end of the month review: january

The first month of 2014 has been a cold one. It’s been blustery and snowy and dark and I am ready for a beach vacation. But when is that not the case. I’ve passed the time by bundling up, reading, and scrapbooking, apparently. The top viewed posts from January were:

fatcat

#fatcat spent the month mostly sleeping. If you haven’t yet, you can find me on Bloglovin and talk to me on Twitter, always.

project life: october/november

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I was lucky enough to get two–TWO–project life kits for Christmas: the midnight edition and the honey edition. And it has made catching up on Project LIfe so much fun.

I’m working on the end of the year and doing roughly a month or event per spread. Obvs, the birth of my adorable niece will get a whole two pages. Here’s the pages I have for the second half of October and first weekend of November.

rae's days project life

rae's days project life left page

rae's days project life right page

As I look through my whole album, there are some pages I really like and some I don’t,  of course. But either way I’m glad I’m recording these pictures. I still have a few events left in 2013 to get into this album, and then it’s onto this new year. At least I’m not too far behind.

You can see my other project life updates here:

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decorating inspiration

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about reimagining my space. I love my apartment, but change is good and always fun to daydream about. When I was looking at inspiration this weekend on Polyvore, I focused on pushing my style a little bit and trying something new. I may not want to live with these styles in the end, but it sure is fun looking at them for a while.

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The room with gray walls and pops of color is the most similar to how my apartment is now, but I think it’s the one I like the least out of these options. Which room would you pick? For more home decorating inspiration, follow me on Pinterest.

new outfit: blizzard

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Polar Vortex II has kept me in Chicago for a few days longer than I expected. Luckily, I have access to a washer and dryer, so at least my reused outfits will be clean. But the same clothes every day can get a little boring sometimes. To stay warm in the frigid air, I piled on the layers.

My boots are from Banana Republic. Scarf from Target. Coat was a gift from my mom.

I hope everyone is staying warm!

superhero, supervillain, superself–a look at NOS4A2

nos4a2 cover

I’m about three-quarters of the way into Joe Hill’s NOS4A2 (Kindle here). I picked it up when I was waiting forever at a doctor’s appointment and realized I had it already on my Kindle. Usually I’m too nervous to focus on anything longer than a tweet at the doctor’s–even just for a regular check up, which this was–but an hour into my wait I was ready to try any distraction. And it worked. I was so absorbed that my nerves and the time melted away.

We are introduced to a frightening man, Charlie Manx, who wakes up from a coma just long enough to talk about children going to Christmasland–a place that should sound fun but instead sounds horrible. Manx does terrible things to children–things I can only guess at–with the help of the Gasman, his sick sidekick.

Children from all over and their parents have been disappearing for years, presumably at the hands of Charlie Manx. But one kid is out of Manx’s reach. Vic, short for Victoria, can travel through reality, but not without a price. And when she dips into Manx’s world, neither ever forget it.

While parts of Vic’s life slowly fall apart, we learn bits and pieces that, together, make up the Gasman and Manx. Like Superman, the Gasman steps away, though not into a phone booth, and reappears as a different version of himself. With his gas mask and the misguided belief he is saving the people he tortures from themselves, he is armed with all he needs to fulfil his mission. In his head he is a superhero, but to the people he hurts, he is a terrifying villain.

I have very little in common with the Gasman and for that I am grateful. But I do use clothes and tools to turn myself into the person I feel I need to be.

I might be ready to work without heels and my glasses, but it would be a lot harder to be a super-editor without dressing the part. When I have a date, it’s an entirely different costume to make me into super-girlfriend. And when it’s just me and #fatcat at home, I am a master at being super-cat-lady.

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goldie the gargoyle (embroidery no. 17)

goldie the gargoyle embroidery

It kills me when adorable things show up in comic books. Here I am, reading about a nightmare/King of Dreams/contract killers/reimagined biblical characters and WHAM, something cute drops in the frame.

I’ve been reading through The Sandman–the first issue is just a little younger than I am–and though it took me 25 years to catch on, I’m finally getting up to speed and loving every minute. Along with Death, one of the most fun characters I’ve ever met, I’ve also enjoyed spending time with Dream and his other siblings. And mixed in with the twisting, dark, interesting story lines are hilarious moments of fun. Like a super cute gargoyle called Goldie (aka Irving).

goldie the gargoyle embroidery close up

I’ve been thinking of a way to incorporate Sandman into my project of embroidering books and quotes that I enjoy, and Goldie is a perfect representation of what I love about this series: unexpected fun.

You can’t see dark without the light, or cruelty without kindness, and this epic storyline that takes us in and out of worlds and dreams is all the stronger by including some (adorable) levity.

As you can see on my to-read list, I’m just through volume 7, so if anything terrible happens to Goldie in volumes 8-10, don’t tell me.

embroidery and the sandman vol. 8

I am working on a project to sew some of my favorite quotes and images from books. You can see the other pieces of my embroidery project here:

closet clean out

I want a lion the witch and the wardrobe closet. I want to open it and go to a new land where all my outfits are fit for a queen (or Princess Kate) and I have more handbags than a Kardashian sister. I want a Clueless closet that lets me browse for my white collarless shirt with ease. What I actually had, once, was a skeleton in my closet. Not so chic.

I was subleasing a room, and the skeleton wasn’t mine. It was a life-size model and he looked a little sad all scrunched up in the corner. I did my best to store my clothes around him, and when I left that apartment he didn’t come with me.

Now I’m in my own place and the skeletons in my closet are much less literal. Over the weekend I got a head start on cleaning for the new year by cleaning out my closet. When I purge, I tend to think fast and go on my first instinct–stay, donate, or trash. I try to be ruthless and get rid of anything that doesn’t fit and or that I haven’t worn in a season or two. I usually drop off clothes as quickly as possible so it doesn’t sit around my apartment for too long. (But full disclosure, I haven’t dropped these off yet. I didn’t want to in the cold and snow.)

I don’t have a car in New York and I struggled at first with finding where I could donate clothes. I donate to Housing Works. Housing Works provides services to people living with HIV/AIDS. They have thrift stores around the city where you can donate and buy second-hand items, and money spent there goes toward their organization and services. There’s a shop close to me where I can donate, and they take accessories as well as some home goods like lamps or certain pieces of furniture. I usually take a car there–either a cab or a car I’ve called–and take the train home after I’ve dropped off my load. Housing Works thrift stores are in New York, but I urge you to research where you can donate clothes and other items in your own area.  

my closet

My real life closet looks nothing like my dream closets. But now that it’s a little cleaner I can get it closer to my fantasies.

I’ve got huggable hangers, which take up less space and are soft like velvet. They are good for those in small spaces and probable even in a large space. But my biggest closet conundrum is how to store accessories. I have my shoes and jewelry on display (you can kinda see them here). But what do I do with my bags?

I’ve almost never met a purse I didn’t like and I have no idea how to keep them safe and pretty in my home. I don’t have space to keep them in a closet of their own. I used to put them on shelves, but in this apartment I use my bookshelf for crafts in the kitchen. Right now I have them hanging on hooks and door handles, but that’s hardly ideal.

And what about scarves? And belts? My too-full drawers can’t be the best way. I’ll keep thinking and keep my eyes open, but do you guys have any tips on accessory storage?

One day I hope to have a walk in closet. If I had a second bedroom now that is absolutely what I would do with it. I’ll keep looking at inspiration like this and this, and if I make any headway on my dream closet, you’ll be the first to know.

2014 goals

fatcat

Because resolutions seem so, well, resolute, I’m giving myself some wiggle room with regular (and adaptable) goals for this year. Last year I did the same. I accomplished some and abandoned others, but it was good to have some guidelines to help focus my year. (#fatcat resolves to nap more and harder.) This year, I’d like to…

  • Sew some kind of article of clothing using a pattern. I like to sew but haven’t done much work with patterns. It’s about time I tried a few things.
  • Knit a blanket for my own house. The baby blanket was a huge learning experience for me, and I’d like to have a grown up-size blanket of my own. Not sure when I’ll get started on this because of time and expense, but hopefully I’ll make it happen later on this year.
  • Make my home a small cool space again. I’ll be redecorating this year, more details on that later. But as always, I want to decorate my home in a way that is comfortable, functional, and represents me. I may not make it in time for the official Small Cool Spaces contest on Apartment Therapy, but either way my space will be small and cool.
  • Continue to focus the topics I blog about and plan more posts ahead of time.
  • Read more new releases. I have a long list of books to read that I’ll keep adding to, but I will make sure to include some brand new books released this year.

What do you think? I love reading everyone else’s goals too, so if you have some to share, let me know!

snapshots: happy new year

holding my niece

cat nap

I’ve been traveling with friends and family this week and I can’t think of a better way to welcome the new year. Obviously the best part was meeting my niece, but eating our way through Columbia, Mo., and toasting at midnight with some of my favorite people was also fantastic. Hope the new year is treating you just as well. Continue reading