3/31/11

4 Kitchen Sink Bath

Zelda was so jealous when I told her that two photos of her sister, Heidi, made it to the blog this week. So, I promised her I would add one of her too. (I didn't tell her which one, of course.)



3/29/11

0 Sneak Preview

Here's a sneak preview of a project that my sister's working on right now. She's single-handedly transforming her baby's nursery, which once was a closet, into an uber-organized and stylish closet/office, and she's doing it all for less than 100 bucks. How she does everything she does with all of the little ones she has running around, I'll never know. But I'll be sure to keep you posted on this project; I'm particularly excited about the door that she plans to turn into a desk. 




Yesterday
Today



3/28/11

2 Rug on a Wall

Who doesn’t love Sunday night home improvement projects (especially after a weekend spent at an out-of-town, family wedding)? Well, I can think of a few people. Nevertheless, my negotiation skills must have been in rare form yesterday because I actually talked him into this one.



I had been looking for a suitable curtain rod (i.e., one that he would like) for this project for a while, and the stars must have aligned because we just happened to stumble across these yesterday in Tuesday Morning. They are indoor/outdoor black wrought iron, and I think they're quite handsome.



Exhibit 1: Two curtain rods of different lengths and two packages of 7 curtain rings from Tuesday Morning. (When I’m not 100% sure about a size, I go ahead and buy both and return the incorrect one later. I’ve gone home too many times with a size of something that I just could’ve sworn would do only to discover that it does not, in fact, do. So now I buy ‘em both and return later.) 


For you cost counters out there, the shorter rod was $14.99, and the longer rod was $19.99. Each package of rings was $3.99. 



A few years ago at the same auction house where I found the free chairs (but on a different day), we ended up going home with a dirty, old Persian rug that we won for something like 40 or 50 bucks. (Not many folks raised their hands for this one because it seems that most people prefer to buy rugs without holes in them. Go figure.)  
The rug lived on the floor like a regular rug for a while, but I knew his floor days were coming to an end when I finished vacuuming one day and discovered that I had that Weezer song, Undone -- the Sweater Song, stuck in my head.  You know:
"If you want to destroy my sweater
Pull this thread as I walk away.
Watch me unravel I’ll soon be naked
Lying on the floor, Lying on the floor
I’ve come undone."

So anyway, one day we folded him up and tucked him away in the closet until we could come up with a good alternative use for him.  Then, I went home recently and saw that my mom had solved a very similar problem (with another dirty, old Persian rug that she inherited from who knows where) by simply hanging it on the wall, museum style. Of course! She's a design genius! Rugs literally are works of art so why not slap this one up on the wall too?

We easily found the perfect spot over the bed (on a completely blank wall) so then it was just a matter of measuring properly. When the battery-powered-laser-level-thingamabob didn’t work out as well as he thought it would, we went with my style, which requires simply looking at the wall and picking a place to make a hole, wabi-sabi-style. (I prefer not to measure before I hang things, which can definitely lead to Swiss cheese walls, but thankfully, someone else has already invented spackling paste.) 





To his credit, although he was worried that the rod would end up hanging crooked (or worse, that the rod would not go through the brackets), he trusted my wabi-sabi eye, and we did not have to make any extra holes. It did take a bit longer than the 10 or 15 minutes that I told him it would take, but I got him a cold beer when he asked for one. (And honestly, he really should know by now that my time-telling skills are severely lacking; I think doing everything will take only ten or fifteen minutes.)




Our sweet girl, Heidi, was on hand to help even though loud noises are not her favorite thing. Our other sweet girl, Zelda, was on hand too, but she is not a big helper when it comes to home improvement. (Her idea of helping is running off with the trash and eating it under a piece of furniture some place where we cannot find her.)











So here you go, the finished project. What do you think?  Yes, you love it? Or no, you're pretty sure that only crazy people hang dirty rugs on their walls? 


Crazy or not, I just love thinking about all the people over all the years who've walked across those faded threads. 





3/25/11

0 Talk About Moving Stuff Around . . .

I made a quick trip to the Food Lion this morning for some milk (for my coffee and my cereal) and for some boxed wine (more about that topic later), and this is what greeted me upon arriving at the grocery store parking lot. 
Now this is what I call moving stuff around. I mean, can you imagine unloading this stuff, putting it together, running it for a few days, then having to take it all apart, re-load it, and drive off with it to some other grocery store parking lot in some other small town, only to have to repeat the whole process again and again? I may move chairs around, but this really takes it to a whole new level.










Yes, there’s something bleak and dreary about a fully-assembled-but-entirely-vacant traveling carnival, especially at 9:00 in the morning.

It’s like the first time you saw the inside of your favorite college bar during the day. It’s not nearly as flashy or inviting (unless your favorite college bar also happens to serve very good brunch, which is rare). 

And then there's just something strange and wildly inappropriate about a spinning ride named "scat."



Because I try to look for the best in people, I'm just going to assume that they used the last light-bulb-encrusted "c" on the "scat" ride. (Seriously, don’t get me started about incorrectly spelled words. As if we don’t have enough trouble as it is educating our children.)











Seeing the carnival this morning reminded me of the scene at the end of the movie Big when 30 year-old Josh (played by Tom Hanks) goes out to Sea Point Park on a wintry, off-season day to find the Zoltar Speaks machine so he can make a wish again and return to being 13 years old. What a great movie.












I’m pretty sure I wasn’t allowed to ride on these types of things as a kid, and you know what? Good decision, mom and dad. I mean, I don’t know about you, but this really doesn't scream safety to me.

Despite all of the foregoing, for some reason, seeing all of this in the Food Lion parking lot this morning actually made today feel a lot more like Friday. (Or maybe it could just be the fact that I’m taking the day off from work.)  

3/24/11

3 Twice Upon the Other Chair

So I really do intend for this blog to be about more than two old chairs.


But I wanted to add a couple of photos of the other chair at his new home, the framing gallery. His leather seat has been oiled, and he really does seem happy here (at least if you ask me).





Also, rumor has it that the other chair recently sat for an artist (with a men's white dress shirt draped on him). Apparently, an artist snapped a photo of the scene, went home, painted the photo, and then returned to the gallery to have the painting framed. The finished product may or may not be hanging in the gallery owner's kitchen. 


So I guess the real question is this: if a cat has nine lives, then how many lives does an old chair have?

3/21/11

0 Once Upon the Other Chair

I've shown this blog to all of five people now, my mom being one of the five, and here's an update she provided me about the other free chair from the auction (the one I told you was sitting in storage somewhere).  Well, it seems that the other free chair has found its way (in all of its beat up, minor-repair-needing glory) into the display windows of a lovely framing gallery where a family friend works, and it has found a new life, not as an item for sale, but as a wonderful prop for recently-framed paintings. The next time I have a chance to swing by the shop, I'll try to remember to take a picture. But for now, I'll just celebrate the serendipity that goes along with finding new uses for old stuff.

3/17/11

1 Once Upon a Chair


It all started at a random Saturday morning auction in Charleston,
which I attended with my mom, who is a master nester. When a group of three random, mismatched chairs
came up for bidding, I raised my number and started bidding without thinking too much about it; yes, we nesters seem to have a thing
for random, mismatched anything, and one of the chairs really caught my
eye for some reason. I stopped bidding at something like thirty dollars, which is a low price, I know, but I really don't have much room for any more random anythings in my lovely home. Plus, I'm really trying to simplify.
Anyway, another woman outbid me on the chairs by tens of dollars, but I was pleased for her and did not think much about it. A little while later,
however, the woman who won the chairs came up to me and said, “I noticed
you bidding on the chairs, and I only want one of them. You are welcome to
the other two.” I was completely stunned by her generosity, and of course I offered to pay
her for them, but she simply would not let me (proof positive that the generosity of perfect
strangers can be amazing). And so, my mom and I left the auction with two entirely free -- albeit old, dusty, and perhaps a bit stinky -- chairs, including the one that originally had caught
my eye. 
I thought about what to do with the chair that had caught my eye, which was worn in a wonderful way and appeared to have its original upholstery (a faded chenille tapestry). Upon turning the chair over, I could see portions of the springs as well as gobs of old horsehair stuffing. Because stinky tapestry and old horsehair stuffing don't really suit my design aesthetic, I knew I wanted to reupholster and update the chair, but I also wanted to honor the chair's "freeness" and keep my costs down. (Remember, the chair was completely free to me as a result of some nice lady's random act of kindness.) And because of the shape of the seat of the chair, I thought that one of my seldom-worn denim skirts with an A-line shape might work well as upholstery fabric. Plus, I'm all about repurposing (all true nesters are), and I think denim-covered chairs are vastly underrated.)
So I took the chair to a friend of my mom’s, who is, quite simply, a fantastic upholsterer. I knew he would love the quirky project. 
And sure enough, as I suspected, he loved the project. Interestingly, he dated this chair to the late
1800s or early 1900s (probably from an old dining set) based on the craftsmanship, the fabric, and the styling. In fact, he was so
impressed with the quality of the construction that he kept the original
springs in the chair, and he even saved the fabric-covered nail heads and gave them back to me because, as he said, "you cannot just throw away such fine craftsmanship." (Apparently no one does it like that anymore.) I just let him be creative with the chair, and as you can see from the pictures, he truly outdid himself.
At this point, I’m not quite sure what to do with the other chair. It's sitting in storage and needs a few minor repairs, but based on the success of my Levi's-covered antique, I know I’ll have to come up with something fun. After all, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. And as my mom says, it's all just about moving your stuff around.
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