Archive for the 'home' Category

06
Oct
12

Half-shelf-life and other furniture pimps

I finally got around to painting the rest of the kitchen furniture (I started with the dining table several months ago). I hate the birchwood coloured furniture that’s so Scandinavian, and the remaining three chairs continued to be an eyesore for me. Not to mention the shelf with paint stains and poorly finished sawing where I’d divided it in two! I don’t have a before-picture of the chairs, so you’ll just have to trust me when I say that there’s a definite improvement with a price of a can of shiny black furniture paint.

First up were the two chairs the Significant Otter brought in: they got a layer of paint and that’s it (for now). Next, my eye fell on the third seat… It served its purpose as an emergency chair for my studio, but now it was just completely out of place and out of style. I hated the steel legs for being completely out of sync with the homey feel of the rest of the kitchen, so after I spray painted the plywood to match everything else, I dug into my scrap fabric heap and came up with some cheap Indian cotton strips. I lathered the legs with glue, pasted the fabric on and completed the deed by wrapping some deep blue thread to make sure it stays put.

Classic Scandinavian birch into… something a little less classic.

A definite improvement, but perhaps something still needs to be done to the garbage heap in the corner.

 

The worst thing in the kitchen (and for once, the Significant Otter agreed) was the half shelf with paint stains that was just sitting in the corner and acting as a kind of a junk station. A lick of paint, some crafty times with a cardboard box, a knife, a piece of dumpster dived shelf-back panel spray painted black and cut to size; a little glue, a few screws and an extra Ikea shelf piece later… Well, it’s still not pretty, but at least it doesn’t actively try to attack my sensibilities!

The bottom part needs a back panel, and some storage box type of things still needed for the middle shelf, but at least the garbage is out of sight and the paint matches everything else!

 

The best thing is that, apart from the paints, the project cost next to nothing. I love getting my hands dirty, and there’s that special feeling that goes with DIY… a satisfactory redesign and/or repurposing is good both for my conscience and for my account balance – not to mention that sweet glow when someone compliments on your work*. And finally, what happened to the other half of my formerly-studio-shelf? It ended up in the bedroom with a simple dark wood stain treatment:

Needless to say, the photo albums on the shelf match the bedroom deco, too.

*Of course, I can always find room for improvement.

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28
Aug
12

Here Be Serpents

“Wanna play Hide n’ Seek, mummy?”

Ayyyyy~! Let it be known that the Significant Otter left the terrarium door open after “having a chat” with my corn snake Fafnir — whom he refuses to touch (or to watch him eat!) — and the snake is now at large. We’ve turned the flat upside down trying to locate the slippery little sucker (I learned that wonderful phrase from Pretty Woman), but to no avail. Here’s to hoping he’s actually inside the flat somewhere and not — for instance — haunting the drainage in the apartment complex. I’ve left a note in the hallway to notify the neighbours, and I’m sure that will go down well!

I did mention he’s not poisonous and doesn’t bite.

We have a little bit short of 70 square metres (and I don’t know how many cubic metres!) of double sided bookshelves, DVD storage, open cupboards and wardrobes, all manner of boxes, bags, piles of junk (this part being my studio) for a slithery thing to hide in, so we can pretty much just hope he turns up when he’s hungry. I found poo on the floor (which notified me of his escapade in the first place) so at least I know there’s an empty tummy out there somewhere!

UPDATE!

The Serpent Has Been Found! He was hiding in the only place we did not turn upside down: the plastic bag on one of the low shelves in the kitchen known as the “recycling station”. The Significant Otter thinks he was after the cream. I think he’s got a penchant for alcohol. Fafnir seemed totally content to hang around in the garbage bag — I had to empty the whole thing before I got him out.

“Five more minutes ma!!”

 

“Puny humans! Your silly cages of glass and steel won’t contain me forever!!1!”

18
Aug
12

Bed of Fails

So, we’ve been meaning to buy a new bed since the last catastrophe, or to build one. This week we finally got around to it: I was confident that I would have no problem whatsoever building a raised bed-like thing for our nice recycled-cotton mattress. So we rented a van, bought some timber and lo – this morning I build a bed. Thing. (We also went shopping for things like shelving, carpets and various home-related stuffs. I caved in and opted for shelves from IKEA. Yes, you may punch me in the eye now.)

The problem is, I overestimated the hardness of the mattress and what I ended up with instead is a bed with slalom jumps installed. OH THE FAILS!

The gaps between slats are too wide, and instead of a nice ergonomic bed we have a very special kind of a torture device.

Timber doesn’t cost all that much, and there’s a place not four kilometres away from us… But we have no car, and renting one just to get five pieces of wood is hardly cost effective. I feel like such an idiot. But live and learn… Now, to put together the new shelf for my studio.

22
Jul
12

Housework

Lately, the Significant Otter has been bringing up the fact that we’re paying too much rent, and after a year or so we should look for something cheaper. It’s usually dressed in the form of “don’t buy stuff”. Well! Instead of buying new shelves to house my DVDs (our combined shelves were only enough for both our books and his DVD collection), I’ve spent the last couple of days rearranging the living room furniture so all bookshelves (the Ikea Expedit kind) can be accessed on both sides…. Ergo, more storage space! I’ve successfully managed to arrange all books and all DVDs and all…most all comics on the existing shelving. Phew! Unfortunately, that still leaves my studio (the junk room) short of shelving… I’m looking at the possibility of building my own vs. buying shitty cheap stuff from Ikea. I may yet end up breaking my oath never to buy any furniture from them again!

Pay no heed to the crappy paintwork. I was feeling lazy. (I’ll probably fix it later.)

This weekend has seen a magazine rack for the bathroom (above), made of a piece of cot we found in the garbage (this is just 1/4 of it. one half i in use at the balcony as a drying frame, and the remaining 1/4 is probably going into my studio for more storage, if not as a towel rack for the bedroom door…). Last week, I took a sanding machine to my old kitchen table (it already had a long life as a kitchen table, drawing desk and a balcony table at my friend’s house before making it to my kitchen about seven years ago). I painted it with “semi-shiny” black furniture paint, using just one layer so the wood grain is still visible.

Next project: The chairs.

As for the colour-themed crisis I previously blogged about: the Significant Otter took the pics down, and we talked about it, and I apologised, and he still puts up with me, and I promised to cook a dinner for him for Saturday. I wanted to try this thing (source unknown) that’s been making rounds in Facebook lately:

Top: Inspiration from an unknown origin. Bottom: My version.

My theory is that the pan has to be really hot so when the egg hits the pan, it congeals immediately and doesn’t spread all over the pan. The peppers aren’t heavy enough to contain runny egg (as a lot of people trying this have learned)! I’m allergic to raw egg, so I cheated by making scrambled eggs first — with a bit of milk added to parsley-garlic-black pepper-salt-oregano eggs. When the scrambled egg seemed thick enough to stay still, I poured them in the paprika molds. I also used the oven grill on some thick slices of pork, and we had some nachos with cheese on the side. Kitchen Experimental result: dry. Some creme fraiche and salsa might have worked wonders.

19
Jul
12

Hi I’m scum

The Significant Otter took me out to see an outdoor play yesterday to see the Ylioppilasteatteri (University theatre) play Rakkaus ja Maailmanloppu  (Love and the End of the World). It was fun, if occasionally a bit repetitive, ironic and… well, I enjoyed it. It’s been raining recently, so I was pleased to find the sun came out for the play, and the theatre provided blankets – the Mustikkamaa summer theatre is right at the sea, so it’s often windy out there. It was lovely to be out with just the two of us. I guess it could be called ”quality time”.

 

So as I was having my morning coffee in the kitchen today, I felt pretty awful for the fact I was unreasonably annoyed. The Otter recently put some posters up, and here’s where it all gets complicated. We’re both very stubborn and individualistic people, you see, so we’ve had to devise a system where we discuss home decoration first, and put things up only after we’re in agreement (mostly, I admit, that he’s in agreement with me. I’m a monster.). As I sat there in my our carefully colour planned kitchen, I was not so much annoyed by the fact he’d put them up without talking about it. I even glossed over the fact he’d put posters directly on the wall (as we previously agreed we’d use frames), or even the fact he used push pins, which I disapprove of because of the marks they leave on the wall. I didn’t even mind all that much I don’t particularly like those pictures.

 

But the colour.

The colour! I’m obsessive, I know. If I had my way, each room would have everything colour coordinated to two or three matching colours. In the kitchen, I decided (yes, me) we’d use the colours from the curtain I bought, and it gives a fairly large variety: blue-turquoise, pink, orange, cool red and cold greens. I thought it was a pretty sweet deal, including both my favourites and his. And the three pictures he put up. They don’t match. I know not everyone sees colours that vividly, or doesn’t pay attention to them like I do. But surely… I hope… anyone can see the mismatch between the two colour schemes below? The first one is with the approximate of the existing theme. The one of the right is the general theme from the pictures the Significant Otter put up. It drives me crazy!

 

Colour schemes

Left: as I want it. Right: The offending articles.

 

I realise I’m probably totally in the wrong: I may be nit-pickety and obsessive and way over the line. But it really bothers me. It bothers me that it bothers me. I’m annoyed at being annoyed at some silly pictures. And I also realise that I’m the one doing most of the shopping regarding home deco – meaning I make decisions on my own – but in my defence, it’s futile to try to get the Otter to go with me as he hates shopping, browsing and choosing. I can’t blame him for that. Bought items can always be taken back … just as he/we can move the pictures, or I can… errr… well, there’s the rub. I don’t think I can get used to something that, to me, is an eyesore.

So the next things I know, I’m waaaaaay overboard, swimming in the deep end of my mind, and I’m making grand plans of taking everything that’s mine or my style and stuffing it into the studio room, and telling him he can decorate the rest as he sees fit. I will curl up in my pretty space amongst my treasures like the dragon I am! But I wouldn’t be happy. I have a terrible need to decorate my lair in a way that I see beautiful, otherwise I’m just uncomfortable. And if I can’t find comfort in my own home, I’m unhappy. And when I’m unhappy, boy oh boy. I’m unbearable. And, as I’m finally approaching the all-swallowing vortex, the thought follows that I’m unworthy of living together with someone else. And I twirl down to the bottom to drown in my feelings of self-loathing and worthlessness.

I feel terrible. Such dramatic thoughts over a few damn pictures.

And then! Just to crawl further down under a rock to pin me forever in the murk, I declare to the emptiness my trump card: I’ll rather drown than become a tyrant! I don’t want to make all the decisions. I just want… heh… that democratic decisions follow what I want.

 

I know. Just kill me now.

19
Jun
12

We Weren’t Jumping!

Occasionally, a lot of time goes between posts. Lots of things have been happening, so many stories to tell and even more forgotten! Lately — since I managed to return all my papers and thesis and everything, and graduation is just a paper away — it’s been all about the house. The Significant Otter and I moved in together in May, and it’s been great! I wanted, and got, a studio room where all my computer stuff, sewings, paintings, craftings and stuffums get done (yay!), and slowly, the flat is starting to come together.

Last night, we finally got the bed together and slept on it for the first time. Well. I slept on it. He said it was uncomfortable and sulked slept in the living room instead. In the morning, he complained that the bed made him roll toward me, and we managed to have a few Words (“Maybe you should get a skinnier girlfriend!”) before realising the bed was broken. Bent. Right in the middle.

I wish we had done something to cause that, because it would make a much better story than “Maybe I should lose some weight, cough cough.” Seriously. though: shouldn’t the exact middle of the bed be able to support most weight?

That said, we’re returning the bed tomorrow — honestly, it really should be able to handle two grownups sleeping, even if we were both twice the size we are! He says I shouldn’t tell people that we weren’t even having sex, because it’s embarrassing. The logic of it fails to make sense to me. Oh! Uh, I mean, we were having… not… what?

Living together has caused so many arguments, and most of them are really because his taste sucks and mine’s terrific. And I’m always right, too. He drives me up all kinds of walls with his ideas, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love the fact that he cares (about our home) enough to argue, and I really, really have to say he’s grown incredibly patient with my rooms-decorated-by-theme obsession. I shan’t share any pics yet (because nothing is ready! Aaargh!), but I’ll let you in on a little secret. I ordered our completely ordinary toilet scrub from the UK. Because I couldn’t find the kind I wanted in Finland… It matches the superhero theme of the bathroom! <3




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