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My Fabric Stash…or Part of It, Anyway

A cabinet full of vintage fabrics, new fabrics, small pieces, continuous yards, cottons, quilting, upholstery, textures…almost every kind you can think of.

One thing is for sure, I do not have time to sew and I need my cabinet back!

If you fine folks or anyone you know are willing to trade for some goodies, let me know :)

Big Buck Purchases That Were Worth It

Part of the Donkee Do List 2010 was to not waste money by buying stuff that we would hardly use with little return.  The flip side of that to-do was to spend wisely and not be afraid to plop down some cash for quality items that will last and work hard for us.

The caveat, as always, is to not be in debt.  So all purchases listed in this post were charged (points, baby!), then paid off pretty much immediately.  Prices revealed at the end!

First off is the above 89″ Loring Coffee Leather Sofa from Room and Board.  Now that we have Matty & Perrin running our household and pretty much owning our apartment, we needed a sofa that would be easier to clean and won’t harbor fur .  We’ve always wanted to switch out the husband’s old chunky bachelor sofa for a leather one, but since the bachelor was so comfortable and not broken, we couldn’t justify spending the cash.  However, with the cats in the picture…they loved nothing more than sleeping, jousting and doing their nails on that corded fabric couch.  Corded fabric couch + cat hair = more allergens around + harder process of de-furring.

We went to the store in Soho and sat on all their sofas once, twice, then again.  We finally decided on the Loring because it’s classic in shape, not too fluffy and puffy, it’s sleek with sexy curvy arms.  It’s also high enough off the ground to make cleaning a breeze, which was a requirement on my end.  Bonus is that it slides easily across our wood floors without scratching…awesome!   Now clean-up and de-furring is a breeze, nothing more than a quick wipe with a Swiffer sheet or paper towel.  Yes, of course, we already have some scratch marks from the cats, but nothing crazy.  They don’t do their nails on the leather.  But I like to think they are helping us distress it for that lived-in look, yes?

Next up is the Hudson Custom Media Cabinet, again from Room and Board.  Prior to this, we had something from Ikea that was clunky and not big enough to hold the cable box, the media PC, game consoles, etc.  This new media cabinet is a solid walnut storage machine…honestly, we even have a little room to spare.  Again, high enough off the ground for easy cleaning and sleek lines were musts.  That upper right drawer is the cats’ drawer.  In it, they will find massive amounts of mice, balls, the furminator, another brush, a cat in the bag, their ear drops, nail clipper and stuff that we probably don’t even know they bought for themselves.

Now, on to cleaning tools…

This iRobot Roomba sits close to the boys’ litter box and is ready to clean up the bits of litter that gets tracked out and about.  It can go room by room or it can focus in a certain area, it can dock itself to charge and can be controlled remotely.  That means I can sit on the couch, munch on Hot Fries, watch American Pickers and vacuum all at the same time.  Bad-ass!

This Dyson Animal has been on my mental wish list for quite a while and when the husband got one for my birthday…WOWZA!  Up till then, we’ve had a clunky, though efficient, vacuum with all the HEPA stuff and it served us well for the last few years.  However, maneuvering that monster was a workout and a half for me –  that beast was almost as big and heavy as I am.  I struggled to turn corners with it, I struggled to pull it back, I struggled to push it forward.  By the time I finished vacuuming our small +1000 sq. ft. apartment, sweat would be dripping down my back and my arms and shoulders would be numb.

Cue in the cats and now we needed something much more agile (so I wouldn’t dread boot camp vacuuming), and much more powerful with the little feathery cat hairs.  This vacuum sucks up every single hair and every bit of dust in existence!  We’re always surprised at how much shit is in that barrel after the each vacuuming!  It’s much lighter and that ball is worth its weight in gold.  British Dyson guy, I crush on you!

I’m hugely allergic to cats in general (hello, two months of bronchitis, fevers, coughing and all that lovely stuff when we first got the cats home), so we needed something to really clean up and get rid of the little tiny protein particles from the cats that are the cause of cat allergies.  This IQ GC Air Purifier is a grey monolith.  It’s ugly and huge, but boy, it works.  We have ours on casters and we set it on auto to run every day full blast for 3 hours while we’re out at work, then we run it on low to medium in our bedroom through the night.  It has helped our allergies tremendously and a great thing to have, especially living in a congested and sooty city like NYC.

Now, the fun part…prices revealed.  Dollars that we spent that was worth every penny and don’t regret:

1. Sofa -$2400 – we spent much less here than we thought we would!

2. Media Cabinet – $2400

3. Roomba – $600

4. Dyson Animal – $550

5. IQ Air Purifier – $1200

That’s $7200 of good stuff that we won’t have to replace in the near future.  This year, that same $7200 can go straight to the bank – right on!

What about you?  What big purchases have you made that was worth all its pennies?

Donkee Do List 2010 – Revisited

Meeting Donkey at the Donkey's Waffles Cart
Creative Commons License photo credit: Loren Javier

Folks, how the heck has it been, huh?  I’ve been crazy at work in the office and crazy at work in the shop.  It all just piled on top of the other and there you go, there you have the better of my 2010.  Now, before I go and make the Donkee Do List 2011, I must go back and revisit the Donkee Do List 2010.  Did I make it?  All the way?  Did I suck at it?  All the way?  Maybe I just half sucked?

1.  Make things – nothing fancy here.  I just want to make things.  I’ve made a bunch of zipper bags and a few pins for Christmas presents and they were a hit.  I love to make and create and want to continue doing so this year.

So…….I made SOME things.  Not as much as I had hoped due to both lack of time and lack of talent.  Recently, I did end up putting together these for a bit of color and texture wall decor:

And these as gift or hang tags:

So not much, but given the amount of free time I had, not too bad…

2. Spend less – aside from medical and other necessary expenses, I want to spend less on things that don’t give me a good enough ROI (return on investment).  A new dress for $300 that I will most likely wear two times in a year, then forget about will not yield a great return.  On the other hand, the $4500-$5000 sofa we will be getting this year that I will most likely live on for the next 10 years will yield an awesome return.

I definitely banged this one out of the park!  In terms of apparel and shoes, I either thrifted them or bought them from work or at the outlet.  I probably spent $1k for clothing and shoes this year.  I find myself not crazily into fashion and feeling the need to be hipper than thou.

However, this does not mean we didn’t spend the money that we needed to spend.  We just spent the cash on big return items – which will be another post, my friends!

3. Max out both of our IRAs – because we will need to retire…someday.

DONE.  No, we didn’t retire.  We just maxed the IRAs quite early in the year.

4. Max out my 401k – see above.

DONE-ZO also.

5. Visit the folks more in Long Island – really, the folks aren’t that far away.  It takes the same amount of time to go to LI as it does for me to get to work.  I just have this misconception that since Long Island is not a borough, then it’s “too far”.  Shame on me!

This was a winner also.  Made especially easy since we purchased (see #2!) my husband’s stepfather’s car.  Now trips out to see the folks, hang out with the folks, have dinner with the folks is an easy 30 minute away.

6. Work more for myself – I have an entrepreneurial spirit and it needs to DO something.  Feed the beast!

Oh, I went after this with quite a vengeance with my Etsy shop!  One unfortunate side effect is working all weekend and 95% of weeknights.  It is, however, so worth it, because I LOVE it with capitals…that’s major!  There will be more coming from that little shop this year, believe you guys me!

7. Volunteer - no matter how small a job, I want to help a bit.  Library?  Swap meet?

Zero.  Big fat zero.  Nilch.  Nada.  Failure.  F.  Oh, this will so be on the 2011 list :)

So there you have it, folks.  I did most, if not all of the Donkee Do List 2010.  Not too shabby, if I may say so myself.  I do hope you guys were able to happily accomplish most of your goals for last year.  I’d love to know…get me motivated!

Happy Holidays

Wow, it’s been so long!  Life certainly ran its course with work and the Etsy shop as each demanded more and more of my time, energy and focus.  The Etsy shop is doing better than ever as I invest much more time sourcing, cleaning, researching, taking pictures, listing, editing, etc.  It’s all a labor of love :)

As my favorite holiday of the year draws closer, I’m getting in the spirit in a HUGE way.  Guys, as a special thank you for hanging with me for the last year, here is a 15% coupon code for the Etsy shop.  If you are ready for some holiday or new year crafting or want to give the gift of vintage, industrial or rustic goodness, come on by!


Staple Art

Lovely art on the wall, isn’t it?  I love the grey with all the shades in between, especially against that stark room.  I love it more because it’s all made with staples, all 35,000 of them.  Check it out at Freshome.

Perrin and Matty Picture Update

We’ve come to the conclusion that Matty up above (white nose) is neurotic.  That’s just him and it’s not something he’ll “get over”.  Matty = neuroticism and we love him for it.  We love him an extra notch BECAUSE of his neurotic tendencies.  It’s not a shortfall.  It’s a quirk.  He’s like the problem child that needs and appreciates extra love and care.  Head butt

Perrin with the dark nose…he’s the anchor to Matty’s wild ship storm of fatalistic…sensitivities.  Without Perrin, I think Matty would end up in an alley drunk with a needle in his arm.

Matty:  Oh my god!  Oh my god!  Oh my god!

Perrin:  Hmmmm?

Matty:  Oh my god!  The female just opened the door and CLOSED it!  She CLOSED it!

Perrin:  That’s…nice.

Matty:  She CLOSED the door!  The male just walked down the HALL!  He…WALKED!  Signs, omens…it’s the APOCALYPSE!

Perrin:  I like little rainbow balls…

Matty:  THE WORLD IS FALLING APA….I like wet food…come here, brother, let me lick you to death!

And so it goes…

Really, although the shelter said they are brothers…I think they’re 2nd or 3rd cousins.  I mean, how the heck would THEY know?  These boys came from a cat hoarder’s house of 70 cats, all Siamese and Snowshoes!

They are STILL not supposed to be on the dining table.  But nobody listens to me…EVER.  That’s why we put an ugly cover over it (for now).  The husband and I sleep JUST like that!

They are BOTH in there…

Tag Sale Saturday…Visual Feast

The husband and I made our way to Connecticut on Saturday to walk through a tag sale and their sister antique and salvage gallery.  It’s 45 minute to an hour away by car (flew by on a beautiful day like Saturday) and I had the best time discovering and browsing.  I feasted on all the treasures they had, laughed a bit at some and played a whole lot of “what if’s”.  Oh yes, I did procure some bits of special goodness…some for the shop…some for the home.

Take a look at some of their really cool stuff – this is just a teeny tiny portion of what they have, I swear!  Take a good look at the pics because there are great pieces next to, behind and in front of what I’m snapping…

Somebody had a fun, cheerful and most definitely interesting take on a kitty.  Kitty sat atop a drum table along with this awesome triple mirror stand:

I really love this industrial gunmetal steel cart with original casters.  I love anything on casters and this rolled perfectly AND  I love anything steel.  I just don’t have a place for it at home…yet:

Fun wooden dog…think he would make a great greeter by the front door…but the cats do a decent greeting job (sometimes…if they’re not pre-occupied with napping, playing, grooming, staring into space, etc.):

This bird scared the shit out of me.  I’m not afraid of our avian friends, but I actually gasped and hopped a quarter inch or so when I turned around and it was in my face…like in mid flight with his eyes all wide open:

Want a closer look?  Eeek!

Then I turned around again and saw these pretties and my world was warm and fuzzy again.  Yes, here you turn and turn and turn and turn and you see something new and different with each dizzying spin.  I wish I had as many doors as there were these door handles:

Really cool cabinet hidden behind some other really cool stuff…if I had the space…:

This is an awesomely beautiful statement piece – in a fantastic light blue – this would take up almost half our living room wall…thinking about it…:

I have been secretly scolding myself for not taking this with us.  I do suffer from an obsession with chairs.  I saw this and my world was all, “gaahhh, gahhh, gahhh…” accented with drool:

Want another look?  I do, damn it:

I love this round wooden hanging light…the husband, not so much.  An organic base material sculpted into an organic shape…come on!

These precious babies were all the way up…guess they were not yet ready for the floor.  I so wanted to climb up there and touch!

We almost bought the pendant that is second from the left.  Actually, we did.  But they couldn’t get it down until the day after and of course, no shipping.  We can’t make it back for a few weeks at least…so hopefully, it will still be there.  Now I have my eye on that copper drum one all the way to the right instead.  However, the steel and silver works best in our home because we have an industrial stripped metal breakfast table.  Funny thing is, we originally were looking for a copper top breakfast table…and around and around it goes:

Just feast on this…I don’t have enough words here…I just want it all:

A couple of chairs for the DIY-er that is not afraid to upholster…excellent bones and beautiful lines:

Need some fabric for that upholstery job?

Zippers and trim?

I can’t wait to make a quick trip up again…so inspirational and fun.  When I do, I’ll definitely snap a few more pictures!

Finance Forward

Time for another update on our progress for the  Donkee Do List 2010, folks!  It’s the end of May and we’re well on our way to fulfilling our financial commitments for the year.  Number 3 on the Donkee Do List 2010:

3. Max out both of our IRAs – because we will need to retire…someday.

Thankfully, we were able to knock this one off the list pretty early on in the year for both the husband and me!  Done and DONE!

As far as number 4 on the list:

4. Max out my 401k – see above.

This is on target to be knocked out by the end of the year, at the latest.  Hurray!

A Hairy Story

No, this is not a brush of some kind.  It’s my hair…that will no longer be MY hair because it’s being donated  to Locks of Love and hopefully, it will soon belong to a kid in need.

This is the second time I’m donating my hair…and why not?  I’m lazy and don’t cut my hair as often as I should.  It grows like mad so in no time, I have hair like Rapunzel.  When I do cut it, I often cut enough off to make the donation minimum.  Plus, since I never color and don’t do chemical treatments anymore (just twice in my life – once when I had dreads and once when I got the Japanese straightening), my hair is usually in pretty good shape.

Since it comes off anyway, it just makes sense to donate rather than just sweep and dump in the salon.  In the end, it’ll make a kid or two feel a bit better (or not, since my hair tends to be a bit frizzy) and all I have to do is chop it off, then mail if off.  It’s the lazy woman’s good deed.

So I’m bidding adieu to this year’s hair…um…still a bit wet from the shower…

The husband tries it on for size since he has hair envy:

For today, I have hair up to my chin in a layered bob…think I’ll be good to go for another round of donation in about a year!

Two Weeks In…

It’s been two weeks since we brought the brothers home.  Excellent news is they are no longer hiding behind the printer/scanner/fax machine.  In fact, they barely go into the office now – except to use the litter.  The whole apartment is now their castle and they play rampantly – wrestling with each other (through all hours of the night!) and chasing each other around and around and around and around (through all hours of the night!).

They eat regularly, sleep a ton, play a ton and do their bathroom duties like they should.  They like us more (after all, we feed them) – we hang out and play, they’ve got plenty of toys and their personalities are becoming more apparent every day.  One thing they have yet to discover are window sills – they have not yet realized that OUTSIDE could be an interesting place to watch, study and pass the time – even though it’s just cars, buses, fire trucks, crying babies, and harried New Yorkers.  There are plenty of birds that chirp quite a bit…but no curiosity there yet.

Perrin up above has the dark nose and is chunkier than his brother.  He’s more socially adept and is up for play and affection 95% of the time.  He has this thick head and skull (for his size) and big round blue eyes that are hard to resist and a belly that is begging to be rubbed.  We tried and…now we know better.  No belly rubbing…YET.  He doesn’t like to be picked up at all (freakazoid time), but loves to be petted and we see him as a potential cuddle ball.  He’s definitely the alpha and more confident, in general, of the two.  As you can see, he has taken over the dining table (which he is NOT supposed to be on…uh huh).  Quite acrobatic too…I’ve been jolted to attention a few times from him being body slammed (either by his brother or…by himself) on the wooden floor.  Somehow, that’s fun.

Matt is the less socially inclined brother with the white nose and quite skittish, even now.  He does crave affection because once he gets going with the petting, he can make like double-sided tape.  He’s a bit tougher to put a finger on because he’s a bit like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  Probably shy in nature to begin with – he still runs past us like we’re gonna suddenly eat him.  He can usually be found in “safer” places like chairs whose seats are under the desk.  On occasion, if his brother is not totally selfish, he does come play with us.  He can be picked up for very brief periods of time (about 3 seconds or so), then we’ve got to call it a day.  He eats more than his brother, even though he’s smaller and is definitely the more vocal of the two, very often vocalizing to make sure his brother is around somewhere.

Matt’s tail is in a perpetual curl.  I think it’s just that way naturally.  It goes up, down and sideways like normal, but in all those movements, there’s always the curl, almost like a pig’s tail…almost.  The other night, he somehow got a bit of urine on his own tail (no clue how).  Operation tail cleaning ensued and it was just all sorts of traumatic fun – egad!  Check out the husband’s battle scars:

Not even showing you guys the other arm and his chest!  Nice job, Matt!  Oy!

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