My New Studio (!!!)

When we walked through this house for the first time a couple years ago, there were a ton of things I loved. Prime among them was the office in the basement. I immediately claimed it as my future studio, and the thought brought me heaps of joy. A space of my very own, where I could write and sew and think creative thoughts and, most importantly, leave unfinished projects lying around without making a mess in the rest of the house.* Squee!

Of course, many things got in the way of my making the studio my own - life, work, other rooms in the house - and it wasn't until I decided, rather impulsively, to paint the walls in January that the space really started to become a studio. Prior to that it held all of my creative things, but in such a state of disarray that it was virtually unusable.

I don't have a before photo (terrible, terrible blogger), but I have these two from when we toured the house before we moved in. So just use these as a base and then add in a bunch of boxes and random crap all over the floor.

I had originally planned to paint the space a neutral - white or a light gray - and then add color with lots of bright things on the walls. But I bought a gray that didn't really work out, and I guess I took it as a sign that I needed something a little bolder, brighter, more cheerful. Since I finished painting, I've spent 30 minutes here and an hour there getting things up on the walls and organizing a plethora of crafting, photography, and writing paraphernalia. I've enjoyed remembering things I'd forgotten I owned and finding a place for all of it (mostly in two not-pretty shelving units in the closet).

But more than anything, I am delighted to be using this room, to be actively engaging in creative pursuits on a regular basis. Obviously I don't need a special room designated entirely to my creativity, but it certainly does feel nice!

So if you need me, I'll be in my studio.

Wall paint - cerulean skies and isis wept
Desk made from cubes and old door
Art on either side of sewing table by Sherry Cook
Embroidery above sewing table - ktmade
Quilt from my grandmother on chair
Fabric bunting - ktmade for our wedding chuppa
"Create" wall art - ktmade

*I still leave knitting projects all over the couch. Old habits die hard.

p.s. I was so excited when we moved into this house - for so many other reasons.

Stenciling the Bathroom

Sometimes you envision a project, and you get so excited about it that you immediately rush to the internet and buy all the materials you need.  Then you start to work out the details and you realize...maybe it's not possible.

If you're lucky, your mom comes to visit and while she's telling you that you're insane and that there's no way it can be done, she still figures out all the ways to make it happen and works alongside you so that at the end of the weekend, you're left with perhaps your favorite DIY project ever.

If you're looking for a stenciling project, you might not want to start in the bathroom.  But then again, I love how this turned out.  Of course, it meant taking the medicine cabinet and light fixture off the wall, standing in an awkwardly hunched position on the sink, balancing on the edges of the tub, and getting cozier with the toilet than I'd ever like to be.  So, just keep that in mind.

For stenciling this single wall in our hall bathroom, I used the Endless Moorish Circles from Royal Design Studio Stencils, and here's the only way we got it to work: we cut the stencil.  I don't have a picture of this, but it's a large stencil - over a foot long and wide.  There's a border of about 2 inches all the way around the stencil.  At the edges where the stencil hits the ceiling, the other walls, the floor, or the shower stall, the two-inch border would have left a two-inch gap with no stenciling.  The instructions that come with the stencil tell you to remedy that problem by pushing the stencil into the corner where the walls or ceiling meet, securing it to the wall you're working on, and leaving the other part of the stencil hanging free.  (This might be confusing unless you have a stencil and a wall in front of you.)  That sounded good, but the stencil was quite firm and not super pliable.  Also, at the parts where the wall I was stenciling met both the ceiling and the opposite wall, the idea of folding it seemed impossible.  Even if we had been able to made it work, the whole thing would've taken double the time.

What my mom suggested instead - and what ended up being the bright idea that made it all possible - was that we cut the borders off two sides of the stencils.  We measured and cut carefully, and then we had the straight lines we could press right up against the wall or the ceiling with no border.  It was simple enough to cut and made everything so much easier. (I did use their method of pushing it into the corners for the opposite side where the stenciled wall met the other non-stenciled wall, but the big benefit was that I didn't have to do that on the ceiling at all.)

The basic painting of the bathroom took me about 4 hours, and then the stenciling took me and my mom together about 5 hours.  I love it so very much that it was 100% worth the time.  Every time I walk by, I smile.

For the background paint color (the lighter color on all the walls), I used Benjamin Moore Riviera Azure.  For the darker accent color, I used True Value Wanderlust.  For that accent color, I used a $3.99 can of sample paint, and I still have half the can left.

For as challenging as it was, I would recommend a stenciling project to anyone because the outcome is so stunning - like wallpaper but without all the yuckiness of wallpapering and without the difficulty of changing the wall later if you grow out of the design.  Not that I can ever imagine that happening here.

A Change Will Do You Good

So this is happening.

In less than a month, we'll be closing on our house and moving in.  And while I know this change will do me good, I can never get excited about packing.  This time is no exception.  

But as I tape those boxes, I keep reminding myself this move will be the last for at least a few years - and maybe more.  I've moved almost every year for the last 14 years.  That's too much change for me. 

But this change - this one, really big change - just a little over a year after that other really big change is so exciting.  I can't wait to turn the key in that door and know that it's OUR key and OUR door.  I can't wait to put down roots.  It's a cliche, I know.  But it's so perfect.  It says exactly what I mean.

I can't wait to root myself to a place, to a home, to a community.  I can't wait to grow from that place.

So I pack.  I move through the overwhelm and the feeling of impossibility when I look at a room full of stuff, and I pack.  

I pack and I pack and I pack. 

It's so worth it.

Have a Seat

One of the things I'd been looking forward to most after the wedding, aside from just generally no longer planning a wedding, was finally buying some chairs for our dining room.  The black ikea folding chairs we'd been pulling up seemed, to me, unworthy of my newly stained table. 

So when we got back from our honeymoon, I got as quickly as I could to our local used furniture store.  I sat in a bunch of chairs, mulled over a few, brought Navah back with me to look at some, and finally left with only a single chair that I would use at my sewing table (and will share with you later).  No dining room chairs.

There were some that I liked but were available only with the matching table.  There were some that were comfortable but so ugly that even a paint job wouldn't have fixed them.  There were some that pulled me in with their good looks but were wildly uncomfortable to sit on. 

And I was having trouble deciding what exactly I wanted.  A set of four?  To buy one at a time and put together a mismatched set, like I pined over here?  While I love the idea of that, it takes a lot of trips to the used furniture store to pull off.  And I was becoming aware that they didn't sell many nice single chairs. 

So I turned to Craigslist.  And after scanning the ads for a few days, I came across one for a set of four, straight-backed solid white chairs.  I liked the simple look and the ease of buying four at once and for a reasonable $100 for the set. 

When I picked them up, the woman selling them had gotten them from her mother, who had purchased them in the 60s from a convent.  So I'm giving them bonus points for being holy.

All set, they lend a country vibe to the dining room.  They're quite comfortable, though not necessarily chairs you'd choose to lounge all day in.  I may whip together some cushy seat covers for them, which will take the country look even further.

Not wanting to go whole hog with that vibe, I went ahead and purchased a modern rug from West Elm (for only $99!) to balance things out.

I love the rug, and I really like the chairs.  But I can't lose the feeling in the dining room that it's just not complete.  Maybe it's the keyboard that I can't find another space for?  Or the lack of curtains?  Or the fact that it's a thruway between the living room and kitchen?  Maybe the rug isn't big enough?

I'm just not sure.  Certainly it's a huge improvement from our first month in the house, before we bought the dining room table that I sanded and stained and my sewing cabinet or put up art.

I'm going to give myself some more time to sit with it and see if the feeling changes before I do anything drastic (you know, like hang curtains - gasp!).  And I'll enjoy our new chairs and West Elm rug in the meantime.

What do you think? How do you make your spaces feel "finished"?  Any suggestions for mine?
And how do you feel about the white?  Would you paint the chairs a different color?  Or several different colors?


New Gallery Wall

It has taken me six months, but I finally put up the gallery wall in our apartment.  

If you remember, I had one up in our old apartment in DC.  It looked like this:

I hadn't ever done a gallery wall before, but the assortment of frames felt like an excellent way to draw attention away from the odd shape of the wall there.  

I liked it so much that when I took it down, I knew I'd be creating one again once I got to Burlington.  Here, we have so much more wall space.  There was no particular location that needed to be filled and no space that felt like exactly the right size. 

Everywhere seemed either too big or too small.  Or somewhere that people would never see. 

After a while, I lit on the idea of putting all the frames up on one wall in the dining room but hanging them in one specified area - a stripe of sorts.  That would solve the problem of the immensity of the open wall space without requiring me to fill the entire thing.  

And I think it turned out really well. 

First I taped off the area that I wanted to fill.  I tried to make the tape moderately straight, but it didn't need to be perfect because it was just a guide. 

Then, in front of the wall, I laid out all the pieces that I wanted to hang and arranged and re-arranged them until they looked like I wanted. 

The last time I was very careful and created templates first so that I'd be sure I was hanging everything in exactly the right place. 

I didn't go that route this time, in part because I didn't have a sofa in the way like I did at the DC apartment.  Here, I could see exactly where each piece would be going because it was laying on the floor underneath.  And that worked out just fine.

Then I peeled off the tape. 

And voila.

Some folks like to have a unifying element in their gallery walls - all the same color frames or type of frame or a clear theme of the pieces.  

I like the more organic look of different colored and styled frames.  We're not super matchy around here so I think a wall where all the frames went together might look a little out of place.  And of course, this works better for my lazy style of decorating.

I'm very pleased with how it all turned out, and I've found myself gazing at it lovingly - much like I did with Liesl when she arrived.  Now either way I look, there's something that makes me smile.  Seems like a decorating win to me!


You are so loved

See a little something new up there in our staircase entryway?

When Navah and I were still living apart, back when I was working the soul-crushing hours and looking forward to the day that I would pull onto the highway headed for Vermont, I got a sweet surprise in the mail. 

I'm a huge fan of Katie Daisy's work, so I was instantly smitten. Of course, with that sentiment, who wouldn't be?

At the time, I just set it on my dresser since I knew that I'd be moving soon. 

Since we've been here, I've tried to figure out the exact right place to put it. And then the other day, I walked in the door on a rainy day, feeling a little deflated, and it hit me. Right there. I needed a happy little print right there when I walked in the door. 

So now it greets me in its sweet blue frame every time I come into my house. And if you come visit, it'll greet you too. 

Because we all are. 


Seating fit for a queen

Please ignore the wonky crooked shade. It's my nemesis. And eventually there will be curtains there.
The chair-and-a-half that we ordered 8 weeks ago has finally arrived! No more random chairs in the living room! And there was cheering all around!

Seriously, though. We're loving it. And at about $700 from a local furniture store (it's a LazyBoy piece), we were very pleased that we didn't have to break the bank to get a nice piece that we know will last us for quite a long time.

For a little reminder of how things looked before it arrived:

When we first moved in
After we got the rug and shifted the couch around until our new piece arrived
The "chair-and-a-half" thing is a wee bit cumbersome, so I'm calling it a loveseat. It's the absolute perfect size for the space, and it's so cushy and comfortable that it just begs to be curled up on. And there's something about the stature and the shape that makes me want to swing my legs up over one arm, lay back, and declare myself queen for the day. 

Clearly something needs to be done about the throw pillow situation.
And perhaps I will.

Now if I can just train Jammer to fetch me a goblet of wine and some grapes.


On the Docket

The view from our back porch after the sunset
With April right around the corner (even though it's snowing outside my window as I write this), I've been a Vermont resident for a little over 2 months. Of course, for almost one month of that I was studying for the bar, and for 10 days of it, I was out of the country. So my time actually in this apartment has been somewhat limited. But aside from some weekend trips here and there, I'm looking forward to a long stretch of settling in. 

I love that phrase - settling in. People keep asking me - how are you settling in up there? Are you all settled in? Are you feeling more settled in? 

The image I have every time I get the question is of sitting on our couch and wriggling my butt and back into the cushions to get just the right squishy, cuddly, settled in position. Ah, yes. That's it. Now where's my cup of tea?

But that is kind of what it's like - settling in, I mean. It's about finding the place (both physically and mentally) that feels right and comfortable and appropriately supportive but not so much so that you can't raise yourself up out of it to get some stuff done. 

I'm still doing it, still learning this town, still getting used to this apartment, still settling in. I love it here, but I'm not settled yet. 

Some of that will come from outside our house - specifically, a job. Not knowing how I'm going to be spending my days is decidedly unsettling. As is the accompanying ambivalence about any job I might get - I do not want to re-live my old job in DC

But some of the settling comes from inside the house. And that's where I've got a zillion and one projects all flurrying around in my head fighting for front and center. 

I hope that April will bring both a job and some headway on a lot of these projects. And perhaps also some of the settling in that comes from inside inside - from slowing down and letting go and taking time to breathe - all those cliched phrases that stick around because they're right on the money.

But until then - projects!

Here's what's on the docket for the coming weeks:

Some easy children's tote bags that I've been working on, using the kitenge fabric that I brought back from Africa. There will be a tutorial coming up on that!

Recovering a floor pillow that's been hanging around since we moved. It's actually an extra back cushion for our couch that we don't need on the couch (long story). I love floor cushions, though - mainly because sitting on the floor seems cozy to me - so I wanted to cover this one and make it into a bonafide accessory to the room. 

I found this great fabric store right down the road from us - Rags & Riches. They sell home fabrics - drapery and upholstery fabrics mostly. I'm so proud of myself for bringing home four swatches. I used to just buy the fabrics and hope they worked, but blogs like Young House Love are encouraging me to take my time and make sure I'm getting what I want before I put the cash on the table. So I'm deciding between these four swatches. 

I came home thinking that the bottom swatch would be the winner. It has a gorgeous, whimsical motif. Here's a full picture that I took at the store. 

It would be a nice touch of nature in a room that's shaping up to be pretty modern with mostly geometric designs. But after looking at it for a while, I'm not sure that it's the right yellow. And since the love seat that we have coming is red (in the red-orange family), I'm worried that the colors might compete too much. So now I'm leaning towards the cream background with the little stick trees and a contrasting color piping. But I'm going to sit with it for at least a day.

Votes from the crowd?

This behemoth table. 

Do you remember back from when I first showed you the dining room?

Dining room

Yep. Just a tiny little table, which is now on our front porch. 

We picked the new guy up for $45 at a local thrift store that specializes in home goods - Recycle North

We've been keeping him covered with a tablecloth because his appearance under there is less than stellar. Shall we have a look?

 And my personal favorite. 

Or is my favorite the shag carpeting that's stuck to the bottom of the legs?

We only buy classy furniture here, folks. 

Navah was very hesitant, but I prevailed upon her that it was a good solid piece that could sit at least 8 people (if not more) and that I'd be able to refinish it and make it gorgeous. And I still think I can. Of course, after practicing with my new sander on a little end table with a friend last weekend, I'm realizing it's probably a much bigger job than I expected. But that's okay - I'm up to the task!

The only part I'm really concerned about is the pieces that stick out underneath, which appear to have been excellent chew toys for a dog. 
Wood putty perhaps? I'll have to look into that more.

One of the neatest things is that we found a manufacturer stamp underneath, and after doing a little google searching, found information about the Vermont company that made this table sometime between 1957 and 1982. And we learned that it's probably pine (if it's older) or oak (if it's newer), information that will help me when I start staining. 

New gallery wall!

I'm doing something a little different this time, and I'm really excited about it. Stay tuned for more on that soon.

And there are a few projects that I don't have photos of yet: 

Painting a foam mat for the kitchen floor.

I've already begun this project, but after two cans of white spray paint + primer and a mat that's definitely not white, I'm taking a wee break before I throw the whole thing over the deck. 

I think things have been a bit too windy for the painting to work out as planned (or I'm just totally inept with a can of spray paint?), so I may resort to regular 'ol paint and brush and avoid myself some angst.

Looking for deck furniture for our front porch, which will also likely involve recovering some cushions.

Buying some herb and veggie plants for our back porch container garden

And I'm continuing to work on our save the dates, but that's a secret! 

As with all these projects and the ones I have sitting in drawers and on desks waiting to be finished, you'll be the first to know about them. 

April's going to be a busy month! And I can't wait to share it with you!


This Rug is My Drug

Changes are afoot - under foot, actually - in the living room! 
Living Room 3.8.12
We ordered this rug online from JC Penney and were a little bit nervous about it since the picture on the computer is so tiny. We weren't sure how that would translate into a whole 8 x 10 rug. But we love it. It brings in so much color and cheerfulness, and the living is finally starting to look like a real room! Even without that second piece of furniture (more news on that in about 7 weeks), it's downright cozy. Not to mention that at $225, the rug was a steal. Have you done any rug shopping lately? Holy expensive.

You may also have noticed that we changed the orientation of the room. Navah had been pushing for the couch to face the television, but I haven't been for it. Eventually the new loveseat-sized chair that we ordered will go where the random chair and foot rest are, and I thought that set-up would work better with the longer couch under the window. But since we have to wait for the new piece to be delivered, I figured we could try out the couch in a different spot and see how we feel about it. I still think we're going to want to move it back, but I'm open to being proven wrong. For now, it certainly makes watching television a bit more comfortable. 
Living Room 3.8.12 - 2

So, things are really moving along in the living room. 

If you remember back to our little inventory from when we first moved in, we've made major progress:
Living room-2
Living room 2-1

Looking back, I'm not even sure I put a new rug on the list, but I've wanted one the whole time. The other one - a hand-me-down - was too small and dark for the space. 

Now the only things missing are the new furniture piece, a new coffee table (which will probably be a ways down the road), and some drapes. 

All in good time. For now, I'm loving sinking my toes into our cushy new rug. 


Visitors Welcome

You may remember that last time you saw the guest room, it was looking a

Guest Bedroom Not particularly hospitable for guests, eh?

With Navah's mom coming to town while I'm in Rwanda, I wanted the room to be a little more welcoming. The arrival of the full-sized bed we ordered gave me the nudge I needed to whip that room into shape.

Guest Room 3.7.12 There are no pictures on the walls, and there are still boxes to be unpacked - I shoved most of them in the closet, but as you can see, they didn't all make it.

Guest Room 3.7.12 - 2 Even so, I think you'll agree that it's a vast improvement over the previous state of affairs.

Before, we were planning to set our guests up on top of all the boxes to sleep, so they'll probably be pretty happy with the whole bed situation. I kid.

So now this space is on its way to becoming my very own craft/guest room, though I suspect I'll continue to take over the dining room table for many projects. I do so like to be in the center of things. 


New Furniture Plus Squeeeeeee!!!!!

bookshelf styling Last week I took you on a little tour of the furniture pieces we are hoping to purchase or create over the next few months as we settle into our delightful new home. Living room-2Living room 2-1 I mentioned that the one piece that I was really desperate to get was a bookshelf for the living room so that we could unpack the boxes of books that were taking up space in the guestroom.  

During the week, I happened to pass by a used furniture store - Myer's Used and New Furniture - while driving around lost learning the Burlington streets.  I was pretty impressed by their selection, and I made a date with Navah to head back over the weekend.  I also bought one piece on the spot and had them hold it for me, but we'll get to that later.

So, Navah and I spent an hour or so there on Saturday, and our new furniture was delivered yesterday amid much gleeful squealing from me. 

We bought a nice, tall bookshelf.  See how lovely it looks here? bookshelf We contemplated a smaller one, which was, as Navah pointed out once we packed this thing with books, totally ridiculous.  This size is perfect, both for the number of books we have, and for the scale of the room.  A shorter version would've been less useful and would have left us with all our furniture being basically the same height, aka Boring Town.  

The bookshelf was the one piece of new furniture we bought because they didn't have any used that worked for us.  

We also bought this piece to act as a tv stand.
tv stand 1

Though it's a bit rough around the edges, it's nice and sturdy.  And it will be a prime candidate for some wood putty and a stain job when I get the chance.  For now, I still think it's lovely, and it's doing a stand-up job holding our tv.  All our electronics, like the dvd player and the wii, are stored inside behind closed doors.  When we want to use them, we can just open the doors. We kept our roku box out next to the television because (a) we use it almost every time we turn on the tv since we don't have cable, (b) it's so tiny and unobtrusive that it's barely noticeable, and (c) we would have needed an additional cord to have it reach all the way down to the hole in the back of the chest. 

On that point - somewhere in the life of this piece, its owners used it in a similar fashion.  Holes had been cut in the back for cords, but someone else had glued pieces of wood over them.  Luckily for me, with a flathead screwdriver and a little tap-tap-tapping from the hammer, I was able to pop the wood off one of the holes and thread my cords right through there.  Hurrah.

And since you know I love little door details, take a closer look at these drawer pulls.
tv stand drawer pulls

Ooh la la.

So, buying those two pieces knocks off numbers 1 and 5 on our list of things to get for the living room, and this space is looking a lot more put together.
bookshelf tv stand

But what about the piece I said I bought on the spot?  Well, it wasn't on the list.  I'd like to tell you that I'm ashamed of myself for buying something that wasn't on the list, but I can't.  I can't because I'm so freaking excited about it that not even a smidge of shame can sneak in.  

It's this.

sewing table

Looks like just a pretty little desk, but do you see those cords down below?  
You guessed it.

It becomes this.
sewing table tada

My very own 1970 Sears Kenmore sewing table.

I'm beyond.  Just beyond.  

Right now it's living in the dining room, which could be where it lives forever since it's just so pretty there, and the top can be used as a desk when I'm not sewing on it.  And that way I can gaze lovingly at it while I do bar studying on the couch.

For more loving glances at the new machine, come back tomorrow.  I'll be sharing all the sexy details.

Oh, and I almost forgot.  We got all three items - the television stand, the sewing table, and the bookshelf for 260 smackers.  Well done us.


The List: Room By Room

I mentioned in the House Tour, Part 1 and Part 2 that there were some things we were hoping to make or purchase that will help us fill out the rooms a bit.  We sold a lot of our furniture when we moved into our last apartment, and we've definitely had some oh why did we do that?! moments since we got here.  But in truth, except for the full size bed (oh why did we do that?!), we didn't love the pieces that we sold. And moving into that smaller place helped make it financially feasible for Navah to move up to Burlington, for me to quit my job, and for us to pay two rents for a few months.  Some furniture seems like a small price to pay for all that.

But now, in our bigger place, we would like to start slowly adding pieces that we like and that will grow with us, hopefully settling right in when we move into our own home in a few years.  They don't have to be life-long loves, but we're not looking for something makeshift that we'll want to sell in a year.  So those pieces take time, especially when you're working with a fairly small budget.  We'll be hitting up craigslist, thrift stores, and used furniture shops.  And hopefully I'll be doing a little magic on some things we already have.

Here's a little room-by-room tour of the things we're hoping to add to our space over the coming months.

In the living room:

Living room-2 Living room 2-1 

1. A bookshelf on the far wall.  This is the only thing that we really "need" (in that way that you "need" things when you actually have everything you need, aka roof over head, etc) because we still have about five boxes of books that haven't been unpacked.  The old apartment had built-ins for that sort of thing, and we sold our bookshelves (see above re: selling tons of furniture).

2. A loveseat or two comfortable chairs.  I decided to position our current couch by the two windows and hold out for additional seating because I think it makes the room feel cozier and more conversational than if we had set the couch to face the television.  Navah's still withholding judgment on the arrangement.  This will probably be the hardest thing for us to find and agree on.

3. A more substantial coffee table.  I keep waiting for this one to collapse under the weight of a heavy book.  Or my feet resting on it.  Perhaps we also need some ottomans.  Or a coffee table that doubles as an ottoman.  

4. Some curtains for those windows.  I'd love some nice long drapes to give the room a pulled-together, finished look once we have a few more things in place. I'd like to make them myself.

5.  A more substantial tv stand.  The tv stand has the same problem as the coffee table, which is unfortunate since it's holding our tv.  I think it will hold for the time being, but I would love to get an antique piece that's not necessarily meant to be a tv stand but that we can repurpose.  

In the dining room:

Dining room-1 

1. We want to get all that art up onto the walls.  Not just in the dining room, but all over the house.  Bare walls make me sad.

2. Bigger and more substantial dining room table and chairs.  My preference would be a nice big farmhouse-style table and maybe mismatched chairs (if I can figure out how to pull off that look).

3.  A rug.  We love these hardwood floors, but rugs are a must for the peace and sanity of our downstairs neighbors.  Also, like curtains, they really help pull a room together.  

4. A sideboard or buffet.  I saw some beautiful pieces at a used furniture store recently that would look beautiful, but unless we find the exact right thing, this is low down on our list of priorities.  

In the kitchen:


1. An easy-to-clean rug or floor-cloth.  Again, for the neighbors downstairs but also because the linoleum in here has seen better days. There are some permanent scuffs and spots on the floor that I'd rather have covered.

2. A small island or butcher-block cart with two stools. Because the kitchen is closed off from the rest of the space, I really want an area that allows someone to easily sit and chat in the kitchen with whoever's cooking.  And perhaps gives them a place to chop some vegetables while they're at it.

In the main bedroom:

Bedroom 3-1 

1. A headboard.  I've been dying for a headboard forever, but they're super pricey for king-size beds, so it just hasn't been a priority.  I stalk tutorials for making your own, and it's something that I'd like to tackle. Perhaps after I take the bar, I'll look into it more seriously and determine whether my lack of power tools will be prohibitive.

2. A rug.  See above re: rugs.

3. A dresser for me up against the wall you can't see.  Right now, I'm using the closet in the guest bedroom, and I put a little shelving system in the bottom, but I'd like to have some of my more regular clothing items in the bedroom, and there's room for a dresser for me.  But this is a low priority item since I do have a place to store my clothes that's fairly functional.

In the guest bedroom:

Guest Bedroom-1

1.  A bed for us to put all the boxes on.  Just kidding.  Hopefully those boxes will be gone at some point and we'll actually be able to use the space as a guest room and craft room.  I'm voting for a futon, but Navah's voting for a full-size bed.  We'll let you know who wins.

2. A shelving unit for my craft supplies.  I wanted to put up shelves above the desk, but after talking to the landlords, it sounds like they're not really excited by that.  So we'll probably just buy some shelves for that (or re-use the ones that are in the closet now if/when I get a dresser).

3. Curtains or drapes.  There's nothing in the window now, which means that I kind of tuck myself into the closet to change clothes.  (There is sort of a path to the closet that you can't really see.)

So that's everything on the list for now.  I will, of course, keep you posted as we find things that work.  It's oodles of fun to plan out a new space, especially when we love where we're living so much!

Hope you all have a great weekend.  I'll be studying for the bar, brunching, and doing a little furniture shopping!


House Tour Part 2

I promised you yesterday that I'd show you the rest of the house.  I also thought I might clarify what type of space we're living in.  This is the top floor of a two-story house that we're renting.  So no, we didn't buy a house, and we don't have the whole thing to ourselves.  But, I think you'll agree that what we do have is pretty awesome.

So, on to the rest of the house tour.

Remember that door in the dining room - well, it leads into a tiny little hallway with three doors off of it - the main bedroom, the bathroom, and the guest bedroom.
Looking into hallway

There's not much to see in the bathroom.

But note the pretty light blue wall color that is almost exactly the same as our previous bathroom color, which means - you guessed it - our shower curtain and the little basket I made still work beautifully.  Hurray for that!
Bathroom 2

Our bedroom's pretty plain jane right now.  Those little curtains were left by the previous tenants.  I don't love having the bed up against a window, but there's no space where it will fit that's not up against a window, so that's that.
Bedroom 2
Bedroom 3

Otherwise it's a great space.

And lest you begin to think that I'm some sort of unpacking superhero (ahem, Sai), take a look over here at the guest bedroom.
Guest Bedroom

So that's where everything is.
Slowly but surely. Slowly but surely.

And finally, I forgot to show you the back porch yesterday.  It's off the kitchen.  And we'll definitely be using this one too.
Back Porch

It even has clothes lines up for when the weather's warmer.

So there she is, folks.  I'll be back later to talk about some of the things we want to buy/create/improvise, and I can't wait to share it all with you as we make this precious house our home.


House Tour: Part I

Well hello!

This place is so roomy, I need two days to show it to you!  A pretty big change from our previous pad.

Today you'll get to see the main entry, the living room, the screened porch, the dining room, and the kitchen.  And then tomorrow, I'll be back to show you the master bedroom, the guest room, and the bathroom.

Remember, we've been here less than 10 days, so things are still looking pretty unfinished. Later in the week, I'll be back to talk about some of the things that are missing and some of the things we want to purchase and/or tackle in the coming weeks and months.

But for now, here she is in all her new-to-us glory.

Once you turn the corner of the stairs (above), you open the door straight into the living room.  Try not to get too hung up on the random chair/footstool/end table configuration.  As I said, we're a little short on furniture for this big of a space. I'll talk more about that later in the week.

Living room
living room 1
Living room 2

That white door leads into a large closet, part of which you can see here.


And the closet leads both to the enormous attic (hurrah for storage!) and to this lovely screened porch, which we will most definitely be using when things get a little less nippy.

screened porch 

And if you turn back around at the white door, you're looking back at the wall next to the front door.


And into the dining room, which is the most sparsely furnished room at this point.

looking into dining room 

I'm in love with the doors between the living room and the dining room. The space is nice and bright and open, which I love.  But when you close the doors, you can also make the living room feel all snug and cozy, which I also love.

Looking into dining room 2

And check out the pretty glass doorknob.

glass doorknob

Like I said, the dining room is pretty sparsely furnished at this point. But we won't be wanting for art to hang on the walls!

Dining room

That door on the left leads to the bedrooms and the bathroom.

Through the dining room to the right is the kitchen.
Let's get a little 360 viewing: 

Kitchen 2
Kitchen 3

Slight detour to exclaim over the built-in cabinets.  LOVE the built-in cabinets.  And look at these little door latches!

door latches

And finishing out the 360 viewing

Kitchen 4

The kitchen is so roomy.  I'm not sure if you can tell from these pictures, but there's a lot of space in the middle there with nothing in it.  In fact, when the dining room was still crammed with boxes, we had our little table in here and ate meals there.

The kitchen has been unpacked the longest and is the place we've gotten the most settled into.  So it's also the room with the most finished touches. 

Jammer's got his own little spot for T-R-E-A-T-S.  

Jammer's station

Every kitchen needs jars of grains.  Especially mine.  We have a lot of grains.

Jars 2

Plants to make things cheerful.

I love me some snails.


Measuring spoons from Anthropologie that were a total indulgent splurge.

Measuring spoons

And more plants - my mom and I hit up the clearance section at Lowe's after the plants we brought up with us met an untimely end.  Who thinks about the fact that it's freezing in the back of a uhaul truck?  Not us, apparently.

Kitchen counter

I'll close with a picture of our front doorknob just because I think it's lovely, and it makes me happy when I open it.

Front door knob

Come back tomorrow to finish out the tour!


The Beauty's in the Details

A few weekends ago, I headed over to my friends Mike and Irene's apartment for a last-minute Saturday night soiree.  They're two of my favorite people. Whenever we hang out, I'm almost always in danger of snorting, spurting a drink out my nose, or peeing in my pants.  The fact that we all enjoy talking fashion and decor is just icing on the cake.

They live in a fabulously-outfitted studio apartment, and I'm always amazed by how easy they make it look to (1) live in a studio apartment and still be a happy couple and (2) throw a dinner party/last-minute soiree for more than 5 people in a studio apartment.  In short, they're amazing.  And as I was looking around Saturday night, I realized that I had to snap some quick shots with my phone of some of the wonderful details around their space.  I didn't have the camera, the time, or the space to really do it justice (also, as much as I pretend, I'm not actually a professional photographer).  But here are a few of the little touches that make me smile:

Mike and Irene's Apt 7

They love to entertain, and Irene really pulled out all the stops - without even going to the store!  Everything she made here - the individual tomato soup cups, the mandarine orange creamsicles, marinated artichokes, and savory pinwheels - was from things she already had in the kitchen.  I can hardly make dinner for myself with just the things I have in the kitchen.  I'm always running out to pick up this or that.

Mike and Irene's Apt 6

Not only do I love this orange colander and the adorable apron hanging on the right, but I appreciate how Irene brought the holiday season right into the kitchen with those brightly colored snowflakes.  Such a simple step, but it really made that little nook more festive!

Mike and Irene's Apt 4

Not much needs to be said here except (1) I wish I had taken a better photo, and (2) I wish I had a squirrel lamp.

Mike and Irene's Apt 3

Fabulous octopus, and you might be able to tell from this little snippet of picture that their bookshelves are beautifully color-coordinated.  It's not something I could ever do because I organize by subject matter and having books grouped any other way would drive me absolutely bonkers, but I definitely appreciate the aesthetics.

Mike and Irene's Apt 8

It's an umbrella stand IN THE SHAPE OF AN UMBRELLA!  Come on.

Mike and Irene's Apt 2

And finally, their adorable tree on their fabulous orange stool.

Maybe one day I'll do a full house tour because their space sure deserves it, but I hope these little snippets have made you smile.


Because Sometimes One Just Isn't Enough

For a while now, I've been ogling the gallery-style walls filled with frames that are all over the web these days.  You can see some here, and here, and here, and here, and here.  See what I'm saying? All over.

I thought it was the perfect solution for the wall behind our couch, which is somewhat split in half, with part of the wall jutting out about 2 to 3 inches further into the room.  Normally I would want to put one nice big piece behind the sofa - we have a world map that might have looked beautiful on a normal, flat wall.  But a normal, flat wall was not to be. 

I hoped that a grouping of various sized frames would distract from the oddness of the wall's structure.  And I think that's exactly what happened. 

Many of my inspiration walls are more thematic than mine - all the same color frames, frames with only maps, frames with the same style.  I went for a more relaxed, eclectic look.  One of my problems with home design in general is that I am loath to let go of any pieces that I really love.  In an apartment as small as ours, there aren't that many places to hang art, so I wasn't willing to relegate some pieces to the back of the closet just because they didn't match the theme.  I contemplated painting all the frames the same color, but (1) I couldn't decide on what color that would be, (2) two of the pieces either didn't have a frame or had a frame that I didn't want to paint over, and (3) not all of the pieces would have looked good in the same color frame.  So, eclectic it was. 

In truth, I think that's really more my style, and I like the way it turned out.  There are still a few place-holder pictures because, well, I'm impatient.  I really wanted to get it up on the wall and not wait any longer to find just the right pieces.  So I just went for it. 

Not without spacing them all out on the wall with cut-out paper bags, of course. 

Navah's still on the fence.  I think it just looks sort of cluttered to her, perhaps as a result of my electic style.  And she thinks the letters are cheesy.  Fair enough.  I'm cheesy like that.

My one concern - I always think at least one frame is a, titled, wonky.    I also keep wondering if the spacing is exactly right - perhaps they're a little too far apart here or there. I guess that's two concerns.  I could go crazy.  Thank goodness it'll be behind my head most of the time.

What do you guys think?


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Huichol Lessons in Color

I recently came across this post about a man decorating a VW bug in the Huichol style of art, and it became clear to me that it's time to share my design ideas for the living room - my color palette, if you will (with a good hardy har har from Navah).

Brooklyn Street Art
And not related to my living room at all, but just really fabulous, is this car that I pass on my morning jog/walk with Jammer.  I'm inclined to leave a note telling the owner how awesome I think they are and how grateful I am for the little smile this car brings my tired face every morning at 6 am.  Perhaps I will.

Okay, detour complete - back to Huichol art.

Navah and I vacationed for a week in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico after we took the bar last year. It's a trip that I've been fantasizing about in recent weeks.  The ocean was gorgeous, and we became really exceptional at lazing, a skill that I could afford to re-cultivate.  On the one day that we convinced ourselves to put on something more than our bathing suits and venture away from the comfort of a beach chair, we ended up in a tiny little gallery filled with Huichol art.  I had never seen anything like it, and I was immediately smitten by the deep, bold colors and the intricacy of the designs and the work that went into them.  Standing back from a piece, I could appreciate the beauty.  But when I got up close, I could see that every smidge of color was made by winding thin pieces of yarn back and forth and back and forth into beeswax.  It must take hours, and it is done with such incredible precision.  The piece that we chose actually combines yarn and beadwork, which is uncommon.  Most pieces are one or the other.  The gallery owner was a wealth of information, sharing with us the symbolism of many of the pieces, giving us little insights into the spiritual beliefs of the Huichol people.

We walked away with a piece that we love, which represents, among other things, the two sides of every person, situation, thing and the way they communicate with each other - good and evil, light and dark, sad and happy, male and female.

We happily hung it over the entertainment center in our old apartment, but it was too small to really have any presence in the space.  And the colors, while they didn't clash, didn't "go" with our old living room.  It was just sort of lost.

When I saw the wall color in our new living room, I was immediately stoked - our Huichol art would look perfect up against that green background. 

And as I thought about it more, I decided to plan the whole color scheme for the living room around it.  This decision is particularly exciting for two reasons: 

(1) I've never really decorated a room with a clear color scheme in mind.  I've always had some pieces already that I like, and I just figure out how to put everything where it seems like it will look good.  My spaces have looked nice, but never finished.

(2) I've been afraid of color.  I stick mostly with neutrals or muted colors because I'm scared of messing things up and haven't ever felt like I could figure out what colors would look good together.  But I have wanted color.  This piece of art is a perfect way for me to take some safe steps toward a more colorful home - I can already see that the colors look great together.  Also, because the room is so small, I don't feel overwhelmed by the number of choices to make or the amount of stuff I would have to buy to pull it off.

Our new charcoal gray couch is the first stage of creating the living room design.  (Though I was tempted mightily by a delicious eggplant sofa that would have looked amazing but, alas, was not that comfortable.)  The neutral couch will be the base for some exciting, colorful throw pillows.  And ultimately I hope to incorporate the color scheme more by painting or staining our little dining table, by reworking the coffee table situation, by adding various other pops of color around the room, and by carefully selecting more art to hang that will complement our Huichol piece.

I'm delighted that this awesome art will be taking center stage, and I'm grateful for the little shove to branch out a bit in my design choices.

Have you ever bought a piece of art or furniture that you loved but just couldn't figure out how to incorporate into your space?  Tell me about it!


House Tour: The Before

An apartment is rarely more than a temporary home (unless you live in Manhattan), and this one will be no different.  The whole idea behind moving was to cut down on our expenses so that we could pay off more debt and increase our savings for a down payment on a house.  Our stint here will be just a little mark on our timeline of homes, but oh what an adorable mark it is!  I croon over this place every day - mostly the living room, which has no art up at all yet and is still just as cute and homey as it can be.  Is it weird to have a crush on your living room?  If it is, tough noogies.  There's no stopping what's going on between us.

Navah's just amused by it now - "yes, yes, you're right - it IS very cute" she'll say without looking up from the computer.  But I just know one morning, she's going to wake up and think to herself "What the...? How did I end up in the cutest apartment in DC?"  And then she'll turn and see my shining face, and it will all become clear.

I'm stalling, I know.  I've gotten so attached to this place in such a short time, and I'm feeling shy about the reveal.  After all, it's not even designed yet.  And there are unpacked boxes and piles of pictures and tangled cords all over the place.  Just remember, this is The Before.  Deep breath.

Here goes.

Standing in the front door.  Ignore the scary mass of cords.

I wasn't lying, right?  You can tell already.

Incidentally, I didn't notice that white part of the brick until I took this picture.  We'll have shelves there eventually, so it shouldn't be too noticeable.  And maybe I can clean it?

Let's head toward the hallway.

But first, turn around and glance back over your shoulder.  You know you want to.

You wish you were coming over tonight to watch a movie, don't you?

Before we head into the kitchen, let's take note of these extraordinarily useful built-in bookshelves built right into the space under the stairwell that leads up to the second floor apartment.

And now for the kitchen.

And yes, that's a combination washer/dryer underneath the toaster oven.  We didn't realize until now how nice it is to much on some toast while you do laundry.

It's a galley kitchen, but this little window into the living room (showcasing our sodastream) keeps it from being claustrophobia-inducing.

The kitchen does have one tiny little problem.  Actually it's a tall problem.  The kitchen's built for a giant.  Even a normal-sized person like myself has to step on the highest level of a step stool to even reach my pinky onto the top shelves.

But as concerned as I was in the beginning about the height problem, a few weeks here have proven that it's not really that big a deal.  We put the stuff we use less often at the top, and the rest of the kitchen is so awesome that it makes up for having to pull out the stool every now and then.  Just look at this amazingly deep drawer and the pull-out shelf that has transformed my relationship with tupperware.

And we'll move along the hallway to the bathroom.  It's a tiny affair - it might be difficult to tell in these pictures that the walls are a pale blue.

Yes, that's a waterpik on the sink.  My lady is for serious about dental hygiene.

Small or not, the bathroom has a shining glory.

I know!!!  The first time I saw that chandelier, I knew this apartment was special.

Okay, I'm warning you.  It gets a little messy after this.

The bedroom.

That doorway leads out to our little back patio and yard.

We have just enough room for Navah's dresser, and she's got this closet.  Apparently sharing with me was too much for her to deal with because she kept gleefully exclaiming about having a closet to herself as she outfitted it with her clothes.

My closet on the other hand?  That's another story - one that involved my being completely overwhelmed today at the Container Store.

You see, the space that will be my closet used to be a work space at the back of the bedroom.  Our friends (who lived here before us) had a little drafting table and chair in there.  We needed the space as a closet and having it as working space didn't really make sense for us.  So we wanted to change it back into a closet (which it had been prior to our friends living there).  My landlord had some pieces for an elfa system that had been in there before, but not enough to actually outfit a closet.  Hopefully I'll be posting soon with a completed closet reveal!  As for now, thank god for wardrobe boxes.

And...I guess that's it.  Our warm and happy little temporary home.


Mama's Got a Brand New Couch

One of the cushions is torn up under that slipcover, but Ikea surprised me by scheduling to send us a new back cushion without us having to send anything back.  After I heard that, I wasted no time and got right on putting that sucker together.   Well actually, Navah was out playing softball, so I conned one of my friends into helping me.  Team lifting, folks.  Don't try to do this stuff by yourself.  In truth, I probably could have, but it was so much more fun with a friend.

Even though the apartment is still a bit of a disaster zone in some areas, having a couch to sit on instantly makes it feel like a home instead of a really messy storage unit where we hang out on folding chairs.  Choosing a couch, though?  Yipes.

Neither Navah nor I had ever bought a real couch.  Of course some may argue that an Ikea couch that you have to bolt together yourself and top with a velcro-attached slip cover is not really a couch, but to them I say "ppptthhhbb!"  At any rate, when we merged apartments over two years ago, we each had a futon that we'd bought off Craigslist.  We sold hers and kept my little wooden guy, and we hated it.  Brilliant though they may be for their now-it's-a-couch-now-it's-a-bed utility, I challenge anyone to vouch for their comfort.  Or their design elements, for that matter.

So, we were embarking on new territory.  I've created a graphic to help you understand our experience.

Perhaps if you're a real adult and have purchased furniture, this is not news to you.
But it was definitely harder than I ever anticipated.

First, couches are expensive.  Like, seriously expensive.  Even cheap couches are expensive.  I start to get queasy when I spend more than $200 or so on anything, and that, my friends, will not get you a couch.  And let me get one thing out of the way here because I know at least one of you is wondering - why not buy a used couch?  A few months ago I would've been with you.  In fact, I was perusing Craigslist back in December.  BUT, in January we had a bug-that-will-not-be-named-but-hangs-out-in-fabric-and-upholstered-materials scare (thank goodness it was only a scare) that wigged us out enough for us to rethink - at least for the moment - buying a used couch.  I recognize that people do this all the time, but we needed some recovery time.  So, new couch it was.

I had been perusing the interwebs for a while, so I felt like I had some sense of what was out there, and I knew that a lot of things that I really liked - hello, Room & Board and Crate & Barrel - were totally out of our price range.  But I had seen some things at Macy's that seemed like contenders.  I also knew, thanks to Young House Love, that there was a couch at Ikea with similar clean lines and wooden legs for the price of a couch that you put together yourself a much better price. 

So, we headed out for some couch shopping, hitting Macy's, Ikea (twice), Ashley Home Furniture, and some sort of discount furniture store that I can't remember the name of because I've tried to block the entire experience of out my mind.  Also, I will not discuss the part of our couch-buying adventure where, on the way home from our Ikea purchase, I looked out the window and saw a banner on the side of the Marlo furniture warehouse saying that they were having a 50-80% off liquidation sale.  Nope.  Will not discuss that.

Truthfully, it probably wouldn't have mattered. What I discovered is that it is shockingly difficult for two people to agree on a couch.  We would each sit down on one side of the couch candidate.  Press up against the back.  Lean on the arm.  Look at each other.  Raise an eyebrow.  Lean back again.  Bounce around a little bit.  Put our feet up on an imaginary coffee table and pretend to watch television.  Look at each other. 

"What do you think?" 
"I don't know, what do you think?" 
"Do you think it's more comfortable than that other one?"
"I can't remember."
"Should we go try out that one again?"


After sitting on a dozen couches, it was like a trip to the eye doctor.  A or B?  A or B?  A or B?  OH MY GOD I DON'T KNOW JUST MAKE IT STOP!!!

Okay, maybe that's a little bit extreme. (For the couch-shopping.  That is exactly how I feel at the eye doctor.) 

Part of the problem was that Navah and I have very different ideas about the requirements of a couch, as evidenced by my beautiful graphic.  While I obviously want a couch to be comfortable, I'm equally concerned with the aesthetics.  Navah, on the other hand, is a comfort lady.  It's not that she likes ugly things, it's just that the primary factor for her is comfort.  Her ideal couch would be a big squishy affair that she could sink into.  I'm not inherently against a big comfy couch - I can lounge with the best of them - but our space is very small.  We would have to find something sleek and minimal, but still easy on the tush.

Of course, even when we had narrowed ourselves down to more stream-lined seating, our comfort-aesthetics dichotomy was still at play.  We found one that was perfect - comfortable, on the small side, straight arms, and a clean look.  BUT it was beige.  In our beige-carpeted, light green-walled apartment, it would've led to a color scheme that I could only call pukish.  None of this was lost on Navah, but she was really pulled in by the comfort factor.  We found a lot of options like this - great in one area, not so great in another.  Super comfortable, but wrong color (and custom color requiring months of delay and/or additional expense).  Perfect look that we both adored, but oddly springy.  Great price but hard and borderline ugly.  At the end of the day, compromises had to be made.

As you can tell, we went with the charcoal gray couch from Ikea, and I think we're all happy.  It's comfortable enough (WAY more than the futon), and once I get the whole design put together, Navah's going to be just delighted.  (Though she did laugh at me today for using the phrase color palette.)

I'm curious about the numbers out there:  do you and your significant other agree on design elements (a la Young House Love, one of my favorite design blogs), or is every design decision in your home an opportunity to test your negotiating skills?


And then everyone took a deep breath...or did they?

How many blog posts have I written in my head over the last few days weeks?  Many.  An up post.  And then a down post.  And then an up post again.  And then...

I did a little math - I've moved seven times since I had enough furniture to require more than a sedan.  Do I have complete selective memory, or was this move really significantly worse than average?

After going back and forth with the folks moving into our old apartment about when they needed to be able to move-in, with the tenants (our friends) of the apartment we were going to move into about how early they would be able to move out, with both sets of landlords about how much time they would need to clean the respective apartments - after coming to an agreement that worked for everyone, I thought we were golden.

And then packing took much longer than we thought it would, and we still had tons of furniture to get rid of on the day before the move.  We finally put everything up for free on Craigslist and, in the midst of finishing packing, spent that day answering emails and phone calls, arranging pick-up times, and hauling heavy furniture into the cars of people that we thanked profusely for needing our old things.  All of this was done with an underlying panic that our movers would not show up the next day to move us.  They had never called to confirm, I had forgotten to call at the end of the prior week, and the day before our move - Memorial Day - no one was in the office to answer the phones. We had to be out of our apartment by 11:00 am on Tuesday (see the above paragraph on compromises over moving dates), so if our movers didn't show up that morning at 9:00, I had no idea what we were going to do.  Before we went to bed, I made a list of all the movers in the city and their phone numbers so that I could quickly call around if our movers didn't show up.

At 8:01am (they opened at 8:00), I called the movers, and after a terrifying moment when they said they didn't have us in the system (we realized they were spelling the name wrong), the very nice man confirmed that movers were on their way - after he laughed and told me to relax.  I breathed a deep sigh of relief and put away my list.

But all of those things are sort of normal move stuff.  Packing always takes too long.  There are always kinks to work out.

The kicker came when we got to our new place and realized that the carpet was still wet from our landlord's shampooing it two days before.  Because only the kitchen and the bathroom aren't carpeted, we began unpacking only those areas and consolidating boxes on the tile floor.  But neither of those rooms are very big, and furniture certainly wasn't going to fit in there.  We had a real concern that the carpet might mildew or mold if allowed to dry out naturally (especially since it had already been two days), so the landlord brought over  several dehumidifiers and fans.  For the next two days, our furniture and boxes played a game of musical chairs.  The carpet couldn't dry with something on it, so in the morning we got up and moved furniture, boxes, and dehumidifiers around, and we followed the same routine in the evening when we got home from work.  We couldn't really unpack because there was no where to put things.  It was slow going, and I came close to crying on Thursday morning when we discovered that the giant rented dehumidifier in the living room had leaked all over the floor. That sent the landlord back to the hardware store for a big carpet dryer contraption and an industrial fan.

Navah was my hero through all of it, running home from work during her lunch break on Wednesday to move boxes, and going into work late in the mornings so that I didn't have to (and could still get some sleep).  But we were both feeling pretty miserable about the whole thing until Thursday evening, when the noise of the fans and dehumidifiers was so loud that we escaped to the front porch with Jammer to eat some yummy falafel platters that I brought home from an adorable local coffee and sandwich shop.  Sitting outside, watching people coming and going, I knew we had made the right choice - wet carpet or not.  Though we really liked our ninth floor view of the city in the old apartment, we missed having a yard and a ground-level connection to the world around us.

And right then I started to write a post in my head about how things had been rough at the outset, but we were settling into our new place (though our carpet was still wet at the time), and we were really going to love it here.  And the next morning, I added in a bit about how delightful is was to get ready in the morning to the soundtrack of birds chirping in the backyard.  And then Friday night, the carpet was dry and we unpacked the rest of the kitchen, and I penciled in some sentences about how amazing the deep drawers were and how cute our little bathroom was going to be.  We were so busy with all the unpacking that I could only write the post in my head.  There was no time to sit down and devote to the computer. But after several hours of sofa shopping on Sunday (which I'll write about more later), a little unpacking, and some real job work, I was super excited to put together the Ikea sofa that had been delivered, put away the folding chairs that had been standing in for a couch, and sit down to write a post about our awesome new apartment.

And while the apartment is, in fact, awesome, I'm actually writing this while I lean up against the box that holds the various pieces of our new sofa because when we pulled out the cushions at 8:45 pm, one of them was torn.  I was so close to just slapping some duck tape on it and yanking on the slipcover, but Navah prevailed upon me to wait and call Ikea on Monday (they were already closed for the night) to see if we can have it picked up and get a new one delivered.

So, though things are on the upswing from last week, I'm feel cranky and unsettled. I want a couch to sit on.  I want a closet to hang my clothes in (that's a whole other post that you'll be getting sometime soon, hopefully). 

But I'm taking a deep breath....and letting it out...and again....and out...and remembering how great this place is going to be and how lucky we are to have jobs and each other and an apartment that we can afford.  Everything else - couches and back yards and fireplaces and perhaps even dry carpet - is just icing.

Of course, when I was six or so, I was chowing down on dessert at a church potluck, and this elderly lady asked how I liked the cake that she had made.  I told her, as I licked the icing off the top, that it would be better without all the bread part. 

I suppose we never really change, do we?