{House} Can You Hear Me Now?

My building’s front door intercom uses the landline phone system.  Which means I need a landline phone (just a phone, not the actual landline service).  I browsed eBay for an old looking phone and knew Pottery Barn would have just what I’d like.  For less than $15, I got an old-fashioned phone with modern push buttons.

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There are actually two phone jacks in my apartment: one over the dining table and another next to my bed.  The dining room jack wasn’t working, so I tried my hand at fixing it.  The old jack had been painted over a few times and looked in rough shape.

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After scraping off some of the paint, I was able to get inside it to remove it from the wall (the two dark screws in the picture below).

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I ordered this one from Amazon and had it in hand a few days later (Lowe’s and Home Depot didn’t have the model and color I wanted in stock).  The new one is much nicer looking!

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Then it was just a matter of connecting the red wire to the red spot, and the green wire to the green spot.  A few screws from the plate into the previous holes in the wall, popped on the cover, and it was done!

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Then I just had to plug in and hang up my new phone!

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I asked the doorman one night to ring me to see if it was working, and it still didn’t work. 😦 I’m not sure where the issue is, but I’ll be keeping this on the list of things to fix another day…

{Home} One Man’s Trash…

It’s a thing in New York to take something left on the side of the street if it interests you.  There have been a few times where something has caught my eye, but it wasn’t until recently that I actually acted on it.

I was out shopping and thru all the discarded Christmas trees, I saw someone had thrown out two large fake trees (and a few other smaller fake plants).  I’d been looking for a fake plant for awhile, having sworn off live plants when I moved to New York, but they’re kind of expensive!

(This is where there’d be a picture of the trees among the trash bags and other stuff, but I didn’t take a picture of that–sorry!)

Initially, I kept walking to finish my shopping, but also because literally taking someone’s trash on a very public street is weird and awkward!  With some support from my brother (via text), I decided to head back and take a second look.

There were two similar tall trees, and I tried to quickly choose which one I thought was better while a man on the next stoop watched.  Then I just grabbed one and started walking!

Of course, if it’s not captured in a Snapchat selfie, it didn’t happen 😉

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For the final act of my craziness, I carried the plant 15 blocks to my apartment on a very windy night.  The doorman laughed at me when I came in: “It’s bigger than you!”

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A few sprays of Lysol to clean it up, and it was ready to move in.  I’ll probably continue to play with the leaves to spread them out a bit (they have wires in them, so they’re easily malleable), but I’m already loving how much warmth it brings to an otherwise awkward and empty corner.

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One man’s trash really is another man’s treasure!  (And there are free things in New York!)

{House} Being an Adult

I hosted a housewarming party for myself a few weeks after moving in.  I love to bake, so it’s no surprise that I wanted to make my signature dish: brownies.

On the walk thru before closing, we tested the outlets and burners, but I suppose we weren’t in the apartment long enough to try the oven or smell the faint whiff of gas.

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Fast forward a few weeks, and I turn on the oven to bake the brownies, only to find that it isn’t getting hot.  A quick peek in the broiler drawer below the oven reveals the lack of a pilot light as the cause.  (The white stuff is just residue which was easily scraped off.)

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It took an extended lighter and some courage, but I got the pilot light lit!

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However, the oven still wasn’t working properly.  And that’s when the perk of having a live-in super in your building pays off!  He took a look the next afternoon and got it to work by manually lighting the gas radiating from the spreader bar (that thing going to the upper right corner of the pictures).  Though he did caution me that’s just a temporary fix and the oven should be replaced soon.

Which I’ve already been thinking about… 🙂

{Home} Making a Mark

Paint is an easy way to make a mark on your space and turn it into your own.  I knew one of the first painting projects I wanted to tackle was painting the inside of the front door my favorite color: aqua.  I stopped by Benjamin Moore to pick up some paint samples, and fell in love with their color Burbank Blue.  I got a quart in high-gloss, and used about half on the door.

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I also picked up some painting supplies at Lowe’s.  First painting project means I needed to get all the basics, including a brush and roller.

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One thing I did have on hand was painter’s tape.  I taped around the door to protect the frame, locks, and knobs.  (And yes, that’s my mezuzah hanging to the left of the door.)

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One coat down!  And it’s already made such a difference in the space.

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The second coat went on even easier and needed less paint than the first.  Then it was just a matter of removing the tape and letting it dry.  It’s hard to get a good picture in the small room, but I tried.

bm benjamin moore paint high gloss aqua teal burbank blue front door  bm benjamin moore paint high gloss aqua teal burbank blue front door

Such a small change, but I love it!

{Home} Hanging Around

I love the way curtains can turn a plain room into something special, so it was high on my list to hang some curtains in my new apartment.  (Don’t mind all the excess stuff hanging on the window–it’ll all be taken down at some point.)

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After looking around online, I decided on this curtain rod and rings from Bed Bath & Beyond (of course I used a 20% coupon :)).  Like the reviews mentioned, the brass coloring on the rod and rings were pretty varied.  I had to dig around and go to a second store to find rings in the same tone as the rod.  The 66-120″ length comes in three pieces and with end caps, and the color isn’t consistent between them.  It’s not quite so noticeable, but if it bothers me down the road, it’ll be easy enough to spray paint a uniform color.

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Done!  It was a bit difficult to install by myself into plaster with only an 18″ stool (I’m 5’2″ and the ceiling is almost 9′ tall), but I was determined!  It adds so much color and personality to the room already.

The curtains were used in my last apartment, which were purchased here over two years ago.  A few of the panels in direct sunlight had faded, but I used two where the fading was minimal and not noticeable.