Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A quick tip for sweaters

I don't remember where I first read this advice, but it's good advice nonetheless: when you've worn a sweater all day, but don't plan to wash it or dry clean it immediately, hang it the garment up and let it air out before folding it up. I always do this with my sweaters (I hang them in the bathroom on the shower rod where lots of air will circulate, rather than the closet), and I think it stretches the time between cleanings.

Dining with The New York Times

In recent weeks The New York Times food section has been a treat to read, while the House & Home grows worse and worse with each passing week. Today's Dining section had two articles I really enjoyed. The first was Frank Bruni's riveting review of Robert’s Steakhouse — which just happens to be located in a strip club, specifically the Penthouse Executive Club. It’s a lot of fun to read, if you have a minute, and Bruni says the steaks are pretty damn good. The second was this article by Alex Witchel about favorite foods disappearing from stores. It's been rare that a food I loved goes missing, but I do know what it's like for a favorite product to be discontinued.

In particular, there was a L'Oreal product in the last 90s that was a sort of hair deodorizer. I was introduced to it the summer I worked at a catering company and fish market. Kathinka, one of my pals at the catering company, always kept a bottle in her glove box and we'd spritz our hair at the end of the day, magically replacing the lingering fishy-scent for a fresh, girly smell. When the summer ended I bough my own bottle, and quickly discovered that it was also perfect for getting rid of a night's worth of cigarette smoke out of your hair (it is a great blessing that no can smoke in NYC bars anymore). A couple years ago, I went to get another bottle of this wonder-product, and couldn’t find it anywhere. I was distraught; finally I found a bottle at a discount beauty store in the town where my parents live. As it turns out, there aren’t enough girls working in fish markets for L’Oreal to turn a profit on this particular product. Slowly but surely, my last bottle is getting used up (I use it a lot less now that I rarely get soaked in smoke or fish guts). I shudder to think of the day when it finally bites the dust.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Latest ebay Obession: Owls

The latest items I am stalking on eBay are these funny glass owls. Manufactured by Fenton glass (a great name, by the way), these little hooters are just adorable. Some seem to be made to have a candle put inside of them, as the sellers describe them as "fairy lights." I would just keep them around as objets. While the pastel owls have starting bids of $10 or less, the black owl's starting bid is nearly $80! There's also mention of an elusive purple owl in one of the listings. I can only imagine what is sellls for. If you're interested in a little owl of your own, simply search "Fenton" and "owl," and don't forget to check out the eBay stores, there's tons of good stuff in there.

Fort Greene Park

Here are some pretty pictures of Fort Greene Park by Lena Corwin, a local designer whose work (and site) I greatly admire. I came across the photos on Brownstoner, and was prompted to do a quick search of the site for the park, which is a quick two block walk from my new home. The search rendered this recent post about Fort Greene Park. I was tickled to think that Walt Whitman had a hand in my local green space. I know it may be clichéd or just downright hokey, but I love Whitman, always have. Parts of Leaves of Grass give me shivers. It’s nice to get a little taste of neighborhood history from time to time.

* Photos by Lena Corwin

Monday, February 26, 2007

The quiet in this house

When people came to look at my old apartment they would ask about the noise: Did it bother me? And I could genuinely say that, it did not. This was true even though traffic on the West Side Highway rumbled by only yards from my window; even though a cross-town bus growled past regularly (though never when you wanted it to); and even though there were gaggles of gay teenage boys making a rucous throughout the night. In fact, when I had moved into the apartment I was relieved by the quiet there.

Noise is a relative experience. When I last moved, I was relocating from the corner of 125th Street and Broadway to the Far West Vilalge. I lived on the second floor with my bedroom windows directly above a 24-hour drive-thru McDonald’s (and yes, it often smelled like french fries). The 1 train emerges from underground and travels above ground on a trestle less than a block from my former window. 125th Street itself is a full orchestra of noise: traffic, people and the three other fast food chains at that very intersection all converging to a constant roar. And yet I slept easily after the first few nights (even with my windows open), and eventually I didn’t even hear the train as it rattled by. Tenth Street and Weehawken Street seemed like a tranquil haven when I arrived. However, my parents who live in the hush of suburbia were acutely aware of the dim from outside my West Village windows. When my mother stayed the night once, I think she barely slept at all.

So, you see noise really is relative to what you are accustomed to. I find my new home deliciously quiet. It is not as silent as my boyfriend’s 4th floor walk-up that faces a practically mute garden. It is not as still as the room I sleep in when I visit my family. But it is so blissfully quiet compared to what I have grown used to tolerating. Last night the snow was falling and the streetlight illuminated the flakes as they came drifting down. I sat and watched from my window for a moment. It was late, and because of the snow, there were probably far fewer passing cars and pedestrians than usual. I was shocked by the soundlessness. The clack of my radiator and the drip of my leaky faucet were the only disruptions to the stillness. So, I shut the doors to my bathroom and my bedroom, turned down the heat, and lay in my bed, enjoying this nearly silent night in Brooklyn.

Craig'sList real estate

This post on Gawker is genius! I had no idea you could exclude words from a Craig's List real estate search! If you ignore the somewhat obnoxious Gawker snark, this is really handy information for anyone looking for an apartment via Craig's List. And for the record, my pet peeve of real estate listings is when there are no pictures of the apartment itself, but there IS a picture of the exterior of the Magnolia Bakery. As if the proximity to cupcakes were enough to sell you on a place to live?!?

Kitchen Lighting

I took the suggestion to try a paper globe light shade instead of the glass fixture that was in place. It's not easy to get the lighting right, but here's a snap of the kitchen with the new light. What do you think?

I think it's an improvement, but perhaps not ideal. And look: I found that over-the-counter cutting board at Ikea. I also hung my first pieces of art in the apartment this weekend. I figured this drawing of apples by my great aunt belonged in the kitchen. Here it is hanging above my shelf of dishes and cookbooks. There's even an apple there to compliment it!



Saturday, February 24, 2007

Legend Bookshelf at Roche Bobois

If I had my way, I’d spend all the ding-dong day making things and fixing up apartments. Sadly, I haven’t figured out how I might be able to making a living doing just that, but I’m lucky enough to have making things be a part of my job. So, if you’ll indulge me, from time to time I will share with you some of the things I have seen, loved and about which I have thought: Hey, I could make that! One thing I saw recently and wanted to fabricate myself was the Legend Bookcase by Christiophe Delcourt for Roche Bobois. (I first spied it in Dwell magazine.) What a clever new interpretation on the everyday bookshelf. It’s a smart-aleck design, but still subtle. Looking at it, I figure I could recreate it with less glamorous wood and a bit of patience. So if I ever find myself with a chunk of free time on my hands in the near future, will someone remind me to give this project a whirl?

Friday, February 23, 2007

Kitchen Inspiration: Part 2

I'm constantly tearing pages out of magazines and saving them as "inspiration." I came across this page in my files and was mildly amused to see that I had subconsciously created a kitchen not unlike this dream kitchen I'd been saving. I am not sure where I pulled this from (Metropolitan Home? Elle Decor? It must have been one or the other), but I do remember that the photos are by the home owner Laura Resen, and the small bit of text I have on the back of the page I tore out indicates that the interiors are by one of my favorite designers: Thomas O'Brien. I'm loving the wood over-the-counter cutting boards, and I am pretty damn sure they are from IKEA. It's also nice to see that someone has actual food stuffs in their overhead shelvse, not just plates and glasses.

Here's another shot from the same story of Laura Resen's living room. And look, there's our familiar friend: the butterfly chair. I saw another one in the latest issue of Domino (with a chi-chi leather cover). Clearly the butterfly is a winner.

A different kind of makeover

Well, if I had been a bit more adventurous, maybe I would have tried something like this in my kitchen:

This photo originally ran in Elle Decoration (UK) in September 2006. The caption reads, “Covering units with washable wallpaper or decorative paper sealed with laminate is an easy — and affordable — way to bring pattern and colour into your home.” While the Elle Decoration editors don’t give anything in the way of specific instructions, I bet it wouldn’t be too hard to figure this out. It would just require an extreme level of precision to get your paper-covered cabinets to look this damn good. If anyone’s got some flat-faced kitchen cabinets like these, I’d be willing to help them try to tackle a cabinet makeover like this.

* Photo by Taverine via Elle Decoration

Another Sneak Peak


I love this new "sneak peak" on Design*Sponge. Check out the post for all the rest of the pictures of designer Shelly Klein's home. So much more fun for me than looking at pretty products that I can't afford. Today's "sneak peak" is definitely my latest apartment crush. How lovely is this space? It makes me less embarrassed about my love of all things white. White is so light and calming, how could you not like it?


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Tips for Kitchen Cabinets

A lot of people have been asking me about the painting project. From what I have heard, many of my friends didn't think you could paint your cabinets yourself. While you can't just slap some paint on, this is a project that anyone who can wield a paintbrush can accomplish. Again, I recommend following the advice of This Old House, it's a venerable publication that knows a thing or two about renovating older homes. Here are some of my own tips for painting your own kitchen cabinets:
  • This Old House tells us that prep work is 90% of a painting project like this — they’re right. Don’t try to rush through the prep to get to the painting: You’ll be sorry you didn’t take your time.
  • Buy the best supplies you can: A decent primer and quality paint make a big difference, especially in a high traffic area like the kitchen. I opted for Kilz Premium primer, a product I’ve used and trusted for years. You should also invest in quality brushes appropriate to your project.
  • The most important skill for a project like this is patience. Read the package directions for your paint and primer and follow them. If the paint says to let it dry for 24 hours between coats, do it.
  • One big mistake when you do get to painting is applying a bit too much paint and ending up with drips at the edges. Keep a sharp eye on whatever you have just painted to make sure drips aren’t forming at corners and edges. If they are, carefully brush over them with your paintbrush. If you find a drip only after it has dried, you may be able to cut it off with a window scraper, but this is a particularly non-professional maneuver (which I used many times).
  • Don’t be lazy! Take the cabinet doors off of the cabinets to paint them. Remove the hardware from the cabinets, don’t just paint over it. The end product will be worth it, trust me.

Generic vs. Name Brand

Normally I am a big fan of generic products: they save me money and I don't get fussed about missing out on a name brand. However, there are times when I do care. Has anyone else noticed that generic tapes are never as good as name brand ones? I’ve always know this about duct tape, which is a lifesaver if it is actual Duct tape and a nuisance if it’s just a generic version. During my painting project I found the same to be true of blue masking tape. I started out using a 3M one, which was great, but then when I ran out I started using a generic one from the hardware store, and it just wasn’t up to stuff. If you can spare the extra few cents (or at most dollar), I’d say stick with tried-and-trusted name brands when it comes to your sticky tape needs.

* Photo by H. Berends via stockxchng

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

Last night my friend C. asked me how to get some smudge marks off of her white walls. The answer is with the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. This product is particularly adept at removing marks on walls and baseboards (though it won’t work on textured walls). Now, my guess is that some of you are hesitant to run out and buy yet another cleaning product. When the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser came out, I too was skeptical: A “magic eraser” what was that? So, I ignored it, despite reading and hearing that it was “great.”

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I am here to tell you that I regret not having rushed out to buy one as soon as I could. It really works fantastically on your walls. And here are two other things I have used the Magic Eraser for: scrubbing the top of my stove (it got up all those itty bitty dark spots of cooked-on food from the previous tenant that I thought would never come off) and cleaning my old bathtub (which had patches of no-slip areas that would always gather dirt in their nooks and crannies). I can’t tell you why or how it does it, but the Magic Eraser can pick up grime that you’ve previously spent a lot of time scrubbing at with every manner of cleaning tool, be it an old toothbrush or a an SOS pad. My only complaint is that the magic eraser wears out quickly. I’ve started buying the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Extra Power version, which has a slightly longer lifespan. Also, there are knock-off versions of the Magic Eraser on the market: I tried one and it didn't work nearly as well.

Here's a list of uses suggested by Mr. Clean:
  • Use Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to erase scuff marks left on your floor.
  • Keep your home's interior doors, trim, and baseboard looking like new by using Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to remove scuff marks and dirt.
  • The writing is on the wall. Crayon marks? No problem. Just erase them with the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.
  • Make over your ride by using it to shine up your car's hubcaps and the interior console and dashboard.
  • Use Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to remove scuff marks on your patio furniture.
  • Use Mr. Clean Magic Eraser as part of "The Cure for a Messy Medicine Cabinet" (Ed note: whatever that is?)

eBay mugs

Remember those mugs I was pining for on eBay? Well, I recently went back to check, and the lot of five pear mugs sold for $110! So, readers, if you see any of those fruity Fireking mugs at tag sales, snatch them up and sell 'em on eBay. I am really floored that they went for that much.

Meanwhile I noticed that Marimekko has some pear embellished mugs, called Paaryna (I can't figure out how to type oomlats, or even spell oomlat, for that matter), in their new spring offerings that look awfully similar to my eBay babies. I'm guessing that some designer over at Marimekko had a Fireking mug around as a bit of inspiration. What do you think?


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Kitchen: Before and After!

Okay, the kitchen is almost done. I still haven't painted the counter, but that can wait until this weekend (or maybe even next). To remind you, here's a shot of the kitchen 'before.'


And here, after a weekend of grueling labor is the kitchen 'after.'


Doesn't it look great? I am genuinely please with the results, even if the blue didn't work out exactly as planned: The contrast between the white exteriors and blue interiors is really, really subtle, but, oh well. And here's a snap of my cookbooks and various bits of dishware on their new bookshelf. So, that's the makeover for now, I'll shoot the final results when everything is in its place and ready.



Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Bathroom looking somewhat better...

In addition to the Herculean task of painting the kitchen this weekend, I also painted my beige bathroom. While there is nothing that can be done about the tiles, I do think that the swap from institutional off-white to crisp white-white has made an improvement in the room. Here’s a snap of the bathroom now:


I’m not crazy about the white toilet seat on the beige toilet: To me it looks like a poor attempt to hide the toilet. So, I have been toying with the idea of buying a wood toilet seat (weird, I know). I checked them out at Home Depot this evening, and decided not to buy the one they had there because its hardware was brass, which doesn’t match the stainless and chrome in my bath at all. I’m going to hunt around for a wood seat with silver-colored hardware, but I wonder am I totally nuts to be hunting for a wooden toilet seat in the first place? Should I just leave well enough alone? I’ve also had my eye on these bathroom accessories from Martha Stewart’s Everyday line at Kmart:

I feel like they would help to tie the room together, but again, I wonder if I am beating a dead horse trying to get this bathroom to look like anything other than it is without ripping the tile out first. I also don’t need new bath accessories, making the purchase seem all the more frivolous. However, that said, I have eyeballed them enviously more than once in the Kmart.

I’m going to put the doors back on the kitchen cabinets now. WOOOooo HOOooo! Pictures to come in the morning.

Kitchen Makeover: Part 4

I am in the home stretch with this kitchen project. Yesterday I returned from a lovely visit with my family and put on another coat of paint. (Up to three on the cabinet bases now, two on the cabinet door fronts and only one on the backs of the doors. Whew.) I think this might be the end. We’ll see. I also brought back an old bookcase from my parents’ basement (originally pulled off the street on Tiemann Place in 2002) to go on the wall opposite the fridge and sink. It is also in the process of being transformed by white paint; in fact, if you’d peered in my living room windows this morning you would have caught sight of me madly applying a second coat of paint to the bookcase in my pajamas, hoping to have it dry and ready for cookbooks by the time I return home tonight.

I did not get around to painting the counter this weekend. Yes, I am going to try to paint the laminate counter. I’m not sure if it will be a success, but I’m going to give it a go. Worst case scenario: I make a mess of it and tear the whole counter out. However, I plan to wait until this weekend to do the counter painting, since I really do enjoy having the use of my kitchen. Hopefully in a week, I will have glamorous shots of my completely made over kitchen to share with you.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Kitchen Makeover: Part 3

Another solid 4 hours of painting and there's still more to go. Egads, this is a bigger project than I thought, even though I have done a kitchen cabinet painting project before. Maybe it's like childbirth: the body forgets how painful it is so you can do it again later. I am off to my folks' place for the night. My paint can sit and harden and await my return for another coat.


Hardware Store

Guess whose hardware store isn't open on Sundays? That's right: mine. Roar. Just when I was beginning to have a bit of affection for the place, I am presented with an inconveniently shuttered shop. Walking to Target didn't make me a happy camper.

Kitchen Makeover: Part 2

I spent the whole day yesterday painting. Literally: The. Whole. Day. I finished up around midnight, and I am not even close to done! I’ve got the base cabinets primed and painted with the first coat of the high gloss. And I have primed both sides of all of the cabinets (I ended up giving the fronts of the cabinets two coats of primer in hopes that I would only have to do two coats of high gloss.) Unfortunately the high gloss paint requires drying “overnight” before re-coating, so I am a ways away from being finished, but I can already start to see how great the kitchen is going to look when I am done with this project. Here’s a snap of the kitchen mid-way through:

I have discovered that the Homestead Resort Sky Blue (7004-5) is well, white. Pretty much at least. I had hoped for a subtle pleasing contrast between the white and the blue, but what I have got is a barely discernable difference. Part of me just wants to do a second coat of all white paint and forget about the blue, but then another part of me feels like I ought to at least give it a second chance, since the color may deepen with a second layer and more time to dry. Ugh. Wishing I’d chosen something a little darker and less “subtle.” If the paint store weren’t such a damn hike, I would just get more paint. But in the interest of time (and my sanity) I plan to muscle through with the paint I do have.

I’m about to run out to the hardware store to get some smaller brushes to work on the cabinet door details. Hopefully I can get a good chunk of this done before I head up to my parents’ house for a visit this evening. Also, a word to the wise, your living room will look something like this:

…if you decide to undertake a project like this. And your lower back will likely hurt and you may even have the pleasure of waking up with a headache, if you choose to undertake painting in February when it is decidedly too cold to throw open the windows. Though I am thrilled that my kitchen will have a new look, this hasn’t been the fun long weekend most people have been enjoying.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Kitchen: Makeover Part 1

Two of my upper cabinets were hanging rather precariously from the walls, so addressing this was the first step to reviving my kitchen cabinets. I took down the upper left cabinet first (it was practically falling off of the wall.) Once the cabinet was off I discovered some truly disgusting grime that had apparently been coming down from the air vent above the cabinet. Using a paint scraper and then my vacuum I removed as much of the gunk as I could. With the first cabinet off, it became clear I would definitely need to take down the second cabinet too. I did what minor repairs I could to each cabinet.
I am following the advise of This Old House almost to the letter for this paint job because I want it to last. However, I must admit that I have not followed their most basic advice. In the intro to cabinet painting, the wise editors at TOH write.
“Be aware that even the highest-quality paint job can't cure the evils of poor kitchen design or hide fundamental structural flaws in cabinets. Cheap cabinets grow especially frail with old age. Thin sides and backs, which are often veneered with vinyl paper, can peel or delaminate.”
I’d say my cabinets are of the cheapest variety available on the market, and the sides, backs and shelves of mine are in fact veneered with vinyl paper. I know it’s not a permanent fix, but like I have said before this is the band-aid fix until I can afford to do a major renovation. I’m hoping that a coat of Kilz and a careful paint job will make the paint stick to the vinyl paper for a year or two. We’ll see. I’m going to hang onto those upper cabinet doors for a while just in case the interiors end up looking battered after being used.

After making repairs, painting the walls and re-hanging the cabinets (which I managed to do by myself, thank you very much), I cleaned every surface of the cabinets. I used a heavy-duty cleaner called Mex, which was recommended by the woman at my hardware store. It required gloves and protective eyewear, but man, oh man, did it do a good job. You could see the dirt just lifting off the cabinets. The layer of greasy-film on the cabinet above the stove just melted off. Then I gave everything a rinse, let it dry and followed that with a light sanding. Now I am about to put on the primer coat

The Kitchen: Before

So, I am finally getting around to all this painting I have been talking about. Yesterday I did all the prep for the kitchen and got the kitchen walls painted. I also painted the bathroom — finally! Here’s a snap of the kitchen pre-paint, with the doors taken off of most of the upper cabinets. I’d originally said I was going to take down the cabinet about the stove, but I have found that I really need the storage space. So, for now, it’s going to stay. I may mount some shelves or hooks in the space between the cabinets eventually to make the most of the wall space.

I drove over to Lowe’s for paint, since the nearest paint store to my apartment is on Washington and Fulton, which is a little too far to walk. I figure if I’m going to drive, I might as well go somewhere with a parking lot. Because I was at Lowe’s I had to forgo my preference for Benjamin Moore paint for Valspar paint. I always wonder why Home Depot and Lowe’s sell the brands of paint they do: Behr at Home Depot and Valspar and Olympic at Lowe’s. Does anyone know?


In any case, I opted for Bistro White (70006-4) in semi-gloss for the walls, Anthem White (7006-24) in high gloss for the cabinet exteriors and trim, and Homestead Resort Sky Blue (7004-5) for the cabinet’s interiors. A lot of people would be horrified at my choice of semi-gloss for the walls, but I like how easily semi-gloss clean up. I also don’t mind the extra reflection of light that you get from a semi-gloss. (I used the same paint on the walls of the bathroom as well.) More pictures to come later this afternoon.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Window Film Installed

My Emma Jeffs window film from 2Jane arrived, and I applied it to the window this morning. I love the results! However, it's not a cheap solution. I only covered the lower half of my two bedroom windows with the $76 sheet of window film. I think I'll opt for a more budget-friendly option for the four windows in the living room. I know hardware and home improvement stores stock more basic versions of this kind of film. But gosh, this stuff really does look pretty, doesn't it?

Bemz Slipcovers

About a year ago, there was some buzz about Bemz, a Swedish company that makes colorful, patterned slipcovers for many Ikea couches. At the time, I thought it was an ingenius idea, but I wasn't jazzed about dealing with the extra cost of ordering from Europe. Bemz has recently announced that they will not be charging European sales tax on US orders, which is fantastic news for anyone hoping to revive an aging Ikea sofa. Wouldn't Klippan looked cute decked out in an aqua and white floral or a black and white damask?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sneak Peak and Butterfly

Design*Sponge has a new regular feature called Sneak Peak, in which readers get a look at real people’s homes. Apartment Therapy has a similar regular feature, but the homes aren’t always fantastic — so far the homes shown on Sneak Peak are just lovely. The most recent of these posts features the home of artist Lisa De John, which is super-adorable. I heart that giant squirrel on the wall. I was thrilled to see that Lisa also has butterfly chairs! Any insecurities I may have had about my semi-college dorm-esque chairs are quelled. Now all I need to do is order a replacement cover for mine (it’s about to rip at one corner). A little googling is in order to see what kind of a deal I can get on a replacement canvas cover.

The Bathroom: Dripping Faucet

Speaking of ugly brown bathrooms.... Two weeks ago I emailed Apartment Therapy to ask about my bathroom's leaky faucet. Here's the link to the AT readers' responses to my query about whether or not it would be a DIY repair. I hate it that what seems like it should have been a simple repair is going to set me back a couple hundred dollars, but I can't bear to live with the constant drip. I've got the day off tomorrow, so this is on my list of projects to get into motion. Also on that list: painting the bathroom and the kitchen cabinets. (I know I said I was going to tackle the bathroom weeks ago, but I didn't. So, shoot me.) So, hopefully this weekend will be a flurry of productivity.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My Bathroom's Twin!

Apartment Therapy has a house tour of AT readers, Avery and Cortney's two-bedroom renovation out in Hoboken, NJ. I was drawn in by the fantastic wall calendar in the 'after' shots, but what really caught my eye was the bathroom in the 'before' pictures. This bathroom is my brown bath's long-lost twin (or at the very least a first cousin)! Note how Avery and Cortney even had the same beige toilet and delightful flower tiles! If only I had the big bucks to do the major overhaul they did. Sigh. For now, I'll just keep my white eyelet shower curtain pulled shut to hide as much of the brown as possible.

Red Velvet Cake

Today’s Dining section of The New York Times has an article about red velvet cake, which is certainly an appropriate topic for Valentine’s Day. The article starts of with a great quote from food writer Angie Mosier, “It’s the Dolly Parton of cakes: a little bit tacky, but you love her,” and goes on to discuss the recent popularity of this cake with many Southern foodies and cake bakers. I was surprised that the author didn’t interview Fort Greene’s famous “Cake Man” (aka Raven Patrick De'Sean Dennis III), whose shop is on Fulton Street. The Times profiled Raven back in April of 2005, and noted that, “Mr. Dennis's favorite cake, were anyone to ask him, is red velvet, so popular that he's had to limit slices to four per customer.” Wonder why he was left out of this piece?

* Photo by
Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Snowy day

My new commute to work takes me over the Manhattan Bridge each morning. It’s a lovely thing to rise up from underground and cross over the East River as part of your daily ride. Today there were little bits of ice or hail pattering on the roof of the subway car, as the train slowly made its way across the bridge. You could barely see the skyline in the fog and the Brooklyn Bridge was just a shadow of its usual self. As awful as this weather is (and it is awful), I liked seeing the city like that this morning.

* Photo by Ibon San Martin via stock.xchng


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Forté Tea

I was served a cup of Tea Forté green tea today, and fell hopelessly in love with the company's pretty little tea bags. Each bag is a slender pyramid with a tiny, paper leaf at the top. (There's also a tiny bit of wire in the "stem" so you can make the leaf stand up.) They look so cute and delicate sitting in a tea cup, and the tea itself was rather good. If they didn't cost a fortune, I would throw a tea party just because they are so darn adorable. Maybe I should make a budget version with D.I.Y. paper leaves on regular tea bags instead? These teas would be a good choice for a special occasion, like a wedding. They'd also make a lovely gift.

Sale at Thomas O'Brien's Aero

According to DailyCandy, there's a big sale coming up at Aero. I have always loved Thomas O'Brien's SoHo store, and at 75% off, I might even be able to afford something.

What: Aero
Why: Up to 75 percent off Aero, Thomas O’Brien, and vintage furniture, bedding, tabletop, and other home accessories.
When: Thru Feb. 24. Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where: 419 Broome St., b/t Crosby & Lafayette Sts. (212-966-1500).

Monday, February 12, 2007

Virtual Lite-Brite

It's not related to home improvement or nesting at all, but this is pretty darn cool: a virtual Lite-Brite! I bookmarked it on Friday right before I left work, and now I can't remember how I found it, but I do love it. Above is my own virtual Lite-Brite art.

Vynl Light Fixtues

I had lunch at Vynl with a couple of friends the other day, and took this snap of their D.I.Y. light fixtures. They're neat, right? I wonder how common that split-lightbulb holder is and how much it would cost to do this at home?

Friday, February 09, 2007

DwellKids: Cowgirl Crush

There’s been a ripple of excitement about Dwell’s latest collection of bedding — and for a good reason: it’s gorgeous! However, no one has mentioned the adorable DwellKids introductions. Dwell has branched out to include full-size bedding for tots (apparently kids all have double-beds these days?) I am sort of crazy for the cowboy and cowgirl patterns in the DwellKids line. If Dwell still sold their sheets as open stock, I would definitely snatch up at least a pair of these pink cowgirl pillowcases, but I can’t see myself shelling out $350 for the full set.

U-Turn Vintage Wallpaper on eBay

Apartment Therapy Chicago posted about a great eBay store, U-Turn Vintage Wallpaper. Wow: They have some super-cute stuff. I often search eBay for vintage wallpaper, and I have to say, this is an exceptional collection of prints. Check it out here.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Laguna Beach in Fort Greene?

A co-worker just sent me this link. Apparently, MTV's next project in the Laguna Beach, Maui Fever vein is going to be set in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, following around teens from Brooklyn Tech High School. That should be interesting, no?

The Good Appetite

Yesterday's Dining section in The New York Times featured a new column called 'A Good Appetite.' From the looks of it and the NYT's own description of the column, "This column, about the thoughts and inspirations behind home cooking, will appear in the Dining section," I think I'm going to have an appetite for 'The Good Appetite'. The debut column by Melissa Clark is about eating breakfast for dinner, specifically grits. I was particularly taken with the piece because I eat grits for dinner — a lot. It's a quick, easy hot meal that is satisfying enough to make your body think it had a proper meal. Clark dresses hers up quite a bit by the end of the article, which is fine too, because really why not have breakfast for dinner? Another favorite in-a-rush meal I make often is a simple green salad and a couple of scrambled eggs with lots of ground pepper.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

dVider (part two)


Back in December I posted about dVider's adorable room dividers. It seems they've popped up on just about every blog's radars in the last couple of days. Shelterrific pulled a great image from dVider's photo gallery that I hadn't seen before, that I thought would be worth sharing. After having lived in a couple of one-room apartments, I appreciate a manufacturer featuring a photograph like this — it's so rare that an interior design company's promotional photography reflects the kind of spaces that real people really live in. So, bravo dVider! I love this tiny one-room apartment.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Latest eBay obsession: pyrex mugs

Print & Pattern posted about this site's cool vintage mugs. While I also love them as inspirational objéts, I was instantly curious about what similar finds you could dig up on eBay. Below are a small selection of the mugs I saw. To search on your own try searching "pyrex mug," fireking mug," fire king mug," "anchor hocking mug," and "milk glass mug." Just don't bid on the lot of five pear mugs, okay?


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