I’ve been in my apartment for just about two and a half years now, and I thought it would be fun to take a little tour of where things stand at this stage. I’m going to be doing some major redecorating very soon (!!!), so I wanted to capture the rooms as they are now. So these are the “after” shots to where I started, but also simultaneously the “before” shots to what’s coming next.

Anyway! Here’s what the empty apartment looked like when I moved in two and a half years ago. I owned NO furniture (seriously) and as I said in that post way back when, I had no idea what my style would even look like after a fresh start.

So! All kinds of fun things have happened since then! Let’s start this tour in the craft room, shall we?

BEFORE:

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First up, I should say that this room is pretty big by NYC standards, a little over 200 square feet I think. It was definitely a luxury to have such a large, sunny room for my craft room/office/studio, and I loved being in this space. It really was where I spent most of my waking hours, and I appreciated the heck out of this room!

Anyway, back to the before shots. Looking from the doorway, the left side of the room was a wall of closets (yay!).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStraight ahead, bay windows overlooking a park WHAAAATTTT!!! (Also, why is it so hard to take photos of windows, why!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo the right, a nice blank wall.

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And the back wall of the room, the first of many glamorous glass block windows in this apartment, along with some not-that-pretty wood doors and dated brass knobs.

Ok! Let’s get on to the good stuff!

AFTER

This room is probably the room I did the least amount of work in. I didn’t even paint the walls because they were in decent shape, but I did paint the doors and trim, and replace the door knobs. I had a bit of stress about painting the wood trim (which I did throughout the whole place), but after a bit of angst I decided the wood was just not that special and that the landlord probably wouldn’t even remember that it hadn’t been white all along. So I went for it, and I’m now absolutely sure they won’t remember or care.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s the closet-side of the room. I didn’t do anything to it except FILL THOSE CLOSETS with craft supplies and sometimes hang up a quilt or otherwise use these doors to tape up inspiration.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy desk lived in front of the windows, which was just so lovely. It was so, so nice to watch the seasons change in the park and to watch life go by on the street. (These days, I work out of Brooklyn Craft Company so this desk has pretty much been abandoned and will soon be removed! Sigh.)

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This Ikea piece is the BEST THING EVER for crafters, those shallow drawers are a dream for holding supplies.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s what became of the blank wall! A nice big table for sewing and otherwise spreading out projects.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI will always love this crafty tableau. I used an Ikea picture ledge to hold my spools of thread and it’s really the greatest thing ever. It looks cute, and it’s so nice to have my thread right at my fingertips instead of having to dig in a bin for it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd continuing around the room, here’s the back wall now. I use an Ikea kitchen island for my cutting table; it’s a little more shallow than would be ideal but it’s still a great work surface and it’s really nice to have a counter-height table for standing tasks.

fifiAnd of course, no tour of this room would be complete without this little muppet! Fifi was always by my side when I worked in this room, whether that meant snoozing nearby, visiting me while I sat in my desk chair (which is what is happening above)…

IMG_2478 copy…or just posing like a little glamour puss in the window (which she did very well).

So that’s it! All in all this room was pretty simple, lots of Ikea furniture, nothing fancy, but really functional and a lovely place to work. It’s going to be turned into a bedroom very soon, so stay tuned for that process!

Oh and as long as I’m recapping my craft room I should also mention for posterity’s sake that this room was featured on Design Sponge! There are some very pretty detail shots in that post, so check it out if you’d like to see more images by a much better photographer than me, and read some of my commentary about items in the room and how I use my studio space.

Stay tuned for more rooms coming up soon!

PS: Here’s my entire DIY apartment decorating series, if you want to check out all the decor projects I did in this apartment since moving in.

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I made a wedding cake! For my little brother and his lovely bride, at their beautiful wedding last month. I have to say, I think this is my favorite wedding cake I’ve ever made. It was the most simple cake I’ve ever made, decor-wise, and I think that made it the loveliest. As for flavor, it was a butter cake with lemon curd filling and lightly-lemon-flavored buttercream. It took me about two full days to bake and a variety of miscellaneous related prep over the course of a week, and it weighed five tons and required three men to move it once assembled! Here are the deets:

 

BEHIND THE SCENES

IMG_1226SPACE: The first thing most people ask about this is: how do you make such a huge cake in your house?! Is there even room for it in the fridge?! The answer is… sometimes, if you’re very good at squeezing things into small spaces! (Which, of course, as a New Yorker I am very good at.) This is how my fridge looked the night before departing for the wedding.

The truth is, I sometimes when I make a wedding cake I have to borrow fridge or freezer space from a neighbor, but in this case I was able to fit everything at my place. I made each individual tier of the cake separately (5 total, each one made using this method), chilled them, then froze them. (Note: the cake was four tiers but I made a fifth tier for to be frozen and eaten on their one-year anniversary.)

Here’s the general order of things I follow when making a wedding cake:

1. Bake all the sheet cakes, make the filling and frosting, and assemble the tiers using cake rings (see method linked above).

2. Frost each tier with buttercream, pop into the freezer until outer layer of frosting is firm, then wrap in several layers of plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil. I usually do everything up to this step 1-2 weeks before the wedding. (The assembled cakes freeze beautifully and the quality is not affected at all; in fact, I think it helps to really solidify the cakes and stabilize them.)

3. Day before the wedding: remove the cakes from the freezer and finish covering them, which usually means fondant but in this case was just another layer of buttercream. Decorate the tiers as much as possible at this point–as much as can be done before stacking the tiers.

4. Make sure you’ve gathered everything else you need, like boxes (one for each tier), topper, base, and anything related to decorations.

5. Travel to the wedding site, stack the cake layers, add any decorations that need to be done on site. (Recommended: strong, patient boyfriend to carry the monstrously heavy cakes out from your walk-up apartment, to the car, then carefully drive the whole lot of you to the wedding in another state.)

 

IMG_1222THE TOPPER: The cake topper was one of the trickiest parts of this cake! I wanted to do deer, but I had the hardest time finding the right deer. I looked all over the internet and couldn’t find the right thing (even purchased a beautiful set of vintage brass deer which alas were a bit too large when they arrived). Finally I was about to give up on the deer (plan B was to just do flowers on top of the cake), when my mom and I came across these plastic toy deer at Michael’s. They didn’t look like much — kind of just like cheesy toys — but I spray painted them goldish-bronze, and they actually turned out really cute! It’s kind of amazing how spray painting anything a solid color immediately elevates it several notches.

 

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FLOWERS: The bride and groom were having dahlias as their wedding flowers, so that’s what I went with on the cake as well. I went to Sprout in Brooklyn and picked up these gorgeous dahlias, berries, and greenery. These flowers were so, so beautiful that they really spoke for themselves — I am really not a flower arranger (at all), but it was so easy to just cluster a few of these here and there on the cake–so simple and so pretty.

 

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THE BASE: This was my absolute favorite part of the cake, hands down — the base was a slab of tree that my dad cut from my grandparents’ house. My grandparents are no longer with us and I just thought it was the sweetest thing to have a piece of their home with us at the wedding. About a month before the big day, my mom casually texted me that my dad was cutting up a huge tree at my grandparents’ house, and I pounced, immediately texting back that I would be needing some slices of that tree! They totally got it and very nicely cooperated, cutting a lovely piece which made the perfect cake platform.

 

 

IMG_1248ICING & PIPING: This was the first time I made a wedding cake without fondant, and I have to say I loved it! Soooo much easier (and less expensive), I sort of felt like I was cheating — but I actually really loved the final look of this cake. The icing was all buttercream, and for the outer layer I did a simple stucco effect which basically means you just slap the buttercream on without trying to get it smooth! I thought it looked really nice and was perfect with the rustic look of the wood base.

All I did in addition to the stucco buttercream was pipe some dots on the seam between each tier. For this I used a #12 piping tip and just laid down a row of dots, on site at the wedding location after stacking the tiers. Done and done!

 

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After piping over the seams between tiers, I just clustered the flowers here and there, added the little deer, and that’s it! Here’s the whole process in magnificent, state-of-the-art gif animation!

Congratulations to Donnie and Lindee, one of the sweetest couples I know! It was an honor to make your wedding cake. :) 

 

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I’m super excited today to share something awesome: I have two free spots to give away for Brooklyn Craft Camp on October 5! One person wins BOTH spots, so you can come and bring a friend! Yeah!

It’s going to be such an amazing day and I’m so excited to offer this giveaway! We’re going to spend the whole day making with over 100 lovely attendees and NYC’s best crafty teachers. We’ll kick it off with a donut and coffee breakfast (from local old-school bakery Peter Pan… seriously these donuts will change your life), followed by four 90-minute workshops. You can choose from a stellar lineup of classes including glass etching, DIY stampmaking, papercut, suede tassel charms, sequined bracelets, terrariums, and so much more! We take care of everything you need for all your classes, including materials and an awesome teacher–and you’ll leave with four finished projects at the end of the day.

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For lunch, we’ll feast on delicious morsels prepared by a local Greenpoint chef (mini brioche sandwiches! wheatberry and quinoa salad! salted chocolate macarons!!!). During lunch, Jenni from I Spy DIY will chat with us about the behind-the-scenes life of a DIY blogger, and after we eat she’ll host a special chain hair tie DIY station.

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And! It just keeps on coming: we’ll also have a DIY nail art bar and felt pom-pom brooch bar, great music all day with a DJ spinning vinyl, a photo booth, and finally, a cocktail hour to wrap it all up.

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I don’t think we could possibly squeeze more DIY awesomeness into one day!

Wanna come? YOU can enter to win two free passes–one for you and one for your favorite crafty friend.

HERE’S HOW TO ENTER:

Share this post on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest and tag us at #bkcraftcamp. Then, leave a comment on this blog post about which of the Brooklyn Craft Camp classes you’re most excited to take, and let us know where you’ve shared the post.

Remember: you must leave a comment on this post to officially enter!

We’ll choose a winner on Friday, September 27 at 11:59pm by random number generator.

Thanks for entering and I can’t wait to see YOU on Saturday, October 5!!

 

(Note: by entering this contest, your email address will be added to our mailing list.)

 

 UPDATE: CONGRATS TO WINNER NICK! CAN’T WAIT TO GET CRAFTY WITH YOU ON OCT 5!!

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Today I’m happy to be a stop on the blog tour for Skirt-A-Day Sewing, the latest book by Nicole Smith! Nikki is a crazy-talented sewing lady who has been my colleague and friend for several years now here on the NYC crafting scene. I’m so excited for Nikki’s new book, because 1) all of her sewing designs are always amazing; and 2) skirts are the best!

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Really, skirts are the perfect sewing project ever. They’re easy to make, great for learning new skills–and it’s fall now, which is the ideal time for my favorite uniform: a skirt, tights and boots! And Nikki’s book it just the perfect thing to make that happen.

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Seriously with this book you could whip up a week’s worth of new skirts, and be all set for the season to come. Nikki teaches you everything you need to know, from sewing basics to customization all the way up to drafting your own skirt patterns. You can learn so many sewing skills, all through the process of making cute skirts.

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I was honored to be quoted on the back cover of Nikki’s new book, and there’s really nothing better I can say here to describe the book than what I said there:

“Wow! This is THE definitive book on sewing amazing skirts! Nicole teaches you everything you’ll need to know to create your own personalized collection, from sewing basics to finer finishing techniques to even drafting your own patterns. With this book you can literally create the foundation for a whole new wardrobe while also building your garment-making skills.”

And that’s the truth!

Great news! I have one copy of Skirt-A-Day Sewing to give away to one of you! To enter, just leave a comment on this post and tell me what kind of garment sewing you’re into. Have you never sewn clothes at all but would love to learn? Have you made yourself a million skirts over the years but would love to learn to draft your own patterns? Whatever your garment sewing story is, I’d love to hear it.

I’ll draw one winner by random on Wednesday, September 25. Good luck! (Note: you must have a U.S. shipping address to be eligible to win.)

PS: I can’t pass up this opportunity to mention that Nikki is also teaching at our upcoming Brooklyn Craft Camp! So if you’d like to take a class with Nikki and a whole crew of amazing NYC-based craft superstars, join us on October 5! (Advance registration is required.)

 UPDATE: Thanks to all who entered! The lucky winner is Shelly! Congrats!!!

 

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Hi blog friends! I miss you all! Sorry it’s been so silent here lately, but as is usually the case with all of us, quiet blog = busy life. And things have been super busy around these parts, with Brooklyn Craft Company getting off the ground! Launching this business been crazy exciting and I will try to post more about that soon but for now I just wanted to drop in to say…

Another Brooklyn Craft Camp is coming your way!!! Yeah!! 

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Saturday, October 5 is the date! Greenpoint, Brooklyn is the place!

This event is going to be even more awesome than our inaugural Craft Camp back in March. Our classes are off-the-charts amazing (seriously, I’m obsessed with them all!), and we’re bringing back everything that was so much fun last time: our donut bar, gourmet lunch, cocktail hour, DIY nail bar, a DJ spinning vintage vinyl all day, photo booth, stellar teachers, and the sparkling company of over 100 crafty people!

Check out these classes, I mean couldn’t you die:

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classes2Our teachers really killed it this time around with their amazing project ideas. I want to make every one of these gorgeous creations! When you register, you get to pick four classes to take, and we provide everything you need to get the job done.

I’m thrilled to report that registration spots have been going fast for this event! So if you’re thinking of joining us–and I hope you will–boogie on over to Brooklyn Craft Camp to snag your spot. We do expect this event to sell out, so don’t wait!

Hope to see you on October 5! 

 

 

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