life in a tiny apartment.


works in progress

Tip #101.

Here's something that I think might not get talked about enough:

Tiny apartments aren't always picture perfect.

I started this tiny apartment series on my blog just 8 days after moving in. I didn't share photos of the entire space until—wait for it—11 months later.

In blogland we see a lot of beautiful (and professionally styled) finished spaces. We also see a fair amount of before and afters—but many of those have that dubious quality of the Dr. Zizmor ads on the subway. You can't quite bring yourself to believe there wasn't some amount of makeup applied for the after shots and some amount of deliberately shoddy lighting used in the before shots.

I'm not suggesting that people need to show the messy stuff. There's a lot of personal sharing demanded of bloggers and allowing for a degree of privacy is welcomed, even necessary. But in case you find yourself discouraged in the midst of getting your own place to feel just right, I think it's helpful to remember that it all takes time. Especially when there are full-time jobs and growing babies, and, you know, breathing to attend to.

When you live in a tiny place—especially a tiny place in the midst of a crowded city—even something as simple as repainting a dresser can present a particular set of challenges. Instead of being able to haul a piece of furniture out to a garage or the backyard, there are often multiple flights of stairs between you and solid ground. And there aren't always neighbors who are enthusiastic about you making the sidewalk your personal workshop.

Last weekend we embarked on a little bébé-inspired project that's still only half finished mid-week. And it likely won't be finished this weekend either. Here, a few concrete tips for working on an apartment project when space is limited.

1. Carve out dedicated time to work on the project. And be reasonable about how many of these sessions the project is actually going to take. Tiny apartments weren't built in a day, etc.

2. Tackle one project at a time. Do the pipes in your bathroom need fresh paint? Focus on those first so that you don't need to have your bathroom out of commission at the same time that your bed is in pieces and your kitchen cabinets emptied of their contents. Slow and steady, etc.

3. Make ample use of drop cloths. They're good not only for protecting nearby furniture, but they can be folded up neatly to corral offending paint cans, brushes, measuring tapes, and other things that you might not want to stare at in the precious moments between working.

PS. We went to Green Depot this week to pick up a few supplies, and they're having an awesome Earth Day sale on their zero-VOC yolo paint which ends April 28. I'm reasonable enough to know our project won't be finished before then, so I thought I'd share it now. YOLO, friends.

For tiny apartment survival tips #1 - 100, head here.

baby proof: hand-me-downs and swaddling clothes.


As an addendum to last week's post about neutral baby clothes and building a layette for bébé, here's the truth of the matter: just when you finish gathering together your ideal list of petit bébé must-haves in subtle tones of white and grey and 'au lait,' you come to your senses and realize that not everything that touches the little bug will be shiny and new and perfectly white. And that it's probably better that way.

For Easter, my sister, Cait, lovingly washed and wrapped a set of muslin swaddling cloths in various subtle prints of stars and stripes and long-necked giraffes and handed them over along with a special care package filled with other essentials and marked 'From Bessie to Flossie.' (I'll leave you to have a little wonder about the contents of that one.) The swaddles were ones that she had used with my nephew last year, many of them passed along from the mothers of other babies before her. Washed and washed again, these guys are as soft as can be.

At the risk of sending you all fleeing my saccharine sap, allow me to say that as I unwrapped each one, I remembered this time last year when I was still getting the hang of swaddling my nephew. The swaddle covered in sweet peas had me remembering the earth-shattering wails he pitched into my ear as we waited for his mama to return home with something only she could offer. The one with silver stars reminded me of one particularly long walk we took around the East Village when I sang "Inch by Inch" until I got hoarse and earned, no doubt, the title of neighborhood kook. And the all-white swaddle reminded me of the time Cait and I snapped photos of him on the white bedspread, snorting uproariously at the tiny pea in a pod of white.

Even if in the movie of mind my sweet babe is wrapped only in ethereal layers of white, the idea that this little Junebug will get to be wrapped up tight in the swaddles of his or her only slightly older cousin matters a whole lot more.

For the curious:
Favorite swaddles.
My endlessly useful basket.

More baby proof, here.

my week in objects (mostly).


five little things that made my week.

1. this bud.
{and the others that finally came.}

2. this tiny sock.
tiny sock
{for making its way into our laundry bag.}

3. this stuff.
coconut water
{because i don't usually go in for it, but it's helping to keep me hydrated.}

4. this starter.
sour dough starter
{because james and i took a sourdough class this week. we thought we needed two new babies, not just one.}

5. this clip lamp.
{for helping brighten the place up when we still haven't replaced the lights we took down.}

other things:
this is haunting.
something to lighten the mood.
something to lounge in post bébé.
these too. especially this.
to do this weekend.

things by me in other places:
an airy studio (with a dream tub).
benevolent thievery.
green eggs.

sprouted easter eggs.


easter eggs
Last week, a happy little experiment to prove that sometimes a fussy DIY doesn't take so much fussing after all. Full instructions for these sprouted easter eggs over on Gardenista.

Now, excuse me while I plant every vessel I own with wheat grass. 

Other things:

Last year's decidedly more labor intensive botanical eggs.
World's prettiest eggs left well enough alone.

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