Getting Better at Things

Let’s face it: I’m terrible at two things: blogging on a regular basis and finishing projects. And that’s why I’m so happy to actually be taking care of those two items at once.

Here’s a major TA-DA! moment for you:

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Yes, that is my living room. And yes, those are completely painted walls. Sometimes you really need a kick in the ass to get moving, and for me that kick in the ass was the announcement of Apartment Therapy’s Room for Color Contest ’12. It also didn’t hurt that temperatures have finally dropped to the point where I can comfortably paint my apartment without dripping paint AND sweat everywhere.

So because I finally got this room finished, I’m really looking forward to the Room for Color contest this year. Once I get some decent light in the apartment (this weekend was beautiful but it’s nothing but rain for a while now) I’ll be able to take some better pics. This was my first attempt at styling the room and you may notice some items of note.

First, there are pictures on the walls. This was actually the last thing that I did, because I’ve procrastinated over getting molding hooks. The walls in this place are solid as a rock. Seriously, I attempted to hammer a traditional picture hanging hook into the wall and the result was Wall – 1, Hook – 0. This is pretty much the only way I’m going to get pictures on my walls without drilling holes, something I really don’t want to do.

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The pillow covers are also new. They’re simple envelope covers but I think they turned out really well. I went back and forth on what color scheme I wanted for these accents, but I think the deep purple and gold work really well with the walls. The yellow fabric is Anna Maria Horner’s Field Study Coordinates in Saffron. The multi-colored fabric is Summer’s End by Hoffman Fabrics.

Another finished item is my colorbrick quilt which you can just make out on the sofa above. I followed the tutorial from Stitched in Color using a slew of blue and green fabrics including some of my absolute favorites: the Tufted Tweets chairs and sofas and the Grand Tour Bottles. Instead of making a back, I opted to do a binding-less quilt with one of my many fleece blankets. This one is twin sized, so it’s pretty much ideal for laying on the couch and watching football or post-season baseball, or Fall TV. I’ll try to get a better photo updated shortly.

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But most important are the walls, which are, in my opinion, the absolute best color. It’s called Thermal Spring by Behr, which I think is such a great descriptive name. When dealing with teals, you tend to think the color is cool, but there is something about this color that just reads warm and cozy to me. The color really does change quite a bit depending on the light levels, but I think that adds to the charm. I went with bright white for the trim (really, it’s just off-the-shelf White by Glidden). The ceiling was already painted white when I moved in so I just needed to do the picture rail and the window and door casings to tie everything together (and get rid of that horrid beige they had painted everything).

How Do I Love Thee?

One week in, and I’m still very much in the honeymoon phase with my new apartment. As sad as it was to leave a place I’d called home for so long, the new place is quickly erasing any residual good will I may have had for the old one.

Consider:
1. I’m on the top floor with no buildings opposite my windows, which means constant, glorious light all day.

2. Water pressure is amazing. And for some reason it leaves my hair so much softer than the water at the old place.

3. No upstairs neighbors. No one doing step aerobics late at night, or competing in living room roller derby bouts on the weekend.

4. Internet is faster. I can actually watch an episode of FNL off my Apple TV without the need for it to buffer longer than the runtime of the episode.

5. Privacy. No one hanging out in front of my windows means I can leave the curtains open. Peeping Toms in the park may be getting a show, but only if they climb a tree.

6. Quiet. No more car horns or car alarms every time a motorcycle races by. No more impromptu parties or drunken fights in front of my building at 3 am. No more rear-ended car accidents (seriously, in 8 years, there had been at least that many accidents outside my window while I was home). Just birds chirping and dogs barking in the park with the occasional noise through the walls of my neighbor’s apartment. And that I can handle.

Oh, it is so on…

Boom. Look at that.

That is a living room wall freshly painted with color samples. And it’s mine, all mine.

The paperwork has been signed, the rent has been finalized (and lowered! Hey, that’s what I’m talking about!), and the keys are in my hot little hands. So now I begin the process of prepping the new apartment for the move. One of the benefits of staying in my neighborhood is the ease with which I can gradually move my things to the new place. My current landlord was very accommodating given the delay getting the new place ready and they’re letting me stay put until May 2nd instead of booting me out today. This meant that I was able to get into the place today, paint mockups of colors in the living room and bedroom, and drag several bags of things over to make the big day a bit less stressful.

The schedule as it stands is that tomorrow I’ll make a quick trip over to the new place, pick my favorite colors in the light of day, and then take a trip to Home Depot to get everything I need so I can paint all afternoon and evening. I’m ridiculously excited about it and dreading it at the same time.

The packing itself has gone fairly well, or at least I think so. Who knows what the movers will say when they show up. I may have overloaded every box and they’ll be furious, or at least grumbling. The only conclusion I’ve come to is that despite the amount of purging I’ve done of extraneous things, I still have a ridiculous amount of STUFF. It’s been incredibly therapeutic getting rid of clutter and sorting the good from the unnecessary, but when faced with just how much you’ve acquired in 8 years in one place, it’s also slightly horrifying. I’m thinking that I may need to adopt a “1 in, 1 out” rule for specific items and really focus on curating my belongings so that if I buy new things, it’s because they’re the best example of what I’m looking for.

Don’t stick a fork in it quite yet

Today in “Things That Feel Good”: Finishing.

Kona Cotton Quilt Top

Or… almost finishing. I’ve gotten two fairly major projects nearly done. The first is my first quilt. A project I’ve been working on for a while, it’s destined to replace my existing duvet cover primarily for warmer months. What on earth possessed me to do a queen-sized quilt for my first project, I’ll never know. I only learned how to sew this summer, but the idea of doing something so big seemed like a good idea at the time.  I’ve had the quilt top done for a few weeks, but I just finished the quilt back yesterday (see below).

Kona Quilt Back

The quilt is a variation on Amy Butler’s “Thea’s Puzzle Quilt” (pdf) made with the “Poseidon” colorway from Kona Cotton. The border on the front is Kona Charcoal and the main fabric on the back is Kona Medium Gray. And for the real kicker, the binding is going to be a bright pink “Pomegranate”. I can’t wait for that. But first I have to bring my respirator home so I can spray tack the quilt sandwich and get started on the actual quilting.

Quilt Front Detail

It’s definitely not as polished as it might be if I had more experience quilting. But I’m planning to try something a bit more manageable for my next project.

And just in case I didn’t have enough on my plate with a huge quilt, I’ve also started making pillow covers for my sofa set. The current pillows are incredibly boring and pretty ugly, even if they do have a vaguely quilt-like look to them. I wanted to add a pop of color to the room and figured this was a good way to practice some new sewing skills and freshen things up as well.

Loveseat Before

Pillow Before (Blech)

For the four pillows I used 4 fat quarters of a green/bronze fabric from Andover Fabrics. The bronze metallic color matches my current nail polish, so I can understand why it appealed to me so much. I used a basic envelope pillow pattern from Sew Mama Sew.

Pillow (Front)

For the back, I used some leftover Kona Charcoal from the quilt plus some of the fabric from the front to break up the darkness of the gray.

Pillow (Back)

I need to grab some more gray yardage before I can finish the rest of the pillows, but overall I’m super pleased with how they’ve turned out. The difference is pretty dramatic right?

Loveseat After

I have a good feeling about this

2011 was a big year for me.

I turned 30.

I traveled more than ever.

I celebrated engagements, weddings, pregnancies, and births with my closest friends and family.

And I found out with the most notice possible that I would be looking for a new place in the new year. My seriously excellent roommate (SER) is making a big move herself: She’ll be getting married and moving to London. Which leaves me with a huge opportunity: the chance to find, acquire, and inhabit an apartment that is all my own.

So that’s what 2012 and this site are going to be all about: the search for and eventual making of my new home.