Friday, February 3, 2017

Empty Set vs. Empty Space

Latin languages' call furniture "movables". It was only in the nineteenth century that kerosene and linters, the fluffy waste from weaving cotton, enabled a room furnished with massive dormant furniture. Earlier tables and seating were light enough to move here and there to take advantage of natural light and the heat of the hearth, as was the Scandinavian modern furniture that emerged after World War Two.

I find it disheartening to set up a room for a gathering that may never happen. Aside from the emotional burden, it's a bother to clean and dust a set-up that isn't doing a thing to earn its keep. It's far more elegant to edit a room to current essentials and stash folded director's chairs in an unobtrusive corner of the house.The ubiquitous messenger bag contains the office and life support essentials that used to devour house room.

There's a sofa or sofa-equivalent on each floor of the house waiting to support the catnaps that do so much for cognition. There's a sturdy table here and there to dine at and use for work. A collection of study lamps ensures good working conditions. There's only one central waste and recycling set-up on each floor. Each floor has one room that is used to store the small furnishings that do so much to impede a cleaner and retard rearranging space. The more spare the interior becomes, the more fun I have in it, and the easier it is to get things done -30-
More after the jump.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Green Beans

A moment of slothful expedience led me to discover a faster, more delicious way to cook green beans. I simply put them whole into boiling water. When they're approaching tender, I drain the pot, blanch the beans with cold water once or twice, and they're done.

Afterwards, I can trim off the stems, leave them on and serve the beans as finger food, or store them in the refrigerator. Leaving the stems on allows the beans to cook without losing any flavor, and they store better -30-
More after the jump.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Housemaid's Knee

Much of the time, a simple pass with a mop dampened with no-rinse neutral pH janitorial cleaning solution is enough to refresh one of the many painted floors in this 1890 interior. I use a janitor's telescoping anodized aluminum handle with a toothed rectangular attachment that is designed to hold a nylon scrubbing pad. If I use a scrubber, it is usually a white one, that is the least aggressive. Otherwise, I use a hemmed terry cloth (bar wipe or face cloth), a system that pre-dates the patented one sold at the grocery. It's versatile and economical if one has a washing machine.

Nothing, however, gets a floor cleaner than old-fashioned hands and knees attention. Now and then I set pride aside and get a core workout while seeing to the very edges of a room. There are no buckets in this system. I can spray a floor if using the mop or wipe it down with a succession of pre-dampened cloths while working on all fours -30-
More after the jump.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017


An acquaintance taught me the value of dressing out of a dairy crate, one step more formal than dressing skater style off the floor. In my life, the crate is a cedar chest. Spring is creeping toward Seattle, and yesterday morning was a good time to toss and sort the rags. A wedding last fall generated some quality basics in the inventory, and a few minutes' observation of the piles on the floor made it easy to identify which garments will play well with others.

Andrea's milk crate saves her precious seconds on the way to the bus. Defining the contents of my personal crate allows me to do much the same. Any rag that caused me to pause and think went into the reserve pile.

The same approach works with any category. The art school rule of thumb is to resolve it or leave it out -30-
More after the jump.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Skin Condition

Of a Sunday, I enjoy crack of dawn window shopping on line. The Great Big Northern European Clothing Chain features new and emerging designers. One company can be counted on to show innovative combinations of classics that have proven a rich source of ideas for using what I already own. I may never buy one of their pieces-they don't market to me-but I am sold on their design strategy. It confirms the wisdom of paying three times as much for a well-made garment cut of good fabric that will have a tenth of the cost per wearing of something ephemeral.

Add the wisdom of being out of fashion, The Christmas Miracle's house brand for women, cheap summer basics from a drug chain, ordinary mail order outer wear, and this kid is good to go and relatively green, to boot -30- More after the jump.