It is the end of the month and time to give a quick summary of April at Ruly along with sharing some news updates and reviewing some of my favorite comments.
This month’s theme was design. We peeked in on Washington’s cherry blossoms and discussed what makes a great outdoor living space.
There was a great article in the New York Times recently discussing the Milan Furniture Fair and raising some interesting questions about modern design theory:
“There is one question that everyone should sensibly ask before designing or making something to show at the Milan Furniture Fair. Does the world need another chair?” . . .
“[D]esign’s intellectual focus has swung away from producing tangible things, like furniture, toward the abstract process of applying design thinking to ethical issues, such as social, environmental or humanitarian problems, and developing sexy new technologies, like data visualization.” . . .
“. . . [E]xplained Ilse Crawford, the British designer who co-curated the Eindhoven show as a department head there. “Design needs to be seen more as a critical process, and less about making things look good.”
–Alice Rawsthorn, “Furniture Designers Are Shifting Focus,” The New York Times, April 11, 2010.
We reviewed the design for the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington, D.C. and profiled the fundraising efforts of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc.
The Foundation continues to be successful in their fundraising efforts. They have raised at least one million dollars in April and have received donations from some of America’s largest corporations, most recently a $300,000 donation from PEPCO. Their list of donors is starting to read like a who’s who of the corporate world. It is wonderful to see so many companies supporting this important monument to freedom and equality. The Foundation still has about $13 million to go so please download the free Yahoo! search toolbar that generates 5 cents per search.
I showed you my budget patio furniture makeover and gave tips on spray painting lawn furniture and an economical way to sew your own patio furniture cushions.
It is a good thing that I saved some money on my patio furniture because shortly thereafter our HVAC system failed and had to be replaced! Despite some wallet shock, in the long run, we will be saving money and energy and we fixed some previously unknown problems with our furnace installation.
I also told you about my countertop clearing project. Giving suggestions here and here for organizing tools to help get your stuff out of the way. I also showed you my own countertop makeover in progress and more creative suggestions to achieve a naked countertop.
For more horizontal surface decluttering ideas, check out the video interview with Peter Walsh at unclutterer.com. You may recall that Peter Walsh is the author of “It’s All Too Much,” the first Ruly Bookshelf review.
Ruly Ruth discussed the delicate politics of decorating with your spouse, particularly male-female differences in home decor.
We saw how professional designers Lisa Quinn, Lauri Ward and the Designed to Sell team at HGTV work with limited budgets of $2,000, $500 and even nothing at all!
Diadia. emphasizing simplicity, commented that one of her budget decorating tips was to paint all the walls gloss white and use her art collection to add color. In another comment she also indicated that she was eliminating all of her grass in order to plant a low-maintenance groundcover.
We discussed spring cleaning rituals from the Victorian era and the 1950’s and reviewed a list of the most ambitious spring cleaning blog checklists. We also shared quick tips for spring cleaning your office space.
After we replaced our HVAC system, one of my spring cleaning tasks this month was to get our air vents vaccuumed. Each vent cover was removed and a long air hose with a rotating brush attachment was inserted far into the duct work to suck out any collected dust. Afterward, the cleaning company “fogged” all of the ductwork with a spray that kills any remaining mold or other health-impairing impurities.
As I went around the entire house clearing spaces around each of the numerous air vents, it became obvious that our home could use a deep spring cleaning! Dust collects in unusual places, particularly those you don’t visit very often. There is no way I can “purify” everything right away but I will gradually take it room by room and may perhaps have my “spring” cleaning done by the fall. I had to sympathize however, with my sister-in-law’s recent Facebook post:
My room is a disaster. The idea of cleaning it makes me want to cry.
We discussed principles of green design inspired by Earth Day Richmond.
There were many great comments and suggestions on this post. Ruly Ruth pointed out the efforts of Terracycle to collect garbage like drink pouches and candy wrappers and turn them into products for sale, like backpacks and pencil cases. Lou suggested using vinegar and baking soda for cleaning before using harsher chemical products and Mary reminded us that if you toss in a few “extras” with your recycling you could jeopardize an entire recycling collection. Shelby commented to inform Ruly readers about an online book club discussing the book Greening Your Small Business by Jennifer Kaplan, a parter at Greenhance, an environmental consulting firm.
While pumping gas in my car this morning, I realized another easy green initiative. When you have the option whether to receive a printed receipt, unless you are really going to use it, decline.
I also have to cite my sister-in-law’s Facebook page for her tongue-in-cheek link to Moonpads, a washable menstrual pad. I am such an earth mother that I do think about the waste generated in this regard but have yet to do anything about it. Having gone the cloth diaper route for my children and finding that to be really no big deal I guess I would say I would be willing to at least try it but it does seem a bit daunting (or “gross” as my SIL’s friend commented).
We finished out the month with a wonderful Ruly Mix from Danny Stewart-Smith who also shared some great content and pictures on Japanese interior design. I love Dan’s mix and find it instantly relaxing and soothing.
Finally, I received a wonderful behind-the-scenes comment that made my month regarding last month’s post about budgeting:
“I wanted to tell you that I have been working with a homeless woman who has just gotten disability. For the first time in her life she has some money to manage. I printed off your budgeting sheet and shared it with her and we developed a budget from that.”
I am having a ball writing for you each month and I thank all of you for reading and commenting. On Monday I will be back to introduce a new theme for May. In the meantime, please enjoy these wonderful YouTube videos showcasing how to add some style to your spring cleaning routine by dancing.