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Zig To The Zag

September 15, 2011   //  Posted in: Decor, Helping The Economy   //  By: Emily   //  14 responses
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Sure, I went to Target for the much-publicized Missoni opening day. I had to. Didn’t I?

I wasn’t expecting any grandiose surprise awaiting; I knew what products and patterns were part of the collection thanks to facebook and blog updates, and I’m sure it was like Black Friday in some cities with hundreds of customers waiting to clear the shelves at 8AM, but it wasn’t like that in Rochester. In fact, the shelves were pretty much still full and organized when we stopped in during the late afternoon on Tuesday, which was a good thing because we got to see so many products in person, but you know that me and the whole decision-making thing… one tote? Two totes? Can I get two totes?

This tote? Or this tote? Or both?

I didn’t buy either, for the record. I have enough travel bags to tote around with. Plus, we rode the scooters to Target and that puts a limit on how much you can buy.

I spend less when I scoot everywhere. My bank account loves the Ruckus.

I did immediately covet most of the office materials, especially the pink-lined paper of this clipboard (with rubber band placeholders, score). If I had to write on pink paper for the rest of my life… I think I’d be OK with that.

If all of my lined paper was pink... I could deal with that.

I didn’t buy that either though (because I don’t use memo pads or clip boards now that I’m not in an office environment) but I did snatch up some bulldog clips for the office and small journals that I use on a day-to-day basis for shopping lists, project notes, and conference call doodles.

Missoni notebooks and bulldog clips.The journals are a set of three (and were priced at $7.99 which is just about what I’m used to paying for my little trios at Target). Each has its own identity, looking pretty adorable with the prints and clean binding.

If I had to choose, I actually think the black ziggy is my favorite.

Missoni notebook trio.

There was another trio of notebooks too if you don’t like the set I bought; the colors on that set would have more perfectly matched the coffee mug that I added to my collection for $4.99.

Missoni coffee cup. With the notebook trio in the background.

The clothes didn’t keep my attention very long, but the housewares were right on. The coffee cup was my only splurge for now, but I really liked the tall tumblers (and will buy if they go on sale from their listed $4-ish price); my current set of tumblers from my (still favorite) Orla Kiely collection circa 2009 are still holdin’ strong.

We both really liked the large glass bowl on display. It was a standout in the collection, especially sitting next to the melamine plates and bowls.

The colors in the glass were beautiful, and the overall weight of the piece made it seem like it should cost more than just $30.

Tap tap. Glass Missoni bowl.

There was just one thing holding us back from bringing it home (besides the whole scooter space limit thing). Inside each of the bowls on display, there was a light ring in the glass. Kind of like someone left tea sitting in the bottom of the bowl for awhile. A definite production woe that made us feel like we’d always be trying to get it clean.

Weird discoloring in the glass Missoni bowl.

I’m not confident that it’ll all make it to markdown mode, but I’ll be checking back in on it in a little while to see. Speaking of markdown mode, I hope everyone’s enjoying the home decor/back-to-school sale prices. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much stuff in Target marked 50% off at once.

What did everyone else score from Missoni?

The Hardwood Floor Safety Squad

September 14, 2011   //  Posted in: Being Thrifty, DIY, Gardening   //  By: Emily   //  4 responses
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I keep finding myself going smaller and smaller with the DIY-ed portland cement planters. My latest one is a mini, and the perfect size for my newest baby-succulent that I brought home from Home Depot a few months ago (read about that excursion here). It sits right at home in an ornate Japanese dish I acquired at a tsotchke shop years ago.

Note: You always need something underneath a concrete planter – do not just let it sit freestanding on your windowsill and expect it to hold in moisture.

Mini-planter. A more managable 2-pounder and perfect home to my new little succulents.

The first cement planter was a monster, and even though it had broken into multiple pieces after I had shot putted the mold through the yard dozens of times, gluing it together with E-6000 seemed to be the cure-all.

The jumbo cement planter. Heavy - at least 40 pounds.

The second one I created was on a smaller scale, making use of a few recycled 3-gallon planters from previous Home Depot purchases. More manageable in size and weight, I also had better luck when removing the form from the mold: No crackage. I completely attribute it’s solid structure to the fact that the mold was very maleable and could be flexed away from the cement (once it had tried) and torn off with practically no struggle. So far, that little fern that was a $1 end-of-the-season find at the neighborhood market is doing very well.

Planter #2, molded by a maleable 3-gallon Home Depot planter.

But both of my first planter attempts were still big. And furthermore, neither of those planters were ready to live in the house full-time because I was concerned about the cement absorbing all of the moisture from the plants when I watered, and redistributing it into my hardwood floorboards through the bottom (also, yes, there are drainage holes drilled in the bottom so it was more likely to drip right on through to the floor, no obstruction). For the biggest planter at the very least, I needed to come up with an indoor living solution because the base of the pot was sizably larger than any plastic planter trays I already owned.

The perfect fix appeared before me before I really had a chance to give it much thought or shop around; very simply, I found my treasures in Pete’s parents attic when we were helpin’ out with a Labor Day weekend clean-out. The basic plastic trays caught my eye, and found their way home with me instead of being thrown into the dumpster. I couldn’t be sure at the time, but I definitely thought there was a slight chance that they might be exactly the same size as the ginormous planter with tropical-ish leafy plant that was still hanging out on the porch slowly taking a beating from the cooler night air.

Big, clear planter bases. One man's trash...

And twa-la, wouldn’t you know that my spider senses were spot on? The planter fit perfectly in this tray (while the previously-largest tray in my stash that wasn’t quite big enough looks on in jealousy).

Yesss, the new plastic base is the perfect size for the monsterous planter.Of course, the reason I didn’t rush right out and get a new big plastic faux-terra cotta planter at Home Depot was because it didn’t really vibe with the straight-lined, wants-to-look-totally-au-natural cement planter. The clear plastic one is a much more simplistic alternative (and low profile, kind of like low-rise socks of the indoor gardening world), but still a reliable alternative to keep my floor dry and keep the clean lines of the planter exposed.

I thought I could take it one stage further though, by taking the walls of the planter down an extra half an inch to minimize the plastic lip but still be suitable for floor protection.

Trimmed down the lip of the tray even further, leaving a 1/2" edge to hold the planter.

I even tried spraypainting one of the trays with the same specific-for-plastics paint that I used on the office chair because the shiny transparent plastic in person has a hint of that “just bought and forgot to take the price tag off it” feel. White seemed to correct that look without being too stand-out-ish.

White paint to take the glare off of the plastic planter tray.

It worked (of course it would, this isn’t anything revolutionary) so the gigantic plant is happily living inside once again, protected from the encroaching fall elements but still getting lots of natural sunlight through the living room windows. Although I’m kind of starting to think maybe I should match the tray to be the same color as the cement… oh the things you wish you had done differently once you see your photos…

Planter and streamlined new tray. Wonderous.

And just for kicks, my dad would love to point out that the plants that would do best in these cement planters are species that are categorized as “foundation plants”… as in, plants that you’d be directed to use in the landscaping closest to your homes exterior foundation.

If you’ve made cement planters and found a great way to make custom-sized trays to match, I’d love to know more.

Life Support For An IKEA Dresser

September 13, 2011   //  Posted in: Bedrooms, DIY   //  By: Emily   //  4 responses
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The IKEA MALM dressers I’ve owned have generally held up well. With a little bit of maintenance.

All too often, I need to repair a drawer bottom that bows and separates from its track, usually because I’ve tried to force fit too many pairs of Wigwam socks into a non-expanding space, but that wasn’t the real issue this time.

What I had encountered was self-inflicted, could have been prevented, and wasn’t something I was sure I could easily fix. (Oh yeah, and I noticed that the drawer bottom had just started to bow so I gave it the ol’ fixeroo but there’s no sense in writing a how-to on that again.)

Yee... that's not supposed to have broken, right?

See that piece of trim that sits between each of the drawers? If you own one of these dressers, you’ll know that the drawers fit together pretty seamlessly, but a thin piece of particleboard serves as a partition between drawer fronts.

And sometimes, when you try and lift the entire dresser by the partition that you thought was much, much stronger, crazy things happen:

Whoopsy, broken IKEA partition.

I was left wondering what to do next, and removed the drawer above the broken partition for a better look.

Whoopsy, broken IKEA partition.

Fortunately, the partition broke pretty cleanly. I was left with the broken piece of particleboard and a piece of hardware from the screw, which I can only find described as “the round-y screw fastener”. IKEA masters, what’s the right name for this awesome assembly device?

Chip off the ol' particleboard, and half of the round-y screw fastener.The simplest fix with my breakage situation was to apply wood glue to the back of the particle board, and clamp it back into place.

Glued the back of the particle board. Next step: clamp back in place on the partition. Let dry.

Once reinforced, the round screwy bit fit right back into the existing hole, and could be tightened as it was originally.

While the partition is clamped in place, reaffix the round screw end into place, tightening with a phillips head screwdriver to secure.

I let it dry all day, and dropped the drawer back into place before bed.

Because these partitions aren’t supporting beams, if your particleboard was shattered beyond a simple re-glue, consider rebuilding a small back panel out of plywood (or something slightly more maleable, like cork) and clamp it in place just like I did here.

Good luck. More IKEA wear-out fixes comin’ at ya.