October 31, 2008

bird silhouettes

Since my last post, I've completed the bird silhouettes on the kitchen cabinets. I suppose I'm happy with the results, though perhaps in the future some addition, subtraction, or repositioning may be in order.

Here's a closer up of the individual birds. Can anyone name them? I've no idea!

(Sorry about the grain, gosh I need a new camera...)

What do you think? Comments, suggestions?

October 28, 2008

decorating the kitchen

The one room in the apartment that I haven't given up on is the kitchen. Perhaps its the small (too small) size. Today I was feeling crafty, and originally I wanted to cover the fronts of the cabinets with a pretty paper, but I didn't have enough paper, and I was antsy. So I decided to make cutouts to apply instead. I wanted white contact paper, but like I said, I was antsy, so I settled for dark wood colored kind that I had, and I'm not at all unimpressed with the results.

What do you think? I'm thinking of adding several more birds in trees over the three cabinet fronts, but I don't want to overdo it. Also I'll have to find other kinds of birds! Luckily, it's just contact paper over highly glossed wood, so it peels right off like vinyl!

oh gloomy day

Such a rainy, gloomy day today. Even so, I took Jolly to the dog run, but there were only two dogs there. After a while we left, and I snapped this picture on the river. I loved the way the smoke stacks looked in the sky, though of course I obviously don't like that they are such pollutants in the first place.

I have many blog posts that I need to write, but I've been so busy lately with school, with more exams and due dates coming up in the next few weeks. Speaking of post ideas. Yesterday I read online that it is possible to make custom ringtones for the iPhone without paying for them through iTunes. The idea isn't to circumnavigate paying the 99 cent fee, but rather that some songs aren't available to make into a ringtone in the first place, regardless of whether or not you are willing to pay. So I read up on how to create them, and get iTunes to accept it (and then download it to your phone.) In doing so, I devised my own way that deviated slightly from most of the tutorials out there. Are there any readers who would be interested in such a tutorial? I may write one anyway, but do let me know.

October 25, 2008

postcard design

I designed a postcard for a downtown dog daycare boutique to announce that they are now offering 10 dollar half hour walks. This is the front side. I did not take the photo, though it was not very high quality to begin with, which led to some problems when printing. In the future I hope to use the higher resolution shots that I took, even with my camera, it should be an improvement. In the coming weeks I will also be designing a rates postcard and a general flyer postcard, too. I love postcards!

October 22, 2008

the best sorbet around

ciao bella mango
Have you all ever had Ciao Bella gelato or sorbetto? There are dozens of flavors. Two days ago I ordered a pizza for delivery and an hour later it still hadn't shown up. I called the pizza parlor back, turns out they had dropped the receipt for my order on the floor so it was never made. The man taking my order offered to send over some sorbet, his "best stuff" he said. We'll, I've heard of Ciao Bella before, I might have even had the vanilla gelato before, which wasn't that great. I wasn't expecting anything special when a whole pint of Mango Sorbetto arrived with my pizza. All the other mango ice creams I've had in the past are too icy and don't taste like mangos.

If you do like mango, I urge you all to run out to your grocery store and get some. It's amazing. Its not icy, it's so smooth and, well, pure mango! So refreshing. I could literally eat a whole pint without noticing, it's so light, comforting and delicious. Fat free, too!

October 21, 2008

thank blog I'm back

I knew today would be the day. When I got out of class, I had a voicemail from a 212 number, and I heard that my laptop was ready! After only five days in the shop. I went right to the Apple store and got my baby back. They replaced the logicboard completely. With a happy sigh, I say, life can finally return back to normal (though I was getting used to replacing TV shows with the Internet!)

This past Friday was not a good day. At 8:45am, just before I was going to get up to go to class, the building's super knocks on my door to say that the plumbers working on the unit above me needed to get into my apartment. These are the same guys behind the lovely leak in my kitchen ceiling, and I had to go to class, so I said no, they'll have to come another time.

Then I received one of the worst phone calls of my life from the management company, threatening me that if I didn't let them in, I would be evicted. After that, she manages to tell me it's an emergency. Well, why didn't you say so! I had no choice but to let them in, and I wouldn't have thought twice in the first place had I known that from the start. Then they tore a gorgeous hole in the boy's closet.

hole in the wall

Luckily, they've since patched it up. It didn't have to sit for weeks like the state of my kitchen. They fixed that too, both the light fixture and patching up the ceiling (though they haven't painted over the plaster yet.) In my excitement to have overhead lighting again, I realized, I've never blogged about my kitchen before!

Kitchen Before

This is our kitchen before we ever moved in. Tiny, salmon, and without much storage.

Through the Doorway
More Kitchen

We painted it light blue and installed some white metal shelving above the stove, but that wasn't enough. So we installed a pegboard on the side wall, and a small ikea shelf and a rail above the butcher block, I guess we can call it. That was enough for about five minutes, when I quickly realized we could maximize this space completely and inexpensively.


Over the summer, we took a trip to the Home Depot in Jersey City, where we got custom cut shelves that I painted white, and we hung them with Ikea Valter brackets.


Much improved. Now there isn't any more space to add storage, and I cannot imagine how we could have functioned in that kitchen without all of this. Never mind the fact that I rarely cook anyway. So that's my kitchen, and I am so glad to have it back to normal, and to have everything back to normal today!

October 14, 2008

up a creek without a laptop

I don't know what happened! Last night, I closed my beloved iBook G4 when I was done with it. A few minutes later, I opened it back up, and it wouldn't come off a blank white screen. After tons of troubleshooting, nothing had changed, so I made an appointment at the Apple store for Thursday. It's likely a problem with the logic board. Boo-hoo. I was even optimistic that Apple would release a great new MacBook today, but the new releases are nothing special, and not inexpensive enough to make me want to order a new one instead of paying to get mine fixed, which will likely cost about a third of a new laptop.

So, I don't know if I'll be posting too much, if at all this week, which I know is like blog suicide, as Anna pointed out a few days ago. Right now I'm on the boy's computer while he's still at work, and he'll likely claim it back when he gets home. I'll use the time to take a bit of a break from the Internet. I'm on my iPhone still, thank god for it, but besides that I'll lay low this week.

Today, though it's Tuesday, classes were on a Monday schedule, and I only have one class at 5:30, Accounting, which I had an exam in. The boy took the puppy to work with him today, and I was finished by 6:00, so computerless, dogless, and without any homework imminently due, I decided to leisurely walk home from school. Here's a few city shots from my iPhone to tide you over in my likely absence.

the kitchn

My post from yesterday was featured on The Kitchn today! Thanks for featuring me, and hello to any readers coming over from there!

(screencap from my iPhone)

October 13, 2008

five minute chocolate mug cake

I found the most amazing recipe yesterday. Ever have a craving for some chocolate, but you have no cookies in the house? How about baking essentials? Of course! So you can make yourself some decadent chocolate cake in a mug, in the microwave, in just five minutes.

(Images from dizzy dee, annotated by me)

At first it seems like you might have a giant explosion on your hands, or else that the cake is going to flow over the top of the mug like lava, but neither of those things will happen.

mug cake
mug cake
(two images above from half assed kitchen)

Doesn't that look delicious? I made it myself last night, and believe me, it is. Well, don't believe me, you should make it yourself. Here's the recipe:

1 Mug
4 Tablespoons flour
4 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons cocoa
Pinch salt
1 Egg
3 Tablespoons milk (I used soy)
3 Tablespoons canola or vegetable oil (or 1.5T oil and 1.5T applesauce)
Cooking spray

Coat inside of mug with cooking spray. Add all dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in egg, then remaining ingredients.

On the highest setting possible, microwave for 2-1/2 to 3 minutes. Let stand for another 5 minutes (optional). Spoon cake onto plate (also optional, as I ate it right from the mug without waiting.)

Original sources for the recipes on half assed kitchen and dizzy dee.

October 12, 2008

parasols part II

Last April, I wrote about my DIY adventure of hanging two parasols I bought at Pearl River Mart.

parasols on the wall

The other day an anonymous commenter (leave your name next time!) asked if I could better explain the system I used to hang the parasols with. On the other post, I had shown pictures of the simple wire hanger contraption the boy created, and the truth is that he bent the wire pretty arbitrarily until it balanced on the wall. But in all it came to a three-prong kind of a look.

Hanger DIY
the hanger configuration
Hanger Knot
I hope this helps. We happened to have hangers on hand, but you can really use any sort of contraption you can think of. Be creative!

luna bazaar parasols
The other day Holly at decor8 said that Luna Bazaar is offering 20% off to decor8 readers. Luna Bazaar has the most extensive collection of parasols, over 120 of them! They range in price from about $5-25.

For the square footage, parasols are an extremely affordable way to fill a wall. Think about it, we spend upwards of $30 for an 8x10 print, whereas these babies are anywhere from 20 to 32 inches across! I must say I am dying to fill a wall with them, and I think I will in our next place (whenever that is). They are too gorgeous not to.

October 08, 2008

from my bookmarks

I have a folder in my bookmarks labeled 'Keep'. It's the catch-all bin where I put sites that aren't blogs or Etsy shops, or essentials that I view every day. And just like a paper bin, sometimes things get thrown at the bottom and you forget they're there. So I went through and picked out a few to share.

From top left: This first one isn't really something I like, but I had to post it. When I first saw this shirt, $24.99, I couldn't for the life of me figure out what it said. Finally I got the 'unity' bit, but this is clearly a Southern urban thing, because no one in New York says 'n' like that!
Then there's the small red table, $129, from American Country Home. Since I probably wouldn't pay that much for a little table, I'm thinking I bookmarked it for inspiration!
My uber dream is to open a bakery, and I would love to learn how to make truffles and candy. The French Culinary Institute offers a 25-hour course to learn to make truffles, bonbons and more, for $995, but I think I may have to ride out this economy before that happens.

Bookmarks 2
Here's a book I've been meaning to get for forever, Bazaar Style, $19.77, by Selina Lake and Joanna Simmons (photography by Debi Treloar).
Lately I've been obsessing about graphic design and toying around with whether or not I want to go into it professionally. I really admire Jason Munn over at The Small Stakes for his amazing poster designs.

That's all for now! I survived a short 4-hour stint at jury duty this morning and am currently cozying on the couch in sweats, nursing a terrible cold, complete with a runny nose capable of consuming a whole box of tissues before you can say 'sniffle'. Luckily I have nothing but laying around to do until Friday.

October 03, 2008

dog photography

The boy is a dog trainer and walker downtown, and he's been wanting me to create some advertisements for him for a while now. Yesterday I met him at work and we took his favorite dog, Yuki, a Shiba Inu, to the East River for a photo shoot! Here are my three favorites:

Shiba Inu
Shiba Inu
Shiba Inu
I'm too embarrassed to admit what kind of camera I used to shoot these. For everything else, I shoot on film and I haven't upgraded my digital camera in years. It's awful. Hopefully next year I'll get a new one.

I'm still nagging the boy to give me some ideas about what he wants the ads to say, since he keeps nixing all of mine! But hopefully from these we can create some postcards to hand out or send in the mail.

October 02, 2008

house hunt

Last week, Anna at Door Sixteen blogged about a house for sale in Newburgh, NY, where she lives, for just $95,000. It's a true fixer upper, and when I saw it, I fell in love with the house's charm and the freedom of renovation.

When it became abundantly clear this week that the economy was truly tanking, I realized that a fixer upper would be the perfect route for me to take. I decided a while ago that I wanted to buy a house in the next 2-3 years, but maybe if I can bump that timeframe up to 1-2 years, I can take advantage of the low cost housing market.

So that's where I've been the past few days, being a little down in the dumps and excited at the same time, lusting over homes in New Hampshire and Maine. Down in the dumps because whenever I decide to do something in the too-distant future, it's always so tough to wait it out (so I don't advise doing this as much as possible.) Excited because of all the possibilities! Take a look at some great homes I've found.

Winchester, NH House
This house (above) is in Winchester, NH, which is 14 miles southeast of Brattleboro, VT. For just $72,500, this rural farmhouse has 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, an attached barn, an unfinished basement, and is on one acre of land.

Danbury, NH House
This one is in Danbury, NH, which is 30 miles northwest of Concord, NH. It's a classic cape listed at $73,900. That'll get you 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, about 1900 square feet, and 2.2 acres. Though the exterior needs work to look more uniform, this house is by far my favorite. It has so much charm and potential. Look at those fireplaces and hardwood floors! Gorgeous.

Livermore Falls, ME
This last house is in Livermore Falls, ME, which is 31 miles northwest of the capital, Augusta. This adorable place is just $65,000. It has 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, a basement, 2 car garage, and a little over a quarter of an acre of land. The interior definitely needs to be stripped of all that carpeting, but look at that side porch! I can already see myself eating breakfast out there, admiring the fall foliage.

Of course, I really haven't considered living in any of these areas. I've wanted to move to Maine for some time, but I want to be as close to the ocean as possible, so I'd rather the Brunswick area, which is closer to Portland. Granted, the housing prices down there are a lot higher, and I would have to go further north and east to find the great $75,000 or under fixer uppers I'd love. As for New Hampshire and Vermont, I love those states, too, but as I said, I want to be near the ocean. I've always lived in coastal states, so it's hard to imagine not. But my options are open! And, err, it's not like I'll be buying any of these, because I won't be looking until at least next fall, and even that sounds too soon to my ever-renting ears.