Sunday, May 31, 2009

69 knitted parking meters on Montague

There's not much that's warm and fuzzy about a parking meter, unless it's a parking meter with a hand-knitted muffler. Every parking meter on Montague Street is encased in its own knitted tube until mid-June, an art project of a self-described guerilla knitting collective, founded by artist Magda Sayeg. (Gotta love anybody who calls themselves a guerilla knitting collective.) The group has knitted over stuff all over the world, including bricks on top of China's Great Wall.

What I love is that the movement started off as a DIY project gone awry - unfinished knitting projects left lying around were converted into door knob covers. Now they are 'yarnbombing' objects as big as a bus.

The Montague sleeves (which the The New York Times calls 'meter cozies') were made by 50 volunteer knitters from around the world.

Here's a composite from the Montague Street Business Improvement District Flickr pool.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

DIY despair

Have you ever started a do-it-yourself project only to get down on your knees a few weeks later to give thanks for the industrial revolution?

I started off in March with big plans to make my own shag rug for the foyer. It would be six feet long and about three feet wide. Total cost: $15.

However, the rug is made from approximately four million tiny strips of fabric. I have been working on it for two months and have calculated that it is 1/12 of the way complete. Also, it sheds.

I have a rule that I don't start a new DIY project until I've finished the old one. But, at the rate I'm going, this rug will be done in two years.

On the plus side, it's an excellent way to pass the time if you have a migraine. Those of you who've had migraines know that you can't read, watch TV, listen to music or even talk while you've got one, which leaves staring off into the gloom and contemplating your own mortality. The rug is simple enough to do even when sick but distracting enough to make you think you can live another day.

At least I'm not the only one with big DIY catastrophes. Love this flopped project from Sherry at This Young House. Those things in her hands that look like tumbleweed were supposed to be some kind of twine mobile.

Christina at Down and Out Chic had nightmares about her chair project, but it turned out great.

In the meantime, I'm shelving the rug until the next time I get sick and I'm moving on to my next project - a Moroccan pouf made from a party dress that I calculate will be complete some time in 2010.

How about you? Any do-it-yourself failures? Come on, make me feel better.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Brooklyn outdoor space inspiration

After days of chilly weather and rain, it's finally warming up again. I may be prejudice, but I think I live in an unusually pretty neighborhood. The windowboxes alone are worth stopping and staring at. The courtyard garden photos are via Cynthia Gillis Landscapes & Gardens.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Inspiring outdoor spaces

Met Home

It's 77 degrees with sunshine and low humidity here today, and . . . I'm at work. However, I can still dream of outdoor spaces.

I'm wanting to spruce up my balcony with a tented awning, Moroccan lamp, outdoor rug, deep floor pillows, lap pool and maybe a tamborine or two. I will settle for teak oil and some ornamental grass.

Elle Decor

Secret Gardens of Sydney

Secret Gardens of Sydney

Met Home

Secret Gardens of Sydney

Elle Decor

Secret Gardens of Sydney

Secret Gardens of Sydney

Elle Decor

Elle Decor

Secret Gardens of Sydney

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Weekend with family

I jogged to the Borough Hall farmer's market for fresh spinach, and Tom made spinach and swiss omelets for six. Later, we nervously rolled Max and Danny to Battery Park via stroller to avoid having them trampled in Century 21 ('Fashion worth trampling children for'). The boys watched street dancers, chased pigeons, poured gravel on each other's heads, picked up glass and dug in the dirt. There were no tears, injuries or trauma except for a small whimper from Danny when the stroller flipped backwards with him in it.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

SoHo with kids

Sunny spring day
Block after block
To the same cafe everybody ate at last year
Cram jammed in
With creme fraiche, organic beer, crab cakes
Wee wobbly table
Teeny tiny food
Barely blending in
Until the diaper comes off
The teeter tot

Friday, May 22, 2009

On sale and cheaper than doing it yourself

This is only $15

As you all know, I'm a big follower of the do-it-yourself aesthetic and the if-you-can't-pick-it-up-free-from-the-trash-you-don't-need-it school of economics.

However, there are times when you just can't beat mass production. Marimekko pillows for $15. A big bookcase for $50. I was about to do a post on how to knock off a Platner side table with a trash can and a piece of glass, but Target's knock-off Platner is now only $30. I could pick up a branch from my backyard, mound it and call it art. Or I could spend $13 on a mango wood sculpture that would not look like I just picked it up from the back yard.

If you're not hanging out on a beach this weekend, here are a few sale items worth checking out.
Format acrylic wall hook, cb2, $8

IKEA Expedit bookshelf, $50, Memorial Day weekend and in-store only

Marimekko Joonas pillow, Crate and Barrel outlet, $19

Marimekko Tuuli pillow, Crate and Barrel outlet, $15

Target wood and metal side table, $30

Target Mango wood sculpture, 32", $12.50

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Photo gallery and partial foyer makeover

Here is our photo gallery, finally. Making over our foyer was one of my Spring Cure goals, but it didn't entirely happen. The foyer makeover plan was:

  • Make a photo gallery
  • Improve the lighting
  • Add a soft rug
  • (Some day) have low white book shelves.

Out of four items, I only got the first one done. But it's a start. Below is the foyer before.

Here are the frames I used. I got every one of them free, and it took a couple of years to collect them. (Then they became a nuisance and I realized I was becoming one of those people who keep stacks of ugly pictures around because they always intended to do something with the frames. NO LONGER!)

Don't let anybody kid you. Hanging randomly sized frames is a huge pain and has got to be a primary reason people with bucks hire a decorator. It took me awhile to figure it out until I remembered photo essay layout from the journalism school days - big stuff in the middle, white space to the outside.

Next up: what happened to that soft welcoming rug.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Brooklyn Borough Hall Farmer's Market

I picked up herbs, lettuce plants and (pause for low hum of delight) New Jersey asparagus so pretty you could wear it as jewelry.

This soft urban knowledge worker actually got dirt under her nails Saturday planting said herbs and lettuce.

The asparagus, post cattia, with our new fancified burgers - on toasted pita with fried onions and a blob of blue cheese. Al fresco dining for two for about six bucks.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Squirrely girl gets comfortable

Next week she's going to be on the sofa watching Seinfeld with us.