kriselkeeper: October 2010

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Back to the drawing boards!

So....... we got a new mattress! It's a king. We moved up from a queen.  I had a bed design ready to go and was ready to build,  but with the bigger mattress in the room my design has gone out the window. 

Even though the mattress is bigger the room feels bigger.  Odd right?  I think the bed frame is to blame.  The bed was quite elevated and it had both a headboard and foot board.  Both ends of the bed had a curve design that put the actual mattress about 5 inches away from the wall.  A king and queen bed are the same size in length so I just gained at least 6 inches in the room.  And with the mattress on the floor I gained about 3-4 feet of overall visibility.

Now, I don't want to lose any space. My original design would add another foot to the width and another 6 inches to the length of the bed.  Plus, I can see us all hitting our shins on the boards for at least the first month.

None the less, I'll show you all my amateur drawings of my bed design.  I've never built furniture like this before so simplicity is essential.  I've always been attracted to simpler pieces anyway.  My friend's husband does this for a living. He gave me suggestions on how to make this design more structurally sound but still keeping it easy to build.    I have yet to learn any of the CAD programs. I'm old-schooling it with hand drawings.  My mother, a former architect of long ago, would be proud....I think, my perspective is still off.

First the base, the frame. It would have measured 88"w x 80" l x 6"h. I was suggested to add brackets at each corner to make the bed more stable. One crossbar down the middle would not have been sufficient given the width of a king size bed.

Second, the headboard would attach.

Third, a bed of planks, each about 12"wide would lay on top of the frame. The dimension of the whole "plank bed" would have been 100"w x 92" l:

I envisioned each plank stained in very slight variations of a walnut/caramel color to give it a little depth and richness. Not a color that covers the wood. I'm thinking of a stain that brings out the personality of each plank so to speak. 

The bed would have been sort of like this one below except without the two foot boards, the entire thing would have been made out of wood (no metal work), the headboard would have been a single plank and the tones of the wood would have been varied. So, similar but different. 

Now I want something more like this, seamless mattress to boards without sticking out at all. I'm not giving away one inch of space more in either direction. 
 Anyway, it's back to the drawing board.

Labels: ,

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fall Light

I love fall. Sometime around 5 in the afternoon the sun cast this beautiful light and shadows into our bedroom.  I never noticed how much the sun moves throughout the year until we lived in this house.  Our windows, up close to the ceiling, make me very aware of where the sun and moon are in their monthly and annual cycles. In the summer the afternoon sun falls further north on our house.   Our bedroom does not get this much light so late in the day. But during this time of the year the sun falls right through our corner window and onto the fence where the tree's shape is perfectly outlined.  I love the soft, orange, warmth of the sun during the fall.

This may very well be the last picture of our bedroom with this bed.  Wednesday, our new king size mattress arrives.  This bed will go into our guest bedroom.  I will build our long awaited bed sometime in November when my mother arrives for her 3 month visit.  She will entertain the P while I crank that puppy out sometime in between Thanksgiving and P's birthday party.  Yeah, we don't have too much planned around here.  If I gave all our little birthday guests a large piece of cake would it still be considered child slave labor if  made them sand the boards for the bed? Food for thought!


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mad Potting!

The plants on the left are Red Sensation Cordyline
I tend to over think things. I plan, gather info, rethink, re-sketch, compare price points, etc, etc, etc. Lately I've been throwing caution to the wind.  Not because I'm turning a new leaf or anything. It's more because I have too many projects and too little time to rethink.

I was at Home Depot the other day and saw succulents for about a $1 a piece. I rarely buy plants at Home Depot. There are too many fabulous, small, family owned nurseries around our home. I'd rather give my business to them.  But for a $1 a piece I couldn't pass it up. Of course the purchase of one plant generally demands the purchase of another to complete the look.

In the past I would have sketched out the plant combination for each pot. This time I said "screw it" and I figured it out when I got home.  I don't think they look bad. We'll see how they all work together as each plant starts to grow in but whatever doesn't work I can always repot.,,,right?  This little exercise felt rather liberating.  I may do the same when picking exterior paint colors.

Anyway, for the record these are the plants I purchased this week:

String of Pearls or Senecio rowleyanus

Lola, I didn't get the Botanical name.

Orostachys erubescens

 I like how the Red Sensation Cordyline give the pots more height. The small succulents will need time to peek out over the pots but even now it looks better than the empty sad pots I had before.

 And this is more or less the view from the dining room.  By the way. I don't like the chair we have out there. However, I found it in the alley when I lived in Santa Monica.  It was exactly what I needed at the time. My brother sanded and stained it so I'm not quite ready to part with it. 

Labels: , ,

Saturday, October 9, 2010


All summer I planned on taking pictures and writing about our sails in the backyard.  When I had time it wasn't the right time of day to take pictures and when it was the right time of day I didn't have time.  Then there's the constant mess on our patio that I really wanted to clean up before exposing to the world how "non minimal" we really live.

Fall has arrived. The rain and winds came so down went the sails and I never got to fully capture their magnificence.  So here is their story and some very non glamorous shots of them and the reality of our backyard.

Almost three years ago we took a family trip to Key West.  Our best meal was at an outdoor restaurant behind a house.  I can't remember the name of it to save my life.  It had a hole in the wall, hidden shack kind of feel to it. They had chickens roaming around freely.  I could see Hemingway or Jimmy Buffet eating there.  Above the umbrella tables, they had huge sails that cast a lovely shade down below.  It was brilliant! In a place were there are more boats than cars, the sails were so appropriate.

When we came back home to 100 degree weather. I wanted shade and I wanted to replicate the "feel" of that restaurant. I wanted our very own, backyard shangri-la.    Our backyard faces west. In the summer the sun beams directly into our kitchen/dining area all afternoon. The patio, with all it's concrete turns into a frying pan.  It's not a small area either.  Getting shade sails would have been a fortune to cover.  I thought finding thrown out or ripped sailing sails would be an easy and economic option. It wasn't.  I searched for months and couldn't find anything on Craigslist.  I called boatyards and marinas and came up empty.

Fortunately, a friend of ours once sailed in the America's Cup. He knows the right people and to my giddy surprise a heavy box of sails arrived at our door one day.  They came from Texas and they insisted nothing was expected in return!  I put them up immediately.  P was just starting to walk at the time.  I remember what a juggle it was to watch her and climb up and down a ladder as I figured out how to hang these sails.  Geometry was not my forte in school so just imagine how many times it took for me to place three large triangles in the right place at the right angles!

I love the sails! I especially love the one with the racing numbers.  We can put them up and take them down easily. They go up sometime in May and come down sometime in October.  During the winter the sun moves to a more comfortable place on our landscape and we don't need them anymore. If for some reason they are still up past October it's the Santa Ana winds that make us take them down.

Here's what I did not factor in about sailing sails.  They are meant to catch wind, unlike shade sails that are meant to let wind pass thru.   The first year we put them up, when the winds started blowing it felt like the whole house was going to take off for Kansas!  One of the beams where the sails were anchored actually broke in two.  

Second, because sailing sails are meant to catch wind they are not flat. They have a droop to them when hung horizontally.  No matter how hard we pull at the ends the droop will always remain which means they need to be hung up higher than the roof line.   Every summer we experiment with their placement. D says he's putting in poles  for next summer so they hang up higher and have a more permanent location.

My original thought was something more stylish to give us shade.  Something along these lines. These are from the Parker Hotel in Palm Springs.

However, I also love things that are original or things used in a non conventional way so I do love the sails because they are a very non conventional forms of backyard shade. What I don't like is how they droop so I hope with the placement of tall poles I'll be fully won over.  D loves them because they could have once been a part of the Stars and Stripes and because they're here and they were free.

What I really did not factor is that it's not the shade that makes shangri-la, it's the trees that create that feel.  So, we need more trees. However, the job of putting in trees in a concreted, narrow area along side a pool will be a big, big job.

Labels: ,

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Halloween 2010

I was never into Halloween until I had a kid.  This year, since P is almost 3, the holidays are becoming even more meaningful.  I'm not big on going crazy with the decorations but I am trying to add a few cool things every year.  

One of my favorite children's blogs showed how to take a jar or vase and turn it into a ghost.  When I first read the post I wasn't inspired but then I remembered my vases....the ugly ones that came with beautiful floral arrangements I've been given.  I've felt bad throwing them away. Who knows why, but anyway I now found a great use for them.  

You flip the vases or jars upside down. Then you spray them with glass frost spray and then paint the eyes and mouthes. My set of three are made up of two vases and one Grey Poupon jar.  D placed a blinking bike light in the jars to give them a spooky effect.  

I'm digging our chalk wall for holidays.  I found this blue sparkling skull head at Target yesterday for $4. My original intent was to put it on our front door.  When I got home I realized I could give our head a body....and so I did.  

I find Halloween hard to do cool and stylish.  Maybe I'm not as into this holiday as I thought. But, what I am into is making P her costumes.  This was last years!


Monday, October 4, 2010

More Pipes Blow

This is how this past weekend went.

Friday: 3pm

A pipe blew in the street right in front of our house.  The fire department came. Then DWP came.  They tried turning off the water for a good hour and a half and no luck. To their credit,  they were trying to make the shut off points as contained as possible so as not to impact many residence nearby.  

Friday 4:30pm. 
I had a brilliant idea. Water was gushing down the street and we were right at the source. I grabbed buckets with P and we made a game of watering our trees with free water!  What do you know?  DWP figures out how to shut off the water within minutes of us filling up our buckets! No free water for me!  I asked one of the men if our house lost it's water and he said half joking, half serious " Yes, you don't get anymore water today. You've had your share."!  

Friday: 8pm

The DWP crew start working on the break.  A few months ago the pipes up the street blew and they worked till 1am. I knew we were in for a long night.  The break was within 30 feet of our bedroom window.  

Friday: 10:30pm

Before going to bed I couldn't resist going outside and taking pictures.  The crew was very friendly.  They know this is not an ideal situation for the neighbors so they're working fast and relatively far as construction quiet goes.  I'm concerned for our mature Jacaranda tree. They had to take out a 5 foot section of thick root running alongside the water pipe. 

Saturday 7:30am.

Our water is back on! We all slept surprisingly well. Before living here we lived on Wilshire Blvd, in a high rise.  It was very noisy at night but it never bothered us.  In fact, it took us a while to get use to sleeping in silence when we moved in here.  DWP gave us the city noise back.  

Now all that remains is a dusty, muddy mess.  Our house is going to be dirty for the next couple months. My car as well. It has splashed mud all over from other cars driving by. do i get a water truck to come hose all this down the street?