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See that? It’s the kitchen in the new apartment. Doesn’t it look peaceful? Doesn’t it look like everything is in place and as though I’m probably just out of frame, casually eating a banana? HAH!

This move has been both exhausting and comically fraught with problems. And we thought we’d planned everything so well. Nothing life-threatening, thankfully, but the kind of things that you start putting on a “to be resolved” list, and then the next thing you know that list has 300 things on it, and you don’t know where to start and people aren’t calling you back and everything you thought you could cross off the list actually needs to go back on again. Oh, and we’re still not done moving out of the old place. And I really should have taken more than two days off work. (Do I sound tired? I’m very tired.)

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Another moment of peace, taken on the first morning in the new place. Chaos aside, I always love those first few days in a new place when stuff is in boxes and you can pretend to be the kind of person who, for some weird reason, would need a big empty room with nothing in it but a rug and a side table.

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BOXES! This is the second move we’ve done with these Jugglebox crates. They’re awesome. Guys come and drop them off before your move, then they come and pick them up when you’re done with them. They’re easy to pack, they nest, they require no tape, they stack well, and they’re easy to carry. (There are a lot of companies out there that provide this service, so Google for “rent plastic moving boxes” if you want to find something similar in your area.)

I managed to unpack the last of these boxes the day before yesterday (let’s just pretend the contents of the last five are neatly put away and not just crammed into a closet), and the guys are coming to pick them up tonight. Just having them out of here is going to make a big difference.

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This is the new view from the bedroom/upstairs window! If you look down, you see a bunch of garbage and broken furniture and stuff, so I’ve decided that looking up is really the way to go. Isn’t that a good tip for happy living? And how cool is that solarium?? I’ve always wanted a solarium. I can’t wait to see how it looks out there in the snow…

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Bookshelves! Accomplishment! This is upstairs, in the loft area. It’s the short wall in photo #2 from my floor plan post. These are the same bookshelves I had in the last apartment and in the apartment before that. In the grand tradition of IKEA discontinuing all of their best stuff, these great steel brackets (EXBY OXIE) are no longer available. Typical! The poster is by the awesome Wasted Rita.

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We had a really dumb idea to go mattress-shopping at IKEA on a Saturday right after moving. We didn’t take our old bed with us, so it wasn’t really an option—we just had to go. Totally worth the crowds! We’ve had a full size bed for years, so upgrading to a queen feels really, really luxurious. We went with the medium-firm MYRBACKA mattress. So comfortable. I really like IKEA mattresses. We have one at the house, too, and it still feels great after 8 years.

Now we just need a new bed to go with the mattress!

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Fritz and Bruno are settling in really well, as you can tell. So helpful! If it were up to them, we’d keep the mattress directly on the floor forever.

More photos as soon as I figure out where I packed my camera…

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This is a reposting of a guest blog post I did for Dos Family five years ago. I regularly receive emails asking for the link to download the Swedish Christmas record, so I will repost it here yearly!

In the United States, it’s not uncommon to hear Christmas music wafting from shop speakers as early as the beginning of November, but it’s not “Here Comes Santa Claus” or “Jingle Bell Rock” that puts me in the holiday spirit. For me, it’s not Christmastime until I put on the recording of Swedish Christmas music that I grew up listening to each and every year: Christmas in Sweden, recorded in 1962 by Åke Jelving and a chorus of parents and children.

This is jovial, happy music, sung with energy and enthusiasm…and with audible gasping and stomping!

Our mother may be Swedish, but my siblings and I haven’t got a clue what the lyrics mean. I suspect that they, like me, sing along phonetically (and badly) in the privacy of their own homes. On Christmas day, we put the record on and leave the singing to Mommy as we all hold hands and dance in a circle, usually around the spread of snacks and glögg on the kitchen island.

My gift to you is a download of Christmas in Sweden. Evan made the MP3s directly from the record, so you’ll hear all the same snaps and crackles that I do when I listen to the original. I think that just adds to the appeal! Unless you’re a Swede, this may not sound like Christmas music to you at first, but give it time. (And maybe enjoy it with a little glögg.)

To download the album, you’ll need to visit this link. No need to create an account, just click on “download.” Easy!

God Jul! (& Happy December 16th!)

Christmas in Sweden

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Just a quick note to let you know that EVERYTHING (prints, shirts, iPhone cases, mugs, pillows…everything) in the K IS FOR BLACK shop is $5 OFF this weekend! There’s also FREE shipping (yes, worldwide!) on almost everything.

You must use this link in order to activate the promo discount. (Or just go to doorsixteen.com/kisforblack, which will automatically redirect you.)

For the 8th year running, I have made a personal commitment to buy gifts for my friends and family from local and independent artists, designers and crafters this holiday season. As I have done in previous years, I’d like to invite independent hand-makers to post links to their shops in the comments. Please refer to the guidelines below before sharing your link. Thank you!

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Share your shop link:
Please keep all links limited to the spirit of handmade goods from independently-run businesses.
To make things streamlined, please follow this format:
✚ NAME: Your shop’s name
✚ URL: Your shop’s address
✚ DESCRIPTION: Briefly tell us what kind of goods you sell
✚ DISCOUNT CODE (if applicable): If you are running any kind of promotion (discount, free shipping, etc.) for the holidays, please include the details and discount code. Codes specific to Door Sixteen readers are welcome.

(If I don’t approve your comment right away, that probably means I’m away from the computer. Don’t fret!)

Share this page with others:
You are welcome to share the above graphic on your blog, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or elsewhere, but please do not alter it in any way. Links should point to doorsixteen.com/handmade, which will automatically redirect to this page. Using a redirect URL will prevent any links from becoming outdated in future years.

If you would prefer to have a smaller button to display in your sidebar, here you go!
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Small Print: Door Sixteen/Anna Dorfman does not personally endorse any of the shops linked to the comments section of this post. Links have been tested for functionality and to ensure that the goods for sale are in keeping with the spirit of handmade goods from independently-run businesses, but beyond that no verification or endorsement is implied. All comments are moderated. Comments containing faulty URLs or which are not in compliance with stated guidelines will not be published.

Yes, this is what you think it is: Another new apartment. Another move.

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I did a mental count this morning of how many apartments I’ve rented in the past 20 years, and I came up with 10: Yonkers, White Plains, Brooklyn, Brooklyn, Brooklyn, Beacon, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Brooklyn, and…Brooklyn. That seems like a lot of apartments, I know. And it is, especially when you consider that we took four years off from renting entirely when we were commuting from our house in Newburgh to work every day.

There’s always been a reason for moving when it’s happened, though—it’s not like we’re just really into packing. The last time we moved (almost two years ago now, though it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long), we really, really thought it was going to be the last time for a good, long time, and it’s disappointing and frustrating for that not to be the case since there was (and is) so much that we really love about living there. Without getting into specifics, we’ve been dealing with some pretty serious problems with our apartment for the past year (which I now see is how long it’s been since the last time I even mentioned the apartment on the blog, interestingly) or so, though, and as hard as we’ve tried to resolve them, sometimes you just have to figure out how to improve your well-being and move on. Literally.

We started looking for a new apartment about six months ago, and as much as we knew it was going to be tough to find something we could afford in our neighborhood, I don’t think we were prepared for just how few apartments would be available at all. We expanded our search a further south, further east…anywhere in Brooklyn that would still be a relatively easy commute for both me and Evan (who accepted the fact that he might no longer be able to walk to his office in DUMBO). We met with lots of nice brokers, saw lots and lots of apartments that were either too big, too small, too expensive, too noisy, or too terribly renovated.

I knew eventually something would come up, and since we had the luxury of time on our side, we passed on everything that wasn’t just right. Finally, on my birthday, we found our new apartment! And it’s only three blocks (!!!) away from our current place!! We’ll technically be right on the border between Brooklyn Heights and Downtown Brooklyn (right now we’re on the border between Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights), but what’s the difference? All of the subways are right there, the grocery stores are awesome, Evan can still walk to work, and most importantly, it’s still the part of Brooklyn that I’ve known and loved for the better part of two decades now. It’s familiar to both of us in the best ways.

We aren’t moving in for a while, so in the mean time I’ll be looking at the realtor’s photos and trying to mentally plan everything out.

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I’m terrible at making floor plans, but the listing for this apartment actually included one. Fancy! It’s a little hard to tell what’s what in the photos, so I marked out the general areas shown with numbers on the floor plan. It’s divided into two levels, with the kitchen, bathroom and a small living area on the first floor, and a large lofted area on the second floor.

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Realtors love to use wide-angle lenses, so this looks a lot more enormous than it really is. It’s a big space, yes, but it’s not a roller rink. I’m not positive, but it looks to me like the brick walls on the second floor are actually the exterior walls of the buildings on either side. I’m not someone who freaks out in excitement over exposed brick, but I like it a lot here—it’s a nice contrast to the brand-new renovation.

The sloped ceiling is pretty low at the back of the building (I think about 4′), so I’ll have to figure out what to best use that area for—maybe a bunch of Fatboy bean bags? It seems like a nice spot to do some low-to-the-ground lounging.

(Side note: Take a look at the floor plan again—see how much closet space there is?! Amazing. I heart closets.)

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The floor on the first level is old, which is nice. As crisp as this renovation looks, it actually does still feel like an old building because of the floor, the bricks, the window casings, and the steam radiators. I like that. We’re going to be the first people to live in this apartment post-renovation!

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Such a cute little kitchen! Simple gloss-white cabinets, some sort of gray manufactured stone (Silestone, maybe?) countertop, slate floor tiles. It looks a little chilly as it is, but once I add a rug and all of my colorful dishes it’ll look so good. There’s pretty much no counter space to speak of, so we’ll need to buy or build an island—but there’s plenty of room for that. Also, did you notice the tiny dishwasher?! I’ve never really been too concerned about having a dishwasher (we don’t have one at the house, and I never think about it), but I have to admit it will be nice to have this little guy. It certainly makes a lot more sense for two people than a full-size dishwasher does.

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And finally, the bathroom! Cute subway tiles! And…THERE IS NO VANITY CABINET! Woo-hoo! The apartment was pretty much a done deal for me as soon as I saw the pedestal sink. It’s new, but it’s a classic style and the hardware is very nice. You can’t tell from this photo, but I think the tub actually is old—it’s in perfect shape, but it’s very deep and has a curviness to it that doesn’t look contemporary to me. Storage is going to be an issue in this bathroom like it is in the kitchen, but I’ll figure it out—maybe the closet right next to it will need to be devoted to hair products and nail polish.

So that’s the new place, at least in part! We don’t know exactly what our official move-in date will be, but it’ll most likely all happen gradually over the course of the next month and a half. Evan and I are both really, really relieved to have found such a great place. We can’t wait to show it to Fritz and Bruno—they’re going to love it, too.

p.s. I forgot to mention that the new place has CENTRAL AIR CONDITIONING!!!!!! I’ve never had central air in my life, so I realize I might be overestimating how fabulous it’s going to be, but that’s OK. Central air in a New York apartment?! Madness!

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I recently discovered Australian ceramist Jane Kelsey and her line, Dot & co., thanks to a friend who tagged me in one of her Instagram photos. I am smitten. I had planned to include a couple of pieces in an upcoming post I’m working on about my favorite new ceramics, but I knew it would impossible to narrow it down! Dot & co. deserves a whole post.

All of Jane’s work is made by hand in her Melbourne studio, and the ceramic range includes planters, dishes, salt cellars (I especially love the Black Flag set, pictured above), vases, and the prettiest, most delicate spoons imaginable. She makes gorgeous woodblock prints, too.

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Clockwise: Mini Flag planter, Flag salt set, Lunar spoon

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Photos from the lovely Dot & co. Instagram

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White porcelain with an unglazed matte black finish: the Lunar dish

(I would like one of each, please!)

I’ve been supporting Small Business Saturday (that’s the day after Black Friday, of course—this year it’ll fall on November 29th) for as long as I’ve known it’s a thing, and for many years now I’ve chosen to do all of my holiday shopping with independent artists, crafters and designers, both locally and online. One of my favorite parts of having a blog is opening up the comments to those independent sellers in my annual D16 handmade posts, and I love promoting my favorite sellers here and on my Etsy page.

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Little Paper Planes, San Francisco

It goes without saying, then, that I love what Etsy is doing this year in conjunction with Small Business Saturday: They’re connecting small shop owners with local Etsy sellers to host trunk shows, bringing products from the online realm into the brick & mortar world! This is such a great way for boutiques to draw in people who are curious about discovering things they can’t see anywhere else, and of course it’s wonderful for bringing local retail visibility to Etsy sellers. Very, very cool. The list of small businesses who have already signed up to host Etsy trunk shows in their shops this year is impressive, and includes a bunch of my favorite folks—including the ones I’ve pictured here.

I’ve been asked to help support this movement by promoting the event and encouraging other small business owners to participate in the Etsy trunk shows, and I am more than happy to oblige!

Are you a small business owner?
Would you like to host an Etsy trunk show in your shop on Small Business Saturday? Yes? I thought you might! Participating shops will receive a trunk show kit* that includes bags, promotional materials, presence on Etsy’s Small Business Saturday event page, and more.

Here’s how to participate:
1. If you haven’t already, apply as a member to Etsy Wholesale
2. Connect with a local Etsy seller to showcase their products and host them in your store for a trunk show
3. Complete the trunk show enrollment form, here
4. Start planning your November 29 trunk show

You can learn more about Small Business Saturday and Etsy trunk shows on the Etsy blog! And if you do participate, either as a shop owner or as an Etsy seller, be sure to let me know—I’m looking forward to attending the trunk shows local to me.

*Merchandise is only available to eligible small businesses through 11:59 P.M. ET on 10/24/2014 or while supplies last. Limit one order per business. Subject to Merchandise Terms. See Merchandise Terms at etsy.me/sourcesmallmerchandiseterms.

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Radish Underground, Portland

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Fair Folks & A Goat, New York City

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Olives & Grace, Boston

This post was written in partnership with Small Business Saturday and Etsy, but I support this endeavor wholeheartedly, and all words are my own. Yay!

There are a million different monthly subscription boxes out there—ones for dogs, for people with curly hair, for cosmetics junkies, for craft project lovers, and so on. I have never subscribed to one, though. I tend to be slightly (not slightly) picky about what I buy, and surprises (even gifts—I’m horrible) make me nervous. A box full of carefully-chosen Scandinavian stuff, though? Well, it’s tough to go wrong when that task is put in the right hands. Enter Skandicrush, the Scandinavian subscription box!

Ana Denmark (her real name, I swear—and yes, that was the first question I asked her), the founder of Skandicrush, contacted me a while back asking if I’d be interested in reviewing the debut box for the blog. It took me all of 2 minutes spent checking out the sample boxes before replying to Ana with a resounding YES! How could I say no?!

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And then I waited. Oh, the anticipation! I was so excited when the October box arrived at my office last week—I totally get the whole subscription box thing now. It felt like my birthday! I had to force myself to wait until I got home to open it up so I’d be able to take photos in a setting that didn’t involve fluorescent lights and industrial carpeting.

So, what was inside this magical box of fika-themed Scandinavian goodness? All sorts of good things!

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Wheee!!! SO MUCH PRETTY. The total retail value of everything together is about $90, so the Skandicrush box price—$50/month with an ongoing subscription, $60/month for individual orders*—is quite a good deal. Yes, you’re putting faith in Ana’s ability to assemble a collection of items every month that you’ll love, but judging by this first box and the samples on the site, she really knows what she’s doing. I’ve already signed up for an ongoing subscription, and I’m really excited for my next box!

Ana kindly created a discount code for Door Sixteen readers, if you’re interested in subscribing or ordering a box. Between now and October 31, you’ll get $15 off your first box when you enter the code D16-OCT at checkout.

NOTE: Apparently some folks are getting a DNS or “server not found” error when they try to place an order on the Skandicrush website. If this is happening to you, please contact Skandicrush directly at hello@skandicrush.com so that Ana and her team can get your order taken care of. Sorry for the trouble!

*By the way, Ana just let me know that she’s added an option to order just 2 or 3 boxes at a time, a perfect gift option for a lucky Scandinavian design lover in your life.

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I haven’t decided what I’ll use the wood-lidded airtight Sagaform storage container for yet, but it’s definitely going in the kitchen. I’m thinking it might be perfect for teabags. The oak tongs look so nice with the container, and they’re just right for yanking bread out of the toaster without burning your fingers or electrocuting yourself. Safety first!

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Eek! So cute. I love love love this little Diamond Box from Areaware. The lid is held in place with two strong magnets, making it a perfect place to hide real diamonds (not that I have any of those—but I have a good imagination) or favorite cookie fortunes.

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You already know I love these Geometry cups from Ferm Livingobviously. I’ve written about Ferm’s Geometry collection several times, and I’m excited to finally own a couple of pieces! I’m in a bit of a state of mug overload right now, so one of these sweet cups will be used for holding makeup brushes in the bathroom, and the other will probably get to just sit around looking pretty.

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Thanks so much for giving me the chance to review the first Skandicrush box, Ana! I couldn’t be happier, and I am really looking forward to seeing what’s in the November box. I’m sure it will be beautiful!

Via @DAVID_LYNCH on Twitter:
“The groundbreaking television phenomenon, Golden Globe® and Peabody Award-winner TWIN PEAKS will return as a new limited series on SHOWTIME in 2016. Series creators and executive producers David Lynch and Mark Frost will write and produce all nine episodes of the limited series, and Lynch will direct every episode. Set in the present day, TWIN PEAKS will continue the lore of the original series, providing long-awaited answers and a satisfying conclusion for the series’ passionate fan base.”

This news is everywhere today, but I’m so happy and full of anticipation that I can’t help mentioning it here as well.

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Photo: ‘Open All Night, East Village, NYC’ by Shawn Hoke

I woke up this morning to the sad news—delivered by the excellent EV Grieve blog—that Yaffa Cafe has officially ceased to exist. EV Grieve had previously reported that their iconic St. Mark’s Place mural had, bizarrely, been covered by a Google ad, with a follow-up that its closure was temporary pending necessary renovations and the possible elimination of the back garden. “Closed for renovations” is almost never a good sign to see in a window in NYC (How many places reopen after closing “for renovations”?), but Yaffa is an East Village mainstay. Through all of the upheaval and turnover of St. Mark’s Place over the past couple of decades, it has held on, twinkling Christmas lights ablaze, open all nite—and day. I truly believed it would reopen.

The first time I went to Yaffa Cafe was in the summer of 1992. My friend Brian, who I’d met several years earlier through the penpal section in a Cure fanzine, was dating a very cool girl who lived in lower Manhattan. I was a high school student in upstate New York at the time, and solo trips to NYC—ones that didn’t involve going to see my father—were still a relatively new thing for me. We all met up at one of her friend’s apartments on the Lower East Side (it was a beautiful dump, that apartment, the kind of wonderfully cheap, unrenovated pre-war space that’s now next to impossible to find), and it was decided that we should go to Yaffa for brunch. I think we went back three times over the next 48 hours. A $4 sunshine burger platter with a salad (and that glorious carrot dressing!) was just as delicious at 2AM as it was at 4PM, so why not?

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Photo: ‘New York, 2012′ by Mark & Andrea Busse

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Photo: Yaffa Cafe

I fell in love with Yaffa at first sight. The decor was exactly how I wanted my bedroom to look: ’80s thrift store curbside postpunk Rococo dirtbag Pee-wee’s Playhouse-meets-Victorian brothel glamor. As Jeremiah Moss describes it, “The place hasn’t really changed since 1987. The booths are upholstered in leopard and zebra print, the fabric rotting from years of wear. The walls are covered in various wallpapers—fruit, vegetables, flowers. Plastic grapes hang from the ceiling. And there’s also this.” Ahh, the hypnotic oil fountain. How I loved thee. Out back, there was a magical garden that seemed impossibly removed from the rest of the city.

The patrons were just as thrilling as the interior. Punks, goths, queens, freaks and weirdos, laughing together, drinking tea and eating fries. It felt like heaven to teenage Anna, like what I imagined life in NYC would resemble for me someday. And so, Yaffa became a staple for me. My place, my people. When I was in college just north of the city, I’d take the Metro North train down all the time to see bands. Back then it seemed like shows never let out until well past the last train back to White Plains, so there as a lot of time to kill until morning. Countless nights were spent over cheesecake and coffee at Yaffa, waiting for the sun to come up and signal a sleep-deprived subway ride to Grand Central.

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Photo: ‘Yaffa Cafe, 1995′ by Leo London

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Yaffa Cafe never stopped feeling like a special place to me. A few years ago, my friend Jenna and I went to see Echo & the Bunnymen together, and there was no question that the only place that made sense for a pre-show dinner was Yaffa. Jenna wrote great a blog post about our outing that night, and reading it now fills me with so many bittersweet feelings. What other thing in NYC has been a part of my life for so many years? Certainly no other restaurant. I think the last time I was at Yaffa was about a year ago, with Evan—that’s when I took the photo above. We went after seeing Johnny Marr play around the corner at Webster Hall. The sunshine burger was just as good as ever, and I was still in love with the red lights, the floral wallpaper, the dusty plastic grapes, the crazy zebra contact paper on the tables, and the drawings of naked ladies in the bathroom. I still kind of want my bedroom to look like that. Yaffa was a constant, unchanging comfort of a place. I am so very sad to see it go.

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Photos: Yaffa Cafe