Friday, May 30, 2014

Bawling, emotional, photographic #funforfriday

This week was my birthday, and since I've had children, and it falls around the 'start' of summer fun, it always ends up in their favor. 

The Devon Horse Show was this year's "Mommy's Birthday Party", as the kids like to call it, and darn it if I didn't have a lot of guests this year! 



Me + 4 kids on the Ferris Wheel
Excitement over the crappy carnival games
Trying not to cry; enjoying my life
Oh yeah - we went with our besties, of course
Then hit gymnastics class with the same motley crew. 
We then managed to meet up with the hubbys for dinner with the whole gang! Thanks, besties!! But there is no photographic evidence. Meltdowns were imminent. Wine was being consumed in anticipation.

Why don't we ever take a photo of the mommies, eh!?!? 

But this photo, I have lots of. Specifically, first day *sniff* of preschool and last *sniff* day of preschool....


I hate these monkeys so much. 

[I may have contemplated throwing myself at the preschool director after she told me the music teacher was retiring, but I held back. I think I work in Higher Education....I think I may face that hairy idea another day when my mascara isn't running....]

Happy Friday!!! 

Are we excited about summer!?! 


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Enjoying the stillness of negative space, and sewing room reno continued


I am finally. FINALLY. after 8 years of quilting, starting to get it.

What makes a design truly pop, is the blankness next to it.

None of these 5,000 novelty print fabrics are gonna cut it for me anymore!

I want white, white, white, white-on-white and off-white to attach itself to each and every quilt I have in my hot little head.

As I mentioned, I went about designing and building a fourth charity quilt out of the A Very Hungry Caterpillar panels and fabrics I had purchased for the twyns' preschool friends handprint quilts I created for the school's auction.

I had so much left. I still have so much left, but that's my problem.

Well, it's also your problem if you follow this blog regularly, as I am continually ranting on and on about fabric storage and fabricoholism. Fabriholicism? Fabrickleness. Whatevs.

Anywho, this 2014 I have discovered, through my:
  • focusing on meaningful projects
  • saying no to many things
  • taking a break from social media for Lent
  • and a desire to create pretty things
  • (and not to mention the recent devouring of the book eat pray love)
that I must also enjoy the negative space in my life in order for the bright moments to truly pop. 

I must be able to host stillness in my life, in order to hear the creative spirit within me.

I'm still working on creating my space to inspire this little spirit. Phase 2 of sewing room reno (see phase 1 here.)

Started filing my fabric thanks to the idea from Sew Many Ways blog [still much more to go!]
Mounted little baskets from the sewing table like in the Lego table I made for the twyns
Will mount a magnetic strip for my scissors on the side of the cutting table
Will be hanging my fave decorations from my previous sewing space
And some new decorations I've purchased over the years.
I must trust myself and my desires, and honor them with a full day of work on them, rather than in between preparing lunches and school pickup and fulfilling ten ETSY orders. 

Perhaps it is also a function of my getting more adventurous with the quilting part of the quilt-making.

The design in the quiet spots.

So with this latest charity quilt, I put together some panels and triangles...


Started to look at what else could go with them...

And decided a lot of white could fill the gaps nicely.

Then set about...

Piecing it together...
basting...
And now onto quilting...
Trying to be happy in the work, happy in the creating, and happy in the empty spots, too.

Fitting, since the twyns have preschool graduation in a few hours! 

*sniff*

Friday, May 23, 2014

Couples Retreat #funforFriday

Once, in the middle of this awful past winter, we decided to book a trip for two. I used a blog draft to log some ideas...

Itinerary #1: 
Fly to San Fran
Stay in Point Ranch, Big Sur
Stay in Napa
Eat at French Laundry
See some natural coast/sites (possibly Yosemite)

Itinerary #2: 
Turks & Caicos, Club Med


Itinerary #3: 
San Diego - zoo, beach, scuba, possibly Sea of Cortez


Itinerary #4: 
Jackson Hole
Grand Tetons
Yellowstone - 90 mins
Old Faithful - 45 mins


Itinerary #5: 
SPAIN -
foodie, beach, museums....

And we kicked around a few more ideas, and then just basically went on Costco's travel website and ended up here...
St. Thomas, USVI
Across the bay from our honeymoon spot.

So I guess it was kind of fitting, since we will be celebrating our tenth anniversary this summer.

(Shhhhh don't tell the hotel it's still a few months away.)

And that's why I haven't posted this week!

But I'm already in the "shop" today, patting myself on the back for passing that fabric store in St.Thomas without going inside, and working on yet another charity quilt (this time for my Moms of Multiples club) out of these Hungry Caterpillar panels! I'm still loving the bright colors. 

Happy Friday! 

Any good vacation plans yourself this holiday weekend? Do share!!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

$40 Kitchen Table Set Makeover #namasDIY


So....did I not take a before pic?

Damn. I didn't take a before pic. 

Ah well. 

I did do this project over a week's time, so I had a chance to take this side-by-side before-and-after pic of the chairs! 


This was super easy, y'all. 

A few years ago we received this dinette set from my brother, 
who had, prior to letting it rot out in his garage, 
received it from our mother. 

[It's like, the hand-me-downs go by age-of-kids ;)]

So we took it from drab to fab with a white-paint-and-orange-plaid-fabric makeover five years ago.

And now it's drab again. 

[or maybe it always kinda was?]

Quick & Dirty:
  • I unscrewed and stapled some new fabric on the cushion-y parts, 
  • sanded, wiped down, and spray-painted the wooden parts.
  • tried to remember how to reassemble.

THAT'S IT!

Then off to the playground. 



Slow & Painful Detailed Version: 
1. I went to Joann's and bought 3.5 yards of outdoor fabric ($5/yard with 50% off coupon = $17.50.) I could have gotten away with less, but I always like to err on the side of more so that I can make placemats, runners, etc. In this case I also had two white accent chairs for which I thought about making cushions. [Spoiler alert, I did, but the design is not tutorial-worthy by any stretch.]

I was choosing between a small print & a larger, more modern print. You know mama loves fabric ;)
2. Next, I sized out the fabric cuts. I used pinking shears to keep it neat and to eliminate the need to sew or fold-over the edges too much.

3. I alternated coats of paint with stapling fabric. I stapled them like I would wrap a present - a triangle-corner thingy and fold it all down and...staple! By the way, the staple gun needed more force than the drill. Good thing I have mucho muscles. Staple gun & staples were already in my stash, so: free.


4. I explained to my husband at dinner that night that he was not to discuss the project before it is complete, LOL!
Note green handprint on table. Yea, I'm sick of that.
5. The next chance I got, I took the table outside, removed the leaf, and sanded and painted it, too. All in all, three cans of spray paint at $3.60 each = $10.80. Sandpaper, about $2. You want to sand with the grain of the table to get the best results, and make sure you wipe down the whole thing so there is no dust left on the piece.

It actually took three and a half coats to get it nice and glossy.
6. I gave the rest of the pieces two days in the garage to fully 'cure' and off-gas before bringing them inside.


 I also got this cute little matching circular rug at Ikea for under the pedestal base for $10.
Ikea Flinga Rug $9.99
7. Complete! I will, someday, turn that strip of fabric on top of the table into a runner and/or placemats.

Got this pretty thing for Mother's Day and it gave the splash of color this new black-and-white modern set needed!

That's $40, y'all.

I would've spent more, but you know,
the kids are gonna crap it up in about two days time.

Happy Crafting! 

Namas-DIY.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

May there be a full roll of toilet paper at your fingertips,

A fresh smell of laundry pressed, folded, and put away,

A full pot of coffee brewing, strong and hot.

May a small, soft sliver of sunlight be your only morning wake-up call,

And may the scale show ten pounds off.

Happy Mother's Day you coffee-loving freaks! 

And happy mother's day to the best mama, mine

"Right?" "Right."

Friday, May 9, 2014

Point of departure


March 2003.

I took a cab in the rain to my new life.

I traded Casting directors for Costco. Rehearsals for retaining walls. A checking account for a savings account.

It seemed right.

But as I look back on my life, and take stock of what it is now versus then, I know it was right.

But I also recognize that it was one of those moments in your life that forged a path for you. And if you had made another choice in that very moment...in that very second...it might have changed the course of your own history.

I am so utterly grateful [spoiler alert] to be able to rekindle a relationship I destroyed in that very moment.

I left my darling co-writer, in the middle of a performance, after I had delivered my final line in the final performance of the [then-final] show we wrote together, costumes and dirty dancing shoes in hand, no note left, no conversation of explanation had, to scamper into that cab and spend the weekend with my then-boyfriend-now-husband doing God-knows-what-suburban-sorts-of-things and family visits. 

I had to get out.

I remember taking a shower earlier that week in my tiny apartment on 71st street, in the city that I loved, five years into auditions, day jobs, overdraft charges, cleaning dirty diapers and changing costumes in bathrooms, sacrificing holidays and boyfriends to head out of town on a $50 performance for some line on my resume that might attract some casting director/agent/manager/dream role, and realizing one second into that shower, that I had no time for a shower because I needed to head to another unpaid rehearsal. So I immediately started scrubbing up. When I then subsequently realized why I had no time to even bathe myself, I started to cry. I spent 22 of every 24 hours of every single day of the 7 that exist in a week, on this art. This drive towards .. ? Fame? Full-time employment? [I think as performers we seek fame only to solidify and legitimize what we long to do on a daily basis as a career, regardless of what monetary reward it might bring.] I cried as I quickly toweled myself off with a two-week-old towel [who had time or money for laundry], stepped over the many books from my graduate program, [another futile attempt to legitimize myself], books of audition material [there was no internet then to purchase a single song from a single musical in your own little key whenever you needed it], books of source material for our musical, and papers upon papers of unwieldy handwritten sheet music sheets that I struggled to correct but ironically were never going to actually be read by our cast of untrained but endlessly giving actors/musicians.

What if.

All. ALL. ALLLLLLLLLL of this energy that I pointed towards performing and the arts, I directed towards myself?

What if I spent my money getting my hair cut instead of cutting it myself in the two minutes I looked in my bathroom mirror on my way out of my apartment whenever I saw split ends for four days straight that I could no longer stand?

What if I bought myself food to cook, and spent time cooking it, rather than eating....crap. Leftovers. Free hors-d'oeuvres and bar food.

What an amazing benefit that might bring.

What a novel concept in the world I had created for myself.

I couldn't hack it anymore.

I wanted to beeeeeeeeeeee.

I wanted to be ME. I wanted to be a person, not a performer. Not a type. Not a commodity. Not another brunette belting C's. And occasionally D's. And occasionally E's on a good week.

I'm a smart person. I no longer knew where I was going with this. If I were me, looking in on me, I would think me was crazy and I would stop smacking my head against a wall, and instead smack my head against my hands and beg myself to GO.

RUN FOR THE HILLS.

Run into the arms of the man who comforts and consoles and entertains you on a daily basis.

He promises unending love and Mexican vacations.

A man who had never rejected me once in the 8 years I had known him.

I had to go.

I was sad to go.

My co-writer knew it. She knew it when I wasn't in the dressing room for curtain call. She knew it when I didn't respond to her calls and ideas for the next show. She knew it when I committed to a Masters' thesis instead of a sweaty art-filled summer at CHARAS rehearsal space and she knew it when she looked in my eyes the next time we saw each other.

She told me she would not let me go. She told me she would let me run, but I would not be able to kill her in my Sicilian way and that she would be back.

And she did come back. Ten years later.

And our lives are sooooo different.

But from that second on the curb, they could have been the same. I could have taken my half-ripped, over-stuffed shopping bags, makeshift keyboard carrier made out of a canvas tote and rainbow suspenders and turned on my heels and run back to the theatre. I could have taken my bow, headed out for a drink, a self-congratulatory clinky-clank and participated in plans and dreams for another show. And I often wonder about that life I didn't live. And sometimes it makes me sad and mournful. And sometimes it makes me incredibly joyous and celebratory.  I torture myself (and my husband) every once in awhile with this thinking. Some may think of men they may have married, majors they may have studied, babies they did or didn't have, careers they may have chosen...

I think about that moment in the streets of Manhattan.

Exchanging partner for partner. Life for life. Creation for creation.

My husband knows I will never leave him for another man. I would leave him for a gypsy woman who goes by my maiden name.

Now, my writing partner and I, we come to a new point of meeting. And I won't be running. We are capable of so much work together still, and that work may be possible because I left when I did and I ran all that I could run. But what did we miss? What did miss? It still won't be the same, me lingering along, fitting in time for one project with her, in the midst of many others she has going on in her now burgeoning career.

But you can't go back to that point of departure.

And all I can know is, that I couldn't miss this. 

I'm literally typing this on my laptop on my patio, watching musical masterpiece number 1 play with musical masterpiece number 2 on their swing set. 

In my life, they were worth a cab ride in the rain.


Sewing rule #1 #funforfriday




It's been that kind of week, people!!

I've had a lot of output, but as usual it's spits and spurts and very messy and well,  you just gotta love when life spits back at ya. 

Working on: 

1. Organizing fabric/continue sewing space Reno


3. Cute little cami custom orders

What are you working on? 

Happy Friday! 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A cautionary tale

My Uncle is a broken man.

His marriage is broken, his body is broken, his relationships with many important people in his life, are broken.

Many things have affected him over the years.

But if you ask me what's at the center of his own personal apocalypse, it's music.

It's his love of music, his love of creation and his love of the attention and need for that 'rush' of applause and adoration that drove him into a tail spin at a very early age.

Ok, so it was the 60s.

If I had lived in the 60s, I would certainly be a broken person as well.

I might not have actually lived through the 60s.

I definitely inherited his adventurous spirt.

We leap first, then look.

What was that thing about getting your feet wet? No, we get our heads wet first.

Why just stop at the feet?? 

Anyways, I don't mean to air all of his dirty laundry here, I just had a flash that I was becoming.exactly.like.him.

Or maybe, I was meant to, but watching him struggle with his demons all my life gave me a glimpse of my possible future and I always ran the other way.

I ran from music. I chose anything but music when possible. And yet, it keeps knocking on my proverbial door. 

I love it so, and I still have within me, the music. So here's my flash:

I have a friend who is producing a show next month and has invited me to perform with her. So that'll be fun. 

You know, no strings, no expectations...just...fun!

So it inspired me to write a song for her. I doubt it will be her style, or would be ready to be produced and up on the stage in a month, but it just got me thinking how much I like to write for other people and wouldn't it be a great career if I could just be a ...

STOP IT . 

STOP IT> 
a;flkdsjfl;khae'0t-{ehw84tnlkjn

g o away demon;3420qup;oirj;mn:CLKXJV"O((98482t88

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Focusing outward to get inward

Oh....that darned creative spirit.

It wants to get out, and it doesn't know how.

So today I'm starting here. 




That is all. 

Namas-DIY.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

AccuQuilt Block Design Contest & My twyns butterflies

As you may recall I created three separate handprint quilts for the three different classes at my twyns' preschool last month, and they all did well at the Auction.

I carefully chose three patterns that I thought would showcase the handprints the best, but when it came time to do my kids' class, the biggest one with 24 kids, I just couldn't use a pattern.

I needed something special. These were my twyns and there were actually another set of twyns in the class whom are their best friends forever, so I had to combine them somehow!

Keeping with the Eric Carle themes, I came up with the butterfly! And in the center of the quilt, I used an Eric Carle panel from A Very Hungry Caterpillar, of course. See the creation of that quilt in this post here.


Now it is May so you can start voting for my quilt block design at the AccuQuilt Block Design Contest. There are prizes at many levels, including just for voting, so please go on over, check out all the gorgeous competition, and vote for mine here.

You can vote everyday in the month of May.

Or just one time and I'll be your BFF.

Ok the rain is still here but I'm feeling a little more inspired to get to work in my new digs, having browsed through some posts on QuilterBlogs.com.

Although, what I really want to sew today, is a dress for my daughter using these fantastic prints:


Let's get to work, shall we?









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