Sewing Bedding

Sometimes I like to sew my own bedding -by that I mean duvet covers, pillow cases and euro squares. It's really easy to do and the end result is always great. Generally I pair things with a white fitted sheet.

I've had this light blue damask fabric for like, forever. It's washable and I got it from Shabby Chic back when I actually liked that look (circa 2001, for reals). I bought this to cover these chairs which I recently recovered for the ORC (fall 2014 edition). I have no idea why I have so much leftover fabric from back then, but it is enough for a twin duvet cover so I'm making one for Kit's room. (BTW, those chairs have had 4 different slipcovers since I got them after college). 

I like the look of the fabric for bedding, although it is a bit heavy. It will hopefully soften nicely over time by being washed frequently. (As a rule, I feel bedding can not be precious. It's got to be able to withstand the rigors of kids, dogs and the washer and dryer). I am using a long invisible zipper as my closure because Kit likes to climb inside his cover and has ripped off more buttons at the bottom of duvets than I care to mention. Talk about getting your Mom's head to pop off. 

I made some piping out of this linen that I dyed for another project. The dye took very unevenly so this was a good way to repurpose this mistake. The two other (pretty disparate) fabrics I am using for pillow cases and squares both have green so this seemed a logical way to bring everything together. 

I'm making the pillow cases now. I'll post about that as soon as I finish and then of course I'll post the bed all made up.


Yet Another Blog Post About Rats

Oh let me tell you how sorry I am to return to the subject of rats. I realize that this is an extremely unsexy thing to post about and that I have posted about this problem before but alas, we are still plagued by rats in this here house. Things were quiet for a good long while but they're back.

This rear corner of the garage is the epicenter of most of the activity. This is where we previously had a nest and where they are entering by way of a big steal Ibeam that is on the property line, midway in the building and therefor pretty inaccessible. 

So Mr. Raton enters by way of the beam and then cruises around in the garage ceiling bay, leaving his nasty calling card (ahem, I said this was going to be a gross post).

I was noticing a lot of droppings along my retaining wall in the yard too. Turns out this is a super fucking rat freeway. They ran along this wall then dropped down in-between the buildings and then made their way in. The final straw for me was finding a dropping on my bedroom window sill upstairs -one had climbed the bougainvillea. Ew, ew, ew! I sleep with my window open. I freaked out.

I checked with my neighbor and they let me dismantle their fence along the property line so that I could get a look at what was happening there. My house extends about 6 feet farther than theirs so this is the area where I could have a look at the gap between the foundations.

This is looking through the fence on my side and how I got in there.

And this is where I believe all the trouble is happening. My foundation is on the left. I felt in over my head so I called a new pest company that sounded genuinely professional -they've got a no rat return guarantee. I like that.

They placed stainless mesh at the access point and poured concrete along the bottom of the trench between the two buildings. Good god I hope this works.

After all was said and done, I reassembled the fence and cleaned off the entire wall and then sprayed it down with bleach and water -which is supposed to deter rats from returning to the scene of the crime. This way I'll also be able to monitor the activity level over  the next few days and weeks.

So there you have it. The professionals also trapped the shit out of the garage and will be returning two more times to check them (because now of course any creature that was inside is now stuck inside). It's macabre, I know. La la la la la, trying not to think about it. And then finally, the pros will do a final clean.

After that, time to repair the drywall in the garage once and for all.


Fast Plywood Tabletop Project

Just a quick update on what I've been up to...

Ethan and I knocked this plywood tabletop off in a few hours on Saturday. 

He's been wanting a large work surface in his room for a while. We had some ikea saw horses stored in the back of the garage so all we needed was a nice ply top.

We bought two sheets of 3/4" unfinished maple ply and had them cut down to size (29x96"). We laminated them together with some liquid nails and screws.

 Then we sanded and sanded and sanded, especially the edge.

We finished the surface with butchers wax. Talk about quick and easy.

It's up in Ethan's room now. I will photograph that in the near future. It looks great.


Garden Toodling

On Saturday I picked up some boxwood from Home Depot. It's spring in SF -who am I kidding... we never even had winter this year or at least barely.

I bought the boxwood to go against the north facing wall of the shed in the yard. The tea tree that is there now is growing diagonally to try to find some direct sun and looks terrible.

I soaked the crap out of it and it came out pretty easily.

I used a bin to haul it all the way upstairs.

It went into the pot on the right -I lost one of these guys when I transplanted the others from the front re-landscaping project.

The other two tea trees are very brown but still flowering, I think they want/need more water. I really need to set up an automatic drip system up here.

I'm going to tuck a few boxwood among the baby tears and wild fern that are doing so nicely here. 

And I brought down one of the zinc planters from the roof to fit in this spot under the window.

I also gave my plants a bit of a watering (I've got soaker hoses along the sides where the planting are). Thank goodness too because it is so friggin dry in my yard right now with this no rain business we've got going in SF.

Cheers and happy gardening! 


A Cook Island Pine

Happy new plant to me. We bought this Cook Island pine from Flora Grubb a few weekends ago.

(What I thought were) Norfolk pines have been on my radar for a while, I guess because I saw some nice potted ones around the holidays and thought I'd like one for the house, not just for christmas, but year round. Apparently what most people assume are Norfolk pines are actually Cook pines. But whatever. I think it's a cool looking plant, and a happy departure from the ubiquitous Fiddle Fig tree, IMHO.

This plant should be pretty happy in this location as long as I can keep up with the watering. It's a bright southern exposure but not in the direct rays. Apparently they don't like dry soil.

The main tree is about 8 feet tall. It has some baby trees growing at the base that I want to eventually prune out. For some reason I'm chicken to lop them all off right now. I did take this little guy off to propagate as a test. If it roots easily, I'll be super psyched.

You might also notice that I've reworked that corner of my living room yet again. I'll post about those changes soon.


Awesome Street Score

A few weeks ago, my son Ethan came home with this street find. Yes, I have a seventeen year old who actually checks out and scoops up good street finds -I guess the apple didn't fall far from the tree.

It was kind of in sad shape -especially the shade but I really liked it. This thing is 44" tall in total. The shade itself is 28" high. It's textured ceramic, with nice teak detailing at the foot and neck. On dating it, I am a little thrown. To me the scrolling and texturing makes me think the design is pushing up against the seventies but the detailing on the shade reads earlier sixties to me. If anyone knows more specifically, I'd love to hear.

 It was filthy.

I cleaned it up with soap and water, a toothbrush and paper towels. I tested first to make sure this wasn't going to remove any of the glaze.

The shade...OY. It was the best part of the lamp and had to be saved.

The paper tape holding in the frame/harp in place was badly deteriorated so I very carefully removed it. 

I vacuumed the shade on the lowest setting possible, to pull dust from the fabric.

The cracking in the plastic form under the burlap was mostly at the very top of the shade where the frame attached so I first ran a strip of white gaffers tape around the top and then reattached the shade frame/harp using the same white gaffers tape on top of that. 

I used shortened strips of tape in order to get the pieces to mold around the wire and attach to the shade in the best way possible.

This shade casts a very pleasant light. It is very warm despite throwing off a good amount of wattage because the bulb is tucked way up in there. I realize that I have a bunch of lamps with shades that don't cast the nicest of light that I'd like to remedy.

Yay. How awesome is a street find that you'd have bought anyway if you'd had the opportunity.


Ants, and Lots of Them

There was a time when I had a breezy attitude about ants. Now it's different. I hate these little fuckers because they've taken over my house. They come out from the baseboards, colonize my houseplants, live in the drains in the sinks and tubs. They crawl around on my side tables, appear on my computer screen and have even made their way into my bed. The only place they have not invaded is the kitchen. Go figure.

They are argentinian ants. My yard is full of them. I think the whole hillside behind me is a giant fucking ant farm.  

I am using Orange Guard and Borax (of the 20 Mule Team variety) to combat them. Borax is 100% Sodium tetraborate -a natural mineral which is also what those liquid Terro traps are made of. I used them by the dozen in my yard. 

I could probably wipe them all out with some Monsanto syle poison but I'm not into using those types of products in my home. Anyone got some other remedies they've used? 

Please. Tell. I'm about to lose my sanity. 


Life is a Beach

We go to the beach a lot -usually both days of the weekend. San Francisco has great beaches. If you've followed this blog for any length of time, you've seen a lot of scenes from the beach and know how I love it so.  

If you're new here, let me fill you in. We often go to Ocean Beach or OB, which is the long, wide beach at western end of the Outer Sunset. It takes about 10 minutes for  us to get there from our house by car.

We used to just walk and play with the dog at the beach but over the summer, Kit started to want to swim when we went. It started with some major wading, which turned into full on swimming.

The water is cold so we outfitted him with a wetsuit and Oliver always goes in with him. In the winter, however, the waves can be too big for him to swim there even with Oliver there at his side. The currents can be vicious and the waves really big and heavy. This was the case this weekend because we had a storm. 

So when that happens we go to Crissy Field, which is in the bay and just inside of the Golden Gate Bridge. Here the waves are usually nonexistent. They're were some small ones there this weekend because of the stormy weather. 

We hit Crissy between some rain storms and hence the incredible rainbow.

Sometimes we make the trek over the bridge to Stinson Beach, to swim there. This beach also usually has smaller waves than OB and has a very gradual slope which makes it fun to play in.

Huge tide, as you can see by the tide line and I mean, just look at that sky...

We even go in the fog, which has its own beauty. This picture is from a couple of weekends ago.

Same day, as the fog was lifting. Such fun, right?