my week in objects (mostly).

    June 11, 2021

    1. this watering can.

    {a gift, and the best new addition to the window ledge.}

    2. this new-to-us dresser.

    {we’re figuring out if it works in our space and marveling at the built-in drawer dividers.}

    3. these little handles.

    {for coming so quickly.}

    4. the first pair of cut-offs i’ve made in a long while.

    {because i wore them every day this week.}

    5. this curtain tie-back.

    {plus one more in process.}

    other things:

    less waste/more beauty.

    death of the girlboss.

    seeded and cultivated and expanded.

    a very favorite neighbor.

    bodies are amazing.

    and in case you’ve been eyeing something, 18% off at schoolhouse to celebrate 18 years. (use the code 18CANDLES.)

    This post includes affiliate links. Reading My Tea Leaves might earn a small commission on the goods purchased through those links.

    temp check.

    June 10, 2021

    It’s been steamy in Brooklyn this week. Steamy and sweaty with sun that forces you off your regular route in search of shade. The hydrangeas have started poking their way out from between wrought iron fences and sudden humidity is making them hang pendulously over the sidewalks. Our kitchen cabinet painting project has been showing up in my dreams, which I can’t say is entirely welcome, but at least in real life the task is nearly complete.

    In a few weeks, all three of our kids will be out of school or organized activities through the end of July and so James and I are belatedly letting the realities of summer sink in and putting plans into place, excited for the chance to be reunited with family and to triangulate visits between states and cousins. We’re foolishly optimistic that we’ll manage summertime work and childcare in a way that’s less painful than the juggle we fumbled with for so much of the last year, but hope springs eternal and we’re telling ourselves that by now we’ve all grown used to the challenge.

    Still, as we clean our paintbrushes and step through the maze of cabinet doors we’ve laid out on the dining room floor, we’re also recognizing our need to carve out time away from the juggle altogether. We’re setting our sights on a break from emails and work and painting anything more than watercolor postcards. We need a stretch of lazy days without to-do lists or obligations; with nothing but tan lines and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to worry over.

    I’m dreaming of finding an old station wagon to call our own, and loading it up with duffle bags stuffed with shorts and t-shirts and more books than anyone might reasonably be able to read. I’m hoping we’ll bump along a dirt road and find a little cabin at the end of it. Maybe there will be a pond or a stretch of rocky beach—a craggy spot where we can crash for a bit and beam out clear message:

    Out of office. Away from my desk. Without internet until further notice…

    We need a week or two when we might get to enjoy each other’s company without the constant distraction of work and the brain-splitting attempts to be three or four things at once to three or four different people. Just one or two things to three or four different people sounds like a dream to me.

    If anyone has leads for the perfect getaway for two beleaguered parents and their three young children, let me know. I’m putting it out to the universe that we could use a quiet and clean spot to land for a little time away, just the five of us. Ditto if you’ve got a lead on an old station wagon…

    PS. Speaking of temperature, we were lucky to get a new air conditioner right before the heatwave. I researched options and reached out to July over the winter to see if we might be able to test-drive one of their new models this spring. It was—forgive the pun—a breeze to install as promised, and it’s been heroically cooling us down without being a total bummer to look at for the last week. They’re currently sold out, but here’s my ringing endorsement and if you’re in need, encouragement to hop on their waitlist.

    small improvements: cabinet pulls.

    June 9, 2021

    The majority of our current kitchen cabinets are without pulls or knobs. There’s a small indentation along the bottom edge of the cabinet doors which makes them easy enough to open without handles, but for ease of use and cleaning and in hopes of creating a cohesive finished look, I’ve decided to add hardware as part of the larger kitchen improvement mission we’re tackling.

    Swapping hardware, or adding hardware where there isn’t any, is a small improvement that can really change the way a space looks and feels and functions and there are approximately one million articles on this internet saying as much for good reason. No surprise, I’m partial to hardware that’s small and simple. I love how a hardware switch is something that can really change a space subtly without crowding or overwhelming it. (No doubt for others, swapping hardware is a chance to do just the opposite and really go wild, but as always, the particulars are just a question of preference.) Even in a rental where there isn’t a lot of leeway to make changes, swapping cabinet hardware can be as simple as unscrewing one piece and installing another and should you need or want to switch them back before you go, keeping the originals safely tucked away to reinstall is simple enough to do.

    Of course, as with most small improvements, there are options and challenges to consider:

    A few things to consider:

    + If you’re replacing existing hardware with something new and don’t want to take on a significant DIY project, make sure your replacement is the same size as the existing so that you don’t need to fill or re-drill holes. If you’re drilling holes for the first time, consider measuring and drilling after the doors are hung to avoid accidents.

    + Likewise, if you’re swapping hardware on painted or stained furniture or cabinets with hardware of a different shape, keep in mind that you might be uncovering more than you’ve bargained for in the form of indentations, paint drips, fading, discoloration, etc. underneath the existing pulls or knobs. Be prepared for needing to sand, repaint, or refinish, depending on the nature of the hardware you’re swapping in or out.

    + If small details matter to you, consider the hinge finishes when swapping out hardware. I haven’t landed on whether I’ll replace the hinges on our cabinets to better match the new pulls, attempt to paint them, or leave them as is as they’re relatively unnoticeable, but I’m passing along the PSA that it might be something to consider if you’re thinking of making a hardware change.

    + If you do end up removing hardware and you don’t need to keep it, don’t forget to pass it along to someone else via your stoop, neighborhood Buy Nothing Group, or old-fashioned tag sale. One person’s trash is another’s treasure, et cetera.

    A few favorites:

    + After some back and forth, I’ve decided to replace the handles on our tall cabinets with these simple iron pulls from Fog Linen (see first photo). They’re somewhat tall as these things go, which seems fitting for the height of the cabinets and I love the exceedingly bare bones design. (The current handles are ornate reproduction handles and they’re placed so high on the cabinets that we couldn’t comfortably reach them, so I’m filling the existing holes and drilling new ones for the new hardware.) My second runner up was the Edgecliff Pulls from Schoolhouse, which I think would also be lovely for a slightly less rustic look.

    + In keeping with my preference for all things mini, I’m going with my gut and choosing 1-inch knobs instead of the larger and slightly more common 1 1/2-inch size. I think I’ve decided on the same ones that I used on our bedroom dressers—the Riverwood Knob from Schoolhouse in a true black finish. My other choice would be these simple iron knobs from Yester Home.

    + I’ve decided to go with metal hardware in the kitchen for durability’s sake, but in the past I’ve had lots of luck with alternative materials. The Rope Handles I made for our under-bed wine crates have held up beautifully and so did the Braided Leather Handles I made for a dresser we had when Faye was a baby. If I find the right spot for them, next up I want to make braided handles using this technique and butcher’s twine or hemp string.

    What about you? Hardware favorites? Hardware hacks? Hardware horror stories? Would love to hear!

    This post includes affiliate links. Reading My Tea Leaves might earn a small commission on the goods purchased through those links.

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  • my week in objects (mostly).

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  • my week in objects (mostly).

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