Friday, August 30, 2013


All week I've been wearing clothes I made myself. This dress I finished last night was a lesson in patience with all the hand sewn handmade bias tape on the hem and arm and neck holes. Also working with stripes is a challenge. But zipping it up this morning was exhilarating! And it's the perfect dress for enjoying the Indian summer that's in full swing here in SF.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

August cure: the Lighting

Remember the wire lampshade frames I spray painted orange? Well, I finally brought all the pieces together, did the wiring and hung them up in the living room.

I used a decorative gold tone lamp cord since it was going to be showing, and I am (unfortunately) still unable to decide which light bulb I prefer. When they are off I like the clear bulb much better but the light from it is actually a bit too sharp. The frosted white bulb is a bit more mundane looking when unlit but then it produces the superior warm glow. I am living with them both to see how I feel but I will probably go with the better light. After all, that's the purpose of lamps, to make it so I never have to turn on the ugly overheads!

You can actually see a lot of the room in the photo thanks to the mirror, and I've also got my artwork hung as well but I will get to that tomorrow. Along with the finished mirror frame.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sneak peek painting

This weekend was an epic work weekend full of painting and projects.
First I pushed all the furniture into the middle of the room, tarped it and put paper on the whole floor. Then I removed the blind and all various hooks, hinges and miscellaneous hardware from the walls. Some of it had been painted over so many times there was no discernible screws to unscrew and I had to pry it loose with my hammer. In the window. While passengers waiting for the bus outside watched. It was interesting. then all the holes, cracks and dents were sanded and patched. All included the prep of the room took about eight hours over two days. It was sort of insane and definitely my least favorite part of painting. 
I actually hit the walls with the first coat of trim Thursday night. Already looking brighter. Somehow I forgot to/procrastinated on doing the glass double doors. Those were tackled Friday.

After the second coat of white on the trim I started in on the gray and that's where everything went wrong. I believe some sort of alien plastic slippery paint was used on the walls originally. Also there were five thousand previous coats and the corner where the heater sits had clearly had a miniature explosion of some kind where the wall was warped and melted. The result of which was that none of the edges of any of the moldings were straight or clean. This meant that my original plan to cut in versus taping (my usual preference) had to be reassessed after two hours of painstaking hand painting edges resulted in some pretty terrible looking results. So I went back and taped. I also ran out of paint about 11pm and was not able to finish the first coat. I was at the hardware store at 8:05 am the following morning to pick up more paint. I'm not even ashamed at how often I'm there anymore.

After three coats of gray the color was much more even, and despite it drying a whole lot darker than the color I picked, it's shocking how much darker, I actually liked it. I  had wanted to go for a medium to dark gray but had been too afraid so I picked a lighter one to be safe and ended up getting what I originally wanted. Funny how that works.
I then took all the tape off (always dramatic and exciting) and then went back over the entire room with this teeny tiny brush. Touching up all the edges. For five hours. It was tedious and even so I still had to let go of perfection early on. It's an old building I kept telling myself. This is all character and charm I said out loud to an empty room. I think the fumes may have gotten to my head. Who knows. 
I will have some after pictures later this week when I have finished all of the other projects and assembled the rest of the room. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Back to the drawing board, and pillows too

Things are still moving along here (if slowly) I've been working on a few things.
Being stuck in the house gave me some time to do some drawing and painting just for fun. I had a huge white piece of paper and the thought that it would be nice to make something yellow and food related for the kitchen.
Not quite finished but here's a sneak peek. Was wonderful to get some ink on under my fingernails!

I also finally broke the sewing machine for some living room August Cure making time. I picked up new pillow forms and raided my stash and made a few pillows. The room is still bare and sad as seen from this picture but I've got a super bright stool and some colorful pillows now lined up waiting for the fresh paint to go up so I can move the furniture back in!
Also in August Cure news, there was some debate about recovering the dining chairs. it must be done but I was trying to decide between the solid darker orange or the coral print. I ended up going with the solid because the flowers were just seeming a bit too girly. I should have a shot of the finished reupholstered chairs soon. It's a huge improvement. 
You can also see a glimpse of the lampshades in the back there. Those are also going together. There's still things to get picked up, and assembled and it's a long list but I think it is moving along and I am very looking forward to the end result!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Just some housebound crafting

As I got sick of being stuck on the couch watching movies, and I had just watched the iconic Breakfast at Tiffany's, I gathered together some supplies I had on hand and made a few eyelash-y sleep masks inspired by Audrey Hepburn's iconic character. It was nice to keep my hands busy.

Monday, August 19, 2013

August cure: delays a pretty darn good excuse

And once again it's a quick catch-all catch-up on my August Cure progress.
Unfortunately I seem to have caught something awful at the music festival last weekend and found myself completely incapacitated for the last week and ordered to my bed (though I began going stir crazy pretty fast and didn't really follow that rule ----whoops!) so my progress has been a bit stinted.
For instance, I was supposed to paint my living room this weekend, but while I had all supplies and the best intentions, there was no way that was going to happen. (cue reschedule)
I did try to make the most of the small pockets of productivity that swelled up in between bouts of being unable to get out of bed. I made some lists, and got a few smaller things done. I constructed and painted a more substantial looking base for my theater chairs.

I also painted the wire lampshades and side table I got at the flea market. There was a lot of sanding, which was messy but really really easy so I could do it while on the couch in my pajamas drinking tea (essential) and then sunday morning I went up to the roof for some air and laid out a little spray painting station complete with protective tarps and newspaper. I was able to take advantage of a (crazily) sunny and no wind morning to spray the lampshades, and use the drying time to get some fresh air and read.

There was even some shopping (virtual-not allowed to leave the house) where in I sourced and purchased materials to make the hanging light fixtures for either side of the couch. Those will me here shortly and hopefully I'll be able to figure out assembling those (fingers crossed).
Of course, being a week behind on painting, my whole timeline is now totally out of whack and not sure what I can do about that but keep plowing through. The to-do list looks super nuts and I'm just going to keep plugging away at it. Luckily my energy and strength are returning a lot quicker than normal per my reading, and therefore I am able to be more and more productive. Hopefully I can keep checking things off the list until it's all done!
Also helpful, conscripting friend help in the wall painting area.......

Sunday, August 18, 2013

August Break: Week three

Day 13: home

Day 14: stillness

Day 15: books

Day16: floral

Day 18: looking down

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

August Cure: Cleaning, paint strips and choosing a 'decor pairing'

So it turns out picking gray paint may be even more difficult that picking white?! Who knew.
Thus there is a variety of swatches on my wall right now and I've been looking at them for a bit.

I decided to go with my usual (seems to have worked just fine in the past) method and go swiftly with my gut, so I chose a color this weekend and was able to score the paint for FREE thanks to a promotion at my local hardware store (where they know me now cause I'm there like five times a week. Sigh) So paint (and some supplies for said painting) have been purchased and are ready and waiting for the painting this weekend.

As to the rest of the project, this decor pairing or project/purchase business, well that's going to be a lot of work. Partly because it's not just one thing. As stated at the beginning of this project, to start, this room only had a couch as far as furniture (with plans to move in an existing dining table and trunk) and some odd things to work around (like the huge mirror). So realistically this is less of a style cure and more of a whole room overhaul. But I digress.
As this grainy quick iPhone photo shows, the room is a bit more furnished now (thanks to some appropriating from other places and yes I did buy those theater seats at the flea market) but there's still a lot of work. As far as a 'decor pairing' with the soon to be gray paint, I suppose I could simplify it as orange accents. I will be making some hanging light fixtures with pieces acquired at the flea market, painting the dining chairs, making curtains and various throw pillows, and trying to fill in wherever else I can. Honestly at the end of the month I'm not sure the room will be 100% finished, as I don't want to rush and purchase certain furniture just cause of this cure, but I am actively searching so who knows, miracles have happened!
More soon, hopefully involving an awesome post-painting photo!

Monday, August 12, 2013

This weekend

I'll be stopping back in tomorrow with an update on the August Style Cure (spoiler: I picked a paint color!!!) but for now I'm recovering cause I was busy doing a lot of this stuff this weekend (SF's Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival) and my ears are ringing, my voice is horse and I've got a broken toe so I need to rest a little bit before getting back into the swing of things. Anyway, hope everyone has a fabulous Monday!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

August break week 2

These are the photos from week two of the August Break. Some of them were more difficult than others, and there were definitely days that I interpreted more loosely than others!
Day five: Close up

Day six: diagonals

Then I missed day seven, whoops!

Day eight: a selfie

Day nine: taste
Day ten: red
Day eleven: play

Friday, August 9, 2013


Just a basic dinner for me, but I thought the colors were pretty together.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

August cure: outbox and floor plan

I'm a tad behind on the steps for the August Cure but I am trying to catch up.
First, I do have an outbox! Actually it's a pile of stuff on a desk that's supposed to be picked up, but it's a start. There's almost nothing in this room so there isn't really much to eliminate, however I've found this to be a good opportunity to gather some of the bits from other parts of the house that I've thought could be ejected from the apartment.
Second, I made a floor plan. It isn't completely accurate (I made it on the bus with sharpies-and got a lot of weird looks) but it dos give me a better idea of the space I am working with. Currently there is a three-seater couch with an ottoman, a rug, and a corner shelf. I would like to move the dining table into the living room, since there is space and that will free up some square footage in the kitchen for adding counter space and storage (more on that some other time) and I would like to move the bar area out to the living room as well. I currently have a tiny bar cart that I will keep using if I can't find the right replacement but it would be very nice to have something a bit larger that would make my glasses less cramped, and allow for some work space on the top.
I actually moved the couch onto the far wall, and the rug with it so I am seeing how that feels for now. I think the addition of some armchairs or a love seat would pull this all together as a seating area. I have a large trunk I can move out here to serve as a coffee table of sorts. Lastly I am looking for a dresser, bookshelf or possibly a small console of sorts for the corner opposite the existing shelves, something to balance it out.
As you can see, this plan leaves me with a lot of furniture to find, purchase, conjole friends/relatives into giving me, and otherwise augment to work with the space. But I knew this going into the project, it's a huge empty space right now and I think I can turn it into something usable and good looking, given an injection of some good luck, good thrifting, and a whole lot of elbow grease.
Next step, picking a paint color!!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Bathroom before & after

When I am stressed or upset nothing makes me feel better than getting something done. A project, an assignment, something I've been meaning to tackle but haven't gotten around to. The best is when I have something I can do start to finish. I had a difficult day at work last week and found myself, while buying shampoo at target, thinking about my bathroom. And how it was dark and weird and I should really buy a new shower curtain. Then I thought, I should redo the whole thing, small room, this could happen tonight!

So I bought a new white shower curtain and an amazing (soft and luxurious) bathmat and made it happen.
Being that this space is tiny and odd it's not the easiest to photograph but I'll do my best. Mostly I just wanted to make it brighter (it was super dark in the shower before) and add a little bit of interest.
Switching out all the burgundy (why would anyone choose this?!) for white helped. I also made my own wall decals using electrical tape (funny but it works real well) and hung some art. I went with the colors from the only decorative piece my roommate had which had black and gold. 

The process of making/installing the decals looked something like this:
I also thought it would be fun to display my collection of animal bones in here. 
After all they fit with all the black and gold. And they are so nifty!
I also cleaned out and utilized the tiny open shelf above the mirror in the medicine cabinet. Neither me nor my roommate need this pace for storage and it's nice to keep everything out of sight, so I backed the little cubby in black paper and used it as a display for all of the black and white animals in my animal collection (yes another collection, what can I say, it just happens!)

Who knows if this is a permanent solution, I will most likely change my mind at some point and want to paint or wallpaper or whatever else, but for now, it's a significant improvement. And it's a lot easier to find my shampoo now that it's not dark and cave like in there.