Remodeling, Donations, Chaos, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadow

The painters are here – this one’s just a shadow shrouded behind a drape of plastic to keep out the dust. Things can get a little spooky looking when the light is just right…

Painter in the shadows, behind a plastic screenHere we are in daylight…

Painter in the shadows, behind a plastic screenAs you can see (off to the left) everything is piled up everywhere.

Here’s the kitchen last week when it was enshrouded too.  It’s pretty much cleaned up now, and a new fridge delivered too.

Kitchen under wraps - shrouded in plastic The old fridge, now donated, is currently for sale at the Fur Kids Thrift Store. It was working just fine, but updated for cosmetic purposes (hmm, now that I think of it, I could use a little updating for cosmetic purposes myself). Here it is taking its leave.

Old fridge loaded to Fur Kids truck

Out of the shadowy house and into the light — the old fridge gets loaded to the Fur Kids truck.  It’s too bad we can see one foot of the guy doing the loading — otherwise, it almost looks like it’s rolling itself out, leaning forward into a new life.

I’m delighted to have found the Fur Kids thrift store nearby. That makes two stores in this area that benefit animal rescue, Fur Kids and Rescued Too. They’re my new favorite places to take donations.

Fur Kids truck

I love the waving-kitty logo…

What’s your favorite place for donations?

More on Fur Kids and Rescued Too

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Packing Up, Living Without Books, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitude

I didn’t realize how lonely I’d be without books. Here’s my living room, with the once-messy shelves of books all packed away to keep or stacked to donate (except the Amazon-sale ones stashed away upstairs). I had to pack up for remodeling, so to keep from packing twice, the keepers will stay boxed up until time comes to move.

Living Room with empty book shelves and no paintings

Living room all packed up, with no books & no paintings

My “library” room — Sam calls it the MCM room since it’s more Mid-Century than the rest of the house — is bookless now too. Here it is in a state of packing up…

Packing up the books

What to keep and what to go?…

And here are some of the keeper boxes … what will I do while they are inaccessible?

Books to keep, all packed up

Some books to keep, ready to be packed away until I can move.

I’m accustomed to walking in any time and pulling out something to reference. It’s time to say ‘bye books, see you later. Just for now, I’ll have to cope with the solitude of booklessness (and be even more thankful for the Public Library).

Have you ever been bookless?

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Art Exhibitions, Found Objects, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Repurpose

This is the kind of thing that makes it so hard for me to let things go.  If you have a lot of stuff, a project like these robots could be great fun. Instead of clearing up, I want to get sticky-fingered with every domino and tool and gear and key and blob and button I find.  These perky robot pals are from the gift shop at the American Folk Art Museum.

Robots, Museum of Folk Art, New York, NY

Robots,  don’t they look like they’re about to speak? — or pinch? American Folk Art Museum, New York, NY

Still in New York, at MOMA this time… at the 2016 Marcel Broodthayers Retrospective; this work is from a mixed-media room sized installation with the theme of “the relationship of war to comfort.”

Marcel Broodthayers, from Decor: a Conquest, mixed media, 1975.

Marcel Broodthayers, from Decor: a Conquest, mixed media, 1975.

Now if you’re downsizing, like me, something like this mobile might be a good way to repurpose your clothes hangars. Ready to clean out the closet? — make sculpture! And fabulous shadows play.

Man Ray. Obstruction, original 1920, Moderna Museet Edition, 1961 (13/15), Sixty Three Wood Coat Hangars

Man Ray. Obstruction, original 1920, Moderna Museet Edition, 1961 (13/15), Sixty Three Wood Coat Hangars

Got clogs? Here’s a musical instrument from Brussels…

Clog Fiddle - Jozef Laermans, Meerhout, Antwerp, 1969 (MIM: Musical Instruments Museum, Brussels Belgium)

Clog Fiddle – Jozef Laermans, Meerhout, Antwerp, 1969 (MIM: Musical Instruments Museum, Brussels Belgium)

And last, one from my own closet (recently donated to be repurposed by a quilting friend). Repurposing a quilt should get double points, since quilts are repurposed anyway. This was a flea-market find from years ago… (hard to let it go).

Crazy Quilt

Crazy Quilt – repurposing fabric scraps, corduroy and velveteen.

Do you have potential art materials in your closet?

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Vintage Flamingo Figurines, My Goofy Collections Part 4, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Graceful

Pink plastic flamingos have been popping up on people’s yards for decades (say that fast 3 times). I’ve only got the china kind. At some point in my Art-Deco-to-Midcentury-loving past I must have acquired a flamingo figurine and tended it lovingly enough to inspire friends to give me flamingos. We hoarder-types are always appreciative, so thank you friends, but now I need to downsize. My fabulous flamingos must fly to new homes.

Flamingo figurines - collection

Conflagration of flamingos…

A few flew away earlier – there were souvenir flamingos on my desk at work through a few moves, finally given to an especially nice office-cleaning lady who admired them. My sister in law gave me a feathered one who brightened up flower pots but eventually succumbed to the damp, and an early-inspiration plastic lawn ornament.

As for flamingo lawn ornaments, they were born in Massachusetts in 1957 and achieved their ironic celebrity with the opening credits of John Waters’ film Pink Flamingos (1972).

“The real plastic flamingo is in a sense extinct, Waters says: ‘You can’t have anything that innocent anymore.’”  — Smithsonian

I’m glad I switched from plastic to china. With a little googling, I’m alarmed to see that pink flamingos and garden gnomes are the most popular lawn ornaments. You can get your own “garden gnome eating pink flamingos” and of course,  zombie flamingos and garden gnomes… and so on. I see I’d better be careful about where I let my china flock go. But wherever it is, those pink question-mark necks will always be graceful.
Oh, and just in case you’re wondering: I don’t have any garden gnomes — do you?

 

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Graceful

More on pink-flamingo lawn ornaments from Smithsonian

How Much Coffee is Enough? and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Resilient

I figured out a long time ago that if I want to be resilient, there will have to be coffee. Organizing shelves and unpacking boxes of stored stuff showed me I must be really resilient by now — I have way too many coffee makers.Cafe Press, Chemex, and Drip Cup

My once-beloved Pyrex stove-top percolator is long gone but not forgotten. The Chemex on the left was a lucky find of the same era. At the time, Chemex was the epitome of cool and way out of my price range. Then one day I walked into the local Salvation Army store and was astonished to find one for $2.00… Sold! The French-press pots are recent, and make me feel ever so continental — not to mention green, for being filter-free — but they’re a pain to wash.

cappuccino-makers-dsc06658

Cappuccino makers basking in a ray of morning sun…

Two of these cappuccino makers were packed away in Bob’s boxes, so before donating, I’ll have to see if they still work. (It’s hard to believe now that in pre-Starbucks days we went all the way to Italy to discover cappuccino) I won’t include a photo of my standard coffee pot – it’s been misbehaving anyway.

Lately it’s all just too much trouble and this has been my coffee-maker —

Instant Coffee

We discovered it as hotel-coffee when traveling – it’s actually pretty good

Here on earth our relationship with a morning cup of coffee is complex. And now we hear that climate change is threatening coffee crops. (Do you hear that, politicians? How can anyone resist fighting climate change when coffee is at stake?)

But wait — when I savor that morning cup, I may feel slightly virtuous if I throw my coffee grounds into the compost, but I haven’t even been considering climate change, or excess waste and pollution from processing plants that pollute waterways, or deforestation resulting when farmers replace traditional shade-growing methods with sun cultivation.  I just get up in the morning and stumble into the kitchen to make my cup of instant-gratification. I haven’t noticed any shade-grown instant, but when I switched to instant I wasn’t thinking, wasn’t looking.

I need to get back to shopping and consuming more responsibly. Guess I’ll start by dusting off one of the coffee-makers (and we’ll see if I have the resilience to give up my instant gratification). Surely I can at least manage the over-the-cup drip coffee (first photo) —  I even found the cute little filters that go with it. I’m hoping that’ll help me work my way back to filter-free with the French-press pot.

How do you like your coffee? And do you have enough coffee-makers?

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How to Green Your Cup of Coffee

A Way Forward, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Path

I’m not sure if this is a path or a dry creek bed (is that symbolic or what?).  Whichever it is, I see that the way forward is somewhat obscured and, like my own way forward, could use some decluttering.

Path or Dry Creek?

Path or Dry Creek? It’s tough going forward when you’re not even sure of the path.

Here’s the path over the path – a covered footbridge from yesterday’s walk. In this view, the library is behind me. I hope that’s not symbolic…

In this view, the library is behind me, I hope that's not symbolic

Here’s a quote I got through the Unclutterer, referring to a post on Declutter 101 about establishing “Clutter Preserves” — I love it!

“Accept reality by establishing dedicated clutter preserves. Like wildlife preserves, these are limited areas where clutter may live freely, so long as it stays within boundaries. In a bedroom, one chair becomes the clutter preserve. Clothing may be thrown with abandon, so long as it’s thrown on the chair.”            … from Declutter 101

And yes, my clutter preserves definitely need to shrink. But now I have a name for them. It’s surprising how much that helps. Once recognized, I can more easily establish boundaries, and with current clutter contained I can spend more energy on unpacking boxes and dispersing the archived clutter that’s been roaming freely throughout the basement for years now.

One problem with letting clutter roam free is that it’s then able to go forth and multiply. Here’s to birth control for clutter. Mine definitely needs it, does yours?

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Cabin Fever, Cabinet Fever, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Relax

My fortune cookie said “Now is the time for peace in your life” but I can’t relax while I still have so many messy spots in the house. There’s still a long way to go from here to Hoarder Came Clean, but staying in on rainy days has been a big help. I’ll take every little victory I can.

My kitchen pantry cabinet went from piled up to somewhat organized… (in what universe do I need 3 boxes of cornstarch when I can’t remember the last time I used any?)

Kitchen Pantry Cabinet

Edited somewhat by the time I took this photo… and edited a bit more afterward.

Some pretty old stuff had migrated to the back — and why it was in the food cupboard is anyone’s guess. Here, for example, are the contents of a chocolate tin full of matches. My favorites here are like a story of my life.

Vintage matchbooks

Vintage matchbooks and boxes, and yeah, I’m pretty sure a matchbox won’t hold all my clothes.

Every place used to have matches to give away and apparently I liked to have them as souvenirs. Now I remember my onetime favorite Kansas City restaurants, long closed — The Souper, The Prospect of Westport; and restaurants from the UK, Athens, Amsterdam, New York City.  There’s Asti (NYC), where the waiters were opera singers and everyone waved white handkerchiefs and sang “arrivederchi Roma” when leaving. It might even still be there… ah, sadly, no, I just looked. It closed in 2000.

There are even matches from the Milgram’s grocery store chain, stores long since acquired. All this reminds me that I probably have a bigger collection of matchbooks somewhere. I presume they’ll show up in their own good time. As for now, I found a “lazy susan” in the basement and organized the cabinet so I can get to everything. I’m not sure what to do with all the matches. (Bonfire of the vanities?)

Here are my reorganized cabinets, upper and lower … oops, now I see I neglected to clear out the drawer between them. It’ll keep me entertained on the next rainy day.

Upper kitchen pantry-cabinet "after"They’re still too full. I’ll have to remember to cook from the pantry first, not from the grocery store. It’s past time to whittle down supplies. Meanwhile, I can relax a little, with one more corner at least semi-organized.

Lower pantry kitchen cabinet - "after"

Do you have any cabinets left to clean out? And can you relax until you do?

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And for opera lovers, more on Asti

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