Monthly Archives: November 2012

Master Bath Progress…Day 1

Thursday was demo day in the bathroom. I tried not to look–demolition mess makes me a little nuts. It always seems like an insurmountable disaster, even if I’m not the one cleaning it up. But, I did look, and it wasn’t too scary…

The crazy loud noises scared the bejeezus out of Presley, but after about an hour of hammering, sawing, beating and breaking, she got used to it and decided to take a nap on the couch (as opposed to staring wide-eyed from under the couch). And honestly, the sound of the bathtub being sawed (?) apart made me want to hide under the couch! (Please excuse the furry floor…my housekeeping is suffering this week…every week!)

It was a little awkward seeing our toilet being rolled out on a dolly…and even more awkward seeing it sitting in the middle of the (shared) garage…but these things happen, I guess.

Brett (our neighbor friend), Naoto & I went to the city for some tea and some lunch and by the time we got home, our contractor was gone and the place was all cleaned up. This is what remained of the bathroom.

Next up: the build out…

Tagged , ,

thanksgiving invitations 2012

They don’t look like they looked in my head. They were much more layered and complicated and perfect in there. But, they also didn’t have fancy gold artist ink on them…or feathers…those were happy surprises. Oh, and I am not a designer. At all. But, even though professionally created invitations might look more perfect, I enjoy creating something with my hands and with paper. Even though things didn’t work out as they did in my dreams, I am still happy I took the time to create something tangible and special for my guests. For me, this is what the holidays are all about.

Because our printer is broken (and my other printer–a.k.a. Naoto–is on vacation this week), I knew I was going to have to either rubber stamp or use my beloved cursive typewriter for the word part. The typewriter won. And even though the message is subtle (or hard to read without your glasses!) I think the cursive text is pretty. (Besides, typewriters are totally trendy right now, so I’m in style by accident!)

So, I typed my message on my (cheap, but lovely) 140 pound watercolor paper. It felt more luxurious than my other white paper choices, and it fit through the typewriter just fine. Then I taped on two strips of gold striped washi tape, lining up the stripes so it looks like one wide strip of tape. Then I cut out my practice feather (on Paper Source aubergine) and I sewed it right on top of the washi tape stripe. The sewing was a huge pain. I jammed up my machine no less than ten times (and I only sewed three tiny things)! I was able to fix it each time (yay for patience and the owners manual!) but I wasn’t able to determine the source of the problem…it might have been the two layers of paper together, since my first paper sewing adventure only involved one layer of watercolor paper.

Every year, I try to include a quote on our invitations. This year’s quote is from Henry Ward Beecher, “Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.”

I mailed them out on Tuesday, so hopefully they will arrive at their destinations soon.


(One more picture! This Instagram shows the shimmery gold!)


Tagged , , , , ,

Home is a 1970s Apartment | the Master Bath

So this is the master bath in all of its 1970s glory. I’ll let you bask in some pictures. Take a deep breath…there’s a lot of shine!

That is basically the view from the door. LOTS of silver wallpaper with big blue and turquoise flowers, LOTS of gold accent, LOTS of mirror. And yes, that is a safety bar in the bath/shower. Just in case. (I have to admit that I used it once when I slipped in the tub…quite the lifesaver. But I also whacked my head on it when I was shaving one day…)

Some details:

The medicine cabinet has a slot for used razor blades. You just drop them in and the blade falls behind the wall. I want to be home when Shawn (our contractor) takes out that wall, just so I can see how many blades are back there!

The bathtub is a pale, pale shade of blue. (It’s also super grimy after forty years of showers.)

Like the kitchen, the bathroom ceiling is wallpapered. Unlike the kitchen, the bathroom ceiling wallpaper is a complementary choice–solid silver.

The side of the wooden vanity is rotting.

I kind of love the floor.

And, the original wallpapering job was so impeccable, the seams are hard to find, and even the outlet cover is decorated!

I have to admit, I’m a little sad to see this 70s goodness go…it’s so disco-fun! But of course I am ready to have a working shower and a non-rotting vanity…and the fresh start new construction brings. Unfortunately, new construction also means sharing a bathroom again and having someone invading our space every weekday for the next month…ugh. I’ll be keeping my eyes on the prize (a modern shower and a squeaky clean new toilet!) while I wait for the project to be done.

P.S. This was my 100th post! Yikes!

Tagged , ,

master bath ideas

Naoto & I spent yesterday choosing tiles and a toilet for our soon-to-be-remodeled master bath. Before I show you the “befores” (which, depending on your age, will make you laugh, cry or wonder why we are even remodeling) I’m going to show you our ideas and choices so far. That’s Naoto above posing with his dream Japanese-style washlet toilet. Sadly, condo regulations in our city make it financially impossible to add one in our bathroom. (It would add several thousand dollars to our remodeling project and involve an annual inspection. So sad.) But we picked out a really nice toilet…just not a fancy washing one…

There was a dog napping in the plumbing store. (See him on the bottom shelf in the middle.) I really wanted him to get up and greet us, but he seemed too drowsy.

Our contractor recommended a “mom & pop” store for our tiling needs. I was a hesitant at first because I thought the prices would be higher than the big hardware stores’ prices. I was pleasantly surprised that almost everything in the store was reasonable and wonderful! And, the tiles I fell in love with were both within the budget! I’ve had my mind made up from the beginning about the wall tile in our shower–white subway tile. It was a simple decision and an inexpensive one. I was afraid of the floor tiles though. I had no idea what I really wanted, or what would look good. With a little bit of searching, I found something that will hopefully be a wonderful balance with the rest of the choices. My pick is the fourth from the right, the dark greyish black one with the “texture”. Our walls are going to be some sort of light grey (like the rest of our home), so hopefully it will all tie together? (One never knows until it’s all said and done and too late, right?)

The only other thing we have chosen is our vanity and cabinet. I am a big fan of drawers (as opposed to cabinets with doors and shelves) and Ikea was the only place that had what I really liked.

Those are two big drawers and the sink is large and shallow (perfect for washing my messy mineral make-up down the drain). We are considering the tall cabinet as well, but we haven’t decided for sure. (I know…time is ticking…)

What we really don’t know about yet is lighting and a mirror (or medicine cabinet). I’ve been trolling lighting sites and looking in other people’s bathrooms (but not in their medicine cabinets!) for months now and I just haven’t seen anything I love. If you have any ideas, please share in the comments! Thanks!

I will be back later this week with “before” shots.

Tagged , ,


I realized I should probably wait to show you the Thanksgiving invitation until it actually makes its way out into the world. So, give John-the-Mailman a couple of days to make that happen.

(But I also warn you…the invitations are not very exciting…and they tried my patience like crazy.)

However, in the course of thinking about our Thanksgiving invitations and Christmas cards, I found a new & interesting ink. It is Winsor & Newton’s Metallic Gold Drawing Ink. I only found it by accident while I was looking for (and not finding) gold sumi ink at Blick. I love the little old fashioned box, but I was mostly intrigued by the words on the box: a non water-resistant ink made from bronze suspended in a gum solution. If sparkly gold particles suspended in liquid doesn’t sound like fun, I don’t know what does. When I opened the bottle last night and started stirring, I could see the tiny gold sparkles swimming around in the bottle. A splash of ink flew out while I was stirring and even the splash was gorgeous as the bits of gold settled into the paper. It was love at first stir for me!

I am completely incapable when it comes to calligraphy. But this ink makes me want to try again. Ahhh, to pen my own invitations with this golden ink…. (Someday, maybe…) Until then, I will paint in gold. I used a thin watercolor brush to paint branches and feathers and I attempted to write “thanks” with the brush (big fail). I painted on Paper Source’s aubergine (because I was using it for the Thanksgiving invitations) and some lovely (and cheap) 140 pound watercolor paper. The gold flecks are more apparent on the watercolor paper, but I think both papers show off the ink well. (And none of my pictures capture the beauty of the ink.)

Once I make up with my sewing machine (oh, did it ever give me problems on those invitations!), I have another idea for a garland. But it might take me awhile to get the nerve up to sew again.


onto Thanksgiving planning

When one party closes, another opens.

That’s how I feel about November. Naoto & I have been hosting Thanksgiving since we got married. And, for the record, Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday. We love hosting, we love menu planning and cooking. Naoto does all of the hard stuff–the cooking and the bathroom cleaning. I do all of the fun stuff–the invitations, the table setting, the decorations (and the rest of the cleaning…but that’s not fun). When we first started hosting, Thanksgiving was a large party. We had several friends who would join Naoto and me along with my parents for a feast. For the past few years, it’s only been my parents and a friend or two. No matter how many people we have, I always like to create a pretty table and some special invitations.

Today I am working on my Thanksgiving invitations…a little late, I know. Thanksgiving is creeping up on me this year! Naoto is on “stay-cation” this week, so we can get a lot of our party planning and menu ideas worked out. But, number one on our list is getting the spare room back in order and ready for guests. (And this will be no fun at all…moving furniture, clearing out a desk for donation, finding a place for hundreds of homeless office supplies…)

Hopefully I’ll be back tomorrow with our finished Thanksgiving invitation. It’s going to be an interesting one since our printer is still broken…but at least I have rubber stamps and a typewriter, right?


The picture above was taken last year. But I’m sure Presley napping on my to-do list will happen again this year.

Tagged , , ,

Veterans Day


Thank you.


photo from the Honor Flight Chicago October 23, 2012 flight


washi weekend

Over the summer, I entered a giveaway on the Short Small Sweet Blog. Ru was lucky enough to attend an MT workshop with Hello Sandwich (who is seriously my craft idol) and she was giving away some treats from her day including MT tapes and the MT Textbook that shows plenty of washi tape ideas. Well, I won and my package from Ru arrived this week!

I love the tag Ru created and I am thrilled to add the brightly striped, super-skinny tape to my collection along with the other two Limited Edition tapes (one is graphic flowers, the other is people in traditional clothes from around the world). For those of you who are new to washi tape, MT tapes are the cream of the crop–they are the original washi tapes, made in Japan and are the highest quality tapes. I have a huge MT collection (thanks to my sweet sister-in-law and our trip to dozens of stationery stores in Japan last year) and I also have other decorative paper tapes (made by Target, scrapbooking companies, crafting companies, etc) and there is a difference. Not to say the other tapes are bad, but they just don’t always perform to the level of the MT tapes. (Naoto calls me a washi tape snob…he’s probably right.)

Thank you, Ru, for the amazing mail! I will be crafting the afternoon away!

Tagged , , ,

Election Party 2012

The 2012 Election Party was an epic night of worry (mainly me…everyone else was a lot more confident!), pundit chatter (our own and on television), tasty food (Chicago-style hot dogs & Freddy’s meatballs for-the-win!) and in the end, celebration.

I spent the day on Tuesday breaking out all of my red, white and blue decorations while watching pundits speculate on TV. For the dining table, I used my red table cloth and sprinkled the table with patriotic ribbon, candles (some were decorated with washi tape), VOTE cards (from the teacher store) and my collection of vintage election buttons. It was fun eating dinner and checking out some of the old candidates. Over the table, on our 1970s chandelier, I hung red, white and blue stars (from here).

In the kitchen, we had the “food buffet”. I didn’t get a picture of everything all laid out, but we had a nice spread. It all started with my red, white and blue napkins.

And it ended with these delicious red velvet cupcakes made by our friend Karen. (I ate the last one for dinner last night!)

In the living room, I had my garlands hung, my Abe Lincoln book on the table and of course my glittered elephant and donkey were ready to go.

And I sifted through my vintage book collection for the red and blue books to set out with my Barack Obama action figure (leftover from the 2008 election) and Lefty (a mini Beanie Baby my parents found for me).

And on my desk, I hung a partisan garland. (Naoto gave me those sunny tulips on Sunday night…aren’t they cheery?)

It was supposed to be a long night, but in the end it wasn’t. We broke out the champagne and toasted the President.

It was a good night…a very good night.

Tagged ,

I VOTED 2012


It’s Election Day here in the US! I am feeling proud and thankful to be able to vote for someone I believe in. I am thankful for the women in history who fought for my right to vote as a woman. I am thankful for those who fought in our history’s wars so we could continue to enjoy the right to vote today (especially the World War II veterans, who always have a special place in my heart). I am thankful for the men and women who are still protecting our freedoms and the freedoms of others.

I am also feeling anxious, nervous and scared to see the election results unfold tonight during our Election Party. Naoto has already told me that I shouldn’t cry in front of the guests. I couldn’t make him any promises.