Category Archives: Using up stuff

More Rug Stuff

The blue slubby fabric for the stairs was returned by the seamstress a while back.  She made it more finished than I had in mind, which is both a good and bad thing. Good in that it may just wear longer. Bad, in that she put a seam down the middle of the piece and DH is concerned it will wear more quickly or be bulky there. We unrolled it down the stairs and I will say it looks stunning. The stairs need to be painted, first. I also need to decide if I’m doing stair rods or how I’m attaching the fabric, if not with stair rods.

The living room rug which was in front of the couch has been replaced with one of the new rugs. The replaced rug was made by the Mennonite Committee from old blue jeans. I don’t have a designated place to put it. Now I have too many rugs, or too many rugs I’m not sure where they’ll go — of course!

There are:

  • The 2 newest rugs (which match the living room rugs). These are runners.
  • the blue jean rug. This is a runner.
  • a rug made from old saris I bought used two years ago. This is a very long runner.
  • the dining room rug. This is NOT a runner!

I started this post before we’d found the new living room rugs, and solved that part of the problem. Obviously, I like runners!

The other issue, that of the stair rug? It doesn’t have a solution yet either.

So I solved the living room rug dilemma, but created another or added to it. That’s the way it goes around here!

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Stealing From Our Grandmothers

Because I make rugs from old clothes, I’m always looking at the cheapest clothing in thrift shops with the idea that I could maybe use the materials? A few weeks ago, I found a super heavy, dirt brown wool pullover sweater. Ugly color. Not an attractive shape, but it was WOOL and heavy….

One of my rarely used tools is my long-pole feather duster. It upsets me for three reasons.

  1. That although I got it used, it’s made with ostrich feathers. (If it was made of chicken feathers I don’t think I’d mind so much, hypocrite and happy chicken consumer that I am!)
  2. It doesn’t work all that well. It has a telescoping metal handle, which is handy when trying to clean the staircase fan/light. It gets the fan blades cleaner but NOT clean!
  3. It’s a single-use tool. I only use it on the fan, and as I said, it doesn’t work that well….

Accordingly, I hardly use the feather duster. I feel guilty every time I look at it thinking that some bird’s tail feathers (and likely nothing else) were used to make it.

Our grandmothers covered their brooms with cloth, by pinning it on, to make dusters.

When I cut the felted sweater into pieces today, I had the yoke with the neck separate, and thought, “WTF a I going to do with that?” And then it hit me — one arm was flattened out and wrapped around the bottom of my broom. The neck was threaded onto the handle of the broom, and wrapped around the first piece. Fastened with a kilt pin? I now have a “duster” with a thick, recycled wood pad — on the end of a pole.

When I need to use the broom as a broom, I’ll just unpin the yoke, remove the now dirty sleeve for washing and put away the yoke and pin with the other flattened sleeve.

The wool started out dirt colored, so I don’t have to worry that using it will stain it and it will need replacing.

I already had the pin.

The sweater yielded 2 small sheets heavy brown felt, two dusting pads, a method to connect them to my current broom,  and the ability to remove another single-use tool from my life. Whoopee! [The feather duster is in the discard bin.]

The only thing I don’t have? A way to clean the fan, but that’s not new.

What’s New?

A few things. DH decided that he couldn’t “make due” even with all the work he’d done on the wallboard in the niche, so he’s in the process of tearing out the not-square, straight, or supported correctly wallboard, and replacing it, so it’s square and adequately supported.

This house is a weird mix. The guy who built it bought top-notch materials, like solid-wood doors, then did really bad workmanship, if there was any, with them. Why bother? This means every time we try to upgrade or just replace something, it becomes a demo/replace because the apparent, initial problem is only an indicator of what’s lurking under the surface. This place looked great ….

The other thing is that I finally decided I had to make the living room rug. I won’t spend the $500+ for a rug I like. I can find cheaper rugs, but they’re plastic and we’ve spent a lot of time/money taking plastic out of here because I’m allergic or sensitive to much of it. So, I’m knitting (that’s a shock, remember this and that?) a rug in 5′ long panels from old tshirts. I’ve made rugs from tshirts before (see pics below). The biggest one, in the laundry was 4 x 6 . I never took a pic.

The little one (the colorful one below) which had been in the bathroom got taken apart when I discovered I couldn’t get it the stains out of it. I dismantled it, then washed the strips, still couldn’t get them clean; they were trashed. The black and white one was made for someone and given away. The laundry room rug got mildewed when our old washer developed a leak, and I couldn’t remove the stench from the pieces, so most of it went to the dump too.

I’ve started other rugs, but the strips got mixed with the mildewed strips, before I realized how bad the mildew was (I’d washed them of course!) and 95% of the tarn I had prepared got trashed.

This was so discouraging I quit working with tarn completely.

The new living room rug, will be 5 x 8 feet, knitted from tarn. If all  the pieces are the same size as the piece I’ve been working on, I need to 17 strips,5′ long. I don’t think it will take that many as I intend to do something in between the knitted pieces. If it works? I won’t have to make 17. I hope!

The first piece has 15 tshirts worth of material in it.  I need to make the 2nd piece (or part of it) and try my joining idea. If the joining works, then I’ll refigure how many knitted strips, and tshirts needed.

Conservatively? If I just make the 17 pieces, at a shirt rate of 15 per 5′ strip? It’s 204 shirts, that’s all! Making the tarn actually takes longer than the knitting, no surprise.

Rug #1

1st rug

Rug #2

sarah's rug.JPG

Update

The closet space has been taped, mudded, primed and painted. The vanity cabinet has been installed where it will go. The limestone top for it has been selected, paid for and is awaiting pick up. The now-obviously necessary drawer and cabinet hardware is under discussion. After that? We have to figure out finishing the sides and the shelves which are going above. We have to find something to fill the flooring gap, temporarily anyway. (The guy who built this house took every short cut he could. One of those was that most of the floor coverings end at the closet doors.

We’ve decided what we’ll probably do with the old closet door (and its frame). More on that later. At the moment, they’re in the living room kitchen,(2/14) NOT where it will stay.

The limestone top is in place. 2/10/18.

The cabinet hardware is on order 3/2018.

Herbal Zero Waste

I grow herbs and spices here: parsley, sage, mint, oregano, chives, etc. I dry some every year. I do this because if you look at the price per lb. of spices at your local market, you’ll discover that they are among the most expensive, if not THE most expensive foods by weight.

The way I dry them is mostly in lunch bags, plain old brown paper lunch bags. I write on the bottom: the herb, date, and source. (The CSA grows herbs/spices too!) and hang them with rubber bands around the bag’s neck and a peg rack.

After about 2 months, I have dried leaves of whatever: parsley, sage, oregano, basil, etc.

I took down all but the last two of these today.

The spices/herb leaves were added to the appropriate containers, the stems were added to the kindling box, and the rubber bands were returned to the appropriate container as well. The bags? The bags got filled with the “trash” that sits in the bottom of the wood or kindling box (leaves, small twigs, dirt from the logs, pieces of bark, etc.). The bag’s neck was retwisted and

Shazaam! 

You get instant, free, zero waste all-natural fire starters and a clean wood or kindling box!

It makes the messy business of cleaning the wood box kind of fun.

I felt the same years ago: we put corn out for squirrels and I used the dried cobs as fire starters. I thought that idea was original! My MIL told me that one of her jobs on the farm, when she was growing up, was to get the cookstove’s fire going, with dried corn cobs saved for that. [I didn’t grow up on a farm in the midwest, but in L.A.; it was new to me!]

This idea, of stuffing the kindling “trash” into lunch bags will probably also be old to many, but it was a new idea for me again. I’m glad I thought of it, whether it’s a new, or not.

Redesigning the Living Room, etc.

Larger table from hall has become a couch table, behind the couch and under the window. This plus end tables I think eliminates the need for a coffee table!

The coffee table, accordingly, is going back to the attic.

The smaller hall table has replaced the two bookcases in the entry, with the shoe rack beneath, but in a more appropriate location.

One bookcase from the entry has gone into the hall. The other needs to go to the attic or my office.

The basket end tables have been moved to the couch sides.

_______

Everything above has been done. What hasn’t been done is below.

The club chairs in the hearth area will be turned 90 degrees to the woodstove, we’ll see how that works, or if it doesn’t. The small library catalog will become a table between the two chairs. I need to get a piece of glass cut for its top, but that’s it.

Long term: I will paint most if not all of the bookcase boxes which are staying in the room and the baseboards.  The cases not being painted will be moved into my office. From my office, the counter will be moved into the kitchen where the marble table currently sits, after that’s taken to the antique store to sell.

We’re still moving the clear spot around, like one of those puzzles, but the clear spot is significantly larger than it used to be!

 

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!