30 May 2011

operation pretty closet

I hope you had a lovely Memorial Day.

Memorial Day passing means it's officially summer, huh? (I know that technically doesn't happen until the solstice in late June, but if white shoes are now acceptable to old ladies, and school is out, then it's summer.)

I spose the coming of summer means we missed the "spring cleaning" window, but I am still determined to do a major closet refresh in the next couple of months. Both because we have lots of stuff we need to get rid of (and stuff to make room for), and because our closets are the last frontier in our place. Everything else has been renovated, every other surface changed in some way, but the closets are exactly as they were when we moved in. Popcorn ceilings, yellowy white walls, dusty rose clothing rails and all.

This is a photo of our master bedroom walk-in closet from last year, with bad lighting that reflects the bad lighting in the closet. Trust me, it's much messier in there now.

Image by Bethany Nauert from Apartment Therapy

And the guest room closet behind those doors? A disaster waiting to happen, whenever someone opens a door without being prepared to hold back the torrent.

One thing we do have going for us is that we've already upgraded to matching felt hangers that are slim and grip the clothes well. I hear that professional organizers like that kind of thing. :-) So we've got the basic hardware in place. We just need a little sizzle and a lot more function.

The easy part is the purely cosmetic piece. Pick a bright, sexy color and do a little painting. And maybe change out the light fixture in our master closet. I think a rich, saturated jewel tone would look great, especially since the rest of our place is colorful but with a much more muted palette. I like the idea of statement colors in the closets. (What do you think? Bad idea? Especially if we sell our place?)

Image from Russet Street Reno

I've been inspired for some time by this coat closet from Russet Street Reno. My only concern: I have so many black clothes, that I'm concerned such a dark tone will make the clothes just blend into the background and give an overall monochromatic (and overly dark) feel to the closet. But this color scheme could be perfect for the guest room closet, since it already has a lighter blue accent wall. What color would you paint a master closet full of black clothes?

Then there is the very big function question. There are so many beautiful and functional closets in the world, but many come with a hefty price tag. Naturally, I would love to achieve a perfect closet on a shoestring budget, but have it look like we spent a pretty penny. Why can't a girl have it all? Ha!

For today, let's just put aside cost questions, and look at some pretty closet examples from Better Homes and Gardens. These are some of my favorite inspiration (minus the wire shelves -- I'm not a fan).

Images above from here

What projects are you determined to tackle this summer? Any major projects you've been putting off? Or little projects you're excited to tackle? After the closets are done, I'm thinking about what I might do to jazz up our balcony garden. Stay tuned!

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26 May 2011

sewing up a storm

Somewhere not so deep inside of me is a happy, mu mu-wearing housewife just waiting to be self-actualized. But, sadly, full-time housewife just ain't in the financial cards. (And mu mus aren't in the husband-approved cards.) To compensate, I find myself getting these powerful urges to do things like bake 50 cakes or make homemade gifts for all of my friends' babies.

(Also, I'm kidding -- mostly -- about the mu mus. The ones above are just fabric samples at Michael Levine, the world's most amazing fabric store, in downtown LA. Though I could totally get comfy in some caftans. A caftan is work-appropriate, right? Hell, anything is work-appropriate when you work from home!)

These days, my inner housewife is sewing up a storm. With my limited skill level, that means I have a few new sack dresses!

The one right above is actually for my friend Cathryn. Yes, that's right. I'm voluntarily making dresses for other people now. Holy wow, I must be delusional! What makes me think that my garments are worth wearing? Well, nothing. Except that Cathryn was here, we went fabric shopping together, and when she saw some that she liked but she doesn't sew, I couldn't deny her the chance to get a cute little summer dress out of the deal.

Fabric shopping is just so fun. In a way, it's better than clothes shopping. You get to see fabrics you like, imagine them in any shape you want, and with no need to visit the fitting room. Just envision the cute little wrap dress that could emerge from that print fabric...

Or the cute apron that could come from either color version of this modern bird print...

Theoretically, this crazy print will turn into a little wrap top as soon as I muster the courage to actually sew the pieces together.

I've basically got a whole new wardrobe lined up between all the fabric and patterns I have waiting.

So now it's just a matter of doing it all. And with our big home improvement projects out of the way, the only thing stopping me is other distractions. But so far, so good.

Because we're a tad tight on space, sewing a lot also means taking over the dining area, which may grow tiresome quickly. TBD.

With the upcoming long weekend, I'm hoping to make a dent in my project piles, so with a little luck I'll have some brand new clothes to show off soon. Stay tuned!

Anyone else been feeling domestic lately? Any housewifey (or househusbandy) projects coming from your casa?

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25 May 2011

last meal in boston

I've just returned from Boston where I had what I would consider to be an acceptable last meal. You know how, when guys on death row are about to be executed, they get to choose what they will have for their last meal? Well I have found my last meal. Not the last thing I ate, but the thing that, if it was the last thing I ever ate, I would be okay with it.

A little morbid, huh? :-)

Nah! It was just a damn good meal. And I'll let the pictures tell the story of my amazing Massachusetts oysters, Maine Jonah crab, homemade oyster crackers, Massachusetts clam chowder (B-E-S-T I have ever had, by FAR) that was loaded with fresh clams and finished with cream, and out-of-this-world hot buttered lobster roll on this incredibly light brioche bun.

Friends, this was one of the few times in my life I have ever left fries on the plate. And they were GOOD fries! I just had other priorities, like chowing down on every morsel of those amazing lobster claw and fat tail chunks. Soooooo good. Last week I could die because of our Apartment Therapy house tour. This week I can die because that meal was to-die-for.

If you're in Boston, check out Neptune's, but go EARLY (like before 5, seriously), and be prepared to wait. It's tiny and it gets packed quickly for good reason.

Here are some more of my Boston sights along the Freedom trail.

My family is descended from Ben Franklin's brother, so I always think of B.F. as "Uncle Ben," and I do love seeing him in statue form. 

Can you imagine driving on those lumpy cobblestones???

I remember learning in elementary school that Ben Franklin named all the streets in Boston, and when he ran out of ideas he started giving them mundane names like "Milk Street." So of course I had to snap a pic of Milk Street when I came across it.

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