Friday, August 2, 2013

Apartment Remodel on the Cheap: Artist's Studio

My home DIY project (for the last four months; I'm a slow worker) has been to fix up the "useless" space under the stairs in my loft.  

I had an AHA moment when the roommate mentioned that he wished he still had his own desk to do his art on - why not make it a creative studio space? Roommate has a place to work, I don't have to share my coffee table with art supplies, the cat doesn't eat acrylic paints and die, everyone's happy. (I jest: we are very careful not to let anything ingest the poisonous paints). 

I'm posting because I always get discouraged when I read remodel posts and think, "oh, I can't do that, I live in an apartment, not a house" or "man, I wish I had $1000 to gussy up my apartment with, too." This is pretty simplistic stuff, but I think it might be helpful for someone else looking to spruce up a smaller space. 

The challenge has been getting as much use out of the space as possible, because it's so tiny; it's perhaps five feet deep and I can barely touch both side walls with my arms outstretched... not a scientific measurement, I know, but my measuring tape has gone missing.

Personal goal: do it on the super cheap, too, because spending money sucks.

I am soooo close to being done now; mostly I just need to straighten up and get some trash tossed, but the foundation of the space is there. 

Here is the part ready to show:

Cabinet cost: free! Snagged it from some acquaintances who moved recently, and I had screws for mounting already in my tool box. A little tightening on the loose handles, a good wipe-down to get the grime off, and it's pretty much ready. If I hadn't found it this way, I probably would have used freecycle or Craigslist. Someone is always moving and unloading shelving. 

[Protips: Hell, if you can't find anything online, just go cruise a neighborhood Saturday anytime after about 4pm when the garage sales close and grab stuff off the front curbs. Also good: apartment complexes near college campuses in May, August, and December when a lot of students are moving. They'll leave stuff by the dumpsters so they don't have to cart it home or take it all the way to Goodwill. I have in my time scored a vintage orange-leather chair and floor lamp that way, and a small patio table, and a milk create full of old books, and a rolling table I use as my mail center, AND a nice dark-wood bookshelf in mint condition. Bottom line: people are lazy; use this to your advantage. 

I draw the line at entering the dumpsters, because they tend to be full of trash and bugs, but anything outside is fair game if it's in decent condition. If someone left it next to the dumpster, chances are they recognized it was too nice to just throw away.]

The close-up tour:

Shelf for sharpeners, and samples of spray paint and paint markers. 

Cost: Free - I sent a sample request from the Liquitex website, and the sharpeners have been floating around the apartment for ages. 
(If anyone knows of any other free art sample spots, please do let me know)

The pull-out drawers are full of artsy pens, markers, and pencils. 

Cost: $20/month for an ArtSnacks subscription, grand total of $80 so far (more on ArtSnacks in a future post). I've been collecting the art supplies they send for about 4 months, so the roommate has something to art with. This is basically the only cost I've accrued on this remodel, so I'm not too concerned. The beauty of ArtSnacks is that I get cool art stuff to add to the stash without having to go buy entire marker sets or research art supplies at length.

 If you wanted to do this for less, I would recommend Craigslist, freecycle, and Goodwill. Also it can never hurt to contact art supply companies and ask for samples. 

Outer view of the fold-out drawers. I love these things!

Mini-moleskeins and some sort of fancy eraser, also through ArtSnacks. 

Top shelving! Will house things like the acrylic paints I don't want the cat getting into. 

Top of cabinet, with bonus stack of canvases I picked up at Michael's. 

Cost: $20/6 canvases. I love Michael's, and this was a glorious meeting of 1) waiting for a big sale and 2) downloading the iPhone app so I could use one of the attached coupons. Seriously, Michael's are almost always offering coupons (paper and electronic) and having sales; it really pays to wait until you can get something cheaper. 

Total cost for the remodel so far: $100 even, and that's really the bulk of the cost - I think everything else I have gathered was free. 

More to come on Unveiling Day...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Scenes from the Texas Legistlature

Just going over some photos from the prochoice rally (well, one of several) at the Texas Capitol while SB2 (previously HB1, previously SB5) was up for debate and testimony. 

It makes me so happy to see the number of people who will come out to support reproductive freedom, and stand for those who couldn't get the time off work or couldn't drive all the way across the state to make it. 

Perry signed the bill this morning, but there's no way it will hold against the first legal challenge brought to it. *sigh* This great big waste of taxpayer time and money brought to you by the Texas Republicans. 

(Please, let us not even get started on "tampongate" or the myriad other ways the Republican party is making Texas look like a group of backwater fools.)

Monday, July 1, 2013

View from the Texas Capitol Last Week - SB5

I was privileged to be at the Texas Capitol last week, out in support of the Texas Democrats, and against the restrictions on reproductive health care that the Republicans sought to pass. 

With a new special session coming up, it seems like a good time to lay some of the rumors going around to rest:

1. This was not an "unruly mob" - hundreds of people waited quietly in the gallery or in line between Sunday and Wednesday. We only got loud late on Tuesday when it became clear that the Republicans in the Senate were not going to abide by morality or the law. Did you know that at least one of the "strikes" they upheld to get Wendy Davis to stop filibustering was not, in fact, in line with the law?

2. The crowd was, as far as I could tell, mostly Texans. The prochoice movement in Texas is not as small as the people saying "we'll the crowd was bussed in from other cities" want you to think. 

3. This is not a prochoice/anti choice debate. SB5 would not outlaw abortion, as roe v. wade is still the law in the United States. Rather, the new bill would have closed all but 5 abortion providers in the state, causing huge segments of the population to be most likely unable to access their legal right to an abortion (getting an abortion takes multiple visits to the provider, and Texas is huge. Some women would lose up to four days of work, and in this economy that's unacceptable). SB5 would also outlaw abortions after 20 weeks. 

4. The Republicans falsified records to show that they had voted before the special session ended. This is not only morally reprehensible, it's illegal. 

Here's the scene shortly after midnight last Tuesday. I w proud to stand in defense of women's rights, and I can only hope we've gained some new activists who will stand with us as the new-new special session begins this afternoon. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend


The best decision I've ever made for a vacation: I split a cottage rental with two friends, and it was lovely! We got breakfast certificates for local restaurants (bacon waffles. Bacon. Waffles.), we made a fire, we spent far too much time in the hot tub (we set up a Super Nintendo). The best part is that bringing friends brings the cost down. 

And the cottage was adorable. I mean, look at this: 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Shopping adventures

I cannot stop looking at the baby cartoon on this packaging. It's terrifying! (Or do you think I'm overreacting?)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

ClassClown Pictures is making a movie - GIVEAWAY!

Whoa, have I got a giveaway for you, dear readers! How often do you get the chance to win free swag AND get producer credits in a feature film?

The Company
Class Clown Pictures is an Austin-local, independent production company that wants to make funny movies for everyone to enjoy:
Our projects are written to engage the audience with intelligent, entertaining stories that do not rely on the usual short-cuts of extreme or gratuitous violence, sex or toilet humor. We will not substitute quality with “shock value” or “cheap thrills...” though we do appreciate the poetry of a well-timed belch.
Class Clown Pictures is drawing on a great pool of talent, and they have a fantastic array of movies lined up that they want to create. I've been privileged to help edit most of these scripts, and I can attest to the fact that they're funny and family-friendly without relying on gross-out humor.

The Movie
The film that Class Clown Pictures is currently working to fund is Code Enforcers, a comedy about the "joys" of housing authorities and the people who enforce their rules. If you've ever had to deal with an HOA I think you'll relate, but if you haven't Class Clown has plenty of links for you to . . . enjoy. For example: 10 Things a Homeowner's Association Won't Tell You. How can you possibly turn the ruthless rule of an HOA into a comedy? Well:
Dave Petty was never able to make it as a super cop like his forefathers, instead he spends his days - with his conspiracy-theory-loving partner Sue - enforcing the codes in Lakefield Hills, a snooty gated community in the Texas Hill Country. They make sure that trash receptacles are brought in from the curb on time, and grass does not grow past three and one quarter inches in height.  
Dave's only hope: every year the Governor holds a competition, with the best-of-the-best Texas law enforcement officers being hand-picked to enroll at the legendary Texas Rangers Academy... (read more)
The Giveaway 
Because Class Clown is funding this movie through the help of (future) viewers like you, this giveaway is focused strongly on helping them raise money and awareness. Which leads us to...

The Prizes!
This giveaway gives you so many chances to win something neat!

  1. If you just want to help raise awareness, you can friend Class Clown Pictures, Like the Code Enforcer Facebook page, and tweet about the giveaway to be entered to win one of two Class Clown mugs. 
  2. If you contribute any amount to Code Enforcer, you get extra entries!
  3. If you contribute $40 or more, you get extra entries AND one of the bonuses from the Class Clown donations page! ($40: Class Clown Bumper sticker; $45-100: Class Clown T-Shirt; everyone who donates over $50 gets a free copy of the DVD) 
  4. If you interact with Code Enforcer on Facebook by sharing your homeowner or HOA horror stories, you can get a ton of extra entries AND two contributors will be chosen by Class Clown to each win a mug!
  5. If you get a team together to contribute $101 or more, you get producer credits in the movie AND you are eligible to win one of the two mugs AND the team that raises the highest amount gets free t-shirts for everyone in their team! And this doesn't have to be a whole lot: if you're a team of five and you each contribute just over $20, you're in the running for these prizes.
I am personally going to contribute a box of my favorite tea to anyone who wins a mug, as a nifty little bonus :D

I know you're all very excited, so I will cut to the chase and let you loose on the Rafflecopter form:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, March 23, 2013

One Week Left to Enter!

Remember, there's just one week left to enter my Where Monsters Go When You Grow Up giveaway:

The Giveaway
Greg is giving away two autographed copies of Where Monsters Go When You Grow Up to one of my readers! I just know you're going to love it, so I've included lots of options for you to earn entries! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below, and remember that you can tweet twice per day (there are two different sets of text) for bonus entries!

a Rafflecopter giveaway