Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday

Today was Black Friday in the US. Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving and the official beginning of the Christmassault. It's when many people begin shopping for Christmas gifts, and retailers feed the frenzy of consumerism. People mob the stores and apparently lose their minds. They shoot, pepper spray, and trample each other (usually at Walmart). It might just be the day of the year when Americans are at their absolute worst. Selfishness, greed, violence... all supposedly in the name of the peaceful, loving holiday of Christmas. Ugh.

Well, I have a different take for this Black Friday. It's Friday, and here's a look at some of the things I have painted black. Yes, shopping was involved, but with a lot less insanity. :)

This wrought iron wall decor was sort of a rusty brown color when I purchased it from Hobby Lobby. I painted it with a "hammered" finish black spray paint.

This pile o' stuff was purchased from a thrift store.

The red candleholder is now black.

The orangey gold container is now a black dog bed.

The brown frames are now jewelry displays.

To hold more jewelry, a thrift store box...

that is now black.

This small white display case with a glass door...

is now black. I haven't decided yet what I'll put in it. (The bubbly-looking back is paper that will be removed.)

This formerly pale green stand...

is now black.

These two owls are different sizes, colors and materials but apparently came from the same mold.

They're both black now. One sits on my bookshelf at work and one at home.

Finally, a thrift store shelf and candle holders.

I painted the shelf black, but decided on silver for the candle holders... but with black candles, of course. :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Tonight, I Laughed

It's not often that I write about my life in detail because… well, frankly, it's no fun to read about. I don’t get out much or do anything exciting. And lately, I have been lonely.

I have very little family; just my parents, who live 2,000 miles away. I talk to them on the phone every couple of months. I have no siblings. My grandparents all died before I was born. As for friends, I have none. Other than a few lunches with a co-worker, I haven't had a social engagement in more than two years. Outside of work, I spend all my time alone. I'm used to being alone and even like it sometimes, but this is getting to be a little too much alone time even for me.

I don’t reveal this because I’m looking for pity. It was my own choices that shaped my life. I reveal this to explain what “I’ve been lonely” really means for me.

My life in general hasn’t been great lately. The new job that I was so hopeful about has turned out to be absolutely wrong for me. My 14-year-old dog – my only companion – is losing her vision and has begun to fall frequently, which worries me immensely. My own health hasn’t been the best. So it was difficult to feel thankful on Thanksgiving today.

Tonight, like most nights, I checked my blog list for new posts. Natalie of Gothy Two Shoes, who has excellent taste in music, had posted some videos. One was for the “literal version” of Billy Idol’s White Wedding. This piqued my interest. ‘80s videos are already pretty literal, after all. Turns out this version actually replaces the words to the song. Not what I was expecting, and quite funny. When the kitchen scene came on, I immediately thought of my own falling-apart kitchen ("And the sink is also not working"), and I burst out laughing. Really, truly laughing. I laughed so hard I cried. I laughed so much that my abs started to ache.

I cannot remember the last time I laughed like that. I’ll snicker sometimes, and even laugh for a few seconds on occasion, but it’s been ages since I really LAUGHED.

At the end of Thanksgiving Day, I was reminded of something I am very thankful for – our little virtual community. I love reading your blogs and seeing your photos (and sometimes even living vicariously through you), and I am grateful for the nice comments you leave on my blog. Thanks to you all, I can feel connected even when I'm sitting home alone. And special gratitude to the awesome green-haired lady on the other side of the planet. Natalie, thanks to you, tonight, I laughed. :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dining Room Lighting

Time for a belated update to my dining room lighting situation. The hanging lights that I mentioned in a previous post continue to be an ideal solution for brightly illuminating the space. With those guys handling the actual light production duties, I was able to choose an overhead fixture without having to consider light output. I looked for a brushed nickel fixture to match the window and door hardware, but couldn't find anything in a style I liked. Finally I decided to go with basic black - you can never go wrong with black. :)
Hardware House Tuscany semi-flush ceiling light from Amazon

Naturally, the installation didn't go quite right the first time. The mounting plate included with the fixture did not fit the 37-year-old box in the ceiling (which is, by the way, tilted). Luckily I had on hand the plate from the fixture that had previously donated its glass globes. I was able to make it work despite the tilted box. (Let me just say I'm glad I've installed light fixtures before because the instructions included with the fixture were USELESS.)


Thursday, November 1, 2012

November Theme Post: Hosiery


The November 1 theme on Sophistique Noir is Hosiery. This is an easy one for me. I love legwear, especially funky socks and leggings in stripes and prints. :)

My love of funky socks began in Catholic school, where wearing bright red socks beneath my dress code khaki pants helped me feel more like an individual and less like a clone. In my early 20's, I became enamored with striped tights and wore them nearly every day. I’m a little more conservative now, often wearing opaque black or solid color tights.

Though I love the fashion of hosiery, I'll try to keep with the spirit of GIY and make this post more about the practicalities of hosiery, such as organization and laundering. :)

I have an embarrassingly large collection of hosiery. It's shameful, really. Being a neat freak, I keep everything very organized. Three dresser drawers are dedicated to socks – one for ankle socks, one for crew (mid-calf) socks, and one for knee socks. Yes, I separate my socks by style. No, I do not color-code or alphabetize them. (Yet.)

I keep pairs paired by rolling them together. I never thought much about this – it’s what Mom always did – until a couple of college friends laughed at my sock rolling. Clearly it’s not as universal as I’d imagined.

Three drawers in this small chest house tights and leggings. The drawers are the perfect size for tights, and it turns out that the boxes from Converse Chuck Taylors are the perfect size for drawer dividers. I have one drawer for black (leggings on one side, tights on the other), one drawer for colors, and one for stripes and fishnet/open weave patterns.

If left loose in a drawer, tights will inevitably knot themselves together. (Or is it just me that they do this to?) To avoid this problem, I fold/roll my tights. (Except fishnets, which don't fold well.) Seems like overkill even for an organization nut like me, but I prefer spending a few extra seconds when putting the tights away instead of fighting to untangle the mass when I'm short on time in the morning.



Part of the reason my horde is shamefully large is that I buy new items every now and then, but rarely have to throw any away. I've had those white striped tights since 1998. :o The key to longevity is proper laundering.

Loose in a washing machine, tights tend to get wrapped around the agitator, caught on zippers, and/or tangled up with other clothes. Hosiery washed in a mesh bag enjoys a much safer laundering experience. You can get mesh wash bags in a variety of styles and sizes. I prefer small bags with a zipper closure (2 for $1 at the dollar store).  I keep them near the laundry hamper so that when I take off tights/leggings, I can immediately put them into a mesh bag and then into the hamper. That way, I don't need to later sort through the laundry and pull out all the hosiery before it goes in the washing machine.

Heat from a dryer can degrade the elasticity of hosiery. After a few rounds of tumble drying, you might find that your tights have become "looses." Hosiery will last much longer if hung to dry. Drying racks are available in several styles. I have a folding rack similar to this one:
source

Finally, no hosiery post would be complete without mention of my holy grail of tights: stripey tights that fit. Stripey tights are always too short for me. I have to cut off the top, turning them into socks/stockings, or cut through the toe seam, turning them into leggings. It will be a glorious day if I ever find stripey tights that are long enough!

EDIT: Here's a photo of tights-turned-leggings. Sometimes I cut the bottoms straight, along a stripe; sometimes I just snip off the toe seam, retaining as much length as possible. The fabric stays intact, so I don't bother finishing the cut ends. They're hidden under my socks and boots anyway.