{House} Hannah Loses Another Battle

For a friend: TLDR, don’t paint the doorknobs!

I alluded to the fact that the doorknobs in my apartment were painted with the walls and doors, and I decided to tackle them before I paint my apartment.  There are only four doors (three closets and one bathroom), so I thought this would be quick and simple.  Especially since this post made it seem so easy!  And it’s chemical-free, which is always a plus in my book.

Literally every part of it is painted.  The doorknob and plate…

…the latch…

…the strike plate…

…and the cute interior knob!

Because there’s so much paint all over them, the doors don’t close and latch.

Only one knob out of the bunch is unpainted–the inside of the bathroom.  It’s such a cool silver, I wanted the rest of the knobs to match!

I started with chipping away at the paint around the screws on the interior knob.  It was quite easy to remove the three screws on the inside!

Then I attacked the latch, and removed that plate.  It required some prying to get it free from the door.

But then I got stuck on the front.  I was able to remove the bottom screw, but the top screw wouldn’t budge.

I moved on to the screws on the knob itself.

Again, chipping away the paint was easy, but these screws wouldn’t move either!

So I’ve tried to remove one knob and failed.  Maybe I’ll settle for using a chemical stripper after all.

{Hannah} Darn It!

A few years ago, I was at a consignment shop and fell in love with a Diane von Furstenberg wool wrap dress.  As I was admiring it, I noticed a few small holes throughout the dress.  Not wanting to leave it behind, I negotiated an extra 10% discount, figuring I could try my hand at mending the holes.  And I did!

Fast forward a few years, and I regularly buy wool items with holes in them, knowing that darning small holes is fairly easy and unnoticeable.

I recently bought a sweater dress from Goodwill, and didn’t notice a hole in the sleeve until I got home.  The previous owner had repaired it with some scotch tape!  That’s not good enough for me, so I broke out a needle and thread and got to darning the hole.

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There are a lot of darning techniques, and everyone seems to put their own spin on it.  Most tutorials say to work from the inside of the garment, but I prefer the outside, so I can make sure it’s coming together well.

I start with a knot on the thread on the inside, and push the needle through to the outside.  Make sure the needle isn’t so close to the hole that it could get pulled into the hole.  Then I start pushing the needle through the knit weave, working my way across the hole.

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Back and forth, back and forth.  Once I’ve been across the whole hole in one direction, it’s time to go back in the perpendicular direction.

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Back and forth, back and forth, making sure to weave above and below the threads just added.

I make sure it’s tight enough to hold, but not so tight that it puts a pucker in the fabric.  I end with the thread next to the beginning end, and tie the two together a few times.

And then it’s done!

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Depending on the hole size and location, some are easier to mend than others.  This hole was more of a long snag, and it still is visible if you’re looking for it.  The hole is located on the upper arm, which means it won’t be very apparent from most angles.  I bet no one would’ve even noticed if I hadn’t just shared this publicly!

PS. This dress also had some button accenting the end of the sleeves, which I removed with a small pair of scissors.  Who says that when you buy something it has to stay that way forever (I’m sensing a trend)?!

{House} Cord to Nowhere

Just like the phone cord ran up the wall (which–BTW–the phone works in its new home!), there was a mysterious cord running up the wall to nowhere in the dressing room.

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It went up one side, around the ceiling, and down the other side–both ends of which were cut!

This is the other box I referenced in my first house project.

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(I’m still not sure how to remove that box, as there was no obvious way for me to open it.)

Just like the phone cord, I cut the paint around the cord with a knife, and then pulled out the staples with pliers.  I guess I didn’t get cut the paint well enough (plus there was more paint on this cord than the phone cord) which resulted in more damage to the ceiling and wall than expected.

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Nothing that can’t be easily fixed before I paint!

{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. 🙂

{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.