Category Archives: nesting

cutting your losses

At least a year ago, I bought a rug on Overstock.  I paid $180 for it – a nice 8×10 orange jute rug.  I thought it would lend a nice pop of color to the dining room.  I got the mailroom guy at work to help me lug it into the car.  Then Greg and I lugged it into the house.  It was like dragging around a dead body.  A very long, skinny, dead body.  We took it out of the plastic slip, began to unroll it, and immediately realized it was way too big for the room.  I’m not sure exactly what my thought process had been in purchasing an 8×10 rug, as it was meant to replace a 6×9 rug that, although drab, fits perfectly under the dining table. But regardless, it was going to cost about $70 to ship it back, so no thanks.  

We spent the better part of that Friday night rolling the rug back up and trying to wrestle it back into the plastic slip.  It was sweaty, exhausting, and dirty work.  Then we lugged it upstairs to the guest room where it awaited its fate.  Until, that is, a few months later when we actually had guests and had to lug it down to the basement, where it lived, propped up on an old door and some cinderblocks, for the next year.

In the ensuing year, I posted the rug on Craiglist several times, just wanting to get some of my $180 back.  I posted it on my office classifieds with no luck.  And all the while we had to climb over and around this stupid thing taking up half the basement.

Finally a few weeks ago, I said enough is enough.  We decided to just load it up and schlep it down to the Goodwill and be done with it.  As a last ditch effort, I asked a friend who had just moved into a rather large apartment that she was trying to fill, and she jumped at the chance.  So last night, after a year and change of kicking this thing around, lugging it here there and everywhere, we loaded it up in the car one last time, lugged it into her apartment, dropped it on the floor and said, “NO BACKS!!”  

This sort of thing happens all the time with me.  I buy something that just isn’t really quite right, but it feels like such a waste to get rid of it so instead I just sit on it for ages and ages and generally avoid dealing with it.  I cringed at the thought of spending $180 on something that we got NO use out of whatsoever.  But honestly, that thing has been such a millstone around my neck that it was just completely not worth the stress.  I think you have to allow yourself to make mistakes like these in life, to just cut your losses and move on. And what we’ve definitely discovered in the past few years of living here is that sometimes the feeling of relief from unburdening yourself of material possessions has far more valuable than the thing itself did.

Oh and as a bonus, my friend sent me a photo of the rug in its new home in her bedroom, and it looks fantastic. Nothing like a little closure.

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classing up the joint

Our friend Kiersten gave us one of her paintings a few weeks ago, and we finally got around to hanging it up. Plaster walls are a little intimidating to hang things in, especially anything moderately heavy. The only other large thing we’ve tried to hang came crashing down a day later. But we finally just put our fear aside, grabbed a couple of masonry nails, and went to town. With our new found confidence, there’s nothing to stop our art collecting now. Move over Steve Wynn, the Bennetts are entering the market!

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audience participation

I have two inspiration photos for bedroom colors, but Greg and I can’t decide. He favors one, I favor the other. So here’s what you guys get to do: you get to vote on the color that we will sleep with until the end of time! Or at least until we paint again and/or sell the house.

Choice A: Light grey

Choice B: Sage green

Please help us!

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How to get rid of that unsightly magazine buildup

Apparently I have a thing for magazines, because I’m realizing that we’re completely buried in them over here. For some reason, I seem to have separation anxiety when it comes to getting rid of certain magazines. I’m very quick to toss the Rolling Stones, Entertainment Weeklies, Mother Joneses, Atlantics, etc. Of course, those are Greg’s so that could have something to do with my lack of sensitivity. But for some reason it’s heartbreaking for me to get rid of Martha Stewart Living or ReadyMade. Right now my craft studio is buried in stacks and stacks of them and it’s hard to focus in such a mess. We currently only have one and a half bookshelves in the house, our idea being to read our books and then pass them on rather than just keeping them to collect dust. So the room for excess magazines in the house is minimal.

Exhibits A, B, C and D:

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I saw a blog entry somewhere suggesting to slice off the spines, thus breaking your emotional attachment to it and making it easier to separate the wheat from the chaff. Once you’ve ruined the magazine altogether, it’s funny how much of it doesn’t seem to have any value anymore. So I’ve been slowly working my way through some piles, and I thought I’d share how effective it’s been, because I’m sure I can’t be the only one with this problem.

I started with Real Simple, because it tends to be the thickest and also the most full of advertising filler. As you can see, I used a box cutter and a self-healing cutting mat, but if you’re not a nerd like me and don’t have one, you can probably use a cutting board or scrap of wood or anything that you don’t mind scratching up to protect the working surface.

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After all the pages are free, I go through the stack and separate it into two categories – the right is what goes, the left is what stays. As you can see in the background, a glass of wine (and some background music) makes this an especially pleasant and somewhat mindless project.

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After doing this for three issues, the pile on the left is what remains that I’m keeping and the pile on the right is getting recycled. Not bad!

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Unfortunately I haven’t decided what I’ll be doing with the remaining pages to archive them, but I’ll probably categorize them in file folders or if I’m feeling super ambitious, I’ll scan them into the computer. Yeah right.

his and hers

Greg was unfortunately sick on New Years Eve, so the festivities were cut short and we wound up just watching the ball drop. In the hopes of avoiding his germs, I’ve been sleeping in the guest room, which is actually really nice. It’s very cozy in there, not nearly as messy as my actual bedroom. We hung our huge world map mural (albeit a little sloppily), set up the futon and bought a rug, so it’s very snuggly. It’s still a work in progress, but I’ve now reassured myself that it’s perfectly fine for guests. I told Greg it feels like we’re royalty, or I’m the first lady or something, having separate bedrooms. I think I need to make use of that room more often.

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A decision still needs to be made about this bookshelf. They worked great in our old apartment, and I do love them, but they’re a little too big for any of the rooms in our house, I feel like they will easily overwhelm any of the rooms. They do hold a lot of crap though, as you can see…

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I also thought I would mention what a sweet husband I have. In order to ensure I don’t get sick, he took it upon himself to remove our normal bathroom cup and replace it with two labeled plastic cups. He even took his toothbrush out of the holder to avoid any co-mingling of germs.

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I can’t decide what our first project of the new year should be, although we’d better get a move on because we still have miles and miles to go. The problem is that the house is in a livable state right now, which has been nice over the holidays, but is not very conducive to making ourselves do anything. Still, I walk around and all I do is notice litle irritations, like homeless junk all over, peeling paint, piles of clothes with nowhere to go. We’re still not really at a point of actual decorating yet, because nothing is really settled enough to decide on knicknacks or artwork, which is the fun part. I think we need to do a few small projects that will boost our home improvement egos and get us excited to do more. Maybe we’ll paint the stairs, or wallpaper the vestibule or something simple like that. Hah, simple. I don’t quite know what I’m thinking saying that, because nothing has been simple in this house. I think that’s why I’m afraid to hang a picture, because I have a feeling that trying to put a screw in the wall will result in fifteen trips to Home Depot.

Ahhhhh…homeownership.

lazy saturday (and sunday)

The rest of my weekend failed to live up to Friday’s productivity, although to be fair, it’s damn near impossible to do anything in this heat except turn on our crappy window units and try to stay perfectly still.

On Saturday we went to Greensgrow Farms in North Philly, which we’ve been meaning to go to all summer, and picked up some produce and a couple of plants. It’s a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm in the middle of a neighborhood where they grow and sell all their own produce. We discovered it a while back after Greg’s brother sent an email singing the praises of a CSA that he went to in California. They offer a yearly subscription which we considered getting until we realized that since you have to go up there every other week to pick up your box, we might as well just shop at their farmers market on an a-la-carte basis until we prove to ourselves that we’ll actually go. I was half expecting it to be super expensive because it’s such a small operation, and you’re supporting the community, yada yada yada, but the prices were actually pretty much in line with the much lower quality produce of the Italian Market. So I bought some arugula, zucchini, green beans, peaches and the most amazing tomatoes I’ve had all season. I am also extremely excited because I bought a lilac bush, which I’ve been on the hunt for all summer. I realize that a lilac bush is sort of an investment, because they take so long to produce flowers and they need somewhat specialized care, but I’m sort of looking forward to the prospect of nurturing it and eventually planting it in our yard at our next house. Seriously though, it will be a miracle if I don’t kill it within a month.

My first attempt at putting up the shelves in the office closet was met with defeat when one of my very carefully placed holes wouldn’t hold the anchor in place. I was so disgusted with myself and with the impossible plaster walls that I left everything where it was and came downstairs to watch a movie. I have this fantasy where I just go upstairs sometime this week to find that Greg has taken care of it, but I would say the odds of that are about four thousand to one.

Greg went to a bachelor party on Saturday night, so I took the opportunity to console myself after the shelf debacle with some wine and a delicious dinner made from our delicious produce purchase and herbs from our garden, followed by one of my old favorites, Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Oh! And we also bought a beautiful new iMac today! Somewhat on the spur of the moment, although we’ve been talking about it for months. Of course, it doesn’t necessarily take the nausea away from dropping that kind of money, but it’s going to be sooooo worth it. Not like it was all that expensive anyway, considering Greg’s old computer is starting to kick the bucket so we’d be needing one in the not-so-distant future anyway. Now I can finally hatch my secret business plan of making vacation videos for people. Yay!

take a seat….we certainly have plenty

We got our fancy schmancy furniture, and I’m loving it. I think we’re going to keep the Astrid chair in the living room (the brown one with white flowers) since it’s the more comfortable of the two and eventually put the Antwerp chair (the orange print) up in the bedroom to be completely obscured by the clothes that I throw on top of it. The Amelie couch is in the bedroom now but will eventually go in the guest room whenever we get our act together and finish that. I figured instead of putting an arm chair in the craft studio, I’ll just use the guest room for my reading nook, being as we’ll probably never have any guests to use it. Franny has officially put her stamp of approval on the couch.

Friday night Greg’s parents and brothers came over and we all had a splendid time. We hung out at the house for a while where everyone ventured out onto the roof to check out the view. Me and my short dress stayed inside since I figured a view of the city was enough without an additional view of me climbing out the window in my dress. Matt & Dave ventured onto the third floor roof, which Greg and I haven’t had the guts to do yet (we stick to the back second floor one), being as there’s no good place to put a ladder. Their foolhardiness at least gave us the benefit of seeing the pictures they took from up there, which were pretty great. Did I just really use the word “foolhardy”? Anyway, it’s almost a shame not to put a roof deck up there, although it would also be a shame to spend $15,000 that we probably won’t get back out of the house. We wound up going to La Lupe for dinner and afterwards stopped at the Rim Cafe for probably one of the greatest South Philly experiences I’ve had since I’ve lived here. I never knew how something could possibly win “Best Hot Chocolate in Philly” until that night. Incredible.

I also wound up getting a work chair for my craft studio. At Heather’s suggestion, I went with the Snille from Ikea, which is actually incredibly comfortable AND only $15. I already have a bunch of chairs for the dining room that I’m planning to reupholster, but if that doesn’t work out I’m seriously considering these for the dining table.

R.I.P. Christmas 2007

Well, we finally took the tree down, mainly because it was quickly becoming a fire hazard. The photos that follow are a cautionary tale of what happens when you stop watering your tree after about four days…

Also, here are some photos of our new table and bench. It arrived a few days after Christmas and fit through the front door with about a half inch to spare. We put Franny on the table to give a sense of the size, and then immediately warned her never to get up there again. The lamp on the table just arrived today from West Elm and I just thought I’d use it to light the photo a little better.

A few weeks back Chris (grandson of the lovely lady Marion whom we bought the house from) asked about the chandelier from the living room. Some of you may remember the chandelier from previous posts:

It was one of the things that made me fall in love with the house when I first saw it, and I was intent on keeping it. The problem was that it was smack dab in the center of the living room, and hung low enough that Greg would constantly be hitting his head on it, so we planned to move it to the dining room. When the electrician came, he said the wiring in it was so old that it had all but disintegrated as soon as they took it down. It pretty much resembled old leather shoelaces. He said the only way it could be used again was if it were completely rewired. So in the mean time, it’s sitting in the basement, waiting for us to make a decision about what to do. Do we invest time and money into it, or do we go with something more modern? Much like hundreds of other decisions that still need to be made, this has been put on hold for now, and there’s nothing in the dining room but a gaping hole in the ceiling, waiting to be plugged up with whatever light fixture we eventually decide on.

Up next, I share some major kitchen anxiety and ask for some advice from anyone who might actually read this thing.

It’s time we hung some tinsel on that evergreen bough

Your Christmas wish has come true…it’s a new Passyunk Palace post!! The reason I haven’t been posting is because we came home one day, and miraculously the entire house had been magically remodeled, repainted and decorated. Oh wait, that’s *my* Christmas wish.

Things are coming along, slowly but surely. We haven’t done too terribly much in the way of decorating for Christmas, but we did get our tree last weekend, which Greg chopped down with his own bare hands (and a saw).

A few weeks ago we got our fancy couch, which we are extremely excited about. After living with a love seat for six years, you can’t imagine how luxurious it is to be able to stretch out. The first night we had it, Greg was sitting on one end and I sat on the other, yelling things over to him like, “What’s the weather like over there? What time is it on your end of the couch? Do the toilets flush clockwise or counter-clockwise?” Where do I come up with them?

Anyway, as you can see, the couch is big enough to fit both Greg AND the sea captain:

Last weekend brought a few four-legged visitors, much to Franny’s chagrin. Shanna & Dave stayed with us and brought their two kittens, who Franny absolutely despised up until about the last fifteen minutes they were here. Then they left and she was lonely and distraught.

We also recently bought a shiny new turntable, which we’ve been doing without for some time now. At last, we can FINALLY play The Best of Bread!

Hopefully next week I’ll be posting about our new table, which this guy is hand crafting for us. I found his ad on Craigslist, and a 7-foot table and matching bench is about a third of the cost of the one we wanted from Crate and Barrell.

But in case I don’t talk to you beforehand, Merry Christmas to all!!!