered folds at the corners. Padded underneath with a fuzzy wool blanket, the platform is a comfortable perch and a good staging area for projects. 

The platform is just right as it is for the current space and use. Should I decide to expand it with a fourth locker, it would be a good length for sleeping. I could set the heat mat under the cover and turn the arrangement into a heated lounging and sleeping platform. The mat’s too warm for sleeping, but lounging on it is a good way to uncoil enough to start a set of exercises.

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More after the jump.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tidy Code


Photo courtesy Flickr

I run my life from visual cues. Flirting perilously with excess order, I have found that squaring off something I’m leaving out to continue a project tells me at the speed of light that all is ready to go. When I run across something that’s been set down without thought, I also know at the speed of light that it’s time to decide what to do with it and then do it.

This simple practice has eliminated the self-inflicted housekeeping that burdened my existence. 

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Absolute Simple Elegance


Photo courtesy Flickr

That was the review a friend brought back from a private tour of a new interior of high privilege. I’ve been tweaking the house along those lines in the several months since I heard Mary Kate’s critique. Elegant is open to question, but as close to elegant as I can manage. Simple is simple, often more subtle than the merely complicated. Absolute doesn’t belong in a family facility, but one can aim for smooth management with few hiccups in procurement and maintenance.

I do not regret one decision since I started keeping house with those values uppermost in my mind. Artifacts live close to where I use them first. When I’m finished using them, I leave them ready to use the next time. The place is furnished for the convenience of the number of persons living here full-time. Guest amenities fold and store out of the way. Each floor of the house has a glass-fronted storage and display area where small furnishings are corralled. 

The house is set up so that when I want to dust and vacuum, I can dust and vacuum, not thrash around trying to clear surfaces so I can do even more work. I vacuum the air as well as interior surfaces to extend intervals between cleaning sessions. HEPA filters are one key to the mint. The other is to remove shoes at the entrance.

That’s all it takes.

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More after the jump.