Khat's Profile

Display Name: Khat
Member Since: 3/2/14

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<rank mode on> Try this while being old, alone, female & in poor health. No, this isn't me, thank God & all His mercies, but it describes a huge number of senior women, many of whom spent their adult years as homemakers & mothers & (in Canada, anyway) aren't eligible for employment pension benefits under the federal pension plan.

But regardless of what your age & circumstances, scraping by every month is a soul-killer. Here in Canada our minimum wages are slightly higher -- from $11/hr in Ontario & Nunavut, down to $9.95/hr in Alberta, ironically the wealthiest (oil) province in the country -- but our costs tend to be higher. Balancing that out are our excellent health & social benefits programs (some of the best in the world), but people still hurt.

This is a touchy topic for me, as I feel it's an indictment of our society that we have so many people living in so much poverty. There is something seriously wrong with our thinking, and in how we treat each other. <rant mode off>

Budget Living: Living On Minimum Wage
7/25/14 11:57 AM

I've never heard this term before -- what a fascinating, if bizarre, area of architectural study!

When I was a kid, two brothers sold the family farm & moved into town a block from us. There was some sort of feud going on between them that resulted in one of them building an ever-higher fence between their properties. This went on all one summer, the fence getting higher & higher, until during a ferocious windstorm, it blew down & flattened his own car (which I thought was hilarious, given my age). My mother said it was a good lesson in what happens if you spend more time minding other people's business than minding your own. I just remember thinking it was a lot of effort expended for nothing.

Spite Houses Are Exactly What They Sound Like
7/25/14 11:41 AM

Oh, yes, please. And not a staggered subway tile or hint of chalkboard paint to be seen -- sweet relief!

And as for decorating with resale in mind -- sure, it's safe, and it's what your mother & your Realtor will tell you to do. But "safe" is highly over-rated (except for birth control & sky-diving). I have *never* lost money selling a house, ever, and (except for when I was married & compromise went with the package) I have never decorated for anyone but myself. The key is finding the right Realtor for you & your property when the time comes -- do that, and your decor & design quirks will become selling features, not liabilities. Sure, it might be more work for everyone involved. And God knows, everyone will have an opinion. But isn't that a small price to pay for living in a home that makes you want to hug yourself in sheer delight when you step through the front door?

And Now for Something Completely Different: 10 Standout Kitchens
7/23/14 09:54 PM

Love it. Backing it. Thanks, AT -- I'd probably have missed this without you.

Litographs Releases Literary Temporary Tattoos Design News
7/23/14 12:07 AM

Lovely place with tons of personality. I swear I made that pendant lamp in photo#1 back in the day: string, white glue, big balloon. Horribly messy to make, but I liked the lamp. Seeing this one, I'm half tempted to do it again.

Jenny and Chris Merge Styles in Williamsburg House Call
7/21/14 03:27 AM

OMG, those crocheted guinea pigs are almost as cute as the real thing. Must. Make.

12 DIY Projects & Crafts So Cute You’ll Want to Eat Them All Up
7/20/14 12:51 PM

Have to interject a note of caution here: If you're going to put a coloured rug on top of your beige WTW, make sure it's colour-proof. I created what could have been a nightmare for myself a few years ago when I put an old brightly-coloured wool rug on beige carpeting in a rented house. I guess I wasn't as careful as I should have been when watering a couple of plants, because when I was moving & rolled my carpets up there were big areas of transferred dye on the WTW where my rug had gotten wet.

I nearly died. Got in a carpet cleaning expert who said that basically, I was screwed -- they could try using a chemical to take out the dye, but he didn't know if it would work. Teeth gritted, I called my landlord. He laughed & told me to not worry as he was tearing up all the WTW in the house & replacing it with wood anyway.

Bullet. Dodged. But it made me very leery of what I put where.

Renters' Solutions: 9 Ways To Upgrade Beige Carpet by Layering
7/18/14 06:02 PM

I love these retrospectives. I can watch my life slowly glide by. It's like going through old fashion magazines or watching old TV programs. I look at the "in" fashion of the day & shudder and wonder: my God, what *were* we thinking?? Probably one reason I've gone back to jeans & tees, 'cause, seriously, after decades of bad choices, you just crave simple. LOL!

Style Time Capsule: Decorating Advice from 1981
7/17/14 06:08 PM

I was thinking *exactly* the same thing! LOL! Nasty, nasty flash-backs . . . .

Style Time Capsule: Decorating Advice from 1981
7/17/14 06:03 PM

Have learned (the hard way, natch) that cheap tension rods will fall down, period. I know about tension (I was an engineer in a past life), but a cheap rod will buckle if you try to jam it in too tightly, and if you have it loose enough that it won't buckle, it will pull out with a hint of weight on it. The best ones I've found are oval, not round, and are adjusted with a screw, not the twist method, but they're hard to find. This really is one thing where you get what you pay for.

15+ Uses for Tension Rods You've Never Thought Of
7/17/14 06:00 PM

Tell ya what, CM -- I'll pick you up on the way & we can car-pool.

Revisiting Scott's California Bohemian House Tour
7/17/14 05:19 PM

I, too, have a severe case of California envy. Every time I'm down there I wonder what the hell Canada was thinking umpteen hundred years ago when they created this country east to west instead of north to south. If someone had played their cards right, we could have had both British Columbia *and* California! That's what happens when your country's settled by Scots bankers & bureaucrats -- you wind up with a polite & orderly place, but not an abundance of imagination. [Nice Hudson Bay blanket, btw.]

Back on topic -- I love this place to bits. Shell plant hangers. Macrame. Sweet pup. Cute dude. Pretty much as good as it gets.

Revisiting Scott's California Bohemian House Tour
7/17/14 02:15 PM

This is *really* interesting because after many years of keeping multi-leveled, minutely-detailed Task lists for every area of my life, three weeks ago I quit. Cold. Turkey.

I moved in here last fall and had 6 "master" To Do lists. My "house, home & garden list" alone had 57 items on it. I'd do one & add 2. But there is a new city to explore, new (& old) friends to spend time with, books to read, cats to play with, a writing career to reboot. I'm not getting younger. I realized that the Important Stuff always gets done, but lots of other stuff on those lists just nagged me. It stayed on the list month after month & made me feel bad. I got tired of it.

I have no idea where the inspiration came from, but I -- literally -- tore up every To Do list I had. For the last 3 weeks I've done the Important Stuff (paying bills, sending birthday greetings, running errands) based on nothing more than a casual weekly "remember this" list. Housework? I do whatever needs doing the most, daily. Home projects? I pick whatever jumps out at me & do it. When it's done, I pick something else. I've gotten more done in 3 weeks than in the previous 3 months. And have felt 100% less stressed & frustrated.

Now this might not work for everyone. I like a well-ordered, well-running life (& home) with little drama. I consciously make daily choices based on maintaining that lifestyle. So while I am far, *far* from anal about either (as a quick glance at my kitchen these days would confirm, alas), I generally do the things that need to be done when they need to be done.

As for the million or so "important but far from urgent" & "would be nice if it got done" things? I figure some will get done, some won't. But I have absolutely stopped worrying about them.

A Masterful Trick for Staying Motivated to Complete Home Projects
7/17/14 02:22 AM

Don't forget to clean the fan blades while you're at it.

If you're lucky, the blade unit will pop right out after you (carefully!) remove the little wire doohicky that locks it onto the central post -- use a small screwdriver with a flat blade to snap this thing out of its groove [and do NOT let it shoot across the room or drop behind the stove]. Slide the blade unit free, wash it, replace.

If you're not lucky (like me in my new home) & can't take it off, just use hot soapy water & a degreasing cleaner, rags, a lot of bodily contortions & bad language & do the best you can. And while you're dirty & in a foul mood anyway, you may as well clean the inside of the hood while you're in there.

How To Clean a Greasy Range Hood Filter Cleaning Lessons from The Kitchn
7/17/14 12:49 AM

Great article, but I'm starting to feel the same way about washi tape as I do about chalkboard paint -- it's been done to death, it wasn't that clever or attractive to start with & it can't disappear from the whole decorating (or art/craft) scene fast enough. Anything in the wings on back splashes & kitchen lighting options for rentals?

Fast Fixes: Small, Landlord-Friendly Projects For the Kitchen
7/17/14 12:37 AM

My Sekrit Dream is to chuck everything but the cats & my laptop & take off in one of these. I probably never will, but the fantasy remains. One of my favorite mind games when I'm on a declutter rampage is to figure out what I'd keep if dream ever became reality. Then I use that list as the basis for purging stuff that *doesn't* make the cut. I'd love to see more of these.

Before & After: Rebecca's Awesome Affordable Airstream Makeover
7/13/14 06:42 PM

May I add: spend some time in your garden, if you have one. This is my first summer in this house & the yard, which is (thankfully) pretty small, has been let go for almost 6 years. And this is coastal BC, where nothing dies in the winter & the greenery runs rampant if you turn your back on it. I've been hacking my way through it, making all sorts of amazing discoveries (yet another rose bush yesterday). I feel like Marianne North out there; all I need is a pith helmet. Great way to spend a weekend! And I echo murielleb: flowers! I've been bringing armsful in almost every day.

9 Cheap (or Free) Ways You Can Make Your Home (& Life) Better This Weekend
7/12/14 12:31 PM

This is beautiful, and beautifully done, and has me all in the mood to get working on a couple of my own projects (too many gardening & summer type things going on at the moment, but soon). The wine rack would be lost on me as I detest the stuff, so I'd put a shelf in it for my gardening & cook books, but personal taste aside, this is one of the more impressive before/afters I've seen.

Before & After: A Boring and Brown Dresser Turns Cool and Clever
7/12/14 12:17 PM

Oh for crying out loud. I came to this post to see the pictures, and find nothing but a lot of self-righteous huffing about the title. Really? THIS is the biggest problem women have today? I've been a placard-carrying, sitting-in, campus-picketing, marching-on-city-hall loud-mouth feminist for nearly 50 years & the only thing I find dismaying about this article is the fact that the *comments* are right out of the 50s. Honest to God, somedays I don't know why I bloody bothered . . .

Singular Style: Inspirational House Tours from Women Living On Their Own
7/2/14 04:46 PM

Oh (and at the risk of creating an International Incident), I forgot to mention that two of my friends & I stopped buying anything that was made in China for the month of May & we've all just kept going. Seriously disturbed by China's reckless environmental activities, we try to keep our "Made in China" purchases to the barest minimum, but, man, is it hard! So many things are made there & packaged elsewhere, with no sign of country of origin anywhere on the label. I know the 3 of us aren't making a huge impact, & truth is we've all make compromises we swore we wouldn't, but just the challenge of making yourself *think* before buying something is a good one.

Personal Challenges: 18 Fasts to Improve Your Health, Wealth & Outlook
7/2/14 04:18 PM