Friday, November 30, 2018

The Micro-lamp

I ordered a purportedly eighteenth century stoneware jar to replace a similar vessel that had been a favorite casual vase. The new piece let water seep through-it was probably a snuff jar-but I was reluctant to let it go, because its well-honed practical form is irresistible. It sat around for a couple of years until a moment of folly suggested I take it to the Wallingford lamp specialist and have it wired. It was pure indulgence to commission a miniature cone shaped clip-on shade for its night light bulb. 

I am delighted with the result. Nothing says Seventies living room leisure like that kind of reading lamp. I now have a one-fifth scale version that doesn't eat the room the way the original would do -30-
More after the jump.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Pillow Origami

A hiccup in the flow of laundry led my partner to cover a pillow with a t-shirt, skater style. It's an engaging effect that I decided to leave in place. Aping a remembered commercial housekeeping practice, I tucked the sleeves into the back to tidy the pillow for presentation. A nurse taught me a fine point: set the open end of a pillow case to face away from the entrance to the room -30-
More after the jump.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018


The traditional Japanese wood house with its paper doors and cedar roof offered little protection from fire. Possessions were stored in a fireproof mud structure to the rear of the main building. Known as a kura, the store had walls three feet thick and was entered through a stoutly-constructed timber door. 

The design makes sense of the country's elegant tradition of packaging, where each artifact has its own cubical storage box, placed chock-a-block in the kura to conserve space. Presumably the textile wrapping of the box offers subtle air circulation to protect from mold. The kura concept makes great sense these days. Any arrangement that simplifies security simplifies daily life -30-
More after the jump.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018


I got behind last month, and when I reconnected I discovered that several urgent tasks had simply evaporated. Negative feedback about one rendered it useless. A faster, cheaper strategy for another made it redundant. Koberg and Bagnall's Universal Traveler is a gold mine of good ideas. I live by their question "What's the worst thing that can happen if I...? -30-
More after the jump.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Notes on Winter Clothing

A friend from the East Coast sent along her surplus hats and mittens. In a good year, Seattle supports a four-season wardrobe, but there are circumstances when sturdy wool outerwear is a welcome resource. It doesn't make sense for most hiking, because weight is a meaningful variable when one is carrying all the essentials of life support. For day use in the field, though, when close to home or vehicle, a thick resilient layer of fire-resistant fiber that stays warm when wet is just the ticket.

Stout wool blocks wind, insulates, and protects from thorns and branches. The gear my friend sent will be serving its second generation of users, melting without a ripple into an inventory acquired dearly thirty years ago. The kids are proud of their heirlooms, and I'm grateful that they are -30-
More after the jump.