Quickie Project

For reasons I'd rather not go into, my phone took a swim in the tub this week which necessitated getting a new one. Not that I'm not happy with my new phone but the expense...OY. 
I like to put my phone inside a "sock" before I throw it in my bag which has my keys and change floating around in it. I had this fabric left over from my living room ORC redo.

This took less than 20 minutes. I leave the hems exposed and because I'm sewing with wool I go with the fraying and use it to my advantage. The sides are cut with pinking shears, but will eventually fray like the top. The stitch at the edge prevents the fabric from fraying down to nothing, like Weezer's sweater.


Working in the Garden

This past Friday, I spent some time cleaning up my garden a bit.
Some people don't care for yard work, but for me it is pure therapy.   I love every aspect of it -the immediate visible results, the workout, being outside and getting dirty. 

My first priority was to trim back this creeping fig. The suckers on this thing can be pretty damaging to wood over time so I try to keep mine confined to the concrete retaining wall under the wood fence. Also the jasmine vine above it had some wily offshoots that needed training and trimming.

Check out my neighbor's incredible cypress tree that is two yards over. That thing is so majestic and must predate every house on the block. It also attracts the wild parrots that are colonizing Sutro Forest which is just a few blocks west of where I live. The parrots are kind of loud and squawky but I find the fact that wild parrots now live in SF to be so exotic that I kind of like it. 

In case you're wondering why that fence looks so high, it is because it is! My house is on a slight hillside sloping in two directions and we wanted a flat walk-out yard, so the yard was excavated when we built the house.  Funnily, our neighbor has since done the same with his yard so that fence doesn't really need to be that high anymore, though still necessary because his grade is still about 5 ft higher than ours.
I also pruned back the row of trees at the rear there, which have really taken off in the last year. My long term goal for these trees is to shear them into a boxy hedge at their top, so I keep cutting them back to create bushiness.  

 Nice, right?

Ok, confession time: I almost killed that poor potato vine early in the summer with a clearly too extreme hack attack. I have only had potato vines thrive by cutting them back (ordinarily they love it) but obvs this one was too much as it is only now starting to recover. My guess is that the lack of water (I barely watered this summer because of the draught) and the drastic haircut were just to much  for it. Here is a glimpse of it from much healthier days.

Seems like the creeping fig is finally going to take off and fill in on that north wall. I hope it rains this winter because those things like a bit of water to grow and I'd love for that to finally friggin fill in!



I'm still undecided on this minor change up. I got the giraffe head marked down from 48 Bucks to 19.99$. It's from Anthropology.

This is my downstairs powder room. It's nearly impossible to photograph anything in here. No window. There are some other shots of it here, when I last tweaked it a bit.

My son Ethan made the paper wreath out of origami paper and right now it's tucked behind one of his drawings in there. I need to figure out if I can get that giraffe to wear the wreath like a crown, I'm thinking that would look right. 

Post update: 

Cell phone pic but you get the idea.


Repotting Plants

I did a little plant care yesterday, something I do a couple times a year.

Much to my surprise, this off-cut from my fiddle fig tree actually sprouted roots. I cut this guy off from my tree forever ago because it was really long and lanky. Clearly this guy really needs some dirt and a pot.

It's kind of hard to tell in this picture but my avocado tree is like the leaning Tower of Pisa. It's also perpetually droopy because I can't seem to water it enough. I'm changing it to a deeper more narrow pot which I hope will hold it upright better.

 Here it is a day later, with perkier leaves. 

I want the fiddle fig to really grow now. It's in a southern exposure room but away from the window. I'll see if that gives it enough juice, otherwise I'll move it.

 It does look a little like Charlie Brown's Christmas tree right now. :)


No School Monday

Since it was a no-school day, Kit and I took a foggy walk in the Marin Headlands.

It's a four mile loop which runs by this WWII cannon on which Kit loves to climb and run.

When we got home, we made a dye tub for some linen that I'm dying for a pillow project. I fill two spaghetti pots and bring them to a boil on the stovetop -which is probably the equivalent of 5 gallons of water. Pour in the tub, add one cup of salt and a squirt of liquid detergent. I dissolve the dye in a pyrex full of hot water and then dump it into the bath.

If I'm not dying a lot of fabric at one time, I don't pre-wet the fabric. 

This looks pretty dark. I left it in and stirred almost constantly for a half hour. After, I rinsed it with cold water in the bin for a couple cycles and then I washed it on hot with a temperature boost to fade it out a bit. It hasn't gone in the dryer yet so I can't yet report how it looks :)


Crazy Lady Closet

After yesterday's reveal of my anally primped living room for the ORC, it seemed fitting to show what life really looks like. 

This closet is a sort of important catch all for a lot of stuff. I am still taping it and took down the hooks so everything has been getting tossed on the floor. Plus, all sorts of odds and ends were hidden in there when I photographed the living room.

Grrrr, got to get this back in shape.


One Room Challenge: Living Room -Week Six

It's week six of the One Room Challenge. That means it's reveal day! All I can say is..boy, that was quick. Sort of like pulling a tooth -painful but over before I knew it. 

So my objective here was to spiff this room up. I painted and taped and sewed like nobody's business. It was a challenge, believe you me. It does feel very put together now, so it was worth all the heartache despite all my copious complaining (sorry familia).

You can see more of the details on what I did week to week here(one, two, three, four, five), but pictures speak a thousand words so let's get down to it. 

My favorite part of this project was restoring the arc lamp which could quite possibly be my best street find ever. Next week I will revisit the gaffers tape painting (because I am also gaffering the closet space under my steps and it is almost done, hoo ha, and I'll give my source and technique at that time). I will also go over some of the sewing I did. I am planning on sewing a pair more of pillows for the white couch ends but I want to do that in dyed linen and I just plain ran out of time so that will be a new post as well.  

It's late, I'm out! Please go check out the other ORC action here and thank you Linda for hosting this crazy One Room Challenge whoozeewhatsee. It's been great!


One Room Challenge: Living Room -Week Five

It's week number five here in the One Room Challenge. Next week is reveal time baby, so we are in the final stretch. This week found me in a trifecta of fun.

First, I set out to restore this arch lamp that I found on the street. That's right, it was a street find. It isn't an original Arco lamp by Castiglioni, but I still think it's pretty rad. My guess is that it was left out on the street and that no one else grabbed it because the stone base was chipped, its shade was very badly damaged and this thing weighs a ton.

I repaired the base and hacked a dome that I bought at Ikea. You can read about that repair job in more detail here.

Next, I started working on this gaffers tape painting that is intended to bring a punch of color and fun to the room.

Ever since I started following Donald Drawbertson on Instagram, I have been in love with gaffers tape. It is just so friggin fun to work with. It's fast, it's fun, it's easy. For those of you who follow this blog with regularity, I am still working on the tape job in the closet under my stairs (it has gotten a lot brighter since then).

Yowza. If it's too much for the living room, I'll put it somewhere else in the house. 

And third, I started to try to figure out my fabrics for this room. This might sound crazy to some, but I like to keep my textile choices relatively fluid. The top one is for the chairs that I profiled last week, so everything has to play off that. The pink plaid is going to be a throw for the white couch. The rest are for pillows that I still have to make. Not sure if I'll be able to incorporate that green plaid or not, but I liked it so much that I bought it anyway. Everything came from Mood (yes, the fabric store from Project Runway), except the exquisite red and purple lambswool, which came from Satin Moon here in the city (they have no web page but are an awesome source if you're local). 

I made a bunch of piping. The color is very off here. The fabric, which is wool, is a dark turquoisy green.

And I started the cushion covers.

Still lots to do in the one remaining week. If you like, here are weeks one, two, three, and four.

Do head on over to Calling It Home to see all the other participants here and here.