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CRAP

26 Sep

It’s not even 12 on Monday, and I can already tell that this week is going to be wild. And not in a fun, let’s get wild kind of way, but more like you-will-never-have-more-than-five-uninterrupted-minutes kind of way.

 

So let’s talk about the weekend instead!

 

I had a really nice weekend. It started early, when David and his friend came over directly from work. I didn’t realize they were coming, so I was dressed to impress in a threadbare, see through shirt with squash stains on it, and greasy unkempt hair. I don’t transition easily, so I was a little dazed and inarticulate from not talking to anyone all day for about 20 minutes, but I rallied.

The next day I went bridesmaid dress shopping with a (bride) friend. I got to try on a bunch of pretty dresses, and I realized that I totally need a gown in my life. I used to think that big poofy gowns were not for me, but surprise! They totally are. I am hoping that we get to buy our dresses soon, even though the wedding is not for another year, so I can wear it around the house.

 

The best part of my weekend though, was when I stopped by my parent’s house. My mom and I were talking about how David and I have a seating deficit, and my plans to buy some things like a church pew and an upholstered chair at some point. One thing led to another… and I was driving home with a car full of stuff that I snagged from her attic.

 

Hooray for impromptu redecorating!

I realized I haven’t ever posted photos of what my living room looks like, so it’s not going to be a very dramatic transformation for you.. I found a couple of photos that give a pretty good idea of what it used to look like. It is not my fault that most of them involve my dog. In fact, you should just consider that ‘luck’.

 

So these are all from varying times in the past year, and I move stuff around a lot. Basically, everything was pretty okay, but I was starting to feel like things were a little bare, and you couldn’t tell the personality of the people who live here. Part of that is because I still (STILL) don’t have any personal photos printed, despite the plethora of empty frames just waiting for a photo to fill them, but another part was because we didn’t have much stuff. I hate it when things constantly look cluttered, but the down side to that is that every surface was hard and bare. Also, sorry these pictures are kind of grainy. I am always taking pictures with my phone, but I should probably start using a real camera..

 

So I had those sketches from college, when I bought them at the flea market to decorate my first dorm room. I got made fun of a lot for having ‘naked’ pictures in my room, but those children didn’t understand that they are art. Hopefully nobody will make fun of me now that I’m an adult. The bench was sitting under my mom’s porch, rotting, so she said I could borrow it. I sanded it down so nobody would get a splinter from sitting on it, and at some point I want to put some pillows and maybe a cushion on it. I wonder if Caspian will be upset if I put his dog bed on it? Probably. The poster belongs to my brother, but he said I could use it. I want to keep adding warm neutral things to the gallery wall, so eventually the entire wall will be covered in warm neutral art, all the way to the floor. Also, if you look in the bottom left corner, you can see one of two $8 bar stools that I got from Craigslist. Score!

The rocking chair is the same chair my mom used to rock me to sleep in! (aww…) She also had that little galvanized metal side table, which replaced the trunk in the photo below. I have to do something about the cord situation, but I like the way this corner has turned out. It’s like a tiny library. I LOVE that fan. We don’t use it very often, but I think it looks so cool and retro.

The corner next to the piano used to have nothing in it, and it looked sort of weird and empty. When I get around to plugging that lamp in, it will add some nice light to this room. The globe is another childhood thing. It looks fancy, but actually it’s made of cardboard and held together in some spots with tape. I love it, because I love globes.

This is some art that used to be above the couch, but is now above the tv. I’ve been moving these pieces around constantly, but I think I’ve finally found a permanent home for them. That spot is hard to fill, since the tv and the lamp make it awkward, but I love the bright colors, and how they add lightness to all the dark wood and black and chrome.

 

The most important part of all of this is that now people can come over and not have to sit on the floor! Movie night is going to be so much cooler now that Caspian won’t be able to paw anyone in the face.

 

He doesn’t think it will be cooler. Wamp waaamp.

Living the Dream

16 Aug

I ran into some old friends from school this weekend, while I was out with my friends. One of the first questions out of our mouths were “What are you up to these days, where are you working?” Former design students ask their friends this question with a slightly worried look, because almost everyone graduated jobless, and our employment has ranged from retail to super sweet full time dream jobs. You don’t want to bum out your talented classmates by reminding them that because of this economy they get to beg for jobs they are  overqualified for.

Anyway, I told them I was freelancing, and living the dream, and they laughed because you don’t say a phrase like living the dream seriously. I thought about it more though, and I kind of am. I am having an amazing time doing this, and I’m actually starting to feel successful! Which is something I haven’t felt in a while. Also, all this working means that soon I will actually have some new projects to show you guys – I can’t wait!

 

Anyway, that’s not what this post is about. This post is about my obsession with office supplies. This has already been pretty well documented, but gosh, I don’t know, something about the fact that the back to school display is in full swing at target, and move in weekend was just here makes me in the mood to find some new stuff for my office. I still think it is the tragedy of my life that I don’t have to go back to school shopping any more. Something about those fresh notebooks and binders, all full of potential, and those post it notes just waiting for my notes and to-dos just left my heart aflutter.

Anyway, I discovered seejanework.com, aka my favorite new website, and things got a little out of hand. Online window shopping is my favorite kind of shopping.

Check out my pinterest board for some stylish, and useful things!

Dwight, you ignorant slut

3 Aug

So, I sat down to write a post, and then this guy came over to do a little light maintenance, and Caspian has a history of hating him for some weird reason, so now I am writing this with a slightly panicked 80 pound dog breathing on my elbow and pawing at me for comfort.

It is not very conducive to creativity, is what I’m saying.

 

So let’s talk about the office. I would say I spend most of my time in my apartment in my office right now. As I use it more and more, I am realizing that I still have a long way to go to maximize functionality. You see, I have a vision. And my vision is this:

Image Via Fffound and pinterest

A white, bright, clean, beautiful office. Unfortunately, right now my reality is more like this:

via wellreadhostess

 

I am working with a few problems here. The first is that I am operating on a budget of let’s use what I have already. The second is that I am sharing my office space, so I really have about 10 square feet that I’m working with. My third problem is that since I’m renting, I can’t paint the floors white, like I want to. The most important problem is that I need a lot of hidden-ish storage, since I have a ton of crap that I use, but don’t necessarily want to look at all the time. I would love to be able to make cards without having to put pieces of paper on the floor, or on a chair, or balanced on Caspian.

via Pinterest

 

via Pinterest

 

Something like that post office sorting shelf would be PERFECT. I have a lot of paper, you guys. I also have a feeling that shelf was bought at a flea market somewhere for a million dollars.

via Pinterest

 

The top half of this photo is just lovely. Look at all that storage!

You can check out the other photos I pinned on Pinterest here. Hopefully the office will come together sooner rather than later… I’m tired of working from the floor!

 

I’m a fan

1 Aug

I hope everyone had a good weekend! I accomplished almost everything on my list. I also took in an outdoor movie, learned how to play Skip-Bo, and cooked a lot. I made these bacon-wrapped baked eggs, which were insanely good. They also reheated well, and were kind of portable, so who knows? All you need is a bloody mary in a thermos, and you’ve got brunch on the go! (Don’t do that. You’ll get arrested.) It was also a very rainy weekend, which is excellent for doing home projects. It is not so excellent for spray painting, but I made it.

I woke up this morning feeling like I was hit by a train, and then had the hardest yoga class of my life. It was so hard, you guys. I learned that sometimes I can be  grossed out by how flexible people can be. The class was a little awkward for me, because it was a small group of women, and I think they were all stay at home moms and they’d all been taking this class together for months and months. I felt out of place, especially since I was the least advanced yoga practitioner by a long shot.  And my mat was really squeaky, and it was extra quiet in there. On the plus side, I did crow pose for the first time without falling on my face.

 

My office is slowly coming together. This weekend, I painted the fan.

It was a big dark funsucker just hovering above me. The fan blades were this weird 70s wood laminate type stuff, and it was a big downer on my white, bright office space. (By the way, how do we feel about maybe painting the walls seafoam? I’m not loving the white, and I always love the 50s..)

It was surprisingly easy to take the blades off. I was most afraid of this part, mostly because I figured I’d never be able to put it back together and things would be falling off and killing people left and right, but it was pretty simple.

The grossest part was the nice, thick layer of dust on the blades. This room used to be the roommate room, and I think it’s safe to say in the 3 years I’ve lived here, nobody ever dusted the fan. Maybe nobody dusted it when I moved in. I don’t know. I’d rather not think about it.

The cool part was this neat little detail around the base of the lamp part of the fan. I love the cut outs. They remind me of Orla Kiely. The lamp bit was quite dirty too. I washed everything.

Hello weird little frankenfan. You look like a weapon.

At first I didn’t listen to the designsponge instructions, and tried to paint my chevrons using a paper template. This looked like crap. The paint was super thin, and it would glob up. If you’re thinking of doing this, or really any small painting project requiring tape, just go ahead and buy some frisket film. That stuff is amazing.

The frisket film looks cool and shiny by itself. It would be super neat as a completely removable, but very subtle detail.

The finished product! I love it. The gold comes out really brown in this photo, but in real life it’s a nice, subtle shimmery gold that almost perfectly matches the fan equipment. I originally thought I would go with grey or black, but I thought that gold would tie everything together, and look more intentional.  It is crazy what a difference it makes in the room. I didn’t think it would be that drastic, but it just makes the room look much more finished.

Also, check out this blog post! I contributed the place cards, menus, and table name. I think it turned out pretty cool.

Can’t Help Myself..

25 Jul

I have to say, I had a great weekend. After having such a busy month, I really enjoyed the chance to just stay at home and not have plans. This somehow translated into doing some decorating projects. I relax best by cleaning/making things, and lately I’ve been in a MAJOR redecorating phase.

I suppose it’s been a long time coming – I like to DIY whenever I can, and make sure I’ve considered all my options before I commit to anything. This results in bursts of activity punctuated by long periods of planning. Since I’ve been working in my office full time, I’ve been thinking a lot more about how to best use that space, which has resulted in an impromptu let’s move all the things around party, as well as the purchase of some of those flat pack bookshelves, and some fabric bins that were completely the wrong size, unfortunately.

I also spent an embarrassing amount of time this weekend moving pictures around, trying to obey the rule in this blog post and being completely inspired by this office redesign (I may have said to David, “I know I told you an all white office was the way to go…. but what if we painted a wall seafoam?” I am the worlds biggest waffler).

The most exciting part of my weekend was when I built a headboard! For my bed! Like an adult! Okay, actually my mom came over and helped (by helped I mean she did most of the work while I danced around squealing about how great it was going to look)  because she’s the one with all of the expertise and the sweet power tools, but it was totally my idea, and I definitely found the how-to blog post.

I’ve wanted a headboard like this one ever since I saw Betty Draper’s but I knew that it would be way easier and cheaper to make my own. It was definitely cheaper, and it didn’t take as long as I thought to actually make it, maybe 2 hours. The total cost of the headboard came out to almost exactly $100, which is far cheaper than anything I could find in a store that I liked. The biggest money-saving trick I used was to buy a canvas dropcloth from Home Depot for the fabric. It was $20 and twice the amount of fabric we actually needed, which means that I now have some left over for pillows. I was worried it might look too cheap, but I’m actually so pleased with how it turned out. It looks very fancy, and way more expensive than it actually was.

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We basically followed the steps listed in the blog post I linked to above, and I think it looks great. It makes our room look one thousand times more polished, and all I have to do now is figure out how to arrange the pillows on the bed so they don’t look weird with the headboard. This is harder than you might think.

The best part about this weekend is that I feel like I’m essentially re-training my creative muscles. I’ve felt blocked for the past couple of months, and with each day that goes by I am getting more and more ideas, and my creative energy is growing. Sometimes I think the best thing you can do is stop trying to force things, and just follow what you’re feeling for a little bit.

My next big home project is my office. It’s been slowly evolving, as I try to figure out ways for it to be as functional as is possible for an 8 x 10 foot space shared by two people and a dog to be. I can’t wait to show you pictures!

Kitchen Before/During

27 May

The view from the kitchen door. I had loved the bright color of the kitchen for quite some time, but I think it definitely contributed to the cluttered feel of the kitchen.

 

The sad, lonely pot rack. And the sad, unpainted shelf.

 

The kitchen sink and the only available counter space. It always ended up filled with dishes, and the tiny counter above the sink was a messy spice rack.

The kitchen sink and the only available counter space. It always ended up filled with dishes, and the tiny counter above the sink was a messy spice rack.

This wall was so messy and there was no possible way to keep it clean because it had to serve so many functions. Storage, laundry room, auxilary counter space... It was always a mess.

 

Looking out of the kitchen doorway.

 

 

I decided to go with a greenish light blue color and accent with bright pops of red. It makes the kitchen feel much more soothing, and it also brightens up the room quite a bit!


This coffee cart now holds Caspian’s food, and the white dish on it holds random fruit. I bought the rug on sale at Crate and Barrel in Ohio, and I love how perfectly it picks up the colors in the slate and the wall.

I love this pot rack. It holds all of my most important dishes, and most needed utensils. The spice rack keeps the spices contained, although I’m not sure that it’s going to stay, since a (very expensive) jar of fennel just fell out the other day, and shattered all over the floor. I also love how you can store the lids on top of the rack. Oh IKEA. You just get me.

This is the wall where the refrigerator and the washer and dryer used to be. I like this setup SO MUCH BETTER! It has tripled my counter space. I especially like the bar set up. During parties, people can stand on the other side and it’s almost like a real bar! It is also incredible to be able to be in the kitchen and hear what’s going on in the other rooms. It has really opened up the the whole apartment.

These are some cookie cutters that I have collected over the years. I think cookie cutters are so cool, and they have fun shapes that should be displayed for the other 99% of the time when they aren’t cutting out dough.

This is my little collection of ceramic things that go over the sink. These are the ONLY things that are allowed to go over the sink. Please note the dish rack in the bottom corner, keeping dishes under control since 2011.

Owlbert and Hoobert.

I hope everyone has a great memorial day weekend!

Drilling Through Canvas Is Harder Than You Think

26 May

The other day I was spending the morning doing nothing, when I decided that I would like to make a light wall behind the TV. Unfortunately, googling light wall didn’t produce much. I had this vision of twinkle lights hanging down, but I couldn’t think of a good, beautiful way to mount them.

I did see a project someone did where they made little flower shapes on a canvas and poked lights through. This seemed to be a much cleaner solution, and I came with an idea to use that concept, but way, way brighter.

It was pretty lucky, because Jerry’s Artarama had a canvas sale, and I got a HUGE canvas for cheapies. It was pretty unlucky though, because whatever way I tried, the canvas wouldn’t fit behind the TV.

So I moved some things around and put it next to my big mirror!

I am a little obsessed with chevrons right now, and big bold stripes seemed like the best way to have maximum impact and NOT use a hundred million lights. I marked out the blank stripes with masking tape, and then I marked where I wanted the lights to be with a pencil.

I thought it would be easy to make a hole in the canvas with a pin, but it turns out canvas is much sturdier than I thought, so I had to bust out the drill. The next step was poking all 700 twinkle lights through the holes, and making sure all of the strands were lined up correctly.

I really like how it looks. It has this nice soft glow, and it lights up the room. I’ve always loved these lights, and I’m glad I found a solution that doesn’t make my space look college-student-y. I don’t like that big ugly brown cord, but I’m going to get some conduit or something and fix that. (And the rest of the ugly wire situation that is rampant in the apartment. It wasn’t quite as worrisome until Caspian started randomly chewing on the occasional wire. It would be great if I didn’t come home to discover that he electrocuted himself, ala Christmas Vacation.)

That’s my latest project! If you are coming over any time soon, I will plug it in and talk about it a LOT. Lucky for you, I only keep it plugged in for short periods of time, because it throws heat like a boss, and I’m pretty sure if you leave it on for too long the canvas will burst into to flames. (Kidding. (I think.))

Ever Since I Planted These, Simon & Garfunkel Has Been Stuck In My Head

5 Apr

Recently I’ve been dreaming about cooking with fresh herbs that have grown in my garden! There were a couple of problems with this situation. The first was that I didn’t have outdoor space for a garden, although I do have a porch. The second is that I possess a lethal black thumb. I have enthusiastically tried to grow herbs a couple times, and they just never made it. I have resolved that this year will be different. So I headed to a local gardening store and got some seeds, and supplies.

It was a fun, easy afternoon project, and I began diligently watering almost immediately, since everyone says that the most important thing to helping seeds grow is lots of water. I mentioned it to my friend Chris, and he came over and brought some more seeds to share!

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I was really worried that none of the seeds would grow, and I would be left with a bunch of dirt and the broken pieces of my gardening dreams. Luckily, neither of these things have happened, because slowly but surely, things are happening and I’ve got some sprouts!

I also have a really great watering system rigged up. I take a colander, hold it over the seeds, and pour water into it. It diffuses the water slightly, and saves me from having to buy a 20(!!!?!) dollar watering can from Target.

Dining Room – After/During!

29 Mar

I don’t think calling these things an ‘after’ is technically correct, since like I said before they are still very much in progress. Also in progress are my photography skills! Taking pictures of your house is hard, yo. Last week, I spent about an hour shooting, and came up with very few usable pics. I would be tempted to blame my camera, since it seems to be slowly dying, but I think it is also attributable to my lack of camera knowledge and poor lighting.

Well, now that you know that, I think it’s time for you to see my ‘new’ dining room!

BEFORE

You know, what’s crazy is I didn’t think it looked THAT bad. I liked how nice and long the table was, and how it was close to the window.

This room also had to function as my ‘office’. It was a pretty good space to work in, I will say, but I never had enough room on my desk, and if I wanted to do anything handmade, it had to spill over onto the kitchen table. I felt like a theme for this room was ‘where you put things that have no home.’ There was always something on the table that didn’t belong, and my desk was constantly piled up with things that I needed, but had no home.

There was also this bar/bookshelf thing that was nice, but (say it with me) served as a clutter catcher. It was something of a random addition to a room that was already serving too many purposes.

AFTER(DURING)

Ahh… I like this so much better! It’s amazing how open and airy the room feels, even though we actually took away space with the remodel (more on that later, once I get some good pictures!) I took some leaves out of the kitchen table and put it in the corner. It is not necessary to have it big for workspace any more, and David and I usually eat on the couch anyway, so a big table didn’t make sense. I do want to swag up the chandelier at some point, since people keep hitting their heads on it, and it will make the arrangement look more natural. I also have dreams of leaning a big mirror against the wall behind the chair, to bounce off some more light and add another big piece to the room. I also have dreams of finding another rug to layer over the one we have already. Another thing I’d like to do is add cafe curtains to the window. You can’t see them here, but we have these wooden slat shades, which are super heavy and dusty and block more light than you would believe. I think adding curtains around the apartment will also really soften up the hard corners minimalist thing I have going on now.

I like having the piano in this room. It has a lot of visual weight, and even though I’ve moved it around a couple times, it never felt like it fit in anywhere. It felt too big and brown for my apartment, which was sad because I like music, and I like to play piano! I feel like it’s finally found its home. The walls behind it and next to it are bare, bare, bare, and while I like how clean it looks, I also really want to get something up on those walls! I’m thinking some bigger scale art piece that’s soft and neutral colored, so it doesn’t draw too much attention. Really large scale snowy photography perhaps? Or maybe misty trees? I know my dad has some stuff like that, maybe he will give me a big print for my birthday (or my half birthday, which is much closer.. hint hint!!)

I love this grouping. My family has so many amazing old photos, and they just make me smile! I love the little print of my mom in her nurse’s uniform, and I think it looks great next to the photos of my grandparents. I think they were so stylish, and it cracks me up that they never looked at the camera! (gotta avoid that glasses glare). It’s my goal to fill our home with photos of our loved ones, and especially old photos of our loved ones. I know David’s family has some great ones too, and I can’t wait to get more of them up!

I have this struggle to make things clean and minimalist looking in my house. I love how peaceful that can be – but I also love to group photos and art together in collections on the wall. If I’m not careful, my apartment can look cluttered even when everything’s put away, which I hate. The public spaces are basically one big room, so I have to be especially careful, which is why I am so proud of my solution. I put collections on walls that you can only see from a specific angle, which means that in general, everything is calm and clean and peaceful, but I still get to enjoy my collections. This is the breakfast nook, which features art done by my mom. My favorite is the pomegranate, which she decided to paint after she saw something similar in the kitchen on Modern Family. Food is really important to me, and I like that I can celebrate that with the art on my walls.

 

 

Bedroom – After!

24 Mar

I kept putting off putting my apartment ‘after’ photos on the blog. I don’t feel like it’s really done yet, but I realized that it would be so sad if I ever thought my home was finished. I love decorating, and it will always be a work in progress.

That being said, I did change a lot recently, so I’m going to show you what I did!

This is what my bedroom looked like BC (Before Change)

I didn’t clean up just so you could see how I normally lived. Because I am committed to the truth! (or lazy.. You decide)

Sort of boring…

I liked my room, I lived with it like that for two years (with some minor changes) but I was ready for something a little more adult… A little more sophisticated. And since David was moving in, I didn’t want him to feel like he was sleeping in a teen girl’s bedroom.

AFTER:

Please ignore the creeper dog who wouldn’t get out of the shot. Overall, I’m way, way happier with the room. I think that I’ve really clarified my vision and I’ve taken a LOT of the visual clutter out. It is soothing, and peaceful to be in, and it feels much more open and spacious, probably because I’ve taken some of the furniture out, and replaced it with storage!

 

As far as things I want to work on; I definitely thing we need a headboard. I think I am going to try to make an upholstered tufted one in dark gray linen. I think it will ground the bed and bring the whole room together.

This is David’s dresser. He drew the giraffe picture in high school. Giraffes are my favorite animal, so I love it! We need to work on cord management, OBVIOUSLY, and I also want to get a more manly lampshade for that lamp, if such a thing exists. I was thinking a nice drum shade. I would also love to prop a mirror on his dresser, to balance out my taller dresser.

My dresser is nice and spartan for right now. I want to make a nice little grouping of stuff up there, but I’m not really sure what, and I am super afraid of getting things too cluttered again! I have a vision of books or something, since I love to read, but I am trying to take things niiice and slow and see what I discover!

The little yellow table functions kind of as my nightstand, since I can’t really charge my phone or my iPod on my dresser (it’s way too high). I found it at the flea market, and it’s perfect for the grey and yellow thing I’ve got going on. I considered putting it elsewhere in the apartment, but I probably would have had to paint it, and I couldn’t bear to. The stuff on it is all significant to me. The flowers David made for me, and gave me on our first date, the candle he also gave me, the little tray my mom bought me in California, and I filled with sea glass that I definitely didn’t steal from a beach (cough), and the photo and frame I’ve had forever. It’s from when I met my brother at the hospital for the first time!

 

My mom made the painting for me. It almost functions as a mirror, bouncing all of this great yellow light into the room. You will see her paintings all around my apartment – I think she is super talented, and I rescue the paintings she makes that she rejects from her own house! They fit right into my apartment. Sometimes, I am even lucky enough to be able to commission some work from her, like this yellow painting. I love how large and abstract it is, and how it brightens the room.

The green case below the yellow table belonged to my grandmother. I keep my jewelry in it now. I didn’t really mention my bed, but I am in LOVE with my bed. We got it from IKEA, and it has these awesome drawers built in, which is great for storage. It’s nice and low and modern, and I feel like I’m in a really fancy hotel. I got the rug from Craigslist when I first moved in. At first I was bummed out because it was fading, but now I kind of like it.

 

This is my bedroom… for now. I can still think of so many improvements I’d like to make, but I’m really happy with how it turned out. Stay posted for the rest of my apartment!