Monday, August 30, 2010


Drew and I had the most fabulous Sunday, wanna know what we did?  We woke up, ate breakfast, and went back to bed.  We got up to eat lunch, did the dishes and a load of laundry and went back to bed.  We got up, I took him to the airport, came home and did my hair and I was in bed by nine.  It was beautiful!  There is nothing better than to spend the day in bed, nothing.  

So it may come as a shock (I know it is to me) that for the past month and a half I have been teaching yoga at 6am every MONDAY morning.  That means my alarm is set for 4:50AM so I can get to the studio and set everything up in time for class.  Just looking at that time makes me sleepy.  But you know what?  I couldn't be happier.

Only those who are hard-core at something come to a yoga class at six in the morning on a Monday.  A mere mortal might be able to psych themselves up for a Wednesday, possibly a Thursday but Monday?!?!  Oh no, that's for those who are hardcore about life.  And my students are regulars!  These aren't just the ones who one time, on a whim went to bed early and are in class.  They come in every Monday, without fail, here for what I'm giving them and I'm humbled.  

When I took over for Julie, I knew I had big shoes to fill.  Not only is she an incredible instructor, she's a super sweet person who genuinely cares about her students.  I had fifteen people in the first class I taught because they were expecting Julie.  I could see that they were sizing me up, wondering if I would be as good as her, if I would give them that easy excuse to hit snooze and catch a class on Tuesday or maybe skip the whole morning-yoga thing.  My second week teaching I only had seven people in class, as I expected.  I wasn't upset by it, as this is totally normal whenever there's an instructor change.  I knew I'd have to prove myself and I was okay with that.

This morning I had fifteen people in class - in my class.  I'm on the schedule, I've been teaching for a while, they knew I'd be there.  And they came for me.  Now, I don't take that lightly.  I'm the start to the work week, even for those who don't leave the house to work.  Even if you're home all day, that's still work and you've got to get your mind right.  I totally see myself as the final prep, the last one you see before you step on the battlefield that is your office, your houseful of kids, your spouse, whatever.  I set the tone for the week and I take my job very seriously, offering tools that will help get you through the week with your sanity intact.

Some days I waver.  That first day of teaching I was so nervous, I stuttered, my sequences were off, my message wasn't there and I was sure I was going to hear from the director of the studio that they no longer needed me to teach.  But today?  TODAY?  Today I was there!  I was the teacher!  I gave to my students and they received!  I felt it!  Me and those fifteen people worked it out at six this morning!  They were sweating, wobbly, some had to sit out for a few breaths and I was right there with them, encouraging them, telling them how fantastic they were doing and I meant it.  And these are not 20-year olds sweating out their hangovers.  Miss Theresa is in her mid-50s, so is Mr. Ray.  Charlie's brand new to yoga and his dedication and awkwardness reminds me of a little baby just learning to walk.  And of course he's a guy so sometimes I go whisper to him that it's okay to back off, we've got next week and you just know that next week he's going to be better because you can see it in his eyes.  Now, Miss Lisa is in her 20s and she has a beautiful practice.  Sometimes I go whisper in her ear to offer intensifications that she's ready for and it's pure joy to see her try and then get it!  I never force and I'm always conscious of my role as a guide.  This isn't my class, it's theirs - it's their body, their breath and I'm just an honored guest.

And what an honor!  To be in that room with them, sweaty, wobbly, and smiling at six in the morning on a Monday!  No lie y'all, I was so proud of them I got a little lump in my throat.  At the end of class today, I looked around the room and thanked them for the honor of starting their week with them.  I told them that they were worth getting out of bed for and I meant it.  It's a struggle to get my body working that early but something happens when I'm with them.  I get lifted, energized and I just want to give all that back and today, I'm pretty sure I did.

I love my class!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I know it's been said a kabillion times already, and it's on my sidebar but the lack of emails attached to comments is killing me!  I've read every single one of your comments on my sunroom and all the other stuff I've been doing but I just hate that I can't respond to them!  To that end, please pretty please with sugar on top go to this link, do what she says, and make it so I can respond to your comments.  I do my best to respond to every comment I'm able to because if you take time out of your life to read what I write and comment on it, the least I can do is respond.  

Now of course, if you don't care to receive a response, no worries.  I just don't want y'all thinking I'm some horrible troll that doesn't care about who reads her stuff because I totally do.  You can even make up an email address, just for commenting on blogs.  So show your email address, pretty super please?  Thanks, you're the greatest!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It's like they know that I know that they know!

I didn't meet my goal of sewing anything this weekend but it was because Drew was home and husband-time always trumps any other activity.  We had a great Saturday, going to see two movies in one day!  I haven't done that since I was a kid, and I didn't usually pay for the second movie (shh, don't tell.)  We saw The Other Guys which was cute little fluff, had lunch at a great Turkish restaurant and went back to see Salt.  I had higher hopes for Salt, namely Angelina Jolie's Russian-speaking abilities.  I won't spoil the movie but she speaks Russian in it, and she does it very poorly.  I love languages, I speak two foreign languages and my ears are always open for an accent.  I die for foreign accents!  Thus, I was very disappointed that she basically mumbled her way through her Russian lines.  Liev Shcrieber though?  He did awesome!  I actually was able to pick out a couple of his words, thanks to the similarities between Russian and French and that just put a big ol smile on my face!

But that's not the point of this post!  I'm freaking out y'all!  Last week I was on the Get it Girl blog and she wrote about rugs and how she found an identical rug on Overstock for just over a third of the price of one at Nieman's.  I've been wanting a new rug for our living room because the one we have is dark and I'm dying for some light in there and I really liked the rug she featured.  I also want to sew new, lighter pillow covers for our throw pillows on the sofa - we have too much brown in there!  ANYWAY, I really liked the rug and I clicked over to Overstock to check out the sizes and prices. 
 The rug in question.
Image courtesy Get It Girl Style

Imagine my surprise when I'm on the computer today checking out my celebrity gossip and there's an ad for the exact same rug I was looking at!  It's like they know!!  I mean, I know that there's some goblin in my computer recording every site I visit and showing me the corresponding ads but this just creeped me out!
I was looking at those other rugs too!

You know, I'm so glad that I keep my nose clean and I don't conspire to do illegal things because honestly, someone with a strong enough computer and enough know-how could find out whatever they wanted about you!  My rug example is so minor compared to how much information is floating around out there.  I mean, really there's not a lot you can do about it because we're only human and if a human devises a way to protect themselves, another human will come along and find a way around that.  I guess the only hope you really have is that you're boring enough and poor enough that no one wants to bother with you.

Which means I have nothing to worry about!

You had to know that was going to happen right?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Becoming Vera Wang: Final Touches

As anyone who has ever decorated knows, you're never truly finished.  Once you have things just so, you get the itch to switch it around or you come across a great find that just has to come home with you.  That's the best part about making a space your own - it evolves as you do.  I totally feel that way about my sewing room - it's not finished in the sense that it's not used and loved, but it is ready for business!

Just behind my new table is my organizer, that I found at Goodwill with Kesha for just $20!  One Saturday afternoon, she and I went to St. Vincent de Paul to see what they had and there it was!  It was in nearly perfect condition and I snatched it up, only to find out that it was too big to fit in my backseat.  I think it took us nearly an hour to finally get it in the trunk and secured with ropes and pulleys and towels to protect the trunk lid.  Thank God for the random stranger that was dropping stuff off and helped us figure it out!  I think I lost 10 pounds of water weight that day.
Ready and waiting for all manner of sewing books, trinkets and figurines.
The plant Kristina got me is now out here and it's still not dead!
The books are hers too - they're on loan until I build my stash.

Drew has a metal table thingy from IKEA that served as the island in his loft and when we moved here it was designated a workbench.  We kept it in the sunroom because we were going to use the sunroom as a gardening spot/greenhouse area.  However, that was quickly squashed because I don't have his love for the outdoors and would not be spending my free time potting plants or growing seedlings.  I barely like to go outside to take out the trash.  So, the greenhouse idea was nixed but the workbench stayed.  I liked the juxtaposition of the metal with my painted table and sought to further warm it up with some baskets.  That's where I lost my mind.

I went to Target with the intention of getting baskets, nothing else.  Isn't that how it always starts? First of all, baskets are expensive!!  I'm so mad about that!  That's why there's only one basket in my organizer - I bought it just to see if it would fit but I couldn't stomach going back to get more because of how much they cost!  I intend to get two more baskets for the organizer but not until my stomach settles.  It made me sick but I looked at Michael's and World Market and they're just as expensive there.  I sure am glad I like the way they look!
I didn't want to fill the shelves with baskets because I wanted to maintain 
some open-ness and I've since moved the baskets around.
I'm playing with their positioning to see what I like best.

Eventually I want to get those Olfa self-healing mats for the top of the workbench but that can come once I'm a hardcore seamstress.  I should have walked out with just the baskets because God knows they cost enough but nooo!  Their other organizers were on sale and I've been wanting to straighten our linen closet for ages!  So I got a couple of those too.  As a bonus, I used the little white things they provide to cover the screws on my organizer in the sewing room so it looks even more polished!  
This pretty wreath was on sale for six bucks!
I already had the ribbon and the nail was already in the brick!
I practically had to buy it.

I didn't immediately know what to do about electricity because the sunroom has no outlets.  Luckily, there are outlets just outside the doors so I bought a couple of 15 foot extension cords and problem solved!  Since our house is old, the doors sit up off the floor which allows you to close both doors without smashing the cords.  It's not the prettiest solution but it works and sometimes you have to go with what you've got.
That hamper has been with me for over ten years and hides the cord nicely.
The dog does a pretty good job too.
I plan to use those cord keeper things to keep the cord neat along the wall.
The other cord runs behind my organizer.

I also would like to find a colorful seat cushion for my chair for some comfort and variety.  I didn't mean to, but it's very neutral in here.  Of course once it gets lived in and I fill it with beautiful fabrics in gorgeous colors and prints it will be plenty lively but you'll just have to use your imagination until then.

So, two questions.  Once, is the mix of the neutral colors okay?  The hamper, chair and basket all have different undertones.  Does that work?
 The baskets are kind of greenish, the chair is definitely reddish 
and the hamper is kind of yellowish.  At least to my eyes.

My other question is, should I get a rug?  I kind of like the bare floor but with the brick walls and the tile floor I wonder if it seems too cold.  Again, this room is not lived in so I know it will change in time but I was just wondering what y'all think.

I can't wait to spend my free time here, sewing and creating.  What if I actually got good enough that I could do this for other people?  That's the best part about going to the tailor - slipping that dress over your head and finally it hugs you in all the right places.  Or even something as simple as having pants that are the perfect length or jeans that no longer gap in the back so all of a sudden your butt looks amazing!  What if I could do that for somebody else, wouldn't that be so cool!

Of course, that would mean I'd have to learn how to sew a straight line.  Which would involve actually turning the machine on again.  One thing at a time.  

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Becoming Vera Wang: The Table

First, I have to thank you for commenting on that last post.  After I hit publish I was so afraid that I would stand alone in my confessions, much like the dream where you go to school naked so thank you for saving me from that.  I LOVED reminiscing with you guys!

But now that I have my photos uploaded, let me show you my sewing room!  Starting with the (grrrrr) curtains...

I took Julia's advice and screwed in another eye in the center of the two screws on the right side of the cornice.  It only took a few seconds and I just sat the wire on top of the screw - there was no way I was going to tempt fate and unwrap the wire and try to thread it through the eye.  Droopiness solved!
Nice and straight

But of course it couldn't be that easy on the left side!  For the life of me, I have no idea what the deal is with the left side but I could not get a screw in no matter how hard I tried.  I was going to take Diva's suggestion and put a push pin on the other side but of course we have no push pins in the house.  That reminds me, I need to make a trip to the office supply closet before I leave work today.  I MEAN, I need to stop by Office Max and BUY a box of push pins. 

Do you see this?  
It's mocking me, taunting me, making me sweat and curse!
It's called 'leaving well enough alone' for a reason.

However, I will not be defeated by that dumb cornice.  I will find a way to get a screw in that side. After all, Drew got a hook in there once, surely he can do it again right?  Right?!  

At any rate, the rest of my room transformation went amazingly well and I'm so very pleased with how it all came out - my goal is to sew something this weekend!  So let's start with my table, because that's what I'm most excited about!  I found it on craigslist for $30 and after confirming the measurements would work in the room, I drove out to Plano to pick it up.  
Regular country-looking farm table
Personalized by the little kid of the house
Inspected by the dog of this house
Goo-Gone will not only remove stickers, 
it will remove paint and possibly your skin so be careful!

I was going to use my standby, Valspar's Pale Bloom so I wouldn't have to spend money on paint but when I opened the can, I knew there wouldn't be enough for the table.  Thankfully, we had lots of other paint on hand so I got busy opening the cans and brainstorming.
I'm the one who uses all the paint, so why is it all on the top shelf?
Better access for the short chick.

In opening and rearranging, I found a similar paint color that turned out to be the color of the walls in the sunroom (as best as I can tell.)  Figuring that would work out nicely, I dumped the rest of my Pale Bloom in my bucket, mixed it with the new color (Sherwin Williams custom - the label was too faded to tell the name), and hoped for the best!
What would you call this?  Creamy-ish? Almond-milk-y?
Mixed with the rest of my Pale Bloom
This little spout is the coolest!  
99 cents and it snaps onto a pint or a quart 
and catches spills! 

The rest is pretty much the same as any other furniture painting.  Sand, prime, paint, poly.  I did all that and was very pleased with how my table came out!  However, it sat in the garage for a couple of weeks because I wanted to experiment with painting a design on the top and couldn't decide on one.  I wanted to do a subtle stencil like Kristin but I didn't trust my free-handing skills. Centsational Girl made her own stencil but that was far too much effort for me.
It's just high-gloss paint over latex in the same color
It's nice and subtle and I love that

I finally settled on stripes - they're super easy and taping off the table took me about five minutes and that's after I figured out that if you work from the outside in, your lines will be straighter.
I didn't use a measure or level because I was too impatient.
I just eyeballed, taped, pulled up the tape because it was crooked
and taped again. 
Applying the glaze as the sun started to set.
It's Valspar's Brushed Pearl and it's in a blue and bronze can.
Finished.  Whenever using tape, take it off the second you're done painting.
If you let it dry, your paint stripes will come off with it and the edges will be uneven.
I threw some glaze on the knobs of the legs to bring it all together
In her new home in the sunroom!
I know it looks like the stripe doesn't go to the edge of the table, but I promise it does.
From some angles you can see the glaze very clearly
All ready for me to create!
Can I tell you how sad I am that my sewing machine has a black power cord?

Next up:  how I lost my mind at Target.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Jeremy Jordan

Okay, I have a confession.  I forgot my camera at home so I can't write about how I finished my sewing room (I hope y'all like it!) and how I have a bone to pick with those that spoke up about my curtains.  Why, you might ask?  Because, like a junkie, all weekend I kept looking and looking at my curtains and finally I gave in, like a junkie, and took some of your advice to make the curtains not droop.  Much, MUCH cursing ensued.  I'm so serious, y'all are lucky I don't have your home phone numbers - I was using quite colorful language because apparently the cornice is made of CONCRETE or something on the left side.  But I'll tell you more about that later.

So I was cleaning out my trunk just after I got my big-girl car and I found a box with random stuff in it.  Sifting through it I found a cassette tape insert of Jeremy Jordan.  I'm already starting to sweat with embarrassment but we're all friends here right?  Anyway, I used to have his tape and with that, I have confirmed that I am indeed 100% middle-aged.  I had the biggest crush on Jeremy Jordan and knew all the words to his songs so I went looking on YouTube and look what I found!   
And yes, I just watched that and sang all the words by heart.  Y'all remember that phase?  That white-boy-as-soul-singer phase?  Who else did that?  I'm drawing a blank right now.

I think Jeremy Jordan is my most embarrassing musical crush although I am a child of the 80s.  Can you believe that at one point I was into hair bands?  I had a poster of Def Leppard above my bed (it went nicely with my Cabbage Patch Kids curtains and bedspread) and I knew all the words to "Pour Some Sugar on Me."  Guns n Roses "November Rain" was my song and I totally had a top hat like Slash and I would brush my hair out to look like his.  And you simply have to include Poison's "Every Rose has its Thorn."  I think I actually cried to that song once.

Once I grew out of that phase I discovered hip-hop and I that's when I found Salt-n-Pepa and the giant gold door-knocker earrings.  I was so mad at mom for not letting me cut my hair short and dye it blonde and shave one side.  
Incidentally, she had to shave her head because of a bad relaxer.
And I totally had that outfit.

Then came all the crushes on Bell Biv Devoe, or BBD to their true fans, Boyz II Men and Shai, OMG SHAI!!
Was it a rule that that all singing must be shirtless?
And yes, I just sang all the words.

I'm so old I can't remember if I had a tape or a CD of Shai - remember for a time they would put out both in case you weren't as technologically advanced?  Or the boomboxes that had both a CD and a tape player?  I had one of those in my bedroom too.

NKTOB?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Don't lie!!

I knew that dance too - I did it all the time but you had to be careful swinging your legs like that on the living room carpet because if you get too enthusiastic you could slip and fall in front your friends.  Not that I know anything about that.  

All right, I refuse to stand alone in this!  So spill - who is your most embarrassing musical crush? What songs do you still know by heart?  Don't leave me hanging y'all!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Becoming Vera Wang: Curtains

Now that I have a sewing machine, I decided that I needed space to sew.  The night I used my machine for the first time, I simply set things up in the breakfast nook.  However, that won't work long term and I quickly designated the solarium as my new sewing spot.
Unfortunately, Maya's about to lose her guard post

My first order of business was to hang some curtains.  The sunroom/solarium (is there a difference anyway?) faces the front of the house and I needed some privacy.  I thought this would be a quick and easy project because I had the most important element already on hand.

I bought these curtains at IKEA when I lived in LA eight years ago!  I had visions of stringing them across an entire wall in my bedroom to frame my bed or to make my windows seem larger.
Like this
Or this
Sadly, I never got around to it in my apartment in LA, so I packed them up and they came with me to Dallas.  Working full time while juggling a full school schedule tends to put all decorating projects on the back burner, so for four years they sat in a box in my closet while I got my degree.  They then moved with me to Drew's apartment, then to our house here where they came to rest in the original box in the garage.  When I finally started this project, I ran out to the garage and clapped my hands like a little girl that I remembered where they were and that they were in perfect condition!  

I bought eight packages so I had 16 panels to work with.  I knew I wouldn't need that many (ended up with five on each side) so I got busy.  A tension rod was no good because the window is super wide so any rod would have to be custom.  I wanted to do this as inexpensively as possible, and the space to hang the curtains was really narrow thanks to a decorative cornice that ended up making me want to take my own life.

I decided on picture-hanging wire with screw eyes because the curtains were so sheer they wouldn't be that heavy, although you can get picture wire that'll hold up to 150 pounds!
When you go to Lowe's, look for damaged packages.
Remember my window film?
You can get 10% off perfectly good stuff if the package is opened!
Even though the wire was less than three dollars, I still like a deal.
The screw eyes were less than a dollar.

I got up on my ladder, smug with my ingenuity.  The curtains were the first step - Vera Wang here I come!  I screwed in the first eye in thirty seconds.  The second went in with equal ease - one more to go and this would be the easiest project I've done to date!  I was going to be sewing in no time!  Me and my big fat mouth.

The third screw eye wouldn't go in despite all my pleading, cursing, sweating, cajoling, yelling, stomping, and cursing some more.  It was all the same piece of wood - I didn't get it! Was this wood-painted stone? In this one spot?  This damn curtain was standing in the way of me becoming Vera Wang!  Luckily, Drew got home the next day and I knew his muscles would be able to do the trick.  After much cursing, sweating, yelling, cursing, getting off the ladder to get a different screw, cursing some more and brute force, he got the third hook screwed in.
We ended up using these from this project.  
I don't mind that they don't match, you can't see them anyway.

I wrapped the wire around the first eye and then strung five curtain panels on the wire.  Then I threaded it through the center eye and strung five more panels before wrapping the wire around the hook on the other end.
The cornice hides all the screws and even though the curtains are light,
they still make the wire dip down.
Anyone who wants to comment on that fact must first 
promise to come to my house and fix it.
Otherwise, zip it.

Next on the list was to shorten the curtains.  They were 108 inches long which isn't a problem when you're hanging them from the ceiling but they were too bunchy for these windows.
Bunchiness is a technical term, in case you were wondering.

So I got really technical and fixed the problem.  Meaning, I grabbed my scissors, eyeballed the length and chopped.  Repeat for all remaining panels and hope they're even.  This process should be patented.  Anyone who uses it owes me a $5,000 royalty.  
My lovely assistant documenting my process from the living room.
Is it even?  Ish?
Guess what, anyone who wants to get on this floor and critique
should get a life.
Taking a little more off the bottom.
You can see at the bottom right it's much less bunchy.
I think this is before I cut the length but this is pretty much the finished product.

Only once I'd done all that did I realize my mistake.  You see, my ridiculous dog can open doors and she loves the sunroom.  We have to lock the door to keep her out of there because she barks at anything walking by, especially dogs, and the occasional stray cat will make her bananas.  She has a big bark anyway and with the echo in that room she sounds like a monster, which is super annoying at six in the morning on a Saturday.  We've taken to putting a chair in front of the door to keep her in our bedroom so she won't go out there and bark at the newspaper in the driveway.

Well, one day she got particularly excited at something passing by and got her paw stuck in one of the panels and ripped a big hole in it.  Of course, it's in the middle of the wire so I'm going to have to cut that panel down, unwrap the wire, thread another panel on it, attempt to pull it tighter so it won't droop and re-wrap the wire.  This is a giant pain in the ass and I didn't think of that when I hung one continuous wire across the window.  I'm not looking forward to it.

But I have curtains!  The house looks so much nicer from the outside with them but more importantly, I'm one step closer to becoming Vera Wang using my sewing machine for the second time ever!

Wait till I show you my table!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I'm not worthy!

About a month ago, which in internet time is like ages and ages, three lovely ladies bestowed blog awards upon me.  Even though I personally thanked them I'm only just now writing about it.  Which is why I suck and I'm lame and I must be purged.  Purge me! (I tried to look for that Golden Child clip because it's the best movie ever but I couldn't find it.)

Sunny and Carolyn both gave me the Sweet Blog award within one day of each other.  I was honored and surprised and then even more humbled when just a few days later Julia gave me a Blog of Substance award!  She thinks I'm substantial y'all!

For the blog with substance, I'm supposed to share my blog philosophy.  At first, I confused that with my blog's purpose which is far more difficult to pin down, as it has evolved from when I first started writing.  But my philosophy is pretty simple - be authentic.  I strive to be authentic with every word I write.  Each post is a snapshot of my life and what I'm presently dealing with, with as little editing and filtering as possible.  When I do edit, I strive to simply tell my stories through my eyes - you can't go wrong when you're talking about yourself.  It's when you try to interpret other people's feeling and motivations that it gets sticky.  I also try to condense in the interest of time.  I don't know about you, but I keep up with everyone on my blogroll as well as a few others and my biggest peeve is being held hostage by a post that goes on forever with nary a picture to break up all those words!  If I do write a post with no pictures I try to be as descriptive as possible so at least you can make pictures in your head!

So, that's it:  be authentic, edit only where absolutely necessary, and be respectful of your readers' time.  I've really enjoyed the challenge that it presents and I feel like it has helped my writing.  In being authentic, there have been many times that I've paused over the keyboard wondering if I should really say that.  I've been nervous when I hit 'publish' and I've been flamed, but I figure that's just par for the course.  Editing is a challenge as well because it's not easy to tell a good story and keep it short and interesting but the process makes your writing cleaner.  And pictures!  One of these days I'll take good pictures - sometimes I get lucky and it's so gratifying to be able to share it with you.  I'm nowhere near even decent at photography but I'm not where I started and that counts!

As for my 10 sweet bloggers, some are repeats (because they're just that awesome), some are new but all are blogs that I really really like!

Even though she doesn't know me and I'm not as close with her as the ones I chose for my sweet bloggers, I really like her blog and totally think it's substantial.

Thank you so much ladies for the wonderful awards, you're the greatest!


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