Wednesday, April 23, 2014

springtime

A few weeks ago I filled the vintage tureen I picked up in Santa Cruz with a few sweet peas. They looked so wonderful and I figured they'd be great for that super sunny spot. However, I was wrong.

I'm not sure if it was the sun, the cramped space in the tureen, not enough water or too much water or perhaps they were just being moody but they were having none of it. Every day they looked more wilted and sad. So I dug them up, separated them out and planted them in individual pots with kabob skewers to grow up. The smallest one is still looking a bit unhappy but I figure even if I can save two out of three I'm still doing ok. One of them is living on the corner bookshelf in the living room and happily growing upwards, the other two are hanging out in the kitchen. I will continue to keep an eye on them.


This process of course left me with an empty tureen. And of course since I had just scrubbed all the floors I figured there was no better time to messily re-pot all the plants in my house. Sigh. I called my mother mid mess to check if I could cut off the sprouts that were growing off my mother in laws tongue plant, which she confirmed I could, so after I split up the main plant I put the babies into the tureen. However, at my mothers excellent solution, this time I planted them in a pot that fit into the tureen so it's not so difficult next time to change things out.


Oh and while I was at it I replanted this little thing which was originally a single leaf about one inch tall and now is turning into a cute mini tree. It was having trouble supporting itself though on the tiny "trunk" so I tied it to another skewer and hopefully it can use that as support until it gets stronger. Its currently in the bathroom where it seems to be thriving in the "tropical" atmosphere.


Monday, April 21, 2014

a fresh coat of paint


We got a fun surprise last Friday when our office closed early (thanks to Good Friday) and so this happened. Now one might ask, why would I paint my bedroom white when it is already painted white? My answer has several parts, including that it was not the correct white the first time but the biggest reason is shown below in full photographic detail.

The trim in the room was a mess. The windows looked like they had been gnawed on by a wild animal at some point, there were so many dents and scuffs and areas of cracked paint. Not to mention the neon yellow paint from the rooms previous incarnation which was all over the tall baseboards. I spent the repairing cracks, patching holes and spackeling like a crazy person until the room looked like it had a bad case of the chicken pox and was being treated with calamine lotion. So when I got out of work early on Friday I knew it was a sign that it was the perfect time to paint the room. And thank goodness for the extra time because this was quite an undertaking.
I've never had a space with so much trim and molding before. And while it is theoretically a good thing, visual interest, etc, it also makes for a lot going on and with multiple colors I've found over time as I lived here, I prefer the more subtle look of walls and trim the same color. This time I went with the most white white I could find ( and I did a bunch of research regarding good whites, this Design Sponge post was an excellent guide) which was Decorator's White from Benjamin Moore. I actually did something that is probably controversial and painted trim and walls with eggshell finish instead of doing a semigloss on the trim and flat on the walls. To my eyes it really calms down all the chaos going on in the space and unifies all the elements. it was of course difficult to photograph in process, and realy capture the differnece in white tones but the original white on the walls was a very warm creamy white which next to the new bright white appeared to almost glow a yellowish peach. It took over three hours to paint all of the trim with a 2" angled brush, and less than ten minutes to roller the spaces in the middle. The best part though? It only took one coat of paint! I was so startled by this and expected in the bright light the next morning that the original paint would show through but I guess I really got my moneys worth by investing in the nicer paint + primer version and since I was painting over white anyway, the most I had to do was touch up a few spots where the trim had been worn down to bare wood and the rest was good to go. 
The other exciting news is that since I had more than half my gallon of paint still remaining, I was able to tackle a second space. I painted the hallway last fall, and hand stamped it. Both of which were super time consuming and I loved the result......in theory. However, like my bedroom space, this hallway is odd and has so much going on (five different doors and an extra wide open doorway to the living room) that with the high contrast of the orange and the pattern, with all the actual wall space being so small, it was just too busy and not very restful which isn't what I intended for the first space I see upon entering my home. I wanted something clean and breezy and open feeling (after all, how often is it  in SF one encounters a seven foot wide hallway?) so of course white seemed like a smart way to go. It took three coats to cover up the neon orange and I do still plan on trying some sort of pattern treatment though perhaps this time I will go for something less permanent than stamping. Perhaps decals? Still, it's already an excellent start as it is significantly brighter and more inviting. All in all it was a good use of my Friday evening. Thanks to my roommate being gone house sitting I was able to paint until I was finished which came in around 3am not including cleanup, and there was of course a pizza break* in there somewhere.
*I shudder to think what the pizza delivery guy thought of me when I showed up at the door with paint in my hair, barefoot in shorts, looking all frazzled but over all I don't care because I was being awesomely productive and that's the most important part







Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Vanity



I've been thinking of functionality a lot. And how to make my works space, well, work. Since my bedroom and studio are the same room I need to do whatever I can to make it feel like a real work space. The other complication of this apartment is the tiny bathroom with nonexistent storage and not the most flattering light. Which means I store any hair/makeup type things in my room and will usually do any sort of "primping" at my desk in the morning. And due to my love of sleeping in until the last possible moment, this usually results in my returning home to work and finding various morning ephemera strewn across my desk. Which is not very encouraging to getting any creative work done. So last week I made a (somewhat snap) decision, to come up with another space to do this. A vanity of sorts. And since I have a large closet and that's already where all my clothes and jewelry are, I thought why not. 
Of course this choice led me down a rabbit hole of looking for a table height piece of furniture that was no more than 12 inches deep. Which is rare and expensive or out of stock. Here i am thinking, all that I need is a narrow little tabletop ad some legs, why is this so hard? But luckily a light bulb moment while talking with my bff and a trip to the local hardware store (where they of course have everything that I've ever needed-at least in a home improvement sort of way) and all my problems are solved. The light bulb moment of course, was thinking why does the table have to have legs? Really all I need is the top of the table, why not a shelf? And why yes Cole Hardware does have a pre cut shelf in black (to match the shelf on the same wall that has my jewelry box) and brackets and plaster wall anchors. So less than 20 bucks and a bunch of hand screwing brackets later and I had my vanity space. Below you can see my brilliant method for holding the shelf in place at the right height while I screwed into the anchors.
Next step was storage. I of course looked at all the pretty carts and shelves at Ikea and Target and the Container Store. But it is always awesome to figure out a solution that costs zero dollars so before purchasing anything I took a look around the apartment and realized I did have something that could be re-purposed. Again. 
Remember the little metal cart in my kitchen? It's to the left of the work table in the above picture. It was originally craft storage in 2004 with rainbow drawers. Then it became in order, bathroom storage, a tiny bar cart and then kitchen storage. I was able to rearrange my kitchen a bit to no longer need the cart there and though I could change it up a little bit to make it seem new and exciting again. Which of course meant some gold spray paint and fun pink paper, both of which I already had on hand. So free!
The very last thing I needed was a place to sit at said vanity. Enter a chance encounter with Ikea and the pretty cool looking (and also crazy inexpensive) Marius stool plus some things I had on hand (white faux fur and more gold spray paint) and that was taken care of as well.
All that was left was organizing the shelves, adding a shiny gold lamp and some fun art. I have very much enjoyed my mornings so far this week getting ready at this little spot. It is not only convenient to have everything right there in the open instead of tucked away in boxes, but I also enjoy having the closet function more as a dressing room. It makes getting up in the morning a little less tiresome. 










Monday, April 14, 2014

Tart+quiche

Yesterday I went to the grocery to pick up a few things for the week. Blackberries were on sale and the plums looked so pretty so I picked up a few thinking I could bake something. I made a simple almond crust and pressed it into the sweetest mini tart pans that my mom found for me. Then I mixed up a filling of plums, blackberries and the juice and zest from this Meyer lemon I found on my counter. But the tarts looked a little bare so I mixed up an egg and some milk with vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg and poured it over the fruit filling, thinking it would be sort of like a sweet quiche if it worked, and threw them in the oven.

Within minutes my whole house smelled fantastic. The lemon mixed with the other fruits and the warm vanilla baking smell of the crust and filling. I took them out of the oven when the egg filling had cooked through and let them cool.

I took my first bite cautiously, knowing I could have ruined everything with my last minute addition, but I shouldn't have been worried at all. This dessert is a delicious monster, it would be perfect for breakfast (in fact that's what I did this morning) and the fruits could easily be changed and adapted based on what's in season (I imagine raspberries, cherries, pears, apricots). There are only two questions I have. One, what to call a tart and quiche hybrid? And second, who is going to help me eat them, whatever they are called?!





Friday, April 11, 2014

{snapshot}

Someone decided to paint the trim in the walk-in at 8:30 last night. I have no idea why anyone would paint trim in such a glorious high gloss putty color, nor why it took all of nine months to paint over it but last night I could no longer stand it and made a snap decision. Of course I took this photo in not optimal light conditions so it's not the most accurate depiction of the colors, but the trim went from the color of an old band aid to a crisp bright white. I also cleaned up all the over-painted wall color (three different colors no less) that had gotten onto the trim over the years.
The paint fumes may have gotten to my head however because I decided to stay up (as late as it took) to get a second coat on everything so that I would not have to continue painting today. This meant I didn't finish painting until 1 pm and then of course there was clean up. Sigh.

Another part of this process I didn't consider is that to paint the closet I had to take EVERYTHING out of it (thank goodness I have a spacious room and accommodating roommate) which means my bedroom currently looks like chaos and the living room couch is four feet deep in clothes and boxes and a crazy pile of hats. Turns out my closet was like a clown car storage wise. There was so much more in there than I could have imagines. I had an uncomfortable moment this morning when I realized I had to figure out something to wear to work from among the madness, but it will all be very exciting and worth it later when I get to put everything back where it goes. I may just sit on the fake bearskin rug and gaze lovingly at the newly painted trim........ or that just might be residual fumes talking.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

decoupage-ing


My record player has had several lives. It is often out in a prominent place so that it can be used and that means that it has to match the space that it is in pretty well. Or certainly not clash. I painted it turquoise (see here) and then gray with orange stripes both of which were an improvement over the original brown but when the dust settled and my living room was all done I realized that the wall color was just a shade or two darker than the turntable, and of course it made my eye twitch. I tried to live with it but of course I eventually gave in to my crafty urges and went for it.

However, this time, inspired by these fabric covered record players I spotted at Urban Outfitters the other day, I decided to try out something other than paint. Enter one old Thesaurus and my trusty friend Elmer's glue. That's right, I decoupaged my record player! and while it was somewhat tedious (going around all of the hardware and corner covers and angles) it was also such a wonderful transformation that it was totally worth it!


After I had covered the top and bottom I did three coats of Elmer's, letting it dry in between, to make a sort of shellac like effect so the paper is now smooth and shiny and sealed. I did end up cherry picking some words that I liked and interspersing them around, as well as adding the phrase "about this book" to the inside of the lid in place of a manufacturer name, but the rest of the placement was wonderfully random.
Overall I think it really helped with my efforts to lighten up the room, I feel more inclined to pull out an album for a short dance break and it makes me smile when I walk by. I will call it a success.