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.
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.
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.
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.
~ 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.
We have been in the apartment a little over a year. I think I have the living space arranged to my liking for now.
This cabinet holds the wireless router, the laptop when it is not is use and a bamboo caddy with office supplies.
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.
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.
I sewed the beautiful linen into an appropriate-sized square using a classic back stitch.
And here is the finished product, nestled into one of the living room chairs.
Bonus: I have enough fabric to make another 18″ pillowcase when I find another sad pillow on sale.
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.
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-
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.
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.
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.
I have not forgotten you. You find me in strange circumstances. Recently, we have had the confluence of two unusual events: my phone photo/video storage reached it’s capacity and then while I was working on that issue, my 88 year old mom fell and broke her knee.
So I have been hanging out at mom’s house to help her out. But she doesn’t have internet. (I know!!!) So blog responsibilities took a back seat to real life responsibilities. But I believe I can move forward in this way: I need to delete a bunch of photos that I am not likely to keep, but I think are beautiful, nonetheless. So I will share them with you all and then delete them from my phone, to make space for more photographs to share with you all! Sound okay?
So the minimalist in me does not feel obligated to save these photos for eternity, though I did enjoy them for a moment or two.
Hopefully, I will have worked out the bugs in the system and mom will be upright on her own two knees soon.
Every year, about this time, I review my “Death” folder, to make sure it is up to date.
As you can see, it includes instructions for the disposal of my body. It also includes an updated list of bank accounts and insurance policies and who to contact to stop my pension checks. Some years I tinker with the song list for my memorial service. This year I had to add a whole page of instructions on how to help my disabled son.
I do this because I love my children very much and while I can not make my death easy for them, I can make it less difficult by giving them access to the information they will need in the days immediately following my death.
Now on to more fun topics.
I thought I would try my hand a New Year’s resolutions. In the past, I did not bother with them, thinking that if I wanted to initiate a change, I should just do it and not wait for the calendar to catch up with me.
This year, I thought, “What if I am missing out? What if New Year’s resolutions will really improve my life and I never gave them a fair chance?”
But frankly if seems kind of bossy and abusive “for my own good,” kind of like The Biggest Loser TV show where participants enter into a boot camp full of healthy food and vigorous exercise.
This one is more gentle, and a lot more “new agey.” But is also seems pretty complicated and likely doomed to failure if I can’t pull my resolutions up from memory.
How about you all? Any New Year’s resolutions that you would like to share?