Handygal is at it again

For the longest time I took the attitude that I wouldn’t try to hard to make my apartment mine because who knew how long I would actually be living there. I’ve thrown all that out the (fifth floor) window this time around because for some reason this place feels real. I don’t really know why that is, but I am pretty sure it has to do with a sense of personal investment (and by that I only partially mean the ridiculous amount of money I had to lay out from the outset).

For whatever reason I’ve actually done more in the three weeks I’ve been living here than I did in the eight years I was living at my old place. I’ve installed a lovely double towel bar and new shower head in the bathroom. I’ve installed a deadbolt and plate on the front door by myself! Look at me! Working with power tools.


Seriously look at how sloppy those moldings look. You’d think people never heard of sandpaper.

Oh hello, 3 function shower head. You and I are going to be great friends.
Why have one towel bar when you can have two?!?

Granted, I’ve also managed to royally eff up the drawers on my Ikea kitchen table, but I blame that on Michael Fassbender. (Note to Self: Do not assemble furniture while watching X-Men First Class or any other movie with Fassbender).

As of now, the bedroom is completely painted, though I may revise that if I decide to paint the window casings. This means I can hang pictures from the picture rail this week! Goodbye bare walls!

And in the biggest news of all, the final box has been unpacked. Personally I think that’s an impressive milestone considering I’ve only had two weekends to get most of the unpacking done. I wish I could say I was also completely organized with everything in its place, but c’mon I’m not a miracle worker or a wizard!


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.

Slowly but Surely



Has become this:




Has become this:


Not digging the cheesy ceramic tiles or the still grungy tub in the bathroom. And the generic cabinets… well, they look an awful lot like THESE GUYS:

I guess there’s only so much you can expect from NYC apartment renovations, but here’s hoping they don’t use the hideous bathroom tiles for the kitchen backsplash (like they did in my current place).

At this point I’m a little more than a week from my move-in date. The updated photos above were taken by my realtor about a week ago, when the Super informed her that the work would be completed by this week. We hit a bit of a snag when my realtor informed me she’d be on vacation for the next few weeks and passed me off to one of her colleagues, who would handle the rest of the move-in process. I’m a bit concerned because New Realtor doesn’t seem to have a good grasp on where things stood before that, despite a pretty detailed email from Old Realtor to both of us outlining the next steps. But I spoke with NR and she said she was checking out the apartment on Friday to make sure things had progressed to the point I could do my final walkthrough before getting the keys. So fingers crossed I get word from her this weekend.

Happiness is…

…acquiring a pair of vintage dining chairs that are almost exactly what you’ve been coveting without having to pay shipping costs beyond the price of a cab ride home.

I’ve been looking for a mid-century dining table, preferably a gate leg or other drop leaf table, and chairs to go along with it for a while now. On a whim, I decided to spend today hitting the various vintage shops in Chelsea. If I had the luxury of a car, I wouldn’t be beholden to the overpriced sources in Manhattan, but such is life. I hit a few of the bigger shops along West 17th Street with no luck, then decided that rather than going to Container Store for new underbed bins and having to lug them around all day, I should take my chances up on 24th Street, where Olde Good Things and the weekend flea market in the parking garage across the street are located.

Olde Good Things is always good for a laugh at their prices, but sometimes you never know what you’ll find. And I certainly didn’t find these there. But I got to ogle a lot of very nice furniture and salvaged stuff that always makes me wistful that these things don’t get to stay in their original locations.

I wasn’t very optimistic about the flea market, it tends to be primarily lots of ugly paintings and costume jewelery and of course on the weekend of the Mad Men premiere, it’s typically going to be overrun with people looking for vintage outfits. I happened upon this one store in the back corner of the second level after I’d pretty much given up hope of finding anything decent. I’d seen chairs in varying conditions at other vendors (including one pretty beat up Hans Olsen triangle chair), but these were pretty immaculate . There’s a small tear in the vinyl on one seat, and the joinery on the other chair is a bit loose, but they’re both stable with minimal wear and tear. Basically, just what I’ve been looking for and at a reasonable price.

I’ll see what I can do about repairing the tear in the vinyl, but I’ll probably make removable seatcovers to keep them in good shape.

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