The Container Store’s Omni Bucket

So, I just have to quickly tell you all about the best thing ever. As you know, I have a stupidly tiny kitchen. There’s actually a decent amount of storage but a lot of it is up high. I always have to drag a chair in to get to stuff off the top shelves which annoys me, disproportionately probably. I was looking for a real step stool for in there but they’re all so huge. The folding ones are better but I don’t have anywhere to put one of those, either. Since I hate my trash can, I was hoping someone made a combo step stool trash can. Someone does, but it’s not actually for sale. So anyway, my hopes of having a two for one item in the kitchen were dashed. UNTIL I came across this bucket from The Container Store.

The most excellent step stool/cat food container ever. The Omni Bucket from The Container Store

The most excellent step stool/cat food container ever. The Omni Bucket from The Container Store

I hardly ever shop there because it can be expensive for what it is. But I saw the buckets and thought they were cute and could replace some less cute storage I currently have, specifically cat food and other cat THINGS. When I saw that it was strong enough to step on, I about died. OMG I had to have it. Some of the colors are even on sale! So exciting. Now I keep the bucket on the floor filled with cat food. It can be gently slid across the floor to the kitchen, or if needed elsewhere, it has a handy handle. It’s plenty large enough and plenty strong enough to hold cat food and me! Genius!

Apartment 2 in Chicago

Mike recently wrote about our great experience with the people who manage our apartment building, so I thought I’d post about the apartment itself. If you’ve followed this blog for awhile, you’ll notice all our same stuff in yet another environment!

Ever since I visited Chicago in 2001 I’ve wanted to live here. When Mike and I came in 2007 we even looked at condos for sale! So when Mike got laid off last year the first thing I thought was “Yay, now we can move to Chicago!”

Even though we had both visited Chicago several times, we weren’t 100% sure where we wanted to live. I thought Lakeview/Wrigleyville would be pretty Chicago-y  so searched CraigsList for places up there. We weren’t able to come out to look for a place and it was super hard to do via CraigsList and email- only about 5% of the people we contacted even bothered to get back to us! SO LAME. But finally someone did get back to us. The apartment was in Lincoln Park which is the next neighborhood south of Lakeview, so I figured it was close enough. The apartment was just a 2 month sublet anyway, so it was fine. But we love Lincoln Park. There are places in Lakeview that are nice, too but it seems a little more young up there. Plus, we actually live right on the border of Lincoln Park and Lakeview, so it’s the best of both worlds.

Anyhow, since it IS Lincoln Park, it’s expensive (the second most expensive neighborhood in Chicago). We couldn’t get a super huge place. In fact, we got a super tiny place. It’s only about 370 sq feet, with the main room only about 225. When we moved we weren’t sure how much space we’d have or how long we’d be staying so we just brought the bare minimum basics with us. It’s small but it’s working out fine for us and we haven’t managed to kill each other yet.

Over time we’ll probably fix it up more so consider these the “before” pictures.

Our very small studio apartment in Lincoln Park, Chicago.

Our very small studio apartment in Lincoln Park, Chicago. We found the painting next to a dumpster! We liked it so we took it home. The photos above the couch were taken on our many road trips.

Another view of the main room. We left about 90% of our stuff in storage in Colorado.

Another view of the main room. We left about 90% of our stuff in storage in Colorado. We did bring the bar stuff- like I said, all the basics!

Our dining area. The metro shelf is on rollers so can be moved closer to the kitchen when I need more counter space, or out of the way when we want to use the table. The table is a wall mounted fold-down model from IKEA and fits perfectly behind the metro shelf when not in use.

Our dining area. The metro shelf is on rollers so it can be moved closer to the kitchen when I need more counter space, or out of the way when we want to use the table. The table is a wall mounted fold-down model from IKEA and fits perfectly behind the metro shelf when not in use.

We got this desk from IKEA because it fit perfectly in this little nook. The space above it needs shelving or art or something.

The desk area needs some work.

The desk area needs some work.

The kitchen is really little but surprisingly functional.

Tiny apartment stove!

Tiny apartment stove!

I like the plain white countertops and appliances. I'm glad they haven't been redone all contemporary with faux granite and stainless.

I like the plain white countertops and appliances. I'm glad they haven't been redone all contemporary with faux granite and stainless.

There are no drawers and no space for a knife block so I got the wall mounted magnetic knife holder from amazon.com.

I normally don't like a lot of junk on tops of cabinets but I had no choice here. So I put the cute colorful stuff up there and keep it dusted.

I normally don't like a lot of junk on tops of cabinets but I had no choice here. So I put the cute colorful stuff up there and keep it dusted.

Same with the top of the fridge (the tiny fridge- which is also surprisingly functional- nothing gets shoved to the back and out of sight).

Same with the top of the fridge (the tiny fridge- which is also surprisingly functional- nothing gets shoved to the back and out of sight).

There are no drawers and not enough counter space for a utensil holder, so Mike put this pegboard up for me. I also thought it would be cute to have the pans hanging on the wall.

There are no drawers and not enough counter space for a utensil holder, so Mike put this pegboard up for me. I also thought it would be cute to have the pans hanging on the wall.

Luckily Home Depot is walking distance.

Luckily Home Depot is walking distance.

There's a decent sized walk-in closet with hanging bars/shelves. But the shelves were hung too low so I had Mike move them up a few inches. He was happy to have a home improvement project!

There's a decent sized walk-in closet with hanging bars/shelves. But the shelves were hung too low so I had Mike move them up a few inches. He was happy to have a home improvement project!

Ok, so the closet needs work! Remember this pic as the "before"!

Ok, so the closet needs work! Remember this pic as the "before"!

This kind of tile is not my fave. I’m more of a subway tile kind of girl. At least it’s just in the shower surround and on the floor and not all over all the walls. I’ve lived in some hideous rental bathrooms and this is quite an improvement on most of them out there. I love the big window for ventilation and view. You can open it and take a bath with a view of the other high-rises in the neighborhood.

I like to keep the bathroom neutral and simple with white towels and shower curtain.

I like to keep the bathroom neutral and simple with white towels and shower curtain.

 

We've never had radiators before. They're hot! We have had the window open every day - even when it's cold outside.

We've never had radiators before. They're hot! We have had the window open every day - even when it's cold outside.

Our apartment is on the 14th floor with an awesome view.

The view from our apartment.

The view from our apartment.

Another view from our apartment.

Another view from our apartment.

The cats enjoy looking out the window, too.

The cats enjoy looking out the window, too.

Our apartment is on the top floor, the stairs across the hall lead to the awesome roof deck.

Our apartment is on the top floor, the stairs across the hall lead to the awesome roof deck.

The roof deck is a nice place to have a drink.

The roof deck is a nice place to have a drink.

There are chairs and chaises for hanging out.

There are chairs and chaises for hanging out.

View of Lake Michigan from the roof deck.

View of Lake Michigan from the roof deck.

And a view of the park.

And a view of the park.

It's nice to go out on the roof at night, too.

It's nice to go out on the roof at night, too.

The view in the other direction is the sunset.

The view in the other direction is the sunset.

I watched the runners in the Chicago Marathon from the roof deck.

I watched the runners in the Chicago Marathon from the roof deck.

Another pretty view.

Another pretty view.

Stay tuned because you know we won’t be able to resist home improvement.

Lincoln Park, Chicago Apartment One

We like to move. I’m not sure if “like” is the right word, but we move a lot. When we moved to Chicago we weren’t able to come out here first to find a place to live. We had to do it online so we wanted to get something short term so that we could get ourselves and our stuff here and look for something long term in person. So we got a small sublet in Lincoln Park, a neighborhood I had heard about but didn’t know much about.

We stored 75% of our stuff in Colorado Springs, along with our travel trailer. We brought just the basics but somehow we really don’t miss what we left behind.

Our first little sublet was a 400 sq foot one bedroom on the ground floor in the back of the building on the alley by the dumpsters. Glad it was only a two month sublet! Still, the management company that owns it has recently remodeled all the units. They did a nice job and stuck to the original old feel of the building.

On the way from Colorado we stopped in Dallas and cleaned out a storage space from when I had a studio there. The bed and all the bedding came from there.

On the way from Colorado we stopped in Dallas and cleaned out a storage space from when I had a studio there. The bed and all the bedding came from there. The little cabinet was dumpster adjacent. Living by the dumpsters had it's perks.

400 sq ft sublet in Lincoln Park, Chicago

400 sq ft sublet in Lincoln Park, Chicago

Renovated bathroom in our Lincoln Park sublet.

Renovated bathroom in our Lincoln Park sublet.

The renovated kitchen- plus dishwasher!

The renovated kitchen- plus dishwasher!

I only brought about 20% of my kitchen stuff and it was still a lot! There are a bunch of boxes behind the curtain.

I only brought about 20% of my kitchen stuff and it was still a lot! There are a bunch of boxes behind the curtain.

I liked this poster in the COS kitchen so wanted to recreate the look in Chicago.

I liked this poster in the COS kitchen so wanted to recreate the look in Chicago.

We recently moved again- to an even smaller place. Still in Lincoln Park because we found out we really like it! I’ll post about that soon!

Front porch revamp

The front porch was starting to look pretty shabby from the street. We live in a nice neighborhood and don’t want to be “those people” so I decided to do something temporary to make it look a little nicer. Since it’s almost winter, I figured it would be fine for now and in the summer we can find some permanent stuff to put out there.

I bought and assembled and painted the adirondak chairs in 2007. They’ve been outside their whole lives so were getting flakey and broken in spots. Plus the green color didn’t really look great with the new house colors. We also had an old table and a trunk that needed painting. I thought a nice bright color for contrast against the house would be good.

I also wanted a couch or a bed out there and we stumbled across this little cot one day. We had some foam from a bed in the trailer that we’re not using. I bought two painting tarps at Home Depot and washed them a few times with lots of fabric softener. I like the nubby look. I put them on the floor with the foam on top and wrapped them like a present, pinning the fabric together with safety pins on the bottom and sides. Maybe one day I’ll have them professionally covered but this is good for now.

We got some little string lights and some candles and it looks pretty cute out there now.

Our front porch looking pretty messy.

Our front porch looking pretty messy.

This little couch was cute, but sloppy with just a sheet tossed over it.

This little couch was cute, but sloppy with just a sheet tossed over it.

Getting ready to paint the furniture.

Getting ready to paint the furniture.

"After" shot of the front porch during the day.

"After" shot of the front porch during the day.

"After" shot of the front porch in the evening.

"After" shot of the front porch in the evening.

How’s that crochet coming along?

A lot of you are probably wondering how my crocheting is going. You’ve thought to yourself, probably over coffee in the morning: I bet he’s given up.

Crochet is hard, no doubt. And so far, my skill level has flatlined at blanket level.

But it does relieve stress. And it would be a great hobby for someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder. My main trouble with crochet seems to be getting all the knots straight. And the yarn is sometimes stringy. Whatever. I just push the needle through and carry on.

Here. Check out my work so far.

Making a blanket is great stress relief

Making a blanket is great stress relief.

My orange and yellow blanket so far.

Though my stitching looks like it was crocheted by someone having a seizure, I am actually in pretty decent health.

You can apparently buy yarn in one-pound bundles.

You can apparently buy yarn in one-pound bundles. After this bundle's over, I'll do another color.

Come on, it's a decent-enough first effort. Cut me some slack here, people.

Come on, it's a decent-enough first effort. Cut me some slack here, people.

I'm making a wool blanket, too.

Things were going so well with the other blanket, I figure I'd start another blanket. This time, though, I'm using wool. Scratchy, coarse wool. Like an old Army blanket made by someone's grandmother. Also, yarn is expensive. Who knew.

The wool blanket is kinky and curly, though. Not sure why. Will it ever straighten out, or am I doing something wrong?

The wool blanket is kinky and curly, though. Not sure why. Will it ever straighten out, or am I doing something wrong?

Human sweater.

I couldn't make this ugly sweater even if I wanted to.

Crocheted cat sweater.

Someday, though, I will make an awesome sweater for a cat.