Face. Yo. Fears.

Formally trained at The Martha Stewart Academy, Max had a difficult time moving in with somebody like me. He was disturbed by so many things in my apartment—the plain white linens, the lack of throw pillows, my surfaces clear of homey knickknacks. Where were all my throw blankets? Didn’t I own a few more table lamps I could set up? Why didn’t it smell persistently like flowers or fresh laundry? These were the habits of a barbarian, and I suppose I should count myself lucky that he has since spent months attempting to reform my bachelor ways. It was uncomfortable at first, but I’ve decided to be courageous and look at it less like an assault and more like a challenge to move beyond my comfort zone. One that involves a crazy, never-ending roller coaster ride of emotional turmoil.

I don’t mean to sing my own praises here, but I’d say I have an above-average olfactory sense, a gift that tends to be more curse than blessing in the city of New York. My apartment didn’t smell bad, but rather didn’t really smell like anything, which is how I like it. I tend to find scented rooms a little uncomfortable, to be honest. Why does your 6th floor East Village apartment always smell like a garden center full of hydrangeas? What are you trying to cover up? Do you have terrible gas? Are you growing pot in your coat closet? Do you have a rotting carcass fetish?  There are no flowers around, it doesn’t make sense. Context is everything.

All of this changed with Max.

Face your fears.

By my count, we have 2 plug-ins, 2 reed diffusers, 2 oil burners, and a vast assortment of tiny vials of variously scented oils, much like a witch doctor. Bear in mind that our apartment is about 600 square feet. Max used to have a third oil burner before I think I urged him to throw it away, and I’ve put my foot solidly down against the concept of tiny bowls of potpourri strewn about the place, but I know it’s probably only a matter of time. I know he’s just waiting for that right potpourri.

At one point shortly after he moved in, he purchased a third reed diffuser and put it on the mantle. It was the sort of thing that gave me the nervous eye twitch, but hey, I thought, he’s new here, let the boy have it. It wasn’t until it fell to the floor, diffusing its contents all over my rug and the couch, that tacit frustration boiled over into rage. “THESE THINGS ARE ARE MADE BY THE MEDDLING HANDS OF THE DEVIL,” I recall yelling. I sulked for days, pretending that it was the oil spill all over my antique rug (which is gone now… just cover it with cornstarch and vacuum later! Thanks, Martha!) that bothered me, not that my apartment smelled like a funeral parlor. That smell could linger for days, but possibly forever, and eventually I’d have to move, telling people, “Oh, it was a great apartment, but I got tired of smelling Savon’s Sandlewood oil. It was time to move on.”

All of our many new fragrances were easy to accept with a kind of passive compliance, but things got more distressing when Max zeroed in on the throw pillow situation.

All I heard about was throw pillows. I had purchased some fabric that I had planned to make into throw pillows, but a combination of laziness and a crippling fear of my sewing machine had delayed the process for about a year. Max thought this fabric was “too manly” anyway (“but we are men, Sugar Tits!”), so what followed was weeks of bickering over which pillows. Max would threaten me with some semi-contemporary trellis pattern thing and I’d get all weepy about the vintage kilim pillow he made me donate to Goodwill (gone, but not forgotten) and that would go on for a while until we’d realize we were actually fighting about throw pillows and then we’d explode into a pile of rainbows and glitter paint.

Eventually I presented Max with a single option, which he took: the Coco Pillow from CB2. Neither of us loved them, neither of us hated them, which was a big improvement over everything else we’d presented each other. Stalemate pillows, if you will. We bought two. Drama, ended.

But two pillows wasn’t enough to satiate Max’s undying thirst for throw pillows. So, desperate to finally end this whole debacle, I walked into the Marimekko shop at Crate & Barrel and bought a yard of fabric.

And then I FACED MY FEARS.

I looked up some instructions online. I broke out that sewing machine. I made some fucking pillows. I watched the pilot episode of that Terra Nova show and was disappointed. Talk about a packed afternoon.

Don’t pretend you’re not impressed. FYI, made them about an inch smaller than the insert, which keeps them from getting too droopy. You know, pro tip.

Totally sewed them with an envelop back, too! This allowed me to skip the whole zipper issue, seeing as who the hell am I kidding here? I can’t sew a zipper.

But then, because my pillows were such a wild success, I showed them to a friend at a party and we got to talking about whether I could make cushions for our friend Emily’s couch for her birthday.

Vintage teak Danish sofa. No cushions. Foam, dacron, spray adhesive, fabric, sewing machine, zippers. “Yes!” drunk Daniel said, “I would love to do that! When do we start?” And then sober Daniel had a panic attack.

FACE.

YOUR.

FEARS.

I basically followed this awesome dude’s instructions for the foam, which I purchased at Canal Rubber. They’re WONDERFUL there, by the way. If you go in, give Lee a holler for me.

Then, using these advanced tools… (indeed, those are children’s scissors from IKEA. Our kitchen scissors were inexplicably lost so the other option was cuticle scissors.)

And a hefty amount of figuring it the fuck out…

I made this sexy tweedy thing. And another one for the back.

Which turned into these sexy tweedy things.

So people could do shit like this on them.

Sometimes people tell me, “oh, Daniel, you are so gifted and crafty!” And I say to them, “I swear, I don’t have any special skills.”  This is basically true, save for one caveat: I am just a naturally gifted DIY superhero who can do anything. ANYTHING. I even learned how to thread a bobbin during this whole sofa cushion thing. And watched the entire first season of Walking Dead. As I said: ANYTHING.

Face your fears.

As it’s getting dark so early, it’s cold outside, and Max was getting a little too comfortable, I decided I really wanted some house plants.

Max has this thing about houseplants. He hates them. Sometimes I think about why this might be, seeing as a good houseplant is loyal, and alive, and filters your air, and needs very little maintenance. Is it because sometimes the leaves collect dust? Is it because they have soil, which is traditionally home to bugs? Is it because they photosynthesize for energy, which is basically eating the sun? Is it because they grow, like silent, perpetually still zombie children waiting around in corners of your house?

FACE.

YO.

MOTHERFUCKING.

FEARS.

I already had this one. Bought it at Morton-Williams, 82nd & 1st Ave. (can I hear a whut-whut?!). I do not know what it’s called, but I do know that it lived through the move and just keeps growing. So, so proud.

And what? What did I do? Went and bought a Fabian Aralia from some guy on Craigslist? Like a crazy plant person? Who talked about plants with me while I pet his dog? Sure did.

Then just to be an asshole I bought this little lovely at Trader Joe’s for a couple bucks. Planted her in a weird sized vase I had and water her every once in a while. She’s alright.

I recognize that buying houseplants as a form of passive aggression is about the gayest thing imaginable (I can say that, you can’t). It just feels so right.

I wasn’t really prepared for this, though. Seasonal decorating.

Gourds. Everywhere there are gourds. Gourds, pumpkins, glass pumpkins, more gourds.

These cropped up shortly before Halloween and have been slowly rotting on most of the surfaces in our apartment ever since. Max says they’re a “slightly pre-Halloween up until and including Thanksgiving” thing. He is disposing of them piecemeal—we’ll come home, something will smell funky, and he’ll find the offending gourd and toss it.

It’s not a horrible smell, just something a little bitter in the air. It might be worse, but, you see, we have these air fresheners.

Until next time: FACE. YO. FEARS.


123 Comments

  1. loved this post. but i am most excited to see what mama kanter has to say in the comments.

  2. Great post, smirked like an idiot in the office, desperatly not trying to giggle. I just hope my screen is big enough.

    UGH – air fresheners! You are so right, those things are made in hell. Probably to disguise the sulphurous stench. But I’ll side with Max on the plants. I don’t like them either. Plants outside: fine. Plants inside: horribly wrong, bourgeois,awful things. And those things are passive aggression in themselves. Stupid droopy leaves that say “water me, you’re not giving me enough attention”. I say to them, you want water? The sink is over there, go get it yourself!

    However, the husband insists on some plants. I have him down to three pots, one of these is a terrarium I copied from Morgan’s Brick House blog. I’m okay with that one, I don’t know why. Maybe because it’s contained in its bowl.

    Love your blog! Post more often, please! Even though it makes me feel bad, because I don’t get half a s much shit done in the appartment.

  3. Wow, you did a great job on the sewing!

    I’m afraid I too hate air fresheners. They’re so fake, so chemically. My old boss used to have them in his office constantly, every time he went out I was shutting the door. I don’t want all that nastiness up my nostrils all the time, like you, I’d rather smell nothing.

    It’s all about compromise though… And for what it’s worth, I don’t like houseplants (or squash everywhere) either. I guess I’m just a whinger.

  4. HAHA!!!
    Love your pillows.

    I have a thing about smell too, a lot of smells used for detergents actually make me sneeze and irritate my sinuses. So we pay extra for our detergent (compared to other detergents), just for it NOT to smell.
    The thing I hate most is scented candles. I shudder to think what Christmas will bring you in that respect (I did say in my last comment that Max is a keeper, lest we forget)
    But my sister uses these smelly sticks as well and hers seem quite natural scent-wise.

  5. adore your blog :) you are way too funny.

  6. I’m seriously impressed with your newly-found sewing skills! I need to face my fears and buy a damn sewing machine so I can see if I have some hidden superpower in me too! :)

  7. It’s posts like this that makes your blog one of the BEST.
    You’re hilarious. Also, you are my hero, for sure.

    • Yes! You beat me to the punch on this one.

    • Daniel – Your mantle is full of mutant fucking squash.

      God, between the McSweeney’s and the Parks and Rec comment below. This is my favorite post of all time.

  8. You are hilarious. I hope I’m right to assume that the FACE. YO. FEARS. should be read in the voice of Aziz Ansari, à la “TREAT. YO. SELF.” ‘Cause that’s how I’m hearing it in my mind.

    I have a similar situation in our apartment – I’m the long-time hater of scents of any kind, the husband is the cologne wearing, scented-candle buying one. I just imagine all those little “particles” of fake smell chemicals floating around and it seems gross. But I’m the one with the crap sense of smell, and he’s the one with the sensitive nose, so really, I have no ground in any smell argument whatsoever. Just this year, I have changed my policies to be pro-perfume, and I’m not going back (I’m a Chanel No. 5 gal now). Face. Yo. Fears.

  9. You are the BEST. My favorite blog right now.

  10. Gosh, y’all are too cute! Is that a Rosenthal Nutter vase?

    • No… it’s marked “Hill USA” on the bottom. Just something I picked up at a yard sale for a couple dollars!

  11. Almost pissed my pants! Your posts are NSFW.
    Really a good one! Love the daybed.
    Greetings from Berlin!

  12. I have been stalking your blog for a while and LOVE it.
    I have two comments:

    1. Walking Dead is my # 3 favorite show EVER ( behind #1 Breaking Bad and #2 Dexter)

    2. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not ever use IKEA children’s scissors again when you are sewing…RUN as fast as you can and buy decent sewing scissors like Fiskars. Then hide them, and don’t use them for anything but fabric. It will be a life changing moment, I promise!

    Keep sewing…it gets easier!

    • I know!! It’s terrible. I really need better scissors.

      I’m into Walking Dead, but I think this season has been terrible! It REALLY needs to pick up or I might be out. Loved the first season though… Breaking Bad is the shit.

  13. I die for your cushions. So impressed. Thank you for the link to the tutorial by the guy in jorts. I have two Danish chairs that need cushions and now I am ready to FACE MY FEARS. Heart you so big!

  14. I am all for facing yo fears, but you are right to be averse to chemical air “fresheners.” I assure you Martha Stewart does not approve of that stuff, either. Seriously, you guys…don’t do that to your bodies. There are plenty of things that smell good but that aren’t composed of petrochemicals and volatile organic compounds. Treat yo respiratory, circulatory, and nervous systems right. (There are some good suggestions for what you can do instead in this post, and you can read scary EPA stuff here.)

    OK, enough. And I’m buying you real fabric scissors for Hanukkah.

    p.s. Yes to gourds.

    • I love that site awake and living as well. I stumbled upon it and it’s very informative. She always has clever posts and is pretty right on about dangers and health benefits overall.
      But yeah, don’t use plug ins… very toxic. :(

    • Thanks, Anna! You have legitimated my hatred with rational concerns. I owe you forever!!

      I should have known those things could kill me when one spilled on my desk and ate a hole through the poly and paint. True story.

  15. I loved everything about this entry. While I love reed diffusers, I also fear the oil spill like a motherfuck. Nice to know Martha’s got my back on that one ;)

    All joking aside, a thousand points to you for getting that sexy tweedy thing done. Your bravery, I am in awe of it!

  16. You might like a tiny bowl of Mrs. Meyer’s all-purpose cleaner, in lieu of mystery chemical air freshener. My favorite is the “basil” scent. Mrs. Meyer’s stuff is made with essential oils and, according to them, as few preservatives and such as possible. (The air freshener people make no such claims.) Just a suggestion!

  17. I just laughed way too loud at work thanks to your hilarious blog. I love it. I read it slowly so that it will last longer. Your plants are great–sculptural–and you need them to counteract the toxins those air “fresheners” are putting into your environment.

  18. Houseplants as a form of passive aggression – I love it! And the pillows look great (the throw pillows and the ones for your friend’s couch).

    Also- what if you grew some sort of good-smelling plant? Maybe that would be similar to stalemate pillows? Maybe not. Ignore me.

    PS- No to gourds. Just no.

  19. First of all, great job on those pillows.

    Secondly, I totally agree with you on the air freshener issue. Those chemical sprays aren’t good for you! A clean house shouldn’t smell bad. On the other hand, sometimes I like to add some scent to things. I would rather use potpourri and a sachet of lavender in my drawer than a VOC spray. That oil diffuser may be ok, though. I don’t know about incense either. You *need* those plants to filter that stuff out of the air.

    Also, on the gourd front, I’ll put out the winter squash I bought to eat, then cook them before they go bad. No gourds just for decor in my house.

  20. You are so entertaining! I’m so burned out on blogs, but not yours. And re: the first houseplant photo: Monstera deliciosa :)

    • It is actually a Philodendron. But both are wonderful additions to any home.

      Love the blog Daniel! Your transformations and witty commentary always make for an entertaining read.

      Keep up the good work on that beautiful apartment!

  21. So glad you’re writing again – this post was great! I, too, hate smelly things and seasonal decor (so wasteful!) but love houseplants.

  22. Whoa…so much packed into one post! And as odd as this may sound, many of these topics hit a personal chord with me – the reed diffusers (Kyle wants them, I do not), the sewing machine fears (have a post in the hopper on this), the IKEA yellow scissors (have the same ones and use them all the time!) and even the f’ing gourds (bought some but they just don’t feel quite right in our house).

    Glad to hear that this is all just normal couples stuff… =)

  23. First, this post had both my husband and I laughing! Second, I can totally relate to this post… houseplants and sewing machines; houseplants are my husband’s fear, sewing machines are mine!

  24. hilarious! you should hide those little refrigerator boxes of baking soda all around the house to negate the air fresheners.

  25. It’s sweet to read about you guys getting used to each other. If I were to crash your pad I would hate your house plants and I would hate his air fresheners–omg, especially the plug-in ones. I would like his gourds (but I would arrange them differently) and I would share your hesitance about throw pillow overload. But I would love you both anyway.

    I am SUPER impressed by your sewing and your fear facing in general. I am wondering how you got over the fear of the bobbin. How could such a scary thing have such a cute li’l name? Honestly, I think there has to be a better system. Or maybe there is by now. 8th grade Home Ec was a long time ago…

    jbhat

  26. This post is all sorts of awesome.

  27. Down with air fresheners. And up with throw pillows. Nice sewing!

  28. You are the new love of my life!

    I love love love this blog! so funny! and it makes me think that I can do ANYTHING, as well!

    Btw, I think it’s totally badass that you were able to make those sexy, tweedy couch cushions while watching the entire first season of The Walking Dead …

  29. That first house plant looks like a rubber tree plant. We had one and it lived 30+ years before dying and survived at least 2 moves (one of which was long distance). They are definitely hearty buggers!

  30. I know all about the scents (we’ve settled on a scented candle or incense for occasional use only).

    The cushion making I also had a run in with. Just like you, I said ‘yes’ before realizing what I had done. I hate foam forever. And sewing covers for foam. And 60″ long zippers. You did a great job…far better than I did.

  31. Maybe this could be a good scent compromise?

    I use these things called Scent Balls ( … I know.) that function like the Glade Plug-Ins, but, instead of weird chemical fragrance, you put a few drops of essential oil on a little pad. The plug-in thing gently warms the pad and releases the smell, and unlike a candle oil burner, you can safely leave it unattended. I don’t have any affiliation to the company, by the way! It’s also nice to change up the scents when you feel like it.

    http://www.escentsaromatherapy.com/Scent-Ball-Aromatherapy-Diffuser-Kit_p_327.html

  32. Max sounds like he’s a 68-year-old lady inside. This post is why, if I ever live with someone, we’re each going to live on either side of a duplex.

  33. How did I not find this blog until today? You are genius. I keep telling myself I’m going to buy a sewing machine and go apeshit on d-i-y, but now I’m really going to do it. Pinky swear to self.

  34. Ugh, why are you so awesome? I love that you and Max are having passive aggressive scent/pillow/plant shenanigans. I need you to clone yourself so one of you can move to NC, be mortified about living in NC, and then be my new best friend.

  35. I read this and cannot stop laughing. It’s made worse by the fact that I share a small office with 4 other people who now think I’m completely off my nut. I have tried the passive-agressive houseplant route, but I always manage to kill them in the end, then I just feel like I’m being aggressive in the wrong direction.

  36. GREAT post! My first house plant that I purchased 12 years ago is still around and thriving. Thank goodness golden pothos are damn forgiving!!! =)

  37. This is why it is better to live with someone that is NOT like you. Yes, you may clash. No, you will not always agree on how to do things. But, this is actually a good thing. I wish I’d ended up with someone that can’t stand clutter, because then I would be forced to pick. up. my. shit.

    I’m trying to do the house plant thing – but they keep dying – ’cause they never get watered. And I’m with Gaidig – there may be squashes in my house, but they’re waiting to be eaten. You know, even those tiny pumpkins are tasty if you put them in the oven.

  38. How are there like 700 comments on this post and no one has said a word about a store named Canal Rubber? Come ON.

    Also, awesome. I love the throw pillows. And the couch cushions. And the angsty relationship stuff. I need to get a sewing machine immeds.

  39. Yes, air fresheners ARE the devil (if you believe in that sort of thing…). Get that stuff out of your house!!

  40. As the mother of one of you, in this case Daniel, how am I to comment on this post? I can’t take sides. Dangerous territory. However, Daniel, I would warn Max of your overly sensitive nose and how it led to a certain incident in a certain hotel foyer one time. Just sayin’. BTW, gourds after Halloween–NO, unless they are in the kitchen and going to be cooked-SOON. We have a neighbor who leaves their X-mas lights going until like October and it makes me just want to drive through their yard (drunk, of course) pulling down all their stupid lights that are up WAY too long. It would be a bonus if I could also take out their gigantic Republican signs. Maybe I could handle all this in a more passive aggressive way–rather than just aggressive-am open to suggestions.

    • Don’t drink and drive, Mommy. Other than that, go wild.

      • I KNOW not to drink and drive. But, in my fantasy rampage of this neighbor’s yard there is no way I could do it without being under the influence. I am way too nice. Maybe you can be my DD?

  41. you’re right about the oils. put your foot down and swap them out for potpourri, which is way less gross.

    http://www.agrariahome.com/bitter-orange-potpourri/

  42. I really appreciate how this post came full-circle.

  43. Also, I love your mom. But I strongly agree with Max regarding the gourd situation. Or rather, regourding the gourd situation.

  44. Air fresheners are seriously, seriously gross. Usually I wish I knew the bloggers I read in real life…but for this one, if I knew y’all, I would never go to your apartment. That many different smells in one 600 sq ft apartment? MIGRAINE CITY.

    But rock on with your passive aggressive houseplants. Maybe they’ll take some of the smell out of the air.

  45. What did I do before I found you? This was your best post yet. Gave me the giggles. If yo mama ever wants to adopt you out, I’m placing dibs.

  46. Okay. Where did you get the sexy tweedy fabric?

    And is there an offering I can make to the upholstery gods to learn to sew a zipper like that?

    Wow does it look great!

    • The fabric is from PS Fabrics on Broadway, and it was CHEAP CHEAP (I think $12/yd?). It’s nice stuff, too! I bought the zippers from Jem fabrics, which is right next door.

  47. Oh Daniel… I love it when you post! Such an amazing DYI superhero for sure!

  48. Love your tweed daybed and the pillows- you are amazing even with scissors and a sewing machine! I envy your “I can diy everything I want”- attitude so much. Keep on sewing, home improving and blogging all the way! Once you make it to Switzerland, let’s share some coffee.

  49. Love this post! I laughed out loud through half of it. I’m inspired to start some new projects and face some of those fears.

    Keep up the posts; can’t wait to see what you do next!

  50. :) I too like my scented oil warmers. However, they release toxic VOCs into the air, and my dog got really sick a few weeks ago (she’s old anyways so not unexpected at this point), and I unplugged it on a whim, and she started to get better, and every time I plug that thing back in, within a day she relapses. So I took an empty one, filled it with essential oils that are not illness-inducing, and my house smells nice without killing my pets. Or me. Mhm.

    Seasonal decorating though? I don’t get it. I have friends that do it, and I think it looks a little dated and tacky. That’s just me though.

    • Oh gosh, that’s awful! Hugs to your pup!!!

      • Thanks, she’s doing a lot better now! I’m sure it wasn’t just the air freshener, but it definitely seemed to make everything worse. Just wanted to make sure you knew they were toxic, I had no idea until recently.

  51. My moment of fame, my midsection exposed for all to see… Daniel thank you once again for those cushions they totally transformed the living room, and are all around amazing!
    I’ve never noticed your apartment smelling overly scented, when it seems like I should instead be immediately knocked over by overwhelming flowers.
    Also Max’s unending supply of seasonally themed items is his best feature.

    • Hahaha, er…yeah…I hope you don’t mind. I needed the “straight chillin” pose and you were a perfect model.

      I’m glad the smell isn’t that crazy. I’ve lost all sense of objectivity.

      Also, of course, I know. It’s super adorable.

    • You were just an anonymous bare belly till you outed yourself :) Fab sofa!

  52. I love those glass pumpkins! Where did you get them?

  53. Wasnt it true that you and Max met bc he read your blog? Haha seems like he wouldnt like to read the blog based on your totally different tastes. Very funny how those things happen!
    Also, you’d think he would like house plants based on his ‘fresh air’ feelings.

  54. Just when I think you can’t get any funnier, you do! you really make my day, thank you. Totally with you on fake scent, chemically and gross.

  55. we have a 4 of those scented pulg-in things and i am so wanting to find a different solution. we live in an apartment and we keep the windows cracked open as much as we can…but still…we have a big, old dog and even though we clean the place..it still tends to be stinky. I am gonna try that Mr. Meyers hint that someone else posted. I tried the white vinegar in a bowl and it didn’t do shit! :-(
    I LOVE your sewing skills. I have been looking some form of hobby to clam my overactive, stressed out nerves and really want to learn to sew me some pillows. I am afraid I will get all pissed off and end up chucking the fabic and the sewing machine out the window! Did sewing calm you or were you all amped up while doing it? Should I sew drunk?
    LOVE HOUSE PLANTS! I use to have tons, now I am down to 2 and they both hate me. I lost my green thumb! I think I just hate my apartment and my plants feel my hatred so they are dieing.
    FYI: the show you MUST WATCH is American Horror Story!!!!!

  56. if you didn’t notice…i tend to type faster than i think and i pay no attention to my spelling! YIKERS

  57. Now I feel bad for having a sewing machine and not doing all the sewing projects I keep thinking of… Once upon a time I actually got to work and make curtains for my apartment, but it has been quite awhile, and now I need to take some inspiration from this (absolutely hilarious) post and get off my butt and sew!

    Also, houseplants are awesome. Why would you not want pretty green things that give you fresh air?

  58. That sofa thing you made cushions for is the sex, I wants it.

  59. Oh Jesus, get rid of those diffuser thingies a.s.a.p. before someone gets sinus cancer. I buy Mrs. Meyers cleaner and use it daily. Wipe down a counter or table or clean the bathroom sink and that should scent the whole place. Spritz in on a light fixture before people come over or even when you are home alone – treat yourself!

    If your pets stink there are natural sprays for that too — get them at nice pet stores or Whole Foods. Pal Dog is a good brand. They work and they are safe to spray on the pet and their little outfits and whatnot.

    Well done on sewing. I think pillows look better when you match the patterns along the seam. But since you are a DIY superhero, you can do whatever you want!

    • I totally agree with you but never would have said a thing. You know that kind of thing like the patterns lining up might just drive him crazy now…. I picture him ripping those suckers apart and starting over, he’s kind of perfectionist that way.

  60. Dude, been lurking for awhile. I wish I took pics of the Manhattan apt 1920s fireplace that I rescued from more layers of paint than ash over Pompeii. You woulda loved it. Both of us are a NYC landlord’s dream. We take better care of the joint than they do. Love the blog, love the writing. There’s a lot of kumbaya and kitsch in the blogosphere and you are a refreshing break.

  61. Yes, bring on those passive aggressive houseplants to filter out all that faux fresh air! Fill the apartment with them! I hate smells, aromas, fragrances and stenches of all kinds. I use all fragrace free, unscented products when possible because I refuse to have my house or my self smell like anything but house and self. Smells make me sneeze, dang it.

    Exceptions: Coffee. When H&S Bakery in Baltimore makes cinnamon raisin bread. Sawdust (My dad is a carpenter so that doesn’t count as a smell. Is that weird?). Real sandalwood. Hershey Park (it smells like chocolate all day long). New baby smell.

  62. Hi, Daniel. If you ever decide to became a writer, I promise I will buy and read every single piece you write. I know it´s not a great compliment since I can´t even speak or write in english well, but hey, you are my blog/style/DIY role model. Yes, there is such a thing as a blog role model this days.

    I´d love if you could write more often, but it´s ok. We must accept life as it is, and the post, the comments and your mom it´s worth the wait.

    Love,

  63. I love you. I’m not afraid to admit it, you’re just brilliant. “eating the sun” – hahaha! The plant is a philodendron by the way, but I prefer the cooler name, Monstera. It’s my favourite plant but I don’t own one so I’m a bit jealous. Anyway, I have a tip on how to make a really simple pillow case. Cheat. I found a shirt with a nice pattern that didn’t fit me, so I turned in to a pillow case – I did not have to sew a zipper in – it already had buttons, great! http://magpiesatsunrise.blogspot.com/2011/02/fashion-cushion.html

  64. That plant’s called mostera or split leaf philodendron……

    Love from Montreal.

  65. You have the world’s coolest mom. I have the best mental image going of a slightly wacky/frantic looking woman of a certain age, driving with a martini in her uplifted hand, swerving through her neighbor’s Christmas tableau. Priceless!

    And a big, fat NO on the reed diffusers. They’re oily and gross – and they attract dust… not to mention the health risks.

  66. Adding Face. Yo. Fears. to my mantra list.

  67. I absolutely love reading your blog! Your clever wit is just as entertaining as your DIY projects are amazing!

  68. I totally understand you! I’m making my first attempts at sewing too. started with the envelope cushions, but it did not turn out as good as yours. My second attempt included buttons, and this I was already comfortable to share online… (although they are not near perfect yet). My next try will be sewing an “invisible zipper”, and that’s where I’ll have to follow your advice and overcome fear!
    in the odour department, i would use the same scent throughout the flat, otherwise you’ll have a mess. I’m a fan of the green herbs scent from zara home: a good quality aroma without being too expensive :D

  69. Purple plant so pretty in the little pots! Chemical air fresheners…bad and bad for you (I’m really sorry Max, but they are!)

    Glad to see you are fighting the “living together making it work” battle and winning, even if it’s passive aggressively :)

  70. This post may cause me to yell “FACE. YO. FEARS.” at my boyfriend as I bring him around my crazy family for thanksgiving.

    Also, I think Max should guest post and write about how to decorate an apartment for the holidays, when your apartment is actually a box and you have little to no room to store decorations once the holidays are over and you don’t want to be THAT GUY who tries to convince people that Valentine’s Day is just as much a part of the holiday season to avoid taking shit down. Pretty pretty please and thank you.

  71. Hilarious post. Can’t stand those air freshners either. Reminds me of my mother-in-law and a grandparent or two.

    Noticed there was another Kyli without an e (almost unheard of!) leaving a comment here too.

  72. The story is, I dragged myself to a thrift pop up shop by some girls who wanted to get rid of their clothes. I ended up walking away with a fully workable sewing machine for 10 potatoes. That was a year ago, it sits under my desk now and I use it as a… dun dun dun… foot stool.

    I’m scared of the damn thing all the while, I’m dreaming up clothes to make in my head. I’m glad I stumbled upon your blog and especially on this post — thanks for the inspiration!

  73. You are hilarious :)
    I have some problems with my SO, he is all “but grey is so gloomy” and “furniture is stuffy” and “let’s put up pictures in a completely irrational and chaotic way with no regard of recommended logical order” … we’re still working on it :)

  74. Been reading for awhile but first time commenting – this post is absolute gold! Recently moved in with my boyfriend and whilst we are being very good at keeping passive aggressiveness to a minimum, your description of what ensues when you merge two households and two living styles is familiar and hilarious!

  75. I’m pretty sure that after this post that I am in love with you. SO funny. Love that you brought it full circle.

  76. Hi Daniel
    in regards to your milk cart situation…. I think that you would find this interesting!

    http://www.yatzer.com/mauricio-arruda-apartment-a-mid-century-classic-in-sao-paulo

    • GUH, thanks for that link, SO beautiful!!! That place is amazing!

      Oh, if only my milk crate situation were half as nice… alas, mine are just ugly and beat up and black and… they’ll never look like that. But I like their’s!

  77. i love this post! and i’m so glad i found your blog…its one of my favorites :)

    ps. i’ll never know how you deal with all those air fresheners. i’m the same way about smells and there’s no way i could handle all those things in my house! our house smells like whatever i cooked last mixed with the, um, unique smell of an elderly dog that can’t be bathed anymore b/c of skin issues, mixed with nothing, and i like it that way!

  78. Hey u know whats up with doorsixteen? Looks like it got hacked! Lame!

  79. Plants > Throw Pillows

    I really wish I weren’t the unwilling Charles Manson of the plant world.

  80. I am so freaking impressed! Wow. You rock.

    And are a huge inspiration to me. Thanks x

  81. You’re fucking amazing, do you know that? Those cushions are impressive. Time to face my sewing fears!
    Also, thanks for the comments on the air freshener info. They already give me headaches (well, the synthetic ones, and some stronger natural oils) and ALSO the could be slowly KILLING ME? Okay, that’s the best trump card ever. I have a few essential oil bottles and it’s time to buy that plug in oil warmer contraption someone mentioned.

  82. Your sewing experience has totally motivated me to tackle my fears of the same. Thanks a ton! And totally agree w/ everyone here.. The cushions (and the fabric!) are pretty awesome..

  83. some how, (because you can do ANYTHING i suppose) you have managed to seamlessly blend my two favorite things in life; diy-ing & comedy. thanks for brightening my otherwise dreary day. ps. your pillows are quite impressive as well. but then you already know that. oh and pps. i am on Max’s side on this one, but i whole-heartedly applaud your revenge tactics. oxo

  84. I had to give you this link about throw pillow (cushions in England)
    http://youtu.be/Lp0-8Ibkczc
    It is hilarious!
    Mary

  85. That couch upholstery is a MASTERPIECE. Bravo! I give you mad sewing props for that one, not only cause it’s perfect, but you attacked that thing where I would balk at the sheer SIZE of such a project! You nailed it. Awesome!

  86. It’s been longer than a month.
    Not that I’m counting or anything.
    Or checking the blog daily.
    Possibly beginning to think you got hit by a NYC bus or something.

    • I’m alive! I had exams! Now I am in Israel! Life is crazy!

      I’ll try to put up something new soon though! It’s just been totally nuts!

  87. all i want for christmas is a new post on manhattan nest…

  88. have you died from over inhalation of floral fluff? come back

  89. Your last post was brilliant. I don’t know how you top it or if that is even a worthy concept. But it’s time to get to WURK pal. Even if it’s just a photo tour of Israel. Something. We are missing you.

  90. Come back to us

  91. Totally missing your house updates! Vacation time is over buddy!

  92. I love the couch you made for us Daniel! It’s perfect.

  93. OMG, where did you get that tweedy gray fabric…? I LOVE it. I’m looking for the same stuff to redo some nasty cushions on my danish sofa and chair – but alas, have not found anything machine washable + not a billion dollars over my budget.

    I am super jealous.

  94. When I grow up, I want to write like you. Except, you know, I am twenty-freaking-six and you are quite possibly still a child at like twenty-two. Life is not fair. I read thru all your posts and decided you had to go on my Google Reader. Don’t get excited. All manners of things go on my Google Reader. WTF, “Your search did not match any feeds”.

    This is a dilemma. How are we suppose to be virtual friends (in my head) if you aren’t on my Google Reader? When I discover the solution, I will let you know.

    • There’s a button in my sidebar that will add it automatically! Or the link manhattan-nest.com/feed should work if you paste that into the search field?

  95. found you via The Homies. Great stuff. Very impressed with the box cushions. Other than the Chris-in-Culottes video did you use any other tutorial for actually sewing the box cushion? A very inquiring and frustrated mind wants to know. We have been attempting to do box cushions for our banquette for about a YEAR now which is not a shocker for two epic procrastinators and we are on round two of ripping the seams apart. Which is a lot of ripping on a 96″ f*ing cushion plus welting. Over it. But I’ve promised my 12 readers + russian robots that I will do this thing. If I have to host another dinner with guests sitting on a cushion-less banquette (ikea akrum hack) I will throw myself in traffic.

    • Oh no, don’t do that!!! No, I didn’t really use any tutorial…I just sewed all of the sides together and then tacked on the top and the bottom. I just made everything about an inch smaller than the foam cushion, so that the upholstery would be super taught when everything was said and done. I’m sure there are LOADS of tutorials for this online, though, just google it! (trust me, you don’t want sewing advice from me!!)

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