Monday, April 11, 2016

Dining Room Chairs, Part 59

It probably comes as no surprise that the prospect of having a house, this particular house, sends my mind into a tizzy about how I'll decorate it. Truth be told, once (if) this all happens, we'll be poor for some time. But a girl can dream, right?

It's hard to prioritize what we will need first. I told H. last night that we need a patio set and kids' paddle pool first (it will be July). And that's probably right, because we want to take full advantage of having a yard asap.

But I'm still on the lookout for dining chairs for our little dining table.


I'm still using these crappy, uncomfortable Ikea chairs.


For me, in the new place, replacing these has become a priority. Last summer, when I originally wrote about this problem, I was leaning towards vintage chairs, but today I'm thinking vintage-style chairs, but new.

Right now, I love these Alfa Dining Chairs from DwellStudio

But $2500 for a set of 4 is kind of more than I want to spend at the moment. So, enter the knock-offs.

Target has the Sullivan Mid Century Chair, 4 for just over $500.

They look pretty good, right? The reviews are ok. They are a definite 'maybe'.

Finally, also from the knock-off column, we have these LexMod Hans Wegner Style Elbow Dining Side Chair with Faux Leather Seat


 
$137 each, so we'd be looking at $550ish for 4. I like these a lot, but actually don't think the seat would fit between our table's stupidly narrow legs.  

I guess I'm leaning towards the Target Sullivan chairs. But that leads me to more dining room thoughts, which is a rug.

What are your thoughts on rugs beneath dining tables? Do they get gross with spills?

I've said before that one of my biggest regrets after our 2008 trip to Turkey was that we didn't buy a rug. But, thank goodness for eBay, right? I'm thinking about something wildly bright, since my table, possibly my chairs, and my credenza are all so dark and brown. 

I love this one, from eBay

So bright and colorful! But maybe too bright and colorful?
This one is similar, but a little more muted
 
So, there you have it. My new house dining room visions. Now I just need the house.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Declutterfication and other updates

Did you notice that in the month of March I failed to share a sewing project? Well, yes, I did. When I said in January that I would attempt 12 new projects in 12 months, I didn't necessarily say one per month, though I certainly imagined it. In the madness of March, I did actually attempt at a small sewing project, which failed somewhat. I suppose I should share it, regardless of failure, at some point.

And then, another of my 2016 goals was decluttering. Last week, I started to tackle books.


I have a lot of books. H. has even more books. There was a time in my life where I held on to every book; it didn't matter if I even liked the book. But I kept it. And then, something changed. I had to dust those books, and I had to face moving those books. And so, I began to cull.

Now I comb through my bookshelves and I ask myself "does this book mean anything to me?", "did I enjoy this book?" and I face the hard truth: "am I ever going to read this book?" And then I pull.

And there we are.

Last weekend we had someone from a moving company come and give us a quote for how much it will cost to move all our stuff, the accumulation of 7.5 years in this apartment, on the fourth floor, four flights of stairs. Which means, yes: we are moving.

If you follow me on Twitter you may have noticed that I told the world that we have notified our landlord that we won't be renewing our lease. A terrifying prospect.

I am terrified of spilling the beans on recent happenings, in case everything falls apart, but we are trying to/in the process of buying a house. In New Jersey. Details to come when I feel like everything is set in stone, but I'm on edge and nervous about every step, and believe in the power if jinxing myself.

And there you have it. Exciting prospects but vague on details. So please, say a prayer, light a candle, check your runes, consult your Farmer's Almanac and send us some very good vibes on this transaction, while I continue to cull cull cull to bring that moving quote down a nudge.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

March Reads

I started off the month reading Elena Ferrante again: The Story of a New Name: Neapolitan Novels, Book Two


Last month I said the Neapolitan Novels were a trilogy, but I was wrong, they are a quartet. So, I continued on and continue to get sucked into this story, even though at times I hate it. I ask myself why the narrator Lenu is so drawn to Lila, who is often awful. I want Lenu to control herself, to value herself, to pick up her dignity and walk away. Argh! So frustrating! I almost jumped into the 3rd novel in the series when I finished, but I needed a break.

So, instead, I picked up Carrie Brownstein's Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir


I wouldn't say I'm a Sleater-Kinney fan, and I wouldn't say I'm a Portlandia fan, but I enjoyed this book. In writing about her musical roots and the Pacific-Northwest music scene of the 90s, Carrie Brownstein writes about a lot of bands I did know and some that I loved, and of a scene (90s PNW) that I was pretty into at one time. She's also a good, thoughtful and insightful writer, so I enjoyed her perspective and story.

If you follow me on Goodreads (www.goodreads.com/thecrabigail) you'll see that I've read quite a number of books published by the company I work for. I'm undecided on whether I will cover them in my monthly write-ups. I did last month, and maybe I will again, but I'll skip this month.


Monday, March 28, 2016

Dyeing Easter Eggs

Hands down, my favorite thing about Easter is painting Easter eggs. I admit that I had to convince L. to get to work on painting his eggs this year, but once he got started he loved it.


I like to blow-out my eggs, instead of hard boiling them. The benefits of blowing them out are: 1) they last longer (forever, maybe) and 2) they don't break as easily when dropped, because they are so lightweight.

I saw a pin on Pinterest on "how to blow out Easter eggs", and had to scoff. Here's a brief tutorial; poke a hole at the top with a pin or small nail or screw, then poke a hole at the bottom. Then blow, blow, blow. You're welcome.

Facetime + egg dye
I bought a Pas kit this year, and I made my own colors with food coloring. The food coloring dyes worked much better than the kit, but all the eggs turned out beautifully.




I used this incredibly helpful McCormick Easter Egg Dyeing Guide to make my colors, though when it's a 2.75 year old artist, you get the multicolored beauties we have here. Here's our technique - just drop them into different colors for varying amounts of time, and voila! Move over Martha Stewart!

L. was (rightfully!) proud of his creations, as was I.


My little artist also had to take his own snaps of the process. Most of the pics are blurry, but he loves to be behind the lens.




All that work! However, come Easter morning L. could not be bothered looking for the eggs that the Easter Bunny dutifully hid, because he found a remote control car in his basket and it is the most important thing in the world at the moment. It even had to lie in bed for storytime with us last night...


Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Scoop

I was on a roll there with regular posting. I even made myself a blog calendar so I could get into the habit of updating more, but then went momentarily silent. What happened? Not really anything, but I will give you on an update on happenings in our neck of the woods.

Celebrity Sighting?
Well, on the smallish level, I got a framing gift certificate from my parents for my birthday, and I finally got this poster framed! It's been sitting in a tube for 2 years, and I am so happy with how it turned out.


This photo is a total lie, because I have nowhere to put it, and it isn't hanging as of yet. In fact, it sits and waits for our big planned move, which leads me to my next point.


Which is that we are house hunting. Our plan to move and rent has become a plan to move and buy. It just makes more sense fiscally at the moment. I was hesitant to mention it here, in case everything goes belly-up, but there it is. It may still go belly-up.

We have spent the last couple weekends driving out to the 'burbs to look at houses. The first weekend we saw one we both loved, but we hesitated because it felt "too soon", and we lost out. Last weekend we saw another that we both liked - though it needs work - but the seller is being stubborn on one sticking point (an underground oil tank), so we've had to keep looking.

No more playgrounds under highways in our future.
I get it now; the stress of buying a home. Besides the money, the responsibility, all the factors at play in moving to the suburbs (buying a car!), there's also the timing. We are entering spring where more houses will be available, for a higher price, and we're racing against a clock of our lease expiration at the end of June. But I leave that to the fates.

I am so excited about the move, the home that we can call our own and paint and update do whatever we want with. A backyard that I could be - as soon as this summer - sitting in, drinking lemonade, watch L. play in a paddle pool. I'm so confident in the town we've chosen - with every visit there we like it more.

So there we are. If I've been quiet, it's because I'm plotting. I'm on Pinterest like crazy, dreaming of my future home (follow me there? www.pinterest.com/thecrabigail). I'll keep you updated in time on our progress, please wish us luck!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Score: Brass (ish?) Trunks

Last weekend as we were walking back from the playground, I stopped in my tracks and said to H. "I want that!" Up ahead, outside my favorite neighborhood junk shop was a brass trunk. I've coveted these things for years, but they run upwards of $200-$1000 out in the real world.

I marched right in and bought it. The shopkeeper/purveyor of junk said she had two, but alas I only wanted one, simply because I couldn't carry both. It has a glass top, she said, but I rejected it. I dragged that bad boy the seven blocks home.


Look! I said to the internet. And then all night I thought about the other box. If I want to use these as side tables, two is necessary. The next day, obviously, I marched right back to the den of detritus and bought the shiny companion


I know what you're thinking, and yes, I'm trying to declutter. These actually make great storage, so justified, right? And I'm thinking that when we move I will either use them as bedside tables in the guest room that I have imagined in my head, or as side tables if we get a new, dark couch one day.

But my immediate concern was that their previous owner had stuck these stupid sticky things on top, because they had been using a glass top on them.


And they were solidly on there. I asked the internet, and my friend Christopher suggested a hair dryer, followed by Goo Gone, which apparently everyone in the world knows about.


It worked like a charm - how did Christopher know that?

Guess who was helping me?


Success!

A little Barkeeper's Friend, and they were looking better and better.


They are pretty scratched up, frankly. And I don't think they are brass, but stainless steel with some kind of plating. But I do love them, and I'm pretty chuffed with this junk shop score.

For now they sit and wait for our move, but they are useful for storing some throws, winter accessories, and of course: a pile of books each.




Monday, February 29, 2016

February sewing: sturdy fabric basket

I thought I'd make something practical for my February sewing project. Starting with my problem, which is over-abundance of kid books next to my bed:


I think you can imagine how this happens, especially if you have or know young kids.

I was looking around Pinterest for a free, easy sewing pattern for a fabric basket that might help tidy this mess up, and found this Lillyella Sturdy Fabric Basket which looked like exactly what I needed.


I used this Remix Crosses Black fabric by Robert Kaufman Remix and this Wild & Free "Fletching Chant".

The pattern was sooooo easy, and soooo cute, and I'm really happy with how it turned out.



But, if you follow me on Instagram, you know that this bedside scene is an utter and complete lie. Truth is, it usually looks more like this:


I'm not sure why my bedside table has become Grand Central Station, but it has become a depot for all variety of train and car. So, I whipped up another basket for bedside vehicle storage.



For this second basket I used a Black & White Cats fabric from Cotton & Steel, which I loooove, but seems to be out of stock. I refer to it as my Izzy fabric.


I approve.
I'm positive that I'll be making more of this cute little baskets now. Watch out, everyone is getting one as a gift.

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