Monday, December 7, 2009

Improvising 101

Actually, I'm probably more in the advanced class of improvisors - living in Mexico forces it into you. I pride myself of being at least as good as many of the locals, and in some instances, maybe even better.

The latest episode has to do with those fuzzy pictures hanging in the guest room. Yesterday I took them off the wall intending to dust off the fuzz, but sadly discovered that they are beyond salvation. The mats and the frames are ok, but the pictures and the backs are in the garbage.

What to do? The wall behind the bed is riddled with large screws (and a couple useless holes that were failed attempts) where the pictures were hung. Guests are arriving today.

I pondered just hanging the empty frames back up - the 'new' picture would be the white paint on the wall behind.

I pondered cutting up an old map and gluing it to the wall and hanging the frames over the pieces.

But the bedroom is pretty and romantic, and neither of those options left me with the beautiful room presentation I wanted to give our guests.

Maybe I could hang something else on the wall?

The only blankets I have that would be suitable are not at all the right colors or texture.

Of all the sarongs I own, only one 'might' work. The shade of blue was not a match in the room, but it didn't look bad. So I tied the fringe to make a hook on each end for the end screws, and threaded the other screws into little holes I frayed along the edges. Other than the wrinkles, it was acceptable.

But acceptable was not what I had in mind. So off we went into town, to the small market stalls near the hostel. Getting there was a feat with all the road work being done.

The first road we tried ended in a dead end with both left and right turns leading to mounds of sand. I took the opportunity to remind Miguel that he will come across similar mounds when we go to Canada, except they will be white and cold. Snow!

We turned around and went the wrong way back down the road we'd come from - there was no other choice. But why we went the wrong back up the next road I don't know, as we could easily have driven around to the end and approached from the correct direction. I've learned not to ask.

With the market stalls just on the other side of the torn up road, Miguel gently drove the golf cart over the curbs. I didn't think we'd make it, but Limey (our golf cart) is like the little engine that could. I think he liked the challenge.

While Miguel turned the cart around and parked, I browsed through the sarongs and found one with just the right color and pattern. Task accomplished, back down the road we went, this time pointing in the right direction.

We encountered the same high curbs, and for some reason Miguel decided this time to help the golf cart. He got off and picked up some pieces of interlocking brick that were lying strewn in the road. He placed the pieces as a makeshift ramp, except my eye told me that the pieces were too far apart. No matter, one of them worked and we climbed the curb again and made our way home.

My idea was to just tie the sarong fringes to the screws, but the sarong was too narrow to make it all the way across. So I turned it sideways and played with different options of tying fringes to different screws. The end result looked like a shirt for a chubby, short-waisted person hanging on the wall. Sort of with bat-wings for sleeves.

For a while I thought I'd settle for that, but finally I took another look and I hated my creation. So I decided to sew a hem along the side of the sarong, and thread a small cord to hang from both ends. I sewed the hem last night.

This morning I went searching for a thin cord. We probably own some, I just don't know where. I found a piece of cooking string in the drawer in the kitchen, and it looked the right length. Maybe it was meant to be?

I took the string upstairs and measured - it was perfect! The ends were falling apart, but I had enough string to make my 'hanger'. Now - to get that flimsy string threaded through my hem.

Normally I would use a large safety pin, but I have been up and down the stairs so many times that I just couldn't face it again. So I took off my hoop earring and looped the string through it, and then threaded my earring through the hem. It worked great!

I made some slipknots on each end and arranged the sarong, nicely tucking over all the screws on the top edge. The only problem was that the sarong hung over the wall switch - guests would have a hard time turning on the ceiling fan or turning out the lights. I would have to make it shorter without more sewing.

I folded, I rolled, I tied...and finally settled on pulling the sides up and tying them to each other, sort of like folding the sarong in half. It looks great, just like it belongs there. In fact, I think I'm going to forget the pictures and keep the sarong.

My only concern is the string. Since it was already falling apart on the ends, I hope it holds together for the week our guests are here. Hopefully by then I'll have found a permanent hanging solution.


Anonymous said...

OK, we need to see a photo of this creation!

Isla Chica

Life's a Beach! said...

The first idea that came to mind when I read your problem was framing batik or sarong cloth, but actually hanging a sarong is a much better plan! I'd love to see it!

Andrea Healey said...

Yep - that was my first thought too - we need a visual aid to go with the decorating tips!!

Sue said...

I apologize for the lack of a picture. The camera we use is over at the new apartment, waiting for pictures of the finished construction so I can put up a website. The other camera has two dead batteries - I'm charging them now, so maybe can get a picture later today before the guests arrive. I really wish I'd taken a picture of the first design - it would actually be neat in a different type of room - a batik shirt with 'wings'!

Jonna said...

You are amazing and I too want to see a picture...

jeanie said...

I look forward to the picture Sue. I'm hoping for some ideas. I have a few blank walls that need something special.

Ann said...

I agree--we need a picture!

Jackie said...

Sounds creative. I too want to see a photo.

IslaZina said...

Should your brain go blank, just always remember and pastry bag is a great gun for white cement! Pioneer women...

Bennie said...

Wow! I'd have taken the lazy way out and took Christmas paper and wrapped the frames to look like gifts and popped them back on the wall. Of course that would have been a temporary fix.