Saturday, December 27, 2008

Winter wonderland?

Between my guy having a total hip replacement surgery and the pre and post surgery hooha AND our special little weather treat, I haven't had much time to blog.

Streets here have been closed, we have 14 inches of snow in our yard and while (finally) main streets are getting plowed, most side streets are closed. 8 inches of solid slush is common. It was coming down faster than we could get rid of it.

We were unable to get the employees to work to clean rugs, unable to get the trucks out to clean rugs, clients were unable to get out to bring us rugs SOOOO the gist being we were pretty much closed between the 18th through Christmas. We're currently shooting for next Monday the 29th.

Even UW was closed for three days in a row. Now the thaw is hitting and the air is warmer than the snow so there's an odd looking fog everywhere rising from the snow. Rain is forecast starting tomorrow so we expect flooding and some busy times between water, holiday parties and pet accidents.

Hope that you all had a safe holiday. After the fist fight I saw today at Fred Meyers I guess the Peace on Earth thing is over until next year. Check out the lovely (and PEACEFUL) Christmas greeting from Dr Mehrabadi at the Iranian Interests Section in Washington DC. on Barry O'Connell's main page. I find it somehow ironic that all of my Christmas morning phone calls to wish us holiday greetings were from my Muslim friends.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thursday - the OTHER humpday.

When you work Monday through Saturday, Thursday becomes "humpday" in the middle of your week. I start to run out of energy today, start to perk back up tomorrow and I'll have some energy back by Saturday.

Tonight was our Carpet Cleaners Institute of the Northwest holiday meeting and we were at the Renton Technical College culinary school. Muy Bueno! The food was great! They have a lunchroom there and you can get a great meal for under $10!

Not much rug stuff to relay, I managed to repaint my office and finish the tile in the bathroom today.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Too dull for a title

One thing about this blog - it prompts you for a "title". Much too grand a term for the kind of day today was.

Today was my first board meeting as President of CCINW (Carpet Cleaners Institute of the Northwest). This was a working board meeting, not the kind where you sit in a swanky room swilling martinis. I went to work at 6 AM, cleaned up yesterdays messes and put out fires, went to my board meeting and came home. Whee!

It really was more interesting than that. Many kudos to the great people of the CCINW board - there have been so many volunteer hours spent to advance the industry, usually without the appreciation of the rank and file members who get the benefits.

Tomorrow is a carpet inspection, Thursday is our industry dinner, Friday is a reception at Earthues for the new holiday collection.

Saturday is rug appreciation day at Emmanuel's Rug & Upholstery with Barry O'Connell!
Drop in and have a cup of coffee.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The day after...Thanksgiving!

Hopefully this isn't your kitchen after you use the self-cleaning oven to tidy up after yesterday's food fest. We tend to have small holiday gatherings, but this is how I have felt "the day after" whatever holiday, trying to clean up. A nuclear holocaust would have been easier.......
We opened for work today at Emmanuel's. Black Friday can be either hit or miss for us so we had a few come in and a few go home but today was best spent as a day to accomplish cleaning in the shop. We've been doing some auto body work, replacing a water pump on the Isuzu delivery truck and I've been replacing tile on the bathroom floors.
We wrapped up early today in the interest of work. Someones water lines decided to have a rupture and flood the home while they were in Florida on vacation so I drove the cargo van (with Barry riding shotgun) to go pick up a load of wet rugs.
Here's a great hint for wet rugs or when bringing in something with a messy spill you don't want to have spread through your rug: lay newspapers, a sheet of plastic, a towel or rags (depending what has spilled) on the surface of the rug and roll the rug up around them. It can keep colors from bleeding from front to back, pet accidents from smearing, etc.
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Annual Holiday Rant - 10 tips to a happier Holiday

Since it's right before Thanksgiving and lots of you will be putting up holiday decorations this weekend, I thought I'd take the plunge and do the "Annual Holiday Rant".

While the holiday season is great for most of us with only moderate blasts of anxiety, stress and over-indulgence, holidays for our pets are full of too many strange things in the house, strange people in the house, food they can't/ shouldn't eat in the house, bad weather that keeps them in the house, being outside too long because we were busy and forgot to let them back into the house, being boarded while the family goes away from the house and a TREE (in the house) that we either climb in the yard (if you're a cat) or urinate on (if you're a dog) that is to be stoically ignored, and so on. As you may have guessed, IN THE HOUSE is a key theme here. That means rugs, carpets and furniture.

Now, more than any other time of year, we are inundated with pet bodily waste related to any or all of the above. Here's some useful hints to help you and your furry family members survive until Spring.

1. Don't let your pet drink the tree water. This seems like great, good common sense but can be harder than it first appears. Use a tree skirt that covers the base, place the packages so pets can't get to the water basin, get a fake tree. When they fill up with it, it needs to go somewhere.... and they'll either vomit or urinate.

2. If you must have decorations on the bottom of your tree, consider plastic or non-breakable ornaments. Tinsel can cause bowel obstructions, broken glass can cut the inside of the mouth and cause internal bleeding. Tinsel on the tree is cute, tinsel in poop isn't. Unless you want to hang it on the tree.

3. Keep light wires away from your pets. Chewing extension cords or lights can have an "electrifying" experience for your pet. You can tape over cords on the floor with 2 inch blue painters non marking tape or cover them with mats.

4. Keep strings, ribbons and wrapping paper picked up and away. Sometimes our pets think that these are toys. String or ribbon can be ingested and will usually reappear in unattractive ways. Wrapping paper dyes can turn bodily wastes interesting colors and can leave permanent stains. Ink pens & felt tips as well.

5. Get out the vacuum cleaner and keep the pine needles cleaned up. These little stinkers get tracked into my house all year round and I have two dogs so I know all about this one. Triple with a Christmas tree and wet weather. When ingested they can cause vomiting or get stuck in the throat.

6. Put the tree in an out of the way place where it won't get knocked over! Just because the tree looks good in the middle of the room or entry just remember that when the basin gets overfilled and Uncle Charlie has a couple of drinks - worlds collide! After the wet spot sits under the tree until sometime in January, turns black with mold and mildew, possibly gets dry rot and smells badly, please don't be surprised that it can't be repaired. Think about anchoring the tree to the wall someplace. Don't hang the cat's catnip or jerkey treats on the tree either, it's an invitation to disaster.

7. Candles. Watch them carefully...wax is a pain to get out and pets are often fascinated by the flickering lights.

8. Pets don't do well with holiday food designed for people. Alcohol, chocolate, candy, neon colored frosting, gingerbread, eggnog, peanuts, popcorn, potato chip dip, smoked salmon......ahhh yes, the list goes on. Also no chicken or turkey bones.

9. Mistletoe, holly, poinsettias and other holiday plants are poisonous. Both cats and dogs eat grass for their digestion outdoors but don't let them chew on holiday greenery. We'll all be sorry.

10. A calm pet is a good pet. Take your dogs for a short walk or throw a toy, play with your kitty, feed them dinner, let them out for a good long potty break and then let them hang out in a familiar, out of the way room with their favorite blanket and a chew toy when guests arrive. Sometimes the excitement of visitors can prompt accidents of all kinds. If they need to visit, do so after the excitement dies down.

Check with the ASPCA for additional cold weather and holiday tips for your pets.

If you DO have one of those magic "holiday moments" here's a link to Rug Rags online spotting guide or come visit us at Emmanuel's for FREE sample of spotter and a printed spotting guide to keep on hand for emergencies!

There - over for the year. Happy Holidays.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Rugs - the musical

What a day this has been, what a rare mood I'm in, why it's almost like being with RUGS!
(apologies to Lerner & Loewe)

What a day it was. There's something about going to work an hour early on a Saturday (7:30 PST) and being busy from the time you open the door to go in until you leave an hour after closing time. The Thanksgiving panic is underway. A failure to plan on one parties part is not necessarily a crisis on the only have so many on location appointments in a day and when they're full, there really aren't any more unless there's a shift in the time = space continuum AND rugs still take a certain amount of time to be cleaned and dried. Today was our drop dead date for Thanksgiving and between the phone and the tidal wave of rugs, it was great. No meals, no biffy breaks, no coffee, no e-mail.

WAIT! there was that little short period of time when Barry O'Connell (of SpongoBongo fame)
was in the shop trying out the new video camera on some of my oddball textile collection.

For some reason, I have managed to accumulate a large assortment of small Central Asian embroideries, camel trappings, horse thingies, etc. I like the one we shot about the blue glass beads from Herat. They are glass beads at the most primitive level attached to a macrame type of netting. Herat is near the northwestern corner of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan and there are Teke and Salor influences there, however the band in the video is Baluch. There is a distinctive greenish color to the macrame portion done by dipping the wool into indigo and afterward treating it. The embroidered pillow covers and zari work pieces are Salvation Army finds. ANYWAY......They're a still affordable small collectable.

One of the most interesting Baluch pieces I have seen for some time was at
Emmett Eiland's Gallery in Berkeley CA. They had used bottle tops as a decoration. Very enterprising people. If you're ever in the Bay Area drop in and visit them, the yurt is a real treat!

After a day like today, the current musical interlude is my sweetie snoring. He's been generously taking time out from being his mean attorney self to help me with a variety of repair projects on vehicles and equipment and I'm taking this opportunity to offer my very public THANK YOU!
Thank you also to Barry for helping me flip rugs and wait on people.

Hope all of you have a restful weekend, I'm looking forward to waking up without the alarm clock tomorrow.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mothra attacks

Great aubergines and greens, large format (10 x 13), silky fabulous wool. Problem? Live moth infestation.

This rug sat in the office of an older individual where there was little activity and the moths got a foothold. SO - here's some handy dandy moth info.
Moths that attack wool or silk are NOT seasonal. They can hide in dark, unused areas like under furniture or on the back side of rugs and furnishings to attack when you least expect it.
"Prevention is easy--when storing articles, place in tight fitting garment bags or plastic storage containers. All garments should be cleaned before storage. Consider using plastic or zip-locking bags to store sweaters in dressers. Storage cartons can be sealed with good quality tape. All seams and joints should be taped over. Vacuum closet floors, shelves and dresser drawers before putting clothing away for summer. Furs can be professionally cleaned and placed in cold storage for protection. Good housekeeping will remove lint, dust, or hair. Be sure to move and vacuum under furniture ifyou have wool rugs, and the ½ inch space along baseboards that is missedby many vacuums. Areas that are frequently vacuumed do not become damaged. Cedar oil, cedar chips and cedar closets have generally been overrated as a control of wool pests. Very young larvae of clothes moths that are exposed to high concentrations of cedar oil vapor are killed, but older larvae,adults, and most carpet beetles are not affected by the oil. Cedar lumber in closets or chests will lose oils over time and after three years are useless in killing any fabric pest. Tight fitting, well-constructed cedar chests makes it difficult for insects to get to the clothing. If you have found a problem, vacuum or brush the insects off the article.Washing or dry cleaning will kill all life stages. Freezing is an option if the article has been kept at room temperature before treatment. The shock of going from 70 degrees to near zero will kill the insects. Place articles in freezer bags loosely packed, expose to below zero for 72 hours. Clothes moths and carpet beetles can survive in unheated attics, bird nests, wall voids and other sites if they have a chance to acclimate to slowly falling temperatures. Heating articles to above 130 degrees for one hour will also kill all life stages. Direct spraying of fabric with insecticides or moth proofing agents creates the risk of staining, discoloration, shrinkage, and weakening fabrics.Chemical reactions caused by water, solvents or the chemical themselves can also occur. These chemicals are also difficult to find. There are clothing sprays that contain pyrethrum, permethrin, allethrin or resmethrin. A wider selection of insecticides are registered for carpet treatment. Moth balls (naphthalene) and PDB (paradiclorobenzene ) change into gases and work as fumigants, but are ineffective as repellents. To work effectively,they must be confined in a closed system with little air movement such as asealed plastic box. Hanging these products in a closet will usually not build up to toxic levels. If toxic levels occur, there is the concern of people breathing the vapors. Items will need to be aired before use. "
Rotate your rugs regularly, vacuum often.
This is a really long posting, but if it helps with the heartbreak of moths it's worth it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Radiator heaven!

After some stalling this morning, the radiator showed up repaired and painted a lovely beetle black. Thankfully it slid right into place and didn't leak!!

Barry scanned another of my bags, I hope I don't go down for posterity as a "bag lady".

No sage words about rug or carpet cleaning in Seattle or anywhere else today. I spent the day today doing what I hate most, accounting. Some people LOVE numbers and are meant to be accountants. I am not one of those people, however I'm a severe textile junkie if you couldn't tell...

I did get out to look at a couple of rugs being consigned for sale: a 12 x 17 Creme Kerman Karastan from the 1930's (more or less) and a second Karastan, 8 x 10, pattern yet to be determined. These are classic original rugs, full piled. No stains, odors or other immediate issues and a great economical choice for a family looking to fill a big space with a good quality rug for less than new! Hope to get pictures posted later this week.


Monday, November 17, 2008

What a weekend........

Most people work five days a week and they get to look forward to weekends. Here at Emmanuel's Rug and Upholstery Cleaning, sometimes the mere DREAM of a five day work week is enough to either make me wax poetic or seize up in gales of hysterical laughter. In the sage words of Alfred E. Newman, "What, me worry?".

Last Saturday, I sent my valued shop assistant, Ket out to do a minor spotting job with one of our oldest (but presumeably well working) truckmount machines. Ket, a native of Laos, has lived in the United States for quite some time, is totally in charge of washfloor operations and knows what to do when. We really rely on him. Upon his return as we were cleaning up the truck, we noticed there was about a half inch layer of cruddy lint gook stuck to the front of the radiator (cooling system) of the truckmount unit and attempted to remove it with a little gentle brushing and the tank vac. Apparently, this snotty lint was the only thing holding the radiator together and the Prestone began to flow everywhere. The diligent guys at AC Automotive promptly determined that the entire insides were kaput and a new core was the only remedy SOOOOOO.....hopefully we'll be re-installing it tomorrow (Tuesday).

As a result, we were at work Saturday over an hour before opening and an hour after closing. Sunday was a "day off" involving the moving of firewood up to the house and the dead battery of our '77 BMW project car (here in its ideal condition - not OUR car), dogs and housework. Monday, back to work till 1PM so I guess it was sort of a day off.

On a fun note: Barry O'Connell was at the shop on Saturday trying his hand out at video filming and we spent some time looking at Chinese rugs - a good time, as we have some Persian pattern Chinese rugs both open and closed back. He also interviewed Homaioun Rahmati of Rugs and Arts of Asia (who has his rug sales floor in our shop) and scanned some of my collection of Central Asian embroidered pieces for the heck of it.

On positive note for those wishing to visit Iran, e-visa's are now available!

I'm hoping to be invited back to Kish next year and will look forward to trying out the new system!

While visiting us, Barry relayed a greeting from another Armenian rug family, the Keshishian's of Chevy Chase MD. Thank you for remembering us! You are an inspiration to us all.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

What a long day today. Lots of rugs in and out and only one minor mishap.....

One of my on-location trucks had a truckmount radiator clogged up with dirt and lint (poor maintenance, eh guys?) and in my efforts to spit polish the inside of the machine, the thing developed a leak and dripped antifreeze all over the place. The radiator was subsequently removed and taken away to the repair place where it is spending the weekend being boiled out and patched so I can spend Monday (my day off) making sure it is reinstalled. What a thrill...

My good friend Barry O'Connell stopped off today with an interesting little video camera and we tried making a sample video about some Chinese rugs at the shop. When I get a link, I'll post one here!

I hope to do a longer posting tomorrrow.....


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More about sand.....and one of my favorite blogs #2

While sand is a known abrasive (ie, sandblasting & sand paper) it's a pretty interesting subject by itself. What is sand and what does it consist of? There's "rough" and "smooth" sand, even "singing or "booming" sand. Check out these cool sand sites and learn a little more about that pesky stuff we track into the house and go crazy trying to get rid of.

Here in the Seattle area, most of our yards are either based on clay (compressed fine silt) or sand from being on the bottom of Puget Sound. Mine's the sand variety with about three or four inches of pine needles so when it's wet out we get a double decker treat. Today I received the lovely indoor and outdoor mats I ordered from Consolidated Plastics. I liked the oriental look ones, but wasn't prepared to pony up the price and got the basic ones. Even for wall to wall carpet most wear happens in the first ten feet of an exterior entrance and proper walk off mats are important to protect your home's interior. Mats can be brought in to the shop, pressure cleaned and be ready to go home in about a three day turn around time. Cleaning is inexpensive compared to having to fix damage later. If you decide on mats get two sets so you can have one on the floor and one in reserve. We can do your car and truck mats as well!

On a wet, dark, dreary evening check out Tea and Carpets for a real treat. More than just rugs, it's like a visit to a literary salon. Always interesting and a fun read.


OOOooooh, I'm on Youtube!

My friend, Steve (Dusty) Roberts just sent me a Youtube video where he mentions our rug morning on December 6th! I've never been on Youtube before so this is very cool.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Weather and rug cleaning in Seattle

There's an old joke that it only rains twice a year here in Seattle: Once for for 182 days and once for 183. Happily this is untrue and we do get lots of lovely sun, but when the grey days set in they seem to last forever.

No surprise that business is fueled by both. When the sun's out clients notice how everything needs to be cleaned, when it rains even the cats and dogs don't want to go outside and accidents happen. You can even check out flea activity on the weather channel. All that wet stuff gets tracked inside as well. Did you know that one grain of sand can have up to 24 cutting edges and when that stuff gets into your rugs and carpets it's like a bazillion little hacksaws making your floor coverings prematurely old? Tan wall to wall carpet can hide up to one pound of sand per square foot and a Chihuahua can urinate five gallons of urine a year. Of course if you don't want that urine in your carpet, you can use it decrease your risk of heart disease......that you get from lack of exercise in Seattle when it's raining. Just checking to see if anyone out there has a sense of humor.

It's a wonder to me how some rugs last hundreds of years and some look like ICK in two or three.

We have high wind warnings through tomorrow with four to eight inches of rain expected in the "higher elevations" with possible flood warnings. I expect that rug and carpet cleaning will keep us busy in Seattle.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Textile Museum in Canada

Did all of you Northern cousins realize that you have your VERY OWN Textile Museum? I sure didn't and it gives mea whole new reason to want to go to Toronto!

How much advertising can you believe?

First of all, I'm going to be off work for the next couple of days. I stopped to get my annual flu shot yesterday and, since I hadn't had a pnuemonia shot in the last 8 to 10 years, got my booster there too. Apparently, the formula of the carrier for the dead virus in the shot has been changed since my last shot and I very rapidly developed a raging allergic reaction that precipitated a late night run to the emergency room with a right bicep that looked like a body builder, itchy, hard as a rock and bright red. Oh yes, and I couldn't turn my head. Today I'm home keeping company with Percoset, Benadryl and steriods.

Just some personal observations: I was noticing in the phone book the other day how many rug and carpet cleaners advertise themselves as "the best", "superior" or "expert". They all have "state of the art " equipment, etc. How does the consumer know how to choose? While there are many dedicated, well educated cleaners out there (yes there are classes in all kinds of cleaning and national certifications available) who take great pride in their profession, the truth is that absolutely anyone can go buy a machine and - with no training - put advertising in the yellow pages and start cleaning! Are you sure this is who you want in your home?

Ask anyone that you are considering to clean your valued furnishings about their system, how long they have been cleaning, whether or not they belong to a national certification agency and have taken any educational classes and/ or how much training their company provides.

Ask for referrals. Do they have any warranties or guarantees? Bonded and insured?

Don't take certification for granted. Do your homework, go with someone you feel comfortable with. Ask for a written estimate if you are unsure, don't let anyone pressure sell you.

Price isn't everything. Many offers that have low price up front may have hidden charges. Remember that ultimately, you get what you pay for and the cost to repair work that was done incorrectly may outweigh the cheap price.

Don't wait till the last minute to book a cleaning. Everyone else does that too and peak cleaning times - like the upcoming holidays - are often hard times to get appointments.

Emmanuel's isn't the fast food of rug and carpet cleaning and I like it that way. Life's too short for bad food, cheap beer or just simply not having a job done well.

Happy Veterans Day tomorrow!


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Possible "Rug Morning" on the horizon and other ramblings

I found my good friend Dusty Roberts post to my blog and thought I'd post the link to the web album of the trip to Kish to share. It was so awesome and really the trip of a lifetime. My deepest and most sincere thanks to Dr. Khosrow Sobhe for facilitating this for me.

Dr Sobhe, in addition to his many other talents, has a rug showroom and cleaning facility in Los Angeles, CA. I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Sobhe in person and hearing him speak this July
at The Oriental Rug Retailers Association meeting in Atlanta GA. His personal blog pages are a great inspiration to me.

Possible "Rug Morning": On the East Coast is the wonderful Textile Museum in Washington DC.
One of their most fun activities is the "Rug Morning" where anyone can bring an interesting textile or rug pertaining to the theme of the day and the TM staff will tell them about what they have. Doesn't that sound fun? Barry O'Connell has been in Seattle for work and has kindly offered to help me put on a few "Rug Mornings" starting December 6th! I will post more details as they come up.

Yesterday at Emmanuel's we were fairly busy with rugs coming in. I hope that this is a positive economic indicator and not just the result of all our rain.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Rug cleaning can get you into hot water.

This morning our ten year old, 120 gallon hot water tank rusted out and a river of boiling water went through the edge of our downstairs showroom. Thankfully no rugs or people were injured during this stunt, don't try this one at home.

We hand wash rugs with cold water and use hot on the fringes after the rugs are dry to make them really white without having to use bleaches which will eventually corrode the material.

Speaking of being in hot water: Part of the fun thing with Oriental Rugs is what goes into making them. Michelle Whipplinger and her delightful, well educated staff run Earthues - a studio dedicated to natural dying, textiles and education. If you've ever wondered if the hot pink or orange in your rug could EVEN be natural, this is the place to find out. Check out their schedule!


Thursday, October 30, 2008

My favorite oriental rug sites #1

After a day at Emmanuels Rug and Upholstery in Seattle enjoying our liquid sunshine and cleaning oriental rugs, it's nice to chill in front of the computer with a few good websites about -
Oriental Rugs, of course! I'll list a few in several postings. My all time favorite is
Spongo Bongo, the opinions of Barry O'Connell about Oriental Rugs, history and other subjects.
Barry is a delightful person and very knowledgeable! Very extensive pages and too much information to even begin to explain.

Have fun,


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Seattle rug cleaner in Iran

After cleaning rugs for a long time, I decided to take a vacation to the homeland of - you guessed it - Oriental Rugs. This is the exhibition of Handknotted Oriental Rugs in Kish, Iran held in April/ May 2008. While I had a wonderful time
and the people were very warm and hospitable I was glad to get back to cleaning rugs in Seattle at Emmanuel's.


Cleaning oriental rugs in Seattle

These are the musings of a fourth generation, woman rug cleaner in the scenic Pacific Northwest.
Our business has been in Seattle since 1907 and we specialize in the cleaning and restoration of handmade oriental rugs but clean and repair all kinds of rugs and carpets. I'm the current President of Emmanuel's Rug and Upholstery Cleaners at 1105 Rainier Ave So, Seattle WA 98144 Call us at 206-322-2200 or check out our webpage at
Since I spend so much time at work and see lots of interesting rugs and people I thought I'd share some of our experiences.

Check back for updates!