Monday, April 30, 2012

week seventeen

Can you believe that tomorrow is already the first of May?

Past week has been full of surprises. Tuesday I saw my first groundhog sitting in an empty lot munching away. I stopped to take pictures and a guy on his bike stopped and asked me if this was a guinea pig. I didn't know that they like to live in cities too...On Thursday I went to the launch party of Tommy Hilfiger's Promise Collection at his 5th Avenue Store with a friend. You can read about the event on my friend's blog. On my way back I snapped the picture of One World Trade center in the clouds. Can't believe how tall it has gotten...

During the weekend I have been pretty busy going through all my possessions (books, shoes, clothes etc.). I ended up with a pile to be thrown out, another pile that I will try to sell at a flea market with a friends next weekend and a third one that went back into the closet. I have a hard time to let go of things and would like to keep everything but there were a lot of clothes that just don't fit anymore and why should I hang onto something that I'll never wear again. Everything is neatly stacked and arranged by color now, I will have a much easier time finding things. Now the question is how long can I keep my clothes organized...

Are you organized when it comes to your closet or bookshelves? How do you arrange things? By season, color, style etc.?

1. groundhog 2. Promise Collection cab 3. One World Trade Center 
4. my beloved vintage Wrangler boots 5. wall in Williamsburg 
6. cat in thrift store (I miss having an animal at home)

Friday, April 27, 2012

2 years - exterior

Thanks so much for taking this little journey down memory lane with me during the last two weeks!

Last but not least in my two year recap is our exterior. We've only managed to work on the front and the roof so far. The backyard is still concrete and ugly, it looks pretty much as it did when I posted photos last year in May but we plan to change that eventually. After we got a new roof I wanted to spruce up the front door and already had assembled the materials over the course of a couple of months. Unfortunately the existing door had completely rusted away under the kick plate and we decided to get a new one. Two months later I finished the project. I really like how a little pop of color makes such a big difference. Before the house looked kind of blah, after it looks so much friendlier and welcoming...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

2 years - fireplace

As promised here is a post about how our fireplace developed into what it is today. We had hoped that we could just open it like the one in the dining room, which is non-functioning because the previous owners cut off the chimney and it stops in the attic. Not a good idea to start a fire in that one. Our hope was to be able to create a functioning fireplace in the living room as the chimney is still intact. After tearing down the row of bricks we discovered lots of dirt and our boiler exhaust. Big bummer! I guess that's why they put up the row of bricks in the first place. At least we got rid of the ugly and not symmetrical stone on the floor. What was up with that? We'll never know...

We had a friend who is a contractor close the opening, build us a mantel and lay down marble mosaic on top of the original marble hearth because unfortunately it was too small for the new mantel. I searched the internet for an old cast iron fireplace cover/door to recreate the look of a working fireplace and quickly discovered that they are quite expensive if they are in a good condition. So I started looking for something I could restore myself and found a nice looking one on ebay with a starting bid of $30 and it was located in NJ, so we could pick it up ourselves. Nobody else bid on it because on one of the corners a piece had broken off, it didn't bother me because I thought I could come up with an idea on how to fix it. First I stripped the paint off of the fireplace cover, which took me months to complete. The big pieces were easy but the intricate parts were pretty time consuming. I also had to take a break from stripping the thing because I spent way too much time in the basement working on it. When I finally finished stripping and sanding the piece I started to built up the missing corner (more details here) and finished it off with a couple of coats of black spray paint.

Monday, April 23, 2012

week sixteen

Another week went by. Phew, I just can't wrap my head around how fast time is flying by. On Monday I had a meeting in Jersey City, we were standing in a parking garage and on the roof of said garage trying to find the best solution for venting a kitchen exhaust to the outside for a current project as well as where all the equipment would be located. Thursday I finally won the fight woman vs chair in the ninth round. Will be posting more pictures of the finished chair soon. On Saturday we dusted of our bikes and did a bike tour along the Hudson on the west side of Manhattan. We started on 33rd Street and almost made it up to the Cloisters, around 190th Street. On the way back we biked to the World Trade Center, took a train back to New Jersey and had to bike a little more to get home. All in all we covered about 25 miles (about 40 kilometers), which is about half of what I'll have to bike in two weeks during the 5 Boro Bike Tour. After we got home around 6:30pm I wanted to take a quick nap but managed to fall asleep until 9am the next day...

 1. Jersey City Powerhouse 2. Jersey City Powerhouse 3. I finished my chair. Yay! 
4. first bike tour of the season 5. the little red lighthouse 5. Hoboken Terminal

Friday, April 20, 2012

2 years - living room

Next part of my little recap on what we've been up to during the two years owning our house is our living room. The living room had great bones, just like the dining room, but needed a little bit more work than just a coat of paint. We didn't like the closed fireplace and wanted to open it up to look like the one in the dining room and thought we just get rid of the row of bricks covering the opening and call it a day. Unfortunately it wasn't that easy and it took a while to figure out the best looking solution. Because it took us quite a few steps and a long time to make the fireplace look nice I will be giving the fireplace makeover it's own post next week. 

See the door on the left side of the fireplace? It didn't make any sense to us because it leads to a small hallway that had 4 doors (one from the living room, one from the main hallway, one to the guest bathroom and one to the guest bedroom) and not much room for anything else. So we closed the door opening and put a coat rack for our guest on the other side and will be hanging pictures on the living room side. Also we won't see our guest running to the bathroom when we are sitting on the couch. Guests have their own little private space now. Big improvement! We already owned all the furniture you can see except the bookcase which is actually the IKEA Bestå System. When we moved to the US we brought some of our furniture with us (it was paid for by P's company) and because we didn't bring a coffee table we used my metal storage boxes as make shift tables and nine years later we still don't own a "proper" coffee table. We'll see it might change, it might not.

And yes I took a stone sculpting class and made both sculptures in the living room. I really enjoyed it, to me it was really relaxing to chip away at the stone and turn it into something new. After finishing those two pieces my teacher teacher moved away and now I don't really have time to do it anymore. Maybe I should pick it up again...

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

2 years - dining room

Today is my second blog anniversary. Can't believe it has already been that long. Thanks for taking this journey with me, without you it wouldn't be the same!

Second in my two year recap is the dining room. It was a pretty easy transformation, especially compared to the kitchen, we just painted the walls, ceiling, window and door frames, crown and base moulding and called it a day. OK, now that I wrote down what we painted it sounds like a lot of work and it also took a while to finish it all. Of course we also swapped the chandelier for a more modern light fixture and the stained roman shades needed to go as well. The chandelier was the same model than the one in the kitchen, there was also a smaller one like that in the hallway. I managed to sell all three of them at a local flea market for $30. Yay! Tried to give it away for free on craigslist before but nobody came to pick them up...We already owned all the furniture except the chair and the side tables in the window nook so we didn't have to spend much on this room. The little side board under the orange poster I brought from Germany, I found it sitting next to the dumpster of my student dorm. Even back then I picked up furniture from the street. We managed to finish the dining room just in time for Thanksgiving 2010 and hosted our first Thanksgiving dinner for a group of friends...


Monday, April 16, 2012

2 years - kitchen

Usually I have a post about my previous week on Mondays but this week is a very special week, two years ago we closed on our house and two days later I started this blog. Last year I shared a photo of our house circa 1938 (?). This year I want to show the progress we have made so far. Let's start with the kitchen...

I can still remember when we drove to the house after the closing, vacuum and other cleaning supplies in hand to clean a couple of rooms and prep them for painting. Well we didn't have any power because the previous owners didn't pay their bills in a while. It was a Friday evening and of course we couldn't get power until Monday but we still managed to paint two rooms over the weekend. We wanted to get done as much as possible before moving in a month later. In early May my parents came over from Germany to help with the house and the move. One thing we wanted to change as soon as possible and before running out of steam was the kitchen. P and I both didn't like anything about the kitchen, it was not our style and we didn't like the colors either but a kitchen renovation was not in the budget and the cabinets were still pretty new and in good shape. So I planned to paint everything. First the kitchen needed a good scrub, everything was super greasy. We cleaned the top of the cabinets three times and they were still sticky. The area above the range had stalactites out of grease dangling from the ceiling. Yuck! My parents were nice enough to sand all the kitchen cabinets and doors so I could paint them which took a couple of weeks (or months) to finish. I even painted the tile backsplash and contrary to all the negative things I had read about painting tile it still looks like the day I finished painting. You can find some pictures of the whole process here.

All in all we painted the cabinets (doors and visible parts), tile backsplash, walls, window and door frames, ceiling, base and crown molding, changed all the handles, replaced missing hinges, switched out the light fixture, as well as the range, microwave and the dishwasher. Because there was too much unused space in the middle of the room we later added an island that we snatched up on sale at IKEA. Quite a change from the before...

Friday, April 13, 2012

cherry tree

It's Friday! Yay! Do you have anything fun planned for the weekend? I want to weed our front yard and hopefully finish sanding this dresser, which has been sitting around in our since last July. I'm almost done sanding and just want to finish it before the dresser has been in our basement for a year. We are planning to use the dresser in our living room and put the TV on it. Actually we would need a new TV as well, we have an old humungous model and would upgrade to a flat screen TV because the old one would not fit on top of the dresser. I dream of a white TV, that would blend into the background more because TV's are not that pretty to look at...

Last weekend I took hundreds of photos of the tree just to try out my new camera, it's so much fun discovering what it can do and the tree looks so pretty right now, but the weeds underneath it take away from its beauty. Also the neighbors might think we're the one house ruining everybody's curb appeal. Last year we got standing ovations from the neighbor across the street after our weeding session. So weeding time is here! 

Happy Friday!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

woman vs chair - round 8

Last week I managed to staple the seat cushion and some loose bits of fabric on the backrest. The only thing left to do is to add the finishing touches. First I will have to add a dust cover under the seat cushion which will hide the wood and cover the uneven edge of the fabric. Also I will be adding more grey fabric to the underside of the backrest, so all exposed parts will be covered. Can't wait to attach the legs and admire the finished chair...and of course sit in it.

Monday, April 9, 2012

week fourteen

The last week started off on the wrong foot. I had been wearing these boots on Monday which I hadn't worn in a while and before I even reached the office I had a blister on each of my heels. Don't know why this happened because I have worn these boots many times before without getting blisters. While sitting on my desk working I broke of the heel of one boot, it got stuck under the base of my chair and snapped right off. Take that boots for giving my feet blisters! Luckily it was just the sole of the boot and it's very fixable. I was also lucky that I had my gym bag with me, I haven't been to the gym in forever and had planned to go again that day so I was able to slip into my comfy sneakers. 

But not all was bad this week, Instagram finally came out with a version for Android phones. My first two pictures are the ones in the middle. You can find my Instagram photos here. On Friday my bosses let us all all go home earlier because of Passover/Easter. I used the time to get my hair cut and met with P, who had the whole day off, for an early dinner at Radegast Biergarten in Brooklyn, nothing says happy weekend than some yummy smoked pork chop and a glass of beer...


Friday, April 6, 2012

happy easter!

While "wasting" some time on Pinterest last week I came across some cute ideas for Easter. Here are my three favorites. We don't really do anything special for Easter but the message in an egg is so cute I might try it out next year and send it to friends as an Easter greeting. And who can say no to s'mores, especially if they were made with colorful peeps. Do you have anything fun planned this weekend? Whatever your plans are just enjoy your weekend!

1. message in an egg via Poppytalk 2. peep s'mores via eclectic recipes 
3. no dye easter eggs via Better Homes and Gardens

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

architecture and signs of south beach

We didn't just stay in Fort Myers Beach but also drove to Miami for a day. Spent the day in the South Beach area, mostly walking around and absorb the art deco architecture. Of course I was trying out my new camera but I still have to figure out so many functions, so most pictures I took in the automatic setting. When I was in South Beach for the first time in 1997 some of the hotels that look pretty fancy now were still abandoned or run down which I thought was quite charming in its own way.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

woman vs chair - round 7

The last round was all about finishing the backside of the backrest. I used a flexible metal strip (ply grip) and stretched the fabric over the little teeth, trimmed the access and folded everything over. Than I gave it a little whack with a hammer to ensure everything was tightly folded over (as seen in the 5th photo). Next step is finishing the seat cushion and polishing the legs...


Monday, April 2, 2012

week thirteen

As I already mentioned on Friday I snug away for a little vacation in sunny Fort Myers beach. It was great to unwind and not think about work and the daily grind back at home. Although I felt rested when I got back I feel very tired now and have a hard time getting back into the groove of things. On Friday I fell asleep shortly after 10pm and woke up the next day after 12 hours which is really unusual for me because I don't like to sleep too long on weekends because I won't be able to get much done. I will get antsy at around 8am and have to get up no matter what time I went to bed the night before. Hopefully I will get my mojo back this week...

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