Outdoor Fabric News

Well, I decided to sort of recycle a few columns about outdoor cushion fabric. There are some new things on the market, and some old things made better so here is the update. The biggest one, for me, is the UV sprays. The old ones really didn’t work at all. The newer ones seem to be actually doing some good. I keep reading about one, the Scotchguard© Outdoor Water and Sun Shield spray. Yellow label, available at Canadian Tire. Well, this morning it’s available. These protectants need to be re-applied after heavy rain, after washing the covers, or after six months. ( Check the label on the product.) Fade/UV resistance: Outdoor fabrics are typically designed to resist fading caused by exposure to sunlight and other outdoor elements, ensuring that they will maintain their vibrant color for years to come. Fade-resistant fabrics may be made with UV-resistant fibers or treated with READ MORE

phoenixing cover photo


Phoenixing 24% of us aged 65 to 70 are still working, Forty percent of this group work part-time and forty percent of workers over 65 are self-employed. (Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives). That’s a fair number of us. There comes a point in many lives where the idea of slowing down becomes irresistible. It happened to me. I slowly stopped sewing big things, stopped selling blinds, quit doing installations. I was pooped. About three months ago, I decided to make slipcovers for my four wingback chairs. Not a big deal, but I realized that my domestic sewing machine wasn’t really up to the task. So, I thought, why not just buy the industrial machine that you need, sew the four covers, and then sell the machine later. These machines are specific and valuable, they don’t come on the market often and I knew it wouldn’t be a problem to sell READ MORE

column 300 on the treadmill

Column number 300.

This is the 300’th Design Dilemma column. Unbelievable, huh? I started, way back when, as a way to get exposure for my business. It was dated August 29, 2008. Over time, it’s changed a bit from short, quick design issues and fixes to a more all-inclusive column about home life and, hopefully, some hints to make it easier for you to have an easy home to live in. I did draw the line at including recipes in the column. They belong in the cooking columns, not the home decor columns. And I’ve stuck to that. I think… Back in 2008, I don’t think ‘declutter’ was even a word, let alone a lifestyle trend that makes us think our homes are all out of control. I’ve watched it grow from nothing to a household word that is impacting almost every house-holder I know. And that’s why I write about it a READ MORE

Cushion season starts now!

Summer Cushion Season Starts Now.  The best thing about summer is that it comes every year. No matter what happens we know it will show up. Sometimes late, sometimes ineffectively, sometimes with too much rain. But it always comes.   And one of the things that also happens every year is that, if you own summer outdoor cushions, you need to get them out of storage. Hoping they are still good enough for one more season.  Here are the top three things to help you decide if they are OK for another year, or perhaps need to be replaced.  1. If you squish the cushion and it sounds like cellophane being crinkled, it means the foam inside has started to disintegrate. Replace.  2. If you accidentally poked your finger through the fabric, this, too means replace. At least the covers.  3. If you can see how bright the print was once, READ MORE

stack of TP

The price of TP in 2022

Yes, everything is going up in price. Except for things we hope will go up. A few years ago I did a column on the cost of Bathroom Tissue. I broke the price down to per sheet and per ply. I mean, how do you know which big package is the best buy?  I posit that they all do an adequate job doing what they are made to do. Yes, some are softer and thicker, but I’m not convinced that those characteristics actually impact the product performance. The other day I was confronted with the massive packages, sale prices, ply, and ‘mega’ vs ‘ultra’ again. So I did the research, again, and here are the findings. I’m not making any value judgments. I’m not comparing products, I’m simply calculating the price of the product. How I calculated the price. First of all, I calculated the number of single-ply sheets in READ MORE

My Home Should Support Me

While doing some Declutter learning, I read that our house should support our lives, not clash with it. If we are spending hours cleaning, (which often means just trying to find a place to put things), our house is taking away time from our family, our hobby, or even our job. The benchmark, suggested by one pro, is, ‘What would happen to your house if you got sick and couldn’t clean’ for five days? Would it be a disaster or would it be in the same condition as when you went down?’ That was so profound to me that it prompted me to rethink how I lived in my own home. I got rid of things that were nice but didn’t serve me. Beautiful pottery bowls lined up across the top of my cabinets. Never used. Dust and grime catchers. A little chair by the door in my bedroom that READ MORE

A Plan

When I started my drapery-making business here 20-odd years ago, I was fortunate enough to get into the Community Futures program. One of the first things I was tasked with doing was a business plan. That almost did me in. How was I supposed to project revenue? What did that even mean? But I did it. And it was the smartest thing I ever did for my business. It was a plan. It laid out the desired route from here to there, and it helped me anticipate any difficulties I might have along the way. I even had to calculate how much garbage the business might create and make sure I could use the local garbage pickup for that, or if I’d have to take it away myself. — Think time, car usage, money for the gate lady… It was an eye-opening experience and I’m positive it was one of READ MORE

It’s Just NOT Worth That Much!

When I downsized out of my condo, I sold a lot of stuff on Marketplace. I priced things at what I thought was reasonable, and almost nothing sold. I did some research and realized that 30% of the new price was the guideline, IF the item is in perfect condition and is fairly new.  (Antique or really high-value items notwithstanding.) I adjusted my prices. Most of the stuff still didn’t sell. So I lowered the prices. Things started to sell when I got to 15-20% of retail value. But, But, But!!! I sputtered, I paid 3 bajillion dollars for that!’ I did NOT want to believe what the market was telling me, which was that my items were, overall, not worth nearly what I believed they were worth. Getting my skewed head on straight So I had a decision to make. Well, a few decisions actually. Keep the things and READ MORE

cluttered room

Is it Clutter or clutter?

First of all, I believe that a home should support the people who live there. It should nurture a sense of calm, a sense of belonging. It should be easy to clean, easy to maintain and be a place where the inhabitants want to spend time.  Clutter impedes serenity. It’s really difficult to feel calm when there are piles of clothes, toys, or dishes everywhere. It’s difficult to feel calm when everywhere you look there is a reminder of something you must do.  I wrote a little book a few weeks ago, which is now published on Amazon, if you don’t mind, about ‘Clutter’, and how to get to the end of the job. ( Search for my name on Amazon and you’ll find it). While researching, I joined a Facebook group of Clutter-suffering people, just to see what they say. This group has over 478 THOUSAND members. That’s almost READ MORE

tug of war

Yetza Hara

I did not know until very recently that every major religion in the world identifies a negative force within every one of us. This force has one main job. It’s to protect us from change. It controls the ‘flight’ response we have in times of danger —  it tries to keep us stable, and on a known, predictable path. It’s also misguided. It is the voice inside that tells us we don’t deserve, that we aren’t good enough, that we aren’t attractive enough, that we aren’t smart enough. I’m convinced it’s also rather stupid. It tries to stop us from doing ANYTHING new. Again, its job is to keep us safe, and that means nothing new. Learning a new skill? Nope, not going there, that’s unknown territory, you might fail. Or you might succeed. Either option changes the status quo, can’t be doing that. Talk to that attractive stranger? Good READ MORE