Archive | April, 2010

Presidio 10 2010

18 Apr

My results!

Distance: 10 miles
Chip time: 1:37:51
Gun time: 1:38:50
Pace: 9:47/mile
Age group: 32/59
Overall: 511/765

The winner finished this in 58:32, with a pace of 5:51/mile! The top lady ran it in 1:04:03 (6:24/mile), and the top lady in my age group’s time was 1:11:59 (7:12/mile). I should probably do some speedwork. I’d like to finish in at least the top half of my age group.

32 Nicole Solis San Francisco CA 1871 35 511 1:37:51 1:38:50 00:59 25:52 9:47/M

Union Jack pillow colors | Apartment Therapy Spring Cure 2010

10 Apr

It is FREEZING today, so instead of going out and shopping for home items, I am sitting in my house figuring some home things out on my computer. I found some great wool felt colors on Purl Soho’s website, so I used a graphics program to play around with two color combinations for my Union Jack pillow idea.

Here they are with the quilt and sheets I bought for my bed.

Union Jack pillow colors: I'm leaning toward the two greys.


Now I have to decide what size pillows I’m going to make. I’d rather do rectangular than square, but the square pillow forms will be much easier to find, and it seems it would make it easier to get the angles right on the flag.

Oddly enough, the felt and sheets are almost the exact same shade as the color I’m thinking of painting my dresser, Sherwin-Williams Mythical.

Tackling the shopping list | Apartment Therapy Spring Cure 2010

10 Apr

400-thread count sheets for $43! What a deal!

I am both ahead and behind in my Spring Cure this year. I made great progress in my kitchen and reorganizing my living room (yay!). After an initial surge of activity, my bedroom, the room I wanted to focus on the most, has been sadly neglected.

So I decided to focus on getting a few items off my shopping list and into my home. I just ordered my dream clock, the Theo Williams jet alarm clock from Sperenza Gallery in Texas–the only place that still had it. And then I found quite a few much-needed, though boring, items on Amazon:

  • A new backup drive for my computer, highly recommended by CNET.
  • New sheets. 400 thread count set for $43! The cheapest I found, in something close to the right color, was $80.
  • A new laptop case. (OK, not really part of the Home Cure, but part of my goal to get out of my home and into the world, even when I have to work on my computer)
  • A rotating-plug surge protector. This sounds dorky, but it is SO USEFUL. I have an outlet right behind my couch, and using this kind of surge protector means that I can push my couch closer to the wall, saving precious inches of floor space.

In the process of ordering all this, I dumped an entire glass of water on my desk and onto all my cables behind my desk. This post on cable organizers helped me narrow my options down to the Cable Turtle. The cable organizers are cheaper on (and shipping is cheaper, too).

I love online shopping because you know exactly what you’re paying throughout every step. But still, as I got ready to hit “Place Your Order” on Amazon and, I felt a moment’s panic. Last year, I did not budget well for my Cure, and I ran out of money (or rather, ran up my credit card) by spending it on nice-to-haves instead of need-to-haves. I don’t want to make that same mistake this time. I’m going to hold off on the cable stuff. Phew. I feel better already.

My deep-cleaned kitchen | Apartment Therapy Spring Cure 2010

6 Apr

Week 2 of the Cure always blows my mind. When you set out to clean every surface in your kitchen, you don’t realize exactly what all it will involve. It is both far more labor-intensive a task than I expect it to be and far more fulfilling a task than I expect it to be. I love cooking. I love having a clean kitchen. And after the deep clean, my kitchen always feels SPARKLING!

Once again, I didn’t take before photos, but here are some of the afters, which took several revisions before they finally became true “afters.”

The busiest corner in my kitchen, with freshly reorganized shelves

After having several BBQs and dinner parties (and also failing to make the bottles of limoncello I planned to give everyone for Christmas a few years ago), I had amassed quite a ridiculous liquor collection. I kept the makings for my favorite drinks–Sazeracs, Old Fashioneds, and margaritas–on an accessible shelf and moved everything else (which I plan to use at my birthday party in a few months) way up high.

Close-up of my organized shelves

Also, I drink coffee every morning. I usually just shake my coffee out of the paper bag it comes in, but I often end up spilling a fair bit of it and feeling grumpy about it. So I poured my coffee into a glass jar. Now I can spoon it out without spilling as much AND it looks lovelier on my shelf.

I got these diner mugs at Loulou’s Lost and Found in Boston and have always regretted not getting more. If anyone knows where to get them, let me know. These say “Black Jumbo Coffee” and “Coffee! Nice and hot!”

My clean stove and table and chairs

I briefly had my table aligned differently (a short end was against the left wall), but I moved it back to this position. It feels more open this way.

One thing I learned: don’t cook while trying to clean your kitchen. Especially don’t roast a whole chicken, bake bread, make Rice Krispy treats (even though that will help get rid of a box of Rice Krispies that had been unopened in my cabinet for ages), roast asparagus, and make chicken stock. That didn’t speed up the process.

My bookshelf, in my kitchen. This needs serious editing.

This bookshelf is still kind of a disaster. I need to declutter it in a big way. I’m leaving that and my storage shelves for the “home office” week. All my cookbooks are on the top shelf, and all my copies of Martha Stewart Living (collected over a decade or more) are on the bottom shelf. I moved all my “books to read” off my desk and to that horizontal pile on the middle shelf.

Testing out the new fabric for the curtains hiding my storage shelves

The curtains I had covering my storage shelves before were made of this great yellow-and-green polka dot pattern fabric from ReproDepot. But the yellow just blended into the yellow walls of my kitchen, and it dragged down that area a bit. I initially bought this large-print fabric for a tablecloth, then was going to get a related print–same motif, smaller pattern–for the curtains. IKEA sold out of the smaller print, so I bought more of this. I kind of like it. Sewing these curtains will be my weekend project.

The old curtains next to the new ones.

I still loved that polka-dot fabric, and besides my mixing bowls, it was the only avocado green I had in the kitchen. I couldn’t just throw the fabric away! It did keep nagging me that the fabric in the screen hiding my water heater were so stained and, well, disgusting. You can see it in some of the photos. It took less than one polka-dot curtain panel, an hour with a pair of needle-nose pliers, and some upholstery tacks to replace the stained fabric.

Old curtains become my new screen!

I’m pretty happy with what I’ve done! (FYI, that apron on the left is what determined the color scheme for my kitchen: tomato red, orange, yellow, avocado green, and the pretty robin’s egg blue.)

My new living room | Apartment Therapy Spring Cure 2010

6 Apr

As I’ve been working on this Home Cure, I have felt this pull toward my living room. I couldn’t quite figure out what was wrong with it. But the more I read about flow and thought about the energy in my house (yeah, I know I sound like a hippie), the more I realized that the living room was the problem. Once I discovered, I came up with a solution! I just had to wait until the carpet people came to replace my carpet (and I could replace my awesome rug) to make it happen.

Well, I couldn’t wait. In a burst of energy, I rearranged my living room. I forgot to take before photos, but here are the afters.

My couch is now along the long wall, near the windows.

The desk, instead of being the first thing you see, is tucked in the back.

One of the big problems in this room was that I was spending A LOT of time on my computer. I hate being on the computer when I come home. I would rather be sitting on my couch reading or playing my instruments. So I intentionally took my computer out of the nice spot by the window, where I could work and look outside at our nice garden, and stuck it in a corner with zero view. Instead, my couch is in the sunnier spot, making it a nicer place to sit.

My new reading nook!

Even before I moved the furniture around, I knew I’d have to get a lamp for this corner. When I moved my tomato chair to that corner, I realized it would be a great place to curl up and read the paper or a book, but I’d need a lamp. I had this one in my bedroom, but it never really worked in there. And now that I’m changing my bedroom colors, the orangey lampshade didn’t work there, but it looks pretty good in the living room.

Back around to the couch, landing strip, and the sunny windows

My landing strip, just inside the door, uses a teacup to hold my keys (and batteries I need to recycle). It’s also been a great plant stand for that plant in the purple pot (I don’t know what kind it is, but I’ve had it for about 5 years or more).

The thing that really amazes me about the changes are that, even though my apartment does not get much light at all, the room feels so much brighter and happier. I can’t wait til I can get my awesome rug back down on the floor. I love that rug. That, and a few small tweaks, will make this the living room of my dreams!

Though, now I wonder if I should get curtains… Hmmm…

Better flow in the living room

4 Apr

My entire apartment, courtesy of

One recommendation in Apartment Therapy is to find a floor planner tool and use it to come up with a new layout for a room that’s bothering you. I kept putting this off, but yesterday, I thought that there’s got to be an online floor planner tool somewhere.

And there is! I mapped out my entire apartment on

Even though I’ve been trying to focus on my bedroom for this Spring Cure, I keep coming back to my living room. It’s got terrible flow.

I love that my desk is in the corner with two windows, but I hate how my couch feels so far back. When I put it there, I thought that it would be a good place to sit and look outside, but it’s not terribly inviting. I end up spending a lot of time at my desk and not much time on my couch or in my side chair. Also, when people come over, they don’t feel beckoned toward the couch, since it’s wedged back there. It’s not inviting.

So I played around with some other designs. Since I’m going to have to move all my furniture out of my living room to have my carpet replaced soon, I might as well reorganize everything, right?

Here’s what I came up with:

This, to me, feels more like a living room with a desk in it rather than the current home office + seating area vibe. I keep my current landing strip, which is handy. The couch will actually gets some sunlight, which will be really, really nice. My desk chair won’t be right in the doorway, and I have three seating positions, if you turn my desk chair around.

I think I love it. I can’t wait until they replace the carpet!

Also, I discovered my apartment is roughly 418 square feet! Not too shabby!