Monday, June 29, 2015

A very pretty goodbye party

So better late than never and all that but I finally have photos of the June party setup. This month I went for a travel themed goodbye party. The starting point was folder of old block printed planes and birds that I came across while cleaning out my desk. I went with a mostly red white and blue theme, thinking about airmail envelopes and cancellation stamps and that sort of thing.
I set the table with a white tablecloth, white dinner plates and some more rustic rectangular side plates, as well as light blue napkins and my vintage silverware. I added the pale blue flags to the red striped straws and used white paper airplanes as place cards. The red envelopes hold favors, which I will try to do a post about as well. Down the middle of the table I sprinkled red and blue circle confetti that I made with a large paper punch, as well as the extra printed birds that weren't used in the background. 
For the wall decoration I just sewed through the birds and planes with my sewing machine and strung them up with washi tape. The lettering was cut out of two layers of paper, red and blue, and then glued together to create the shadow effect, and hung with double stick tape. Both parts were super quick but have a big impact.
The cake was topped with a bird and a long blue banner, like a plane might pull with a message, both glued to kitchen skewers.

The budget was pretty straightforward

red and blue papers............................................$3
rectangle dishes.................................................$6
jewelry chain.....................................................$8

Again, mostly using paper and dishes and things I already had, this party came together for almost nothing and I'm glad I was able to reuse something that I made for an old project so long ago (the birds and planes) and turn it into something new.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

making it work

Cleaned up my living room some and it looked so nice I had to take pictures. I've really been feeling a less is more style in this room recently, possibly because such a high traffic space, or because I can see it from my desk while I work but I am enjoying the calmer space. I recovered the window seat in a white print fabric which just makes it seem even sunnier and more inviting, and removed some layers from the couch and theater chairs.  I also decided to try hanging my diy wedding blanket over the covered mirror because it's so pretty I like looking at it every time I walk by. 
I've taken to reading and drinking tea in the window seat, and even sitting at the table to eat sometimes. I think with the chaos of my work space I am really craving some more peaceful spaces so this is working for me. I removed all of the layered colorful paintings and prints from the wall by the couch, replacing them with this paper wreath I made last summer which is much quieter and more peaceful. I think that because I love the wall color so much (gray owl as recommended by pretty much everyone on the internet) and the room is already broken up so much by doorways and windows, that I prefer to have expanses of it open and uncovered when I can. The fern is my new plant baby that I picked up because of a sale at the hardware store. 
The bar got some tidying up as well, mostly just consolidating all of the liquor bottles (and taking inventory of all of the ones that I need to get refills for as my supply has been severely depleted by festivities) and reorganizing the glasses to fit better. I always see pictures of bar carts that are so free and open and then I realize that they have almost no glassware stored in them and it makes sense. However, as I can't seem to stop collecting vintage cocktail glasses when I find them (often) this will just have to be where they live. It might be time to design and build a new house bar though, something customized to better fit all my bits and bobs.The splattery ink piece which previously hung above the theater seats took the spot of the chalkboard menu at least for now, and I think it makes for a nice moment.

These adjustments took very little time and cost me nothing (other than the purchase of the new plant I suppose) but have made the space so much more enjoyable for me. I love it when I am able to just use what I have to make my apartment work better for me, and feel more like a home.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

small adjustments

Much as I loved my clean and empty polka dot hallway, it is a big space, practically a room. And this being San Francisco, the space was needed for storage in some way. For a while the theater seats and a tall book shelf were sort of thrown in there for lack of anything better, but when my roommate was redoing his bedroom, he decided to take the corner shelf into his room where it would work better, and so we took the large black bookshelf he'd had there previously, and turned it on it's side so that it could be both a storage piece for book and all sorts of other things, and a surface for mail and whatever else was in our hands when we walked in the door.
Just a reminder, this is what it looked like last time I took any pictures.

Still as difficult to take photos of as always, still frustratingly full of doors, but I think that the low long bookshelf is working better for me, and I'm also happy to see some of my favorite hats out instead of stuffed in a bin. It just made sense to use them as decoration, plus now they are easier to grab on my way out of the door. I still wish it was all empty and calm but perhaps I will have to make that happen somewhere else in the apartment. I know the living room is just begging for an update....

Monday, June 22, 2015

baking a cake

I haven't baked a cake in over two years. Not sure how this happened, maybe cause it feels like more of an ordeal than a tart or pie? Maybe because I don't prefer it as much as other dessert? But I decided to see what I could do with the cake medium for a party this last weekend. I made a chocolate naked cake (naked cake just means it has no frosting on the outside, on inbetween the layers, thus it is 'naked') with vanilla frosting, dark chocolate raspberry sauce and fresh cherries. It was a bunch of steps and preparation, and assembling the layers is always a bit harrowing (please don't break please don't break) but it all worked, it looked pretty, and most importantly, it tasted great. Wins all around.

While I still think I'm more of a pie girl myself, however it's good to know this is something I can do when the situation calls for it.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

desk mess

I feel like I haven't had much to share here the last few months, which is strange because I've been working so much. However, most of my time has been spent on a big project that I can't really talk about right now. It's been challenging and fun and really really exciting but not something really shareable right now. However, I have been noticing that I take a lot of photos of my desk when I'm working on various things, so I thought it was interesting to look at a a few of them together sort of as a reminder to myself that I have been getting a lot done.

Monday, June 15, 2015

hoarding trims

I was cleaning up my studio this weekend and ended up procrastinating a bit by laying out and photographing a bunch of pretty things I have stashed away. My collection of ribbons and trims is getting excessive, and buttons are always super fun to sort and organize. However it's definitely time to clear some things out, or come up with projects to use this stuff.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

I was cold so I made a quilt

Just a quick (and perhaps random) bedroom update. I decided to make a quilt this weekend. I haven't made one in years and I am a bit out of practice. But I wanted a simple, mostly white blanket of some kind for my new bed and after searching and searching I realized it would be so silly to buy one when I could just make exactly what I wanted. Also my fabric stash is getting crazy.

I used a nice white cotton sheet as the base for the front of the quilt (as I wanted it to be mostly white I figured that this would be the most cost effective way for me to get so many yards of white fabric) and then drew out a quick plan for the geometric/triangle pattern on the front, and got to cutting. For the accents I indulged in my love of the reverse sides of fabrics, and used several graphic black and white prints, but backwards, to make them more washed out and subtle. I pieced together a back out of some other favorites, ironed everything a bunch, pinned it all as best I could, and then sat on my floor and quilted it with simple ties. I used my yardstick in an attempt to make the rows even but of course the would thing is not quite square so they are (charmingly I hope) a bit off plum. Then I sewed on the binding (more black and white patterns) and pinned it all again and hands sewed it all up to finish.

I just snapped a few quick photos of it on my bed when it was finished though I know I should set up some better ones soon. It turned out very nice and has been serving it's purpose well for the last few days. All told it took me about a day to do though that's mostly because it's a pretty simple design. Still it was incredibly fun to get back into this after so long, and discover I hadn't forgotten everything. Plus of course making a blanket to keep myself warm.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

two studio updates

It seems I am always tweaking things in my space, but as every move is getting just a smidge closer to the optimal home and I also enjoy the process of slowly improving, adjusting and modifying things, I'm totally okay with that gradual process. My work space in the current apartment started out something like this, with the desk my papa made for me, a mini filing cabinet, some shelves, an old kitchen chair. it all worked but it didn't look very nice and so last year I painted the desk.

Which then looked like this. (you can read more about that whole thing here) It made a big difference, everything looked cleaner with the desk blending into the rest of the room a bit more. Later still I repainted the whole room a better white (here) which was also an improvement.

This month I made a few more changes to the work space which have ended up being pretty significant, at least in how well I am able to use the space and so it seemed like time for an update. 
I've been struggling for the last year with how to address the work surface of my desk. It's made out of an old piece of counter that's a sort of bandaid beige color, a great sturdy surface for all manner of project but not the prettiest, and as I take a lot of pictures of whatever I work on in progress on the desk it always bothered me. For the last year I've been using contact paper (like for lining kitchen cabinets) to cover the desk, (here) which was pretty easy to do, maybe a half hour job, inexpensive, and could be removed when it got dinged and dirty. However, I really wished for something more permanent. So I finally bit the bullet this weekend and painted to top of the desk. I think the reason I put this off for so long is because I knew to do it right I would render my desk unusable for a few days. But enough was enough so I bought some white paint and some clear sealer and took everything off the top of the desk. It took me three days and I probably got a bit loopy from the fumes (It may have been 10 coats total) but it was totally worth it.

Because now I have a beautiful clean, smooth white surface to work on. It has held up well so far (I will check back after some more time has passed) but if I have to give it an occasional touch up i'm okay with that. I actually applied the paint with a roller since there was no need to cut in, and it went on really well. I sanded between coats and let it dry for a full 24 hours after the last one before I put everything back on. It's actually so nice looking that I've been motivated to clean my desk a lot more. It looks nice when not covered in work ephemera so I will clear everything away in the evening when I can and it's very satisfying.

The second important work space improvement is that I finally got a real adult desk chair. I've searched on and off for years but I was always so frustrated by the high prices and lack of attractive options so I would get discouraged and forget about it for a time. But when I think about how much time I spend sitting in this chair, then the price starts sounding much more reasonable. I stumbled upon this one that I was interested in at Pottery Barn Teen of all places and was able to track down some positive reviews (though not on their site because they infuriatingly do not have product reviews available-grrrr) and with the addition of some significant Memorial Day sales, and free shipping, I hit the buy button. It arrived less than a week later, was relatively easy to assemble, and has been doing it's job very well ever since. 

Completely crazy how much more legit the space looks with a real chair, and how much nicer it is to work at (adjustable height and wheels- both so helpful) also it doesn't hurt that is cute and tufted and wide enough that I can sit cross legged if I like. And of course, with both things, all I am thinking is "why did I wait so long to do this?" Seems to be how all home improvements feel once they are done.

Monday, June 1, 2015

May muni people

The muni people project is still going strong, almost half of the way through the year. I'm thinking at the end of June I might have to hang all of them up and take a picture of the whole thing together and see what it looks like.