Review: Apartment Therapy complete + happy home

apartment therapy: complete + happy home

Fans of Apartment Therapy will not be disappointed in this book. It has the same contemporary style as the website, with lots of artfully shot photos of impeccably styled interiors. It is divided into sections focused on finding and setting up one’s home, living in it, and maintaining it. Each of the homes featured is a real dwelling and the homeowners are introduced at the end of the book.

The interiors featured are beautiful, of course, but suffer a little from the same problem many online home design photos do: they appear so fastidiously curated as to be completely impersonal. Sure, a given room is your taste (or it’s not), but in very few of these rooms do any humans appear to actually live. It’s good for inspiration for specific rooms or pieces, though (I’m a particular fan of seeing organizational systems in other people’s offices), and the maintenance tips, while minimal, are good information.

Full disclosure: I received this book from Blogging for Books.


Lumpus Loves You

One of my most awesome intarwebs friends is Carrie Anne of the Little Big Blog and the Little Big Vintage Shop. She is a kickass thrifter, mom, cook, crafter, and wrangler of cats. One of her cats is known lovingly by the nickname of Lumpus (he’s kind of a big guy) and one day we were chatting on twitter and she reminded me that, if nothing else, one should always remember that Lumpus loves you. This inspired me to make a cross stitch that she could hang on the wall.

I used a free online service to translate the photo to a cross stitch pattern, and though it came out with slightly darker colors than I probably would’ve chosen otherwise, I think it turned out pretty well.

Lumpus Loves You cross stitch

Lumpus Loves You cross stitch

When I was finished stitching, I trimmed the fabric to just a bit larger than the hoop:

Lumpus Loves You cross stitch

Then I cut a circle of cardboard that would fit almost snugly inside the hoop and covered it with a layer of fleece and a layer of cute kitty fabric I happened to have on hand. I sewed this together to draw it tight around the cardboard:

Lumpus Loves You cross stitch

Here you can see the fleece under the fabric:

Lumpus Loves You cross stitch

Lumpus Loves You cross stitch

Here it is all stitched up and ready to use:

Lumpus Loves You cross stitch

At this point I realized that if I left the flap of cross stitch fabric overlapping underneath, it would show through, so I trimmed it very carefully and glued it to the hoop:

Lumpus Loves You cross stitch

I cut another circle of white fleece to go inside so that it would help the design stand out well:

Lumpus Loves You cross stitch

And then popped the fabric-covered circle into the back of the hoop:

Lumpus Loves You cross stitch

And voila! A finished product:

Lumpus Loves You cross stitch

Carrie Anne was pleased with it, and so am I. I haven’t done much cross stitch in years (decades!) and it has been fun to get back into it a little.


Seven Things

Not too long ago I was tagged by NorCal Katie to tell you seven things about myself, so here goes!

My hair has been pretty kickass lately.

1. I am averse to exercise in pretty much all forms. I don’t mind being active, but I need it to be for a purpose. Gardening I love, obviously, and I don’t even mind getting dirty and sweaty (two things I’m not a fan of generally) if I’m going to accomplish something. Lately I’ve been taking the puppy for a walk every evening to (a) run off some of her energy and (b) have her practice walking on a leash without pulling, and it’s been fun. I especially like activities (gardening and walking the pup included) during which I can listen to podcasts or audiobooks or whatever on my iPod.

2. Much like the Wicked Witch of the West, I do not like water. I have dry skin naturally, and if I have to get water on me without having the chance to moisturize right away, it gets worse. I don’t care to swim, and I try to avoid getting caught in the rain or snow without an umbrella or hat.

3. Despite being a Type-A nrrd neat freak, in some areas of my life I am absolutely content with “good enough.” For instance, when it comes to playing guitar in my punk band, I’ve never felt the urge to strive for perfection (much to the chagrin of my bandmates, I’m sure). Punk is supposed to be dirty and messy and passionate, and it doesn’t hurt it when not all the notes come out exactly right. I’d rather have fun than be picky when it comes to that. In most other areas of my life I like to push myself to do the absolute best I possibly can, and I hold myself and others to a high standard. I guess when it comes to making punk rock, my standard is based on fun and passion rather than technical excellence and detail.

4. Sometimes I daydream about not having a regular day job and instead crafting and gardening all the time, but I don’t think I’d actually want to do it. Even if I could realistically live and pay the mortgage and for my own health insurance and all those real-life details, I really enjoy working despite not having as much time off as I’d like. I think that the current climate in Michigan (public servants being treated like crap and held to an entirely ridiculous standard compared to those in the private sector) has helped push these daydreams along. Who knows? Maybe I’ll end up having to pay for so much of my healthcare and so forth that it eventually won’t make sense for me to be working anyway.

5. I’m an optimist by nature, but as you may have gathered in #4, things lately have been making it challenging to stay optimistic. I can see where some people may have voted Republican in the last election (though I vehemently disagree with that choice, I respect it) due to frustration with the recent past, but DAMN, what the HELL is going on here? Our current state government appears to be trying to kick the people who are down wherever possible. It makes me feel ashamed to be a life-long Michiganian.

6. Now back to good stuff. In the recent past I’ve become a fan of reading cozy mysteries. I’ve always enjoyed TV cozies (Murder She Wrote, etc.) but hadn’t tried reading any until maybe a year or so ago. They’re often cheesy and predictable, but they’re fun!

7. As a librarian, part of what I do for a living involves collecting books and other media, but I have little desire to own a personal collection myself. Of course it’s fun to shop for books and stuff, and there is something to be said for having the perfect thing at hand when you want it, but generally I don’t want to own things myself unless it’s something I’m going to use a lot. That’s one of the reasons we have the library, after all!


11 for 2011: Blythe Wishlist Meme

BlytheLife recently posted a dolly meme that’s been popular lately, in which one chooses 11 wishlist items for 2011. Fun!

These are all things that I’ve been thinking about for awhile and probably I’ll continue to do so. I don’t have a sense of urgency about any of them, and I figger things will work out when they do, and that’s good enough. Going from left to right, top to bottom:

11 for 2011 dolly wishlist

1. My dream custom mohair reroot Blythe. (This photo is a placeholder since she doesn’t exist yet! I really dig the look of this reroot by Pheisty.)  I’ve been collecting pieces – I’ve got the girl (bald Prima Dolly Aubrey Encore), eyechips, and pull ring charms, so I just need to buy the mohair and send her for rerooting and customizing. I’ll get there someday!

2. Make my girls a classic Doctor Who scarf. (This is NxtDrGrrl‘s cute example.)

3. More progress on the front garden, so it becomes a more versatile place to take Blythe photos.

4. Make time to use more of the awesome fabrics I’ve accumulated, to make more Blythe dresses.

5. Improve my skills at photography, especially refining the lighting and my skills using my lightbox. (This isn’t mine pictured here – but there are a lot of good notes and ideas on this photo!)

6. Acquire some sort of carry case so that I can take a Blythe with my in my purse and not worry about her getting scratched or super static-y. I’m not sure yet what shape/design I want. (The one pictured here is cute!)

7. Acquire or create some sort of efficient but accessible dolly clothing storage closet/system. Right now I keep all my Blythe clothes in Ziploc bags in a scrapbook storage box, but I can’t see what I have at a glance the way I’d like to. The challenge will be figuring out a system that keeps things safe, dust-free, and yet doesn’t take up a lot of real estate. (Isn’t Little Sheep Eep’s closet so cute?)

8. Expand my use of Re-ment and other minis in my Blythe photography. I have a bunch of this stuff and I just hardly ever remember to use it!

9. Acquire some of Laura Lorraine’s hair clippies for my girls.

10. More stripey socks!

11. Keep up with all my awesome Blythe peeps on Flickr, Blythe Kingdom, and Twitter. You are all terrific!



So all-around awesome garden blogger Colleen Vanderlinden made a post the other day about ugly garden art, a response to a stupidly haughty Garden Rant about classy garden art. Now, I have no love for whimsicle fuckery, and I have a lifelong aversion to all things country-craftsy, but I do see merit in kitsch. I also think that if you’re trying to please all your neighbors with your garden art, you’re fighting a losing battle. Do what you like.

I don’t have any garden art myself yet, but I do want to get some. I’ve been focusing my funds on plants for now, while I get the front garden established, but there will definitely be some art in my future. Also once I have a better idea of how the garden will fill in fully, then I’ll know what type and size of art I’m looking for.

Oh, wait, I guess we did put one ornamental item in the garden last year:

our Halloween decor




The Cybils winners have been announced!!

I am especially excited to see:

Easy Readers: I Love My New Toy written by Mo Willems, Hyperion
Fantasy & Science Fiction Middle Grade: The Graveyard Book written by Neil Gaiman, HarperCollins
Fantasy & Science Fiction Young Adult: The Hunger Games written by Suzanne Collins, Scholastic
Young Adult Fiction: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks written by E. Lockhart, Hyperion


Librarian Beat

So, you’re a librarian. You’re a grown-up, but you haven’t lost your passion for quizzes, hot dudes, and interviews with hot dudes. Where can you turn for all of this and more? Librarian Beat!

Librarian Beat

So far they’ve got a totally now Hot/Not list, February horoscopes (“Beauty tip: Mixing more than two argyle items in one outfit is only for experts!” How can you go wrong with that kind of advice?!), and some time well spent with Man of the Month James Kennedy.

Check it totally out!


photo scout

trees by nycscout

Scouting NY is the blog of a movie location scout living and working in New York City. The scout posts photos of the awesome architecture and interesting scenes he or she finds, and they are impressive! Check out nycscout’s Flickr photostream for more great shots. In addition to the charming street above, my favorites include Central Park at Night, these grotesques, and this retro sign. I’m looking forward to future posts. I mean, what a sweet job! Getting paid to actually pay attention to your surroundings and practice your photography? Kickass all around.

via Neatorama

image trees by nycscout (used with permission)