Stiletto's Profile

Display Name: Stiletto
Member Since: 8/29/08

Latest Comments...

One of those patterns looks suspiciously similar to my grandmother's flatware...which she got, one piece at a time, from the trading-stamp store. Which basically means she got it for free.

I think I'll keep Grandma's flatware, thanks.

Mismatched Vintage Flatware at Europe2You High Point Spring Market 2013
4/21/13 07:59 PM

Not only are bamboo textiles technically rayon...please be aware that they are subject to a lot of greenwashing.

Think about it - how does a plant tough enough to use for flooring, furniture, and kitchenware become soft enough to make clothing, linens, and rugs? They're not just pulped - softening bamboo requires the use of chemicals, and bamboo textile manufacturers aren't required to disclose, let alone prove, whether they reuse the chemicals or simply dump them. (Don't get me started on the water usage involved, either!)

Bamboo Silk Rugs at Loloi High Point Spring Market 2013
4/21/13 07:54 PM

Add some energy bars to your essentials box (and handbag if applicable). In a previous move, I had to postpone eating because the moving van was blocking my car inside the garage, with my packed lunch in the trunk, when the movers took their lunch break. I'd already unpacked my nonperishable "emergency food" - but with my can opener and flatware also in my car, I had no way to eat that, either.

And don't forget to check ALL the drawers and cabinets during week four, including the ones you think are empty. I used to manage apartments and a lot of things got left behind by tenants who simply forgot to check.

The Ultimate One-Month Moving Checklist: What to Do and When to Do It
12/14/12 04:11 PM

FYI: getting mad at the salesperson or store manager because of a sold-out item is pointless and childish. (Yes, people do this. The worst ones tried to attack me.) You waited too long; try to be more responsible next year.

By the way...

Big chain stores negotiate rent, services (i.e courier shipping), and wholesale prices in bulk - they can successfully demand lower rates for pretty much everything (and many of them, i.e. IKEA, don't even pay taxes). Mom-and-pop stores don't have the power to do this, and generally pay proportionately higher amounts for their expenses and merchandise (and have to fight tooth and nail to get their service providers to fix problems at all, let alone quickly). Chain Store X can afford to give hefty discounts - they pay less in the first place, and have much higher sales volume. Asking very small stores for a discount is rude and selfish - for a struggling retailer, it can mean the difference between being able to pay the phone bill or not (trust me on this, I worked in a tiny store - and the owner couldn't afford ANYTHING other than the rent on a very small apartment, minimally-used utilities, and food from bulk bins). Truly supporting indie retailers means buying things that AREN'T marked down to cost.

Surviving Holiday Shopping:
Lessons From a Shopgirl

12/7/12 04:21 AM

I remember reading an interview with a British dollhouse store owner who said a lot of couples tell her "we'd love to have a dollhouse but we have a boy."

I'd love to quickly disabuse those parents of the notion that boys don't play with dollhouses. My younger brother played with all of mine, plus his beloved "Ghostbusters" toy fire station, and he built plenty of houses out of Legos.

The market IS still a bit skewed towards the frilly Victorian aesthetic, though (although Colonial dollhouses are gaining a bigger market share)...if I ever have children, I'm building them a medieval castle. Show me ONE child who doesn't love castles.

10 Gender-Neutral Dollhouses
11/10/12 03:14 AM

Not to quibble, but "Elegance is refusal" was actually from Coco Chanel.

My favorite: "Why don't you...if you have a dark dining-room in a city apartment, stop trying to brighten it and paint it dark grape red and drape the windows in festoons of real Scotch tartan?"

How I wish I could have met her.

Notes On Fashion, Color & Diana Vreeland Color Therapy
10/31/12 03:50 AM

I knew I wouldn't live in my old apartment for more than a few years, so when I had an address stamp made, I left off my name. When I moved out, I left it for the new tenant, along with my barely-used ink pad.

When Previous Homeowners Leave Useful Items Behind
8/14/12 11:47 PM

FYI about the USPS' change of address form: if you check the little box marked "permanent", your new address will be sold to various junk mailers and bombarded with unsolicited mail. If you love getting coupons, go ahead and check that box. I prefer not to receive such mail, so I notify the post office that I do not want mail forwarded, then notify the bank, DMV, etc. of my new address.

Setting Up Home: Moving Checklist
8/10/12 03:28 AM

Cheap plastic floor tile (especially when it has a multi-decade patina of grime), ugly colors (especially dusty rose), mildew, nicotine stains, dirty houses, taxidermy/antlers/other dead things, and carpet in the bathroom.

I can handle pretty much everything else.

Ew, I Can't Stand That! Design Allergies
6/26/12 02:13 AM

Hardwood floors - heck, even tile would be nice (I wish landlords understood that it's not fair to foist carpet on wheezy asthmatic/allergic tenants who don't wear shoes at home...).
Efficient work triangle in the kitchen.
Old bones - especially antique fireplace mantels (ugly brick fireplaces don't count).
A closet that isn't the size of a postage stamp.
And as long as I'm dreaming, I'll take an oceanfront location and neighbors who aren't insane.

What Do You Covet Most From Other People's Homes? Reader Survey
6/15/12 04:39 AM

I keep a computer inventory of everything I own for insurance purposes. It would be a cinch to add an extra column specifying which box each item is packed in. Don't forget to inform your insurance company of your new address, either.

If you have large items, make sure they can be moved into the new place. Ideally, this should be done before signing a lease, but you don't want to agonize over it on moving day.

Collapse things as much as possible. I was able to squeeze my kitchen tools in with my Le Creuset saucepans by unscrewing the handles and stashing them inside the pans, giving me several more inches.

Pack a lunch, energy bars, a bottle of water, a first aid kit, phone charger, and contact info for the moving company, the utility companies, and your landlord - but keep the bag with you! I never got to eat lunch two moves ago because it was in the trunk of my car, which was in the garage, which was blocked by the moving van. My eating utensils and can opener were also in the trunk, so I couldn't eat the emergency food I'd stashed in the kitchen.

Tips For Making Moving More Organized and Less Painful
6/12/12 12:29 AM

There is an incredibly simple fix for making sure granite countertops are clean:

Wipe down your counter, like usual. Then, bend at the knees until your eyes are level with your countertop. Any missed specks of food will stand out, since they won't be level with the counter. Yes, it even works if you have a matching granite backsplash. (I used to have very painful knee problems, so for some time I did this seated on an adjustable, wheeled office chair!)

I've done this for years and always have clean counters, although I realize it may not work so well for people with vision challenges or who are very tall.

Show and Tell...and Clean: Solid vs. Patterned Kitchen Countertops
5/11/12 03:49 AM

I always oil the measuring cup first - unless the recipe also calls for oil, in which case I measure the oil first.

By the way, if I don't have cooking spray on hand, I never need to use paper towels for greasing. I use a barbecue basting brush with silicone bristles - it's easy to use, doesn't leave whiskers in my food, and is easy to wash.

Kitchen Tip: Measuring Sticky Ingredients More Accurately (and with Less Mess)
4/28/12 07:03 PM

Definitely buy one piece at a time - and if you have any siblings, see if they want to go in on the gift with you. My brother and I jointly purchase gifts for Mom or Dad all the time.

Is There a Cheaper Alternative to All-Clad Cookware?Product & Shopping Questions
4/28/12 06:49 PM

For about 10 years now, I have done most of my shopping at little independent natural foods stores, and I've noticed they tend to attract a much more civil and polite class of clientele. I've NEVER encountered slow check writers or screaming children - not even once.

The one and only problem? Aisle blockers. Small stores often have extremely narrow aisles, and sometimes it's just not possible to simply say "excuse me" and grab the item I need while someone else takes 10 minutes hemming and hawing over whether to put something in their basket.

That said, my relatively good experiences may have something to do with the fact that I live in clean-scrubbed, behave-or-else suburbia. My friends in LA and SF have recently complained about people putting their grimy hands in the bulk bins...

What's Your Grocery Store Pet Peeve? Reader Survey
4/28/12 06:44 PM

Storing some items outside the kitchen solved my tiny-kitchen problem. I used to keep my microwave and garbage bin a few steps away in the adjoining laundry room, and stashed infrequently-used appliances in an entryway credenza.

Make Small Kitchen Living Easier With This One TipSmall Kitchen Tips & Tricks
3/21/12 03:16 AM

I had HORRIBLE luck with clock-radios, including the Dream Machine! All of them broke anywhere from a few months to a couple of years after I got them.

Product Nostalgia: An Ode to the (Discontinued!) Sony Dream Machine
3/16/12 02:13 AM

As a former apartment manager, I have one thing to say:

ALWAYS ask the manager or landlord WHY the apartment is vacant. (Put a positive spin on it - "This is such a nice space - why did the last tenant move out?")

If they won't tell you: ask the neighbors, check your state's sex offender registry, check the local police blotter, and proceed with caution.

I always ask. Current home is owned by a couple working in another state for the next few years (they plan to retire here). Last home was vacated when the grad student living there got her degree and moved back to her home country. First apartment I didn't manage was vacated when the couple living there broke up. All normal occurrences - no crime, noise, or structural issues.

How Seriously Should I Take Warnings from Neighbors?
Good Questions

3/13/12 03:47 AM

Hardwood, hardwood, hardwood. I had several relatives who owned and ran a family carpet cleaning business together...all of their homes had hardwood floors because carpet is a filth magnet.

It's unhealthy, too. I have asthma and the ONE time in my life when I could breathe easily at night was when I stayed in a friend's carpet-free guest room for two weeks.

Carpet or Hardwood in Bedroom?
Good Questions

2/13/12 10:56 PM

An elaborately painted 18th century sedan chair (yes, really).

I had nowhere to put it and sure didn't have the $14,000 (!!!) that it cost, but it still haunts me.

Object Lust: What's Your Gem That Got Away?
2/1/12 12:18 PM