School Supplies

I am still an over enthusiastic 4th grader when it come to school supplies or as grown ups should say office supplies (typing that out made me shiver with dread).

One of the best things about being a "grown up" is that you can indulge the kid in you with frivolous treats like personalized pencils. I was a nerdy, teacher's pet type in elementary school and would have gladly done extra credit for these suckers.

These days I buy kraft paper folders by the dozen. They organize my important stuff like tax returns, warranties and miscellaneous ephemera to boot.

I added the rivets by hand and tied on my favorite bakery twine so that the folders would stay closed, gosh darn it.

Got to have something stashed in your pencil case to keep you busy during math, too.

Since I found these woodland creatures stickers by famed sticker company Mrs. Grossman's, I've been compulsively hoarding them, like a true 10 year old. I've been sticking them to blank postcards and creating serial cartoons for friends.

Dorky and juvenile? Yes, please.

Coaster love.

Why oh why are these old-timey Brooklyn restaurant coasters so great? I love scalloped edges and borders, I wish I could justify getting some custom ones made for my not so fancy pants kitchen.

Use a coaster? In my apartment? Ha ha.

Wise old owl

Here I go again, shamelessly stealing ideas from Elmwood to use in my Brooklyn homey home home.

This amazing paper mache owl decoy has stood sentinel on a bookshelf in New Hampshire for years. I've coveted it for as long as I can remember and only recently had a light bulb moment.

Instead of sulking about what you can't have, haunt ebay till you find a similar one.

Not only did I find a similar one, I found the same freakin' one for only $15. To sweeten the deal even further, I recently saw another of the same at the amazing antique store Darr in Boerum Hill for $175. Yikes!

My wise old owl is standing guard on my kitchen shelf, bringing some much needed toughness to my girly collection of all things yellow.

Thanks again, Emerson ancestors, for wealth of ideas just waiting to be pilfered!

Bluebell's beautiful bike basket.

This is Bluebell, my sweet little Schwinn from the 60's. To make her more functional I finally got around to adding a basket.

To make a Brooklyn style chariot combine.....
#1. A neat old bike.

Look into the soul of your new found friend and find an appropriate name. Then take her/him to your local bike shop for a safety checkup.

#2. A basket. (Mine's a beat up old egg basket.)

Good for stashing farmers market flowers and a baguette if you want to look like a too cool french girl. My style is more like shoving your bag and sweatshirt in there so you don't crash into a car trying to swing your bag over your shoulder, like an idiot.

To attach it I just used plain old cable ties from the hardware store. One on each side of the handle bars.

I also put one on the bottom to keep the basket from wiggling around.

I pulled the ties as tight as they could go and then clipped them to neaten it all up.

The basket is really stable too. Yay, now I can haul more junk around Brooklyn with me. Wait a second..... Is that a good thing?

My bike's finally got a basket and better yet, a cute boy captured my test run!

First Day of Fall

What could be a better way to welcome my favorite season than to break out a newly hand knit sweater for the first time?

It's a little itchy, just like a good handmade sweater should be. Plus, I've always thought the itchier the sweater, the warmer you stay. Same holds true for blankets.

Fall sweaters make my cheeks rosy with glee, especially since I've finally made one myself.

Even if it took me a whole year to knit the darn thing.

Cat and mouse

It's true, I've become obsessed with my sweet and slowly warming up Minnie the Moocher. I'll admit, however, we've back slid a bit after the "great bath incident of 2008". (I promise you Minnie, I wasn't trying to drown you) Ooops, so much for building trust.

I'm convinced she's just playing hard to get, though, because gosh darn, this cat loves to be petted whenever I drag her out of hiding. I swear, she just soaks it up.

She also has developed a cute but very aggravating habit of wacking the hell out of loose spools of thread in the middle of the night. **Cue the creation of highly indulgent soft kitty toys.

To make a little mouse for your very own bratty cat, I made a template in a semi mouse shape and cut out 2 fabric pieces, both a front and a back. Using a contrasting fabric (i used non peta friendly leather), cut out a tail and ears, too.

Either by hand or with a machine, sew along the perimeter of the mouse, leaving an inch open at the, ahem, mouse butt.

I placed my mouse tail a few centimeters above the bottom and between the two pieces so it is already stitched in place when you turn the mousey right side out.

Turn the mouse right side out and stuff. I used catnip because Minnie is an addict.

You can also use any sort of craft batting to stuff. After several trial mice, I settled on a mix of both. While stuffing I'd use one small pinch of catnip then one small pinch of batting till the mouse was full.

After the mouse is stuffed fill to the brim, you hand stitch the belly hole closed and then sew on the ears. I pinched mine in the middle for extra mouse personality.

The verdict?

I made the mistake of giving these to Miss Minnie before they were photographed and she hide them! I had to look for over an hour to find one under the couch and the other stashed between boxes under my bed.

Several are still missing in action. boo hoo.

My first ripe tomato of fall.

Hmmm.... Guess I didn't fertilize enough?

Still looks darn cute, though.

China Blues

Oh dear, I wish I could find an identical antique drying rack like the family's one from Elmwood.

A big part of my kitchen rehab was to bring some order to my shameful collection of dishes. I have a sweet set of hand painted dishes and saucers from the 1950's that I love, but when I grow up I'm dying to start a blue and white china collection like the small one above, from the summer house. Plus blue and white patterned china is incredibly easy to find, I swear I've seen a cute piece at every dang thrift store I've ever been to.

Please don't remind me that if I would have bought the all the pieces I've seen in the past, my dream dish collection would already be complete, thank you.

Tennis, Diane Keaton style.

It's almost fall and I'm dying to get outside now that it isn't blazingly hot.

I've got the Annie Hall racket and the vintage keds, now all I need is a Woody Allen to challenge to a match.

Scaredy Cat

Okay, Okay. It's true, the reason I've been reevaluating and organizing my apartment is that I was expecting a new baby but didn't want to let the cat out of the bag, so to speak.

I swear, she is not as angry as she looked in her cage at the pound. Hmm... wonder why? Let me introduce 3 year old Minnie, my new love.

I picked her out at the Brooklyn Animal Care and Control on Wednesday and took her home late night after she was spayed. She is the most timid and scared little kitty that ever was, but she does like to be petted and snuggled once you find where she's hiding.

I was so scared that when I brought her home she wouldn't like my antiques and that we'd have nothing in common.

Just kidding.

No, really, i was scared, but she settled onto my folksy kitchen chairs just fine. Thank goodness she approved, I'd have had to take her back to the pound otherwise.

Just kidding, again.

Free, Free, Free!

In addition to the satisfaction that comes with simplifying your life, it's lots of fun to give away your excess cute things to the neighborhood.

It's a good way to say "thank you universe" for all of the wonderful things I've found on the street in New York. If you live in Brooklyn, come on over!

Back to Cooking School 2008: Kitchen Redo

A few tumbles off my ladder trying to reach my 20 lb cast iron crock pot was all it took to force me to rethink my space usage.

Also, my huge philodendron plant was blocking out a ton of light on top of the fridge, getting dusty and generally making me cranky.

Yay, I feel like a grown up, living a slightly less cluttered life. Or at least a more cohesive life. Shelving my smaller plants freed up valuable table and counter space through out the kitchen so now I can access the things I use everyday without fear of falling!

My beloved toy sailboat, the inspiration for the kitchen.

The new arrangement makes watering time much easier, everything is in one place. The plants on the higher shelve require less water, so i won't have to be making a trip up the ladder everyday, either!
A utilitarian stack of terra cotta pots look pretty, too, while they are waiting for my next new plant brought home from the farmers market.

Across the kitchen, a little bit a wall goes from useless home for knickknacks to actually functional after several incarnations.

Cute and a bit bare, but serving no purpose.

Very cute and holding a lot of useless decoratey things. Pretty, but not a good use of very limited space.

With my vintage pots and pans at arms reach, cooking is a million times less stressful. Having my glasses and bowls on the shelf frees up space in my tiny cabinets so I can hide my trader joes cereal boxes more effiecently.

Dinner, anyone?