Category Archives: home decor

Addendum to the end of March…

I’m still waiting for the tiles to come in – I got the call that they came in, but when I went to pick them up, they had cancelled the order instead…

Not sure what happened there, but hopefully there’s still a bit of a time buffer…

Which is good because I can’t decide on the paint color.

This was the “temporary” fix – grey and pink – but the grey is much too pale for the soon to be mostly white with a bit o’black (bye bye almond!) tile and fixtures.

The three colors in the top pic are already in the house – I like repeating things for some degree of continuity – but these are all love it or hate it kind of colors.

Well, every color is really I guess…

The mint is in the kitchen.

It was our first, first choice, but the bath is pretty dim, so I’m afraid of it falling a bit dull – it didn’t work when we tried it with the almond fixtures.

The yellow is in the living room.

It’s been my current leaning-to color.

And the dull pink is in the guest room (doesn’t photo well, but it’s pink enough to not be band-aid, but it’s on the earthier side).

This was our choice for a good bit of time, partly because it’s already in there a bit and I could keep the curtain.

Which is another choice…

There’s just the right amount left of this vintage fabric that could work if the tree-like things were on their sides instead of upright – that might drive me nuts, but it works for all colors…

Opinions?

(I should have saved peach for it, but it’s already in the bedroom and half bath…)

 

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under home, home decor

End of March

Things are still busy and will be for the next few weeks, month, some period of time that will perhaps never let up.

The premature spring followed by the belated winter has messed with my head, but the extended daylight makes things a bit more correct again.

A small herd of deer has taken a fancy to the yard.

The dog absolutely does not fancy them.

He starts a new class for complicated dogs next week – fingers crossed he’ll soon learn to cope with other four-legged, or rather, all, creatures soon.

Fiber-wise, I’m still finishing up several things and resisting the temptation to start anything new.

I’ve started the garden seeds, and N has started to break up the concrete walks to nowhere in the yard.

It’s sucky work, but he’s an ace with a sledgehammer and we’re saving a good chunk of money on the deconstruction.

We need a helluva lot of plants – ones not delectable to deer – but I’m happy to reduce the lawn as much as possible.

The bathroom reno is finally starting, well, scheduled.

After looking at hundreds of tiles, various solid shower wall options, and green resilient flooring, we settled in our comfort zone – all tile, tiles we’ve used before, ones that are very affordable, and fit into the vintage cottage vibe going on in the house already.

First we have a bit of an emergency with  having to replace the basement sewer line though… a rather shitty situation.

Leave a comment

Filed under gardening, home, home decor

In the closet

Home improvement continues around these parts…

I called in a contractor for shits to price out the bathroom reno I’ve been having trouble with, and of course he charged in with the rallying cries of:

Gut it!

Take it down to the studs!

And I get that when a place really needs to be insulated and the plumbing and wiring needs to be replaced – to a degree – but for a very simple remodel? I shudder to think what would unnecessarily be going into the landfill, and all of the older, better built things replaced with newer crappier things. But we’ll see when the quote comes in – I am willing to pay a bit more for the convenience of showering within a day or two rather than a week – and we know our limits with some plumbing re-installation, so we’ll need at least some professional help, but without seeing the quote yet, but knowing it’s going to be at least 3 times what I budgeted, I’m gearing up for another DIY job with the help of our friendly (but not cheap) plumber instead of a crew… But we’ll see.

During this process, I went to the bathroom store the contractor uses to price out the fixtures. We’re in a weird area of big wealth, muddy farmers (some wealthy too), and semi-scrappy “artists” and ageing hippies (again, either wealthy or hand-to-mouth). In our little town at the fancier hardware store and green building center, everyone is friendly and doesn’t make assumptions based on how you look on your budget – sometimes I want the fancier, better quality higher-priced things, sometimes I want the budget line, but I want to talk about both to see which is the best option. But the bathroom store was out in the vast mcmansion acres and the salesperson pegged me as a penniless shack-dweller and rushed me through to get to the next (bejeweled) customer. This sets my teeth to grind – I want to support the local businesses and I’m willing to pay a bit more for them, but when I can get the same toilet/tub/sink/faucets at the big (blue, not orange) box for a bit less and without attitude it’s hard… but one shit salesperson isn’t the whole business, so I’m thinking too much about it.

But we’re still a few weeks out on that project.

In the meantime, I finished the wood of N’s cubby for the “cloakroom.”

closet-cloakroom

This coat closet added an endearing element to the house during our search – too many of these mid-century cape cods that we saw around here lacked any interesting nooks and crannies apart from the ubiquitous knee wall closets, but this place has a few more closets and turns than the others. Some days I’m tempted to put a little desk in there ala a  windowless cramped dickensonian accounting office or something, and occasionally the dog wanders in to consider making it his den.

It still has evidence of the original children that I didn’t have the heart to paint over.

closet-kid-graffiti

(But I did get rid of the original lime green also seen here.)

And then there are the bedroom closets that aren’t so great. One is large and was built-out with shit paneling in the ’70s or so that I painstakingly spruced up (still need a better solution for the sliding doors, but at least they’re painted nicely now) that N uses. Another is a small, but not-too-tiny size, but with a fairly narrow door that makes reaching for anything not in the middle absolutely annoying, especially before dawn. This one is mine. It is lined in thin dark plywood that should have been some sort of wallboard but wasn’t, and I should have installed some but didn’t, so I thought painting it was the best other option – a lighter color could help me see in there a bit better and the acidic wood needed to be sealed to protect my clothes.

closet-early-during

But I should have used the shellac-based primer, but I didn’t want to get gassed out, but instead got slowly gassed out by three coats of the regular stuff… And I went against my always-should-be-followed advice against cheap paint – it’s like trying to coat the walls with skim milk even after all the primer. But I wasn’t satisfied with a fresh coat of paint and the seams caulked up – the floor was still gappy in a few places at the bottom edges and the plywood didn’t reach all the way down, or evenly.

closet-trim

So I added some trim – a bit of over finishing for a closet perhaps, but it’s something I feel oddly strongly about – if something looks sloppy, then it brings down the place – it shows thoughtlessness, carelessness, and makes you wonder what other hidden things are wrong like a fancy meal made with factory farm meat…

And I’d also like to pause here for some unashamed bragging – the closet floors still have the original finish on the oak , and I managed to match it perfectly – seen in the doorway and to the left. (That BFA paid off, right?) The hard wax oil I used has been holding up well and I would use it again, but I just touched up several areas of scratches after two or so years – mostly from felt furniture pads capturing a piece of grit, and a few from the dog, but his claws seem to slightly dent it more with the finish intact rather than scratching the finish off.

closet-floor

And now I’m waiting for paint to dry so I can put on a second, maybe third coat, let it cure, and then put it all back together (and maybe have the electrician put in a light if they’ve got a bit of time left after their next job here.)

closet-almost-after

So instead of a project that should have been done and dusted in a day and a half, it will have taken nearly all of a four day weekend and some time off of my lung lifetime.

And there’s another just like it in my workroom that is next, along with trim for the pantry, and hall (kitchen equipment) closet, and linen closet, and maybe the office, but I’d have to move the filing cabinets out first to check…

(And that big Heywood Wakefield double dresser peeking in from the left still needs to be refinished as well, but it is so impossibly heavy and it would be stupid to sand and refinish it in place, right?…)

2 Comments

Filed under home, home decor, recycling

Some time in January

I’m on a wrap-up bender and actually might be able to stick a fork in a couple more things by the end of the month, but I don’t want to jinx it…

But I’m here to keep track of things, so you might want to hit snooze for the next few posts…

One thick sock is 90% done (still needs top ribbing, I always do that last and at the same time as the other to maximize yardage) and another is fast on the way – first socks are usually a very slow, very occasional project for me, but I get a burst of impatience after one is done – I have the opposite of second sock syndrome – second sock mania?

jan-thick-sock

And there’s still a bunch of tasks to do around the house – some tiny and doable in a day, others still make me want to weep.

jan-tiles

I thought the official bathroom re-do could wait another year or too, and while the painted floor is still just fine, the underneath is not… I’m still not 100% on tile though, originally I wanted marmoleum to keep the weight to a minimum and still think it’s an issue, but it’s got some issues too (mostly $$$) and the sink I’d been pining for isn’t made anymore, and our water stains in a dirty rainbow, so I can’t accept wanting white fixtures but not being able to fully clean them and/or willing to constantly clean them, but the beige has got to go and dark grey fixtures would be hella expensive and potentially scare off a buyer and/or my favorite toilet is white only, and I can’t figure out the shower walls, and… no other house project has been so frustrating for me…

But I finally replaced the floor in the pantry – from this godawful “vintage” vinyl:

jan-old-floor

To this contemporary godawful vinyl:

It’s awful because it’s vinyl and I oppose vinyl in nearly every circumstance, and I wanted black-ish stuff and this is faux soiled metal of some sort – but – it was only three tiles and it’s where the recycling can and back-up water supply goes, so it doesn’t really matter except that it is no longer annoying to see that nasty old stuff. The original linoleum is still holding up, but if we’re still here coming up on another decade, it will likely need to be replaced, so we’d probably just run the flooring into the pantry too (the old linoleum was there, just gouged up beyond repair).

(I’d also like to get some lighting in said pantry, but then the floor would look annoying again.)

In the same weekend I finally got around to fixing the caulk around the kitchen sink that I should’ve done better the first time around, touching up paint, oiling the counters, and N built a nifty cubby in our cloakroom.

(That I still need to finish, but I’m waiting on the oil wax.)

I’m still in full-on cold-sheep mode again for yarn this year except for festivals and legitimate need – usually that ends up being superwash for gifts and whatnot – my superwash stash/scraps only fit in the equivalent of a shoebox at any given time – but this reflective yarn caught my eye recently and I got both some godawful nasty acrylic on the cheap, as well as filament/thread stuff that I can hold with a better yarn. N walks the dog in the dark on sidewalkless roads so they both could use some items made of it.

jan-reflective

The orange yarn also broke my buying made-in-China ban (could have sworn it said made in Turkey, which I know nothing about the conditions and regulations there, but at least it’s not China?) But the dog’s fondness of mud and brambles limits things to the very cheap and warm-washable. There are some reflective wool blends out there too, but I’m hoping the spool of filament stuff is the way to go for human wear – especially since I scored both an orange cashmere and another orange wool sweater perfect for unraveling at the thrift a few months ago…

Leave a comment

Filed under home, home decor, knitting

Chugging along

With the help of N, the yarn bowl is now sturdy again and is occupying a place in the living room.

My goal is to get rid of the other yarn bowl on the side table so that the room only has two project receptacles in it at a time – the standing bowl and a ubiquitous African basket. But the standing bowl is shallow, and the other is deeper and holds that sweater I’ve been pissing and moaning about, so once the sweater is done, the bowl can go, right?

I’m not even sure I like the sweater any more – I love the yarn in it, but I don’t really want/need another pullover, but it’s useless now without the bottom tenth and the sleeves, and I don’t want to unravel it, so I just need to bang it out.

Like these socks – for a minute they were never-ending, then they were done.

And just in time for a cold snap.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under home, home decor, knitting

Randomly in autumn

It’s been a wonky autumn.

erratic-autumn-moon

Last week’s laundry basket held corduroy pants, thick wool socks, shorts, and a bathing suit.

I didn’t go to Rhinebeck this year and I didn’t really miss it…

My schedule has been a bit erratic, and my making stuff time has been as well, (not to mention my brain), so I’m still sticking to easy mindless things for the moment.

I helped design a functional c. 1959 living room for a museum exhibit and whipped up some pillows with a nice vintage European fabric to match a new but vintage-inspired sofa.

erratic-autumn-vintage-fabric

(I forgot to take pics of the finished pillows…)

And made another pillow for myself out of little upholstery samples.

erratic-autumn-scrappy-pillow

(I don’t give a damn about matching seams – the samples were oddly not quite the same size too – and it’s for one of the various chairs in my work room.)

I’m unraveling as fast as I can since it will soon be too cold to do it outside, though I keep doing it inside, and none of that really makes any sense, but I consider it a cool, not cold, weather activity.

erratic-autumn-perfect-brown

I thought I wanted to use this perfect purply brown for one of my current work-in-progress scarf/shawls, but I’m glad I went with the green – this ended up being more lace than light fingering.

And I’m still oddly attracted to metallic yarn.

erratic-autumn-unraveling

This was a short-sleeved sweater that I almost kept as-is, but I still can’t find the correct atmospheric conditions to wear heavier-weight wool short sleeve sweaters (and it didn’t look right with a long-sleeved shirt underneath). So I don’t know what this will be yet – it’s a sport-ish/light worsted weight and I like the muddy pink/sometimes dirty lavender color – I’m a little tempted to hold it with the brown above and make a loose-gauge drapey sweater, but I’m also seeing too many other scarf/shawls I’d like to make.

I’m back to spinning again now that the heat and humidity have gone – trying for at least 15 minutes or so a day – and now I’m getting even more good yarn for scarf/shawl things, but I seem to be unraveling and spinning far more than knitting these days…

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under home decor, knitting, recycling, sewing, thrifting

Cruel crewel world…

Too hot and humid Saturdays sent us to ReStore many more times than usual over the summer. Wintertime usually means thrifting time, but when it’s too hot to hike or work in the yard, it is the second best option to staying cooped up in the house.

(We sadly only made it to the beach once this year – the dog wasn’t ready to be on his own for more than an hour or so for much of the time, and Sundays are the better day to go around here to avoid the crowds somewhat anyway…)

I’ve already yammered on about some of my recent thrifted fiber, functional storage, and furniture acquisitions of late, but I also picked up some more knitting pattern books (a tale for another day) and other’s abandoned stitchery works-in-progress.

I’ve been mildly interested in doing some woolly embroidery projects over the last couple of years – not enough to actually plan and start any, but enough to pick up random skeins of crewel wool.

crewel-yarn

Again and again…

crewel-basket

(There’s an antique mall in the sticks close to family we visit that has a never-ending supply of the stuff for like $1 a baggie – it’s also the home to other great fiber finds – especially this basket and this basket.)

But I haven’t gotten much further than this except to page through my mother’s old bargello book and idly think about re-creating her optical illusion pillows of my youth (that no longer exist – at least one was partially consumed by the family dog) only in colors I like rather than the popular ones of excrement in the ’70s – browns and golds, while lovely on the forest floor, will always be poo and pee to me in home decor – though I think one of the pillows (the one that was chewed beyond repair) was browns and oranges or just orange with ombre browns, which I do like…

But regardless, I guess I did think about it some, but not overly so, until I found a complete, just started crewel kit over the summer.

I really liked it – squirrels and frogs and owls and caterpillars and all weirdly similarly-sized – what’s not to love? And I imagined stitching it up in a cabin on vacation and then making a pillow for my spinning chair out of it. But for shits I looked up what it might sell for and though it varied widely, it could easily bring over $10. $10 is usually the limit by which I bother to sell something online. But I figured it was an okay sacrifice since I’d only paid $1, and I’d be honing my embroidery skills and getting something I truly liked.

crewel-picture

But then I looked closer…

crewel-frog-bunny

And the original stitcher used the wrong colors – the frog was supposed to be more grey-green, and the bunny grey not brown…

Now, I am so not about “the rules” and I rarely follow instructions completely (though there are times when I should a bit more) but in a kit,* I get a bit itchy  about this stuff – is there enough spare wool in the right colors to fix it, or if I don’t, will I end up with a grey instead of a brown stick? And though it’s minor and I could let it slide, I’d still like better contrast between the greens of the frog and the greens of the reeds, and then the fact that this kit has such a wide range of colors is partly why I found it so appealing, so use the whole range of colors, dammit!

But then it could be sad – the original stitcher could have been loosing her eyesight… Abandoned projects found at the thrifts always come with a bit of melancholy – either whiffs of things coming to and end with fingers and eyes and minds, or frustration, or death and disposal – but that is also what I find appealing about them – a chance to resolve themselves and become the things they set out to be, or different from their earlier failure and abandonment but redeemed nonetheless.

But this little froggy and bunny will probably go to auction after all…

*I’ve never made something from a kit beyond a latch hook horse pillow 30 something years ago, so kits in general make me itchy.

 

 

5 Comments

Filed under collecting, home decor, sewing, thrifting