Sunday, January 04, 2009

making myself at home

my main weekend activity consisted of painting the low bookshelf seen below which husband brilliantly constructed out of MDF (that shit is heavy) ala handy andy on BBCs changing rooms. and then once it was dry, i got to put books and other fun stuff on it. and we finally got to finish hanging our collection of architectural drawings. my late father-in-law was an architect and he had collected some of them, which we inherited, but we've been picking them up here and there in antique stores for ten years now as well. and now, at last, we have a wall where they can all hang together. the more time i spend in the room, the more i love the turquoise-y teal color we chose for the walls. it somehow brings my molecules into perfect humming alignment. and check out this post for a refresher of how this looked last month and how it looks at the other end of the room.

i had three boxes of books that hadn't been shelved, but instead of putting random odds and ends on these shelves, i went to the shelves in the bedroom and got my best and favorites because they're the books i want near me in this creative space. i also unpacked a box of some of the wonderful things we've collected that i had forgotten about...small brass objects--a compass, an old timeclock that was once used to punch in in an egyptian workplace, a small morse code transmitter found in an antique store in iowa city and our scale collection and a little bitty samovar from tolstoy's yasnaya polyana. getting reacquainted with these long-packed-away things was a bit like having something new. i felt so delighted (and a little bit surprised) unwrapping them from their 18-month old newspapers (yikes!).

and now to the books. i brought out all of the russians...19th century on the bottom left, 20th on the bottom right. my beloved andrei bitov in a place of honor all his own on top right (in original and translation).  homer's odyssey and goethe's faust are allowed to stand next to the 19th century russians. faust because of an extensive paper i once wrote using it together with bulgakov's master & margarita (a highly recommended read, by the way) and homer because of a paper on angelopolous' fantastic film ulysses gaze that i once wrote for a balkan literature course.

and on the top left, my beloved theorists--bakhtin, barthes, kristeva, zizek and the slovenian school (salecl and copjec), plus a bit of lacan (which i didn't feel should be separated from zizek). the little rusty metal horse and bird on the shelves were found in a dingy market in goa and they lend atmosphere to the russians and the theorists.

so, although there's not yet heat in the room--the cute wood-burning stove guy will be coming in the next couple of weeks to install the new wood-burning stove--it's the space i'm most drawn to these days. we heat it up with a little electrical heater and candles and that's actually quite efficient, tho' it is a bit cold out here today because our weather has turned colder. next i have to make window treatments for the six sets of double windows (four of which are actually double doors, which will be gloriously open all summer), finish my fleece-backed cheater quilt (i did finish the top of it that one day that i wanted to, but haven't finished it finished it--i always get stuck on the binding when it comes to quilting), and make a few throw pillows for the couch.

another of the best things about settling it in today was cleaning the floor (both husband and i managed to get a few streaks of that beautiful blue paint here and there on the wood floor) and finding all of our assorted throw rugs. i didn't realize that simple throw rugs could be full of memories. like the main one in the centre, it's one i bought in goa and it's got the perfect shades of blue to go with the walls. and here in front of the couch is a little silk one i bought on my first trip to egypt 12 years ago--it turns out to be the perfect color for this room as well. and then there's the woven one with a picture of houses and mountains that i bought in skopje's old town from an albanian rug seller. it makes me so happy to have all of these history-laden things in one wonderful room. i'm sure that they will whisper to me their stories, nudging me to write them down as they remind me of the good times and they'll be here with us as we create the memories of the future.


Barb said...

What a delightfully, happy looking room. Love the colour.

You must post more pictures when it is completely finished.

Barb xo

Amanda said...

I am so glad you are feeling better. I am also very jealous of your room, and the time you get to spend in it. Some day, maybe I will have a place of my own like that.

Tess Kincaid said...

Fabulous color! I really like the look. Books are a major part of my decor, too. I'm not comfortable unless they are about me.

Maggie May said...

oh my goodness I LOVE the blue, the bookshelves!! i just put up a post of all the books and shelves of books in our house, but they aren't so lovely as this. well done, and nice to find your awesome blog!

Sebrina Wilson said...

This is gorgeous! I adore that colour!

Molly said...

It's all so lovely J!
I can't wait to see pics of it in summer with the doors open too - that'll be magnificent.
And I saw your comment at Amanda's and am very jealous of your quiet Mon morning to yourself.
But then myself and child are just back from the beach so I guess I shouldn't feel too envious....
; )

heidikins said...

...I suddenly have an urge to bust out Crime & Punishment again. Or something equally intellectual.

And paint my walls blue.

And make a bookcase and paint it blue.

I love this room!