Start with A Sketch: Update!

image

Sometimes I wonder how it all gets done, and then I notice myself doodling a space. Especially when I am looking for a particular piece of furniture, it makes that decision a lot easier when I have laid out my ideal situation in ink! Here I am exploring what my ideal media credenza would look like!

Update!
Not two days after making this drawing this credenza was discovered at a vintage shop less than a mile from my house! Talk about putting something into the universe! And it even matches my two – toned coffee table 🙂

image

Lonely Corner Revamp

When our housemate Felicia moved out, this corner that held her cozy recliner went into decline. Stuck with an antique chair that everyone is afraid to sit on, it became fodder for the dreaded pile up of random stuff. Meanwhile, our television area was saddled with my bar decanter collection. No good all around!

Then, in steps Martha! (Surprise surprise).

I am pretty sure if given the opportunity, these cube shelves could solve world peace. While dubious about their abilities at first, I gave in with this cube system for the office. Imagine my thrill when I found a Martha brand one at Home Depot for half the price!

Now we have room for the decanters, plus some martini glasses and the shaker/utensils. Not to mention books, a spot for an unused throw blanket, magazines and a basket for my writing materials. Plus this freed up some space on the end table, which had previously held our “incoming dvds” basket I use for rental/library materials. In an added stroke of genius, I screwed our IKEA wine bottle holder to the side (I had nixed it in favor of some mug holders under the kitchen counter top. Truth be told, we do not often have extra bottles of wine, as evidenced by the empty holder). But hey – when we do! And there are still two cubes with nothing of note in them!

One thing might have to be adjusted – the tops of these pre-fab pieces of furniture are very slick, unlike real wood. So before you leave glass things to rest, I would put something a little friction-y underneath them. I am going to cut a piece of cork board to place below the decanters. Felt or a wooden tray would also be a good call.

Overall I am very pleased! Nice surprise when all I went to Home Depot for was potting soil!

Update:

Never mind about the cork. I did one better with this silver tray!

Apartment Therapy Revisit

It’s been a while since I have read Apartment Therapy, but chats this morning about new ways to organize the office when I get back have made me want to revisit the way normal people deal with their necessities. I found this one house tour of a bohemian LA bungalow-style apartment to be very sweet. I was struck by it because while I like what they have done, I do feel like there too much stuff. Something absolutely necessary to me might seem like overkill to others. We’re all geniuses from the outside, so I try to examine my criticism of other designs for insight into my own problems. In fact seeing things I don’t like often gives me more ideas of how to fix my own concerns than seeing people who have done it just right.

Their basic style, however, is great. I love this art:

TThe electric blue is a little much for me, but anywhere there is blue instead of beige I take notice 🙂

Alright, enough of micro-managing from afar. Going to a pizza place for meatball panini. No way to design my lunch better than that!

Simplify: Stop Junk Mail

A new pet peeve of mine, while I am trying to keep the house clean and the cats fed and my work done and the environment saved and my mind SANE, is receiving all the blasted junk mail that is deposited in my mailbox every DAY. So here are some pro tips to stop it, thanks to Obviously.com. From the looks of it, junk mail is a war of its own. I’ve slimmed them down to the ones that seem most immediate:

Funniest: 
Sexually Oriented Advertising (SOA):The only help you’ll get from the Post Office in controlling junk mail is for explicit stuff. Fill out USPS forms 1500 if you wish this type of mail to stop. You define what you find to be explicit — if that’s an automobile parts catalog the post office won’t disagree with you.

Easiest:
First class mail: Cross out the address and bar code, circle the first class postage and write “refused: return to sender”. Drop in any mail box, it will be returned to the sender.

Credit offers: The major credit agencies all sell aggregate credit information any bidder. Direct mail and credit companies generate mail based on demographics including zip code, income band and credit payment patterns. Stopping this is easy, you just need your address, former address within two years, and social security number. One call does it all for agencies Equifax, Trans Union, Experian and Innovis. Dial 1-888-5 OPT OUT (or 1-888-567-8688) 24 hours a day.

Local business & supermarket fliers: All mailings must be identified, by postal regulations. Each lose-leaf bundle of fliers, by postal regulations, must be delivered at the same time as an address card. Locate this address card; the cards usually have an advertisement and a photograph of a missing child. You may need to call directory assistance to get the phone number of the sender. Specific senders are:

ADVO (Mail comes with pictures of missing children). Call 1-860-285-6100 to get off the list. You may have to send a postcard to “ADVO Consumer Assistance, POB 249, Windsor CT 06095-4176”.

Val-Pak Coupons: click the link and copy your mailing label.

Carol Wright Call 1-800-67-TARGET to get off the list. 
  
Most Complete:
Too much junk to deal with individually: Start by sending a postcard or letter to Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing Association, PO Box 643, Carmel, NY 15012-0643 Include your complete name, address, zip code and a request to “activate the preference service”. For up to five years, this will stop mail from all member organizations that you have not specifically ordered products from.

The Direct Marketing Association estimates that listing with their mail preference service will stop 75% of all national mailings. They process 50,000 requests a month and requests are kept active for five years. If you fill out the post office change of address form, the DMA will track the new address (you’ll get a few months of mailings to the new address before they catch up to you). It can take up to six months for your request to be fully processed. You can also opt-out online, but they charge $5. The best way is to fill out their online form, then mail them a printout.

While we can’t control everything that ends up in our mail, here’s to not throwing away that dinner invitation because it was stuck in with the grocery ads for that store where you never shop!

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Design, I have decided, is more than how you decorate your life. It is about efficiency. and therefore effortlessness, and more fun (fun to me being not having to check a bag and stand in the ENDLESS baggage claim clusterF)! To this end I will share with you my Master Packing List, a list of items that has gotten me through months abroad, to inform your Spring Break packing. To the list!

ClothingEverything you could ever want, most of which you’ll never need:
Pants (jeans and regular); Workout pants; Long-sleeve shirts; Short-sleeve shirts; Tank tops (undershirts); Light jacket; Coat; Light sweater; Cardigan; Sleepwear; Bathrobe; Skirts; Dresses; Leggings; Heels; Flats; Boots; Running shoes; Sole inserts; Socks; Slippers; Bras (strapless!); Underwear; Pantyhose;Jewelry; Evening bag; Belts

Toiletries – So you don’t have to buy anything while you’re there!
Body wash; Loofah; Shampoo/Conditioner; Hair product (gel, mousse, hairspray); Bobby pin; Hair elastics; Hair dryer/Diffuser; Hot rollers; Curling Iron/Straightener; Contacts/Contact case/Extra contacts/Saline solution; Glasses; Makeup; Q-tips/Cotton Balls/Sponges; Facewash/Lotion; Body lotion; Topicals; Toothbrush/Toothpaste; Floss/Whitening products; Rubber bands; Deoderant; Sunscreen; Bug spray; Razor/Blades; Tweezers/Nail clippers; Nail polish/File; Medicines (allergy, headache, etc.); Tampons; Band-aids; Hand sanitizer

Electronics- These are really a bummer to miss.
Laptop/Charger; Computer speakers; Phone/Charger; Camera/Charger; Ipod/Charger/Headphones

Misc. – The things you’d never expect, or seem so obvious you can’t believe you left them behind!
Itinerary/Passport/I.D./Credit Card; Cash; Business cards/Headshots/Resume; Umbrella; Planner/Journal; Book/Magazine; Pens/Pencils/Stapler; Sewing incidentals: safety pins, heat bond, thread & needle, scissors; Towels; Alarm clock; Binoculars (for the theatre!); Stain remover; Lint roller; Flashlight; Gifts

Packing tips: 
~ Roll your clothes (more compact and fewer wrinkles) and put small clothing items like underwear and socks into your shoes!
~ Use those little plastic baggies for extra buttons to travel with individual sets of earrings.
~ Buy tiny screwtop travel containers to take loose powder or leave in conditioners that don’t need a whole bottle.
~ If taking a scarf, lay it flat over your clothes once they’re packed, buckling it on top if applicable. This will give you some privacy if you have to dig through your bag for anything in the airport.
~Put photo ids and credit cards in different places, so if one thing is lost you’re not stranded.

Happy Packing!