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Every time I scroll back through my iPhoto, I come across this set and think, I’ve GOT to post these on the blog! So now I finally am, even though they’re almost a year old and totally out of season. But sitting here in the chill of this Winter That Will Never End, I’m loving this flashback to summer fun.

This is the Starlite Motel, located in the Catskills in upstate New York (same area–and era–where Dirty Dancing took place… are you feeling it??). It’s just about the most amazing time capsule you’ll ever find–it’s completely authentic, perfectly preserved, 100% un-ironic, and you’re pretty sure that when you step out to your car in the morning, you’re going to see Don Draper slipping out of Betty’s room, that time they went to visit Sally at camp. 

I mean, can you stand it? It’s hard to believe this place exists.

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It’s living room update time! If you’re following along, I’m doing a tour of all the rooms in my apartment because I’m redecorating soon and I want to capture things as they are now, before they change. (Here’s where you can see the whole apartment. And here’s the before of the empty apartment when I moved in.)

So let’s take a look at the living room! I have to say this was the most challenging room of the apartment, hands down. It’s really long and skinny, it has a slanted corner window, and traffic moves directly through it so there has to be enough room around the furniture to allow for walking. It was a difficult room to plan from day one, and I think that really shows. Anyway, in the spirit of there’s no such thing as perfect, let’s get to it!

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Here’s one end of the room. (That door leads to the bedroom and craft room.)

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA…and here’s the other side of the room. Aaaaaccccckkkkkkk! Cue horror music! When I moved in I thought that diamond glass block wall was crazy but workable, but over time I came to hate it with a fiery burning passion, which I don’t think is unreasonable. It’s so out of control that I never even talk about the narrow vertical glass block column to the right, which seems downright subtle compared to the diamond.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s what the view into the hallway looked like. (This hallway is the entryway to the apartment, and it also leads to the dining room.)

 

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The first piece of furniture I bought for this room is this antique buffet which I planned to put the TV on.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe next piece I got was the first couch. Oh, and I painted the walls pink! I have really loved this pink room, it’s kooky but I have been on such a pink binge for the past few years, which I’m sure is just a fleeting moment in time, and I love that I’ll always have my memories of my Single Girl Pink Living Room to commemorate this phase. :) Alas, the pink walls are on the way out, thus marking the end of the Single Girl Phase of this apartment altogether! Eeeek!

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnyway, here’s how things looked on this end of the living room for a while. There were some good elements, but things just weren’t right. For one, there wasn’t enough seating — this sofa was actually way too small for the room, which was just a shopping mistake I made because I misjudged the scale of the room, having never lived in such a crazy-long room. I planned to get an armchair to complete the seating, but I just could never find the right piece. I also really needed something for that corner with the fan.

After much deliberating, I finally accepted that I had purchased a too-small sofa. It just didn’t work in the room, and adding an armchair wasn’t the right solution. I realized I just needed a larger sofa to fill out the room. So I sold the first one on Craigslist and got this one instead:

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Hello! The color was the same and the lines were really similar, it’s just bigger, and it does work better in the room. I really like this sofa. This wall still needed a bit of finessing, like a better end table and lamp, and the wall art needed to be filled out.

 

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And here’s how things look now on the other side of the room. I love this nook! The yellow buffet ended up not being great as a TV stand so it became… a buffet. Those curtains are from my grandma’s house in the 60′s, which makes me so happy.

 

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Do you notice anything missing? Anything at all? A scary glass block diamond, perhaps?! It was covered up by a big painting–definitely one of the most satisfying projects in this apartment! (Here’s the post with more info about that process.)

 

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And here’s the view into the hallway! This is one of my favorite spots in house, with the pink walls over the Marimekko paper, my great-grandmother’s mirror, and a pair of horse illustrations I got at a vintage store in Pennsylvania.

 

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….Buuuut here’s the other side of the room. Hashtag sad trombone. This wall and corner are definitely the most unfinished area of the apartment to date. I just never worked it out–I needed an entertainment system of some sort, and something tall for that corner, and it just never happened. Oh well! Hopefully that will be addressed in this room’s next incarnation.

 

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This chair was a fun project in this room — I painted the fabric, which was an interesting experiment — here’s the original post which details the whole process.

 

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Hi, Fifi! I see you creepin’ on me!

So that’s it for the living room! Not perfect, but I like you anyway, living room. The hallway is up next… see you back here soon for that! xo

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Next up in my apartment update series is my bedroom! (As I mentioned in an earlier post, I moved in here about two and a half years ago and I’m about to do some redecorating, so I’m doing a little tour of all the rooms as they are now, before they go changin’.)

So, bedroom! This is a tiny little room in the interior of the apartment that has no windows BUT does have some amaaaazing glass blocks [sarcasm] that do let in lots of light, as well as two doorways onto very sunny rooms — so this room actually gets a fair amount of diffused light and was always really nice for sleeping. Anyway, let’s take a peek back in time to what this space looked like when I moved in…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is one side of the room, which leads into what was my craft room (and what is becoming the new bedroom).

bedroom - built in cabinets up top. Dresser will probably go on this wall.

This is the other side of the room, which leads into the living room. Those built-in cabinets up top were there when I moved in. They were a bit random the way they were just floating up there, but I was glad to have the storage and I had plans for that nook underneath…

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Ta-da! The nook became a closet! I shopped around for armoires that I could just place in the space under the cabinets, but it turned out to be less expensive to have a simple closet built than to buy an armoire, and this way I was able to utilize every inch of space on that wall. (This post has all the details about the closet, and lots more photos.)

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And here’s the updated view in the other direction. This room is very minimalist–just the bed and nothing else, but I loved it that way. It was nice to have a cozy little room that was pretty, simple, and just for sleeping.

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The bed, side tables and lamps were DIY all the way. Well, the bed itself was purchased, but everything else was DIY. I made the headboard as well as the little floating tables, and installed the lamps. Oh, and the quilt was in my book!

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Here’s the original post with a how-to on the floating nightstands. And here’s my how-to post on making the upholstered headboard.

 

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My biggest triumph in this room was updating that ceiling light. I mean OUCH! That original light was truly scary, scary as in it really looked like it might burn down the building. I installed the new light myself, which was the first electrical job I ever did, and oh man it made me feel like a superhero. I’ll never forget how sweaty my hands were when I did this electrical work, and how nervous I was to get shocked, but it all turned out great and it gave me the courage to update lots of electrical throughout this apartment. (I talked all about the new light in this post.)

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Another really impactful update I did in this room (well, actually throughout the whole apartment) was to paint all the trim and doors, and switch out all the doorknobs. Did you know a doorknob costs less than $10 and only takes a screwdriver and a few minutes to change? It’s the easiest thing ever and it makes such a huge impact.

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[Fifi break!]

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And that’s it! Next up, this room is about to become an office/craft room, eep! Stay tuned.

 

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joytotheworld

 

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Fifi and I wish you a sparkly, happy holiday season and all the best in 2014!! xoxo

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Happy holidays!! I know I haven’t been around much on the blog here these past few months, but I’ve been a busy little bee out in the real world doing my best to kick some crafty butt. :) I wanted to post to let you all know about some of the projects I’ve been working on that also happen to make GREAT LAST-MINUTE GIFTS FOR CRAFTY PEOPLE!

So whether you still need to buy gifts for others–or if, ahem, you happen to have some very well-meaning loved ones who you just KNOW haven’t gone shopping for YOU yet–here are some great ideas for crafty gifts that are virtual/downloadable and can be purchased up to the very last minute:

LEARN TO SEW YOUR OWN CLOTHES (ONLINE CLASS)

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This year I launched a new video class on Craftsy.com, Sew Ready: Garment Basics. It really is a cool class because it takes you step-by-step through everything you need to know to start sewing your own clothes from commercial patterns.

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We ALL know someone who’s been saying for years that they want to learn to sew clothes, right? This is the perfect gift for those people! Beginners will learn EVERYTHING about how to follow a pattern, how to cut fabric, sew several types of seams as well as darts, waistbands, zippers, hems and more. And by the end of the class, you’ve made a super cute pencil skirt!

You can buy the class as a gift here.

 

GIFT CERTIFICATE TO BROOKLYN CRAFT COMPANY (IN-PERSON CLASS)

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The other super-duper big thing I’ve been working on this year is launching my new business, Brooklyn Craft Company! Holla! Bk Craft Co, as I like to affectionately call it, is a brick-and-mortar space in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, offering modern craft + DIY classes and events for grown-ups. We teach everything from sewing and knitting to glass etching, terrariums, jewelry, perfume-making and even lamp-making… with teachers who are awesome authors, bloggers, designers and artists from NYC.

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We offer gift certificates, which are the perfect present for anyone near NYC who would like to learn something new and have a crafty adventure. Gift cards are usually mailed, but when we get close to Christmas we can also email an e-card that you can print at home and give as a gift–so if you need a last-minute present, we’ve got you covered!

Visit the Brooklyn Craft Company site (and pick up a gift certificate) here.

 

LEARN TO DESIGN YOUR OWN HANDBAGS (ONLINE CLASS)

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Finally, I teach another video class on Craftsy.com called Design Your Own Handbag. This class has really been a hit–thousands of students have already taken it and made countless awesome bags of their own design! I am seriously continually amazed at what amazing bags the students have made. You’ll learn how to plan the basic shape of your bag, how to add pockets, handles, lining and more — plus all kinds of tips and secrets for using gorgeous hardware that will truly take your bags to the next level. I have to say, I love this class and it’s one of my projects that I’m most proud of!

You can buy the class here as a gift.

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That’s it for now! Happy holidays and have fun with all your gifting, cooking, decorating and partying in the coming days! xo

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