Archive | March 2012

Orchid as sculpture

I do not have a green thumb, but today I am thinking about my orchid. I cannot remember what infraction my husband committed when he gave it to me, or if it was just a spontaneous romantic gesture, as he is prone to do. The amazing thing is I have managed to keep it alive for at least two years. And it has bloomed again. Like a phoenix that rises from the ashes. This bloom will last for several months.

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The secret: it breathes air instead of water. Orchids have air roots that attach to the bark of a tree and live exposed to the elements, just letting the rain wash over them. In my house, I water it every couple of weeks, let the water drain and set it back on the table again. It is a thing of pure beauty and it requires almost nothing to exist in this state.

Next time you walk past an orchid for sale in it’s little pot, think about it as a piece of living sculpture that you can get for as little as $12.99. This hard working plant, available in so many different species, colors, and varieties will pull it’s weight and work overtime as your latest objet d’art.

© copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio

Rugs

Being half Armenian, I have some quirks I have to be wary of: hairiness, alcoholism, a desire for cars that I cannot afford, and a love of rugs. The kind that are hand-made of natural fibers, with rich vegetable dyed colors, and intricate designs. The rug for me is the foundation of a room. It is the source of my colors and design scheme. When I see a beautiful rug, I fall a little bit in love.

The first time I was truly inspired by a rug was in a flute lesson. My teacher stopped me in the middle of Fauré and told me to wait. He went to the couch and reached under it. He pulled out a heavy carpet and started to unroll it. It was truly breathtakingly beautiful. The flowers were weaving throughout it in vine patterns and the all-over design was shimmering with pinks, blues, and greens. It was so vibrant, it made my flute playing pale in comparison and I understood his point. I was told to leave the lesson and go to the nearby and little known textile museum. It was there that I was to find the inspiration to play better. This was the beginning of a love of rugs that has only become more of a passion for me.

Unfortunately, rugs are expensive. I am always on the lookout for a hand-made rug I can afford. Auctions, yard sales, convincing my Grandma she is tired of one she already has, and even pure luck. This beautiful Bakhtiari rug was given to me as a gift by one of my Dad’s friends, who we refer to as “Uncle Rug”. All he got in return were some roses.

The Bakhtiari rug is currently in my bedroom. It is very rich and reminds me of my Armenian heritage.

This rug was purchased at an auction. I had about 5 seconds to decide to buy it and I have never regretted it. I paid $75, which was pretty much our grocery money for that week.

I found this rug at a yard sale in Lynchburg. It is a Bokhara (meaning elephant stamp) rug. It has a silky sheen that I love and is currently in my living room.

 

 The Bokhara rug in my living room.

This rug, from Dubai, was another gift. Although “gift” is misleading here considering I kept two… troublesome dogs in my house for fourteen months. But the rug is fabulous and it makes quite a lovely little olive branch. It is made of silk and has the medallion in the middle. I love the green all through it.

When you are looking at a quality hand-made rug, notice the back. Is the pattern still visible on the backside of the rug? If so, it has a high number of knots per square inch. The more knots, the better. If it is made of wool, silk, or cotton, it will be easier to clean and will not retain odors. Is the fringe intact? These are all signs of a good quality rug.

 

The backside of the silk rug from Dubai.

My daughter had a nosebleed all over a sisal rug that ran in the hall from her bedroom to the bathroom. It was badly stained and would not come clean. I decided to paint it and that rug is currently in my kitchen.

If you are unsure of how to make your room feel complete, or if it lacks warmth, or you need a jumping off place, find a rug. It will define your seating area and add some glam to your room. You will not regret it.

© copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio

Reveal! Coffee Table to Ottoman

Only one serious injury occurred while re-doing the coffee table I found in the trash last week. It was overshadowed by excitement and I just yanked the staple out of my thumb and reassured my mother that I have certainly had a tetanus shot sometime in the last ten years, I think. Besides, the staple wasn’t even rusty.

I ordered fabric from a website that I love called Fabricguru.com. They will ship any amount of fabric for $4.99. I was able to get a heavy cotton decorator fabric with a large floral print for $12.99/yard.

We bought 2 inch foam, fleece fabric and buttons from JoAnn’s. All together the supplies cost about $60. We cut the foam with a bread knife to fit the top. We marked where we wanted the buttons to go and drilled holes in the top of the table. Then we stapled a fleece lining around the foam to the underside of the table.

I marked the holes again on the top of the foam and made holes in the foam using a large drill bit. Then we stretched and stapled the fabric over the top of the table, centering the pattern over the table. Using a large needle and nylon cord, I went up through the first hole from the underside of the table and threaded the first button.

I brought the cord back through the fabric and tied one end to a nail. Then we pulled it tight and retied the knot so it would not go back through the hole. This created a tufted top on the ottoman. We did this eight times.

Underside of the table.

This is me in my pajamas working on it. It was helpful to have Angela there to push on the button so the tuft was really tight. She only has a few bruises.

The wood on the bottom shelf was in good shape, so I gave it a quick wipe with Old English and we moved it to the family room. It is so comfy!

I love it.


© 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio