Archive | May, 2010

My newly painted dresser!

31 May

My finished dresser!

One of the remaining projects in my Apartment Therapy Spring Cure this year was to paint my dresser. Though my apartment is too small to paint in, I do have a backyard. Finally, this weekend, the rain let up enough to paint it. I picked up a can of Sherwin-Williams Mythical on my way home from jury duty, picked up some sandpaper and primer, dug out my putty knife, and got to work.

The first order of business was removing the heavily chipped paint, the original paint, on the top. I went at it with a putty knife and got most of it off after about an hour, but the rest was pretty stubborn. Fortunately, my fab neighbor, Pat, lent me his power sander, so I sanded the rest down to a fairly even surface.

To give myself some practice painting (the last time I painted furniture was more than 10 years ago, and I did a HORRIBLE job), I put on some primer. In their excellent how-to post, Young House Love recommended oil-based primer underneath latex paint to reduce bubbling. So that’s what I did. I let it dry overnight, then spent Sunday painting three coats of the purple paint.

It took me about two hours to get the chipped paint off and the top sanded down to an even finish.

I was so afraid of putting on too much paint, that I went way too light on the first coat, only a little light on the second coat, then got it almost just right on the third coat. I was particularly careful on the top trim, bottom trip, and detail around the legs, but by the time I got to the second coat, I realized I was missing all the nooks and crannies. I painted over those with some watered-down paint, and that seemed to do the trick.

Today, I let it finish drying outside (it’s been about 22 hours since I put on the last coat), then put it back in my room. I had hoped to salvage the original hardware, but sadly, one of the drawer pulls broke as I removed it. I went to Anthropologie today and picked up a whole new set of replacements.

Everything is back in my dresser, but I’m going to wait until tomorrow to put everything back on top. Although it was really nice to be outside all day yesterday painting, I really, really, really don’t want to accidentally ding it and have to retouch the paint anytime soon. I’m so excited to have this done! It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty darn good for a first attempt!

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Ferry Building, May 29 | Farmer’s Market Report

30 May

Heaven in a brown paper bag: Old-fashioned cherries from K&J Orchards. May 29, 2010.

One of my favorite recurring items on Marco Flavio’s blog, Cook Here and Now, were his farmers market reports. Every week, he’d visit the Alemeny Farmers Market and report on not only what was in season, but what looked good and what to make out of what he’d found. And his photography was amazing.

Since I go to the farmers market pretty much every week, I thought I’d start keeping track of what I find. This Saturday, I ventured beyond my super-convenient local farmers market in Noe Valley and headed to the Ferry Building. I’ve been dying to make a cherry pie, my favorite kind of pie, as a sort of penance for completely missing cherry season last year.

A friend had mentioned that there should be sour cherries there this week, but alas, none to be found. I asked at one stall, and they shook their heads: “No one carries them because there isn’t much of a demand.” K&J Orchards had the widest selection of cherries that I saw: Brooks, Rainier, and deep, dark red “old-fashioned” cherries. I asked the woman there about the last kind, and she said, “They taste like a cherry.” And they do. They bring me back to the cherry pies I ate as a kid. I bought an enormous quantity for the cherry pie (at $7/lb.) and put in a request for sour cherries. If K&J has enough, then they call to let you know when they’ll bring them to the Ferry Building and you can pick them up.

There have been more and more stone fruits every week, and K&J had some delicious samples of apricot, peach, and nectarine. I still had pie on the brain, so I bought some peaches to make ginger-peach pie, which I last tried with white peaches in a batch of pie pops. (It was delicious.) I’m looking forward to breaking in my new Williams-Sonoma pie plates tomorrow and trying Bittman’s flaky pie crust. The cherry pie and pie crust will be my new recipes of the week.

I’m not sure why, but I’ve been far more interested in fruit than vegetables at the farmers markets lately. I need to get some veggie variety. I picked up two bunches of unremarkable-looking arugula for $3 total. My friend Laurie Twittered that it was the last day of asparagus season. I almost picked some up, but I’ve kind of overdone it on asparagus the past few weeks.

I did stop by my favorite apple vendor, Hidden Star Orchards, and was helped by (I think) Johann, the owner, himself. The guy who works at the Noe Valley stall (or, as I like to call him, the hot apple guy) must be related to him. They have the same smile: warm and friendly. I stuck to Fujis this time. Though this year’s crop aren’t quite as crisp as Hidden Star’s usually near-perfect apples, the flavor is still really yummy. I hope their New York Special variety returns this year.

A few other observations:

  • Heirloom tomatoes are $4.25/lb.! I remember when they were $3/lb. and I thought that was expensive. I’ll have to keep an eye on the price to see if it changes over the season.
  • I almost picked up strawberries from Swanton, but I figured my fruit haul was already a bit too much.
  • Almost all of the Noe vendors also have stalls at the Ferry Building. This made me feel better about going to Noe almost every week rather than venturing down to the Ferry Building more often.

The finished living room | Apartment Therapy Home Cure

17 May

My reorganized living room!

My awesome property management company, their contractors, and I have been diligently working to get a leaky window in my apartment fixed. Unfortunately, it’s involved much more work than anyone could have anticipated. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working with the contractors to get the ceiling patched, the wall repainted, and, as the final step of the saga, replacing the carpet. This whole process put much of my AT Home Cure on hold, which was frustrating. But it all was resolved today, when my carpet was replaced and I put my home back together!

My reading nook.

The big change in this room was rearranging it to be a much more conversation- and entertaining-friendly space. I did this in the beginning of April, but I couldn’t put down my rug (the rug guy told me it is very difficult to get mildew smells out of tapestry rugs–who knew?) until the carpet was replaced. Since I took those photos, I moved my small bookshelf under my coat hooks so I have more of a proper landing strip. I need to find a new end table for the couch (and my poor plant, which has not been getting enough sun).

In the back of my mind, I always wanted to make this room a more inviting place to practice my instruments. I moved my two guitars, my mandolin, and my amp to the previously empty corner. Since most of my music books, strings, picks, etc. are in my landing strip bookshelf, now everything is more accessible.

Another view.

I am soooooooo happppppyyyyyyy to have my living room all back together again, with my fabulous rug. Now I just have to finish my other remaining AT Home Cure projects: sewing the curtains for the kitchen, repainting my dresser, changing the ribbon around my mirror, and making those Union Jack pillows.

Wireless router tip (courtesy of the nice customer service lady at AT&T): Lift your router off the carpet. This greatly improves reception.