Sunday, June 15, 2008

Clutter: progress and setback; verticalization

Recently I was stuck home for most of a week with pharyngitis (I think that's medical-ese for "gee, your throat looks red!") so I paid some attention to the area of my room near my bed. I have a small table, and things constantly fall off it onto the floor. I made a list of all the things I wanted on that table, or nearby (such as my purse), and it's no WONDER things won't fit. I resolved, as I felt better and the antibiotics began to take hold and vanquish the throat bugs, to improve the situation.

VERTICALization is the goal -- things on shelves, rather than things on the floor. I'll probably figure out a way to attach a powerstrip to the wall under my bedroom window, getting yet more stuff off the floor. So now I'm shopping for a small but tall shelving unit to hold baskets of STUFF -- knitting projects, library books, CDs, etc.; I will use the table only for the radio and my morning teacup (oh, what an optimist I am!).

I recently discovered a store called Ichiban Kan which sold some really nice plastic baskets, perfect for my plan. I used three to organize a shelf in the living room, and they worked marvelously. Bought more, took a couple of them to Ikea one evening and stuck them onto various shelves, looking for units deep enough to hold these particular baskets. I also want real wood this time for the shelving; I intend never to buy pressboard again if I can help it.

My aim is complete verticalization of the stuff I like to have near the bed -- a small but tall shelving unit for most things, the table only for the radio and my morning teacup (oh, what an optimist I am!). I haven't decided exactly which shelving unit to buy, but it was nice there were several possibilities at Ikea with shelves deep enough for my baskets. So yesterday I went back to Ichiban Kan to buy a dozen baskets -- and they are out of stock!!! I don't even know if I will ever see these particular baskets again, so I guess now I'm searching for a basket alternative (though Ikea itself offers some very nice cloth-and-stiffener containers exactly for this same purpose, of holding small odds and ends neatly on a shelf).
I also realized that I could move the small stereo from my living room (where it's mostly gathering dust) to the proposed bedroom shelving, where it would give me nicer sound than my cute retro-look but not-very-high-fi clock radio can offer.

pine shelves with red plastic doors

I progress by inches. If having a plan, but not much action, can be considered progress.

(I also found references to a well-reviewed book on designing a sewing studio, which I am hoping will inspire me. Details will be posted when I locate them.)

-- Rachel Holmen

Droodles and Roger Price

In my long-ago youth, I remember being vastly amused by a set of books with the title "Droodles". These were odd drawings whose witty captions convulsed me.

I was trying to remember a few of my favorites -- I recall a single vertical line in the center of a frame (all droodles had a thick black line around the outside) and two tiny triangles joined at the point. Most droodles had several alternate captions. The idea was to look at the picture, puzzle a few minutes, and then read the captions.

vertical line, two opposing triangles

This one was either "single strand of spaghetti, gift-wrapped", or "man with bow tie stuck in elevator".

- - - - - - -

So anyway, it's now the day of the internet, so I Googled "droodles", and found a wikipedia page about Droodles and their author, Roger Price. He had written for both Mad Magazine and for comedian Bob Hope, but after Droodles were a hit, he and a friend founded a book publishing company. You can read the whole thing yourself here, and see the Droodles website as well.

Me, I'm going to buy the Classic Droodles and track down a used copy of the first Droodles book, then share them my with 14-year-old nephews.

-- Rachel Holmen

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Weaving II -- Another source for Roving (what's roving???)

Aha! This is a followup post to my report on the weaving conference in Sacramento: I have found the lost name of a booth.

Small Logo of Chameleon

Chameleon Colorworks impressed me. This vendor offers something called OPTIM, wool that's been stretched so it no longer shrinks very much when YOU wash it later. Available either as yarn or as roving (plain or dyed). (Roving is fiber half-way to being yarn; it's usually fleece that has been carded and possibly dyed, sold as a continuous but very loose strand of fibers -- usually about an inch in diameter more or less. If you buy it, you probably intend to spin it using either a wheel or a drop spingle, into a much skinnier strand of yarn, which may then be plied with other strands to make a stronger yarn. But there are really cozy-warm socks you can make by simply stuffing roving in between the stitches.)

-- Rachel