Dylan moved to New York with most of his stuff in old wooden crates, and while we made a bookshelf out of most of them, there was one left over. We hung onto it for 6 months, thinking we’d eventually turn it into a planter. It took Dylan leaving for a 10-day California trip for my mom and I to decide to finally plant a little garden. We headed to the Union Square Greenmarket this morning for seedlings. Clockwise from the top, strawberries, swiss chard, and eggplant.
Moses soon interfered.
I couldn’t resist buying a few types of heirloom tomatoes, even though I had already grown two tomato plants at home from seeds. There are going to be so many tomatoes now! We also picked up two more planters because the one wood crate just wouldn’t fit all of these plants. So excited to see everything grow.
After a fun Passover seder with my family on Friday night, Dylan decided to show me a thing or two about painting Easter eggs this morning. We weren’t prepared with the proper dyes, and since I’ve never done this before it seemed right to get out the gouache and just go for it.
We blew out the last four brown eggs that were in the fridge so we could still eat them. I know you’re supposed to use white eggs, but I like the neutral color as a base.
The finished eggs! I really could have done a whole dozen it was so much fun, but sadly there’s other work to be done today.
Before. Heaps of displaced stuff, only one desk, ugly wall shelving (these were here when we moved in and were the only place for our clothes until I built the shelving/clothes rack in the bedroom), etc.
I’d been putting off painting the studio for about 5 months, and it was the last room in the apartment that needed it. Now that it’s finished, it feels so good to have a nice clean work space! If you work at home like us, you know first hand that having a positive place to work makes the biggest difference in mood, productivity , and even hygiene (for me at least!). It’s the deciding factor in the daily question, “Am I going to shower, get dressed and get to work like a normal human, or am I going to work on the couch in my pajamas until the sun goes down?”
I finally had a plan to build wall-to-wall shelves above our desks, but first the walls needed to be patched, sanded, and painted. And, we needed to move all the shit out of the room first. We had JUST enough paint left over for the studio, and I’m so glad we didn’t have to make another trip to Home Depot for more. Prepping and painting the room took longer than I thought, though. I had hoped to finish in two days, but it ended up taking three. The first two days for patching and painting, and the last for building the shelves. Luckily, the shelves were easier than I thought they would be to install.
The boards for the shelving were really beat up, really cheap, 10 foot scaffolding planks that I scored for six bucks each at the lumber yard near our apartment. I had to cut them down and wire-brush the splinters off and give a good sanding to all 20 feet worth of dirty boards. It was hard and dusty, but after I oiled them up with some teak oil they started looking really good.
I was a little apprehensive at first because in order to hang the shelves I had to anchor into drywall-covered brick, but the guys at Oriental Lumber (of which is my only NYC Foursquare mayorship) were super helpful in recommending the right hardware and drill bit.
I ended up anchoring 1×1 blocks to the wall for the planks to sit on, and it worked out really well. They’re solid. Also, I think it looks a lot better this way rather than having installed ‘L’ brackets. All in all, it was a pretty cheap project – about $12 for the wood and maybe $40 for hardware, 1x1s, sandpaper and spackle.
Voila, that’s our studio.
Still on the list:
• Plants! As many as possible.
• Frame & hang more art
• Flat files
• Bulletin board(s)
• Stendig wall calendar
• Wide-format printer
We’re certainly careful with our purchases (as Grace always says, only buy things you love) which makes the furnishing and decorating process frustratingly slow. But, after months of collecting things we like, the bedroom is finally starting to perk up. We found the leather shag rug at the Chelsea Antique Market and picked up the black sideboards at the Meeker Avenue Flea Market.
The little vase is my favorite recent purchase. It’s a beautiful piece from the ’60s illustrated by Danish artist and designer Bjørn Wiinblad. I’m also so happy to finally have art framed and hung! The drawing on the left is by Aidan Koch and the little bow tie man is a screen print by my friend Rachel Levit. I love Rachel’s work so much. You can see more of it on her blog, and she has a handful of pieces for sale in her Etsy shop. I also have this 2-layer screen print she did that I can’t wait to hang!
Now, onto the iffier parts of the room. Our bedroom (and entire apartment) came with a no-closet handicap we have to work with. Dylan installed clothing racks using basic wood planks, brackets, and pipes from the hardware store.
I’m generally happy with how it turned out, although the room is basically a windowless walk-in closet, and it’s still a little bleak in there. We need a nicer lamp, more art on the walls, more trinkets, perhaps a fun quilt…the search for things we love continues.
Like many of our fellow city dwellers, our apartment has very limited storage (and not a single closet). As a result, things/appliances/boxes start to get put in strange places. At some point, we looked at each other and got all excited about making a curtain to cover up all the junk we store on top of the kitchen cabinets. Leah put together a quick illustrated surface pattern that matched the color of the sea foam green tiles, and we ordered the custom fabric. I bought a simple shower curtain rod and we put the thing up there.
As soon as I installed it we took a few steps back, folded our arms, and glared at it for a few minutes… I does its job nicely but we honestly couldn’t decide if it was cool or if it was a little too ‘Grandma’s house.’ It’s definitely growing on me, but what do you think?
SIDE NOTE: Check out the flat black spray paint job i gave those cabinet knobs! I think it’s a total upgrade. Also our kitchen tiles are the worst… we’re going get a rug to put down.
If you know me, you know I’m Jewish and I’ve spent every Christmas since 7th grade at my friend Brigette’s house refusing to eat honey-baked ham. Now that Dylan and I are living together, I was excited to really give Christmas a go. I’ve never had a stocking, and since Dylan just moved here from San Diego, he didn’t have one either. So, I made some. The full DIY is below. (Note: I don’t think anyone’s going to want to be making stockings for another year, but the printed fabric can be used to make anything.)
Supplies, clockwise: Fabric (non-textured, natural material will work best), fabric ink, scizzors, paint brush, lino cutting set (the cheapest one will do), rubber stamping block (I prefer the harder, sturdier rubber. It cuts more precisely than the lighter, foamier one).
Screen printing ink is great for stamping. This is my favorite kind, from New York Central, but I’m not sure where to get it outside of NYC.
Cut out the shapes. I printed the cuff and the outside. I didn’t line it because I didn’t really care. Here’s a great sewing DIY on Design*Sponge you can follow because I’m not going to go over the sewing part.
You can draw your shape onto the rubber block with a pencil before carving it.
Paint a thin layer of ink on with the brush. It doesn’t have to be totally accurate, but try printing it on a scrap piece of fabric first as a test. Sometimes you need to go back and carve out areas you may have missed.
Print! Then let it dry, hot iron, and sew.
Voilà. Bleary-eyed on Christmas morning with a new panda mug.
I made my own wrapping paper this year using one of my favorite floral patterns. I love how the red-orange and yellow-green throw a new spin on traditional holiday colors. The tags I bought from Caramelos on Etsy, though there are a ton of Etsy shops that sell little manila tags in lots of colors. I also used a thin pink ribbon for these, but as soon as I ran out I switched to cutting strips of a thin cream-colored cotton fabric. I think the wrapping may be even better than what’s inside!