Category Archives: house decoration

Rugs, Again

I’m making a new tub “mat” only it’s not a mat, it’s a rug, or will be. At the moment it’s 5.5″ across, needs a lot of work before it will be the 3′ across needed. I figure this will take me a week, or more. Also, it will use up the 7 skeins of yarn I currently have set aside for it, and maybe 2x that. I will NOT make another rug of this type from yarn, it takes too much effort. The mat which will go in front of the sink? I’ll make that from tarn, if the door will open over it. If not, I’ll get still more yarn and crochet one to go along with the thick tub mat.

The rugs/mats we have in the bathroom I made, about 3 years ago. The sink one was crocheted, the tub mat was finger crocheted into thicker strands, then were braided and the braids stitched on edge together. Made a nice, thick tub mat.

The new mat will be denser and thinner. I’m very pleased with the way it looks, but it IS a lot of work! I suppose the other mats were a lot of work too, but it’s been long enough that I don’t remember. . . .

I have decided on the technique I will use and the backing for the hearth rug. I do not have all the tarn, or warp thread in the colors I will use. The materials I bought were enough for me to make a sample and figure out how I’ll make that rug. The rug backing is left over from a project I think I started in high school, ’bout time I either used it or pitched it! The tarn hasn’t been made up yet, and I’ll have to buy more t shirts to get enough of the right colors.

I had a large lot of tarn get wet a while back and it mildewed, and got pitched. Ick. So my tarn stores are much lower than they’ve been for some time!

In the meantime, I’ve worked some more at freeing up the attic rug. It’s too big to go into the hearth area, but will do nicely in my office if and when. . . .

 

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My Rose by Any Other Name is a Cacti

Came up with a name for my personal style, not that it will help me find things!

I guess it’s not supposed to? Newer decorating books talk about people’s decorating styles as “raspberry coolatta meets Bullwinkle,” well, no not that, but you get the idea!

If the name doesn’t actually have to be *useful* in telling others what you’re looking for? Well, mine could be:

Funky industrial/retail meets modern, or functional & simple lines are best!

( If you put that into google? You get a bunch of pinterest hits for industrial decorating, which is nice, but . . . .)

An example could be our hearth: the wood box is an old crate we bought at auction: on one side it has a label which reads “American Consulate.” On another it says “Mrs. (somebody) and “silverware.” Who the woman was, what kind of silverware, which consulate? There’s history and an untold story in that crate.

We use it for firewood, 2 wine crates for kindling, an old leaky pressure cooker holds fire starters, and a counter display for carborundum blades holds matches. Oh — and two steel US Quartermaster’s bins hold paper.

The club chairs were bought used at an antique store, the table between is a small library catalog, with a step stool behind it with a plastic cube on that we got as a wedding present, lo those many years ago. The end tables are picnic baskets, also from an antique store.

That’s my style — whatever it is!

Maybe?

repurposed/interesting/useful/retail/military/frugal/industrial — or functional & simple lines are best

Almost none of the stuff in the room was new when we got it. Exceptions: the plastic cube, the ash bucket, the hearth materials and the stove.

So, another revision:

repurposed/interesting/useful/retail/military/industrial/frugal —

or used & functional: simple lines are best

The last bit is the reality, really, I don’t go looking for the industrial or military or retail things. When I find one? It’s a plus, but not a requirement. That makes it:

Used & functional: simple lines are best

Put that into google? You get info about linear regression. NOT helpful!

Sigh.

(You can find the first description of this problem here.)

Rug Ruminations

I have the same slubby fabric I talked about (here). I decided this is just enough to do the stairs and maybe, just maybe something else, but I better do the stairs first. I know who to take the fabric to, to get it prepped. I will ask for and take the woman’s advice. I know where to get a rug pad for the stairs, when I get that far. The stairs need to be painted first anyway.

I found the price tag on the bolt, I spent $32 for it. The stair runners I’ve found which I like are all around $200, so I have a way to go before I’ve spent that much.

With the stairs taken care of, that leaves the 5 x 8 foot or 6 x 8 foot rug for the hearth.

I like this, a LOT. My only problem is that it’s printed, not woven. So in 5 years or so I’ll have to buy another, sigh. I try to not buy printed fabrics for the house, I like woven patterns, as they wear 2x as long. My opinion, but it’s my house & money.

print rug

My second choice is another one at Birch Lane. (I can’t get an image to save so I can load it here.) (birch lane rug link)

My problem with it is two-fold three-fold. 1) It looks thick and comfy to walk on, and messy. 2)It’s jute & cotton (so is the first one) and because it’s so thick, I’m afraid it will stink, like the other mats did. [I’m less afraid of this with the printed rug, ironically, because I think they’d have to clean the fibers well to get the printing to work.] And 3) DH doesn’t like it.

Thought I had a solution. I found a rug at Ikea which would work.  But they aren’t in stock: in MA, in CT, in IL. . . . trying to find the same piece another way, found 0. Sh*t!

All of which leads me back to trying to make my own. I do not want to make a 5 x 8 foot rug. The last 2 door mats I did, I crocheted out of jute string, took about 2 balls of string and 8 hours to do, not to mention “airing” the string and having to stop because the fumes were getting to me.

I bought the last door mat at Home Depot for $8 on sale. Being sick for a day to make a door mat is one thing. Being sick for a week or two, month? to make a 5 x 8 foot rug? Not going to happen. And that’s not counting however long it would also make me sick living with it.

Since the last time I wrestled with this, I (finally) found a place which sells natural fiber rug warp and yarns. I can buy a cone of rug warp and use some fabrics I have prepped here and/or buy some and see what I think. I could crochet one, it would take a long time, but I could do it. Or, if I could find someone to teach me how to warp my loom, I could just weave one!

Also I will buy a small amount of the warp and other materials and see if I can come up with a way to make a rug with materials which don’t make me sick. If the printed rug at the store stinks? Then the warp, etc. is what I’ll do.

However, for the moment, I think I need to go to the store which has the printed rug and see if it stinks? If not, I may buy it, for $199. (That’s on sale, sigh.)

I will take the bolt end to the woman who can prep it and see what she thinks. She no longer has a store front but works out of her home. 11/15

Thirty years ago I would have gone to Pier One and bought a sisal mat. Actually, 30 years ago I bought a blue, flat woven, cotton rug from Conran’s. It’s in the attic. The color was uneven, so I stopped putting it out. In Tampa, I had wall to wall  med. gray carpeting in the living room, bedrooms, dining room, etc. The blue rug was used in my library, a large open area. The faults were obvious and I put it in the attic here. But the hearth area isn’t an open area, it’s fairly crowded.Our huge living room is divided into three functional areas. Hm. If I can get the rug out of the attic, I could maybe put a rug in the hearth area for $0.

I’m off to go look at the attic!

 

Becoming OCD: Symptoms

I have many indicators that I am slipping to the other side:

  1. I’m scraping off the “dirty” part of the soap bar and using that when I wash my hands.
  2. I’m thinking that scissors and other tools with dark handles save cleaning fingerprints from them.
  3. When I toss something, almost anything, I think, “One less piece of clutter . . . “
  4. I started wrapping the cord to the upright vac with crossed loops. Fewer loops, much neater!
  5. Our TP holder has room for a 2nd roll behind. I stopped putting the 2nd roll hole forward and instead put it the same way as the roll we’re using… less visual clutter.
  6. I’ve been cataloging, pricing, and tagging items before I leave home. No more wondering if I’d paid $2 for something or $4? I know the mark-up is adequate, and since I know my pricing schema, I know enough when I start mark downs what I likely paid for the item.  $3 is my bottom price, if I can’t sell something for $3 in a week, it’s not worth bothering with. That is the hard-won knowledge of years of retailing and my old inclination to keep things. I’m getting ruthless!
  7. Becoming OCD is catching, did you know? DH is reorganizing his workshop. He’s using a Space Budget (although he doesn’t call it that).
  8. I’ve decided that I love contractions, abbreviations, ampersands & question marks: shorter and tidier writing. (I really am OCD! Tidy writing??? )

Any minute now, I will become that monster: the woman who won’t go outside because her hair gets messed, who wipes the table whenever anyone lifts a cup from it!

If you know me IRL, please TELL me if when I go too far. Please! How do you avoid falling off a cliff?

Dilemma

Thought I’d found the perfect rug/runner for the staircase for $100, free shipping. Realized the reason I loved it was that it resembled the end of a bolt I had in my office. Dug that out. It’s as wide as the stairs (5′) and 6.4 yards long. More than enough there to carpet the stairs, wall to wall, and I only want a runner. Also, it’s a slubby upholstery fabric with a light backing (like a plastic rug backing, but not as thick) — I have no idea how well it would wear, as a rug.

I could fold the sides into the middle and make a runner rug with a double thickness with the fabric I already have.

I just don’t know what to do. I’m in a style conundrum.

Do you like just one style of stuff in your home? Aren’t you lucky! My dad was a designer/engineer. I was raised to see/appreciate good design in everything, forks to forklifts. He liked modern, I don’t as much. I married an artist, also heavily into design, modern art, and how things look. Also, I was teased, a lot, as a kid, because I had no dress sense, so I decided that I didn’t know what was good or bad.

The result is at 60+ I’m trying for the first time in my life to really decorate a house and I don’t know if I want country, artsy, sleek, minimalist, modern, vintage, or industrial. So far? The modern couch (with a blue/black plaid throw from Pendleton on it) sits in the living room with a painted country jam cabinet I hauled out of a basement, rehabbed box bookcases bought for shows, and a modern coffee table, selected because it was in the attic and fit the very tight space.

There’s a large oak flat file coupled with an antique French baker’s table on the opposite wall. Most of the art on the wall is DH’s photos and there’s a mix of decorative stuff on top: the jam cabinet holds a cat sculpture, some silk flowers, a bird cage, a blue bird and a camera at the moment. the bookcase holds a “books” sign, some silk flowers and two large jars.

The couch is worn, but starkly modern. the throw is 1960s style plaid (not neon), the club chairs are about 1970s “modern” unadorned black fake leather.

The coffee table (also modern) holds a bellows from a very old wood enlarger. The lights are rehabbed theater cans, and there’s a wood casting mould on the wall too.

When the room is tidy, I quite like it. The main problem is the stuff, the things cluttering up the space ruin it, but I like it. I have ideas about new throws and one or more ottomans for the club chairs, but haven’t settled on anything yet.

My problem is that I don’t know why I like it enough to find more! I like the pieces. I love black painted steel stuff, so the mould, lights and the bellows on the table fit that, as does the wood stove and the screen for it. I like large plaids and thick/thin plaids, that takes care of the throw on the couch. But that’s it.

We had a modern house in Florida. We bought the couch for it. The club chairs were small, comfy chairs that are so simple they’ll go with almost anything, and they were cheap in an antique store. The flat file is a tool. The antique baker’s table was bought on sale and has become essentially a work platform. The jam cabinet was rescued from a friend’s basement of a house she was going to sell, they’d stored paint in it (and the mice lived in it) for years. It took a lot of work to destink it and clean it — and I love it.

All of it has simple lines. No ornate carvings, no sweeping curves or arches. The couch is the most sculptural piece of furniture in the room. I’d buy a cozier couch except we already own this one and I actually like the looks of it a lot, but it is NOT cozy. And cozy, warm and comfortable are the only things I know I want, except for simple lines.

I know people talk about styles so that they can talk about groups of things instead of one thing or the other, it’s a way of grouping. I get it. But I don’t know HOW to use what I know to go look for throws for the club chairs on ebay, for example.

“Blue plaid” doesn’t work, nor does “1960s plaid” (found one I loved listed this way, but not two). Neither does looking for more copies of the throw I have at the manufacturer’s site, it seems they no longer make it. So I tried other variations and found the same things I’d already seen.

I’m frustrated. I know what I like when I see it, but have no shorthand way to group those things together which anyone else will recognize. “Simple lines” is wonderful, but it brings too many results. “Blue thick plaids” does the same sort of thing. I can’t find rugs, throws, house designs, curtains, etc. which suit me. I look in home decorating sites or magazines and I find most pictures are either too stark or not to my taste at all. I put stickies in decorating books/magazines of the things I like, usually it’s a small percentage of what’s there.

Because I appreciate good design (as promoted by my Dad) I see and appreciate a great many things, which further muddies the waters quite a bit. I can (and do) look at a lot of things and think, “That’s nice design.” but that doesn’t mean I want to live with it. That last piece is vital, and it’s really very easy for me to forget. There are a great many things here I purchased because I thought they were well designed! (But not because I wanted to live with them.)

It’s supposed to be my taste, right? It should be easy. I suppose this is the result of decades of being told what I should appreciate (Dad), that my taste wasn’t any good (Abuser), and the resulting belief that I had no right to impose my taste on anyone.

I’m so confused!

(You can find further discussion about this here.)

In the General Direction Thereof…

We’ve been measuring. The candelabra won’t fit in the stairway. The rack I wanted to use for cups won’t fit where the current peg rack is, pooh!

Finagling is required: the table top *might* go into the staircase. The candelabra *might* go on the kitchen wall over where the marble table has been. If the pieces won’t fit in either place? Then I suppose the answer is really simple. We attach the table top to its original base and sell the coffee table, for one and sell the candelabra or put it back where it had been.

I have the following over large pieces: candelabra, coffee table top, candle cattail piece, and old shop signs. I like the shop signs (what’s currently in the stairwell) but that part of my life is over and I’d like to have something else in that location. Not to say that I won’t use the store signs anywhere, but I’m not sure where that would be! There’s one hanging on the outside of the woodshed that’s gotten really faded, so I hardly think I want to hang the other sign like that or the little sign outside. Maybe in my office? Maybe in the attic? Dunno, we’ll see!

Glass Door Knobs: the Problem

My husband and I had a conversation the other day about how we’ve gotten so much stuff and how hard it is to get rid of it. He was helping out at the gallery’s tag sale today and took donations with him. I donated a few more things to the swap shop and made 2 dump runs of recycles, yard waste, etc. today too.

The realization I came to a little while ago was this: I was raised by an engineer, who talked about design, how things worked or didn’t — all the time. Everything from chairs, to lights to airplanes, to street paving equipment was fodder for Dad’s design discourse. So I was taught to view almost everything with an eye to its design, good or bad.

Accordingly, I am attracted to things I think are designed well, WHETHER I NEED THEM or FIT MY PERSONAL TASTE, or not. And I am reluctant to get rid of things which fit that category, whether they are practical for my home or not. The candelabra (which hadn’t sold as of yesterday) is like that. Some thing else like this is two sets of glass door knobs I’ve had for 10+ years now. I like door knobs like these:

clear glass door knobs 2

(The image are new ones.) For years they were all but impossible to find or insanely expensive. Mine are old ones. I love them, and they won’t work, or won’t work easily in my home. Where I had anticipated using them was the closets: one in the hallway and one on the landing. But my knobs are so old they won’t work that way because there’s no provision for latches.

Anyway, both the candelabra and these knobs are the same type of thing. I love the design of them, love the objects, but I really have no practical way to use them in my home. That automatically makes them clutter, because they’re just being stored, unused. And so I should cull them and really, really do NOT want to.

DH is the child of an engineer too, but he’s also an artist. So we both have the “good design” problem. We get things because we admire the design of the object, without a clear need for it or any notion of where it will be used or put away. We know there’s no way we can get/keep/store/afford to buy all the things we like.

The first or second or third culling isn’t hard. Duplicated, broken objects, things you no longer remember why you bought or kept are easy. After that, for me, it gets down to things like the glass door knobs, which I still love and still want to use, and know that if I’m being an adult, I’ll need to shed more than a candelabra and 2 sets of door knobs, but it’s no longer easy.

This isn’t because I think the stuff is valuable. It isn’t because I have a sentimental attachment to them, both of which are the most common things people seem to think hoarding is about. Nope. I just plain love these as objects and I have nowhere to use them. Unless I find a way to use them (I have an idea which might work.) they need to go. DH was talking about wiring the candelabra and putting it in the stairway, the only place really big enough for it. . . . if it hasn’t sold . . . ? So, we may actually keep and use both the door knobs and the candelabra, but we also know we can’t keep that up. At some point, we’re going to be selling or giving away things we love.

I’ve gotten past the “I really like this and I’d like to keep it” things. In most cases, other people really like those things too — the stuff I pull from here which I had intended to keep usually sells before things I buy for resale. The last one was a small standing black metal crow. I’d kept it for a while and finally went, “Halloween is coming and I do not need this, although I like it quite a bit.” Yep, it sold in a week or so.

But I’d really like to use my glass door knobs!