Tag Archives: new apartment

Taffeta Woes

What do you do when you learn that the fabric you have set your heart on is *gasp* being discontinued? Commence with the melodramatic commentary.

My curtains are RUINED! The color scheme for my living room is in shambles. The necessary monetary funds for this project continue to multiply, while my budget grows ever smaller, dimishing into a pile of NO MONEY AT ALL.

*Ahem* Now that that is done with…

I visited JoAnn Fabric on Friday, after photographing my living room furnishings, and compared my photos to several different fabrics in person. This confirmed that the Party Taffeta was not available in the right color, but made me reconsider the Casa Collection Taffeta in cornflower. I had originally thought it would be too stiff, and didn’t like any of the colors that I’d seen, but I found about a yard of cornflower in the red tag fabrics and fell in love. It looked lovely with the textiles I already have in the room, but it shifted things away from green and toward blue, just like I wanted. It made everything bright and inviting without being trendy or overly bold. I also liked the Country Classic Solids in sprig green, medium blue, and light blue (apologies for these not corresponding to colors listed online; I’m not sure which ones they are either), but I’m still pretty sure I want a taffeta for the sheen when everything else in this place is so flat.

Seeing as the fabric was available in such a small quantity, I asked the woman at the cutting counter what my options were. She was very helpful, letting me know that special orders need payment same day, so you can use coupons on them (Seriously? How did I not know this before? This is awesome!), but since the fabric was in the red tag section of the store, my best bet for a good deal would be to order online (where it was still listed as regular price) and be able to use a coupon, even if I had to pay shipping.

Next issue: Casa Collection Taffeta comes on 8 yard bolts. I need yardages that evenly divide into 4 1/2 yards. I called JoAnn’s customer service to ask about their policy regarding splitting yardages on orders that were more than one bolt (I needed 18 yards total), and, after some looking things up, discovered that Casa Collection Taffeta in cornflower is being discontinued. There were 4 yards left in the online warehouse, and if I wanted to drive an hour, I could maybe pick up the last 8 yard bolt at another JoAnn store location, but they couldn’t guarantee that the store would even have it any longer.

(See previous teeth-gnashing and anguish for my reaction here.)

So… Color blocked curtains? If I order some cobalt and white fabric as well I can do something like one of these:




Do I really like any of them? I’m not sure. I ordered the cornflower taffeta ($17 for 4 yards, including shipping, using a 50% off coupon), because I really love that color. Maybe it will be some pillows or a dress eventually; maybe it will go into curtains; maybe it will sit in my fabric stash for years and I’ll take it out to pet on occasion.

What do you think? Are color-blocked curtains too trendy? Will I hate myself for hacking this fabric up into 1 yard segments? Or will I love having at least  bit of it hanging in my living room?


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Creating a craft supplies nook (and generally getting settled into my new apartment)

Lately, I’ve been working to settle in to my new apartment. I moved in last month. I managed to fit all of my belongings (less the things that were at the Gentleman’s apartment from his amazingly generously letting me stay at his place while I got moved to the Cities) into a 10′ U-Haul truck. No kidding. That’s everything.


My lovely friend and her boyfriend helped with everything from driving the truck to loading and unloading; there were an absurd number of freight elevator trips in both the storage unit building and the new apartment building. We were incredibly graceful throughout the whole process. This is how ballet dancers move things, people. I should start a moving company and charge for the show as well.


Of course, this was in the middle of Nutcracker season, and I quickly found out that I would be performing in The Nutcracker with my new studio, despite the fact that I am “retired.” (Query: Is a professional ballet dancer ever truly retired?) My parents were in town for Nutcracker and Christmas, and being onstage with the Gentleman again was lots of fun.


I had the rest of winter break to recover, and then the insanity started.

I am one of a handful of teachers at the studio where I am teaching now, and one of only three who are there 6 days per week. One of us three had a baby two weeks ago, and is now on maternity leave. The second (my boss) went on a surprise “babymoon” that her husband planned so they would have one last hurrah before she gives birth in April. In these past two weeks, we’ve had three snow days on top of the crazy sub situation created by maternity leave and vacation time. It has been nuts. And on top of it all, I’m still putting together my new apartment.

It’s a great place. It has some crazy columns (stay tuned for colorful plans for those), lots of kitchen storage and counter space (more than twice what I had in my old place), a huge living room, and it’s generally awesome. Here’s that amazing kitchen before I moved all my stuff in and it got all messy:


The Gentleman helped me unpack. He was thrilled to take bubble wrap off the myriad dishes, glasses, etc. that I have.


Now that I’m finally all moved in, my head is full of projects to make my space work. First of all, I need a dedicated craft space. I haven’t had one since I moved out of my parents’ house and had essentially a whole room in the finished basement. Obviously, that’s not happening, even in a large one bedroom apartment. My plans involve curtaining off the far wall of my living room and setting up shelving so I can pull back the curtains and have access to all of my craft supplies, or close them and have a neat and tidy space.


Obviously, this plan does not account for the massive amount of mess that I always have everywhere (hello, dirty dishes on the kitchen island, I’m looking at you), but I’m thinking that having an epic amount of storage that I can just close the curtains on should help with that too. (I promise I won’t put dirty dishes on the storage shelves and close the curtain on them. I just may have more kitchen counter space if I’m able to dump all my sketches, paperwork, magazines, etc. somewhere else.)

In case you can’t tell, this is a HUGE wall. It’s 11′ wide, 12′ tall. For my shelving unit, I wanted something simple, sturdy, tall, and able to fill as much of the space as possible in one unit. I was originally thinking of using the wire shelves I have on hand, but they’re nowhere near big enough for this job. They’re loaded up with paper crafting supplies and sewing notions, but I still have bins stacked up in my bedroom.

On top of wanting large shelves, I quickly decided that, since I’m renting and not allowed to screw anything into the walls, it would be easiest to use the shelves to help support the curtains that will cover them. I’d originally thought to create a steel pipe curtain rod and support, but that would be ridiculously expensive. So I started looking at wire shelves that I could possibly hook a curtain rod onto. Those were just as ridiculously expensive, and none were quite the right height.

Luckily I live in a city that has an IKEA store. This configuration of Ivar shelves looked perfect. After a few weeks trying to figure out how to fit a 132 1/4″ shelving unit into a 132″ space, I remeasured and determined that the space is actually 132 3/8″ wide. Let’s hope IKEA’s listed measurements are precise!

Ivar comes up to about 8″ below the top of the cabinet over the fridge, so I’ll use a couple of extra wood uprights to help lift the curtain rod (probably a piece of electrical conduit) up to the ceiling. I’ll be making back-tab curtains that reach from ceiling to floor. For this space, that’s a lot of fabric (27 yards if it’s 54″ wide), so if anyone wants to suggest a good place to find cheap taffeta in a light teal-ish color, I’d be grateful. Current top picks are from JoAnn (although I’m not thrilled with the color choices in my favorite fabric of theirs, the Party Taffeta), Fabric.com (Softline Netherwood Taffeta, Crestmont Lustra Sateen Twill in Sky (too light?) and Teal (too dark?), Two-Tone Taffeta in Dark Teal (too bright?), and Microfiber Twill in light blue), and Mood (Bluestone Silk Taffeta which is way too expensive but my absolute favorite, and this cotton twill shirting which is likely too matte).

And, of course, as soon as I’m done with this massive storage wall and curtains thing, I’m thinking of building a bed frame. Stay tuned to see if I ever get around to that. I have sketches, so it’s promising. (Disclaimer: The previous statement was written by a perpetual dreamer who is far too in love with the planning process of any project and rarely actually finishes things.)


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Filed under ballet, life, organizing, relationships, sewing

And we’re back?

It’s been nearly a year, and so much has happened. Most recently, my summer was consumed with quitting my job in Fargo, finding a new position in Minneapolis, and moving. I’m teaching ballet in the Twin Cities now, staying with my (wonderfully accomodating and supportive and creative and awesome new) boyfriend until my apartment downtown opens up in October, and generally enjoying living in a bigger city with much better public transit and lots more to do.

My gentleman is performing in the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, and making and selling fabric-covered hula hoops there. The making part is with a lot of help from me, but I did teach him how to use the sewing machine very briefly, and on top of basic straight and zig-zag stitching, he can use the quilting guide and buttonholer and wind bobbins. We’re looking into getting him a machine of his own for making the hula hoops, though, because my delicate little Brother is taking a beating producing so many things a much cheaper, sturdier machine could do. I’m thinking he’d do great with one of the vintage Sears Kenmore, Singer, or Janome machines available on Craigslist here.

I’m currently toying with the idea of opening an Etsy shop to sell some felted mittens from a pattern I wrote, and possibly the pattern itself and other things as time allows, and getting into the swing of things with my new job. I’m thrilled to be teaching dance here, and I’m thrilled that I’ll be able to (just barely) support myself on my dance teaching income, but I’m looking for other sources of money, including math and physics tutoring positions, so I can afford a social life downtown as well as the apartment.

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Hello, again, blog. How are you?

Things that have happened since I last wrote:

  • I found a new apartment
  • End-of-year dance performances happened, and went fairly well
  • I bought new living room furniture that is new and mine and isn’t handed down from my ex-boyfriend
  • My mom came in to town to help me move all of my stuff into storage and get rid of my old, second-hand furniture and lots of the other random stuff that I had accumulated
  • I spent a month in Michigan teaching at the youth performing company where I grew up
  • I moved into a new, much nicer, apartment, where I had my new furniture delivered
  • I started my new teaching schedule

The nicest thing is that I have room for my great grandmother’s sewing machine in my new apartment, so I now have the little White serger, my new Brother, and Granny’s old machine (a Kenmore, not a Singer, as I believe I posted earlier).  I also have a washer and dryer in my apartment so I don’t have to deal with my crazy neighbor and her (mis)use of the laundry facilities, a little patio out back, and a full kitchen with a fridge that actually works and doesn’t routinely allow ice cream to melt all down the front (the novelty!), a full size stove (4 burners!) that maintains correct temperature in the oven, a double basin sink with garbage disposal, a dishwasher, and some actual counter space.

The past few months have been incredibly eventful.  Highlights (if they can be called that) are my friend’s baby being born and then immediately spending time in the NICU for life-threatening meconium aspiration (he’s fine now, no long-term damage, but that was a nerve-wracking couple of weeks), my parents’ dog and rabbit both dying, a falling-out with my grandmother, a 16-year-old student’s suicide, a student’s friend’s suicide, one of my closest friends breaking up with her long-term boyfriend, and not knitting or sewing a single stitch during the entire month of August.  With the start of the new school year, I’m looking forward to some positive changes.  Namely, I’m hoping that no one dies.  That would be nice.

I’ll update with some photos of things like my new furniture and Granny’s sewing machine as soon as I figure out where my camera is in the pile of boxes currently occupying my garage.  (Did I mention that I have a garage at my new apartment?!)

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Filed under life, organizing