Archive for the ‘Home’ Category

Quick update.

Monday, July 25th, 2011

For those of you who are waiting (I’m sure) with baited breath….. ;)

The move is well underway and going splendidly!

Unfortunately, our camera’s USB cord is currently MIA, so I have to wait to show you pictures!  The worst.  But I’d really like to show what the place looked like before all our stuff was in it before I show you how it looks now.  Let me rephrase that — how it will look when we’re finally done putting things away.

Our adventure began Saturday morning when we showed up at Budget at 10 o’clock for our truck reservation.  The guy behind the counter, flippantly and unapologetically, told us that they did not have a truck for us and they’d call us “when one came in.”  But we have a reservation. Yeah, it’s kind of first come, first served.  But we have a reservation!

Thankfully, U-Haul saved the day and, although we had to pay for a larger truck, we were able to pick it up immediately and get going on our move, only about an hour late instead of what could have been much worse!

Moving, no matter what, is really stressful.  I’m trying to focus on all the exciting parts and the things I love about our new apartment instead of the gazillion things left to do.  Regardless of what happens this week, we have to be out of our old apartment completely by Saturday, so this madness will end.

Things I’m very much looking forward to about living here:

  • Living closer to church.
  • A much shorter commute for Eric, which means I get to see him more and we get to sleep in later.
  • Living closer to friends in every direction.
  • Living in the vicinity of about a million awesome restaurants, cafes and roasters, and vintage stores.
  • My big, open kitchen with cool tile.
  • Overhead lighting instead of 5 floor lamps.
  • Installing curtains, because we have NO VERTICAL BLINDS!
  • Front-loading washers RIGHT across the hall – almost as good as in our unit, maybe better since I can do multiple loads at a time.

I’ve been putting posting off until I found that cord, and finally figured it would be better to post anyway — but I will be searching high and low for that cord tonight!  I’ll post pictures just as soon as I find it.

A BIG THANK YOU to Wil & Kristen and Aaron for helping us move. :]

Simplifying.

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

24+ hours and one mini panic attack later, I’m thrilled to say…

we found an apartment!

We had an appointment at 2:30 yesterday to look at a 1 bedroom apartment with hardwood floors in a nice looking building with a courtyard. The manager led us to a building that was carpeted in an old brown color that covered the floor and the flight of stairs we climbed to number 57. The hallway smelled a little— okay, a lot — like a dorm; someone’s food smell was lurking in the hallway. The apartment itself was daylit, with large windows and hardwood floors and plenty of kitchen storage. We liked it. But it wasn’t love. My greatest hesitation was the bedroom, which was seriously tiny. We took an application and asked questions about how much time we had to apply before someone came in and grabbed it out from under us. The plan was to go home, think, see another place on Sunday, and perhaps chance a Monday application if it seemed our options were dwindling. But it was through this conversation that we discovered there was another one-bedroom coming available soon, not yet listed on Craigslist. It was more expensive, but a little larger. Did we want to see it? We decided we did.

She led us to the building next door. It was brightly lit, with tile and no Hamburger Helper stench. The apartment she opened was the first door we came to — a corner unit that looked out onto the quiet sidewalk and into the courtyard. The open kitchen had quirky black and white checkered tile and a couple built-in display shelves. The bathroom was endearingly old, with a working tub. (Our tub doesn’t plug, and a few small places we looked at only had showers!) The bedroom was small, but not as small.

We went for a little walk around the neighborhood, discussing budgets and raises and rents and space and location. And then we returned to submit our application and have our credit checked. And we asked to see the apartment one last time. And I noticed how there were only two teeny closets. And how the ceilings are kinda short. And how our bed might not fit, and even if it does little else will. I submitted some of these concerns to Eric, and then I did the logical thing and wrote a check for half a month’s rent.

We got in the car.

I said, “Where are we going to put all our clothes?”

…”What if our bed doesn’t fit?”

….”Where will we keep our skis? And all the stuff in the upstairs closets? And under the stairs?”

And my breath quickened and I pleaded with myself to love our apartment.

The rest wasn’t glamorous.

Fast forward two hours.  After apologizing to my husband for my irrationality and total moment-wrecking, I spent a bit of time thinking about downsizing. A few Apartment Therapy “small space” searches later, and I started getting excited.

Today wasn’t glamorous either, in its own way — I’ve started packing early. And by “packing” I mean methodically sorting things into “to move” boxes and “to donate” boxes, and consolidating items into more efficient storage. I’ve emptied several small bins completely, either by getting rid of their contents or by grouping more broadly, making sure my containers are full and not taking up unnecessary space. Two years’ time since our wedding has freed me to let go of some of the gifts we received that aren’t our style, or that we thought we would use but didn’t. The purging is slow and a bit painful — I literally tested every marker and pen in quite a large box, evaluated which stationery I’ve had for too long without use, and went book-by-book through our large shelf deciding whether to keep or donate — but with every inkless Sharpie I tossed, I felt lighter.

We both love the idea of living without much. We know our standard of “not much” will never be particularly ascetic. But we hope to own things purposefully; to control our stuff instead of letting it control us. One of my goals for our new place is to keep things that I want to use in view. As nice as it was to be able to hide “occasional use” things away in our extra bedroom, it also meant I hardly ever played piano, sewed, crocheted, or wrote letters. I imagine a little basket of yarn tucked under a chair; my keyboard and Eric’s guitar as welcome additions to our living room; my typewriter out where I can see it.

Have you ever majorly downsized or simplified, or lived in a very small space? I’d love your thoughts and ideas!

In the mean time, feel free to follow along with my newest Pinterest board for small space inspiration.

We’ll get our keys this week, and I’ll share pictures as soon as I can.

Oh, and if you have a garage, can we keep our skiis in it?

Love,

On vinyl.

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

We’ve had this old guy for a couple of years now.  We’ve wanted a vinyl collection and a cool old turntable for years – in fact, the Christmas we were engaged I bought Eric three records in anticipation of this future reality.  We did some research and were put off by the idea of buying a new record player, most of which covert records into Mp3’s (SO not the point).  Right around this time we discovered that Eric’s grandpa had an old turntable in his garage, and he told us we just needed an amplifier for it. Figuring it was free and couldn’t be that difficult to set up, we  brought it home with us. But we were intimidated by its weird plugs and the grounding wire that I believed to be something else entirely more complicated that might require stripping and twisting and capping wires and potential electrocution, and we realized we would need some sort of additional piece of equipment to make it work properly.  So there on our side table the turntable sat, posing as something functional and hip and fulfilling, when in actuality it gathered lots of dust and took up space. (You can even see it here, most clearly in the last picture.)

UNTIL.

Until my dear parents got us an Amazon giftcard for our anniversary, and we began to actually investigate what would be required to hook everything up.  To our surprise and annoyance — after all, this took us 3 years to figure out — all we needed to buy was a pre-amp (of which we chose a cheap one – and please don’t ask me what exactly this is), and we were even left with enough money to buy ourselves two records:  the new Fleet Foxes, to be released this month, and last year’s epic Beach House album.  AND in talking to Lauren I discovered that she and Nick owned an extra copy of the newest Strokes album, as yet unheard by the King fam, and offered to send it to us.

Which brings our collection to….

Animal Collective, Strawberry Jam
Arctic Monkeys, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
Beach House, Teen Dream
Fleet Foxes, Helplessness Blues
Radiohead, The Bends
Steely Dan, Greatest Hits
The Strokes, Angles

We’re trying to be very selective about our vinyl collection – living in Portland, it’d be way too easy to go drop not that much money to accumulate a ton of used vinyl, but in our opinion by that methodology our collection wouldn’t really be that special.  As it stands, other than the oddball Steely Dan (which I love and Eric is okay with), all our records are new and specially selected over and above countless other excellent albums.

Our tentative plan is to try to buy one record that we really want about once a month and to be intentional with our purchases and with setting aside time to really listen to each album as  whole.

Happy beautiful, beautiful Sunday.

Love,

On my Mary way.

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

This morning I picked up (or rather, Amazon one-clicked) a copy of Sarah Mae‘s new e-book, 31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha House the Mary Way. For those unfamiliar, this title is an allusion to the story of two of Jesus’ close female friends, Mary and Martha.  These sisters had Jesus over to visit one day, and while Martha busily preparing the house and the food and played host, Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and shared conversation with him, listened and learned from him.  Martha became upset that Mary was neglecting her tasks, but Jesus says her heart was right: “Mary has chosen better.”

Housekeeping is a necessary task.  Unfortunately, I often see it as just that and nothing else. This book attempts to offer tools and inspiration to renew the joyful and fulfilling vision of homemaking. It gives a Mary challenge and a Martha challenge each day:  drawing closer to God’s heart, then tackling one aspect of homemaking with the right motivation.

Although I won’t be blogging about it every day, I have decided to choose a few days to share with y’all.  Day 1 seems like an appropriate start.

Day 1: Why do I want to make my home a haven?

1. To honor the Lord. This should be my primary aim in everything I do.  Working diligently as unto Him as a teacher when I am at school and as a homemaker when I am not brings glory to my Abba — this is my chief end.

2. To bless my family now. On the days that my home feels peaceful, I love knowing that Eric arrives home from work and doesn’t have to feel the added stress of clutter and disorganization around him.  It also frees me up to spend time with him instead of feeling like I need to make up for poorly used time earlier in the day.  Our current schedule has me working only every other day, and the days that I do work I have shorter days than him.  I usually arrive home an hour or two before him, which gives me time to make peace with the mess so we can enjoy each other later.

3. To learn to bless my family in the future. Two people make enough mess as it is. If I don’t learn how to manage my home now, by the time kids come I’ll be in deep trouble.  My best option is the preemptive strike.

4. To increase productivity and inspire creativity. My mind mimics my surroundings. And though this is something I may have to eventually get over, I find it impossible to focus or be productive when my environment is not peaceful.  This is especially true of my creative mindset.  So I stall, I tidy, I take out the recycling, I make lunch, and then I sit down to write/blog/play piano.  I end up using small but easy housekeeping tasks to procrastinate instead of creating.  I’m a house clean, lights dimmed, incense lit sort of creative.  Yes, it’s just an excuse — but wouldn’t I rather not have it?  Good routines and habits will leave me less opportunity to decide the vacuum is calling, and will give me the freedom to carve out time for things I enjoy doing.

5. To bless visitors. Or, okay, to even have visitors without advance planning and stress!  If I keep my home a welcoming place, that means I can welcome people into it – frequently.

6. For the sense of accomplishment. It’s no secret to my parents, family members, and previous roommates that tidiness does not come naturally to me.  I’m a pretty clumsy and haphazard person, and to conquer this life-long vice would be nothing short of inspiring.

Six pretty solid reasons why I need to get my heart and butt in gear and hit these Martha challenges day by day!

I’m starting my challenge today because I don’t want to completely overwhelm myself in May (which is also when I’m beginning a substitute teaching job that will keep me full-time till the end of the school year), but many bloggers will be taking on a 31-day “Homemakers’ Challenge” beginning on May 1st.  If you want to participate, head over to Joyful Mothering for details.

If not, you can just follow along here.  By the way, I do not yet know if I recommend the book, as I have not read past the first couple of pages — but here’s hoping it’s worthwhile!

Love,

Fab.

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Wanna help a sister out, and receive insane discounts (similar to Groupon or Living Social) on fancy home and design-related products?

Fab.com is a company in its pre-launch phase and is offering incentives to people to sign up.  Like I needed encouragement.  If you feel the same, click the linked image below to sign yourself up while possibly helping me get a discounted first purchase.  Fab, indeed.

Happy Monday, loves.