Saturday, 29 October 2011

Poor housekeeping

You know it's been a crazy week when the only food you can find in the house for Saturday's breakfast are the last crumbs of slightly hard cheddar cheese and a can of diet coke...

Normal service will resume soon. But first I have to stop gnawing on stale cheese and go track down a Dusty Springfield wig.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Living room makeover

So I bought a hammer.

I own tools! Well, tool. Singular. I ended up attaching the backing to a picture frame with a kitchen knife, because I forgot to buy a screwdriver. But whatevs.

I spent last night and a little bit of this morning mounting, framing, hammering and generally prettifying.

My lovely (and appropriate for Halloween) Tim Burton print has found a home.

So has my flea market mirror, although I decided it was a little small for the spot over the sofa, and moved it to the opposite wall.

That bunting you can see in the reflection? That's the temporary solution I came up with to jazz up the sofa wall, which was looking very sad and unadorned.

Incidentally, I absolutely loathe this sofa. It's an inherited Ikea sofa bed, it's uncomfortable, ugly, and has basically nothing going for it except that it was free. But new sofas are expensive things to invest in, especially when I don't know how permanent my sojourn in the sun might be, so it'll do for now...

As will my coffee table, which only has three fully operational legs, but does a borderline-adequate job of holding my beloved Moroccan bowl (I spent a week searching the souks of three different cities before finding this baby.)

I also framed a bunch of other bits and pieces that were floating around, including a little print of my home town.*

I've still got a huge list of things I'd like to pick up as cheaply as possible over the next few months. Anyone feel like giving away a sideboard, a vintage globe or a decent -sized desk?

No? Dammit.

But from the right angle, it almost looks like a home...

*You see that white building in the foreground of the print? It's a pub. Random fact: I used to work in it, very briefly. I can pull an excellent pint of Guinness, but I'm still terrible at pool. 

Monday, 17 October 2011

Flea market finds: my new mirror

A return trip to the flea market, with a little bit more focus and a clearer idea of budget, yielded actual spoils. Also a minor altercation with a disgruntled mother and daughter, but that's a whole other story.

So without further ado, I give you my new mirror. (This is where you applaud.)

Why hello, my pretty.

Not bad for $25, I think. Shabby chic (ugh, I hate that phrase) without being too shabby or too chic, and a decent size without either dominating the wall or being prohibitively pricey. It's currently sitting on the dining room table alongside two of my other new purchases - glass cakestands. Obviously that's merely a temporary home, I have a spot directly above the sofa reserved for it once I've bought me a hammer.

And that's not all. I also came away with these babies.


According to the very sweet lady manning the stall, these letterpress lovelies date from the mid nineteenth century to the 1920s, and come from Detroit. The E is actually a 9, and the A is a 4 - I love the E, but if an A comes up at any point in the future, I might do a little switcharoo. For now though, I think this arrangement looks pretty good. And best of all, they're totally portable if and when I go back to England.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

A little art

I've concluded that one of the more practical ways to humanise my apartment might be by adding a little wall decoration. That way, when I leave, I can always just abandon the frames and squeeze whatever I've collected into my suitcase.

I know. I. Am. A. Genius.

I already have a Tim Burton poster, picked up on my trip to LACMA over the summer. I was going to post a picture of it, but there seems to be a mysterious absence of them anywhere on the internet, which worries me. I don't want to get sued. I don't have any money. So I'll just say you could buy the same one here.

But I'd been dithering about how to frame it. And also avoiding a trip to Ikea, because Ikea is basically hell, and I never, ever escape without buying shedloads of unecessary tat. This week, I resolve to stop being a procrastinating idiot and go buy a plain white frame.

For a different wall, I've been considering these:

Beautiful giclee prints from Inaluxe

The one on the left - see that? It's called The Love Fox. There is nothing else to say. I've ordered prints from Inaluxe before as gifts from other people, and they are beautiful.

Now I just need to decide if I can justify the cost of my wall prettification project...

Monday, 10 October 2011

Flea market finds

The title of this post isn't really very accurate - it should probably be called 'Flea market items I dithered over and hovered around like an anxious wasp before eventually abandoning.' But that wasn't altogether catchy.

I paid a little visit to the Melrose Trading Post on Sunday morning, in the hope of making my little apartment seem a bit less sparse and a bit more 'me.' When I got there, I realised I hadn't quite put enough thought into my mission. Buying antique globes, teacups and saucers and vases is all well and good, but I don't actually have much in the way of furniture. I mean I have all the basics, but I don't have a sideboard or a display cabinet for purely decorative items. The best you could say about my living space right now is that it's functional. And even that isn't entirely true... I still don't have a kettle.

And if I buy actual furniture, how the hell do I get it back to England when I leave? I came here with a grand total of two suitcases. If I start to factor in shipping costs, my bargainous flea market 'antiques' start to look a lot less, well, bargainous.

So I left empty-handed. But I was sorely tempted by a couple of things, and it's entirely possible I may crack if they're still there next week, and do some rash spending.

There was this:

Girliness in chair form.

I love this chair. I mean actually LOVE it. I could happily sit and stroke it for quite a long time. And it goes beautifully with the slightly chintzy, vintage-y, girly bedroom stuff I own back in England. But it clashes quite hideously with my bedroom here. Woe is me.

Would this make me more like Joan from Mad Men?

And as for this - well, I've been oddly obsessed with typewriters since I was a kid. For my ninth birthday I actually asked for, and got, a typewriter, and attempted to write my first novel on it (I was an odd child.) I love typewriter fonts, and I am very enthusiastic about the idea of having one as a decorative thingummy in my apartment. Except with said apartment in it's current decorative state, it would be living on the floor...

So. Thoughts. Do I give up and carry on living my pared down aesthetic existence, or do I set up my own little 1950's typing pool in a corner of my living room? On the floor. Because I have basically no furniture.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Grey days

The weather has turned very autumnal all of a sudden.

Rain, rain, go away...
Apparently it's pretty unusual for rain storms to arrive this early - and while no-one enjoys coming home with sodden shoes and frizzy, rain bedraggled locks, I'm actually kind of loving it. Now I have an excuse to eat autumn comfort food and bundle up in big bulky jumpers and scarves.

Working from home has a fair few disadvantages - it's isolating, it's more difficult to manage your time effectively, you never feel like you're entirely switched off from work - but watching Glee on catch-up on the sofa during my lunch break, with a bowl of leek and potato soup = happy days.

Roasted butternut squash for dinner tonight - and I'm seriously considering hitting up the craft store at some point this week and having me a little Halloween DIY session.

Happy autumn!

Monday, 3 October 2011

Born to run (really bloody slowly)

Done and dusted.

10k has been run. Finish line has been passed. 27-year-old girl woman has completed race in what may be a record-breakingly slow time. Post-race pancakes have been consumed on the pier.

So in celebration, I thought I'd make a mini version of the playlist that kept me entertained as I plodded around Santa Monica. A mini version because my real Spotify running playlist is four hours long, and I'm not sure that anyone needs to be subjected to that.

My musical taste usually leans towards the more downbeat, indie-dirge side of things. Not very running appropriate. But a quick google search for faster-paced running songs tends to yield disappointing results, unless you really like Pink. Or Britney Spears. Or the Black Eyed Peas. And they aren't really my bag... so here's my compromise playlist of songs that make me happy enough to not give up, return to the sofa and break out the peanut butter cups.

It's not what I'd called cutting edge - I've discovered I need a song to have a certain degree of familiarity before it can make the grade as a running choon. And I make no apologies for my bizarre taste, or lack of it - it's all subjective, right?

1. A-Punk, Vampire Weekend
2. Sound and Vision, David Bowie
3. Lover I Don't Have to Love, Bright Eyes
4. Lola, the Kinks
5. Friday Night in Loughborough, the Wave Pictures
6. Raspberry Beret, Prince
7. Georgia, Yuck
8. Disco 2000, Pulp
9. Not on Top, Herman Dune
10. Carrion, British Sea Power
11. Rocks Off, the Rolling Stones
12. Let's Get Out Of This Country, Camera Obscura
13. This Charming Man, the Smiths
14. Carnival Kids, the Futureheads
15. Another Sunny Day, Belle & Sebastian