Update #2: Adjusting

Greetings from a cold, windy Tuesday in Stockholm.

It took a little time for me to get back on my feet with the Prime Number Project as I faced some unexpected challenges!

Challenge 1: Bureaucratic barriers discovered

I discovered all school applications required me to have verifiable evidence of my residency status in Sweden. As I am currently in the process of applying for permanent residency, this caused me to drop all school applications until 2018.

I was a little upset, but I bounced back by thinking about the positives:

  • more time to research alternative schools
  • more time to have coffee dates with industry professionals who can inspire me
  • more time to have better quality applications for 2018!

Challenge 2: Terror attack in Stockholm on April 7

As you may have heard, there was a terror attack in Stockholm last Friday. It was really scary and although I am from Turkey, which has had a much deadlier and more frequent occurrence of such attacks, it threw me for a loop since it is in the same city in which I live. Although not an excuse to not complete projects, I ended up spending the weekend with friends and trying to do “normal” activities like exercising and cleaning to get back on track mentally.

Which helped me realize a systematic challenge that I face when completing projects: I get thrown off by external events and emotional ups and downs. I am great at making plans because in that moment I truly believe that the plan will be carried out without any extenuating circumstances, but when those circumstances occur, I tend to drop long-standing plans in favor for short-term gratification.

I will try to take this into account when going forward.

So here is my updated Prime Number Project Plan.

I still like the bite-sized approach to our plans, Ann, so I think I will try to see if I can make it work by switching around the order of prime numbers but still allocating a certain amount of time to complete tasks… since my (our?) original problem is lack of external deadlines.

  • 1 day to map out schools I am interested in, their application requirements and deadlines for 2018 – I plan on creating a visual board and uploading it in my next blog post. (Due: Thursday April 13th) (the purpose of this is so I can have a “plan” for the rest of 2017 and for 2018 of what I have to do by when so I can relax)
  • 13 days to write my short story for my creative writing group (Start: Friday April 14th, Due: Wednesday April 26th)
  • 5 days of blogging: 1 blog post per day (Start: April 27)
  • 7 days of Ashtanga Yoga (Start May 1)

I will keep you posted as I complete tasks!

Looking forward to your next post Ann – and WELL DONE on the shelves! They look beautiful ❤


The shelf

My first task is complete!  I didn’t really follow the prime number format, but I finished my first Ikea hack.  The finished piece is below.


Time: 1-2 hours a day for 5 days

Difficulty: Moderate

Pain-in-the-ass-ness: 4 out of 5.  Shelves are a pain to hang and spray paint is pretty much a no go unless you have access to outdoor space or a large garage.

Worth it?  Myeh.  I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, but I was pretty irritated during the process.


Why I did it

This project started as a vague concept to sell Ikea hacking services.  My first step was to hack a few pieces to get a feel for the process and get some nice images for my website.

How I did it

I was loving the brass trend and spotted these fabulous shelves on Pinterest.  These look DIY-ed and I figured they’d be super easy to recreate, so I took them on as my first challenge.  (I realized later he has DIY instructions for the shelves here.)


Since I was just testing out the concept, I decided to go for a small shelf unit instead of a full-on wall of shelves.

  • (2) Rubbermaid 30″ double track shelf tracks (I got mine at home depot)
  • (4) 11.5″ Shelf brackets (also from home depot)
  • (1) Can of Krylon metal paint primer in white
  • (1) Can of Montana Black spraypaint in gold (can’t find it on their site, I got it from Blick)


Step 1: Painting

I started by sanding down the brackets and giving them two coats of primer.  I used medium grit sandpaper and went over the brackets until they were no longer shiny.  This took maybe an hour or so.  It’s a really dusty process, so I’d recommend wearing gloves.

Next I gave the brackets three coats of gold spray paint.  At first, I went on pretty thick and got a really shiny, smooth finish.  The bracket I tested this on looked like a block of gold.  Unfortunately, because I went thick I ended up with big drips down the sides.

I wiped the test bracket down with mineral oils to get rid of the paint, then re-sanded and primed.

On my second go-round, I tried to do multiple passes of thin coats.  I don’t know if it was the paint, my spraying technique, or the wind, but the paint didn’t go on as a smooth mist.  It looked pretty spackled.  As I built up the second and third layer, the finish ended up being bumpy.

I did a test spot where I sanded in between the first and second layers, but this did nothing to smooth the finish.  The sanding also took the shiny-ness away from the gold, leaving an ugly brown color.  I decided to just leave it as it was.  As the paint dried, it ended up spreading out and smoothing a bit, so it looked fine in the end.


Here are the finished brackets drying in my shower where there is a strong vent to draw away the toxic paint air D:

Step 2: Hanging

To hang the shelves, I used all-purpose drywall anchors rated for 85lbs (which is complete overkill, but I had these lying around) and 2.5″ screws (which I also had lying around).  I didn’t use the screws that came with the anchors because I liked the flat look of the black screw rather than the big, bulbous top of the silver screw.

You’ll notice the black screws are much longer, but that ended up being fine since the bracket sticks out from the wall quite a bit, so when you take that into account the black screw was a good length for the anchors.

img_20170405_205135.jpg      IMG_20170405_205512.jpg

I followed the technique in this video to get the brackets lined up.  I used a different type of anchor from the video, so I had to pre-drill holes before hammering my anchors in.

Next, I marked off the top screw location of my second bracket and drilled my anchor hole.

Sadly, I hit a bracket 😦  I don’t have a drill bit to go through metal, so I didn’t have any choice but to drill a second hole slightly to the right.  Luckily (trying to be an optimist here!) I had just painted the wall, so I’ll be able to spackle and match the paint color to cover just the drill hole.



Finally, I got the anchors in and put up the second set of tracks.  Then I slotted in the brackets, placed my shelves (cannibalized set of billy bookcase shelves) and that was that!


Here is my shelf with my trusty drill.  (I thought the lower right corner looked lonely in the first picture.)


And a close up of the brackets.  You can see there is a little bumpiness to the finish, but overall I think it looks quite nice.


Thanks for reading!

Creativity porn

So…this blog is working!

Now that Zeynep has posted her update, I feel obligated to post mine.

First off, I’ll admit I did nothing over the weekend.  I have a million excuses, mostly doing with my husband being out-of-commission resulting in me being the sole baby-watcher, but in reality I could have gotten work done at night but I didn’t.

Watching a baby is exhausting so at night I ‘treated’ myself to some TV.  But let’s be real.  There was a time when making creative work was a ‘treat.’  And there was a time, not so very long ago, when reading was a treat.  Both of those activities are loads better than TV.  So I need to replace TV with a different treat.  To that end, I’m going to put a mini-challenge to myself for today to find a new book.

OK!  Now moving on to last week’s results.  I’ve been working on Ikea hacks.  When I started out, I had this grand plan that I’d hack all of this Ikea furniture, post a bunch of pretty pictures, then find people who would pay me to hack their furniture for them.  I mean, people already pay for Ikea furniture assembly, so they’d totally shell out another $100 to beautify their billy bookcase, right?

Besides, I’ve painted furniture before so it couldn’t be that hard to do this more professionally.


Painting Ikea furniture is a fucking pain in the ass.

Who is this person who stripped down and redid her cabinet after round 1 didn’t go as planned???  Or this person who painted and wallpapered a Pax dresser to make a custom vanity??  Or any of these people who probably spent more money revamping their Rast than buying it?

So there I was on Wednesday (or was it Thursday?) spray painting a set of generic white brackets brass thinking to myself, what the fuck am I doing?  I don’t even like painting furniture.  I like hacking things, for sure, but I have never enjoying the prime, sand, prime process.  Not for furniture, not for canvases.  In fact, that was my least favorite part of painting.  So…once again that brings me to…what the fuck am I doing?

And as I painted I began to wonder, how many people actually try these hacks?  Maybe I’m just over-confident, but I look at these home improvement blogs or instructables and read over the instructions and think, no problem.  I can totally do that.  Then when it comes down to it, it’s a complete mess.

What I realized as I was painting (epiphany brought on by paint fumes?) is that nobody does this stuff.  People love reading about these cools hacks and sitting there thinking (as I naively did), I could totally do that.  And perhaps with enough time, space, and patience they could.  But in reality most people won’t bother.

Ikea hackers and home improvement bloggers are selling creativity porn.

Of course, there are people who do want to be creative.  To make things.  To hack furniture.  But most people just want to fantasize.

And me?  Maybe I’m in the fantasize bucket too, when it comes to furniture.  Part of what I’m trying to do with this blog is find what it is that helps me get to flow.  I’ve been there while painting/drawing, while working on a design problem, a puzzle, or coding.  But not so much while furniture hacking.


Update #1

Good morning! It’s a glorious Monday morning here in Stockholm and as promised, I am cluing you in on my progress with the PNP.

View from my office window. I think this is the first blue sky of 2017.


The good news is that I have completed my first task which was to set up my rudimentary website. Check it out here. (Please feel free to give any and all feedback!) It really did take just 1 day, which was as planned. I am feeling proud that it’s at least out in the world and the fact that I limited myself to 1 day allowed me to stop focusing on time-wasting details like font size/layout and just to birth something. I cheated a little and stalked some other personal websites. I’m pretty happy with the outcome. Soon a task will be set up to blog more… but that’s for later 🙂

The bad news is that my 2-day plan of catching up on my design online course did not come into fruition – I worked on it over the weekend for a couple hours, but then let social obligations (and who are we kidding, sheer laziness) get in the way…. ahem, by going out dancing on Saturday night until 3AM and then being too tired on Sunday to focus and being really determined to finish Vikings. Which, I have. And today the TV gets put into storage to be unearthed in the fall. So long, farewell, au revoir, auf wiedersehen, old friend.

And, with a hard deadline looming for a grad school application (April 13th), I now feel I need to switch into my next plan of completing my application. Instead of stressing myself out with only 3 days during the weekday, I have decided to allocate this entire week to it so that’s 7 days. Wish me luck!


I feel that the upside to this project is that we have at least set some deadlines that are forcing me to be more aware of how I am spending my time. It’s a case of “shoot for the moon and if you don’t land there you’ll end up among a couple of stars” … so this is me hanging out with a bunch of stars.

I did feel a little bit stressed over the weekend, like I was disappointing myself, and you, Ann, but a part of me decided that that was an unproductive emotion and to get back on the saddle and power on through. Also, who says Prime Numbers have to be ordered from smallest to largest … right?!

I’ll keep you posted on my school application by the end of this week. Here is the revised plan and achieved benchmarks.

– 1 day to finalize my personal website on Squarespace: DONE

– 2 days to catch up with a website design on DesignLab: NOT DONE

NEXT PROJECT7 days to apply to Hyper Island (due date: April 13th)

Revised: 7 days for my application to an industrial design intensive course (Due date: April 20th)

– 11 days of writing my short story for my writing group

– Revised: 13 days of ashtanga yoga

My prime number plan

As you may have read in our about page, Zeynep and I are embarking on a prime number challenge.  This post and my prime number plan are day 1 of my challenge!

I left my job a month and a half ago with the intention of working on a bunch of personal projects.  When I first left, it was amazing.  I had time to dive into projects (we had just moved, so I painted two walls, rearranged, and hung up a bunch of pictures), I started taking an art class, I went to a two day design conference.  It was great.

Then I had a whirlwind visit from my relatives.  They were in town for a week and it was full on host mode.  After they left, I had trouble recapturing the energy of those first two weeks of freedom.  I felt deflated (it had been a month since I quit my job…but what did I have to show for it?) and I wasn’t really sure which project I wanted to pursue.

I felt paralyzed by the tyranny of choice.  There was so much I wanted to do and I didn’t know what to start.  I ended up spending a few hours on one project, then jumping to the next.  However, switching gears like this is hard and I ended up accomplishing nothing.  This made me feel more deflated and I ended up spinning my wheels and getting more and more discouraged for two weeks.

That’s when Zeynep and I came up with the idea for this blog.

I knew I needed to focus. I needed to pick one thing and stick to it in order to start seeing results.  Then, those small wins would get me excited and lead to ever larger results.  I know intellectually that’s how this is supposed to work, but going from 0 to 1 is the hardest part.  Once the wheels are in motion, you have momentum on your side.  It’s getting started that’s tough.

So here goes.  This is our shot at getting us from 0 to 1!  I’ve thought about what I want to do, and I know that this will change with time, but here’s how I see my prime number challenge going:


  • 1 : write blog post and plan my prime number challenge <– done!  Winning already 😀
  • 2 :  work on furniture
  • 3 : a robot-a-day
  • 5 : finish upgraad.com
  • 7 : 7 days of Ikea salad bowls (I’ll explain all these in later posts…haha)
  • 11 :  11 days of robots!
  • 13 : a Python project per day (for unlucky #13!)
  • 17 : 17 days of Ikea-robot mashup hacks
  • 19 : instructable-a-day
  • 23 : …
  • 29 : …
  • 31 : …

Ok…soooo….that was hard.  I ran out of ideas of what to do.  Hopefully what I do in the front half of the challenge will inform the second half.

I’ve been sorta working on robots (learning arduino), sorta working on coding, and sorta working on hacking Ikea furniture (original intention was this could become a side gig since being unemployed is not great for the bank account…).

I’m hoping this challenge will get me to focus on a series of short sprints to get projects going, and then I’ll see which ones I want to keep pursuing, and which I should drop.

Thanks for reading…more to come tomorrow!

T-2 days

Zany here – I am so excited for our project, Ann! And, hello tiny corner of the internet, if anybody is reading this (insert the tree falling in the forest proverb here).

I thought it might be a good idea for me and my Quitter Monster to have an overview of the tasks that I want to complete during our Prime Number project. As someone who works much more efficiently (if in a somewhat frazzled manner) with looming deadlines, I think knowing what I’m doing and when I’m doing it will help me focus on one task at a time, instead of being overwhelmed trying to do multiple things at once.

My personal launch date is Saturday April 1st, 2017.

So here goes:

1 day to finalize my personal website on Squarespace: if not content-wise, at least having it up and running
2 days to catch up with a website design course that I signed up (and paid for) on DesignLab: the course works more in terms of length of hours and I’ve skipped out the last few weeks so I figured 2 days over the weekend are enough to do the projects and reading. Eek!
3 days to apply to Hyper Island (a vocational degree here in Stockholm in digital media) (due date April 13th): this includes generating the idea, designing the application and running it by friends/people.
5 days for my application to an industrial design intensive course in the North of Sweden: they have a “home assignment” with 5 tasks so I thought I could do 1 task a day. Some include writing, others sketching. (Due date: April 20th)
7 days of ashtanga yoga: I always feel so good about my life and self when I do yoga and the only time I have ever done it successfully and successively was on a 2 week yoga retreat in India. However, in my real life I am consistently making up excuses about wanting to sleep in, and not being in a routine and putting it off until “next week.” I think if I can pull off 7 days in my daily life, I will hopefully want to continue a few days a week.
11 days of writing my short story for my writing group that I joined in January and have not written a single word for: the aim is 1000 words a day and not going to sleep before they have been punched out!

So far I haven’t found anything I would like to do for 13 days straight, but I’ll cross that odd-numbered bridge when I get there.

The three biggest challenges for me are:

1) Being too “tired” after work to do anything except throwing myself on the couch and watching Netflix

2) Not having “enough time”: I frequently blame my work and social life for not having enough time to accomplish my projects while simultaneously spending hours binge-watching Vikings (that Rollo though…)

3) Fear of failure: my internal monologue goes along the lines of, “I should start this project. Why haven’t I started this project? If I had started this project I would have been amazing at it by now. But what if I suck at this? I might as well not try. Because if you don’t try, you can’t fail!” *goes to couch, turns on Netflix to dull the pain of self-failure*

I am hoping the progressive nature of our prime number system will let me complete things in bite-sized chunks while increasing my self-confidence in my ability to finish things.

Ann, I am so excited about this! Looking forward to bowing down to the accountability gods with you!