A week’s worth of wandering

Friday finds

  1. The perfect Fall sweater
  2. Watermelon slicing for ninjas
  3. How many times have you needed one of these?
  4. A clever candy store
  5. A “Man Table” to end all man tables
  6. What a happy home!

Oh! And guess what came in the mail today!

Ludovico the cat with Ikea 2013 catalog

No online page will ever compare with cuddling up and thumbing through a colorful catalog. Snuggly sleeping kitten is an added bonus.

Happy Labor Day weekend to my friends stateside! It’s not a holiday weekend in Holland, but we ARE going to a BBQ tomorrow! What are your plans?


August Rush

I wish this blog post had the same budget as that movie! Alas, this is not a feel-good Hollywood drama.

However, this post is supposed to make me feel good by reminding me of all the progress we’ve made on our home despite the financial setbacks. Bring on the Hollywood ending!

It did feel really good to open up here and be honest about the job snafu and all the trials that come with expat-riatism (should be a word!), so I will definitely be doing that more. I hope that writing about my experience will make some new expat feel better by knowing she is not the only one struggling with immigration issues.

Anyway, you want to know what never fails to turn my sad face upside down? This happy one:

Our kitten Ludovico

Yes, that’s an updated picture of our little fuzzball Ludovico. He’s made such an impact on our lives already — I actually okayed a scratching post the other day saying “I guess that doesn’t look so bad.” If you want to see A LOT (okay, too many) pictures of Ludo, I post them on my Instagram almost daily. You should follow me!

Ludovico was a big change for us, but a lot of the updates we made  this month were small, affordable ones like adding some hooks and hardware in our toilet and bathroom, thrifting some kitchen necessities, and splurging (well, as much as broke people can splurge!) on a designer clock.

Ikea Grundtal toilet paper roll holder

I didn’t blog about this, but it bears mentioning that you can make a stuck-to-the-wall toilet paper roll holder much prettier by running some acrylic caulk around the edge and smoothing it out with a paper towel, like so:

Ikea Grundtal toilet paper roll holder

See? No more gross see-through holes!

We did make a couple of big changes this month. They were just ridiculously cheap! We added a bunch of hand-me-down furniture to our living room.

Living room

And ain’t nothing wrong with this discounted Pax wardrobe:

Ikea As-Is Pax wardrobe

Well, that is, until we broke it.

Ikea broken Pax wardrobe

Womp womp. That’s okay. “We can rebuild him…we have the technology.” More on that later.

This month, we also added a thrifted chandelier to our living room, lovingly spray painted white, the rainbow’s most forgiving color.

Thrifted chandelier spray painted white

Funny story, I am in the process of repainting it. Yes! It’s true! Maybe this month has been a wash.

Ah well, at least we got some relaxing in before the summer ended.

Bosbad Amersfoort

Putting some POW! in the powder room

The toilet room is where I get my best thinking done.

Okay, that’s not true. I get my best thinking done in bed when I should be sleeping. But the toilet room is where I’ve had my latest and greatest idea.

powder room

The toilet room is the only room where the walls are sort of normal. Not covered in wallpaper. Not tiled to the ceiling. Half of the wall is a wonderful blank canvas, albeit a popcorn-covered canvas. Ha! YOU THOUGHT I HAD A NORMAL WALL! Not so!

So I was looking at some of my favorite powder rooms and noticed they were all covered in black and white graphic wallpaper. Such a bold statement in such a small room! It packs such a punch!

Black and white powder room


Black & white powder room


Hinson's fireworks wallpaper


But all of those inspiration pictures use wallpaper. And as much as I’d love to drop a couple hundred euros to make my powder room go BOOM! when you open the door, I’ve got that popcorn situation going on, remember?

So then I remembered a project I’ve been working off and on for awhile, which was basically copying the idea behind this art but using some of our inside jokes in place of rap lyrics:

Rap lyric art

(I can’t find the original source for that picture, so if you know whose genius idea this is please let me know so I can give credit where it’s due.)

I thought, hey, that’s black and white and graphic. And printing some sheets of paper would be way cheaper than wallpaper. Plus, this way I could use frames and create something of a gallery with it.

So what I’m really saying is stay tuned because that is so happening soon.

(Images link to original source where I could find it. All images can be found on my Pinterest board.)

Clocking in

Yesterday I posted about how I behaved myself and didn’t buy the basket light of my dreams, but today I’m here to tell you that we actually didn’t go home empty-handed on Sunday.

At a little general store in the city, we happened upon another big sale with items discounted up to 70%. That is where I made the mistake of picking up this clock and showing it to Rolan.

We could see that it was a designer clock (Arne Jacobsen) and well made. We did need a clock, but with the discount it was still €30. So I made Rolan put it down and marched him out of the store. But Rolan was not phased. He turned to Google. And when his search led him to find this online shop where they are selling the €30 clock we just passed up for €215, he marched me back into the store.

So we bought it. We reasoned that even if we decided not to keep it, we might still be able to sell it online for closer to what it’s worth and thereby make some money.

But who are we kidding? We are smitten with the thing! Designed by one of the most influential Danish architects/designers of the 20th century AND at a 70 percent discount? Yeah, I guess we’ll take it.

You win some…

… and some wins you have to give away.

Notice I didn’t say “you lose some” because, when it comes to home design, I count a lose as an ‘it wasn’t meant to be’.

Rolan and I enjoyed an afternoon bike ride through our new city yesterday and were pleasantly surprised to find out that the shops were open. (They are usually closed on Sundays here.)

I noticed that one of the home design shops, LifeStyle, was moving its store across the street and selling everything off at incredible discounts.

We are on a major spending freeze given my current lack of employment, but I tugged Rolan’s arm in that direction anyway. I’m a glutton for punishment.

Really awful, terrible super bad punishment.

We fell in love with these globes, but couldn’t justify the purchase since we don’t have anywhere to display it.

We watched the store disintegrate before our very eyes. People were snapping up deals left and right. I started thinking maybe our spending freeze wasn’t the only reason we would go home empty handed. Pretty soon there wouldn’t be anything left to buy.

But then I looked above the cashier station and gasped. The most beautiful basket pendant lights were just hanging there with a 70% off sticker and nobody was grabbing them.

It’s actually the same light as seen in one of my favorite office inspiration pins:

But even with 70% off, that beautiful baby was still way out of our price range. So I closed my eyes, grabbed Rolan’s arm and politely asked him to escort me out of the shop.

Just as we were heading out I saw another young couple examining the light. I just hope whoever got it loves it as much as I do.

If you love it too (and your budget is bigger than mine), I found it on their web site — still on sale!

Give me a break

These days, with money being so tight, it gets easy to beat myself up about what we can’t yet afford to do around the apartment.

But today when I woke up I heard my brain telling me to relax.

So I listened. And I realized…

It’s okay that the couch is a little dirty in spots. It was free and it is holding up well to Ludovico’s talon claws.

It’s also his favorite place for daily cat naps, which are a much-appreciated break from the norm of “No! Stop! Ouch! That’s my leg!”

It’s also okay that the hand-me-down bench we received from Rolan’s uncle is upholstered in a dark red and black damask.

Because, as it happens, the Ikea Ofelia throw that Rolan’s mother gifted me makes a pretty nice little slipcover for the time being.

Not perfect, but it’s fine for now!

Also not perfect is our clothes storage situation in the bedroom. But that’s okay because we have beautiful dark blue curtains we found on clearance that were lovingly sewn together by Rolan’s mother and hemmed to the right height by yours truly.

And even though I will probably kill them soon, I am enjoying the fresh herbs we have growing in our kitchen.

There is so much possibility in this apartment. I simultaneously can and can’t wait to see what comes of it.

Friday Favorites

Been doing some browser window shopping this week and I kept finding things for the entryway.

Like how cute would a row of these Canal House hooks look in the entryway? Adorable.

In the same vein, this prettymaps art of Amsterdam from 20×200 is gorgeous:

I never was a big wallpaper person, but I adore this Whitby Wallpaper in Lido from Mini Moderns. The beautiful teal color is almost a neutral.

And I kinda have my heart set on this hippo mat greeting us when we walk in the door.

Happy weekend, folks!