April 12, 2013

Spring is back

Spring is really here and recently temperatures have risen from cold to warm. It is time to go back to the gym for those of us who have accumulated some fat over the winter. Strangely I felt like doing some online gambling today while I was working on a research paper. This is something I rarely do but once in a while playing a few sessions of blackjack does not kill. I find it entertaining and relaxing, good when I need to change my mind. Of course I only play for pennies so it does not cost me anything noticeable.

wash that thrift store smell right out of your chair

After: clean thrift store chair
The chair.

My living room is big for a one-bedroom apartment, but somewhat narrow and dominated by Rob's two favorite possessions: a giant flat screen TV and a giant brown leather sofa. Moving or losing either one of those items is out of the question, so when the time came to look for more seating for the living room, I was kind of at a loss. The giant sofa's giant arms left no room for a regular love seat and I hoped for more than a couple of narrow chairs. Luckily a midweek trip to St. Vincent's thrift store yielded two comfy armless chairs that I was able to bargain down to just $20 each.

They were perfect. And looked great. And were each big enough to fit two (skinny or okay-with-being-cozy) people. The only problem? They were really dusty and smelled like thrift store, ugh. So I did a little research, whipped up a little detergent foam and watched a little reality TV one afternoon and a couple hours later had two sparkling clean chairs.

Whipping laundry detergent
Whipping laundry detergent is oddly satisfying.

Before I tell you what I did -- a note about upholstery. The fabric on these chairs is anything but luxurious, which is why I went ahead with the cleaning process without spot-checking to make sure it wouldn't do anything weird. If you are cleaning upholstery you are fond of, test a small patch before proceeding with the whole furniture piece.

Someone is curious...
My assistant, whether I like it or not.

Once you're ready to go, mix 1/4 cup laundry detergent with about 2 cups of water in a large non-plastic bowl. Using an electric hand mixer, beat the mixture on low until the bowl is full of dry, fluffy foam. Lift the foam from the bowl with a metal spoon (plastic or wood will absorb the detergent scent) and apply to the upholstery. Rub the foam in gently with a clean rag. Repeat over the entire furniture piece, rewhipping the detergent mixture to get more foam as needed. Empty the bowl and fill it with clean water. Dip a clean rag in the water, squeeze it out and rub it gently over the upholstery to remove the remaining dirt and detergent. Repeat, refilling the bowl with fresh water as needed. Let the upholstery dry.

And...done! Two clean, good-smelling $20 chairs so we can have even more people over to watch our giant TV.*

After: clean thrift store chair
Not really an After, since I never took a Before picture. But you get the idea.

*Which is exactly what we did a couple weeks ago when Still Waiting** came out on DVD because Rob has a pretty big part in it. The movie is kind of misogynistic and awful, but Rob is funny, so if you're interested in seeing him on the small screen, rent it. Rob plays Mason, the lisping fry cook with a heart of gold.

**This is not the movie I mentioned previously, the one with Catherine Zeta Jones. That movie is called The Rebound and will be in theaters hopefully very soon.

February 12, 2009

some shameless self-promotion

Four seasons wagashi: New Year's boar

Exhibit A: Months and months ago I was contacted by someone at the University of British Columbia School of Architecture about using some of my wagashi photos in a book about Vancouver. They finally finished the book, Vancouver Matters, and and it's really lovely. Each chapter is about a different material and my pictures (teeny tiny) appear in the "Sugar" chapter, alongside an essay about the connection between Japanese Canadians and beet sugar farming. Very interesting stuff. And I have a tiny credit in the back. Yay!

Exhibit B: A short film I made called Oven Lovin' will be screening at a multi-event art show called My Bloody Valentine this Friday at 8pm at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions. The film is a food porn starring Rob, me, Barry White and some brownies. If you're in the LA area, you should come!

Exhibit C: If you don't read my food blog, you might not know that I recently became the food editor for an LA-based online magazine called Evil Monito. I'm posting over there about twice a week, writing about everything from found fruit to spicy Korean hotpot. If you like what you read, you can subscribe to my feed here.

It's been a busy month -- but exciting!

January 18, 2009

home is where the nerds are

Controller shelf detail

So this is the cross-stitched Christmas gift for Rob I mentioned in the last post. Sadly, I cannot take credit for the brilliant design; the conception was all thanks to the Internet. The Domestic Scientist provided the inspiration and a link to the pattern, which I doubled in size. It took forever to finish, but pretty soon after starting it I got really into it and started to realize why the ladies of yore used to cross-stitch all the time. There's something satisfying about all those tiny squares coming together to form words and pictures, especially for a compulsive neat freak like me.

Rob loves it, needless to say, and it has taken its place above our controller shelf, a repurposed IKEA CD shelf which has been dubbed "The Hutch." I set the shelf up in an attempt to organize Rob's gaming clutter (told you -- compulsive neat freak), and it has become the most commented-on piece of furniture in our apartment. Even better, Rob totally uses it! I think he likes admiring his myriad of gaming accessories, slumbering away in their little cubbies.

Controller shelf

If home is where the controller is, where is home for the controller?

...I just made that up. It's a Zen koan for nerds. Meditate on it.