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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Finally--the decorated apartment

I'm sorry I've fallen so behind blogging this week.  For some reason, all the social and professional aspects of the Collegium have hit in spades since last Tuesday!  I'm hoping that life will settle back to normal next week.

In any case about a week ago, I took a series of pictures to show you how I've added some color and liveliness to my white and tan, Ikea-modern room.  (Don't get me wrong.  It's quite comfortable, very convenient, and in great repair, just not super homey).

So here they are with Ted as the demonstrator--think of the flash girl in magic shows.  (Oh, that's a horrible image!)  Voil√†, entryway.

As you can see, an entryway is an entryway except that it's now become a depo for scarves, mittens, coats, shoes, and Ted stuff--including the very flashy blue poop bags that come directly from Stockmanns.  (Think of it as buying dog poop bags at Bloomingdale's; ludicrous but easy to get from where I work and cheaper than buying plastic grocery bags.  I'm still wrapping my mind around gender-colored bags for my dog's excrement, though.)  I love just being able to kick my shoes off as soon as I get in the apartment and to assert that, by doing so, I'm just respecting cultural norms!

Looking back towards the kitchen living room, it doesn't look like much has changed, but I've actually added a lot of things to make it more comfortable.

I've just let things drape so that it adds some color to the space.  I was actually amazed what a difference colorful scarves on the closets and orchids on the window ledges made.  With the kitchen, I've actually now got it set up so that it can be used to cook decent meals, complete with wine and various vinegars and oils.  The mini fridge works amazingly well: I can even keep meat and ice cream frozen in the tiny freezer compartment!

I will, though, find a way to hug my dishwasher and deep sink when I get back.

As you can see, I set up my dining table as my desk.  It just didn't make sense to have it in the middle of the room all the time, and it actually gave me some sense of discreet spaces.  It's also very handy with the two computers, as I've learned since the NFL has started: I can enter things into my database with the Niners playing the background!  :-)  You can also see the blue chair in the bottom right.  It's actually quite comfortable, although lime green and itchy.  I threw one of the extra, hotel-style (read unfunctional) blankets from the bed on it and set up a desk lamp there on what used to be a second bedside table (like Ted needs a lamp!).  Lovely reading spot!

This picture of my couch makes it look much starker than it is primarily because I took it on what seems to be one of the last really bright days of the summer.  I broke down and bought navy blue covers for the bed and couch, so that things are now relatively harmonious (I can't believe I just used that word for "design"!) and the fabric no longer itches!  It also makes it easy to keep the place from smelling like Ted and looking like a kennel--just throw everything in the wash once a week!  Basically it means that the apartment has lots of shades of blue and purple now, rather than unmatching purple, lime green, forest green, tan, white, black and turquoise I started with.  (This list makes it sound bright.  Believe me, it was far from bright and all of the shades clashed.  With the pillows piled up and the second of the bed blankets draped on top of me, it's a nice place to swatch TV, although I'm going to hit the local Goodwill for some sort of floor lamp so that I can read there.  (The light in the living room area is intentionally dim--atmosphere or something, they told me--and it'd blind me to read on the couch.)

Now the bedroom, which has become one of Ted's favorite places--other than under the dining table when I'm typing (like right now).

It's amazing what a difference the blue sheet, some big pillows with blue pillow cases, and the orchid make.  When I came here, they were lovely about giving me extra pillows but they were all tiny, so stacking them up to read in bed just wasn't happening.  I figured I'd live with it since all the pillows I saw in the stores were 90+ Euros.  I'm just too cheap for that!  Then one day I walked into Stockmann's and found these huge square pillows for all of 15 Euros each.  That I'd pay, so now I'm a happy camper.

Ted has also discovered the joys of a queen-sized bed, especially since there are two, separate duvets.  He considers that as "one for you, one for me."  Then, of course, there are times, like this one, when it's "all for me!"

Oh, and you can see a bit the rugs I got, too.  The floor was so slippery here that I had this image of Ted flying off the bed one day, sliding, and me paying for knee surgery again.  Basically any sort of real rug was going to be expensive, not to mention a pain to keep clean.  Then one day I got this brainstorm when I saw a bunch of bath rugs on sale.  I managed to pick up 3, good-sized ones for about 50 Euro total: 1 big one in blue, 2 medium ones in white.  If I throw them in the wash every week they stay nice, and it's become part of my Friday entertainment to see in what pattern the cleaning staff will lay them out when they're done!  On the mundane level, Ted's sliding around much less now, and it's nice getting dressed standing on the soft rugs.

In fact, here's the final testimony to how well we've settled in to our little apartment: Ted laying on the bed, trying--and failing--to look innocent after stealing one of my pairs of socks from the closet.

Next will be more random musings or pictures from my latest exploration of Helsinki neighborhoods!  Good night and time for pizza!

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