Thursday, October 27, 2011

Home Decor

I promised this post to you ages ago and, finally, here it is.  Cut me some slack--I was busy!  MIL was here for a visit and then, poor baby that I am, I caught a bad cold.  So now that I'm feeling better, I've finally taken the "after" pictures of our apartment that I promised you.

We've been living in this little townhouse for almost 3 years now.  Every year, we considered it temporary: first, we thought we were going to law school and then we were thinking about moving south and most recently, we considered buying a house before coming to the decision that we're not ready and that Walker needs to get his CPA first. 

All sound decisions, but they mean that we won't be leaving our current abode for at least another year and a half--totally fine.  Our loudest neighbors have moved out and after considering the options, we determined that we do, in fact, have the best apartment in the area for the price we pay for it.  So instead of buying a home we can't afford, I've been working to make the apartment we can afford look more like a grownup home.

Our living room was probably in the most dire need of an upgrade.  Just one look at the before and you can tell recent college grads lived here with Mom's hand-me-downs:
This is how it looks today:
Crazy different, right?  Most of the changes I made were not expensive at all (the TV being the only exception)!  I bought the black cabinet in the corner from Target and the gold mirror is from TJ Maxx ($2!).  I've been meaning to slipcover the sofas--blue striped is NMS--but I am no seamstress.  If/when, I finally get around to that, you'll know, haha.

This is my favorite part:
It's not painted, just a vinyl wall decal that I bought from am Etsy seller.  I just had to (carefully) stick it to the wall.  Arty even helped me do it!  Totally easy, gentle on your budget and makes a big impact on the room as a whole.  You could even make one yourself if you're lucky enough to own one of those die-cutting machines.

I love this, too.  Another TJ Maxx purchase ($10), complete with a few more birds leftover from the design on the opposite wall.
The lower bird is actually covering a hole Walker made when he dropped the rowing machine, oops! So then I just added a couple more around the room for "thematic unity." Or something.

Dining room before:
Dining room after:
As I mentioned before, Walker's mother came to visit last weekend.  I was suitably embarassed to be entertaining my mother-in-law at a table where there are only two seats.  Walker had been doing a lot of traveling for audits this summer, which meant I didn't get to see him as much, but also meant that his firm was paying him handsomely for the overtime.  Seemed like the perfect time to upgrade to a grown-up table!
We bought this one at Bob's Discount Furniture (the Brunswick model, if you're interested).  I was surprised by how nice their stuff is.  I will probably be going back there in the future.  We loved this one because it's tall (surprise), it's got storage underneath it, and the leaf expansion folds right into the tabletop--perfect for our small space! 

What do you think of my little red lantern and dried grass accents?  They're both from the Home Good Store :)

This is a little vignette I added to the upstairs hall:
The floating shelves and silver frame are from Target, but the rest of the items were wedding gifts.  Easy way to jazz up a small empty space.

Okay, remember that sad, empty guest room?
I can't take the credit for most of this.  My parents redid their upstairs and had no further use of these beds.  So, these are totally Mom hand-me-downs, but at least they're cute!

Now here's something I actually made myself:
I got the idea from several Pinterest pins.  My longer necklaces were getting tangled in my little jewelry cupboard and my earrings were all piled in a little bowl--it was hard to find anything!  I just bought a couple of cheap frames from Walmart, some screw-in hooks (for the necklaces) and some stiff cross-stitch fabric (for the earrings) and voila!  My jewelry is now art!

Even though I still have a few projects and improvements to tackle (the couches for one!), but the place already feels more like a sophisticated home than it did when we moved in.  I think I could stay in this place for another year or so.  :)

What do you think of my changes?  What would you have done differently?

I might actually have some knitting for you next time, stay tuned!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Gretel, Take III

Alright, I'll admit it.  I love this Beret.  Its interwoven cable speaks of sophistication, but the slouch is all casual.  The fact that this is the third time I've knit this pattern is a testament to what a great knit it is!  I really don't like to repeat patterns, but this one is fun, it's well-written, and the results just speak for themselves.  Not free, but absolutely worth every penny.  Ysolda Teague sure does know how to write a knitting pattern.  I can definitely see a 4th and maybe a 5th in my future at some point.

This time, I had the brilliant idea to try it in City Tweed, something soft and rustic looking.  Why not combine one of my favorite yarns with one of my favorite patterns?  I now own the perfect fall hat:


Sorry, no action shot.  Walker and I have been extremely busy lately.  Maybe some other time--I am looking forward to the cool weather that requires such an elegant topper!

We have had an unusually busy fall this year.  This past weekend we went to Quebec City to celebrate our anniversary (two years can you believe it)!  The weather was absolutely amazing--70 and sunny the whole time.  Great food, beautiful city, lovely husband: this girl had it all.  If you're friends with me on Facebook, you can see the pictures I posted when we got back.  If not, maybe if you're nice to me, I'll post some when I get home tonight--if I have time that is.

Which brings me to our next event: Walker's mother is coming to visit this weekend.  Dun dun DUN!  Just kidding.  I really do have a lovely mother-in-law, but we didn't get back from Quebec until Monday evening and now we're scrambling to get the house in order before she comes Friday afternoon. 

It wouldn't be as bad if we hadn't also just gotten our new dining chairs (some assembly required) last night.  This "some assembly" took this spatially challenged girl about 3 hours to put the first chair together AND I used the wrong screws in one spot, which means the holes are now too big for the little screws that were supposed to go there and silly Allie has to go buy some more big screws after work tonight.  Oops.  So I still have to put two of them together, clean up the resulting mess, clean the rest of the house, put laundry away, prepare something tasty and pumpkin-y, and maybe get a workout in to maintain sanity all by bedtime tomorrow night. 

MIL keeps emailing me, telling not to worry, that she's low-maintenance, etc, but c'mon, this is me.  I don't DO half-measures.  The house is going to be clean and perfect because I say it will be.  Damn it.  Don't worry.  I'm sure I'll get it all done.  I just worry and think too much when I can't be there getting it done NOW.  And really, if worrying were an Olympic sport, I would win--or something.

Anyway, TL;DR: I've been crazy busy the last couple of weeks and that's why I haven't gotten much knitting done.

I did make decent progress on Lowry--I'm now up to the armpit on the body section--and I started Walker's Christmas sweater--6" into it--but I have a long way to go on both.  If my social calendar doesn't slow down soon, Christmas is going to be a harried mess!  I don't see this happening, either, a dear friend is getting married in early November and is graciously including me in some of the preliminary events.  Knitting can wait.

For next time, the final piece in my decorating overhaul is coming next weekend, so I'll take you for a tour of our now grown-up apartment with some tutorial links where appropriate.

Until next time, I hope you're enjoying the beautiful fall weather!