There are a few things I won’t do. I won’t dye and I won’t spin. I don’t quilt. And, as of right now, I don’t crochet. It’s not that I’m against other crafts, I love even the ones I can’t understand. I just can’t allow myself to have other hobbies. My yarn stash is out of control and, since I started sewing at the beginning of the year, I’m having trouble finding places to store the new yardage I’ve been collecting. One day, when I am a grown up, I will have a house with a craft room and there will be a closet full of yarn and a cabinet of fabric and a sewing machine, serger, floor loom, spinning wheel, and maybe even a knitting machine. But right now, in my one-bedroom, I am bursting at the seams (craft pun) with bobbins, tapestry needles, cross stitch canvasses, etc.
But if I could have a new hobby, if I did allow myself to learn something new, to take time away from that mile-long queue of sweaters and hats and socks, if it were possible to store a little frame under my bed between the sewing patterns and bags of yarn, that hobby would be weaving.
To be honest, I know how to weave. I have a small table top loom that I received as a gift years ago and I made lots of little patterned ribbons with linen thread. When I saw these woven wall hangings coming back into style (they’re really 70’s, huh?) I tried to ignore it. But now it’s too late. The pastel, textured beauties have caught me and I want one of my own.
I’ve considered taking a class (maybe one at the Textile Arts Center or this one at Makeshift Society Brooklyn) but I am the most stubborn kind of DIY-er. I like to think that I can figure out how to do anything on my own. Pickling? Sewing buttonholes? Weaving? I’m sure I can make it work. Besides, I have the internet to help me. Some resources I’ve found for DIY weaving frame, the anatomy of a loom, and a tapestry tutorial. So I might go for it. I mean, it would be a good way to use up my stash, right?
Do you limit your hobbies? Have you caught the weaving craze? How are you learning?
Want to talk furniture again?
This whole table thing is actually ending up easier than I’d expected. But there’s a real ongoing theme of not knowing what we’re doing slash not bothering to plan anything ahead of time. It’s a blast. Don’t do it that way. In case you were like, “Hm. I too would like a trendy reclaimed wood table” but weren’t sure about what to do after purchasing said reclaimed wood, well, I’m here to help.
At the lumber yard, they were able to scrape down the wood to get most of the major gunk off. That helped a lot. The guy recommended that we don’t do too much sanding lest we strip the patina right off. Once we got it home, we gave it a good scrub. First, we mixed some Mrs. Meyers dish soap (I like lavender) with warm water. After that, and probably more importantly, we washed it again with a cup or two of borax in warm water. The borax was really difficult to find for some reason but I found it at Target. This second wash kills any bugs and other gross things that I don’t want to think about living in my kitchen table.
After the table was dry, we decided we really needed to do a light sanding. Things were kind of treacherous without. I was going to rent a sander but did you know that they sell little sanders for $30? I have a sander now but not that many things to sand. Anyway, Jon removed the gigantic rusty nails that were sticking out using lots of elbow grease while I got to use the power tools. I went over once with 160 grit and once with 280. Did the trick perfectly.
Next was sealing. Staining was something we toyed with briefly (after we went to the hardware store and bought everything but stain) but we thought that it was best to leave the wood as close to the way we got it. A lot of people in my brief research suggested not sealing the table at all and letting all of the spills and dings and scratches become part of the weathered look. That sounds lovely but I’d really rather keep the wood stuff in the table and everything else out. I’ve had butcher block tables before and this just isn’t quite the same since it’s a bit bumpy and everything. We used a polyacrylic sealer (instead of polyurethane) with a satin finish. It dried super fast and really kind of woke up the wood and made it look fresh and happy.
So that’s just about where we’re at. It’s not very exciting to look at but one day, this little door will grow up to be a real table! Next step is the legs and, well, maybe that’s it!
How much patina is just right for you?
When Meredith at One Sheepish Girl was looking for guest bloggers while she prepares her book (!!!), I raised my hand really high and went “Oo oo oo pick me!” I absolutely love her blog and adorable style.
I wrote up a really fun pattern for a Plant Cozy to share with her readers. You should go check it out (along with the rest of her blog) here!
Do you dress up your plants?
In my ongoing efforts to live my life by the Gospel of Martha Stewart, praised be!, I’m going to build some furniture and it’s going to be adorable.
I don’t really talk about interior decorating because it’s not really something that I have time and money to invest in. But I have big plans. The last apartment that Jon and I lived in remained largely unfinished for the entirety of our stay there (13 months). We painted a few walls but we didn’t hang any pictures or shelves or even the mezuzah which literally required five minutes and a slice of velcro. We moved to the south side of Williamsburg back in February and, while the apartment itself is beautiful and new, we’ve taken a terribly long time to get everything the way we want it. We are about 25% there* which is disappointing but things are finally happening.
First of all, we framed and hung all of the artwork that was sitting in boxes for the past two years. Yay! I’m still in desperate need for more pieces but I’m at a place now where at least it looks like we’re trying. Second, we bought a new grown up person couch. Our last place was only big enough for a little loveseat from IKEA which is not so good for entertaining** and looks odd now that we have room for real furniture. Between you and me, I can go crazy in the IKEA marketplace but I’m way over their furniture. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “Oh, you just have to treat their stuff right and it’ll last a while.” I was lying to myself. And I think it’s time to invest in some furniture that’s not going to fall apart. The couch isn’t here yet because it’s being custom made by hand which is pretty awesome! Can’t wait to tell you more about that!
So since we’re being grown ups that will soon have a fancy couch, it’s time to we get our act together with a real table so we don’t ruin this thing. We’re building a dining table (I typed dining room table but that would require another room which does not exist). We checked out some vintage tables and the like on Etsy but I somehow convinced Jon that it would be way more fun and cool to build one from reclaimed wood. Groovy. But there are basically only three places within 50 miles that sell reclaimed wood and only one of which is open on the weekends. Which is how we ended up at Real Antique Wood.
There was so much lumber there, it was kind of incredible. Pieces of all kinds of buildings just outside of the city. They showed us to a room full of doors. It was incredible. Doors from inside and outside houses new and old with all kind of great fixtures and knobs and hinges. It was fun. The door idea was actually pretty smart because not only is it super cool to use doors as tables but it also means that you don’t have to actually put anything together besides the legs.
The lovely people at Real Antique Wood actually picked out the perfect piece for us before we’d even arrived: a hayloft door from an 1800s barn that had just been dismantled in Ohio. The hinges are original and handmade by a blacksmith. I love that because I’m a total nerd for history. And they also gave us a super price.
Once we dragged the thing home (it’s solid oak and about 4×4), we realized that it’s kind of a filthy mess and it’s going to need a huge amount of work. So there is a lot to be done and hopefully we can execute it before the weather turns too cold. But we’re about 25% into the process of making our apartment into a real live grown up place to live. Hopefully we’ll never have to move because that piece of wood is heavy as all goddamn! Can’t wait to share the door-to-table process with you!
Have you worked with reclaimed wood? Have you built any furniture? Do I have any idea what I’m doing?
* The other 75% includes a lovely pipe dream of building custom bookshelves with a custom computer desk, buying a giant photograph of a sleeping woman, hanging a mirror and little key basket by the front door, making a billion kitschy embroideries for the bathroom, figuring out an attractive way to store our shoes, and buying some dining chairs.
** By entertaining I mean the pile of yarn and miscellaneous craft projects that live on the couch with me.
Jon and I are moving to Williamsburg in less than a week! Can you believe it? We’ve lived in Manhattan for three years now and I will be sad to leave our awesome little apartment. When I leave the building every morning, I see people jogging and walking their dogs across the street and I wonder how we got so lucky as to find a tiny home of our own, with the most famous park in the world at our front door. I’m always reminding myself that I’m not dreaming (usually, I realize I’m awake when I trip over the coffee table or bang my knee into the bed frame because, boy, is this place cozy!) and that this is my real life. (Am I gushing? I get really emotionally attached to apartments. I cried the night before we moved into this apartment. So many memories!) I’m sad to let this charming steal go but we couldn’t be more excited about the new apartment and the fantastic neighborhood. It’s changed a lot since I lived there last but so have I!
We’ve been making a lot of plans for the new place. We’re going to build some custom furniture and we’re thinking about painting the walls black again (since repainting the bedroom back to all white, it looks flat and sad). These plans will take some time and we’re on a pretty strict budget. But that doesn’t stop me from dreaming! Here are some things I’d put into my dream Knit House.
1. Knit Wallpaper by Fargerike
2. Mid-century Bed Frame from West Elm
3. Tripod Wood Floor Lamp from West Elm
4. Knitter Pouf from CB2
5. Caitlan Chair from Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.
6. Birgit duvet cover and pillowcases by Ikea
As you can tell, we’re going for a midcentury, dramatic look with lots of neutrals and pretty, maybe reclaimed wood. Our real apartment will rely much more on DIY but that will be a fun project for us! Also, if this were my dream knit house, it would have one floor just or yarn and six tape measures in every room. I couldn’t put those into the nifty graphic, but they’re there.
What would you put in your dream house?
ps. In case you missed this floating around the knitterverse: Ponies wearing Cardies.
Oh my I have big news! I’ve dropped right off the face of the earth but it’s because I have so much fun stuff brewing. I had big plans for gift guides and I’ve got so many FOs to share but that will all have to wait. Because we are moving! Jon and I have finally found a really amazing apartment for ourselves and no more sharing! Nothing is more stressful than moving so add that to the chaos of the holidays and I’m just slightly incoherent right now.
Anyway, I’m going to have so much after the New Year. And I can’t wait to share our first grown up apartment with you all. 2012 is going to be a very exciting year!
Hopefully I can squeeze in a few more posts before the holidays but you can find me on Twitter if you want to read a live feed of me losing my mind.
Happy Holidays, everyone!
Jon gave me that adorable sweater mug for Chanukah. How cozy is it with a gigantic homemade marshmallow floating in hot chocolate?!
Have you seen This New House on DIY Network? Instead of fixing up old houses, this show highlights modern homes with the latest greenest technology. Jon and I have been watching it and we’re so inspired. Jon loves all of the gadgets, I love the modern design. And you can watch it online!
We caught an episode over the weekend and our new dream home is a monolithic dome. They’re super energy efficient and can last 500 years!
They aren’t all curves on the inside. The interior floor plans are customizable and can be multiple floors with regular rooms. Some homes are even two or more domes built together!
Jon says he’d like a big cylindrical tropical fish tank (like the magical one at the Dream Hotel in midtown) going right down the middle.
I think I’d prefer a big cozy fireplace! How amazing is this one?
You have to see their amazing construction. The episode with the amazing Dome Houses is here!
Would you live in a dome house? Would yours be ultra modern or more traditional on the inside?
Tags: cement, DIY Network, dome house, dream home, Dream Hotel, fire place, fireplace, fish tank, green home, interior design, modern design, modern home, monolithic, monolithic dome, monolithic dome institute, This New House, TV
Oh my I really have had interior decorating on my mind recently! After spending so much time flea-marketing and boutiquing (are those verbs? Are those even words) I haven’t been able to stop dreaming about a sunny, impeccably-curated collection of furniture and art.
We bought a lot of furniture recently. And I’m proud to say it’s real furniture, none of that Ikea business. (Don’t get me wrong, Ikea is fab and cheap and good looking but if I never see another Malm dresser, I would not miss them. What I’m trying to say is, everyone owns Ikea furniture and it makes the design aspect feel less authentic.) The pieces we bought are really unique and they were a steal.
Anyway, ever since our new stuff was delivered, I’ve been staring at Eames chairs and wood re-finishing DIYs. And this chair. I think this Bookhou chair is everything I could ever want. But, of course, it only comes in a children’s size! If this were a big person chair, think I could throw out every other piece of furniture I own and just sit on the floor looking st this chair. It’s gorgeous and simple and it’s covered in felt. I also think that Bookhou is my new favorite store.
Check it out!