Closet Surprise

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Top three shelves before I started.

This weekend’s project was a reorganizing and painting of the linen closet. Due to the shape of the hallway, I can only photograph 3 shelves at a time.

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Bottom three shelves.

I’m not sure what is wrong with American interior designers that they can not use the word “color”  without using the phrase “pop of,” but we will have none of that here. The phrase, I mean. I did want to add a bit of color to this closet. And I also wanted to unify and clean up the shelves.

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Three had stained fabric, two had stained contact paper. The ones with fabric would not set level as the fabric made them too wide.

I removed the old fabric and contact paper and applied new white contact paper. It did not go on as smoothly as I would have liked, and in hind sight, I should have sanded and painted the shelves white. But that would have taken another weekend.

I reorganized the shelves by purpose of the objects.

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Top shelf: cleaning supplies. Second shelf: Personal care supplies. Third shelf: laundry supplies.
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Fourth shelf: towels.  Fifth shelf: holding area for items that are to be given away.

I’m quite pleased with the result.

Next week: homemade cloth face masks.

Floor Reflections

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The floor section that I made shiny this weekend.

Like most of you, I am sheltering in place, at home to reduce the rapid spread of the CONOVID 19 virus.

This gives me lots of time to work on home projects and restoring the floor is a meditative, time-consuming process. It gives me lots of time to reflect on things (other than how great the floor is going to look.)

One of the thoughts that I keep returning to is “How did I get here?” I retired at age 58 from a job that I had loved for decades until I felt overextended and burnt out. I’ve been a caregiver since I was 11 years old. I still am. When did it stop being a purpose and become a burden? I can’t identify the day that happened, but I can identify the decade that it did. It has taken me 2 years of active self-care to get to a point of feeling well enough to start a new project.

Next thought, “Where do I want to go from here?” And I am just beginning to feel my way into the answer.

So while I am sheltering at home, I will continue to clean and lean into what comes.

The Living Space

~ Dear readers, I hope that this post finds you and your loved ones well and safe. Please be careful and good citizens. Be courageous, which is feeling the fear and acting out of love.

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I found a rug that goes with my lichen photo!

We have been in the apartment a little over a year. I think I have the living space arranged to my liking for now.

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Here you can see my amethyst meditation candle holder, the most recent object acquired for the apartment.

This cabinet holds the wireless router, the laptop when it is not is use and a bamboo caddy with office supplies.

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This mirror came out of my mother’s basement. It had a 6″ x 1″ chip in a corner, which I had cut off before I framed it.
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A close up of His Royal Highness.
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There were four of these hideous brass boob lights in the apartment. (This one is in the building’s hallway.)
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I switch them out with LED models that are supposed to last 75 years! I gave the old brass ones to the building manager so he can reuse them.
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The lamp is from IKEA.

I have been holding onto these chairs and table since I downsized from my house in Springfield. My daughter wants them and sometime this summer she is moving to a larger place where she will finally have room for them. I’m sure I will be rearranging everything after they go.

More Floor Work

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This is my view while I drink my coffee in the morning.

Having a clean and orderly home makes me happy, and all it takes is a bit of effort.

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Here are my simple tools.

And a few of the before and after photos.

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Inside the hall closet.
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And after.
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Threshold to my bedroom.
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And after.

This morning as I drank my coffee, I admired the patina of the restored wood. Aaaaah.

Simple Pillow

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No, no, no. This is not the simple pillow.

A few months back, I was looking for green 100% linen fabric for an art project and could not find any in the local stores (second-hand and crafting.) I did find this beautiful brown linen for only $26 a yard and I bought it, with no clue what I was going to use it for.

I’ve been wanting a pillow for lumbar support when I sit in the living room chairs for a long time, like when I’m sewing. But of course, I want it to be beautiful when I am looking at it and not leaning into it!

Fabric and craft stores are for hobbyists and their prices reflect that this is perceived to be a creative, leisure activity and not something people do to save money. An 18″ pillow insert costs between $15-$50 USD, depending on if it is synthetic or filled with feathers and probably some other factors that I am not even aware of. An 18″ zipper is $3-4 USD. And a local tailor/alterations-place told me that the cost of sewing the zipper I have into the fabric I have would cost $44 USD.

So when I found the above holiday pillow marked down to $7.50 USD, I snatched it up.

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I gutted the buck…er…um…I removed the zipper.

I sewed the beautiful linen into an appropriate-sized square using a classic back stitch.

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Here is the harvested zipper about to be inserted.

And here is the finished product, nestled into one of the living room chairs.

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Simple and high-quality, just like QuakerStylist likes it.

Bonus: I have enough fabric to make another 18″ pillowcase when I find another sad pillow on sale.

Bathroom Cup Holder

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Can you spot all the bad design in this photo?

Let’s see- That towel bar was actually useable when there was a pedestal sink in the bath. When it was replaced by this cabinet model the towel bar became unusable and worse, protrudes into the space over the countertop, making it awkward to use that space as well. And don’t get me started on the recessed soap dish/cup/toothbrush holder. This poor design should never have been manufactured. If you put a cup and toothbrushes in it, you can’t reach the soap!

Remember the QuakerStylist methods of interior design? First we declutter, then we clean, and then we add some nature. I shook things up this time.

I started this project by spraying the toothbrush/cup holder with vinegar and scrubbing to get the calcium and ick deposits off. Then I removed the plastic soap tray, because I was never going to use that thing. Pump soaps are less likely to harbor the bacteria from the hands of previous users, so I prefer those for handwashing sinks. I tried multiple products to clean the portion of the metal recess underneath the plastic tray. Turns out that was a waste of time, as the silver finish has been worn/corroded away leaving the brass underneath poking through. Lucky for me, I like this mottled metal patina. Once I got the nasty thing cleaned up, I tried to decorate it.

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First effort.
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Second effort. This one is not sustainable. There is no natural light in the bathroom, so any living plant that does not thrive in a moist cave, is going to die.

Forgot to mention: After I removed the towel bar, there were some holes in the tile (about 0.5cm x 2cm) that I filled in with black silicone caulk. Black does not reflect light, so the caulked areas are not very noticeable. If they really bug me in the future, I have a plan for them.

Both of the “pretty-it-up” efforts above left me uninspired as they felt like I was just putting lipstick on a pig. Sooooo- I pulled the whole she-bang out of the wall-

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Sometimes it has to get worse before it gets better.

And then I removed the offending cup/toothbrush tray [which should never have been manufactured in the first place] and  put the metal recessed thing back in the wall. To me, it looked like a tiny grotto. So I found a tiny Buddha to enshrine there.

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This is a version of the “Joyful Buddha” which is my favorite one.

It may seem disrespectful to place a sculpture of a holy person in a bathroom to some persons. I think that the Joyful Buddha would find it amusing. And if he does not, he can let me know in meditation that I need to reform.

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A close-up of his Holiness.
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Long view of the sink and surroundings.

I may not leave his Holiness there indefinitely. If I find a fake cactus or Ganesh sculpture that I think fits the space better, I will retire him to a more venerated location.

Decorative Lampshade

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I actually started this project as a shade for a cylindrical lamp. But I broke that lamp when I was trying to apply the fabric. So this was plan B.

And I should have left plain, white, well-enough alone.

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But I had already washed, pressed and lined this fabric. Then selected these colors of thread from my sewing box.

And THEN I invested many hours of my life creating this pattern on the fabric.

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At this stage, I was really pleased with the project.

Then, I broke the lamp I had done all this work for. And I did not want to waste all the effort. So, I watched a couple of videos online about how to cover a plain shade with fabric.

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I made a pattern.
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I applied the fabric, as per my online instructions.

And it turned out thus:

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Meh.

The good news is that this failure did not cost me anything but my time. And I learned a couple things, so the time was not completely wasted.