Friday, November 28, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
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
(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 others........you 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
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
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
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
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
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.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
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
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
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
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!