Archive | March, 2010

Brilliant ideas: Union Jack throw pillows

24 Mar

The one thing I remember from the one episode of “Man Shops Globe” that I saw was artist Becky Oldfield and her gorgeous quilts made from reclaimed Union Jack flags. I have been a devout anglophile since my mom had me watching Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery as a kid, and I think the British flag is one of the most beautifully designed flags in the world. (I work at a travel magazine, I see a lot of flags.) I really, really, really loved those quilts. But did I really want to be sleeping under a Union Jack? Probably not. Though it would go nicely with the Penguin Classic print I would love to hang over my bed…* Rule Britannia.

When I started coveting the Rosette quilt at Anthropologie, I thought about buying the matching pillows. But at $58 each, I really could not justify it. Then I remembered Oldfield’s quilts. What if I made a Union Jack pillow in grey, purple, and white? Brilliant!

Union Jack pillow, from Henry Road

Molly's felt flower pillow, from

I’m thinking something like this (left), design-wise (so a true version of the flag). At first I was thinking of using some cool calico from Reprodepot, but now I’m thinking solids. Maybe even felt, like these felt flower pillows (right), from Purlbee, so I can layer the stripes on top of each other without having to quilt it all together.

Update: Oldfield herself has printed Union Jack pillows!

*Ouch! The 27.5 x 17″ version is 99 British pounds ($147). The much-cooler 55 x 35″ version is 299 pounds ($445)! Bloody hell.


New quilt

24 Mar

As I walked to my Muni stop from doing a weeknight run, I thought, “Maybe I’ll stop by the Apple store and buy a laptop case!” Then I thought, “No, that’s too expensive.” I passed the Apple store, and I thought, “Maybe I’ll stop by Anthropologie to check out my dream quilt!” Then I thought, “OK, but I won’t buy it yet.”

Well, I bought it. As I carried it up to the cash register, a nice saleslady in a cute pixie cut said, “I LOVE that quilt! You’re going to be so happy.” And guess what? I am.

My new quilt and throw!

I had put off buying this because, well, it’s expensive, and I thought I’d need a new duvet cover (additional expense). But after I removed my dark brown duvet cover, I realized that I don’t even need to buy a new one yet. Since I sleep with a top sheet, I can use the plain comforter. My bed is feeling very cloud-like. I love it!

A few accomplishments from the Fall Cure

14 Mar
Storage shelf reorg

Storage shelves: in progress

I didn’t take many photos during the Apartment Therapy Fall Cure 2009. Most of it was decluttering, which is not terribly photogenic. However, I did take photos of the project I was most proud of: reorganizing my storage shelves. It, too, is unphotogenic.

My apartment has virtually no storage. I have one tiny closet in my bedroom, a few awkwardly sized and positioned shelves in my bathroom, and a few shelves and cabinets in my kitchen. When I moved in to my apartment, I bought some IKEA shelves to put in a nook in my kitchen as storage, and they quickly became stuffed with crap.

Storage shelf reorg-after

The reorganized storage shelf

When I set up the shelves, I staggered the levels so they could accommodate items of varying height (and help make the shelf more stable), but I realized that this didn’t make good use of horizontal space. So I picked up some more shelves, took everything out of the shelving system, rebuilt the shelves, and then put everything back together. Fortunately, there’s a Goodwill drop-off nearly across the street from my house. I took bags and bags of things over there.

Now my shelves efficiently use the horizontal space. They also feel organized when I look at them, which makes a difference emotionally. I am so happy with this project. All my cleaning tools are organized on one side in a sort of broom closet, which makes it easier to grab what I need and go.

Storage shelf reorg-after

Pay no attention to the copious, but well-organized, stuff behind the curtain

I also made a rag bag out of fabric that I had cut to make a handbag, after acknowledging to myself that I was never going to make the handbag. That was a relief. I did, however, throw away an out-of-print Kelly bag sewing pattern. That, I think was my only regret.

See more pictures in my Apartment Therapy Fall Cure 2009 Flickr set.

Decorating around a Domino cover | Apartment Therapy Spring Cure 2010

14 Mar

There are a few elements I specifically want to steal from the Domino December 2006/January 2007 cover for my bedroom:

Anthropologie Rosette quilt

Soft textures, as in the velvet couch. I love my flokati rug, and I want to incorporate more softness into my room. I’ve been leaning toward this quilt, from Anthropologie. It’s made of jersey knit, and it just looks so wonderful to touch.Though I wish now I had bought the charcoal grey one when it was in stock. I had hoped to buy their purple cable-knit throw, but it sold out too quickly, so I bought the cream one.

Purple cable throw (sold out)

Metallic and silvery surfaces. I already have this a bit with my vintage mirror and silver picture frames. You can’t tell in the picture, but the color under the logo is a fabulous slightly metallic purple. I’m thinking of painting my dresser that color. (If anyone has any sources for metallic paint, let me know.)

Grey and purple color scheme. This will mostly be carried out in my bedding, because I rent and can’t paint the walls. I think I’m going to go for a light grey and dark purple, mostly because I’d get the light-grey quilt. Though I’m not entirely sure about that. The more I think about it, the more I lean toward light grey as the dominant color and light purple as the second color.

Theo Williams Jet alarm clock

Red and gold accents. I need a new clock, and I’ve been minorly obsessed with the Theo Williams jet clock. If only it came in an alarm clock/clock radio, it would be perfect! I’m thinking of painting my bed frame red, to get the red in. But I’m not sure how that would look with the grey/purple bedding. I’m actually not sure what to do with my bedframe. I don’t love it, but I can’t afford a new one right now. Maybe I should make a red velvet flower for the red accent? Or get red lampshades? It might look good to get a solid red for the floor lamp and patterned red (like the graphic grape-like print on the black-and-white wrapping paper) for the dresser lamp.

The ribbon holding the wreath. I’m going to try to find a wide, metallic pale purple ribbon to hold up my mirror. That’s an easy peasy fix.

I want this life | Apartment Therapy Spring Cure 2010

14 Mar

Domino magazine, December 2006/January 2007

As soon as I got this issue of Domino in the mail, I thought, “I want that life.” I love the model’s dress, and I even searched for patterns to make something like it. (I found one, but realized I would probably never get around to actually sewing it.) I bought the lipstick she’s wearing (Aveda Rubisparks, now discontinued). I ordered the wreath from Anthropologie (it is brighter in real life) and hang it up every year at Christmas.

But I really wanted that living room. I love the comfortable, subtle opulence of it. The velvet sofa looks like you could just lounge on it all day. The silvery walls add just a bit of sparkle and probably reflect the light really nicely (something I would love in my dark apartment). The simple red-topped, gold-legged table is just the tiniest bit ornate.

I want to make my bedroom like this, putting a sight spin on the Domino idea of “turn this outfit into a room” and making it “turn this living room into a bedroom.”

AT Home Cure: Goals for 2010

14 Mar
Bedroom-before mosaic

The Before images of my bedroom

When I did the Apartment Therapy Home Cure last fall, I realized that my apartment had become sadly neglected. I did the Deep Treatment and got rid of bags and bags of stuff I didn’t need.

This time, I’m going to do a mix of the Deep Treatment and One-Room Remedy, focusing on my bedroom. My bedroom is fine, but after getting the rest of my apartment to feel like “me,” I want to get this room to feel more inviting, comfortable, cozy, and yes, maybe a bit sexy.

I have been aiming for a color scheme (dark brown, pale green, pale pink, pale orange) in my bedroom over the years that just simply has never come together, mostly because I don’t put any effort into tying it together.

Also, I have things in there that I grew out of years ago:

  • Two twin-size blankets that I got my freshman year of college. They’re 19 years old. I’ve been sleeping in a double bed for the past 14 years.
  • Flannel sheets that are great for warmth (my apartment is very chilly) but, aesthetically, lean a little more toward the lumberjack than I want. I think the pink plaid is funny, but funny isn’t what I should be going for in the bedroom.
  • A My First Sony alarm clock. It has a clock radio, which is the only radio I own, but the reception is terrible. Again, it’s funny, but why am I going for funny in the bedroom? I’ve been wanting to replace this for years, but I haven’t found anything that I liked.

I have made some recent improvements that I want to build on:

  • The flokati rug (from IKEA, but I do not recommend buying their rugs) is amazing to step on first thing in the morning. It’s a pain to clean, but it feels so nice underfoot. I want to bring more sensual elements into my bedroom: soft things, texture, etc.
  • The art I have on the walls (from L’Affiche Moderne and others). It’s comforting, soothing, and most importantly, it doesn’t show people. I get creeped out by having photos of people in my bedroom. I’d like to bring more art into my room. I tried to do this a bit with my DIY collage frame above my bed, but I just don’t think it’s working that well right now.
  • Medicine-cabinet mirror (flea market find). I need to replace the ribbon holding this up. I used that as a temporary ribbon about 4 years ago, and it’s time to replace it. I made the velvet flower on top, but it would be nice to replace it with something in the color scheme. Maybe I can make a new one.
  • Tree necklace holder (from Urban Outfitters). I had all my jewelry in a box under my dresser, but I realized that, even though I had some jewelry I liked, I never wore any. Putting my necklaces out encourages me to actually wear them.

After taking the diagnostic quiz, my home is healthy, but it could use improvement in one room and toning all around. I really need to work on the breath (arrangement and flow) and bones (physical structure) of my house. I’m feeling good about this cure!

Apartment Therapy Home Cure 2010! A look back on 2009

14 Mar

Last fall, I did the Apartment Therapy Home Cure, and I felt like my entire life changed. I decluttered, cleaned, reorganized, repaired, and made small adjustments that made my apartment so much of a better place to live. I couldn’t wait until spring, so I could do it all again.

Last time, I kept a pretty detailed Google Docs spreadsheet to track everything in one place. I created pages for:

  • The questionnaire at the beginning of the book so I could easily reference it.
  • Weekly updates to track my progress and pat myself on the back. (I’m going to handle that here, for this go-round.)
  • A repair worksheet, with columns for Room, Repair, Solution, and Done (with the date).
  • Shopping list, with Item, Room, Cost, Priority, Bought (date), Store, and Notes (to keep track of different options, etc.)

The upside of the spreadsheet was that it kept everything in one place. The downside is that it’s not easily accessible/editable from my phone (so I had to print out my shopping list for each store or enter it into my phone). It’s also completely text-based, which isn’t so ideal for this sort of thing. I created an Xmarks folder to bookmark images I found inspiring, but it was cumbersome to dig through all that.

This time, I’m going to move my weekly updates to this blog and take photos to track my progress. Also, I’m going to post my style folder photos here, so I have a visual record. I downloaded the TaskPaper iPhone app and am going to download the program on my computer so I can keep my to-dos with me at all times.