Archive for Details

Yard Sale Goodies

This Sunday, Joe came home from his weekly study-time at Starbucks to tell me about an awesome yard sale down the street.  I quickly changed into acceptable clothes and we headed out the door.  There was plenty to choose from – items covered the front lawn, driveway, and backyard.  Even better, no one was there yet because it was overcast and a little drizzly (I hate feeling pressured when at a yard sale).  In all honesty, there were a lot of items I wanted to bring home with us but ultimately, Joe and I decided on two things.

The winning items: a rocking chair (something we’ve wanted for a long time now) and a nice framed oil painting.

Popcorn on the Stove | Yard Sale Finds

The painting is of a small bunch of pansies.  They, along with sunflowers, are my favorite flowers so as soon as I was immediately drawn to it.  I forgot to snap a photo before the sun set so it’s you’ll have to trust me when I say the colors are vibrant.

Joe and I keep talking about how we want to start buying art instead of getting reproductions and this was a great start – especially since the painting and frame were only $15.  The frame needs some serious TLC (or at least a serious scrubbing) but it’s so well made that I know it’ll last for a long time.  The man who was selling this told us that this painting was purchased at an art show from Snug Harbor back in the 1940′s.  I haven’t been able to find any information on this particular artist, but I’m going to keep searching for more information on her.

Popcorn on the Stove | Yard Sale Finds

As much as I loved the painting, I was a little hesitant to buy it.  There wasn’t really a good reason to leave it behind except that I was afraid it didn’t fit ‘our style’.  Joe was right when he said that we don’t really have a style yet.  Since we still rent, we’re often trying to fit our things in spaces that we can only change so much.  I imagine that once we have a house – or at least a place that own – our style will really start to become clearer.

If I’ve learned anything from Nate Berkus’ The Things That Matter (which is a great book and totally worth reading if you haven’t yet), it’s that you should fill your home with things that make you happy.  I’m so glad that we brought this painting home because every time I pass it, I can’t help but smile.  I love the ties to Staten Island and Snug Harbor, too.

Popcorn on the Stove | Yard Sale Finds

Up next is our new rocking chair – which Joe and I are both in love with.  We’ll probably have to get a second chair because I get the sense that we’ll be fighting over it.  I have plans to crochet it in (because, you know, I’m 261) and Joe plans to study in it.  The rocker was only $20 so I feel like this was a great buy.

Sadly, I don’t know much about this rocking chair.  I think it’s a Windsor style but even that I’m not 100% sure of.  It was made by Nichols & Stone (this I know because of the logo underneath the chair) and is at least 50 years old (according to the man we bought the chair from).  I’ll have to check the bottom again to see where it was made so I can get a better idea of the chair’s age.

Popcorn on the Stove | Yard Sale Finds

So, while I may not know much about this chair yet, I do know that the details are phenomenal (case in point, the arm rests).  There are a few scratches but nothing structurally wrong with the chair.  It’s definitely a classic piece that can work anywhere in our apartment or future home.  Right now, it’s in the dining nook but I think we’re going to bring it back out to the living room once we figure out how to rearrange our furniture.

Popcorn on the Stove | Yard Sale Finds

Did you stumble across any great finds this weekend??

Posted in Decor, Details, Home, Living Room, Treasure Hunt | 4 Comments

That Time I Celebrated My 261st Birthday

Thank you all for your sweet wishes this past weekend!  On Saturday, I turned 261 – if you’re going by the candles on my cake.

Side note: the secret to my youthful looks is eating lots of cake.

If you’re going by actual years, I’m only 27.  This means I am now officially in my late 20′s (20-23 = early 20′s; 24-26 = mid 20′s, and 27-29 = late 20′s) and creeping towards 30.  I haven’t decided if I’ll follow my mom’s lead and respond that I’m 29 whenever someone asks my age or if I’ll follow my grandma and who has no problem telling the world she’s 92.  Both options seem good so I’ll spend the next 3 years debating that.

Anyway, I’ve never been the kind of person who enjoys being the center of attention (I always get embarrassed when people sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me) so my birthdays have always been pretty low-key.  Even though it was a quiet day, Joe went above and beyond making sure that my birthday was awesome.

To kick things off, Joe brought me breakfast in bed – which consisted of pancakes, apple cider, and tea. You could say that my diet this day was mostly cake-based.  Too bad it can’t be every day…

After breakfast, we headed out for a walk around the neighborhood because it was absolutely beautiful out.  The weather was on the warm side and all of the leaves had shifted to yellows, oranges, or reds.  Basically, your perfect Fall day.  I was in my glory.

When we got back, we relaxed a bit with some tv, movies, and soccer.  We got ready and headed out to go to my parents’ house where we would be having pizza and cake (which Joe made) with both sets of our parents and my nanny.  After a couple of hours there, Joe and I headed home and out to a nearby bar where I could enjoy a margarita and we could relax with friends.  Like I said, perfect day.

Since I’m now fully aware of 30 creeping up on me, I’ve come up with a list of things I’d like to accomplish by then.  I’ve got three years (or forever if I claim to be 29 indefinitely) to tackle this list so I think I can do it.

7 Goals Before 30:

1) Learn a foreign language.
2) Take a fine arts class – maybe painting or drawing.3) Finally finish crochetting a hat… or really anything that isn’t a scarf.
4) Find our ‘perfect city/town’ and relocate there.  Maybe buy a house in said ‘perfect city/town’.
5) Expand our family – though it has yet to be determined if it will be a feline or human baby joining us in the next 3 years.
6) Learn how to sew legitimate clothes (ie. Invest in some patterns and figure it out).
7) Find a job that makes me happy.

Do you have a list of things you’d like to accomplish in the next few years?  What’s on your list?  Anyone else tempted to forever be 29 (or any other age)? 

Posted in Details | 6 Comments

Rearranging Rooms

I am so happy to be sharing our updated living room with you all today!

The last time I showed you our living room, it sort of looked like this.  Basically, it was a hot mess for a while and we just kind of tried to make due.  In fact, all three of our apartments had terrible layouts when we moved in and I think that’s inevitable because you don’t really know what you want yet.  After a few months of living in a space that was more “eh” than “okay”, Joe and I got bitten by the moving furniture bug.  Somehow, we have gotten into the habit of moving the furniture in the late afternoon/early evening but as long as it gets moved, right?  This apartment was especially interesting because it’s the smallest of all of the places we’ve lived.

New Walls http://popcornonthestove.com

Now-a-days, thanks to the new furniture layout, this apartment feels more spacious than any of our previous apartments.  I had used illustrator to map out a few possible layouts and showed Joe a version that sort of looked like what we ended up with.

The couch and coffee table are still in the same places, but we’ve rotated the rug 90°.  This tiny change gives an impression of the room being larger because there’s more wood floor visible. Optical illusions are the best.

We’ve also tucked our card catalogs in the corner, where our reading nook was, and they fit perfectly on that wall.  While the reading nook was lovely (and a really nice feature to have), it was nice bringing the beige chair back into the conversation.

It’s hard to tell in this photo, but under the window on the right (the rocking moose is a gift for Joe’s cousins’ baby) is our storage chest.  There’s enough room behind the couch that you can walk around.  This was the first piece of furniture we purchase together so it’s nice to keep it around, plus it offers a lot of storage for blankets and extra pillows.

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Below is the view from our couch.  Originally, we had the card catalogs flanking the tv stand but it was just too imposing and never balanced thanks to the temperature control panel.  We decided to swap the tv stand for our expedit and bring in our two lerberg shelves to frame it out.  There are plans to brighten up the shelves with a little bit of paint (I’m overly excited about the color) and really work on making it all look nice.

We also need to work on hanging our frames for real.  All of our frames are hung on old nails that are in the wall, which is why it looks so sporadic.  In fact, the only nail we’ve put into these walls was the one for the clock – and that happened almost immediately after being here.

I love that thing.  I would get a larger clock if I could find one.

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Anyway, the only styling I’ve done so far is organize our books by color.  I did that back in April and it’s been one of my favorite details in this room.  It immediately makes me happy and sometimes laugh.  Possibly because you can see how, um, diverse, our book collection is….

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If you noticed in some of the photos above, there’s a door on the right side of tv stand and shelves.  That would be a giant closet, which we use for storage and our mini office.  After having a desk our for the past two years, I’ve come to realize that I don’t like it being so out in the open, especially when there’s a monitor and tower that goes with it.  We got lucky because our desk was the perfect size for this closet.

To make it functional, we just run an power surge/extension cord outside of the closet (there’s one right outside of it).  I’m hoping that I get to decorate the closet office for real (the pennant doesn’t count) and maximize the space, but for the immediate future, it’ll look like this… but that’s okay because I can just close the door and it’s like it never happened.

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We took your suggestions of pushing our dining table against the wall (I think I did it that night).  It was okay, but it wasn’t great.  Even with those few extra inches, it was a tight squeeze.  The night that we rearranged the furniture, we had actually put the card catalogs in the opposite corner (below) before I had the brilliant idea of trying to have the dining table in the living room.

PS -Husband points go to Joe who has to remove all the drawers and take apart the card catalogs every time we move them, which was twice for this evening.

Joe was skeptical but we figured we were already moving everything else around so why not give it a shot?  We immediately hated it but decided to keep it put while we put a few other things back.  It may have just been the mess we hated because once everything was put away, the room made a whole lot of sense.

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As for the dining nook, it’s now sort of an odds-and-ends room.  We moved our buffet back here and it fits nicely, but not perfectly.  We’re currently using the sides to house blankets and other miscellaneous stuff (possibly even fabrics in the future).  I’ve also brought in my easel and canvas so I’m looking to invest in a nice stool so I can do some painting when the mood strikes me.  We tried having the reading nook chair in here but that thing is huge and this space is tiny.

In the bottom right of this photo, you can see some random stuff and a box that are destined for donations.  We’ve scheduled three pickups, and each time we come home to a box that’s still living on our front steps.  It’s a little frustrating (especially since we’re low on space) so hopefully, one weekend, we’ll be able to drop it off at the local salvation army or a donation site.

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So, to sum things up – here’s what I’d still like to do in these spaces:

Living room:

  • Paint the walls a nice white (you all voted on ‘popcorn’)
  • Spray paint the bookshelves & then make it pretty
  • Figure out a better wire management system for the expedit
  • New green pillows for the living room
  • Maximize storage in the office-closet
  • Hang lots of frames

Room formerly known as the dining nook:

  • Donate those two boxes
  • Paint those walls!
  • New window covering, and possibly apply a window film (like the one we used in the bathroom)
  • Take down that little shelf
  • Grab a stool
  • Figure out the buffet’s real purpose
  • Maybe get a little rug to add some color
  • Hang art

Surprisingly, the nook has a lot more on it’s honey-do list than the living room.  Go figure.  Either way, I’m very excited about all the potential for these two spaces and the direction they’re going!

So let’s hear it – do you guys prefer to move your furniture around in the evening, too?  Do you map it out ahead of time or just wing it?  Have you ever been able to finish a room or is there always one last thing you’d like to do?

Posted in Details, Home, Living Room, Organizing | 10 Comments

So Fresh and So Green, Green

Well, now that that song is sufficiently stuck in my head….

One of the things I wanted to do in this apartment was add some greenery, especially since we were seriously lacking it in our last place.  I doubt I’m alone in this belief, but it always feels like having plants around the house makes it feel cozier.  Not to mention that having houseplants offers cleaner air.  Basically, having house plants mean you’re winning all around.

A few months ago, I had purchased some shamrocks and they held on for a long time (much longer than I expected) but are sadly no longer with us.  With that little bit of green gone, I decided to keep it going by buying flowers for the apartment each week.  If I was made of money, I would totally keep that going but it was getting far to expensive to grab a little bouquet every week.  After a week or two without any greenery in the apartment, I made an executive decision that we needed to fix that.

The first green purchase we made for our apartment was a succulent from IKEA.  It was only $2.99 so it was an easy buy.  The hard part is not walking away with 102 succulents.  After moving it around the apartment, it ultimately landed it in the greenhouse we had purchased at a later trip.  It’s a little empty in there so I’m hoping to add to it later on.  Probably with some rocks and some other little plants… but I’m just making excuses for why I should go back to IKEA and grab more of these.

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Up next is some bamboo that we picked up at Home Depot this past weekend.  We’ve had lucky bamboo before (back at apartment #1) and enjoyed having them around as they’re very forgiving.  They were about $6 each so we grabbed two and some rocks for a vase we already had.  Right now, they’re in the corner of the living room, on top of a card catalog but they have a high probability of being relocated.  I’m also debating getting another vase for them because this one is my fancy vase and I am terrified of it breaking.

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My favorite purchase was also from Home Depot – a pink bromeliad.  Truth be told, I sort of love it and I’m kicking myself for not grabbing one sooner (I’ve been crushing on these for at least 6 months).  The leaves are this great green color and the pink flower part contrasts so well with it.  It’s also low maintenance and incredibly forgiving.  At least that’s what the tag said. We’ll see if that’s true but I’m hoping it is so I can enjoy it for a looooong time.

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Anyway, that’s my plant update at the moment.  Having these three new additions make me very happy so I think it’ll be worth investing in some plants for the bedroom… and the bathroom…. and the kitchen….  and the weird dining nook. Having plants in the little hallway would be too much, right?

Posted in Details, Home, Living Room, Nature | 4 Comments

The Final Curtain on the Living Room Curtains

When we moved into this apartment, we were lucky enough to already have window shades.  And fancy shades at that (especially in comparison to the blinds I purchased for the bedroom)!  They’re cordless, cellular shades – something I think would be great to have at our forever home… you know, whenever that happens.

Since these shades were so nice, we didn’t feel the need to rush out and buy new curtains. The windows looked okay enough while we were reorganizing and trying to figure things out, but curtains were always in the back of our minds.

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When I realized that the curtains I DIY’ed for our last apartment would be too short (not to mention look ridiculous), I really started thinking about possible alternatives.

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Not too long ago, I shared the fruits of our most recent IKEA trip.  One of the items we purchased were the Vivan curtains because at $9.99 per pair, it was definitely the best price we were going to find, especially for the length we wanted.  Joe and I opted to get white because the other color options just weren’t doing it for us… not to mention that we can reuse these white curtains anywhere.

Let me be the first to tell you that these new curtains are amazing and they make such a difference in our living room.  They’re sheer enough that light still gets into the room but opaque enough that the sun isn’t in your eyes.  Since they’re a polyester/cotton blend, they’ll be easy maintenance and will probably look nice for a while.

I think my favorite time is when they windows are open and the wind lightly rustles the curtains.  It makes me feel like I’m on vacation.

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These curtains inspired us to do things: try a new furniture arrangement and paint.  As of now, we’ve only accomplished the former and I think that this layout is going to stick for a long, long time.  It wasn’t a major reorganization but it made a big impact.  Trust me when I say that the room is looking good and feels more open than it ever did before.

Joe and I are still finishing up the room – ie. trying to make the details look nice – so I’m going to hold out on an entire room shot.  II’m hoping to post that next week but until then, here’s a sneak peak I shared on instagram a couple of weeks ago (excuse the mess):

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The curtains totally make it.

Anyone else out there take a few months before committing to curtains?  Have you guys made a small change that inspired a big change?

Posted in Details, Home, Living Room | 8 Comments
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