hanging yarn banner

I have historically categorized any type of wall art into categories like: “later,” “unnecessary,” and “not now.” When it comes to budgeting my time, money, and decision-making capacity, I can never commit. Even if it’s something cheap and small.

My homes throughout the years have suffered from a sad lack of art and decor. It stems from my minimalist and frugal tendencies,  but another part comes from the side of me that is loathe to pull any type of trigger.

In my mind, it goes something like this, “If I buy this piece unframed, I can save money by getting it framed locally. But where would I do that? I’d have to research this. How much money would I really save? God, this is turning into a lot  of work…” And the dialogue goes on until I decide I have other things I need to focus on. So I table this discussion another few months only to start it over.

I’m working on it. I really want art in my house. Until that happens,  I’ll continue to supplement my bare walls with interesting shelves, statement walls, and the few plants that manage to stay alive.

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I’ve seen a few of these yarn wall pieces floating around pinterest, and I thought, “why not?” I needed a reason to visit the Lion Brand Yarn Studio by Union Square. I was pleased to find the quality of yarn was much higher than I expected and the prices were on the low side, which is a relief if you know what it’s like to try to find reasonably priced yarn in NYC.

I settled on these three colors.

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The gem of this batch was the light yarn with the gold leaf, which stays attached to the yarn quite well.

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I was so thrilled when I found it, when I took it home to Ryan, I showed him with pride, exclaiming how it matches our gold and white theme in the house.

To which he replied, “I didn’t know we had a gold and white theme.”

Doing a face-palm never felt  more appropriate.

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Hanging Wall Art Supplies

-3 different types of yarn. You won’t use a whole skein, so this is a good project for leftover yarn.
-2 two-feet wooden dowels
-Copper wire or twine for hanging

This project is pretty simple and fast. You’ll want to prep the yarn by cutting it into a lot of equal-length strings.

Grab the bottom dowel, and  taking the cut yarn, loop some knots working left to right. Continue making knots to the width that you prefer. I stopped in the middle to change colors, making sure the outer colors had the same amount of knots to keep the symmetry.

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Once you’ve completed the bottom row, do the same with the top row. I wanted my top row of yarn to have a smaller width, so I did fewer knots. Then I secured the two dowels together by tying them together with copper wire. You can also use string or twine for this step.

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Once they were attached, I took the scissors to it to try to even out the shape. It turned out nicely.Wall-Art-2

One of these days, I’ll get around to creating my own weaving to display on the wall. I’ve even taken a loom weaving class! But in the meantime, this piece adds a bit of texture and color to the room.

NYC Weekend: Bike Date on the West Side Highway

Yesterday, the weather was perfect and Ryan and I decided to tackle the West Side Highway. We’ve been saying we would bike it since we moved here. Two years later, I’m wondering what took us so long, because it was a blast.

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The West Side highway is part of Manhattan’s Waterfront Greenway. I was a little skeptical about the waterfront aspect, because the waterfront route I take in Brooklyn isn’t on the water, not really. But this route followed the Hudson River and we were on the water the entire time.

I’m always invigorated when I get near water. I was surrounded by it growing up and absolutely love it.

So our bike date started in Brooklyn. We biked over the Manhattan Bridge, through SoHo, and eventually met up with the West Side Highway. It was crowded, of course, but especially so because of Fleet Week. The bike path touches all of the piers and ports. There were a few times when we had to dismount because of the crowd.

Once we got past 55th street, everything cleared up. We made our first stop at a little park (or possibly part of Riverside Park?). I was excited to see some wildlife (always). Baby geese!

I know these babies are going to grow up to be monsters, but they were so cute! And the mama was surprisingly nice and let me get pretty close.  Also, we ran into a mallard and his lady. He was looking very handsome.

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My grandma instilled a love of mallards in me.

We ended up biking up to 125th street and cut across to eat at Seasoned Vegan in Harlem. After some fried “chicken” and pancakes, we felt fueled enough to head back.

We didn’t have a clear path back to the West Side Bike Path so ended up biking around Morningside Park and then through Riverside Park. After a few miles of biking, we stopped at a helipad to watch a huge helicopter take off. That was a first. Then we continued biking in silence until we stopped at a park south of Chelsea to take pictures of the flowers.

The park had a nice view of the water and downtown. Can you spot Ryan and our bikes?

I love my bike. It’s kind of crappy (it’s a Wal-Mart bike from the 90’s), but it’s been wonderful to me. It’s not fantastic for every-day commuting. It’s slow and weights almost twice as much as Ryan’s bike, even though his bike is much bigger than mine. But I think it’s super cute and fits my personality. I mean, I’m slow, and heavy for my size, and super cute. Right?

We then headed down to South Manhattan to finish our ride biking the southern tip of the peninsula.  We were pushed off the trail because of some construction and found this weird stone and plant structure by the water in the Battery.

It turns out it was the Irish Hunger Memorial. I thought it looked really out of place surrounded by hotels and concrete and that’s because it’s designed to reflect the scenery of rural Ireland.

We finished up our trip in Manhattan by going down to Battery City Park. I will not do this again. Sure you can see the Statue of Liberty and all of the ferries, but it’s a nightmare. There are people everywhere and the bike lanes are merged with the pedestrian lanes causing frustration for all. There’s also a lot of construction and confusion as to where the bike lanes are.

The whole trip was almost 29 miles and we were out for about five hours, so we were pretty exhausted by the end. The distance wasn’t as long as our trip on the St. Mark’s trail, but it definitely took a lot longer due to congestion.

During the past couple of days, Ryan and I have really picked up our biking. This ride put us in at around 70 miles this week, which is the most I’ve ever done!

 

 

blogger thoughts: perfectionism, pinterest, and self-promotion

As my last post mentioned, I started a new job and am happily assimilating to a career working and commuting into midtown Manhattan. So what does that mean for me? Well, a lot less free time. Mostly in terms of the long commute, which I try to make the best of, but it still takes almost two hours out of my day.

I’ve been biking to work pretty regularly to stay active. My legs are feeling stronger, but I miss running a lot and am hoping to incorporate a run or two on top of 80 minutes of biking every day.

I’m also struggling to get creative with meals at home. Lately, dinner consists of salads and sandwiches. By the time I get home, I’m exhausted and am not in the mood to cook something elaborate and even less in the mood to set up my mini-photo studio and take pictures of it for the blog.

Heidi Glasses

(new glasses from warby parker)

Which kind of has me thinking about the direction and future of my blog. I’ve thought a lot about incorporating more personal content – something I’ve always been too timid to do. In so many ways, I’m exhausted of the rat race that so often accompanies blogging. I love blogs, and in particular, I love feeling inspired to create new things. But if I create something that isn’t exactly photo worthy, or “pinnable,” I can’t stop questioning “what’s the point?” Even worse, I hate the feeling of failure that I happens when I’ve created something amazing (in my opinion) and it doesn’t get pinned a lot or I don’t get a lot of social hits. This is the dark side of blogging. Your blog’s value sometimes only feels like a metric.

I can’t stop thinking of how I felt when I first started blogging. I miss a lot about who I was and how I blogged at the beginning, back when I used a point-and-shoot with flash all the time and all of my images were blurry (so blurry…sigh…).  I didn’t spend nearly as much time on posts. I did what I could with what was available to me – a cheap camera with a built in flash and some dim lighting. Although I wanted to improve (and did, thank god), I didn’t let my perfectionism get in the way. I boldly posted those blurry photos or that terrible photoshopped image and didn’t think twice about who would pin it. Now, on more than one occasion, I’ve done an entire photo shoot and spent hours arduously editing photos before my perfectionism gets the best of me and I end up trashing the entire project. Since I don’t have a strong enough following to promote my content for me, I spend just as much time promoting a post as I do creating its content. Post frequency is down drastically, but quality and engagement has increased tremendously.

But in the beginning, I always felt like I was blogging for me. Or, at the very least, my audience agreed with my notions of “Well, no one has time to spend six hours a day blogging while working a full-time job and juggling fitness, relationships, and mental health.” But now, some of my favorite blogs are the ones with entire teams and studios, and I feel like I’ll never be able to attract people with my puny blog. Does anyone else feel this way?

Even now, I think to myself, what type of image should accompany this post? And the thought crossed my mind (I’m sure you’ve seen this on Pinterest) of some moody background image with the words “The Dark Side of Blogging.” That’s just not me or my brand.

Lately, maybe because I’ve been spending so much time writing at a computer, I’ve been journaling voraciously with a pen and paper. In general, I’m finding I need to spend more time away from computer and phone screens. This includes spending much less time on social media. Self-promotion has always been hard for me. And since the thought of visiting Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest is something I am absolutely uninterested in, you might see fewer interactions on the social front. It upsets me that this feels so much like blog suicide, or worse, giving up. It shouldn’t be that way.

Do you know any bloggers who have great blogs and a successful following, but don’t have a social media presence? Please share them with me.

As far as the state of the blog goes, Ryan worked to make the DIY and recipe pages easier to navigate. Now, you can see everything in that category all on a single page accompanied by an icon. I’ve also added a “travel and adventures” category to my menu. Without visiting new places and seeing new things, my life would be incomplete.