Reupholster Project!

Six years ago, I acquired a ratty old stool covered in white vinyl from a friend who randomly picked it up at an Express store that was going out of business. I loved the square shape and height of the stool, so my intention from day one was to reupholster it...but life happens and I let it slip my mind. Besides, the cats are OBSESSED with this thing for some reason so one of them has basically been parked on it since I've had it. Because of this "wear" on the stool, the vinyl started cracking and peeling back, revealing some kind of mold growing underneath it (ewwww!). So, it obviously became a priority to fix that baby up! Matt and I happened to be visiting his family in Wilmington, so his lovely and extraordinarily crafty mom (Mimi) and I decided we were up for a reupholstering project. Let me also say that neither of us have a clue how to "correctly" reupholster, so this is by no means a "how to" post. We just went with what seemed like would work...and it did!

First, we tore off all of the nasty vinyl and the molded cotton lining and padding underneath of that. We didn't get photos of this process because it was just too gross :P Next, we fitted and attached some new cotton batting.

We flipped it over and plucked out dozens of rusty staples using pliers, and removed some of the particle board and old trim they were attached to.

After that, I took it outside and scrubbed the legs with steel wool and Bar Keeper's Friend in an attempt to remove some rusting...I was only partially successful! But it was worth a try.

We pre-cut the material, laid the stool on top, and prepared our "tool board."

Thanks to Mimi's "German hands," we folded perfect hospital corners then secured each corner with black steel carpet tacks. Pulling tightly, we hammered in additional carpet tacks all the way around - one about every inch. This was my favorite part because I looooove hammering stuff!

Last, we hot-glued some beautiful vintage braided trim around the edge, and BOOYA! A revamped classic piece.

Mimi also made me a matching slipcover (not pictured) that is washable, since we knew the minute the stool was back in our house both cats would be all over that business! And they are! Luckily, they are front-declawed...

Super excited. On that note, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Fire Escape Farms

I took up an interest in urban gardening after I moved to Florida, since I haven't had the space for an actual yard garden while living here. I researched what crops could survive in this insane heat, bought a book called Grow Great Grub, and began to utilize our small porch to grow tomatoes, bell peppers, herbs, and other veggies. I wish a place like Fire Escape Farms, a new pop-up shop in San Francisco's Mission District, would have been around to help get me started out right. Spacial limitations like mine are common in city living, and even more extreme in densely populated cities like San Francisco where the only suitable location for a garden to grow MIGHT be your fire escape. Maybe you don't have the space or money for a raised bed, but all you really need is a window sill, a rooftop, a fire escape, or a porch. Fire Escape Farms can fix you up with everything you need to transform your urban space into a lush and thriving garden. The shop offers local organic soil, adorable eco-friendly garden accessories, and even carries their own line of carefully purveyed seeds. They also offer delivery via bio-diesel wagon for all San Francisco orders!

_G0B3122
_G0B3232
_G0B3227
_G0B3222
_G0B3153
_G0B3145
_G0B3138

Fire Escape Farms is the brainchild of the lovely and multifaceted Naya Peterson Fross, a San Francisco native who fell in love with gardening while living in Napa a few years ago. Also an uber-talented barista, Naya worked with my sister to help open the Oxbow Market location of Ritual Coffee Roasters. After moving back to the city, she began considering ways to make her country fantasies a reality while remaining in the city and came up with the pop-up shop concept.

_G0B3196

Fire Escape Farms will be open at its current location (3041 24th St. in San Francisco) through August. After that, the website and Facebook page will remain active resources as Naya considers locations for her next pop-up shop, most likely in the Mission. If you're thousands of miles away from California like I am, get your fix at the online shop!

[All photos courtesy of Daniel Dent]

The List

Many moons ago, Matt and I started a list comprised of stuff we want to do - like "go to the Springs," "test drive a Ford Fiesta," and "bake bread." These were all things that we had often talked about doing, but because this list was on the stickies program on my MacBook, not constantly in plain view, we rarely remembered to do this stuff. So we painted the door to our study with black chalkboard paint and transferred The List over to that.

I cannot tell you the satisfaction we get from crossing things off of The List! I feel like if everyone did this, no one would ever be bored.

Our Home: After

This post is only oh....about five months late! But there's a good reason for that: we had A LOT of work to do. It's funny because looking back at my first-ever post (about fixing up my last apartment), I said that the loft's redesign was "my best art project yet." Well folks, that just got one-upped and then some! I chose not to share the "before" photos of our new place in this post simply because it would have been a waste of space. When we moved in, it was kind of a wreck to be honest...filthy floors (Matt spent about 10 hours hand-scrubbing layers of dirt up off the tile. And just so you know I'm not exaggerating here, I'll include one photo of a spot he cleaned surrounded by what it looked like before we moved in), peeling ceiling paint, broken windows, past termite damage that had never been fixed (some literally hollow wall panels)...the list goes on and on. My dad, a retired building inspector, actually had to fly to FL to throw down some serious sass on our landlord and help us repair some of the more complicated structural issues. That being said, I am now absolutely smitten with our new home, and have come to terms with its sometimes endearing/sometimes annoying flaws (the house was originally built as the ground-floor garage to the upstairs apartment in 1938 and was not converted into an apartment until the early '50s). For example, there's a very nice man who lives above us, and unfortunately, due to the way the house was built, we can hear him open a cupboard, when his cat meows, when he sings, and every footstep he takes. Makes for an awesome 8 a.m. wake-up call on the weekends! But like I said, I've come to terms :). And all the aforementioned cosmetic issues? You'd never know they exist, looking at how we've fancied up the place! Matt has become a true handyman in the process...it's kind of cute seeing him with a tube of caulk in hand or wood-filing down an uneven door.

The only thing I truly miss from my old loft is the hardwood floors. However, the tiles in our new place stay perfectly cool in the hot-ass Florida summers so that numbs the pain a little. Also, I finally have a backyard - something I've been missing since moving to Florida in 2006. We have a garden, a compost area, a porch, and an orange tree...not to mention neighboring grapefruit, meyer lemon, and lime trees!

So, without further ado, let me take you on a little tour. There are still some more home-improvement projects in the works, but I'm so happy with all of the hundreds of changes we've conquered thus far!

Living/Dining Room:

Study/Home Office:

Kitchen:

Bathroom:

Bedroom:

Backyard:

I hope you enjoyed the tour of our little home! More posts to come of subsequent improvements that are now in the works.

Woolly Pocket

I've been reading a fantastic book called Grow Great Grub - Organic Food from Small Spaces. It's got me thinking a lot about alternative urban gardening options, which is how I came across the Woolly Pocket website. Essentially, the products are modular gardening containers that are designed to be placed on horizontal surfaces or hung on walls for vertical gardening and can be used both indoors and out. Sounds simple enough, but once you see the photographic proof of what you can actually do with these things, it'll blow your mind. You can easily create a wall of living art inside your apartment or grow an organic garden that hangs from the side of your fire escape. Really, these things are crazy!

My favorite thing about this company aside from the obvious cool factor is that they have a School Garden project where teachers and administrators can sign their schools up to take part for just 1K (which is sadly near impossible to get into the budget these days), so there is also an option where people can sponsor and/or donate to a school that wants to do it. Someone needs to hook these guys up with the Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution camp. A better and healthier school food program combined with hands-on gardening and nutrition curriculum that actually teaches kids about what they're consuming? Yes, please. That reminds me, you should sign the petition to fight for better school lunch programs across America.

Okay, back to Woolly Pockets! Here's a video of one of the owners (and his killer mustache) talking about the background of the products. I am loving the cheesy music in this.

http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9/52412734001?isVid=1

Gimme that.

Photos via Woolly Pocket Garden Company: http://woollypocket.com