Sunday, February 16, 2014

Wedding Invitations Win

A very important project took priority in January: printing and assembling wedding invitations for two good friends of mine who are tying the knot this year! Here is a sneak peak from the bride's Instagram:

via gimpnelly

I'll have product and process posts up once all of their guests have received the invites.

Even though I didn't finish the January Cure IN January, I still like the framework and intent to keep going with it, so stay tuned!

- KD

Saturday, January 11, 2014

January Cure Catch-Up

Well I'm off to a good start--first week of the blog and I'm already a week behind on posts! But you know what? That's okay, because life.

Even though I haven't been posting, I HAVE been DOING. So here's a week worth of Apartment Therapy's January Cure catch-up!

LAST WEEKEND: Flowers and Floors

The folks at Apartment Therapy believe in the ability of flowers and plants to refresh a space, and I completely agree with them. But since one of the goals on my project list is to revitalize my window garden, I decided that I'd buy a live plant instead of cut flowers. Enter this little guy!

The other task was to mop the floors--getting into all the little nooks and crannies. This is a step I skipped last year, but I'm really glad I did it this year. As I was moving furniture and piles of stuff out of the way, I discovered that the piles of stuff really weren't as bad as I thought. That makes the whole month ahead much less daunting!

My mopping supplies:
- any old mop
- vinegar
- paper towels
- unscented dryer sheets
- Beyoncé's new album
- sneakers

A few thoughts about mopping:
- I use a solution of vinegar and water--I'm trying to use less chemicals in the apartment, and the added benefit is that vinegar cuts the smell of any animal accidents, even to their super-noses, so they aren't attracted back to the same spot. We use a spray bottle with 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water for every-day cleaning (including said accidents), and for mopping I just create a bigger batch in the tub (and use it to give the tub a quick scrub afterwards, too!).
- No matter how much we sweep, there's always stray pet hair. And my husband handles most of our sweeping because it aggravates my pet allergies (couldn't live without the little fuzzies, though!). Mopping weighs the hair and dander down, so after scrubbing each section of floor I use a sweeping motion with the mop to gather up the hair, grab it with a paper towel, and toss the soppy fluff ball in the trash (using each paper towel as many times as possible, of course).
- I'd heard lots of good things about cleaning baseboards with dryer sheets via Pinterest, and this is the first time I tried it out. It works great! The sheets grabbed up dust and pet hair with ease, and even lightened some of the scuff marks. I also found it really helpful for cleaning in the corners and in the crack between the baseboard and floor.
- Wear sneakers! I started out barefoot and slipped and sprained my elbow.

MONDAY: Get a Fresh Perspective

I already knew the best spot to do this, from last year: sitting in my husband's chair. It gives me an idea of how he sees the apartment, and the best way to make it function for him--i.e. how to keep stuff from piling up.

But lest it seem like I'm picking on him, the first thing I noticed was the massive pile of papers by my chair. It's mostly unfinished art projects, so I think I need a way to store each thing by project. Before I always thought of it by supply: papers here, thread there, stationery over there. But I think it will work better (and I will be more likely to put it away) if I have a box per project. Hopefully, that will also make me actually work on the projects, since I'll eliminate the excuse of "well, it's too hard to pull all that stuff out!"

The other thing I noticed: we do actually need a rug. Does anyone know what type of rug is pet-proof?

TUESDAY: Set Up an Inbox

The concept of an outbox has already become habit for me: basically, if you set aside the things you might be able to get rid of, and live without them for a little while, it becomes much easier to actually get rid of them. Living in NYC, the first skill you have to learn is purging (well, after navigating the subway, I guess). I think we are pretty good at this, and there's a space by the front door that serves as an outbox. Now we just need to actually get rid of what's in it, so tomorrow I'll take that trip to the Strand!

WEDNESDAY: Pick a Project to Cross Off Your List

Inspiration via Little Green Notebook.

I really want this to be completing the bookshelves, but I have a lot going on this month and don't want to commit to more than I can actually achieve. However, I do think that ORGANIZING the bookshelves is achievable, and will make the biggest difference to how we use the space and how it looks. The shelves are where we store all my books and, once those are organized, can be where most of my art supplies and projects are stored too. The ability to access supplies and in-process projects without taking over the apartment's living space is becoming increasingly important, so this is not only about improving our apartment, but also improving my life.

Inspiration and organization tips can be found one of my Pinterest boards, Shelf Life. I've been prepping for this one for a while, now it's time for execution!

THURSDAY: Prep Artwork for Framing and Display

This one is easy. We've got more framed prints than we have wall space for, and they're leaning against the wall ready to be hung. The hanging part isn't so easy, since I'm not sure yet how to arrange them, so I'm glad that comes later this month.

We do have a few pieces of original artwork that need frames, but I'm afraid that right now we can't afford proper frames for them. I'm debating whether temporary frames would be safe or just a waste of money--needs more research.

Stay tuned for this Friday/Weekend's task!

- K

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Apartment Therapy's January Cure

I tried my best to follow Apartment Therapy's January Cure in my old apartment last year--and had a blast! Repeating it again this year is just the kick in the pants I needed to finally start up this blog.

But first, if you want to join Apartment Therapy's Cure or follow along with their official participants, the whole thing is catalogued here!

Each day they assign a new task, which makes it less overwhelming--and helps me to pace myself. On the first day, you assess the problems in your home and come up with a list of 3-5 tasks for each room that will make the biggest impact. Here's my list, and a quick preview house tour!

Entry and hallway:
- take pile of books by door to the Strand
- create landing strip style organization on entry table
- tackle stack of sewing projects

Being able to see the kitty's litter box sort of drives me crazy, so someday I'd like to conceal that by adding a longer top to the vanity, with a brass pipe/curtain situation underneath to give him some privacy (okay, yeah, it's totally for me and the dog may destroy it, but a girl can dream, right?)

- order new shower curtain (long length; with one of Jonathan's photos printed on it)
- organize cleaning supplies, purge in favor of more natural solutions
- round water dish for pets

- hang the rest of the spice racks
- organize food and cookingware in cabinets
- fix trashcan lid

Main room:
- trim front of bookshelves ala Centsational Girl
- organize and style bookshelves
- organize behind-bed storage and design a way to hide it - upholstered headboard?
- bedskirt? (hate them, but hate seeing boxes under the bed more)
- re-plant window garden

So my husband and I each have a chair, and we each have some clutter. I'm always looking for ways to organize and store paperwork, art supplies, hobby supplies, and memorabilia. Plus there is art stuffed in every corner of this apartment that needs to be hung!
- utilize existing storage (why do things never get put away?)
- reupholster chair that puppy destroyed
- hide tv cables
- get artwork framed and hung

I know my list for the "main room" goes over the 3-5 subject limit, but since it's the only room in our house (and the one I've left for last, really), I think I'll get a pass.

Holler if you have suggestions for any of my design dilemmas!

- Kate

Life on a Shelf

Starting this blog off right with a little post about me--who I am, why I'm here, and what YOU are likely to hear about on these pages!

I moved to NYC in 2008 for the wild world of publishing. I currently live in Queens with my husband and our dog, cat, and a few fishes. We moved into our current apartment just a couple of months before getting married, so although we had grand plans, we haven't quite finished them. Decorating and keeping our home is a passion of mine--another is books of all kinds. Add those together in our tiny studio and it feels like we are living our life on a little shelf in the city. Well, if my neighbors are my cuddly fellows and my books, I'm happy as a duck!

So mostly this blog is for my house-styling and -keeping, but you're also likely to hear about books, comics, art projects (including a fledgling Etsy store--more on that later!) and those fuzzies I mentioned earlier. For more on my other interests, you can find me at:

Etsy - Pinterest - Tumblr - Twitter

photo by Jonathan Durré