Friday, December 7, 2018

Front and Center

Accelerate ordinary tasks by clearing shelves of anything that is not in daily use. There's usually a spare shelf somewhere nearby to hold things that are used at longer intervals. The principle holds true for any storage area of things large or small -30-
More after the jump.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Floor Room

My back enjoys spending the night on a flat, hard surface. A hiker's luxury self-inflating air mattress with memory foam layer makes the experience a pleasant one. Sleeping on the floor in a piece of Western architecture can feel like lying in the bottom of a not especially inspiring bucket, though, even if house rules veto wearing street shoes indoors.

 To simplify housekeeping and make the interior spaces more nimble, I turned one bedroom into a gallery. I suspended framed works from the built-in picture rail and embellished a corner with a classic Victorian scrap screen, four panels covered with, in my case, neighborhood concert posters. The scrap screen brings the visual horizon in the room down to floor level, enriching time spent on the rug. The screen turned out to be the finishing touch in an experimental process that has transformed a conventional bedroom into a combined display area, sleeping space, and home exercise facility. An empty closet lets me stow bedding out of sight during the day. An electric heat mat under the rug melts the kinks out of tired back muscles in no time.


I use a different room to store clothing, but it would be trivial to move my wardrobe back into this space. There's plenty of room for the cedar chest that holds most of the collection. The rest of my things take up about fifteen inches of pole-30-
More after the jump.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Getting A Grip

It has been my privilege to work with a collection of hand tools fabricated by a man trained who as a knife smith in Europe's far north. His design of the interface of human body and business end of a blade, commonly known as a handle, shines the brightest of lights on how to take best advantage of physical energy, especially if said blade is sharp.

Many of the complexities of marketing and production of powered tools could be simplified by making skilled handle design available at the retail level. Digital milling and the sophisticated analysis of bio-mechanics that is the fruit of international sports competition would make it relatively trivial to produce custom handles for a given individual.



The tools I have access to have been in ordinary use since around 1900. They show no signs of wear or weakness except for the paint on the handles. Some of them are as beautiful as the Shaker and African work I have seen in museums. The planet paid one carbon price for their production that is barely measurable in 2018. The inventory takes little storage space and requires nothing but a good meal to power it -30-

More after the jump.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Wrap

I am uncharacteristically early in setting up for the holidays. Yesterday I brought out the stocking stuffers I'd been tossing into a drawer since June. The next (small) drawer down holds gift wrap. A morning's fiddling and sort proved the value of investing in reusable wrap.

I pick up bandannas to use as furoshiki. Not seldom, the wrap costs more than the gift, but no one has complained. It takes seconds to wrap an awkwardly shaped object in a scarf and tie up the ends. It takes just a few seconds more to tie a decorative thing, like the plastic tentacle that has become a staple of fun, into the knot. A to-from cut from stick-on label stock handles communications. Tiny cards in matching envelopes from a high-end stationer are right for major presentations. 

Friends who save ribbon love to save the real thing. When I first paid for double-faced satin ribbon to tie up a gift box, l wheezed. Years later, that first length of ribbon is still going strong. Last year, it embellished the wreath on the front door. No minor part of the economy of reusable gift wrap is how small the time and travel cost of acquisition grows with each successive reuse -30-


More after the jump.

Monday, December 3, 2018

In Time

Most clothing is so well made these days that I rarely have to sew on a button. Heavy mileage on a favorite coat left one button hanging like a loose tooth, though. Like a loose tooth, I pulled the button off as soon as I realized it might be lost, stowing it in my wallet until I got home. I sew so seldom that when I do it feels like working with my feet.


I set up the mending kit under a lighted magnifier. The lamp was so comforting I didn't actually have to use it except to thread the needle. It's always amazing to discover that two minutes with needle and thread generates years of life for a garment for which I paid dearly -30-
More after the jump.