Friday File

It’s been awhile since my last Friday File, and there have been a few big changes in my life. First, we are moving at the end of next month. I’m pretty excited about our new apartment, even if moving is a pain. And second, my husband and I adopted a beagle! Her name is Dakota, and I promise a post about her soon.

At work I’m doing inventory of all the hanging garments in the collection with the help of my student intern. It’s very enlightening to go piece by piece examining the contents of the collection. We’ve finished the European designer section and are almost through the American designers. Need to pick up the pace a little though to get through everything by the end of the summer.

Hope you have a happy weekend!

The Cooper-Hewitt Design Library has digitized a couple of Victorian hair jewelry how-to books. So tempted to hire someone to make something for me from the books. Is that weird?

Somewhat sad, but also very interesting, Olivia Laing takes a look at female literary alcoholics.

Vanessa Friedman feels like she’s experiencing deja vu regarding the lack of change to fast fashion manufacturing conditions. Like her, I don’t understand why the industry is still figuring out how to address human rights violations in garment factories.

An artist is filling Chicago potholes with custom mosaics.

Bedroom Bones

Our bedroom continues to be a challenge. In most of the other rooms, we’ve arranged our furniture and personal affects with great success. Even with some incongruities that remain, we have plans about what changes we need to make. Hopefully I’ll get around to a home tour on the blog soon.

But the bedroom boggles my mind, and I’m not sure where to go next.

After painting over the bright teal accent wall behind our bed the beige shade of the rest of the room, things are looking much better.

We decided to supplement the lack of closet space with two Malm dressers from Ikea, which match our Malm bed frame. So far they are working better than I expected.

The problems that remain include the built-in shelves on either side of the bed. There are seven on the left side and six on the right. They aren’t deep enough for books, and while I’m sure I could buy plenty of knickknacks to fill them up, that doesn’t really fit with the clean and minimal look the furniture projects. I’m worried the room will feeling too heavy and cluttered on either side of the bed and too empty above the bed if I do fill the shelves up.

Next there’s the overhead light fixture. It’s a bit too ornate and old world for our tastes. I’m leaning toward replacing it with a globe pendant.

And then lastly, the room is uninspiring. This room is dominated by minimalist furniture. I love the minimalist look, but I’m not quite sure how to strike the right balance between simple and sterile. I’m sure the addition of art and a plant will help, but how does one decide what is the right amount?

Suggestions are appreciated. Have you done the minimalist look before? Any tips?

A Note About the New Apartment

Moving is never fun, and it seems like each sequential move gets harder. But I am happy to report the move itself is all done, finally, and we are almost unpacked.

However, it may be a little while until packing is complete. Our apartment is a bit short on storage. For instance we don’t have a closet in our bedroom (it is obvious that a man picked out our new home). So boxes will be employed for a bit longer for folded clothes until a solution can be chosen and purchased or built. We are thinking about building something like the garment rack below that I found on the blog You_Have_Broken_the_Internet.

handmade coat rack by Ryan E. Plett from You_Have_Broken_the_Internet

This apartment has a unique set of challenges other than the storage issue. The overhead lights in almost every single room are large and not to our taste (they do not blend in), nor most of the hardware here (while more subtle it does set a tone). There is a ornate, faux-vintage vibe going on, and our style is much simpler and minimal.

The apartment itself is traditional. It was built in the 1920s, and still has original crown molding, doors, and an awesome window above the back door with a nouveau-style design created out of frosted glass. I’m excited to find ways to incorporate our more simple style with the traditional space. It won’t be the easiest design dilemma to solve in all cases, but I definitely think it is possible if we take our time and make careful decisions.

And along the way, I plan to use this blog to document changes and seek your suggestions for the issues we encounter. So I hope a little interior design is something you’re interested in reading about in addition to what I already write about.

I’ve missed blogging over the past few weeks and am happy to feel more settled in order to get back to it. Thank you for giving me the time to transition to Chicago, and I’m glad you’ve come back.

A Mysterious Print for the Living Room

Back in February I bought a really cool print at the Unglued Craft Fest, which took place at the Plains Art Museum.

In collaboration, local artists Sophie Johnson and Maren Shallman created a screen print and collage on paper called “A mysterious explosion.” It’s an abstracted image of a woman on a swing in black and white. What makes every piece particularly unique in this series, is that each had a different color drawing of a flower sewn onto it in place of the figure’s head. The flower creates a pop of color and a three-dimensional quality to the piece.

The particular print I bought had a blue flower with petals edged in red sewn onto it. Both artists agreed that it was their favorite of the series.

Since I went to the craft fair, however, it has been sitting around the apartment. I can get a bit indecisive when it comes to picking a frame and finding a spot of the wall for a piece of art. Finally I decided enough is enough and needed to get this guy framed.

The last time my husband was in Chicago, I asked him to stop by Ikea and purchase a 12 1/2 x 16 1/2 inch Riba frame in black. When Travis got back to Fargo, I went to work.

I decided I liked the raw, torn look of the paper’s edge and didn’t want to hide it behind the mat. So I used gaffer’s tape to position the print from the back of the mat, and then put it into the frame.

I choose to hang it in our living room, as that’s the room I spend the most time in. Our bedroom has its fair share of art already, but the living room’s walls were lacking, so I think I found a good place. I can see it from the couch and walk past it every time I go to the bedroom, bathroom, or kitchen.

I recently learned that Unglued, the people who held the craft fair and a similarly named pop-up Christmas Market will be at the Fargo Street Fair on July 19 from 10-9. They will be located at the corner of Broadway and Main Avenue. They’ve had a great assortment of crafters and artists at their previous events, so I would definitely check them out if you will be around Fargo on that date.

Transforming Our Balcony

Ever since we moved to Fargo, we’ve had a balcony patio. In our first apartment, we overlooked a strip mall parking lot. Winter that year ran long, and we were only there until the end of July, part of which we were out of town getting married and on our honeymoon. Before that we were so occupied with finishing wedding plans that we never got around to making the patio a pleasant place to hang out.

balcony in our building, photo from

In our new apartment we face north on a residential, tree-lined street. It also has a balcony patio, and is dominated by concrete. As you can see above, I found a picture online of another condo’s balcony in our building. Need to get better about remembering to take before photos.

My husband, Travis, and I were up for the challenge of transforming our patio. We were going to make it an inviting space somehow on the cheap.

We had to start by sweeping up the dead leaves and dirt that accumulated over the winter. We already had a wood patio table and chairs, but they needed a good cleaning.

Then we spent a few hours at Home Depot, picking out plant boxes and finding a way to attach them to our railing. We found cedar boxes that match our table and chairs. Travis rigged up a way to keep them secure so they didn’t rotate with weather stripping and zip ties.

We found the cutest strip of mini-lantern lights at Target and hung them up across the space. They made everything look suddenly cheerier. Also, simple cushions made the chairs a little more comfortable.

Yesterday we went back to Home Depot. Together we picked out some pretty pink double impatients. They are supposed to do well in shade, which is good cause that’s pretty much all we get facing north. I think they look like little roses.

We covered the drainage holes in the bottom of the flower box liner with little rocks to keep the soil from washing away. Then I placed the plants equal distance apart and filled the liners with potting soil.

I gave them each a little water with the cute green watering can from Target and swept/vacuumed up the fallen dirt on the balcony.

The patio is complete and is ready for summer living.