At Home: Last-Minute Halloween Decor

I enjoy most holidays – Christmas is probably my favorite, but I’m an equal-opportunity celebrater. For Halloween, I always try to go all out on the costume front. I also enjoy decorating, but as our home is not a trick-or-treating hot spot and life is busy, I don’t put as much into Halloween decor as I do into Christmas, when we tend to throw a party and people actually see the decorations. Still, I can’t do NOTHING, which brings me too…the easiest Halloween decor in all the land.

Halloween Decor

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At Home: IKEA Rast Nightstand Makeover

Hey! Finally a post about the house. When it comes to house stuff (the Boy can verify this tenfold), I am constantly paralyzed by choice and nothing is finished and nothing can be decided until this, that, and the other have been decided and so on. Totally normal in many ways, I know, but also totally silly.

ANYWAY…since we put on our new addition (a bed and two baths, there’s a long drawn-out story about the city and a need to reverse a 60-year-old garage conversion I won’t get into here), we have been desperately in need of new nightstands, as ours were the wrong size and bedraggled from too many moves and completely the wrong color for our fantastic new dark teal walls. After my usual endless hemming and hawing and comparison shopping, we ended up doing them DIY-style, using the ever-popular IKEA Rast dresser as a base.

Not bad, am I right? And a pretty good deal, all told. To execute said makeover, we used the following: Continue reading

At Home: Easy DIY Advent Calendar

Last year, I started the tradition of making the Boy an advent calendar to count down to Christmas. That advent calendar, while still quite simple, did require the procurement of many small gifts that would fit in envelopes, the crafting of said envelopes, and a very trying lesson in physics when the darn thing just would not stay on the wall.

This year, in a stroke of genius, I came up with an advent calendar that requires exactly five supplies, and is an affordable way to bring some DIY Christmas joy to the season!

Advent Calendar Under Tree

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In Which We Paint

This past weekend, we decided to take on a new challenge for our apartment – customizing furniture! This is a common phenomenon throughout the decorators’ blogosphere, with debate often raging as to whether on ought or ought not to paint pieces that are made of perfectly lovely wood.

And, indeed, we did have two pieces made of perfectly lovely wood – two small, pine night stands we picked up on Craigslist for a mere $50. Do we love Craigslist? Yes, we do.

One of our pretty nightstands.

However, the night stands didn’t match the reddish-stained wood that is predominant in our bedroom – on the dressers and the bed frame – and were just different enough, in fact, to look weird and out of place. So, wood purists be damned, we decided to paint. Continue reading

In Which We Get Some Color

After Christmas, our dining table stayed unfortunately…Christmasy. You see, we have dark green chairs and as we haven’t yet managed to procure a table-cloth (I know, I know, we’ve been here almost three months) we’ve held on to the red table-cloth my Mom lent us for the holidays, leaving a distinctly Christmasy feel.

Luckily, my fabulous world-traveling aunt gave us the solution as her Christmas gift – an amazing table runner from Bogotá.

Colombian Table Runner

Such a lovely weave.

The table runner somehow manages to pull the whole look of the table together, turning it from holiday to fun and eclectic – which just goes to show, when decorating, sometimes you just need that one little thing!

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In Which We Get a Toaster

We had some of a precooked lemon pepper chicken left over from Ralph’s after making all that soup, and I as hate to waste any food (but also as we hadn’t really gone shopping again since we had so much leftover soup), I decided to make Mom’s Chicken Salad. Literally. This is my mother’s recipe for chicken salad. And it’s really easy and really delicious. AND, on top of all that, we got to use the newest addition to our family of kitchen appliances, our toaster!

Black & Decker TRO480 Toaster Oven

Black & Decker TRO480 Toaster Oven, $29.99 (Orig. $44.99)

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In Which There is "Art"

Our apartment, while gradually getting more and more furnished, is substantially lacking in one segment – decoration. Yes, we’ve got our little lanterns and the occasional couch pillow, and we’ve got a bunch more waiting at the ready, but for now (beyond the bathroom, goodness know why THAT got decorated first) all we’ve got on our walls is this:

Hot Wheels Wall Tracks Starter Set

Hot Wheels Wall Tracks Starter Set, $29.39

Yes, you read that caption right, this charming piece of “modern art” is a Hot Wheels track. As in, small toy cars racing down our wall.

When the Boy first brought it home from work  – don’t ask questions – I was somewhat appalled at the idea of attaching a plastic toy car race track to our walls. But I have to say, I’ve kind of gotten used to it. And that car takes the loop FAST. We probably won’t leave it in its current location (I suggested making a big frame for it and putting it up as an art installation), but for now…Hot Wheels as art. Can we sell this to MOCA?

In Which the Couch Expands

After debating over the size of our couch in relation to the size of our television for some time (read: one month), we decided we were going to get another piece. For the couch. Not the television. So, we went back to West Elm and got an additional single piece, meaning our couch now looks like this:

The couch and recovered pillows.

Raspberry washed linen pillowcases also from West Elm.

I’ve since gotten used to it, but my initial thought was, “GLAH. Enormous!” But really, it does work better. We’ll see what happens if we move somewhere smaller, but for now all is well.

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The Bathroom

I know, I know, I didn’t start the post title with “In Which…”. But sometimes things just don’t work, and I don’t like to force anything. Go with the flow, right? Anyway, this post isn’t about a particular incident, but rather about our bathroom in general.

We love our apartment, but the bathroom is not the best thing about it. Yes, it has five different switches that do five different things (just a few days ago I realized that there is a separate light switch for the light over the sink), but otherwise it seems a bit like it was built for a tiny person. The toilet is little and the shower is very short. Too short for me, which meant it was WAY to short for the Boy. Early on, we realized that this was a matter that needed to be fixed immediately, fun as it was to sit in the bathtub with the shower on while I washed my hair. So we went to Bed, Bath, & Beyond and bought this:

HotelSpa 3-Way Multi-Shower System Shower Head

HotelSpa 3-Way Multi-Shower System with Slide Bar, $39.99

This is my favorite thing that we’ve bought for the apartment. Hands down. Our lives are so much better because of it. WE CAN STAND IN THE SHOWER. It may not sound exciting, but try living without being able to do that. Plus, this showerhead set has about five million settings, which is sort of fun. I live with a Boy who’s good at installing such things, but it seemed relatively painless. I like to think I could have done it too.

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In Which We (Finally) Got a Couch

I did forget to mention one thing in my post about my family’s visit yesterday – we received our new couch! It wasn’t supposed to arrive until after Christmas, but thank goodness Santa brought it a little earlier, since we realized later that we really wouldn’t have known where to put our guests without it.

We’re generally very happy with it (the grey is beautiful), though the proportions aren’t exactly right for the apartment. We’re waiting until the tree is gone to reassess, but for now we’re thinking we’ve got two options:

  1. Buy another piece for the longer side.
  2. Take out the corner piece and make it a regular couch, and use the corner piece as a chair in our bedroom.

Regardless, we finally have somewhere to sit that isn’t folded-up futons, so we’re happy!

The West Elm Henry sectional sofa in our living room.

West Elm Henry Sectional, Dove Grey Performance Velvet, $1497

The pillows will be transforming soon…a big thanks to Grandma, who bought us the couch as a moving-in gift (not bad, huh?)!