Friday, January 4, 2019

The Christmas Housekeeping Hangover

Now that I'm back on leaves and fruit, I have energy enough to patrol obscure corners of the house preparing to put it back together after the New Year. In the not too distant past when setting up for the Great Feast, I often cleared a room hastily enough to generate a clotted nest of small furnishings and textiles. This year was calmer. I've been through the process enough times to have stored or deleted possessions that complicate rearranging a space.

It's deeply pleasing to have inventory integrated enough to allow setting up for the holiday in minutes and to be able to contemplate breaking the decorations down with just as little effort. A key to the system is to have edited kitchen and tabletop gear to suit daily demand and to have almost no redundancy. I'm happy to mix silver plate and granite enameled steel ware on the same buffet, and guests seem to enjoy the mix.

High-tech LED lamps, with their minimal demands on space, make it easy to reconfigure table tops and seating. White napkins of varying degrees of formality makes it easy to deploy the various cloths that disguise the frankly utilitarian tabletops in our private version of a coffee shop. 


Key to the mint are the freestanding paper shopping bags that stand  open and ready to receive quickly sorted small items of inventory. Such bags greatly accelerate turnaround time in every housekeeping task -30-

More after the jump.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

The Throw

A friend asked my opinion of a suggested sewing project for an economical throw. Few of the current uses and materials make sense to my experience of an old house and the damp chill of Western Washington. In these parts, the finest mohair is the best deal. One is good for thirty years at least. A second best value is ready-made from The Oregon Round-up Blanket Company, especially on sale right after Christmas. As I type, I'm looking at a car blanket that's been in service since 1958. Except for a treasure of hand knitting or crochet, anything else just complicates housework without producing any R or emergency value -30-  
More after the jump.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Freestanding Furniture

Contemplating the post-Christmas family parlor of this old house, I realized once again how convenient it is to have furnishings that stand alone. Early on, I fell for a lot of design advice that recommended fastening things to the wall to make the most of space. In my experience, doing so makes the most of repair time and/or the landlord's damage deposit.


The demands on my interior space are unpredictable. It's immensely relaxing to know that I can rearrange a room without having to rehabilitate it at the same time-30-
More after the jump.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Do You Want Ten Gallons of Cream?

My actual experience of a working agricultural household can be counted in minutes. I was along for the ride when a friend stopped at a farm to take care of a minor errand. We were invited in for coffee, and I can't remember a more edifying visit.

I had heard and read that the owners of a working farm will equip production areas before they furnish the house. The interior of the turn of the twentieth century farmhouse where I was seated bore witness to those priorities and to the advantages of careful maintenance in pristine air. Part of the space had been remodeled, and there was a vertical line of demarcation between the update and the original surfaces of the dining room. My hostess served coffee on a table furnished with original pressed glass dishes, an American technical innovation that stimulates aggression in collectors. The table service had been procured once, procured well, and used carefully for generations. Not a penny had been squandered. When it was time to leave, herself casually asked my friend if she could use an extra ten gallons of cream.


With so many people working out of their domiciles these days, such values hold true for city living as well. The cream, in urban terms, is the amazingly rich product of the knowledge work that claims so many hours of so many lives that are busy paying off student loans -30-
More after the jump.