{Hannah} Going Green

A few weeks ago, I found a field jacket at Goodwill that interested me.  But being January, I felt like a light coat wasn’t a practical purchase, so I passed.  Then February turned out to be filled with 50+-degree days, and I wished I’d bought it!

I wasn’t having any luck finding a jacket that I liked in both fit and weight, until I saw this one.

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I liked the way it fit and that it was lined, giving it a little extra warmth for those in-between days.  However, I didn’t like the tan color.  The tag said the fabric is cotton and linen, which made it perfect for dying!  It also had the perfect price–under $10 because of Goodwill’s Presidents’ Day sale.

I’ve dyed a few items before (mostly jeans and a denim jacket), so I was excited to try dying something else.  On my way to Michael’s to get some dye, I googled the Rit colors.  I didn’t see the color green I wanted, but they had this color recipe chart which had two greens I was interested in.

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My ideal color is somewhere between the two.  I took a look at the Tan color, and it was a close match to the existing color of the jacket.

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This meant that I only needed Dark Green and Brown dyes mentioned in the color recipes.  And a 20% off coupon made each bottle of dye less than $4.

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The directions indicated that cotton and linen require a cup of salt to be added to the dye bath.

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I followed the instructions for sink dying.  My tip (which they don’t mention) is to turn on Netflix to entertain yourself while you stir constantly for over 30 minutes.

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I took the drawstrings out of the jacket, so they could be dyed evenly.  Then it was time to get it wet in hot water.  Run the tap for a bit so that the hottest water is coming out.

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Once it was wet, I filled the sink with more water, added the salt, and poured in some dye!  I started out with half of the dark green bottle, but added more to darken the color.  (I ended up not using the brown dye at all and returned it to the store.)

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Then I stirred…and stirred…and stirred…and checked the clock…and stirred some more.  About half way thru I drained some of the sink and added more hot water, since the color was getting darker than I wanted and the water was becoming cool.  Once the 30 minutes were up, and I completely drained the sink and started rinsing the jacket until the water ran clear.

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Typically the stitching is not made out of a natural fiber (which doesn’t dye as well as the rest of the item), and that is true here: the stitching is still tan.  So are the zippers and binding strips on the inside.  I think it looks cool and unique with that added detail though.

I wore gloves during the whole process, but there must’ve been small holes, since my fingers and nails turned dark green.

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The directions say to then wash it in a machine with warm water, but I chose to wash in cold since that’s what the jacket’s care label says.

It’s also worth noting that the dye bottle says that you should take caution before dying an item that recommends washing in cold, since hot water can damage the item.  In fact, I think the jacket shrunk a little in the hot water dye bath, but I think that helped the fit in the end.

And now it’s green!

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A pretty perfect army/camo green, if I do say so myself!

And now I have an on-trend jacket for those warm winter days for under $15!  Which I’m sure will get a lot of use, as spring is just around the corner. 🙂

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{House} Hello from the Outside

I had tried to fix the phone jack over the dining room table once, and it didn’t work.  The working phone jack is next to my bed, which meant the phone cord traveled all the way over to my dresser.

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Since that’s not where I want the phone (and the phone needs to be hung from the wall and not on a table), I decided to move it before I painted.

Time to remove the box and cord!  A simple screwdriver opened the box.

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Then a few more screws to release the wires and remove the box from the wall.

NYC apartments have a tendency to be painted every time they are rented, and everything gets coated in paint.  This included the phone cord (and also doorknobs–which I’ll get to another time).  A utility knife cut through the paint around the cord.

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And needle nose pliers pried the staples out from the wall.

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No more cord running up the wall!  I’ll sand and fill in the holes before I paint so there’s no trace of the previous cord and box.

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The cord ran around the apartment via the baseboard, which didn’t get as much paint as the walls, and the cord pulled free quite easily.

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I worked my way around the apartment until I got to the box where the cord got split in two.

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I cut the cord down to the appropriate length for the box above the dining table, and unsheathed the wires.

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Then I had to disconnect the old wire, and connect the new one.

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And then hang the phone!

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Now I just need to work up the confidence to ask the doorman to call me to see if it works.  Cross your fingers and wish me luck!

PS.  Title courtesy of this song.

{Home} Casper the Friendly Ghost Chair

I wanted to add a chair or stool to the dressing room, to help with putting on shoes, but also to be a catchall for items that get taken out of the closet and need to be put back.  Somewhere along the way, I found myself coveting a ghost chair.

Craigslist had a few for sale, but they were more than I wanted to spend, so when someone listed one for $35, I emailed them less than two hours after they posted it.  It’s not the fancy name brand, but it’s a clear acrylic all the same.

I sent this snapchat out to some friends as I returned from Brooklyn with my newest score.

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It’s probably not the strangest thing seen on the subway, but the man next to me was really into it!  He even wanted to take a picture of it.

And there it is in its new home!

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It might be a little big for that corner, so it’ll probably haunt different spots in my apartment before it rests in peace.

{House} Second Time Around

After way too many hours of work, I had one support for the closet shelves installed.

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I checked the mark I had made the day before and then drilled the first hole for the second support.  I started with the top hole and then installed the second support and checked that it was still level with the first support.

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Once I was satisfied with the levelness of it, I marked the spots for the next three holes.  I had to slightly loosen the top screw to be able to drill the holes, but it worked out.

In case you didn’t believe me that I used my hands with the 1/2″ drill bit, here’s the proof!

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After the holes were drilled and the rest of the anchors and screws tightened, I fiddled with them a bit to ensure it was perfectly level.

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This is the shelving unit I’m using (though the supports are from MintCraft).  The going-out-of-business sale that I frequented didn’t have enough shelf supports in the size I wanted, so I ordered more online.

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I had also befriended someone in those last few days that was able to cut a longer shelf in half so I’d have enough shelves.  Like the true math major I was, I got the math wrong, and the two halves aren’t equal…

But it’s installed!  And it looks great!

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As I was admiring it, it didn’t seem level with the existing rod and shelf.  Back out came the level to see where I went wrong.

Well look at that!  The original shelf isn’t close to level!

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Then it was time to actually use it!  I had a plastic set of drawers from my last apartment that I was looking to get rid of.  I put most of those things on this shelf, and also swapped some items with those in my dresser.

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I need a few bins for some smaller items, but I’m very excited for this addition!

{House} I. Do Not. Give Up.

My mother can tell you a lot of stories about how growing up I was would do something over and over and over until I was successful.  As an adult, I’m not sure if that’s because I’m determined or just stubborn.  Either way, this felt like one of those stories…

I’d been wanting to install the shelving unit I bought for my closet, and I finally found the time to do it.  First I had to move my DIY clothing rack (which still doesn’t have a base and wheels).

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I measured where I’d like my shelving supports to go and got to work.  I had these toggle bolts (purchased like everything else at the going-out-of-business sale).

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Note: if you’re going to do this yourself, please buy these anchors instead.  They’re much easier to work with!

The back of the package said how big the hole needed to be.

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A half inch?!  I have a set of drill bits, but the largest I had was 1/4″.  I tried using it anyway, and then making the hole wider by moving it around, but I wasn’t successful enough to fit the toggle thru the hole.  Off to a new hardware store that’s still in business, and I came home with this.

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Except that it was too thick to fit into my drill!  Not wanting to give up yet, I held it in my hands and manually widened the existing hole.  It worked!  It also cut my hands–who knew that drill bits were sharp!  LOL

Using that process–and a pair of heavy duty gloves–I was able to get the four holes drilled.

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These toggle bolts require that the screw and toggle bolt are on the piece being screwed to the wall before they’re inserted.  This was the easiest part so far.

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But of course it couldn’t be that easy!  Given that the walls are plaster, the two inch screws I had weren’t long enough to get the toggle all the way behind the wall.  Back to the hardware store I went!

Yes, they remembered me from just a few hours ago, but they were helpful and I walked out with these three inch screws.

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It worked!  I needed to tug on the screw a bit so the toggle would catch on the wall and the screw would tighten.  It took a little finesse, but I was persevered.  I used the level again to make sure the support was straight and then tightened all the screws.

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Ta da!  One perfectly hung support!

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Then it was time for the other side.  I had researched this kind of shelving unit, and the best tip I read was to add a set of brackets and a shelf to hang the second side.  This ensures that the holes line up perfectly so that the shelves are level.

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There aren’t any pictures of that process, as I’m only a woman with two hands, but I marked a few spots on the wall for where the second rail should be installed.  And since the co-op has rules about when you can make construction noise, I had to stop there for the evening.

Time to rest up so I’m ready to tackle the second side and then fill the shelves!