Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas, Y'all!

This is a blurry, blurry picture of my kitchen after buying some bookcases at Ikea and after my Christmas "Not-A-Party", as I am calling it. Cause it wasn't. A party.

Anyway. During Ikea pit stop on the drive home from Thanksgiving in NJ, I picked up two bookcases. I intended to put them against the chalkboard wall and use them as a place to store my cookbooks and growing vintage Pyrex collection.

Since most of my Pyrex is white, I painted the back of the bookcases turquoise with leftover paint from my living room. (Yes, that is really the color of my living room. I know I haven't shared that with you yet, but it's coming.) It was really easy to do, as anyone who has ever put together an Ikea bookcase will know, because the back of it is actually a thin piece of fiber-board that slides in at the very end. So, simply paint and allow to dry before you finish it up!

I'm really pleased. The Pyrex pops against the turquoise and the bookcases are a good height for staging a temporary bar. And my guests actually used the chalkboard, which made me very happy.

I did a little Christmas baking in the form of cupcakes, but only for the Not-A-Party. There are no gingerbread men or sugar cookies in The Works this year. Left over cupcakes make and excellent breakfast, by the way.

I've also been doing a little Christmas knitting. I have no pictures, however, other than this one.

Sad, I know. But it's hard to get decent pictures these days, what with the dark and cold and whatnot.

So, Merry Christmas, y'all! Here's wishing you all the best for your holiday. Be sure to spend it with someone you love and treasure every moment!

See you again in the New Year!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

In which she makes something crafty

I had a Sunday at home for the first time in what seemed like months. I used the rainy weather as an excuse to lock myself indoors and do some nesting. Or, rather, crafting.

I had bought some nylon thread ages ago, with the intention of making a garland similar to this, but after decorating my tree this week, I felt it was a little empty looking. So, Christmas garland it was!!

I used felt, because it didn't need any hemming and cut about a billion little triangles with my rotary cutter and mat. You basically line up the corner on the bias line and cut horizontally and then diagonally. And voila! Tons of triangles.

Then you just run them through your sewing machine. I made the garland in three sections. It was more manageable that way and I could also gauge how much more I needed as I went along.

This was a really quick, easy and satisfying project and, at probably less than a 1/4 yard of felt, it was also very affordable I've dialed it way back on the crafts this holiday season and it feel pretty good. I'm looking forward to a relaxing Christmas season and I hope you all are, too!!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Wants and Desires

Now that the Christmas season is in full swing, I've been doing a little Christmas dreaming of my own.

Here's what my list for Santa would look like.
I'm still wishing for stuff for the apartment.

Some pretty and comfy linens.

A cool (and functioning) telephone.

Somethin' a little sparkly.

And, well, a girl can dream, can't she?

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Most Wonderful TIme of the Year....

Thanksgiving is under our belts (literally) and, at The Works, that means Christmas is in full swing.

I've got gifts to buy and candy to make, but first, this Saturday is the 3rd Ward Holiday Craft Fair. I'll be there this year with Little Bunny so come by and say hello from 12-6pm. And maybe buy a little somethin'.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thankfulness and Another Project

And so I painted one of my kitchen walls black. I kind of love it. In fact, I love it a lot. A lot.
And it is. indeed, a chalkboard wall. My friend, L, says that it "creeps her out" but I love looking at it next to my awesome wall paper.

Then, next to the fridge, I installed a bottle opener. It also makes me happy. So there you have it.

Tomorrow I head to NJ to spend Thanksgiving with my family. I have a lot to be thankful for and, before dinner, we all go around the table and say what that is. I know it's not a unique tradition, but we do it every year and every year I get a little nervous when my turn comes.

I'm counting all the ways (that I'm thankful) and I hope you are, too. And I wish you the happiest day filled with your favorite people.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Apartment Project- kitchen

In the last 4 weeks, I've painted my bedroom and living room, hung curtains, and painted my kitchen table and chairs. What I did not do was take any before and after pictures for you.

I did, however, put up some awesome temporary wallpaper in my kitchen, of which I have photos. The kitchen is black and white and the walls just seemed sooooooo white. I had intended the wallpaper for the entry way, but none of the walls proved a likely candidate.

So I started out in the top, left corner and it wasn't quite flush against the corner. So I stopped and called my mom. It seems, that this is not how one hangs wallpaper.

It appears that one has to first hang a plumb line. A plumb line, apparently, is useful for "determining center of gravity of an irregular shape". I improvised one with some yarn and a bunch of belt buckles.

So you have to hang the first strip a little away from your corner and follow the plumb line. Then you go back later and patch in the corner. This ensures that your pattern is straight across the ceiling.

This is the point where my first roll of paper ran out. This is also the point where I realized that everything - EVERYTHING - that I would need for my apartment would cost between $100-150.

And, ta-DA! The finished product (project). You can also see the table and chairs that I painted. They were a hand me down from my parents and about 25 years old. I love the new paint color. I was going to go with black, but decided to go really, really dark teal instead.

The kitchen has taken on a life of it's own at this point. It's gone a little glam, which I'm thrilled with.
More pictures soon!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

You Be the Judge

Which table and chairs cost $900? And which one cost $550?

I'm trying to find a reasonable option for a dining table. If I can hardly tell the difference, is it worth the extra $350?

Monday, November 08, 2010

Fretful Knitting

In the stress-filled weeks before I moved, I occasionally had the spare moment to knit. The management had my application for 2 weeks (2!) before they set the ball rolling. I had pretty much stopped looking at other places, because this was The One and I had nothing but time on my hands.

In those weeks, I would come home, pack a box or two in the name of positive thinking, and then settle in to watch a little TV before fretting myself to sleep. I needed something to keep my hands busy, but nothing too taxing on the brain.

My very cool friends who live in Paris, just had their second child. The first baby, I actually got to visit in person and he was the recipient of a little pea coat and knitted hat. L said that he wore the hat all winter until the nanny lost it. Well, I couldn't let N's new little brother go hat-less and of course he had to have a new one (to replace the one the nanny lost!).

I can't tell you how I made these. I think I Googled "child head circumference" and then cast on accordingly. As a result, they are a little on the big side. But, it's good to have hand knits to grow in to, right?

The yarn is Spud and Chloe worsted superwash. I really, really love it and will be using it for many more hand knits for all the babies being born around me these days.

Oh, and I included a I *heart* NY onezie and a tee, so the boys will know where their cool friend from the states lives. I can never resist a plug for good ol' NYC.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Wants and Desires

Ever since moving into the new place, all I can do is daydream and surf the net for stuff to fill my apartment. Oh, wait, I did that before. Don't tell my boss.

campaign table, for next to the love seat

Jonathan Adler bedding, I've been looking everywhere for this color!

This rug, for the living room, to balance the bold walls and curtains (pictures to follow).

Or this one, 'cause I love it. So help me.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Le Retour

Le Retour, in France, means The Return. It's what they call that time of year when everyone returns from their summer vacanes and readies themselves for the (school) year ahead. Nine years ago, I packed up my world and moved to France. It was the beginning of October and there was a palpable energy in the air. It may have been emanating from my own person, but I felt it. The change in the climate and the change in my life.

I've always felt like Fall was the perfect time to start anew. It's better for me than the New Year, somehow. Maybe it's the magic of the changing leaves, maybe it's the promise of new notebooks for school, but the change in the season heralds, for me, the possibility of a change in your life.

Last year, around this time, I was flying on the trapeze, and taking stock of my life. I had been a single girl in the city for a year and I had grown by leaps and bounds. (Literally.)

This year, however, I'm taking a different kind of leap. Two weeks ago, I moved into my own apartment. No more boyfriends, no more roommates, no one but little ol' me to paint the walls and call the super and deal with the internet installation.

I've never been totally on my own. And to tell you the truth, I'm not. I'm in this great neighborhood, where 80% of my friends reside, and there is love and support all around me, but at the end of the day, I'm savoring all the tiny, wonderful moments that are mine alone.

It may seem a little quiet here at times, but I'm getting used to it and, as I type, there is a batch of apple butter in oven and a pot of soup on the stove and it's starting to feel a lot like home.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

That's all she wrote!

Hey kids. There's no getting around it now - summer is officially over. There are no loop holes this time and I'm going to have to face it. I have to tell you - I feel pretty good about Autumn coming. It's my absolute favorite time of year and I'm just fine with summer ending. I think I just heard a collective gasp shudder through the universe, but it's the truth. I will not miss it. This summer was just. Too. Hot.

I did OK on my list, too. I did 6 out of 11, which ain't too shabby. Also, I did two things that were pretty cool that weren't on my list.

I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. I've lived in NYC for 8 years and have never done it and I was pretty thrilled on that random Saturday afternoon. It was all totally random - started out in Chinatown with random, unplanned dim sum and ended walking across the Bridge to a BBQ in Brooklyn. Lovely.

I also did this crazy taco truck crawl through Queens. I found out about it from Jeffery Tastes, who hosts all kinds of these crawls. I think I ate a total of 3 tacos, which is a lot and, at the same time, isn't very much. I don't think I took full advantage of all the goings on and fully plan to go the next time he organizes one. With a big group of Queens peeps. (I'm also considering going back to this particular truck, 'cause it was soooo good.)

I have some finished knitting projects that I'd like to share with you, but I've yet to take decent pictures. Also, my life it pretty much totally preoccupied with The Great Apartment Search. I'll be checking out until that is over.

In the mean time, I'm going to watch Vampire Diaries. No, I'm not kidding. Later!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Hey guys! Thank you so much for those of you who spoke up after my last post. Shana, you were right on with your advice. I cannot tell you how right you were. I found The One last week and the process is rolling. Please send all your positive thoughts towards the management company!!

I wanted to talk to you for a minute about pesto. Did you know you can make pesto out of anything? Not just basil. No really.

Typically, pesto is basil + pine nuts + parmesan cheese + garlic + olive oil. There is a magic ratio that I've discovered over the years and there are only two numbers you have to remember. 2 and 1/2. Here's how it goes:

2 cups of basil
2 cloves of garlic
1/ 2 cup of pine nuts
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup olive oil

This time of year, however, I make a lot of arugula pesto. More often then not, I buy a big bunch of arugula to make a salad and I have a bunch left over and that becomes the basis for the pesto. I simply swap out the arugula for the basil.

The olive oil and garlic are constants, but you can sub out the type of cheese or nuts and also the base. It helps if the cheese is a dry crumbly variety.

It might go a little something like this:

arugula + pine nuts + parmesan

sun dried tomatoes + almonds + goat cheese

sage + walnuts + parmesan

olives + pistachios + feta

Mix with pasta and veggies (remember to reserve some of the pasta water to mix with your pesto. At least a cup) for a great main dish.
I like to mix it with small white beans for a great side dish to serve with fish.
Ooh! Imagine an olive pesto mixed with white beans and luscious canned tuna for a great lunch! Maybe some diced tomatoes, too?

It also makes an awesome marinade for meats or fish and freezes like a dream. Often I make it when I have a lot of leftover herbs and then freeze it for a rainy day.

(The recipe above is enough for 1 pound of pasta.)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Seeing Advice


Hey everybody!
So I'm in the middle of The Great Apartment Search and I'm having a little anxiety. I need some input from my fellow New Yorkers because I feel like the apartment search process in NYC is so unique/specific.

How many places do you look at before you feel comfortable making a choice?
Or do you just keep looking until you find The One?
What kind of concessions are you willing to make? (i.e. Is a street-level apartment unacceptable even if everything else is amazing?)
When do you start to feel anxious about not having a place? One week before move in date? Two weeks?

I've only been looking for one week and have seen about 6 apartments. I have found 2 for which I might be willing to over-look some less than desirable qualities, but I'm not sure that I should. I'm feeling a little lost.

Thoughts? Comments? Advice?

Thursday, September 02, 2010

You thought I forgot?

It's Labor Day weekend, the unofficial end to summer, and I have two items to check off my list!

First was the P.S. 1 summer warm up. I was about to throw in the towel on this one when I received an invitation to my friend's birthday. He and his wife live in LIC and they started the evening off here, at P.S. 1.

I guess the party really gets started after dark, but we went around 4pm and the courtyard was full of young people and families, young children frolicking in the wading pools. The museum is open and you can buy a beer and wander around. It was fun and there was an incredible vibe from the crowd - relaxed and engaged at the same time. Maybe I'll try to go more often next summer.

The big news, however, is that I finally finished my quilt!!!! I knew that by putting it on my list and giving myself a deadline, I would buckle down and get it done.

It's far from perfect. I didn't really know what I was doing. Many of the lines are crooked and some of the squares don't quite line up, but it's just as I imagined it would be.

I can honestly say that I've never been more excited/satisfied with anything I've ever made. Never. When I took it out of the dryer- all fluffy and puckered up like a quilt should be - I giggled. I actually laughed out loud. And I clutched it to my heart and grinned like a fool all the way home from the laundromat.

Not a bad way to (unofficially) end the summer. Not at all.

Wish List

It's official, ya'll. The Works is packing up to move, yet again.

Well, it's not official, in a having-a-signed-lease-in-my-hand kind of way, but it's official in that I've made all the necessary decisions and notified all relevant parties.

No, I don't have a lease, but that hasn't stopped me from starting to daydream about my new space, no matter what it may be.

I need to have all of the following items. Need. Really.

Removable wallpaper? It's vinyl - perfect for a blah rental bathroom!

Cork lamp? Lights up the room and ideal for reminder lists! (Buy milk! Call mom!)

Acrylic coffee table? Makes a small space feel light and airy!

Charley Harper wall mural? 30" x 30" print on canvas. Because I love Charley Harper.