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Posted by Katherine Putnam on February 11th, 2012

“TMI? Too Much Information. It’s just easier to say ‘TMI.’ I used to say ‘don’t go there,’ but that’s lame.”

So I realized that, while I’ve been doggedly plugging away at this resolution of mine, I haven’t really done a life update in awhile. Not that I think anyone’s dying for one of those or anything. I just figured maybe a picture post would hold a little more interest for my regular readers (you smattering of loyal family members) than my movie related ramblings.

On the life front: not too much going on. This is our second weekend home in a row, so that’s new and novel. We have one upcoming visit on the calendar (yay time with the Palmers!) and one nebulous–as of yet unscheduled–visit floating about, but other than that our calendars are mighty clear. Oh yeah, and I get to babysit the Gingrich girls next week. That always makes me giddy and excited.

Well. I guess that means this post is really more of an apartment update than a life update, so I’ll move on to those ramblings. The last time I posted apartment pictures I mentioned that we had two larger projects in the works. One of those has been finished forever (okay, not forever…but half a year at least) and the other we finished up a few weeks ago. We also added little touches to existing items here and there, completed a smaller project or two, and finally used our Target and Sears Christmas gift cards.

Pictures, take it away:

Above we have a lovely photo of Chris. For those of you wondering what the heck is going on…he’s mourning over a pile of his own hair. Clearly. One of our gift card fueled purchases was a clipper set so I can cut Chris’s hair at home. We figure it’ll only take a few haircuts for the set to have paid for itself. After that, it’s all savings. I think I did a horrible job, but you can judge for yourself the next time you see Chris’s head.

Okay. Now to jump into the Apartment Updates photos. Let’s start in the bedroom, shall we?

Some of these shots don’t qualify as “projects” or even “new.” They’re just odd pictures taken by a clearly OCD amateur blogger. But pictures of under-the-bed storage containers make me happy, okay? I don’t understand why everyone isn’t excited about the ability to maximize this commonly overlooked storage area. Our containers are filled with gift bags, tissue paper, wrapping paper (in container #1), old towels and a spare comforter (container #2). Our overnight bags also live under the bed. They’re happy there.

Above is a shot of one of my birthday presents. (Yes, yes. I’m very behind on updating.) It’s the larger of the two mirrored wall shelves (boxes?) that Mom and Dad bought me. It currently houses our To Read piles. Okay, the piles are mostly mine because Chris has been very on the ball in terms of reading.

Only I’m weird enough to show closet interior shots. I can’t help it that organization excites me. I’m constantly trying to figure out ways to make every inch of the apartment more appealing and more organized. I never want to worry that I’ll have a nosy guest who will open a door and find a certified danger zone of junk.

Anyway. The point of the above shot was to show a small project Chris helped me on a few months ago. I was sick of dealing with a giant pile of belts, socks, bras, and knickers overflowing the top bin in my closet. So we took a trip to the Dollar General and found the storage bins you see affixed to the wall. If we were in a house I would have invested in a prettier, more permanent solution. This works for now, though. (Forgive the inclusion of unmentionables in the shot.)

These past two shots highlight one of my long term (if we get a pile of gift cards) goals: getting matching wooden hangers. It’s definitely not high on the priority list. (It falls quite a few spots under Saving for a House, actually.) What I really wanted to focus on in this shot of Chris’s closet, however, was the lovely beige and brown box you see in the top left. That’s box number one of four that we purchased from Target using Christmas gift cards. They’re collapsible, but quite sturdy once assembled. Not to mention they’re pretty and functional. Win win. Win. Win. (Not sure how many wins there should be. Four seems right.)

Where are the other three boxes, you ask? (I know you aren’t really asking. Let me have my little game of make believe, okay?) Follow me!

Before we get to the other storage boxes, let me give you a short introduction to the office closet. It’s…a weird closet. It’s partially over the staircase, which is how you get a carpet covered, slanted wall-thing like you see above. Kind of weird, but I’ve learned to love it. At least the weirdness means that we could place a third under-the-bed storage container on that slant and wedge it in place against a Target cube organizer that actually fits in the closet (with room to spare. Seriously, I took at least one of these pictures while standing inside this closet). So. Introduction complete. Onward and upward.

There they are. My lovely, lovely storage boxes. And a banana leaf basket filled with out of season decorations. (I don’t completely believe that they’re really made of banana leaves, but they look nice, regardless.) We had a lot of random items that didn’t fit into the 8 cube organizer. By that I mean I had left over scrapbook paper from wedding projects and a paper cutter and other junk that didn’t fit and didn’t look nice just sitting about. I also mean that Chris had a giant cardboard box of computer parts and wires and cables and other things that I couldn’t even begin to identify and I wanted to find a better way to store them. Things aren’t perfect yet. I still want to print labels to hang from the handles of the boxes (on the shelf and in the cube organizer). BHG has a great PDF version of some of their labels, so I’ll probably use that. I also want to finish organizing within the boxes, so maybe I’ll share after pictures once that’s happened.

Seriously, sometimes I just open the door, stand back, and smile. Such. A. Dork.

We found this little guy at Salval. Or Goodwill. Or maybe Community Aid. One of those. Chris wasn’t sold on it at the time (it was like a buck, how could you not be sold on it?). Once we got it home and he was able to organize some of his miscellaneous desk item-eries…well, he changed his tune.

This is project numero uno of the two “big projects” that I mentioned. When we were in Bolivia I took a lot (not “alot” ’cause I know better) of close up pictures of flowers. I don’t think the pictures had a purpose at first, but after Chris and I came up with the idea for a flower photo wall, that changed. Chris is the mastermind behind which pictures were chosen. He was also the photoshop guru who transformed them into the bloom-on-black-background wonders you see. He’s also responsible for the arrangement they’re in. Ain’t he swell, folks? I’m so glad that he let’s me go nest-building crazy. I especially enjoy it when he comes along for the ride.

This picture serves two purposes. First, it shows what the “wall art” looks like when put into perspective with the rest of the room. (Though it doesn’t look as small and puny in person, I swear.) Second, it introduces one of our smaller, more recent projects: floating shelves for the office. Let’s get a better look, shall we?

More kudos to Chris for picking out the floating shelves from Target (more gift card/Christmas purchases). Even more kudos for figuring out what to put on them. I was digging around through the office closet, trying to find things to re-purpose (I wasn’t keen on the idea of buying knick-knacks to fill them up) when Chris came up with the idea to make our anniversary out of the table numbers from our wedding. He also pulled over the invitation we had mailed to our (future) selves. (We wanted it to be one of the first pieces of mail we received post honeymoon, so we mailed it before we left.) So, yeah. What with his decorating skills, Chris is well on his way to making me rather redundant and useless around here!

One more picture, this time from a different angle. You know, for perspective…or something equally important sounding.

Also, Chris gets tired of moving out of the way so I can take pictures of inanimate objects, so I let him strike a pose.

Okay. The upstairs portion of the tour is over, downstairs we go!

I’ll start with all the little detail shots that may or may not be new and definitely don’t qualify for the title of “project.” Like this shot of the two (Target, of course) baskets that sit on top of our fridge. I know they’ve been in the background of other shots, but I’m kind of basket crazy right now, so I thought I’d let them have their moment in the spotlight. The one on the left houses snacks (when we have them) and the one on the right holds some lunch bags/containers for Chris’s weekday lunches.

Ignore the possibly dying bamboo plant, please. That’s not the point of this shot. The real point is to highlight the re-purposed letters from our wedding photo wall (and hey! There’s one of the photos). And the little Christmas decoration that Celene made me a few years ago. (Okay, Aliza probably did most of the work, but that’s not the point.) All of our floating shelves are works in progress, so who knows what this’ll look like in a few months.

Now for more of the unsung heroes: the small organizational items on my under-the-stairs desk.

The small bowls are courtesy of one of my freshman-year-roommates, Elyse. She gifted the rest of us with some of her pottery class creations. Well, the tan one was a gift. The green/gray one was a reject she was throwing out; I rescued it for its small item corralling powers. In front of them is the tiny glass paperweight (?) that Shelby gave me at my bridal shower. It’s precious to me because it was a gift from my (then) two year old niece. (In other words, if any of you adults out there are harboring any ideas of giving me etched glass paperweights? Know that you’re not nearly small or cute enough for that to work.)

The little lime organizer was a great clearance find at Target (I think I got it when I was blasting through our wedding gift cards). It makes all my little papers, gift cards, earbuds, etc look far tidier than they are.

Target really is one of my best friends. This is another one of our unsung organizational heroes. It provides a great drop-spot for Chris’s keys, phones, and whatever else he carries ’round in his pockets. It’s also great for checking my non-existent make up and hair-do before I run out the door. (I have hair, just not a do.)

Continuing on the “unsung hero” front, here we have our shoe mat. The stairs are one of my favorite things about this apartment; I love that we can fit a desk and a shoe mat under there. It keeps everything so nice and out of the way. Not to mention it means that space doesn’t have to go to waste. (I should work for Wasted Spaces. Seriously.) Anywho. With no foyer and barely two feet between the door and the dining set (or anything else) there wasn’t a good place for shoes to sit. Luckily Chris snagged this rug at Dollar General pretty early on.

Let’s move back to the kitchen for a few more OCD-Nerd drool sessions. I’ve loved this white board/cork board/calendar since I got it a few years ago. Now it helps me stay organized here at the apartment what with the color coded calendar and the 3-week meal plan list hanging from it. Plus it has fun bonuses like the little pictures we’ve received from loved ones.

Look into that shadowy corner. Do you see it? We’ve tucked a little magnetic organizer (Target) into the corner to hold receipts, dry erase markers, and other little list making tools. Our receipts used to hang on the fridge by one of our many magnet-clips, but it would get too heavy too soon and slide down the fridge. I like this version better.

Last stop in the kitchen: the white utensil crock from Triple B. (Bed, Bath, & Beyond. What? That’s what the cool kids are calling it.) I’d say that I’m not sure why I want to highlight this lovely thing, but that’s a lie. It’s the same reason I’m blathering on about all the other little things we have that no one but me cares about. I just love putting things in their place. I especially like it when their place is a nice, clean-lined white crock.

I’ll lump these five shots together to save time and patience. The top three are the former TV-stand and the flea market vases that now adorn it. Yes, I said “former TV-stand;” I’ll get to that later. I don’t think the stand will be a permanent fixture, but it’ll do for now. The bottom two are my former nightstand and the few catalogs and candles that have so gracefully volunteered to decorate it. (I don’t know why I’ve started receiving Pottery Barn catalogs, but I won’t complain for now. At least I won’t complain about anything other than their ridiculous prices.) Anywho. These pictures are really just more proof that I like to shift around things we already have instead of buying new. (If I can help it.)

Okay, let’s put the smaller changes and unsung heroes aside and look at the last of the long-awaited changes. First up? Coffee tables. For the longest time we used an odd plastic tool chest that Chris had drilled a board onto…yay college era furniture? One day we popped into the local Community Aid (on a whim) and found these puppies. They’re a little scuffed, but the worn look has grown on me; it provides a nice contrast to our store bought items. Plus, it’s hard not to love something you got a great deal on.

Remember that banana leaf basket in our closet? Well we got two more with our Christmas gift cards. (We originally purchased a different type of basket, but apparently Target didn’t care about listing the true dimensions of that basket type. It was a bit of a disappointment.) These fit perfectly under our coffee tables and provide a home for our growing collection of games. Pictured are two of the geeky strategy games that Chris got for Christmas: Small World and Forbidden Island.

Our final stop on the coffee table tour is the decorative tray I scored from Overstock for at least ten dollars less than…wherever it was originally sold. It mostly gets shoved out of the way for our feet, food, or computers, but when it’s in its place it looks quite nice.

Big project number two? New TV-stand. Chris, Dad, and Uncle Barry combined powers to make this stand. Chris will argue that he didn’t do much, but at the very least he designed the whole thing.

We found a tutorial for crackle paint and went to town. It’s actually just as simple as painting the base coat (brown, for us), smearing on a TON of Elmer’s glue and painting the top coat (off white) before the glue has dried. The extent of the cracks (width, length, etc) will depend on how much you let the glue dry before you paint over it. We liked the results, flawed though they were. We’ll get better with practice.

The inside is my favorite. Chris designed the door shelves to give us additional depth and DVD storage without making us move a row of movies out of the way each time.

Chris is a techie. Duh. Which is why we have my parents’ old tower hidden behind our TV screen. We used to have it on the floor, but this is a heck of a lot easier to reach. Internet capabilities means we’re able to access Hulu and Netflix from the comfort of our couch. It also means we have access to What? We love us some Downton Abbey.

Final stop on the long, LONG apartment tour: old ladder turned wall art. Lisa’s parents found this in their garage (I think); she has the other half in her apartment. Ours has been sitting around since somewhere near Christmas, waiting for us to get off our butts and mount it on the wall.

Part of the wait included spray painting the brackets. Okay, Chris spray painted the brackets and I made him wait more than a day for then to dry. Just call me cautious. Anyway. The brackets were originally your standard silver metal color before Chris painted them an oil rubbed bronze (ORB for those of us obsessed with younghouselove).

I love this ladder. We’re trying to figure out what to do to spice it up. It isn’t very sturdy, so we’re still brainstorming.

And that’s the tour! I know that this was an extremely long, extremely boring post, but I enjoyed it. I’m really having fun putting our first home together, piece by piece. It’s definitely a learning process. Heck, there are times that I really hate something after I’ve done it (ex: the bedroom paint color). It’s a learn as you go process but I’m just trying to relish the process instead of racing for the finish line. (Although I do chomp at the bit from time to time.) Anywho. Thanks for bearing with me. Cross your fingers for a more exciting post next time. (Cross your fingers, but don’t get your hopes up.)


Katherine Elyse

P.S.- Since I’m no longer sworn to secrecy, I can now do a happy dance because Natalie is pregnant! Woot! So excited for the Foors; they’re going to be amazing parents. And now, a celebratory picture:

(I stumbled across this old photo mere hours after the gag order was lifted; it was too good an opportunity to pass up.)

One Response to “TMI”     

  • aliza says:

    Thanks for the tour! I’ll have to show the girls this post. They’ll be thrilled to see that you still have their gifts. It really is very nice of you to keep the paperweight, I’m not sure I would have been that nice ;)

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