bedroom inspiration

I am still trying to get my life in order. (How long can I use moving as an excuse?) It feels like I’ll be catching up for weeks. My new neighborhood is delightful, as is my new premium cable. But I’m getting a little tired of stepping through boxes in the living room. (#Fatcat, however, is very much enjoying climbing up and around the mess.)

So when I’m not catching up on laundry or sleep, I’m dreaming of what my new place will look like once the dust settles. I feel like I change my mind every few minutes but I am into this blue and yellow.

bedroom inspiration from polyvore

And here’s a peek at a rug I bought completely on a whim.

rug from target

What do you think? I hope my planning and scheming and impulse buying all comes together. For now, I’ll keep enjoying the neighborhood and learning about the city. I’m totally in love with the Jewel grocery store around the block. And tonight I’m going to a Cubs game! Wrigley Field is just down the street. So far, so good, Chicago.

I’ll be back to reading and crafting and outfitting as soon as I get my head back on straight. So…any day now.

house wish list

your home wish list
Destruction’s house, as I see it.)

One of my favorite parts of The Sandman is how different each of the Endless are–from each other and my expectations. Death is charming and friendly; Destruction is jovial and caring. Dream is many things, but lighthearted is not one of them. And Delirium is too many things all at once.

Each member of the family has their own responsibilities and is in charge of their own realm. And each realm perfectly reflects its ruler. I love the unique and ever-changing landscape of Dream’s world. And Despair’s is gray and full of mirrors looking into others’ depression. It’s creepy and perfect.

I want my home to embody me, but I have to work within the rules of our physical world and think of what’s practical. I did some apartment searching last week, and this was my wish list:

  • A one bedroom*
  • wood floors*
  • lots of natural light*
  • close to the train
  • a dishwasher*
  • a doorman
  • an open floor plan
  • big closets*
  • Short commute
  • Outside space
  • Allow cats (obvs I’m not leaving #fatcat behind)*
  • A work out facility in building
  • Quiet street*
  • In unit laundry
  • Fireplace(s)
  • Elevator
  • Big kitchen*
  • Storage space*
  • Top floor so I have no neighbors stomping around above me
  • Close to a grocery store*

Ok, so maybe all these things aren’t exactly practical–there’s no way I can get all of that on my budget. But I went looking for apartments in Chicago and the one I picked has a lot of what’s on my (totally negotiable) list. Everything starred is what I did get. I’m so excited and I can’t wait to show you.

Five weeks til moving day! What do you guys have on your wish list?

decorating inspiration

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about reimagining my space. I love my apartment, but change is good and always fun to daydream about. When I was looking at inspiration this weekend on Polyvore, I focused on pushing my style a little bit and trying something new. I may not want to live with these styles in the end, but it sure is fun looking at them for a while.

rae's days polyvore home decor inspiration rae's days polyvore home decor inspiration rae's days polyvore home decor inspiration dark

The room with gray walls and pops of color is the most similar to how my apartment is now, but I think it’s the one I like the least out of these options. Which room would you pick? For more home decorating inspiration, follow me on Pinterest.

closet clean out

I want a lion the witch and the wardrobe closet. I want to open it and go to a new land where all my outfits are fit for a queen (or Princess Kate) and I have more handbags than a Kardashian sister. I want a Clueless closet that lets me browse for my white collarless shirt with ease. What I actually had, once, was a skeleton in my closet. Not so chic.

I was subleasing a room, and the skeleton wasn’t mine. It was a life-size model and he looked a little sad all scrunched up in the corner. I did my best to store my clothes around him, and when I left that apartment he didn’t come with me.

Now I’m in my own place and the skeletons in my closet are much less literal. Over the weekend I got a head start on cleaning for the new year by cleaning out my closet. When I purge, I tend to think fast and go on my first instinct–stay, donate, or trash. I try to be ruthless and get rid of anything that doesn’t fit and or that I haven’t worn in a season or two. I usually drop off clothes as quickly as possible so it doesn’t sit around my apartment for too long. (But full disclosure, I haven’t dropped these off yet. I didn’t want to in the cold and snow.)

I don’t have a car in New York and I struggled at first with finding where I could donate clothes. I donate to Housing Works. Housing Works provides services to people living with HIV/AIDS. They have thrift stores around the city where you can donate and buy second-hand items, and money spent there goes toward their organization and services. There’s a shop close to me where I can donate, and they take accessories as well as some home goods like lamps or certain pieces of furniture. I usually take a car there–either a cab or a car I’ve called–and take the train home after I’ve dropped off my load. Housing Works thrift stores are in New York, but I urge you to research where you can donate clothes and other items in your own area.  

my closet

My real life closet looks nothing like my dream closets. But now that it’s a little cleaner I can get it closer to my fantasies.

I’ve got huggable hangers, which take up less space and are soft like velvet. They are good for those in small spaces and probable even in a large space. But my biggest closet conundrum is how to store accessories. I have my shoes and jewelry on display (you can kinda see them here). But what do I do with my bags?

I’ve almost never met a purse I didn’t like and I have no idea how to keep them safe and pretty in my home. I don’t have space to keep them in a closet of their own. I used to put them on shelves, but in this apartment I use my bookshelf for crafts in the kitchen. Right now I have them hanging on hooks and door handles, but that’s hardly ideal.

And what about scarves? And belts? My too-full drawers can’t be the best way. I’ll keep thinking and keep my eyes open, but do you guys have any tips on accessory storage?

One day I hope to have a walk in closet. If I had a second bedroom now that is absolutely what I would do with it. I’ll keep looking at inspiration like this and this, and if I make any headway on my dream closet, you’ll be the first to know.

characters’ christmas trees

christmas tree

One year in college I left our Christmas tree up so long it became an Easter tree (complete with Easter egg lights). For a few years in New York I lived in a 400-square-foot apartment, but I always made sure I had room for my boxes of Christmas ornaments.

Right now I have a small fake Christmas tree that’s roughly three feet high. The lights built into it burned out last year–I might need to retire it soon. For now, I just added extra strands of lights (including the Easter egg ones).

I don’t know what I like more: the twinkling lights, the bulbs of bright colors, or the sparkly garland.

christmas tree

My tree is a Doctor Seuss tree. Its ornaments are too large, and too small, and the giant glitter star at the top makes it a little lopsided. I use (and save every year) the tackiest, most colorful garland I can find. I only wish I could fit more ornaments and lights on my tiny tree (and figure out how to take a better picture of my narrow tree in my tiny narrow living room).

I love my little Christmas tree, and I think it does a good job of representing my unique brand of Christmas cheer–more is more and the brighter the better.

After all, your tree is a reflection of your style. Are you traditional? Modern? Minimalist? Tell it to me in Christmas tree. I love seeing my friends’ (ok, and strangers’) trees. It’s a peek inside their holiday brain–and sometimes there’s a bit of personal history in the branches. I assume this is true for fictional people, too, so what would some characters I’ve met this year have on their Christmas trees?

jon snow christmas tree

Jon Snow from Game of Thrones. Jon Snow’s tree on the wall would be pretty sparse. They’d have crow decorations and black ornaments. Some books might be under the tree as a gift to Sam, and it would definitely be covered in snow.

delirium tree

Delirium from the Sandman. Delirium’s tree would be a delight–at least at first glance. It would be rainbow, like her speech bubbles, and it would have whimsical ornaments. I have a feeling Delirium decorated until something else came up, and then she promptly deserted her tree in favor of a new distraction. Or maybe she hit the eggnog a little too hard before she got started.

bernadette tree

Bernadette from Where’d You Go Bernadette. Once Bernadette was a great architect. She used recycled materials and wasted nothing. Her tree would be made of materials found around her Seattle home, and the blue glass would be a tribute to her daughter Bee’s trip to Antarctica and the glaciers she saw there.

So how do you like your Christmas tree? Whimsical like Delirium’s? Or maybe upcycled like Bernadette’s?

adventures in spray paint

rae's days shelf before

I have this shelf by my door. I use it to hold my purse or shoes right when I get home. It’s the perfect size for the tiny space between my front door and my closet. And it was black, which was fine. But not great.

So I got some spray paint. And headed to a rooftop.

roof top view

This was the view. Not too shabby. Then I put my shelf on some trash bags and started spraying. It went pretty well for my first time spray painting something, all things considered. I did a few coats and touched up some spots where I thought it was needed. I used Rust-Oleum high performance enamel spray paint in safety yellow.

Continue reading “adventures in spray paint”

home improvements

My mom is in town, and it’s been so great! She has graciously been helping around the house and that’s meant lots of cleaning and errand running, and also lots of huge improvements to every day life. I’ll post more of the whole apartment later, but check out the before and after of this not new but definitely improved bookcase!



Huge difference, right?

this weekend

embroidery display rae's days

fabric rae's days

mirror rae's days

blanket rae's days

bed rae's days

No new embroidery this week, but I did update the display! My mom is in town visiting and the week was full of errand running and getting ready, and now that she’s here it’s full of fun. We are working on my apartment in between running around the city. I got some fabric to make pillow cases for the couch and bed. I got a new mirror for the bedroom that I hope to hang up today. I also got a flamingo blanket that #fatcat likes to nap under. Hope you all are having a great weekend! Doing a lot of work around here, hope to post some updates this week and get back to embroidery next Sunday.

Usually each Sunday I post the embroidery project I am working on to sew some of my favorite quotes from books. Let me know if you have any quote suggestions! You can see the other quotes in my embroidery project here:

apartment update

One of my goals this year was to get my apartment ready in time to enter it in Apartment Therapy’s Small Cool Spaces contest. I believe it’s usually in April, which gives me about one more month to put on the final touches. Back in November, I listed some of my dream goals for my apartment. So how am I doing?

fatcat comforter

#fatcat on my new duvet cover, which is one thing on my list I crossed off.

for the living room/kitchen

  • get a cowhide rug for the living room, poking out from under the couch 
  • buy (or make!) some giant, round crocheted round rugs for under the table and desk–Still on the search for the perfect rugs for these spots
  • find a cool umbrella stand for next to my front door 
  • place a tiny table or shelf on the wall next to my front door, and maybe a home sweet home artwork or something of the sort —I did find the perfect sized shelves for next to my front door, but I still want to paint them and add a home sweet home artwork for above where I hang my keys.
  • print this gunslinger-inspired print for above my bookshelf–I didn’t end up using that print, but I did fill my wall with paintings that my family and I made.

raes days art wall

  • buy and paint some crown molding to frame my full length mirrors 
  • get a chair for my kitchen table–I ended up using this chair for my desk instead of my kitchen table. My mom has an amazing black and white chair I’m hoping to get my hands on soon for the kitchen area 
  • and some folding chairs for guests
  • get more magnets to keep putting photo on my fridge/front door–This is probably the easiest thing on the list so of course I haven’t done it yet
  • use washi tape to cover up some tile I don’t like in the bathroom–I have ordered some washi tape and I hope to do this as soon as it arrives

for the bedroom

  • this handy craft to make a jewelry holder (i already have the frame)–Done!

raes days jewelry holder

  • I’ve fallen in love with this duvet cover–Also done! I had a moment of panic a few days ago when I realized that I still wanted this duvet cover and it was most likely out of stock. So I looked online–where it was sold out–and check if it was available in stores–it mostly wasn’t–until I found ONE left at a Crate & Barrel in the city. So I called them, ordered it, and picked it up later that day. And the best part was that it was for less than half of the original price. I wouldn’t recommend this as a game plan, though, if it’s something you really want.
  • paint screens to use as a headboard–I have a different plan for my headboard now, but I love the way I’m using these screens instead.

raes days picture shutters

  • yet another round rug for next to the bed–Right now I’m leaning toward using faux sheepskin instead of a round rug

So, I’ve crossed some items off, changed my mind on a few things, and am still waiting to accomplish a few more. Not bad, but I better pick up the pace. I can’t wait to get everything done and share it with you.

work-from-home outfit

Since Hurricane Sandy, my regular office has been out of commission. We’ve been rotating between a few of my company’s other offices and working from home. So my professional work outfits have transitioned into comfortable work-from-home outfits. Like this one:

at home

I’m wearing a large tunic sweatshirt thing and leggings from I can’t remember where, a scarf from Penneys, and a puffy vest from the Gap a few years ago. Yes, I am wearing leggings as pants. And yes, it is awesome. This is a far cry from the professional self I like to portray at my office, but who wants to wear pantyhose if you don’t have to?

Working from home was sort tricky for me to get used to, but now I think I’ve got a pretty good thing going. Here’s my desk.


I have a few guidelines that work for me and my job, which will be different, I imagine, for everyone else.

  • I must get up. I can’t work from bed. I know this. I like to have a designated space to work, so when I sit there I’m ready to work, and when I leave there I can switch to playing. 
  • Mute the TV (most of the time). I have a lot of articles coming to me at once sometimes, and I need to focus on what I’m doing. For me, that usually means silence in my apartment. Which is actually a nice change from offices that can get noisy.
  • Have a start and end time. Because other people rely on me to be available at certain times, it’s easier to have a very clear start and end time. Sure there are times I will need to work late, but I generally keep regular office hours. This makes it a lot easier to turn off my computer at the end of the day and focus on home-work after work-work, even though I’m in the same place.
  • Make sure #fatcat gets attention. Because if he doesn’t, he jumps onto my desk in the middle of the day and plays with the mouse. My computer mouse.

I think we may get to go back into our building in the next few weeks, but if I keep working from home or need to again, I’ll be prepared. Even if I look less professional than normal.

Do you guys work from home? What are your tricks?