4.29.2020

This and That

I believe this is week seven of Covid-19 lockdown. Yadda, yadda, yadda, like most people, I'm feeling at the same time overwhelmed and bored out of my mind. For my sanity, I try to steal tiny chunks of time here and there for myself. Here's what I've been doing. 
Stitching this destroyed carpet.

3.28.2020

Supersize It

This is the saga of trying to find a right sized chair and failing. Xtra large furniture is a pet peeve of mine....bear with me if I've ranted about this previously.

This fall I set out to acquire an upholstered chair for Kit's room. I use the term "acquire" because my first and main hope was to find one -like a curb cast off, which aren't as rare as you might think, especially around the end of the month in the city. 

Ok, I admit this sounds gross but I promise you that this type of free-cycling can be done without dragging someone else's bedbugs into your house and can result in a good thing. Like really good, because old chairs are usually way better built and much nicer in size -namely smaller. The trick with upholstered street finds is to treat for pests in the garage(Borax), strip off nasty old fabric if necessary, replace seat (and back) cushion(s) and reupholster or make a slipcover. Because I had a specific fabric that I wanted to use, I was going to be making a custom slip cover for any chair I got, bought or free. 

Well I looked and looked to no avail. Then I turned to Craigslist and Goodwill and then Chairish. No luck. Weird but true. Finally I got impatient and lazy.   

3.19.2020

The Strange Times of COVID19

Good lordy, I'm not even sure how to write this post. COVID-19 everywhere. We are in day 3 of shelter in place here in SF. It's freak out city, and for good reason. 

I've gone back and forth about whether it's appropriate to be posting about "projects" at a time like this. Is it glib to try to carry on? 

Creating and maintaining this blog has always been something of a self imposed challenge and pursuit that I've used to balance out other aspects of my life that can be difficult, monotonous and not easily measurable in terms of concrete accomplishment -namely caring for my younger son who has a significant development disability and who has not always been able to attend school. 

I try to respect my son's privacy (and my own) but I can tell you that there have been times when I've been writing about the seemingly trivial when my life has been a complete shit show, like for real. Writing posts has been a real anchor in the past and likely it will be now. Perhaps for the reader this exercise can be a momentary diversion from some other scary shit. 

So here we go, this is what I've been up to up until now.

I have been building this enclosure for the spa heater for a couple of weeks now. My design criteria centered around a few main functions. First, access to the filter and controls dictated a pair of gates, preferably without a center post. Second, I wanted to avoid drilling into the concrete retaining wall to secure the post. Third, I wanted to use up as much of the leftover lumber remaining from the bench construction project of a few years ago.   

3.05.2020

Spring Patio Cleanup

As spring approaches -in reality it's practically here, I have been itching to get the rear patio and garden spruced and looking good. 

Over the winter, a bit of algae grows on the concrete, especially in the most shady spots. Last year I bought a cheap-o power washer, which previously worked great for this job but predictably conked out when I hauled it out of the garage last week. Grrrrrrr. Determined to just get the job done, I resorted to good old elbow grease with a coarse brush and a bit of chlorine. I don't think I'll be buying another washer, to be honest it bugged me to have to store the thing in the garage where space is at a premium. 

Also as part of this job, I planted two smallish olive trees in large pots, moved down from the roof deck, also moved some potted feather grass, scrubbed the table and rearranged the thyme pots which have lasted through the winter. Over the summer, I'd like to add to my little collection of succulents potted in ceramics made by my older son.

A keen eye might notice that the cushions are a different color. Yes! I recovered those this winter. They used to be tan and were looking more than a bit ratty. 

I must say, the recovering project was a bit of a bear as the cushions have all these cutouts to fit around the arms and I used Sunbrella fabric which, I discovered, is somewhat tricky to sew. That said, I'm super glad I did it myself because replacement cushions are ridiculously expensive. And, for honest blogging, I've discovered that pollen can be quite visible on navy but nothing that can't be easily brushed off. Same thing with cat and dog hair :-/ Despite these considerations, I still think navy is the best choice over all for the abuse these cushions suffer.

Lastly, I feel that the area could use a few more medium sized pots or pot clusters to feel a little bit more lush. I definitely sway back and forth between minimalist vs exuberant patio vibes.  

Peace and LOve and happy gardening.

2.14.2020

Early Spring Garden Update

In the past few weeks, I've done a bit of garden clean up. This really could be two posts but I'm going to combine it into one. 
First, I hacked back the maiden grass, pink muhly, and rosemary. It's looking awfully drab and bare but it needs to be done to make way for the new spring growth. 

1.31.2020

Master Bath Follow Up

More than a year ago I posted about painting this bathroom and changing out the shades. I don't know why I dropped the reveal, but here it is...just about 16 months later!

1.24.2020

Tie-Dyed Cashmere

I've written briefly before about my love of a tie-dyed sweater. Since then, I've churned out more than a few. Usually I make them as gifts, but sometimes I'll make one for myself as is the case with the one below.

1.16.2020

Mock It Up


It has been almost 12 years since we built our house and moved in. Recently we have been reevaluating our lighting choices throughout the house -most specifically in the main living area. We have a lot of halogen cans. A lot.

Halogen cans suck energy, and as I posted about recently, I have grown to dislike the way they look aesthetically. I still feel that cans which act as wall washers are fine, but I think the ceiling plane looks better uninterrupted by a smattering of cans, not to mention that the downward light they cast isn't all that cozy.

Also in this equation and part of the conversation is that the main room is in need of paint -everywhere. This is a perfect time to change lighting if it is going to happen. 

Lighting is tricky so we asked the architect who designed our house to guide us in some decisions.  I'm so glad we did this because the whole lumens thing is quite complicated and I'm glad to have someone advising who knows what the fuck they are doing.

Anyway, bla bla bla. We narrowed down what some of the options might be from the manufacturer that we liked. Next step, the safest bet to make, is to mock up the design just to get an idea of how the space is going to look with said lights. When I was in design school, I always rolled my eyes when my adviser suggested doing a full scale mock up. (What a pain! I had so little time to complete the assignment as it was). And yes, a computer rendering can be done but there is nothing like being able to walk around and observe objects in space in real life.

1.13.2020

Narcissus Bulbs

This year I had my shit together enough to actually plant some narcissus bulbs in November (albeit the end). They didn't bloom until after the New Year but who's to complain, right?

It has been my custom, in previous years, to force narcissus bulbs in rocks with water. I was always somewhat disappointed when they inevitably tipped over from their own weight. This year I planted in dirt, several inches down. This worked much better, although next year, I'll leave more room at the top. The dirt and water want to spill over every time I water them.

Cheers.

1.10.2020

Waiting

Last summer we purchased 11 large livestock water tanks to use as planters on the front and rear roof decks. 

I transplanted some trees and plants up from the yard, and seeded with a wildflower mix. 

9.01.2019

Wildflowers

This spring/summer, exhausted by the news cycle, the vibe of the country and stressors in my personal life, I turned to gardening as a reprieve. Instead of watching one minute of cable, I turned to Gardeners World. The singular focus of plants and the joy of gardening presented by Monty Don and crew completely uplifted me, every single time I watched it. I got very excited about my garden.  

8.07.2019

Hand Blocked Linen Shades

I recently worked on some hand blocked linen, commissioned for roman shades, for a gorgeous house in London. 

7.24.2019

How To Make A Stump Planter

I have been extremely productive lately. So much so that I've not taken the time to post a single thing in weeks! I finished this little project recently. 

5.23.2019

A Jute Wrapped Upcycled Lamp

I always love a makeover project -where an uglyish object can be salvaged and made into something a bit more attractive with very little money and effort. 

5.20.2019

A New Cedar Ceiling

Ok, so it's been a while, I realize. Lots going on in this little world of mine. That said, it is with great pleasure and self satisfaction that I present this completely completed cedar paneled ceiling. Like, done.

3.18.2019

Garden Snapshot

Tonight at dusk, I went out and took a few quick shots of the garden. The seemingly unending rain of February/March has stopped and the garden is on the cusp of waking up. I spent several days last week cutting things back, planting, and mulching -which was just the respite I was needing from, well, life.

3.11.2019

So Long Ugly Cans

Well, hello there. Long time, no blog post. My apologies. 

Since my last post, I've been, among other things, tearing up the house -namely converting recessed lighting to surface mount. This is no easy task as it requires cutting into drywall to remove the enormous housings. 

Wait, what, why, oh why, a reasonable person may ask? 
   

1.23.2019

A Vintage Cotton rug as a Seat Cushion

Happy New Year! let's dive into 2019, I've got so many plans and so much to share. 

Not my first project of the year but one on which I can easily report: I've redone the cushion on my beloved leather chair yet again. I bought this old, tattered thing with my older boy almost 10 years ago. It sits in the main room by the dining table and gets a good amount of use -especially by the dog. I will say, it's kind of a great place to sit and have a tea in the afternoon, which I'm reminded now that I need to do more often.