Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Closet Conundrum

If you're familiar with old houses and buildings, then you're definitely familiar with quirky rooms and nooks in those houses. Our townhouse was built in the 1930's and it retains a lot of its original features. I'm pretty positive the floor is original; it just has been overzealously polished year after year after year. The bathroom could've been a real gem if it was maintained. The original black and white tiling is still there, but sadly, you can see the ghost of the likely once-awesome wall faucet on the backsplash above the new sink now. However, I'm not here to talk about all the pretty on-the-surface stuff. I'm here to talk about the nitty gritty of living:

Closet space.

Our closets make me laugh. It's not so much there's a lack of space, it's more of "who snorted crack then designed the layout of these closets?" I guess, the better way to describe it is the overabundance of wasted, hard to use space.

The one on the left is in the second bedroom, AKA my studio, and will be used for my fabric and odds and ends. It's like an optical illusion. Looks like a good sized closet, with shelves and hooks on the walls.


In fact, if you stood inside, you had just enough room to stretch out one elbow without bumping a wall. You can, however, stand facing a wall and stretch your arms out as far as you can go, and I can close the door on you without hurting you. It's one long, narrow closet with five short shelves on one end. I have no idea how to utilize this closet at all. All that wasted space between the door and the shelves. You couldn't put a set of shelves against one wall because then, there's no way you can move around it to reach the end of the closet.

The second closet is in the master bedroom. Clearly, it's positioned right above the stairs as evidenced by the weird configuration. A little bump up shelf, then an incline, vertical wall, then a wide shelf that fits two rows of folded up clothing, then a random shelf up top and the icing? A closet rod right there, in front of you, waiting for you to smash your forehead into it as you bend over to search through your multiple rows of clothing.

Note: I'm such a wonderful girlfriend that I conceded the closet to Guitar Boy for his use with the exception that I get to hang my dresses and blazers in there. 

The problems: One, Guitar Boy needs easy access and visibility for his clothes. There's no folding and stacking for him. He likes things as effortless as possible, and this closet does not enable effortlessness. Two, there is no way in hell he'll ever be kind to my hanging clothes as he finds his stuff in that closet. 

What... the... hell?

This is a conundrum I need to figure out, pronto. Did you struggle with making your closet space work? Have you figured out a genius solution? Are you so magical that you know exactly what I can do to turn our crazy closets into something useful? Talk about it in the comments below.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

House to Home on a Budget

We're young, vegetarian, self-unemployed, driving a set of His and soon-to-be-Hers Prii(?) and surprise, surprise, we're on a budget. Who isn't these days? Even if one had disposable income, it's still necessary to tighten the purse strings wherever possible.

So how do you fill up a house and make it a home on a small budget? That's what we're about to find out. So far, I think we've been doing well. I'll admit, we dropped the ball happily splurged on getting dishes and cups, but they are pretty amazing. Other than that, we (or rather, I, because I'm the only one with enough patience to shop for all our stuff) have been shopping around and comparing prices as best we can without losing our sanity. There has been quite a few returns as we keep finding things better or cheaper than what we originally bought, so I guess my number one rule is: Keep your receipts. 

The dishes and cups that were worth every penny

The second rule: Go to IKEA. 

Those of you who's been there understand what I'm saying. Those of you who haven't been, just go, right now. (Northeast Ohio dwellers, the closest is in Pittsburgh.) You can get all the necessities without paying big bucks. They have a whole cookware set for about $50, wooden spatulas for .49, galvanized steel shelves for $15, a toilet brush for .99... you get the idea. And the stuff is cute! Mad cute. 

Case in point, all our bathroom stuff were found at IKEA:

The third and most exciting rule: Repurpose and get crafty. 

We've had a few donations to help furnish our homes. Rugs, a loveseat, some chairs, and the like and we've been lucky that no one managed to foist some ugly stuff on us. So thank you to all our friends and families who have been so generous with us whether it be in time, labor, and/or items. 

That said, there's a few stuff that needs sprucing up. Right now, I'm focusing on these four chairs. They've been in my family for ages and it looks like they'll continue to be in my family for ages. The seats pop out and recovering them is so easy with a staple gun and some creative finesse. I'm thinking a pretty deep red fabric for the seats. (Inspired by a jewel red recycled glass vase from Spain.) I wasn't going to change the wood color since they match the top of this table pretty well, but I am open to suggestions. What do you think?

Well, this house-to-home-on-a-budget journey is going to be interesting; but I think I can make it work. Did you move to a new place on a tiny budget? What did you do to make your house a home?

Leave your answers and suggestions in the comments below!

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Winner Is...

And the winner is...

Entry number 7! That's Beach Glass Shop.

Thank you to everyone for entering. Keep an eye out for the next newsletter for a little surprise. It'll be a lovely one, I promise! (Be sure that is on your safe list and doesn't end up in your spam folder!)

Have a great weekend and Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Moving Jenga

Whoever said that moving is up there with some of life's biggest stresses was not lying. My head is reeling with all the things that we still need to get done. What do we need to get? What are we forgetting? What could possibly happen next? Is that a scratch on the hardware floor that we put a hefty security deposit on? It's obvious, though, that it's not life-ending; people don't fall over dead from the stress of moving, so we will get through this... I think. I do have to say (read: brag a bit... a lot) that my boyfriend and I handled everything quite swimmingly. Aside from me yelling at him for kicking around a box of wine glasses, we made it through Moving: Phase I with nary a snipe or raised voices.

Our next test of Moving Jenga is coming today with a trip to IKEA. Someone once said that in order to find out if your significant other is "The One," you should take a trip through IKEA with him or her. We've got this one under our belts though as I recall a trip a few years past where my dearly beloved hurt his back and I proceeded to push him around the entire store in a borrowed wheelchair. (Ahem...)

Don't get me wrong, I'm so freaking excited about this. It's about time too. I was in very real danger of becoming one of those adult children who mooch off their parents for the rest of their lives. (And as evidenced by recent interactions with said parents, I doubt the mooching will end anytime soon. Welcome to parenthood, you never leave.)

Here are a couple (blurry) photos of our pretty new townhouse, I'll post more later along with details!

View from the dining room towards the front door. Love the faux fireplace and all those arches!

People have commented on the super-shiny hardware floors. All I can say is one can be overzealous with polish.
 Don't forget, my giveaway is still going on. There's three ways to enter for three chances to win, check it out and see if you can win yourself a pretty goodie! Click for Giveaway.

Update: After about seven hours of nonstop shopping, doubling back, and resisting urges to just collapse on the floor and pass out, we made it and kicked IKEA's ass. Photos of our booty will be coming soon...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Scarf Giveaway

*** This giveaway has been closed. Subscribe to this blog or sign up for the newsletter on the Home page of to find out when the next one is! ***

I want to celebrate the launch of the new website in grand form so I'm holding a giveaway! Spring is coming (with many false starts, but the calender never lies) and when the temperature rises, we gleefully leave our heavy winter coats behind and look to lighter layers to keep us comfortable. Me, I generally put my parka into retirement and bring out all my pretty silky scarves because, finally, whatever I choose to wear is visible to the general public. (This also means we have to ramp up our diet and exercise plan, but what else is new, right?)

Do you do the same? Are we all followers of the same book of fashion? Well step right up, ladies and gentlemen, and try your hand at winning one of these fabulous vintage scarves. 

 Click on any of the pictures above to get more information on the scarves. Remember, they are in vintage condition having been loved by previous owners.

If any of these scarves do not strike your fancy, well that's just fine. I'm also offering a $10 gift certificate to use on anything in the Birdcage Bohemia shop excluding the soap. Yes, I'm darn serious. So, onto the rules!

To get one entry, you must visit the new Birdcage Bohemia website (click here, and sign up for the mailing list found on the Home page. Then, explore the website to find your favorite item. Come back here and leave a comment with your name, a way to contact you (e-mail, blog name, etc.) and the link to your favorite item. 

To get a chance at a second entry, go to the Birdcage Bohemia Facebook page ( and Like it. Leave another comment here with your name, a way to contact you, and a statement saying you Liked BB on Facebook!

For a third chance at winning, refer a friend. Have them enter the contest using methods one and/or two. Then, write a third comment with the name of your referral!

The giveaway is going on until 8 pm Eastern next Thursday, March 15th. The winner will be chosen at random using the random number generator from and announced the following morning on March 16th. Great way to start your St. Patty's Day weekend, right!?

So put simply:

1. Go to, sign up for the mailing list, and get a link to your favorite item. Come back here and leave a comment with your information and the link to your favorite item for one entry.
2. Like Come back here and leave another comment with your information and a statement saying you Liked BB for another entry.
3. Refer a friend by having them enter themselves. Then, write their name in a third comment for a third entry.

That's all!

Happy Entering!

Note: This giveaway is open for all entrants,  both in the U.S. and internationally. You must have contact information so I can contact you if you win. If you don't have a contact number, your entry will have to be removed.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I Think I'm Here

I'm not an overly religious person, but I've found this quote to be so right in so many ways:

Man plans, God laughs.

Doesn't it seem like even the most well-laid plans are bound to be thwarted, and you're likely to find yourself headed down a completely different path? With all your good intentions, you wake up and find yourself here instead of there. The most important part of that, though, is deciding if here is just as good, if not better than there.

I like here. You know why? Because here is my brand new website!

It's taking its very first step in the wide, scary world of the internet (and well, my life since this is how I make my living!) There may be bugs or problems and that's where I come to you. I don't have access to a multitudes of computers with differing speeds of internet to test out my website. So, if you don't mind, could you please take a gander? Look through the pages, tell me what works and doesn't work, and whether if you like it because that's the most important part!

In any case, welcome to my new website. Enjoy!