Let's catch up on what's been happening around here.
Two weeks ago we traveled back east so that I could visit with my sister, Kit could swim in her pool, and Ethan and Oliver could go look at some colleges. 

 Oooooof, things really didn't go as planned. Sorry for the gore. 

On our first day there, Kit fell on some rocks and completely split open his knee. He was unbelievably stoic and brave about the whole thing. This cut was very deep and in the worst place possible, as the knee had to be immobilized to prevent it from reopening -never mind that now the pool was off limits.

The other thing is that keeping Kit from taking off his brace and digging at the cut has required 24 hour surveillance. For real. One of us has been watching and sleeping with Kit for 2 weeks now and counting. Thank goodness I had my sister to help me and that she's watched countless hours of Grey's A so as to know how to redress a wound. :/ And, of course, because no one is perfect, he's managed to get to his cut and reopen it more than once. We are hoping that by the end of this week he will be completely healed and things can get back to normal around here. 

Aside from that major bummer, we still enjoyed our trip. To fill the day, we twice rode the train and back a couple towns over. The sweet conductor let Kit wear his hat.

We took some nice walks down my sister's dirt road.

We got a surprise visit from some naughty cows that escaped from their farm. 

We had some nice and dramatic weather. 

After four days of healing, we devised a triple barrier waterproofing system for Kit's knee so that he could finally go in the pool, which is his absolute favorite pastime.

We grilled out and ate great food and I got to see and bond with my family.

I did a bit of junking with Ethan.

Ethan and I snuck away one afternoon to photograph this incredible local building. It had been newly fenced off but we walked around its entire perimeter and miraculously neither got ticks or poison ivy.

I have long been fascinated by abandoned or former institutional buildings. When I was a more reckless youngster, I admit that I trespassed to many a property on more than one occasion.

This guy inherited the same gene.

In case you're wondering, this beauty is Halcyon Hall, which was built in 1893 as a hotel but became a boarding school (Bennett School for girls) in the early 20th century and later expanded into a women's college. It closed in 1978.

So now I'm back in SF but all projects are at a standstill until this wound heals. I've got a few things I'm contemplating: I want to buy a new vintage sewing machine and sew some larger coil bowls, and I've got a bunch of painting projects lined up -both boys rooms need paint, as does the trim on the back deck. I'd also like to wallpaper the sewing room....


More Coil Bowls

I have been doing more experimenting with making coil bowls.
These are made with dyed upholstery piping cord. 

I bought the piping at Discount Fabrics here in the city. I got two types because I knew I was going to be doing some experimenting with dying and covering. The piping on the left is slightly larger and made from polyester and was .19 cents a yard. The piping on the right is cotton, slightly thinner and was .23 cents a yard. I bought the remainder of each bolt and got a few hundred yards in all.

I bought the polyester stuff because I am going to make some bowls with piping that is first covered in wool and this was a less expensive way to go about that. Unfortunately I have been battling with my sewing machine regarding this but I will speak of that in another post.

Anyhoo, I measured out some lengths and dropped them in some royal blue Rit. 

 I also tried out some fuchsia.

I dried my second batch in the shower because Kit was arriving home from school and I knew that if I left this to dry outside it would become a toy. I also experimented with dying the polyester to see how it held the dye (less vibrant).

The bowls are 11, 12 and 13" in diameter. The paler pink one is made from the poly piping. The process of making this type of bowl is detailed here.

I am still experimenting with the shape of these bowls. I can make the edges rise up more sharply as is the case with the blue one or have them slope more gently, depending on how I sew them. 

As I mentioned earlier, I am having some trouble with what I can do because of my sewing machine -both in what I can cover the piping with and the slope of the bowl. I'm ready for an upgrade. I don't know boo about machines, mine is about 14 years old, a singer. 

Any thoughts?


Dumpster Dive Vintage Lumber

It has been relentlessly gray in the city so yesterday we drove out to Mill Valley to catch a little sunshine. We happened upon a home demolition dumpster where I scored these big chunks of weathered wood. The larger ones are 8x8s. Not sure yet what I will make out of them but will probably make some more bookends with the middle stock. 

I also may make some more of these stackers with burn marks, only in a larger format and displayed as singles or doubles. I made these guys from scrap a while back and used an electric burning tool to create the cross-hatching. Don't know why I didn't post about these. They were fun to make.


An Indoor Citrus Tree

Last weekend I went out and bought a new plant to replace the dracaena on the top floor. The dracaena is in such a sad state that for now I've moved it outside in hope that it can recover.
So now I am trying out my luck with an indoor citrus.

I got this guy at Home Depot for $25. It clearly says that it is a great container plant and this room gets tons of sun (I actually think that the amount of sun was what lead to the dracaena's demise), so hopefully this relationship will work out. 

I have to admit, I'm often dubious when I see large citrus trees in blog/magazine interior shots -I suspect that they don't actually live there but instead have been added for photoshoot styling. I am really, really curious to see if this pans out.

I put the tree in the vintage planter box I made a couple years ago.

I chose the type of citrus mostly based on the fact that it stated that it was a good container plant, but I must say I like the variegated leaves and the idea of fuchsia flowers and pink lemons is awesome.

Anyone out there had long lasting success growing citrus indoors?

Do tell.


How to Repair a Broken Dummy Knob

Not long ago, the most annoying thing happened in Kit's room. Both of the dummy door knobs on his closet door pulled out. 

The entire knob just pulled out. Dummy knobs are used in an inactive door type situation (like a closet with a ball catch latch system), and simply mount to the face of the door like a cabinet pull.

I tried several times, unsuccessfully, to take them apart and rethread the bolt through from the rear of the plate. This is a Baldwin knob, btw.

I went down to Hundley Hardware to see if they could help me with a solution to this problem. I have no affiliation with them, btw. They are an old school hardware supplier in the city with salespeople who really know their hardware. I found out that Baldwin has since discontinued these knobs (duh! they suck). Now they come with a smarter bolt system which has a larger head on it that cannot pull through the face plate. Hundley did, however, have something that would work for me. The unfortunate thing was that they were 10 bucks each (which seemed kind of steep to me) and they were too long for my system and would need to be cut down.

 I cut the bolt with a hack saw which took only a minute.

This is a much better system. I can't imagine what the designers were thinking with that first janky system.

Thread the plate then screw to door. The bore hole allows for the protrusion in the back.

 The rosette snaps into place.

The knobs are held on like a traditional knob with that little screw on the side.

A pesky project and errand indeed, but now off my to-do list!


Moving Blankets As Wall Protectors

I recently hung some moving blankets as wall protectors in the garage.
I put them on the freshly painted wall by the wood pile, which right now is pretty low.

This is how high the wood stacks when we have a fresh full cord delivered. Basically when we have the wood delivered, they dump it out of a dump trunk onto the sidewalk just outside the garage door and then we toss it into the garage and then stack it up.

We end up with three layers of wood. First we stack up to the top of the concrete foundation wall. Then we stack on top of that ledge and then the remainder gets stacked in front. 

P.S. Nobody freak! I have a phase II EPA certified wood burning fireplace.

The wood gets hurriedly hurled up there and the drywall had been pretty dinged up as a result. I designed this system to deal with the wall trashing that is sure to happen when we get our next delivery.

I bought these standard cheap moving blankets from Home Depot. I got a packet of two for like 20 bucks. 

I put in these grommets for easy hanging.

I use tailors chalk to mark any dark fabric when sewing. I spaced the grommets according to the obstacles on the wall. 

First, the cutter. Use a piece of hardwood behind the fabric for a nice clean cut. (You hammer that thing for those of you who haven't grommeted before).

 Place the grommet shank in the heavy holder.

 Pop it through the fabric from the reverse side.

Place the corresponding washer side of the grommet in the hammer setting die.

Place the hammer with the washer under it in the hole and give that bad boy a whack with a hammer. That's it!

I cut the blanket so that it could turn the corner and drop down to protect the drywall on the front wall where the foundation wall is lower. 

I saved and re-trimmed all the edges with the original black edging for a custom look.

Ha! Measure twice cut once!

I re-traced the double seam and used white thread, just like the original.

I hung the grommets on some plain black drywall screws that I left slightly protruding from the wall.

I rather like the look of moving blankets. I have some leftover fabric. It would make a fun dog bed or pillow or a truly kick-ass headboard. IMB, it's always interesting to making something high with something low, or the other way round.