Repurpose

Today, I avoided a day of shopping by repurposing something I was going to get rid of.

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My plan for this windy Saturday was to drag myself out the door to shop for a mat to put by my bed. Despite some pre-weekend Google searches, I wasn’t feeling very optimistic about finding something that would work and that I liked.

I like having a mat by my bed for two reasons: (1) it’s a little warmer on chilly winter mornings, and, (2) my floor gets dusty and dirty when my windows are open (most of the time, most of the year), and I like to have a mat to wipe my feet off before getting into bed. It’s like a doormat, but for my bed. A bed mat!

Over the summer, I was using a woven mat I bought at IKEA a couple years ago. It’s simple, durable, washable, and just about the right size for the space.  But, it belongs by my front door, where it’s supposed to keep most of the outdoor dirt away from my living space. Over the summer, I put up with wiping my shoes on the carpet in the hall and taking my shoes off as I was in the doorway. But, the weather has been wet and I needed to put my mat back by the door to catch the mud.

One of the things that the temporary mat taught me was that I definitely still need something that can be washed. Even though it wasn’t getting outdoor dirt when it was next to the bed, it still got dirty. When it’s by the front door, I typically wash the temporary mat every month or so, but because the mat was next to my bed, I often wanted to wash it more often. Unfortunately, the mat’s bulky and the dye is slowing washing out (i.e., it’s not something I can easily toss in with other things). I would like to wash my bed mat every time I wash my rags and such, so I wanted to find something washable and not too bulky. A couple small, woven area rugs (2 x 3 feet) would have worked.

Initially, I considered going to Ikea, but that’s a long way (1-1.5 hours and 1-2 transfers) for a couple of cheap rugs. Winners is hit and miss. And, most of the decor stores in my areas either didn’t seem to carry what I needed, or had expensive options. I envisioned a lot of “nope” and “where do I try next?”

Have I mentioned I don’t like to shop at the best of times? Needless to say, I was procrastinating to delay what I expected would be a long and annoying day. I convinced myself that I “had” to sort my donation/sell pile into categories. And, that’s where I found my solution.

A couple of years ago, in one of my many attempts to pick up regular yoga, I bought a yoga mat towel (these, but a different design). It was the peak of winter (read: cold!) and I thought that the mat towel would feel warmer. I had also been told that it would protect my mat. I happened to find a beautiful design in dark blue (my favourite colour), but I found it very annoying. Yes, it felt warmer, but it also got caught up in my feet, dragged around, bunched up under me and didn’t feel as grippy as I would have liked. At the end of the day, I much preferred to go without.

It ended up being one of those things that I had a really hard time getting rid of – it was beautiful, it had been expensive … surely I just needed to get used to it! So, there it was, still in my donate/sell pile. And, there was the empty space by my bed. The yoga mat towel has silicone on the bottom to grip to the floor, it’s soft, it feels warmer, it’s washable, it’s not bulky, it’s colourfast, it sort of matches my bedding, and I love it. Also, it’s free because I already own it, and it saved me from a day of shopping.

Sure, it’s not a conventional option for a mat and it doesn’t entirely match my bedding style, but who cares. Using it by my bed means that I get to repurpose something I love but wasn’t using, and it allows me to save the money I was going to spend (or, to spend it on something else, like the Himalayan rock salt lamp I’ve been wanting to buy).

I’ll still keep my eye open for something better (like this, but in pink; or one of the many fabulous rugs I’m pinned over the years), but this meets my needs and will get me through the winter.

Sometimes, you need to think outside the box.

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Feeling temporary

From 2002 to 2010 I moved 12 times. As of October 1st, 2015, I’ve been living in my current place for 5 years. And, yet, I still feel like I’m just a few months away from a move.

Clearly, all those moves left a lasting mark, because I still think like a temporary resident. For 5 years, I’ve been annoyed with little things that I could easily fix if only I could convince myself that it was worth while. For example, the crappy paint job. It would take me a while, but I could easily repaint the whole apartment (even the dreaded popcorn ceilings), but in the back of my head, a little voice keeps saying , “But, what if you move next year.” This despite deciding to stay long term when I reviewed my options earlier this year.

It’s amazing how much something as normal as moving around as a student can have a lasting effect on how we live. I still feel like a temporary tenant!

I am going to stay and I’ll continue to work on making my apartment a home, but I don’t know if those nagging worries about moving will go away anytime soon.

To move or not to move, revisited

The other day, I wrote about how I was feeling regret over renewing my lease this year (despite the fact that it made logical sense). Afterwards, I took to Pinterest and my decor journal (yes, I have a separate journal for decor related things), and started think about my options:

  1. Suck it up for another year and then move.
  2. Stay and invest in finding solutions that will help my place look a bit more cozy without acquiring more stuff.
  3. Transfer into a smaller apartment in my building after I’ve returned from vacation and had a chance to get organized.

I reviewed some notes I had made about the bachelor apartments in my building, their size, and their layout and decided that this was, without a doubt, a bad option. So, I scratched it off my list almost immediately. Yes, I could make it work (in terms of fitting in and making the space look nice), but it’s not worth it because of the noise and heat.

I realized that, in some ways, my other two options work together. Regardless of which one I pick, it could involve some planning and I will need to reconsider some of my current furniture. This, of course, made me cringe as I’d only just purchased a few new items (granted, they were small, relatively inexpensive, and just from Ikea, so even if I had to give them away, it wouldn’t be a huge loss). So, I started focusing on option #2, as it’s the one that (I think) would involve the least in terms of change and investment, and it would still satisfy the needs of option #1, as long as I continue to think in terms of finding solutions that are minimalist and/or would work in a smaller space.

I researched how to make large spaces feel more cozy. Most of the articles I found gave tips that included buying more furniture or bigger furniture, but I don’t want do either. I don’t even want to buy rugs. As it stands right now, I feel like I have the right amount of furniture, so anything that comes in will be replacing something, not adding to my collection. Some of the articles did have some good ideas that I can use: using bold colours, pulling furniture away from the walls, delineating space, and spreading things out a bit.

I looked into interior designers in the area (options, general prices, their services, etc.). I want to keep this option open, but I’m going to start with trying to make things work on my own. Because I’m not planning on making many (if any) furniture or other purchases, the biggest benefit an interior designer would be for me is a second opinion and a source of ideas I may not have thought about. But, that could be invaluable to me, especially when it comes to colours and curtain options (I tend to be too nervous about trying fun options, like patterned curtains, but I considering it for my bedroom).

I starting thinking about how I could implement some of the ideas I got from my research in ways that will work for my apartment. I have a few self-imposed restraints that I try to follow as much as possible:

  • Don’t put noisy things, like my computer, against a shared wall (both my neighbours have bedrooms adjacent to my apartment)
  • Don’t put anything that can’t handle the dust or the cold in front of the one window that stays open almost all the time
  • Don’t block all the windows (I don’t mind partially blocking some windows, like the one behind my sofa, which I rarely need to access).

I also reviewed some of the past furniture layouts I’ve had, keeping in mind that they may work better for me now, as I have some different furniture. I’m so glad I take an abundance of random pictures when I change things around. This step was far more useful to me than I expected.

I think that I’ve found some good solutions that should (with a few tweeks) work all year round. I made a few sketches of new furniture layouts that I think will work. I even accidentally stumbled on the perfect solution for making some minor updates to the bathroom that will help tie it in with the rest of the apartment (currently, my bathroom looks great, but the colour scheme is very different from what I’ve been using everywhere else).

And, now operation “I think I finally know what to do with my space” can begin. I decided that would be the best name for it as I’ve been in a constant struggle to find the right direction with my decor and to settle on anything. Now, I have a concrete set of goals (work towards having what I need for a smaller space while making my current space work for me for another couple of years) and I have what I need to take the first steps.

I’m also confident that I have the right starting point in terms of furniture. For the first time since I moved here, I know that I like (if not love) almost all of my furniture and that most of my furniture works really well for me. For a long time, I tried to chip away at the issues by replacing one thing at a time, but I think I needed the mental jolt of having all the “bad” stuff replaced in one go. This allowed me to see what I had, as opposed to obsessing over the things I didn’t like or that weren’t working. Now that I’m confident that I have the bones more or less figured out, I can start working on the details: curtains, pillow covers, a nicer and bigger dresser, etc.

My first step will be to take the layout sketches I made last week and make them happen. I’ll want to live with the changes for a few weeks to make sure they work, but that will give me some time to do some homework (reviewing my colour base scheme, making lists of the last few things I want to replace/fix/update, etc.).

Edit: I actually did change my bedroom around the night that I wrote this. Here’s a sneak peak. I then changed, but haven’t quite finished tidying, my living room. Both look and feel great!

To move or not to move

Every year, I have the same dilemma: should I move or stay? It’s a hard decision to make because I have to make it at a point in the year when I dislike my apartment the most. For about 4 months each year, my apartment is frustratingly noisy because I have to keep the windows open and I live on a major city artery. Near the end of those 4 months, I have to decide if I will stay.

This year, I thought that the decision was easy: they’d only increased my rent by $20/month and my lease ends just days after returning home from a big vacation (Paris!). It just made sense to renew my lease.

Oh, but then I’m so full of regret. You see, I spent the past year or so working on getting rid of the things I don’t need or want (remember, I was a poor student when I first moved out west, so I acquired a lot of hand-me-downs and it-will-dos), planning how to make my space work for me, and buying the odds and ends of things that I needed. After all that effort, I’ve realized that I really do want to live in a smaller space.

I love small spaces. I have two Pinterest boards dedicated to small spaces and one of my favourite blogs has a series dedicated to living in a small apartment. I love the simplicity of a small space, how cozy it can feel and how easy it is to keep clean (assuming you live somewhat minimally or are very organized). Almost every piece of furniture or household item I’ve purchased in the past few years had to meet my “would I be able to use it in a small space” criteria.

And, yet, here I am stuck in my big apartment. It’s nice, but it’s also 650 square feet and about 50-75 of those square feet is wasted in hallways. My living room has an empty space large enough for a dining table or sofa. My bedroom seems oddly disproportionate simply because it’s so damned big and so damned empty. The apartment would be perfect for a couple, someone who wanted an office in their bedroom, or even just someone with large furniture. For me, it’s just weird.

So, what am I to do? I think I have few options:

1. Suck it up for another year and then move. 

This is the default option. Certainly, it wouldn’t be the end of the world and I would have lots of time to think about where I’d like to move and to start looking at options. It would also give me time to think about and prepare for what I might need to transition to a smaller space (not much, I think, but there may be some habits I’ll need to reconsider and I’d probably want to exchange my short shelves for taller ones, to maximize my vertical storage).

2. Stay and invest in finding solutions that will help my place look a bit more cozy without acquiring much (if any) more stuff. 

Despite the noise in the summer (which I have gotten much better at dealing with), this might make the most sense. Once you factor in paying for movers, boxes, incidentals (meals out, etc.), and replacing some furniture to better serve a smaller space, moving can be quite expensive. It’s also a pain in the butt to move and there are no guarantees that you’ll like the new place.

With a much smaller investment, I could probably make my current place work a bit better for my needs. For example, I could hire an interior designer to help me come up with some ideas. Maybe I need to rethink how I’ve organized my space. Maybe I need to consider adding a bit of easy-to-cover colour (pale shades; I’m allowed to paint, as long as I make everything white before I leave) or removable wall paper.

I can also consider how I can work towards being ready for a small space. For example, I recently decided that my sofa is all wrong. While I could replace it with a nicer sofa or get a slip cover, it’s not something that I would want to bring to a small space (space will be at a premium and having my sewing table is more important than having a sofa). The best option might be to get daybed that could be used as my primary bed/seating in a smaller space.

Lastly, I can continue to work on finding the best solutions for my apartment. For example, one of the things that has really annoyed me this year is that I recently put up some beautiful sheers, but they look silly with the sun blocking panels I put up for the summer (in some cases, the panels are grey on the inside, which shows through the sheers – it looks awful). It might be better if I could find some cheerful but less sheer curtains or sheets to use in the summer. This would, if nothing else, help me to remember to wash my curtains once or twice a year.

All of these options would allow me to stay in one place and save money in the long run. I wouldn’t have to worry about moving, unpacking, getting used to a new neighbourhood, adjusting to a new apartment building and it’s management, etc.

3. Transfer into a smaller apartment in my building after I’ve returned from vacation and had a chance to get organized. 

I’m pretty sure this would be a bad idea. The bachelor apartments in my building are nice, but not great. They’re also really hot, right over the dumpsters, next to the elevators, and just a tad smaller than what I need (considering their layout). I don’t want to move to a smaller space just for the sake of moving to a smaller space. I’d like to find something that’s nicer: in a quieter neighbourhood, with a balcony, or even just quite a bit cheaper.

Now that I’ve put more thought into my options and written about them, I almost wonder if my regret should actually be that I didn’t ask for a longer termed lease. Yes, I do want to move to a quieter neighborhood and yes I do want to move to a smaller space, but it seems that I prefer the idea of taking my time. I feel like it would be worth my while to put more thought into what I might need to do to make my space a bit more cozy so that I can stick around for a bit longer. Who knows, maybe it will help give me the boost I need to really get cracking at saving to buy a place, so maybe that dreamy small space in a quiet neighbourhood will turn out to be a wee little condo.

Painted frame

One of my favourite decor projects is finding cheap frames and sprucing them up with a little paint. It hardly takes any time at all and it makes a huge difference. A couple of years ago, I painted a few black with metallic stripes. They looked pretty darned good, but I’ve been swapping art, so they need to be redone. I haven’t decided what colour to paint two of them (currently holding these awesome acquisitions), but I knew right away that green would be perfect for the third.

I wanted to find a green that was a close match to the kinds of green in the print’s foliage.  Because I didn’t want to risk ruining the print, I pulled out a damaged clean plastic sleeve to test my paint. It’s a great way to find the right colour because you can paint “on” the thing you want to match.

Mixing paint for a frame

Each time I tested a new variation of dark green, I gave it a couple of minutes to dry (paint colour changes a bit when it dries) and ended up finding a close enough match after just three tries. Not back for someone who’s out of practice (mixing paints to match is an art).

Painted frame

I’m a fan of doing several thin layers followed by a couple of layers of clear finish, so it technically took me most of the afternoon, but I was doing a million other things at the same time.

The end result is a simple, but pretty frame around a gorgeous print which I get to look at each time I brush my teeth.

Bathroom art

Houseplants

I love plants! If I ever move, my biggest stress will be taking care of my green babies. I don’t have that many of them (8 at home + 2 at the office + a replaced-as-needed vase of green onions), but I would not complain about having more. They just need to be relatively easy to care for. If I have to do anything more exciting than weekly watering and the occasional shot of fertilizer, it’s not the plant for me. Which is why a lot of things I try to grow from seed disappear after a while – I get tired and bored of needy plants.

The plants that I have right now? Practically indestructible. Well. Most of them, anyway.

Two are actually the same plant, I just took some clippings and planted them after they grew a few roots. I thought they were philodendrons. I was wrong (thanks, mom!). Whatever it is, it’s a lovely and hearty vine. It even survived several weeks of being root-bound in the tiny milk pitcher, which I had to break to get the plant out.

So ... maybe I should have repotted this ages ago :o

The leaves are a beautiful green and the plants seems to be fine in all sorts of different light. I have a small one on the dark side of my office, where I sit, and one currently residing on my kitchen counter (it was in my bedroom, but I block the windows in the summer as it gets too hot in there – I thought it might like a bit more sun and now I kind of like it where it is).

Leaves
New-ish growth.

On a bit of a side note, I’ve had this random vine since 2010. It’s one of the few plants that survived the cold winters in my previous and horribly drafty apartment.

Houseplants

Another plant that survived that frozen dungeon is one of my “misc. tropical” plants. It’s a spiky looking thing that I bought at Ikea. It used to have several “artistically” bend branches and was living in a giant pot (the picture below shows my first re-potting, when it was still wee). It took up way too much space, so I hacked off a branch with two limbs and gave away the rest. I honestly didn’t think the cut branch would survive, but it’s doing really well, growing, and looking very healthy.

Re-potting
Houseplants

I have another random tropical that’s very similar, but has slightly different leaves. It was in my old boss’ office, but she gave it to me when she retired. I found it was a bit sensitive to the cold, so I had to move it from it’s original home next to a window that I open at all times of the year. Now it lives in the relatively safe spot next to my desk.

Houseplants

One pot has two kalanchoes that were rescued from a co-worker’s Christmas plant basket that was left un-watered for a few weeks. No one thought they would survive, but I coaxed them back from the near-dead and have had to clip them back twice and re-pot them a few times.  I even got rid of two of the original four. In fact, the two that I have are from clippings, so I guess I technically got rid of all four of them. They now sit in a sunny window at the office.

Kalancho leaves

I also acquired a what I think is a golden pathos vine from work, but it was given to me. Someone had abandoned it and I adopted. I did get rid of about half of the vines and trimmed what I kept to be quite short. For a long time, the pieces I kept lived in a bowl on the microwave, but I eventually potted it and now it’s absolutely magnificent. It’s also getting pretty, so I put it on my growing pile of Uppercase magazines.

Houseplants

Speaking of plants from the office, we have minor jungles in some of the offices on my floor. I might, possibly have liberated one or two tiny clippings. The first was two short clippings from what I believe to be a Hoya. I had it in water for nearly a year before I realized that it wasn’t interested in growing much by way of roots. I took a chance and planted it in dirt. It did nothing. And, more nothing. And, even more .. wait, is that new growth?! Holy leaf, batman! It finally started to grow and now it’s going nuts. One of the two is almost a meter long and keeps trying to get friendly with the candles next to it.

New growth
Hoya

I also have two spider plant clippings. I love spider plants! Right now they’re living in a vase next to my sink, but I’ll pot them. Eventually.

Houseplants

Another plant I sort of stole is my rubber plant. I clipped a piece off the rubber plant that used to live in my apartment building’s lobby. It was another plant that didn’t do much for a long, long time. But, it eventually grew a few roots and I planted in a tiny pot. It’s now not quite a meter tall and growing at a steady pace.

Growth
Houseplants

One of my favourite new acquisitions is a Christmas cactus. It didn’t really do anything for a long time, but then suddenly it grew some new leaves. And, and I’m getting a second set of new leaves now. It’s pretty exciting! I love new growth. Anyway, the plant lives on top of my fridge, which is a nice warm spot that gets just enough indirect light to keep the plant happy.

New growth ... Also, I rinsed the first of the leaves.
New growth

And, lastly, there’s my green onions. I don’t know if they really count as houseplants, but I keep replacing them even though I don’t use them that often. My current batch is from the farmer’s market (from Reclaim Urban Farm, home of my favourite mesclun mix). The ones that are left are twice as tall as they were when I first got them almost a month ago. And, a couple of them flowered, which was really nice.

Green onion bouquet.
My green onions, which I keep in water, are blooming!

I feel like I should mention the avocado seeds I’m trying to grow. I just started two new seeds two weeks ago after realizing that the first (which had shown a great deal of promise by growing a 1-inch root and starting some greenery) had decided to die. I really hope I can get one to grow soon because having to top-up the water every day is getting annoying.

Avocado seeds

And, that, my friends, is my current collection of plants.

I want more. For example, I really want to replace the snake plant that died while I was on vacation a few years ago. It would be great for my bedroom or tucked in next to my sofa. I’d also really love to buy one of the terrariums from Axis Mundi Artistry, but they mostly do succulents, which I can’t be trusted with (they die!). I know they do the occasional tropical plant terrarium, so one of these days I’m going to order one (or, maybe they’ll have one at the market). And, I keep browsing my houseplants Pinterest board which has some great ideas. I think another big tropical would be nice, as I have a mostly empty corner in my living room (and giant plants are awesome!). Maybe a Mass Cane or some sort of palm.

Cushions for my living room

I have a couple pretty cushions on my sofa. When everything is tidy, it looks really nice.

My livingroom - pillows

But, this is what it usually looks like:

My livingroom - pillows

I like to get cozy on my sofa, and those cushions aren’t quite enough to protect me from the hard edges of the sofa’s arm. I pull the back cushions around and pile up the pillows to get comfortable.

Last week, I bought some lovely Euro cushions that I had intended to use for my bedroom. Like everything else I bought for my bedroom, I ended up deciding to use them elsewhere.

My livingroom - pillows

They’re very cushy, so they’re perfect for when I want to snuggle up on my sofa. And, it’s not nearly as disruptive when I move things around because the back cushions stay in place.

My livingroom - pillows

Of course, then I decided to move some things around. I decided that the pink and green cushion cover looked fantastic on the blue chair, so I swapped things around. I then remembered that I have some beautiful canvas fabric from Eloise Renouf’s Bark & Branch fabric collection. It’s going to be gorgeous. In fact, I love it so much, I’m thinking about painting my dining table more or less the same colour.

I accidentally have the perfect fabric to cover my Euro cushions (and, must enough yardage). ❤

And, though it’s not a cushion, I thought I’d also share what I’m going to do to cover my ironing table with. Right now, it’s blah and dirty. I had considered putting it away in a closet, but I’m trying to be honest with how I use my space, and I use my ironing board enough to want it to have a permanent space in the in the living room. So, I wanted to find a fun, vibrant fabric that would look nice beside the chair and the table (which is a few feet behind the chair). The fabric I choose is Animalia Splendor from the Safari Moon collection by Frances Newcombe.

Testing fabrics for a new ironing board cover

I bought a new chair

I bought a new chair. A nice chair. One that cost more than $50 (I’m thinking of you, Poang chair that was on sale, not as comfy as expected, and not missed in the slightest). It’s blue. A dark, rich, velvety blue. I’m so in love with it!

Several months ago, I saw a beautiful teal, high-back chair online. I fell in love and after weeks of thinking about it and dreaming about how beautiful it would look in my bedroom, I finally headed off the store, Henry’s Purveyor of Fine Things, to inquire about it. Seeing it in person made me love it more, but sitting in it was a huge let down. It was OK, but not quite right.

I was so disappointed.

Until, I saw the blue chair by the sunny window.

Suddenly, I no longer remembered what it was about the other chair that I loved (ok, so maybe I did – the lovely, deep teal colour – I’m just being a bit dramatic). This chair looked like heaven. It was heaven. I could hardly believe how comfy it was to sit in. I actually got up, wandered around, sat back down in it, and then stayed there for a good 10 minutes. I even loved the throw cushion. So, I bought it.

The chair arrived the night before my birthday, and I set it up in my bedroom. It was going to be my evening reading chair and fancy clothes repository (because, let’s face it, I’m always going to be dumping clothes on any chair in my bedroom).

Less than a week later, I realized that I couldn’t keep it in my bedroom. It’s too beautiful and I’m not a consistent reader in the evening, so I felt like it was being wasted hidden away. I moved it out to my living room, and spent several days trying to figure out how to make it fit without having to move something else to a bad spot. Eventually, I made a tough decision: I don’t have room for a separate sewing table, so that was moved to my dining area, where it will be my sewing/dining/etc. table.

Today's periodic breaks from mind numbing work have been brought to you by the fact that I decided to move a piece of furniture to another room. I find that sketching things out is the best way to work through my ideas.

I used this opportunity to tweak the placement of my rug, which had the surprising effect of making the rug work a little better (it’s very modern compared to my furniture, so it looks a little out of place). Now I have a really nice area that looks pretty nice. I inspired me to start thinking about making a prettier ironing board cover (the ironing board lives against the wall behind the chair).

I've been moving stuff around again: brought my new chair out from the bedroom, shifted my good-enough-for-now rug, and added some Euro cushions (which need covers) to my sofa. The Euro cushions weren't originally meant for my bed, but they're awesome for

The chair has also made me re-consider my ottoman. I bought it when I bought the sofa, but mostly it’s just always been in the way and collected clutter. I rarely use it, and when I do I lament about how a shorter ottoman would be more comfortable to put my feet on or a proper coffee table would be more useful. Also, it’s brown (meh). So, I’m going to get rid of it. Instead, I’m going to get a short ottoman to match the chair. It will be smaller than my current ottoman (by about half), so it won’t steal as much visual or actual real estate. I won’t get a coffee table because I don’t really have the space (my living room is narrow, so the coffee table and desk chair combined would make the room feel too full) and I can clear off my side table if I ever need a bit of space to hold things.

Eventually, I’ll get a nice small table to go next to the chair (something old, petite and round, I think). And, in the next few months, I plan to get:

  • A proper desk: I use a small dining table right now, and it’s really annoying. It doesn’t have enough space and it’s not very nice looking. Though they’re hard to come by, in this laptop-crazy age, I’ve found a desk with two cabinets: one for my computer tower and wifi thingy and one for my sewing machine.
  • Some more shelves: While I don’t have a huge amount of books, I do have a lot of things for arts and crafts, some DVDs, and other odds and ends that I would love to be able to keep out in my main living space. I’m hoping to go from one half sized shelf to two full sized shelves, which would mean being able to keep everything in my living room, including my craft books (currently in the bedroom) and cookbooks (currently in a kitchen cupboard). I may even be able to display some of my pretty things which are currently hiding in my kitchen cupboards.

I won’t get started on the pillow situation (that could be a whole post of it’s own!).

Suffice to say, I’m in love with my chair and thrilled that it has helped move my living room closer to a finished stat.

Christmas decorations

This year, I finally hit that magic point where I could no longer deny that my artificial Christmas tree was too big. I had no where to put it without doing some major furniture re-arrangement, which I’m not OK with. So, I got rid of it (thank you, Freecycle). Then I tried to just live without any Christmas decorations.

Less than I week later, I put up a wee string of lights. Next thing I knew, I had all kinds of odds and ends of ornaments around the room. It’s not much, but I haven’t had time to decide exactly what I want to do and I think I may wait until the post-Christmas sales before I buy too much (though, I did buy some red silk flowers and a pretty golden bird ornament this weekend).

This is the only time I ever put up with red in my apartment (I stick with pinky colours), so I want to eventually collect a whole bunch of red ornaments, decent faux greenery, and odds and ends of gold accents. But, in the meantime, I’ve at least got a few things out.

It's not much, but at least there's a bit of Christmas in my apartment
Not technically a tree, but close enough 🎄
Christmas decorations
No tree? No problem!
Christmas candle
Christmas decorations
Christmas stars

Dirty windows

My apartment is pretty great, in many respects. When I first moved in, I took a tonne of pictures of the sunrise and the sunset (you should see my picture folders – it’s ridiculous!). I still love to watch the sun and the sky and I still try to take pictures when the sunrise or the sunset is particularly nice. But, in the four years I’ve been living here, they haven’t bothered to wash the windows once. Not once.

Where I grew up (Nova Scotia), where it rains like the dickens all the time, this would not be a problem because Mama Nature cleans the windows for free. But, in this dry, dusty, oily city the windows just keep getting dirtier and dirtier. Even after a few hard rains pounding against the windows, they’re still covered in dirt.

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Frankly, it’s getting a little depressing. If I weren’t so high up (or the windows opened in a way that allowed for easy cleaning from the inside), I’d clean them myself!