Friday, May 22, 2009

Other Uses for Things

Information that is in addition to the column is in italics and gold colored.

For a special occasion my nephew wanted to wear the navy blue suit in which his grandfather had been married in 1947 but there was a fairly large sun bleach spot on one shoulder. My sister, the Queen of Fix-its, used navy blue floral spray paint  to camouflage the spot. ( Floral spray paint stays ‘bendable’).

A client recently told me she was going to try to cover some plastic vertical blinds with fabric. I suggested she try  Crylon Paint instead. This paint is amazing and was made especially for painting plastic, like the ratty old plastic lawn chairs you thought you’d have to throw out. Crylon paint comes in a good color selection, available at  Hardware Stores .

My Quilters erasable pen is one of my favorite tools. It makes a great, bright purple  mark that fades to nothing  or can be removed with the built in eraser.  I use it in the workroom to mark fabric ( it’s intended use ) and at installations to mark the walls for  bracket placement and things.  Available at Fabricland

If your venetian blinds are dust magnets, spray them with static guard. It helps keep the dust from sticking and makes them easier to clean.  Also - use a  washable wool duster for cleaning them. Wool will actually pick up the dust, not just move it around like feather or polyester dusters do. 

If you are a sewer and need to trace your patterns, try medical  examining table paper. It comes in a roll, is semi-transparent, quite strong and a lot less expensive than the commercially available pattern tracing paper.  Available at the medical supply store in Vernon- behind the large downtown Safeway.

I recently had to install a curtain as a room divider. We could have only one center support, the rod was 12 feet long and the support had to hang from the ceiling.  I used a pipe stand from the local plumbing/electrical supply house. It cost about $4.00, as opposed to the $20.00 and up that similar supports cost from  drapery hardware  suppliers. Got this one at EMCO, they are metal so they can be painted to match the curtain rod color.

The cat peed on the new very expensive brown  leather sofa. It left a large dark green stain.  The Queen of Fix-its tried a lot of leather cleaning  products that didn’t work - but in the end Magic Eraser took the stain out totally. Stain is gone, so is the cat. 

Here are a few more ‘Other Uses’:

To mount a curtain rod inside the window frame a ‘J-hook’ from the plumbing department  can be painted and mounted to the frame and will accommodate up to about  5/8” diameter rod.  They cost less than a dollar each.

 I use releasable  zip ties to transform a flat sheet into a fitted sheet.   Drape the sheet over the mattress, in your left hand gather up all the excess fabric at one corner,  holding it close to the top of the box spring. Put a zip tie around the bundle, snug everything up and then tighten the tie well and tuck it under the mattress. Zip ties are not usually releasable but the automotive industry has them, they are available through Napa special order but their minimum is a  bundle  of 100 for $24.00. I got mine at Bumper to Bumper for 6 for $4.00. If you want to order some, call me and maybe a few of us can go together on a bundle. I certainly don’t want 100 of them....

Here is an ‘Other Uses’ from the President of the Canadian Drapery Workroom Association, Lori Crank:

A product named Green Works - it is a "natural glass & surface cleaner" made by Clorox, comes in a spray bottle like any other glass cleaner. Liquid is clear and works as an excellent spot remover on fabric. Of course test an area first - but I have never seen residue from this product. My little lifesaver!  Lori

Friday, May 15, 2009

Off Center Things

 I worked with a designer who loved asymmetrical things. If I hung a picture straight in the show room, she would come behind me and skew it just a bit. All the furniture in her living room was off centered, just a bit.  We did a Christmas Show Home one year and  one of my jobs was to go behind her and straighten everything. She took great delight in finding a window off center in a room.  She thought it showed some individuality.  I believe I am in the majority when I say that off center windows are really annoying. 

Here’s the thing about architectural elements in a room that you do not find pleasing and you can not change: you can camouflage it, you can ignore it, or you can accent it.

Camouflage it: remember what I’ve said about contrast? Here is a prime example of how to use that knowledge: Make the offending ‘item’ blend into it’s surroundings.

Ignore it:  This is a personal choice. If you have recognized a feature as being ‘bad architecture’ chances are good you will not be able to ignore it; but if you can, go ahead. You are the one who will have to look at it and live with it. 

Accent it: Make a statement out of item.  Draw attention to it, make it the focal point of the room.

I promise you that the most effective way to deal with architecture that you can not change  is to camouflage it. 

Suppose the window is off center.  Use drapes and  have them centered on the wall. Please look at the brown and yellow bedroom  in the Gallery on my website, for pictures of this problem and the fix. 

You may not care if the wall is in balance or not. If that is so, then put blinds on the window and away you go but remember this: asymmetrical  decorating is very difficult to do well. Unless you are a bit of a genius with balance and scale, no matter what you do the room feel slightly off kilter until you deal with the off center situation. This applies to most architectural  elephants in a room.  The easiest fix of all is to call a professional and get some good advice.