Apartment Therapy: Week 1 Complete, Start of Week 2

My apartment has leprosy. Part of my Week 1 requirement (see here to figure out what I’m talking about) was to make a list of repairs and to complete them. Well, I did have a list and I did fix some things, but one “fix” left my apartment looking a little sick.

Spackle is fun. But, if you don’t have the paint to paint over the spackle once you’re done, well, you’re left with a leprous apartment. I tried to take a picture of this, but the contrast of the spackle and my wall color (which is a beige) couldn’t be detected with my camera in the light I had. But, take my word for it, my walls have white spots. It’s okay though, I know it’s only temporary. I talked with my building’s manager and he’s going to get me some paint (or even better, potentially, get some people to paint my entire apartment).

All right, so with the spackling out of the way, there are a few more repairs I need to make, but I did complete all of the other requirements for week one. I didn’t buy flowers, but a friend of mine gave me some (tonight actually) as a Congratulations for my new job. So, I now have flowers in my apartment, just under the wire for week one.

I have to say, I had a ton of fun in my apartment this week. I’m not going to post pictures yet because I want to get it a bit more complete, but they’ll be coming! My apartment is finally starting to feel like a home, which I’m stoked about.

All right, here’s what’s up for Week Two:

1. Fix one thing in your apartment yourself.
2. Clean your kitchen from top to bottom and throw away old food.
3. Buy a water filter and use it.
4. Run your hands over every wall in your apartment.
5. Clear space for an Outbox.
6. Clear one surface and use the Outbox.
7. Buy fresh flowers.
8. Determine your style.
9. Find a new recipe and cook one meal at home.
10. Choose the date for your housewarming.

Lots to do this week! But first on my mind is my new job! Thursday is the day!


Apartment Therapy: The Eight-Step Home Cure

Happy New Year! I hope you all rang in the New Year with a bang and that 2011 is off to a good start for you. I personally am excited for 2011; I’m hopeful. Hopeful for what, I’m not sure. I’ll just have to find out as the year passes.

I am starting this year with a bang by going through a process. The process of a Home Cure. I have been a follower of ApartmentTherapy.com for some time (be sure to visit–although, enter with caution, it tends to suck your time and the House Tours will make you drool), but I didn’t know anything about the 8-step home cure until I came across the 20/20 home cure on the blog. I watched all the posts, but didn’t partake due to various reasons. So, for Christmas, I put this book on my list and my mom was nice enough to give it to me.

This book/cure couldn’t come at a better time. My apartment and I have been having issues. I live in a small studio apartment in the Roosevelt/Maple Leaf neighborhood of Seattle. I like my apartment but for the last several months, it’s been getting to me. It’s feeling cramped, unorganized, lacking any sort of style or “togetherness.” Enter Apartment Therapy.

I began reading it yesterday and already am raring to go and get this home cure started! The cure takes eight weeks and here’s  how the weeks play out:

Week One–Whole Apartment: clean, list repairs
Week Two–Kitchen: clean, declutter, cook
Week Three–Front Hall: clean, declutter, plan a Landing Strip
Week Four–Living Room: clean, declutter, arrange color
Week Five–Office: clean, declutter, organize office
Week Six–Bathroom: clean, declutter, arrange light
Week Seven–Bedroom: clean, declutter, arrange art
Week Eight–Whole Apartmant: get ready for a housewarming

Now, I may do a little rearranging of the weeks since my studio is essentially my living room, bedroom, and office all in one room, but I’ll make it work.

So, I’ve begun Week One:

1. Make a complete list of repairs and solutions. (Check–and I’ve already emailed my landlord for some things he needs to look at, so that’s a double check!)
2. Vacuum and mop the floors. (Check)
3. Remove one item from your apartment and put it outside. (Half check–I am getting rid of a shelf and giving it to a friend, I just have to put it in my car and drive it over to her place.)
4. Buy fresh flowers.
5. Sit for ten minutes in a part of your home that you never sit in.
6. Look into earth-friendly cleaning products. (Check–I’ve been using “clean” products for a while.)

So, I’m halfway there! Just a few more things to cross off my list and I’m good for the week.

Now, as I begin this journey of actually liking where I live and feeling a calm and a homeyness that has been lacking for some time, I thought I would share with you where I am starting from, and throughout this process updating you on the progress.

Here we go:
(Please don’t judge me — I hate the state of my apartment right now and hopefully at the end I will love it and get rid of some of the extras that I know I need to get rid of!)

Click the image to enlarge.

The entry way:

The bathroom:

The main living area:

The “office”:
(The desk is not finished — that is definitely on my list for the next eight weeks!)

The dining area:

The kitchen:

The night stand:

Okay, that does it. I just realized I don’t have a picture of my bed, but I will take one before I change anything about it.

I have always been hesitant to do any sort of decorating in the apartments I’ve lived in because I never knew how long I’d be in any particular place. But since I’ve been here for more than a year and it still doesn’t feel done, I’m ready to admit that I’ll hopefully be here for a while. And even if I move in the next six months, I should at least feel at home while I’m here.

I’m excited for the journey! 🙂 I will keep you up-to-date on the developments!

Oh, and I already made one change that I love!

Here’s the before:

And one small (but big) change:
(sorry the color’s a little weird)

I think the picture frames look cleaner and less cluttered than the board full of miscellaneous items. Hopefully this is just the start of a love affair with my apartment! 🙂


Making a Name

I am going through an Advent devotional that is emailed to me daily by Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Today’s entry was based on Isaiah 5:11-12. It’s Isaiah speaking to the Israelites:

Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry into the evening as wine inflames them! They have lyre and harp, tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts, but they do not regard the deeds of the Lord, or see the work of his hands.

In the emailed commentary that followed, the author put Isaiah’s words to the Israelites in another way: “You are not here to make a name–but here to glorify a name.” The purpose of the Israelites wasn’t for them to become like the surrounding countries, their purpose was to be “God’s covenant people demonstrating to the nations around them what it meant to be God’s people.”

You are not here to make a name–but here to glorify a name. How much of societal pressure comes from making a name for yourself? That’s the benchmark of success, isn’t it? No; the benchmark for us Christians should be the fact that our Heavenly Father knows our name–that in and of itself is a lofty thought! But even deeper, our purpose, just like Israel’s, is not to make our name bigger, but His name. How humbling that is!

I [heart] Fall.

I think it’s pretty evident around here that I love the Fall season. The leaves, the food (I had some stuffing and mashed potatoes last night — I devoured them!), the desserts, the smells, the weather, the pumpkin everything. I love it.

So I went out this morning–one of the few mornings that hasn’t been rainy–and took a few pictures … I was mainly just messing around with my camera, but thought I would post a few of my favorite:

Swingin’ in the Rain

Yesterday, I felt, was the first real day of winter, because it rained all day. It wasn’t pouring down rain, but it wasn’t the Seattle mist either. It was a steady stream of straight down rain.

And I loved it.

I didn’t have much planned for the day and I had woken up not feeling the greatest, so when I got back from coffee with a friend around 11:30, I jumped right back into my sweats, curled up on my couch and read for the next six hours or so. It was magnificent. I hadn’t done that in a long while.

But, one can only take sitting on the couch for so long without going a little stir crazy. So I slipped on some jeans, my rain jacket, my ipod, a hat, and my running shoes and set out for a bit of a walk. Little did I know that I was about to find a little gift from God, and of course, as only He could provide, it was exactly what I needed.

I didn’t have a destination in mind, but when I turned the corner only two blocks from my apartment, I was in front of a little playground. A playground that has been there, tucked away behind a city building, the whole time I have lived in my apartment. A playground that I pass daily in my car, or on my bike. And I never noticed it. Never even turned my head to see that there was a tennis court, and the little playground, even a picnic table or two.

At first I was just going to walk through it but then I saw the swings.  I love the swings.

So there I was, 27 years old, swinging on a swing set, in the rain, watching the cars pass by. Cars filled with people coming home from work. And I didn’t want to be anywhere else.

Because you know what? While I was watching my legs pump the air, and feeling the chains give a little as I reached as high as they could go, and having the rain pelt my face and legs, I felt, more than I have in a long time, that I was in the presence of God. You see, I haven’t been in the best of places lately. Discouraged is probably the best word. With events that happened this summer, job interviews not working out, and generally not being where I thought I’d be by 27 (married, settled, maybe a kid or two), my heart has been a bit heavy.

But here I am, swinging to my heart’s content, listening to Third Day’s “King of Glory” sing in my ear, watching the colorful leaves pass under my feet, and feeling my eyes fill with tears as I, once again, realize that I am a child of the Most High God. A daughter of the Creator.

Sure my butt got a little wet. Sure my stomach was feeling more queasy after I got off the swing than when I got on it. But my heart was lighter.

I felt like I had just been hugged. Not a big bear hug from someone I haven’t seen in a while, but a light, side hug, from Someone who’s reassuring me that He’s there. He’s always there.


Fall is here!

Hey! I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but it is fall in Seattle! We have had crisp, clear days followed by crisp, cool nights — and I LOVE it!

When I was over at my aunt and uncles, in eastern Washington (land of apples, apples, and more apples, as well as cherries, and grapes, oh and carrots–yeah, it’s farm country!) this weekend I brought home a bag of 7 HUGE apples. So, I immediately thought of apple bread! One of my favorites for fall is apple bread, but since I’ve been trying to live a vegan-ish lifestyle, I wasn’t sure what I’d come up with for a recipe (and what type of weird ingredients it would have!). But a quick google search of “vegan apple bread” brought several to my attention. I clicked on the first link and that’s the recipe I went with — it was fast, didn’t have any crazy ingredients and turned out really well!!

The recipe is below, but first a few of the changes I made … I only had to use one apple because it was so big (so I’ll probably make another batch of this–or two–to get rid of some more apples). Instead of an egg, to make it vegan, I used half of a ripe banana. This worked really well and only brought a hint of banana flavor to the final product. I didn’t have walnuts, so I just cut up the remainder of the apple (yes, it was that big!) into chunks and threw those in.
Overall the bread turned out really well! It’s a good first taste of fall. Now onto something pumpkin!
Apple Bread

1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 c. supar
1 c. shredded, peeled apple
1/4 c. cooking oil(I used canola oil)
1/2 ripe banana (or you could use 1 egg)
1/4 tsp lemon peel
1/2 to 1 cup apple chunks (or walnuts)

Grease 8x4x2 bread pan. Preheat oven at 350. In med. bowl combine flour, cinn, baking soda, powder, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.

In another bowl combine sugar, shredded apples, oil, banana, and lemon. Mix well. Add the dry mix to the apple mix. Stir just until moistened. Fold in the apple chunks.
Spoon batter into your greased pan and bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes. Let it cool for about 10min before you remove it from the pan.

Artsy Fartsy Homemade Art

I was walking around a street market yesterday in Fremont and found a vendor selling lots of random stuff (as most street market vendors do). This table had typewriter keys, watch faces, old postcards, even broken doll parts. (I’m not going to lie and say that the broken doll parts didn’t freak me out a little bit.) But the section that intrigued me the most was the stacks of old school vocabulary cards. These particular cards contained synonyms, and gave the same sentences for each word. As I was leafing through them, the one that caught my eye was the card that had the words ‘hinder’ and ‘obstruct’. The sample sentence was ‘If you cannot help, do not hinder.’ and ‘If you cannot help, do not obstruct.’ I thought to myself, ‘this is perfect for a kitchen!’ So I paid my $2.50 and had myself an art project.

I had a picture up in my kitchen already, so using that frame, I cut up a paper bag, did a little centering and straightening, and hung it on the wall to observe my work. Here’s what I got:

The frame is about 21″x16″, so it’s decent size. Big enough for someone who is ‘hindering’ or ‘obstructing’ in my tiny kitchen to get the idea and leave.

I like how it turned out. At first I wasn’t sure about the paper bag, since it wasn’t completely wrinkle free, but I think it gives the background texture and body. I also like that the black frame draws out the black letters.


Here’s a hint for a future post (hopefully)–I got two things at this table so another ‘project’ is at hand!! Let’s see how long it takes me to get it done though.