The Ties that Bind

Have you ever found the perfect area rug only to be disappointed that it doesn’t come in the size you need? You can always have the rug professionally cut down and bound.  The prices vary depending on your location but, here in the Chicago area, the price for cutting and binding one side starts at about $100.00. You may need to have more than one side cut and bound if you have a symmetrical pattern.  Check out how Greg and Ashley of Seventh House on the Left customized the rug in their foyer.

If you’re like me, you find the perfect rug in the correct size but the price blows your budget.   Because, let’s be honest, if money wasn’t an issue, you’d have no problem shopping for rugs (or anything else for that matter.)  But rugs are expensive.  And, I have dogs.  Many, many dogs.  It isn’t practical to pay mega bucks on something that will most likely be hit with doggy vomit (or worse) and covered in hair. I need something that pleases me aesthetically but doesn’t break the bank.  So, I needed to come up with some way to self-bind my rugs.

Please forgive the bad cellphone pics.  At the time that I did this, I had misplaced the battery chargers for my cameras.

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First, you’ll need a rug.  I don’t recommend doing this to an expensive rug.  The above rug was on clearance at Target for $6.99.  I think the most I have spent for a rug that I was planning on cutting and binding was $40.00.

Next, you’ll need a hot glue gun, lots of glue sticks, a heavy-duty scissors and a coordinating ribbon or binding tape that is 2″ wide.  To determine the length of ribbon you’ll need, add about 1″ to the length of your cutting line.  The type of ribbon you pick will depend on the type of rug you are using.  I’m using a woven, strap-type ribbon because my rug is a loosely woven, natural material. Grosgrain ribbon also works very well for binding.  Most of the time, you will want your ribbon to be the same color as the other binding on your rug.  If there is no visible binding, then I would choose a color that matched the background color of the rug.  I’m picking a contrasting black ribbon because I trying to match black accents in our foyer.

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Trim the edges of the ribbon so they are square.  If your ribbon is a big weave like mine, you can dab a small amount of hot glue on the edge so that it doesn’t unravel.

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If your ribbon is thinner, you can turn the edges under 1/4″ and glue down.

Here is how mine looked when I finished applying the glue to the edges.   You just want a thin coat of glue.

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Measure and cut your rug.

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If your rug is a long shag, you need to trim down the pile as close to the backing as possible for a 1/4″ line along your edge.

If your rug is loosely woven, like mine, you may need to remove a row or two of the weave.

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Flip the rug over to the wrong side.  Run a thick, 6″ long bead of glue along the end of the rug, about 1/4″ in from the edge.  If yours is loosely woven, you want your glue to be on the first complete row.

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Press the edge of the ribbon down into the glue and hold until it no longer feels hot.  Keep working in 6″ increments until the entire ribbon is glued to the back of the rug.  Turn the rug over to the front side.  Apply glue to the front in the same fashion as you did to the back, folding the ribbon down to cover the rough edge of the rug.17

Once the ribbon is completely attached, apply a small amount of glue to the inside edges of the corners and press until cool.

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Voilà:  you’re done!

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I’ve bound a number of rugs in my home.  All are in high-traffic areas and they have held up for over a year.  I even hosed down and scrubbed one rug outside and the binding held.  You can always reglue any areas that you notice the binding coming loose.

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How is this Possible?

I came across this picture while I was browsing my Reader feed.  It’s from Kathryn Finney’s (The Budget Fashionista) post about the Republican National Convention.


I don’t question the fact that this exists – freedom of speech and all, but I question what the sign means.  I’m not a super political person and am not as informed as I should be.  I have my beliefs and I don’t spread them around.  I’m all for other people shouting their beliefs out.  I like to ponder ideas that are opposite of my own.  It opens up my brain and makes me verify that my ideas are good for me.  So, I don’t really want this to be a political thread.  Not that all (read zero) the readers of this blog will respond, anyway.

It’s been 24 hours since I saw this sign.  I still don’t get it and trust me, I’ve been thinking about it.  I finally asked David because he actually watches the news and reads the newspaper, unlike me who finds most of those things depressing or boring.  David’s guess* was that if LBGT people know national secrets, then they could be blackmailed by our country’s enemies to reveal those secrets.  Hmmmh.  Blackmailed how?  He explained that the enemy would threaten to “out” the LBGT if they didn’t spill our country’s beans.  This assumes that they aren’t “out” already.

Does that make sense to you?  It doesn’t make sense to me.  Don’t the people who made this sign realize that if we didn’t have a bias against LBGTs then there would be no fuel for the blackmail?  That the sign-makers’ bias is the reason for the threat to national security?

Are the sign-makers suggesting that the government have some sort of “outing” test for their employees?  If so, what would that test entail?  This is a sexual matter, plain and simple.  How do you prove that the opposite sex turns you on?  Would employees be required to prove that they have had sexual relationships with people of the opposite sex?  The possible testing procedures that are pouring through my mind are scary.

I would like to think that sexual testing would never happen.  I don’t even know if David’s theory is correct.  I know that there are people who don’t approve of LBGTs.  This bias is most often because of religious reasons.  Religion is a personal thing and you are allowed to believe whatever the hell you want.  However, the extrapolation of religious beliefs that must take place in order for this sign to be made, is exponential.

 

 

*I’m assuming his guess is correct because I can find no other explanation for the statement.  David could be wrong and there is a much more reasonable explanation.  If so, comment below because I would love to hear it.

 

I Guess I’m Late to the Stanky Legg Party

While browsing through failbook.com I came across this:

What is this stanky leg of which she speaks?  I can guess based on context but, off to Google I went.   Urbandictionary.com says that it is a “dance where you stick out your leg and rotate it around.”   Like the Hokey Pokey?  I needed to see this so the first video I clicked on was the following.  It has louder rap music (that repeats “stanky legg”) so you might want to turn your volume down. 

I was mesmerized.  Really.  It’s amazing.  I don’t really know why I can’t stop looking at it.  That girl with the white pants has some talent.   By the way, I still don’t know what stanky legg means (and I sure as hell can’t do it), but at least I have the correct spelling.

Love your people, people

Later today, I will be going to the funeral services for this young boy.   I’m not sure how his parents and family will ever recover.  Hug your children.  If you have no children, hug all the people you love today.

Edited:  I’m back from the funeral.  The father commented that he googled his son’s name.  It saddened him that the only results were about his death.  He wished people would read about what a wonderful boy he was.  If you can, however few people read this blog, please pass the word about Tony.  I so want to grant his father’s wish.

All for a Stranger

Source

Recently, I witnessed some online acquaintances’ amazing compassion for a complete stranger.  But, more on that in a bit.  First, the back-story.  I am going to be vague about the specifics because, well, you’ll see why.

I’ve been following a blogger for about two years.  I began following her because she wrote about a particular sport in which I was interested.  She posted a few times a month about the sport, her experiences doing it in Chicago and links to news articles about the sport.  About five months ago, her life began to take a downward turn in almost every way possible.  Her employment contract ended and she was forced to take a much less desirable position.  She then had to downsize her living arrangements which caused her to move farther away from her support network.  Next, she was hit by a car and the injuries made it very difficult and painful to do her sport.  While being treated for her injuries, her boyfriend decided to breakup with her for another woman.  Her injuries made it difficult, if not impossible, for her to workout, so she started to gain weight.  Do you see what I’m telling you?  Her life took a very severe twist in a relatively short amount of time.

I do not know this woman.  The above was learned through her blogging.  For the past couple of months, her blogging changed.  She began describing herself as a loser.  She repeated wrote about her ex and asked for clarification as to why it happened.  She stating she wished the car had finished it’s job.  That last one had me concerned.  I felt I should do something.  I had every intention of writing her a compassionate note.  Her email was not listed so a comment would have to suffice.  I never got around to commenting and her next post was somewhat back to normal.  I continued to read her angst which was peppered among news of the sport.  I repeatedly wished for her to find peace in her situation.

Then, a week ago things took a turn for the worse.  When I logged onto Reader, I noted a new post from this woman entitled “Goodbye . . .”  I clicked on the link and read her two sentence post.  She stated she was going to finish the job the driver started in February and that she was tired of being alive.  Okay.  Now this was serious.  I checked and saw that the post was written the previous evening.  I, again, looked to see if I could locate an email or some other way to contact the woman.  There was nothing.  I wondered, “Should I call the police?”  I didn’t t know her last name or address so I doubted the Chicago Police would do anything.  I didn’t even know if anything she had written was true.  But, I was torn; I needed to do something!

So, I did what every normal person does and I raised the question on an artists forum that I belong to.  Okay, probably very few people would do that .  But, I knew of at least one person on the forum who was connected to a police department.  Perhaps they would be able to tell me if the police can help with so little information.

Almost immediately, I started receiving responses that I needed to call the police.  Please remember that this woman had recently moved from her downtown apartment.   I had no idea where she moved and if she was still in Chicago or a suburb.  Therefore, I called my local (non-Chicago) police department to see about the protocol of such a report.  I was informed that I should call Chicago.  I did call Chicago but they told me they could do nothing without more information.  They suggested I contact the blog’s publishing provider. The provider is Google.  You can’t just call Google.  There is no phone number, anywhere.  So, I went to a Google support forum and posted the question there.  Eventually, my question and the blog information was forwarded to “the appropriate department.”   I have yet to hear back from them.

In the meantime, my artist forum friends were busy at work.  They looked through her flickr account and discovered her name printed on a name tag she was wearing in one photo.  She has a very common name.  They then discovered the exact address of her work location (a university) based on another photo.  So, I had a name and a work location.  I called the Chicago Police again.  I was on hold for 20 minutes.  In those 20 minutes, an out-of-state artist who used to live near the university called the university police.  They said they would do a wellness check on her at her job. We never heard back from the police.

Another artist continued to view the (3000 photo) flickr account for more information.  She found an email of someone who appeared to be the woman’s friend.  The artist emailed the friend and the friend said he would contact the woman’s attorney.

We haven’t heard anything from anyone about the status of this woman.  Not that we really expected to, but we were hoping.  It has been a week and the woman has not blogged again.

I do not know if the information we had was current.  I do not know if the threat was real.  I do know that a group of women banned together and spent hours trying to locate a perfect stranger.  To help her.  To save her.   I can only hope we weren’t too late.

I’m Tapped

Have you seen the movie” Tapped”?  No, not Taps, the 1981 film starring the hunks of my youth, Tom Cruise, Sean Penn and Timothy Huttton.  Tapped is a documentary detailing all that goes into manufacturing and producing bottled water.  The movie was released in 2009.  I guess I’m a little late to the game because I discovered it last winter on Netflix and finally got around to watching it this past weekend.  The movie quite informative.  They are basically saying bottled water is bad on many levels.  From the chemicals that the bottles leach to the used bottles that end up in our oceans and water supplies.

I should state that I’m not a big bottled water person.  I’m lucky that the water where I live is clean and tastes good.  The only time our family buys bottled water is when we are on vacation.  Those little plastic bottles are just easier to transport, whether we are walking, biking or shopping.  And, we don’t have to worry about losing them.  If a bottle gets misplaced, oh well, we’re out $1.00.  However, if I lose my stainless steel bottle, I’m out over $20.00.  I find things get lost more easily on vacation and if I can have one thing less to worry about, all the better.

My husband has been refilling the above Aquafina water bottle for years.  He only uses it when we go to the movies because he won’t pay $4.00 for a small bottle of water at the theater.  I asked him to sit down and watch “Tapped” with me to get his analytical point of view.   Throughout the movie we kept saying, “What do the producers of the film have to gain if we follow their dogma?”  I’m not sure.  Where I live, tap water is processed by a municipality or a company that is hired by a municipality.  I suppose the municipalities and/or companies could have banned together to make the film.  But why?  Do you think they have seen a huge decline in their income because we are buying bottled water?  I can’t imagine.  Or, is it the stainless steel and glass bottle makers that are funding the movie?  Probably not.  I did some online research and haven’t come up with a thing to dispel what “Tapped” is telling us.  I’m a pretty good Googler.  In fact, I kind of do it for a living.  If you find anything, let me know.

In the meantime, I’m going to try to talk my husband into ditching the old Aquafina bottle in exchange for a new stainless steel one.  Have you given up on bottled water?

Buying the Cow

David and I are in the process of buying our third cow in as many years.  The first two years, we split the meat with family and friends.  This year it’s all ours!

The farmer who raises our cows is right over the border in southern Wisconsin.  He rents his land from David’s friend and his cows are grass fed and organic.  To quote my vegan sister-in-law, “They are happy cows.”  They live a great cow life, grazing the land and playing in the sun.  Well, up until we have them slaughtered that is.  But I try to not to think about that part.

Oh, and I should mention that I name our cows.  Why?  I’m not sure.  I think in my twisted head it seems more respectful to the animal.  It also makes it easier to talk about the cows and compare last year’s cow to this year’s.  Our next cow will be called Victor.  I use boys’ names for all the cows because I just can’t bear the thought that I’ve killed some poor cow’s baby mama.  Am I crazy?  Probably.

Anyway, there are many advantages to buying beef in bulk.  The main reason we went this route was because we wanted to know about the animal we were eating.  Where and how was it living?  What was it eating?  Was it killed in a humane manner?  How and where was the meat processed?  Well, we can go visit the cow prior to slaughtering.  I doubt we will ever take the farmer up on that option but, it is still available.  We see the processing plant when we pick up our processed meat.  It is a very clean, very cold little building.  It’s a small family-run business and they know their meat.

Buying in bulk is cheaper.  The math of our cow:  We pay an “on the hoof” price of about $1.20 per pound.  “On the hoof” is the total weight of the animal prior to any processing.  Victor is about 1,000 pounds.  We also pay a processing fee of $.35 per pound of processed meat.  Victor will weigh about 650 pounds processed.  So, that means that for all of our meat (ground to steaks to roasts), we will be paying $2.20 per pound.  For grass fed, organic beef.  Sure, I could go to Whole Foods where the meat is absolutely gorgeous.  But you pay out of your butt for just ground beef, much less steak.  Bulk beef is less expensive than anything I can find in local stores, including discount big box stores.  It’s a no-brainer.

Bulk meat is fresher and cleaner than most store-bought meat.  In a two week period, Victor will be slaughtered, processed and flash-frozen.  He hasn’t been sitting on a store shelf waiting to be purchased, taking in the wonder of fluorescent lights.  He hasn’t been covered in dyes to appear more appealing.  He also wasn’t slaughtered en masse.  I’m not an expert but it seems to me that there is less likelihood of getting sick from the meat if I’m only exposed to my one cow.

The downside?  You end up with a sh*tload of meat.  You need to have someplace to put all this meat and, now!  We have a chest freezer that just fits a whole cow.  There might be some spillover into our kitchen frig.  A chest freezer that fits a cow (8.8 cu ft) is about $330.00.  So, even if you factor in the price of the freezer, you are still saving money in the long run.

We’ll be picking Victor up in mid-July.  Wish us luck for the two-hour drive up into the land of cheese.