paint a door

I get what it means to live in an old, mouse-friendly, a little bit run down, row house. I’ve lived in one, and I can appreciate looking for ways to make them feeling fresh, clean, and modern.

I used to live in a group house. There, I tried different things to make the house a little warmer, and homey. One  idea I had was to paint the yucky-poo colored door a fun, vibrant color that would spunk up the front space. Obviously turquoise was the answer.

** Someone told me after I painted the door that they were told a freshly painted door made burglars more inclined to rob you… I don’t think this is the case. And if so, I would’ve have offered them one of the mice **

before

Anyway, what you’ll need includes the following –

1. paint brushes – I would buy a basic brush  for the small corners and sides and also one of these guys –

It’s kind of one of the best things ever invented, and costs like $4 at Home Depot. There’s a paint brush pad on the other side. This tool makes painting edges, ceilings, and everything else a lot easier… and I like that it makes the paint go on smoother, especially nice when painting a door.

You’re also going to need sandpaper, take your pick at what kind. Maybe a medium thickness. And last but not least…paint!

Possibly because my weekends as a child included visits to Home Depot after soccer games, I would again recommend going to Home Depot to buy paint. Behr paint is effective, cheap, and comes in great colors. Because I was painting a front door, I bought the outdoor paint. I also just bought the primer/paint combo as there was no need for additional layers. Also, all I needed for the front and back of the door was one quart… that included two coats, and I had some leftover. Total for paint, brushes and sandpaper ~ $30.

Directions –

  1. First, wash the door. Simple enough.
  2. Use sandpaper to rub down the old nasty paint or wood or whatever you are painting on. This will clean up and smooth the door, and allow the raw texture to grab on to the paint a bit easier.
  3. Paint a coat – Put the paint in an old piece of Tupperware (recycle – no need to buy one of those paint trays). When painting, try to follow the grain of the wood. Also, paint kind of a “X” formation – this will make sure that paint sticks in every little crevice. Ew, that’s a gross word.
  4. Clean up any paint you spill – don’t worry, it will happen. Also, clean your brushes with soap and warm water – this will allow you to use them in the future. Win.
  5. Watch some TV – and LET THE PAINT DRY. If you lack patience like I occasionally do, this may be tricky. I recommend watching Dexter.
  6. Next day – paint another coat! I think after that dries, you should be good to go. Keep the door clean, and this should last you quite a few years.

Check out the final product:

After

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i heart bottles.

Bottles and vessels. Different textures, colors, and heights. I love the eclectic, vintage yet modern feel they bring to a space. In my current place, I help use them as a room divider. My bed is behind the blue dresser in the last photo. (Ikea dresser, Anthropologie knobs.) What I also love, is that you can find bottles for 4 bucks. Or 20 bucks. It doesn’t have to be a pricey investment to add spunk to your home. Flea markets, garage sales, your favorite beer or wine bottle, West Elm, apothecary stores, even the grocery store where you can buy your favorite Mexican saint candle. Check out some of these images – let me know what you think!

ginger carrot soup with chili-lime pepitas

I’m back. And I’m still eating! I’ve made this recipe a couple times and love it! Especially with cold weather approaching, this is a tasty, healthy, vegetarian, simple soup that’s super flavorful – and cheap! It’s also a festive color for fall. Ha! Possibly not most important, but a nice touch for holiday events and dinners.

What You’ll Need-

  1. 3 cups veggie broth
  2. 1 cup orange juice
  3. couple cups of carrot
  4. couple cups of potatoes OR cauliflower (if you’re goin low-carb)
  5. onion
  6. ginger
  7. garlic
  8. little butter or olive oil (up to you)
  9. 1/2 cup milk, rice milk, 1/2 and 1/2 – this will determine if you want to soup to be vegan or not
  10. turmeric
  11. white pepper (trust me – this adds a nice taste that is different from black pepper)
  12. nutmeg
  13. two cups of pumpkin seeds or pepitas – same thing, different name
  14. chili powder
  15. lime juice
  16. salt

In  a pot, melt the butter, cook the onions, ginger and garlic. dice up the potatoes/cauliflowers and carrots, add them to the pot. Add the veggie broth and OJ, turmeric and a little white pepper. Let it boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes. Next, pour half the soup into a blender, add half the milk/non-dairy product and blend. Then add the rest of the soup and milk. Blend and puree to the texture you appreciate. Put back in the pot, add more white pepper, nutmeg and salt – to taste.

At some point while the soup is cooking – toast up the pumpkin seeds in a frying pan, add some salt, lime juice and chili powder.

Serve the soup hot, with the toasted (and quite tasty) pepitas on top. Enjoy!

I served the soup at a dinner party a few months ago. Served it with crispy, garlicky brussel sprouts, cold gazpacho, avocado, and most important – white wine!

setting up a living room

Besides having a fabulous closet (one that I will have someday), I think that a living room can be your most important space in a home — ha, particularly in a studio. In a lot of small spaces, it’s the first place people see, it’s where you spend most of your time, and it tends to even be your dining room.

For this space, I wanted to keep it basic, clean, home-y, and personal. Especially because I live by myself.

Let’s start with the photos;

Because the photos, frames, and albums I am decorating with are all different weights, sizes, and textures, I needed to use a couple different techniques. For the heavier items (the larger frames), I drilled a screw into the wall. Again, because I have cement walls, I needed to find the appropriate screws and of course, drill bit. Check out your local Ace Hardware.

side note: Ace’s are privately owned for the most part — so you can feel ok supporting them, or another local hardware store.

For the smaller frames and the painting, I used these velcro hanging strips from Ace, the box was like $5 for a set of six. They hold up to 12lbs (so it says, though I’m not sure I would trust more than 5lbs). Clean the wall and the back of the frame, stick two of the velcro strips to one another, and hang. Super simple, and they’ll come off the wall without leaving a residue. For the albums, I used the picture hanging screws. Those are actually quite tough – can hold 50lbs or more.

Contrary to the photo, the frames aren’t crooked, I’m just lousy at taking a straight picture.

From left to right, top to bottom: Dodger stadium, and old frame given from family, a record album frame, purchased at Urban Outfitters for $10, silver frame is from Target ($9) and a photo of my great great aunt and uncle, the purple frame is from World Market (a gift) and my grandparent’s wedding photo, the long black frame is from Amazon (only $5) and an awesome quote from First Lady, Michelle Obama. The green frame is way old as well, and from Urban Outfitters, as is the second album frame. And lastly the gold frame and photo on the right are from Eastern Market’s flea market in DC ($50 total).

The frames aren’t a final product. I want to add more, move things around, take things off, etc. But that comes with time, my mood, and what cool think I “must buy” next at the flea market. Right now, I love the colors, textures, very different images. Again, it’s personal.

Sidenote #2– If you live in DC, definitely check out the Eastern Market flea market. They have a lot of amazing stuff, and for the most part, it’s all quite unique, making your space extra special.

Alright, back to the living space. Here’s the final product, at least for this wall. My couch is from Macy’s. A few years ago I purchased it new for $600. A bit pricey, but I’ll be honest, buying your first new piece of furniture is unbelievably liberating. The little coffee table was $15 (originally $30 – talk ’em down!) at the Eastern Market flea market. The green planter is from Antropologie for $12, the olive green vase from West Elm for $18. The coasters were handmade by children in southern Cambodia, about an hour south of Phnom Penh. The TV tray on the right was $9 from Target. And lastly the pillows – the cream one is from Target, about $20, and the little one from a market in New York, I think I bought it for $5.

Let me know what you think

-Summer

thrifty, no-hole curtains

No, I did not sew these curtains. Like making a three course organic meal, sometimes it’s just cheaper to buy the product at the store as opposed to spending a fortune on the materials.

The curtains are from Target – about $19 each. Curtain rods are $5 each, also from Target. I really didn’t want to put more holes in the walls, so I found the rod holders at Ace. They’re actually stick-ons — probably for hangin’ keys or something lightweight.  They look bronze, but are actually plastic. And only $4. To make sure they are hung in a straight line, use either a level, ruler, or heck, a good eye.

Side Comment: this sounds ghetto. real ghetto, I’ll admit it. But check the photos – they look pretty nice. And they certainly do not look like plastic. 

To make sure they didn’t fall off the wall, particularly because my cat, Olive, likes to jump on and behind them, I glued them up with Gorilla Glue. I bought the “dries white” kind, and the bottle should last me a few years. You can buy it at any hardware store. I’m pretty happy with them, and it took genuinely no time at all.

make it a kitchen

I’m struggling with how in the world I’m going to not only cook and clean in what the realtor calls a kitchen, but how I’m going to organize all of it!

I don’t online shop for kitchen tools, I no longer even have one of those 1-800-Chop It’s! All I really have are the basics, but alas, three cabinets hold diddly squat. Check out what I’ve done to organize the space, utilize the cabinets to the best of my ability, and keep the itty bitty kitch lookin’ sweet.

1. While it’s all mismatched, I love my dishes. My mom’s made some of them, some are from Ikea, some were stolen from college roommates, and others were taken from free street sales. I figured I would need additional storage in the kitchen, so why not store my pretties — and not boxes of flax seed and canned beans — in the open space, leaving my food, what can quickly appear cluttered, in the cabinets. Check.

I made one purchase from Ikea. It’s a $40 shelving unit that I’m pretty sure is for storing towels and bathroom supplies, but hey, it works.

sadly the space is so small, it’s near impossible to get the whole unit in a photo

** Another trick — Use old jars to store your silverware. Those on top are the bruschetta jars from Trader Joe’s. Nice little addition, especially when you have no drawers.

2. Next, I needed somewhere to store my pans and colander, and heck, maybe some more space for mugs. I purchased a coat hanger for $10 at Ace Hardware, and reused a couple hooks I had purchased years ago from World Market (each were like $4). Since my apartment is way old, I needed to use my drill, and a drill bit for cement walls which you can easily buy at Ace for like $5. Not only are these handy things to have at home, but damn will you feel accomplished. Make sure you get the right screws, too.

3. Lastly, I must admit, I’m an old lady at heart, and try to save all my receipts, old cards, birthday cards, recipes, you name it. There was no space for my old desk (stay tuned for that project), so I decided to mount my paper holder to the wall. Find a magnetic one and you’ll be happy you bought all those cheesy magnets while traveling abroad. Again, get two cement friendly screws (30 cents a piece?) and begin!

Next up: the living room!

-Summer