Friday, July 11, 2008

My poor Burrow (blog)

Thankfully, it's my Burrow Blog that's been neglected, and not the Burrow itself.

I painted my bedroom and bathroom, rearranged my bedroom, put desk shelves up, put up my bedroom curtains, put my entertainment center shelves up, had my front room wired for a ceiling fan and had the ceiling fan installed, put metal pegboard up in my kitchen for pots and pans, and put up a rack for my cutting boards. I donated the black utility shelves in my bedroom and front room. Piece by piece, it continues to come together. I'm ecstatic to have found a reliable electrician who I can call on for future projects.

Now, the focus turns to birthday plans--how to best arrange front room furniture to accommodate for my potluck party, as well as what part of the menu I'll provide. I'm drifiting toward setting up stations throughout my house--savory foods in the front room, drinks in the kitchen, and maybe desserts in my bedroom? I want to see if there's any way to make my bedroom less bedroomy so people aren't freaked out by the idea of actually using that room. Last year, everyone squeezed into the front room. They said they wanted to be in the same room that I was in, so I was glad that people wandered in and out of the party between 2 and 10, but this time, it's all a dinner engagement. Last year, I had almost 40 people show up. This year, so far, I've only had 17 confirmations, and a lot of people will be out of town or otherwise busy.

I guess we'll just have to see how it plays out! Either way, I'm excited! T-minus 9 days!

I'll either update this post with photos later or make a new photo post.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I painted the ceilings in my bathroom and bedroom on Sunday. The plan was to get a jumpstart on Saturday and have it done Sunday. Next thing I knew, it was Sunday, and I'd slept in, getting up at what I hoped would be an early enough hour to catch my mom to wish her a happy Mom's day before she and Dad left for bingo. After a conversation, I cooked a decent lunch, then, around 1, I started. I cleaned the walls, tried to take the vent covers and switch/plug plates off without damaging too much (they'd been painted on by the previous painters), and decided I was too lazy for taping or drop clothes. Thank goodness for edging pads and patience! No drips (of consequence). Status: ceilings painted, most of the bathroom painted. The bit of bathroom wall closest to my bedroom isn't painted because ... I ran out of paint. I got a quart, but underestimated how dark my starting color was and, therefore, how much I'd need to cover it. I'm trying to see if I can coax a creative idea out of my brain aside from going back for another quart. I don't know if I can get a sample jar, or if I can get a sample jar of the gloss finish. The real bummer is that it's the bit of wall that holds my medicine cabinet, so until I figure something out, the cabinet is just hanging out in my bedroom. Which I'm hoping to paint tomorrow. Tonight, I was hoping to be asleep by bedtime (11 p.m.). It's 12:33 a.m. I will make a concentrated effort to fall asleep as soon as I finish writing this (because making concentrated efforts to sleep always works, right?).

Also on tap for someday: try to fit most of my office into my closet so it's not crowding out my bedroom. Maybe I should get a murphy bed ... maybe I should think of one thing at a time. Like hanging the shelving solutions I picked up from IKEA.

Anyway, I love how my bathroom looks now--so much brighter and cheerier. I chose the color of the Arizona sky at sunrise, and I think it's a good approximation! Just when I thought sitting on the commode couldn't get any more inspiring. ;)

You can't really see much aside from the curtain in the before picture. And you can't really tell the color in the after picture. And also, my camera seems to be giving everything an unsightly sienna-red-orange tint lately ...
bathroom shower curtainbathroom

Friday, May 2, 2008

Back at It

Did more sorting last night and cleared up all the mess from last week's final project for my Advanced Pastry Arts class. Now, it's time to get back into my cure. That bedroom. It's gotta get done. I think it's depressing me, among other things that are depressing me. April was National Poetry Writing Month, and Hun and I participated. It seemed like the darker poems came a little easier. At least I did them all in my online journal so that they're not gathering up in piles in my room. That bedroom. It's filled with scribbles. I need to take care of all the scribbles.

I’ve been a scribbler all my life. I have an entire shelf filled with various things I’ve written, some coming from my childhood. A lot of them are college papers. There are a LOT of poems. When I was active in the local poetry community, I’d always have a pen with me, sometimes tucked into my French twist, sometimes just jammed into a pocket. I’d almost never have paper, so I’d scribble on napkins, placemat margins, or even my bare arms and hands. If I could’ve taken off my skin like a suit, I would’ve had it pressed, folded it up, and tucked it into the shelf. And that’s just the big shelf. Another shelf is filled with journals. My 6th grade teacher had us keep journals, and she’d give us prompts. What do you want to be when you grow up? A Jim Henson muppeteer. What kind of house do you want? One with a lot of books. Of course, none of those things happened, but I’m fine with that. It’s fun to look back, and interesting to know that I’m still journaling to this day. I also have a big shelf just for zine projects. Some are the zines from the two 24-Hour-Zine Thing events I spearheaded, and some still need to be scanned in. Then my own zine projects. Then there’s a shelf with computer stuff (hardware, software, media files, etc.), dog stuff, techno stuff (wires, cables, adapters—oh my!). Then the cubby holes for the tall, skinny bookshelves—those carry spray paints, colored pencils, block print sets, gift bags and tissue paper to reuse, special art papers, random stationery. Then under my bed and in my closet ... sweater boxes filled with collage materials and art supplies, paper-making stuff, scrapbooking material, rubber stamps. Then about 5 or 6 little tool boxes, each with a designated purpose—paints, sewing and crocheting, tools, more tools, drawing. How do I even begin to make heads or tails of it? Maybe I’ll start with clothes. There’s a big box in my closet holding all my winter clothes. I think I wore maybe two or three things out of it over the winter ... I guess the rest can go.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Burrow Relapses

Okay, maybe that's not true, but I did have to put the cure aside so I could focus on school and trying to get over allergy and asthma problems. I don't feel too badly about it--I've done a lot of clearing, cleaning, downsizing, and rearranging. I won't get the place anywhere near done, though, unless I cram this weekend since I have to study for a big final on Friday. That said, I did read this bit (see below) today that gave me some food for thought. Plus, Maxwell did a post about Calvin Tomkins' Living Well Is the Best Revenge. Making my place better isn't about buying things, that's for sure. It's about making it work for me and for the people I want to feel at home here. It's definitely not letting people make rough comments about things and places I care about, as I've seen happen again and again during the Small Cool competition. Certain people with taste might have well-edited homes filled with beautiful things, but without grace and manners to match, their homes aren't places I'll ever care to set foot in. So, I'm going to charge along and try to improve my home for me, and for my friends who I love to have here. I'll have to do it on my own schedule, though.

Americans unload prized belongings to make ends meet
By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO, AP Business Writer Tue Apr 29, 6:04 PM ET

NEW YORK - The for-sale listings on the online hub Craigslist come with plaintive notices, like the one from the teenager in Georgia who said her mother lost her job and pleaded, "Please buy anything you can to help out."

Or the seller in Milwaukee who wrote in one post of needing to pay bills — and put a diamond engagement ring up for bids to do it.

Struggling with mounting debt and rising prices, faced with the toughest economic times since the early 1990s, Americans are selling prized possessions online and at flea markets at alarming rates.

To meet higher gas, food and prescription drug bills, they are selling off grandmother's dishes and their own belongings. Some of the household purging has been extremely painful — families forced to part with heirlooms.

"This is not about downsizing. It's about needing gas money," said Nancy Baughman, founder of eBizAuctions, an online auction service she runs out of her garage in Raleigh, N.C. One former affluent customer is now unemployed and had to unload Hermes leather jackets and Versace jeans and silk shirts.

At Craigslist, which has become a kind of online flea market for the world, the number of for-sale listings has soared 70 percent since last July. In March, the number of listings more than doubled to almost 15 million from the year-ago period.

Craigslist CEO Jeff Buckmaster acknowledged the increasing popularity of selling all sort of items on the Web, but said the rate of growth is "moving above the usual trend line." He said he was amazed at the desperate tone in some ads.

In Daleville, Ala., Ellona Bateman-Lee has turned to eBay and flea markets to empty her three-bedroom mobile home of DVDs, VCRs, stereos and televisions.

She said she needs the cash to help pay for soaring food and utility bills and mounting health care expenses since her husband, Bob, suffered an electric shock on the job as a dump truck driver in 2006 and is now disabled.

Among her most painful sales: her grandmother's teakettle. She sold it for $6 on eBay.

"My grandmother raised me, so it hurt," she said. "We've had bouts here and there, but we always got by. This time it's different."

Economists say it is difficult to compare the selling trend with other tough times because the Internet, only in wide use since the mid-1990s, has made it much easier to unload goods than, say, at pawn shops.

But clearly, cash-strapped people are selling their belongings at bargain prices, with a flood of listings for secondhand cars, clothing and furniture hitting the market in recent months, particularly since January.

Earlier this decade, people tapped their inflated home equity and credit cards to fuel a buying binge. Now, slumping home values and a credit crisis have sapped sources of cash.

Meanwhile, soaring gas and food prices haven't kept pace with meager wage growth. Gas prices have already hit $4 per gallon in some places, and that could become more widespread this summer. The weakening job market is another big worry.

Christine Hadley, a 53-year-old registered nurse from Reading, Pa., says she used to be "a clotheshorse," splurging on pricey Dooney & Bourke handbags. But her live-in boyfriend left last year, and she has had trouble finding a job.

Piles of unpaid bills forced her to sell more than 80 items, including the handbags, which went for more than $1,000 on a site called Now, except for some artwork and threadbare furniture, her house is looking sparse.

"I need the money for essentials — to pay my bills and to eat," Hadley said.

At, which helps novices sell things online, for-sale listings rose 66 percent from February to March, much faster than the 25 percent to 30 percent average monthly pace since the company was formed in September, CEO Maureen Ellenberger said. She said she was surprised to see that most of her clients desperately needed to sell items to raise cash.

For, a classifieds and business directory site, for-sale listings for January through March rose 10 percent from the previous year.

"We can definitely detect economic stress on the part of the consumer," said John Raven, the site's chief operating officer.

On Craigslist, Buckmaster said, three of the four fastest-growing for-sale categories are tied to gas — recreational vehicles like campers and trailers, cars and trucks, and boats.

Raven noted more and more listings for furniture, particularly in areas around Miami and Las Vegas and other regions hardest hit by the housing crisis.

Baughman, who runs eBizAuctions, said that over the past four months she's been working with mostly desperate sellers instead of mainly casual ones. Most are middle-class customers who can't pay their bills and now want to be paid up front for the items instead of waiting until they are sold, she said.

The trend may be hurting secondhand stores too. Donations to the Salvation Army were down 20 percent in the January-to-March period. George Hood, the charity's national community relations and development secretary, said that was probably partly because people were selling their belongings instead.

And secondhand buyers want better deals now as well, driving prices down. Secondhand merchandise online is going for 25 to 35 percent below what it commanded a year ago, estimated Brian Riley, senior analyst at research firm The TowerGroup.

"It won't hit the saturation point until the (economy) hits the bottom and right now, we don't know when that is," he said.

In Alabama, Bateman-Lee said that she only received $30 for her TV and $45 for her DVD player at a local flea market. She doesn't have too much left to sell, but she's going back to "sort through more things."

Her $30 water bill is due this week.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

April 16

Yikes, I hadn't realized it had been two weeks since my last update! To be fair, it's been about that long since I've done any big jobs for The Cure. Aside from paint my front room ceiling, anyway. Foolishly, I decided to start prepping and painting at about 9:40 on a Thursday night, and I finished just after midnight. I was dead on Friday during work and school, but it was a huge relief to get it done.

This cut-in pad really came in handy! I really wasn't looking forward to climbing up and down a ladder to brush in all the edges.
cut-in pad for front room ceiling

It's amazing how big a difference a white ceiling makes. I love it!
it's gonna get worse before it gets better

And as I noted in the photo caption on flickr, it's going to get worse before it gets better.
it's gonna get worse before it gets better

Last week was Office week. I tidied up my home desk a little, but was hard-pressed to do any big work on it. I refuse to move on with any part of the cure until it's done, though, since it's my condo's biggest trouble spot. I'm going to pick up some cabinets for all my paper stuff. I don't feel too badly about cutting into the bathroom week, since my bathroom is almost exactly how I want it, except for painting it. I plan to get that done this weekend.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

April 2: Food and paint, but not all at once

Tonights dinner: Braised lamb shank, roasted veggies, and brown rice with pan sauce.
lamb shank dinner

Last week: Aspragus chowder.
aspragus chowder

Weekend breakfast: Hawaiian bread French toast.
Hawaiian bread French toast

Today, I bought VOC-free (VOC means volatile organic compounds) paint for my ceilings and walls. Good for the planet, and good for me and my asthma- and allergy-ravaged respiratory system. The ceiling paint is a little thicker than regular paint so it won't drip as much. The ceiling will be off white, the bedroom will be "Nightfall," and the bathroom will be "Crisp Morn." The customer service guy at the Home Depot was awesome. He looked my supplies over and strongly suggested I put just about all of it back in exchange for a $10 kit, an extension pole, and some tray liners for the tray that came with the kit. He saved me about $30! Very nice considering I questioned his color-matching job on my bathroom color. I told him it looked whiter than the blue-gray I wanted. He patiently popped the can lid, smeared it on my paint chip, dried it, and showed me that it would, indeed, dry the exact same color. He said that since it was a semi-gloss (my bathroom color), it would look a little lighter.
Fresh aire choice paint

I'm seriously hoping to paint tomorrow night, but of course, I'm behind on my time line; my room is still a disaster. Ceiling painting may have to wait until Saturday!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Timeline: I think I can, I think I can ...

Monday: Seriously—clear out the bedroom shelves and closet.

Tuesday: Vacuum/mop. Go shopping for front room color—chair pads, table runners, etc. Design kitchen storage and arts/craft storage of my dreams. Consider front room stencil.

Wednesday: Buy ceiling, bedroom, and bathroom paint, blue tape, tarps, and extension rollers; and research how to and prep front room to paint the ceiling (gulp).

Thursday: Paint front room ceiling.

Friday: School

Saturday: Hang art back up on front room walls. Decide on additional shelves for cookbooks (possibly over sideboard). Prep other rooms to paint ceiling, and paint as much ceiling as possible.

Sunday: Finish painting ceilings. Possible trip to IKEA for ideas on realizing storage dreams. Prep bathroom for painting.

Monday: Paint bathroom, maybe prep bedroom for painting, or clean up for next day’s day trip.

Tuesday: Vegas

Wednesday: Prep bedroom for painting, prepare to sleep in front room until fumes clear, start painting.

Thursday: Finish painting bedroom.

Friday: School

Sunday, March 30, 2008

There's no way around it.

First, the good: I've been able to keep everything clean, at least. I've been making my bed every day. I make sure all my dishes are done before going to bed. It really does feel better.

I need a timeline. I mean, having a general timeline from the book helps, but I'm so equally overwhelmed and uninspired with the state of my room, that I don't want to do anything with it. Yet, it's the room I spend the most time in. Granted, changes I've made to the front room have drawn me out to it more often, but there are still some questions I need to answer for it. Mostly, am I happy having the TV as the focus of the room? While it made for a good conversation space, it was unavoidable at my last lunch party that the thing to do was turn it on so we could all watch it. Granted, it made for good conversation, but I don't want me and my guests to be sucked into it. I should set a deadline to be decided by the time living room week comes around. Wait ... is that this week? Already?? *sigh*

So! Timeline.

Monday: Make timeline and post it in blog ...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

3/23/08 update: the kitchen after

Today, my house is full of flowers--both buds that have hung on from last week, and new flowers I've gotten in the past few days. They really do make my home happy!
3/23/08 flower therapy 3/21/08 flower therapy DSC03019 3/21/08 flower therapy 3/21/08 flower therapy

My post-cleaning Friday fridge. It's almost always this bare on Friday, after I've cooked everything up to eat as the week's gone by. Saturday mornings, I fill it up with produce and groceries from the Public Market and store. I'm also a bit of a neat-freak about my kitchen, cleaning it frequently, so this week's kitchen focus was fairly easy.
after: fridge

Butter, fake butter, mustards, sweet pickles, apricot preserves, plain yogurt, a hunk of ginger, some black bean sauce, a couple of bottled waters I picked up at a recent foodie event, flaxseed, hoisin sauce, some gluten-free bread that I made into croutons today ... and that concludes our tour!
after: fridge door

Some shrimp, posole from my friend B, frozen spinach and raspberries, a couple of lamb shanks, a couple of chicken backs I'm saving for stock, ice ...
after: freezer

The little cupboard over my microwave.
after: over the range

I don't use a lot of self-rising flour, so that bin is empty. If I don't plan on using my wheat flour within a month, I put it in the fridge so it doesn't get rancid. I really love my knife bar. I always wonder why some people hang them blade up, and others blade down. I like them blade up so I don't accidentally stab myself when reaching around behind the sink to clean, and so if the knives fall while I'm pulling them off the magnet, they don't land blade down. Also, it just seems safer this way when reaching for the knife.
after: center square

Random dry goods.
after: cupboard

The awkward back wall of the kitchen is clean, but still just a pile of random storage furniture. I'll figure it out, I'm sure. I had friends over for lunch today and got their opinions on a wall treatment. But I need to figure this storage thing out first.
kitchen before
Maybe I'll just design something from the ground up that fits my exact requirements, like the storage of my dreams, then try to flesh it out with stuff I can find at IKEA and Goodwill and whatnot.

Today was my first real test drive in the new front room arrangement. I like it for small groups, but I still need to see how I'll manage with sit-down dinners when I open up the folding table.

My outbox, or outpile, shrank when I invited my friends to take whatever they wanted home. One friend joked that she felt like it was her birthday, and I laughed and said I felt like Oprah Winfrey doing her Big Gift--"all of my guests today get to bring something home!"

Monday, March 17, 2008

March 15: still fussing around in the front room

I'm definitely not a pro when it comes to arranging flowers. I just haven't really had to do a lot of it. When I'd do event coordinating work for my friend, CP, the flower arrangements we'd do for banquets were pre-planned, so it was just a matter of following the plan. When I'd get flowers, I'd just stick them in a vase. Splitting bouquets the way I have been for my weekly flower therapies, I've at least made an attempt. I like seeing their sculptural values, trying to even out colors, heights, and shapes, then trying to design them for the rooms I plan to put them in. They're not fancy, but I usually just go for the mixed bouquets that Maya's Farm sells at the Public Market, and if she doesn't have any, I hit the grocery store cold case. None of my bouquets ever cost more than $10, but I think the flowers are always beautiful. I used to be so opposed to having cut flowers around, watching them slowly die, then having to toss them afterward. Now, I love being able to have them in front of me, filling my place with their beauty. Personally, I also think they just wouldn't be any happier wilting away on their home plant.

Counter flowers--it's simple, but I love this arrangement; it's the sort of thing I'd stencil on a wall. I tried to bring all the flowers to the "front," away from the wall behind it.
3/15/08 flower therapy from Fry's

Bathroom flowers
3/15/08 flower therapy from Fry's

Bedroom flowers
3/15/08 flower therapy from Fry's

One of the reasons I was opposed to getting rid of my CDs was because I like to listen to them in my car. Hun helped me find a good mp3 player on eBay for a price I was willing to pay for it. I bid for it on Monday, and it came in on Friday. It's a little small at 4G, but I'd have to drive a really long time to listen to 4G of songs ...
mp3 player

I finally sorted the books I most wanted to keep, yet I still have a few that won't fit. Two shelves of cookbooks, one shelf of poetry, one shelf of fiction, one shelf of resource/nonfiction, and one shelf of art, architecture, and craft books. I actually took the photo boxes and albums out of the top shelf of the left case to fill with cookbooks. Now, the photo boxes are on the coffee table shelf and on top of the table.
book cases

I picked up paint chips from Home Depot. Happily, they actually have some eco-safe paints in the colors I'd like to use--a sort of periwinkle for my bedroom, and a light sage for my bathroom. I've checked the chips on all my walls, under lamp light and daylight, and am getting close to narrowing something down.
paint chips

I also did another full-out clean. The condo people should be coming back after work on Monday to double-check the AC, and if all is well, we'll schedule time for them to come patch the hole they made in my bathroom wall.

I really, really need to make a trip to the used bookstore to sell books, the indie music/movie store to sell the DVDs I downsized out of my collection, and to Goodwill to donate the latest batch of stuff. I still haven't hauled out the debris from my book case tragedy; I keep thinking I can DIY something out of it. It's just pressboard, though, and may not even be worth trying to salvage. I like that it has a maple vaneer, since that's my choice wood (fake or faux), but trying to finish the edges might not be worth the time.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

March 13: still working on the front room

I'm done weeding out books, and about half the original collection is gone. Still, I can't quite fit them all in the book cases that remain. On a whim, I picked out some of my favorite books, and these were just some of the books that define me. Of course, I'm trying to keep a lot more ... I have two shelves just for cookbooks!
the (fiction) books that define me

While I'm moving stuff around, I'm keeping Scotch's giant dog bed in the closet, and she likes to sleep in there--a funny twist on the idea of putting your bed in your closet!
Scotch in her closet room

The Jo-ann fabric and craft store by my house is closing, so everything is on super sale! I bought a few things, including fabric for future window sheers (I hope).
future window sheers (maybe)

I also bought chair pads so that my chairs are a little more comfy and there's some added softness to the front room. Hmm ... I wonder if they're too small. I knew I didn't want them too big, but should they be a little smaller than the seat? Blast. It feels comfy to sit on, anyway ... (EDIT: I returned the chair pads. I'm going to keep looking for something else. I'm even wondering if I should try a different color, since there's an increasing amount of red in the room and I plan to use just a bit for my minimal wall treatment.)
chair pads

Thanks, JB, for going shopping with me and coming over to hang out while I sorted books!

Monday, March 10, 2008

March 9: trying to arrange the front room

Oh boy, I asked for this one.

A post on AT showed a photo with the same tall, pressed board book cases that I have, and I left a comment along the lines of "I have those same shelves! If I focus too much on it, the joint in the middle drives me crazy." See, the shelves are basically two short cases stacked on top of each other, precariously held together by four short plastic dowels. They're great ... if you never try to move the cases ... while they're full of books. I was convinced we could get the cases on sliders and slide then to flank the new entertainment center getup I put together. Well, my friend W and I got them on sliders, but as we were pushing one of the shelves to the far side of the entertainment center, the bottom case caved in. That's what we get for pushing the top half, leaving the bottom to bear way too much stress--the friction from the floor, the torque from the top being pushed, all that physics hoo-ha. So yeah, the bottom crumbled, the books tumbled, I ... uh ... fumbled and found myself holding the top half in my arms, full of heavy books. We slowly laid the books out on the floor as if it were a fainting woman.

casualties of furniture arranging

casualties of furniture arranging

After assessing the damage and finding it irreparable, I resolved, "Ah well--I needed to get rid of more books, anyway." I kept thinking back to Maxwell's words of wisdom about how old books sorta stifled new creativity--they were good while it lasted, but now it's time to make room for something new! Let's see *flipping pages*--ah yes, here it is: "Books are good resources and markers of experience, but we all tend to hold on to far more than we actually use. To ease the process, it is helpful to realize that books are collections of memories and old thoughts, not new ones; they carry an emotional weight as well as a physical one. On the subject, I have often quoted Karen Kingston's words from Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui to my clients: 'Holding on to old books doesn't allow you to create space for new ideas and ways of thinking to come into your life.' Not only is letting go clearing out the old, it is also trusting in the future."

So, we had a usable top section of shelf, and I filled it with some of my favorites from that case for awhile before we decided to deal with the second book case. This time, we took all the books out before moving it and sliding it to the other side of the entertainment center. We stood back and looked. The whole grouping looked like stairs, with the tall book case, the shorter entertainment center in the middle, and the new short book case on the other side. Neither of us liked the look of it so ... we broke the other book case so we had some uniformity. We tried to just ease it apart, but there were connectors we couldn't access, so we just snapped the two plastic dowels that were holding us back. So then, I had two short shelves flanking the entertainment center. I filled it with some of my favorites from that shelf (minus the cookbooks, which just wouldn't fit), then we stood back and took a look. Neither of us liked the look of it. The entertainment center--really just a black utility shelf--was like a bix black square--the big TV screen, the stereo components, and the shelf. It was fine when it wasn't flanked by the two lighter-colored book cases. W looked at me and said, "You know, I really liked them better where they were. I should've said something." I replied, "Yeah, I liked them there, too, but this just seemed like a better idea. I was really wrong." Plus, while the symmetry with the group was nice, it looked really cluttered in context with the rest of the room. So ... time to spread out again, perhaps.

I'd been thinking about just getting shelves that span the wall where the cases were--that way, I got back an inch or two of floor space and I could fit more stuff. I've also considered getting just one, good quality, tall book case, maybe with doors so my books and my few tchotchkes don't get dusty so easily. Maybe I'll just keep using the short shelves in the places I instinctively placed them when Hun and I first put them together. Dunno. I didn't like the gap between them--it seemed like a waste of space, but I wanted to be able to access the outlet on that wall. At least the short cases look better than the tall cases with the seem halfway up the case.

I told W that I'd just sort through my books again and put even more in the outbox (about 50 books, she suggested, to make them all fit well). Deep breath. In the stack of books, I found the old "All About Me" book that was kinda trendy about 8 years ago. Somewhere in it is a description of my dream home, complete with a big library with tall book cases and a bay window for a window seat. It's definitely not the home I ended up with. And a nagging part of me is trying to get the rest of me to admit that it's not the house I need. In the same book, I wrote about how I disliked excess, especially material excess--that unfulfillable desire to have more and more things. I wrote about how I hated having so many things I felt like I didn't need. One of those voices from the past is right, and I'm tending to thing it's the latter voice. There are a lot of things I can fill my little house with, but it doesn't have to be material stuff.
front room in progress

As for the rest of the front room, it seems to be holding up fairly well. After our attempt at arranging furniture, we closed the day out by making pierogies from scratch. I pushed my futon up a little and was able to fully extend my gateleg table so we could roll out dough on one end and sit and fill the pierogies on the other end. Then we ate them with onions, the whole shebang sauteed in butter. And I did up a cake.

Here, W beats potatoes for the pierogies while Scotch the Dog, always underfoot when there's food around, blinks for the camera.
Wendy making pierogies

All in all, a satisfying day. Later that night, I discovered a bruise the size of a large grapefruit on my thigh, and a large knot under it, from where I caught the book case with it. My first Burrow Cure battle wound! I finished copying the last of my CDs, which was cool. I also replaced my old shower rings with rings that had roly balls. W mentioned she had the same ones and while she liked how easily she could open her curtain, she didn't like the noise they made. They weren't any noisier than the rings that stuck, and in fact, they at least slid more easily, so the noise was briefer. Today's homework for after work is to sort through my books, carefully shuffle the cases around to see if I can find a placement for them I like, and hopefully get my rug back into my room.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

March 8: the front room--arranging furniture

So I established a landing strip. Before, it was to the left of the door, which was fine, but walking smack into the futon, I'd be more prone to toss stuff there, especially my bag. I still haven't decided if I want to line up some hooks above it, or maybe a rack next to it.

in progress: front room, landing strip

Pulling the entertainment center was more involved that the final results may look. The TV used to be on top of the coffee table, and the book case (entertainment center) as next to it, loaded with everything else. I moved the shelves to fit everything snugly, slid all the components in, and tied up all the cords. Instead of sticking it in a corner, I centered it on the wall. I'm not sure if I'll keep it there. It makes the TV the focus of the room, which I don't want. I plan to put some chairs around the coffee table, facing the futon, so it's more of a conversation space. The back flap of the futon doesn't bother me the way I was afraid it might. Again, time will tell how I feel about it later.
in progress: front room, entertainment center

in progress: front room

What to do with the coffee table is another question. I like it for things like game night, propping your feet up (as Maxwell mentioned in his book), and holding drinks, plates, and food stuff during luncheons. Since I don't dig into my DVDs and VHS tapes (yeah, I still have them) very often, I don't feel badly about blocking them off. Though I do miss the checker pattern. ;) I still have to sort through the media and get rid of the DVDs and tapes I don't want or need anymore.
in progress: front room

I was wary about trying to create little spaces with furniture, but I like the feel of it. We'll see how I like it after I've used the space more, though!
in progress: front room

Tomorrow's project will be to try flanking the entertainment center with the book cases--one on either side. Then I need to figure out wall treatments. I'm not sure if I should paint. The beige isn't really bad, and it doesn't wash out the space the way I'm afraid white would. It also doesn't make the room too dark. I need to start considering whether or not I can stencil the textured wall. If I can figure it out, I'm thinking of trying to incorporate some white from the base boards and trim into my stencil design.
before: wall color and texture throughout condo before: trim and wall color throughout condo

March 8: flower therapy

I picked up a bouquet from Maya's Farm stand at this morning's Public Market.
3/8/08 flower therapy from Maya's Farm, Public Market

3/8/08 flower therapy from Maya's Farm, Public Market

Some of the flowers went on my kitchen counter. I like their elegance and lovely colors.
3/8/08 flower therapy from Maya's Farm, Public Market

The big happy round ones went in my bedroom.
3/8/08 flower therapy from Maya's Farm, Public Market

And the wild, wispy ones went into my bathroom because it sort of reminds me of my shower curtain.
3/8/08 flower therapy from Maya's Farm, Public Market

Friday, March 7, 2008

Toward the end of Week 3, my landing strip

I bought my landing strip about a month ago, and despite it simplicty, I really like it. It doubles as my dining table. It's set just inside the door. The one problem I encountered with it is I don't open it up as a table for dinner parties until my guests have arrived and gotten comfy. It acts as a landing strip for them, too, so before dinner, we have to relocate all their purses and such to the coffee table or floor so we can move and open the table.

I store my napkins and linens in the drawers, and use the topmost drawer closest the door to hold my dog's leash, a flashlight for night-time dog walks, some plastic baggies for her business, and my keys.

I'm also going to seriously consider getting hooks for just inside the door. I'm just wary of installing something permanent to a space that needs to remain flexible.

In the meantime, I'm also contemplating my front room.

My front room is:
A living/TV/rec room
A gym
A dining room (for sit-down dinners for up to 6 or casual lunches for 6-8)
A library

When it’s not being pushed into duty as a dining room or gym, it likes to pretend to be a living room. It offers seating, a TV, and a plethora of books. The trouble is it feels more like a waiting room instead of a sitting room; it’s as if it were just a transitional space, like people go there just before being shuffled off to somewhere else. I think part of it is that all the furniture is pushed up against the wall, leaving a void large enough for a toddler’s tumbling routine in the middle instead of inviting intimate conversation. Granted, I do my yoga, kickboxing, and free weight circuit training in the middle of the room (when I’m pretending to be healthy), but ... that’s just an hour or so of a day. I need to consider it, though. A gym membership isn't an option. So, I’ve been continuing to scoot my furniture cutouts around my grid paper floor plan for the past two weeks, and so far, nothing’s inspired a Eureka. Sweetly, Hun tried valiantly to help suggest plans, a few of which were surprisingly innovative. My creative and skilled friend W is going to swing by on Sunday to help me scoot actual furniture around the actual room in an attempt to find a working arrangement.

Speaking of arrangements, this past weekend's flower arrangements have really kept me cheery. Maya's Farm at the farmers' market didn't have any, so I picked up a sale bouquet from Safeway and split it in two, placing the soothing white flowers in my bedroom and the bright and happy yellow and orange flowers on my kitchen counter. I photographed them with my camera phone and shared the love with my phone book.

March 1 March 1