Edge of Glory – the video

Although I hate to reuse a title, there just isn’t a better one. I managed to talk Ron into going to see Aubrey again (oh, and to celebrate his and Matt’s birthdays, of course!), and this time, I took the flip. It was a much better decision than using my tablet, as the lens has a substantially wider angle, and it works better in a low-light situation.

I could not believe what a huge difference three months has made in Aubrey’s talent and skill. She is fearless, and FAST. She has also learned how to flow, whereas in April, she was very jerky, and stopped between every “trick.” Now she is just one endless ball of whir, except for when she has to set down to let the blood back into her legs and get her costume out of her crevices.

Last time, I filmed her for almost 45 minutes and saw only two or three flips. This time, I had 28 minutes of footage, and over five minutes of pure flips and spins. It took me two days to make the video, and the hardest part was finding the right music.

However, a picture is worth a thousand words, and a video is worth a million, so check her out:


Next stop, Cirque du Soleil!


My Life Is Brilliant

Well, it was a long four days, but yesterday was worth every sore muscle and aching joint. We started with a cluttered, miserable, dreary, and unusable space that had become just a walkway that we went through as fast as possible to get somewhere else. We couldn’t use our dining table, so the last meal we ate as a family in our own home was at Easter, and the time before that, Christmas. Our house is already small, and we weren’t using a fifth of it.

By the time my fairy godparents were done, I didn’t want to move out of my seat, both because I was tired and I was in awe that my friends Leigh and Bill had taken my most loved possessions (that went with the color and theme of the room, of course), and what I thought was the world’s ugliest furniture and turned it into a room worthy of an HGTV show. While most of those shows have a minimum budget of $500, Leigh pulled this off for about $250, ALL of which was paint, electrical outlets and switches, some brushes that I didn’t have, and a ceiling fan. Everything in the room was already mine!

Bill is a wonderful husband…he just nods his head and does what she tells him to. Ron was as bad as the dogs, and even though he took Monday and Tuesday off, I think if he could have hid under the bed yesterday, he would have. He was fine when they were painting and doing the basic, bottom layer stuff, but when Leigh started putting the furniture back in the room, he lurked in the bedroom for most of that time. When Leigh asked him if he liked it, he said, “I really do. It doesn’t look like Carolyn’s taste at all.” Sigh. Fortunately we have a marriage counseling appointment scheduled for next Wednesday.

While I have to do one more coat of gel stain on my French doors, stain a side table, and paint my dining table, here’s the basic breakdown of the room.

Bare walls, bare windows, bare cushion covers. What it looked like when we started on Tuesday morning.

After the first coat of gel stain. I added the second coat, but it needs a third.

The first thing someone sees when they walk in the door is a collage frame that hung in the entryway of our old house for almost 10 years. I took all of the photos of the kids, their friends, and Ron.

Finally! A place to eat. The dining table still needs to be painted. The candle holder was purchased at a candle store in Fredericksburg for $10, the picture of the bridge was bought at Goodwill for $5, and the butterfly pics were bought at Walmart for Aub’s dorm room at $5 each.

The Poppies poster was $3 at a garage sale, the frame was $15 at Michaels, and the dragonfly hung in our old bedroom. I bought that for $12 at World Market about 10 years ago. Leigh confiscated the comfy chair from my office, and the ottoman serves double duty as a coffee table.

The antique desk (which came with a chair that wasn’t used in this room) was bought on craigslist for $75. The curtains and pillows were left over from when we staged our old house to sell. The curtains are from World Market, and were $20 each (and were a gift from my mom!). I did have to buy the sheers, $5 each at Walmart. I bought the curtain rods for staging the old house, and the sheers are hanging on $3 rods from IKEA that I’ve had for 10 years. The pillows were $7 each at Ross. The lamp is from Target ($15), the chest was a Christmas gift from 13 years ago (it was a makeup set, actually), the faux books are storage boxes bought at Ross for $6 and $3 each, and the digital frame was purchased on Woot.com for $45. The sofa is Crate and Barrel, bought on craigslist for $120, the mirrored candle holder is from Michaels ($9), and the dragonflies around it are actually Christmas ornaments that I picked up at Pier One 8 years ago for $.75 each. I’d never used them! The pink throw was another dorm room purchase, from IKEA for $15. The bamboo “rug” was another craigslist find for $20. It’s perfect with dogs in the house, because it’s easily cleaned.

The lantern on top was a gift from my ex-husband for the Valentine’s day before we were married, as was the box on the top shelf. The wooden “relax” sign was a garage sale find for 50 cents. The statue of the mother twirling her child was from T.J.Maxx for $12. The three vases are from IKEA, $2 each, the birdcage was a Michaels find for $8, as was the bird, $2. The star lantern was a table centerpiece at a Christmas dinner for Ron’s old company, so it was free. Matthew made the bowl in high school and the little gray vase on the shelf below. I bought the frog with a monkey and a sofa at a little boutique for $15, and the picture frames were $5 each at least 12 years ago. The Arabic writing quote was bought at a craft fair for $10 from a woman from Afghanistan. The botanical collage was a gift from Ron’s dad, 11 years ago. I’ve had the picture frames for forever. The wooden vase was a garage sale find for $3.

The watercolor that was the inspiration piece for the room. I bought it for $5 at a garage sale a few weeks ago, and I loved that it made even my old living room make sense. There is actually nothing wrong with it; the white marks are from the camera flash. I used gel stain on the frame to make it match the other wood. The lamps are IKEA ($10 each, 13 years ago), as is the filing cabinet, a craigslist find for $50. The dragonfly vase was from a boutique in Austin for $25, about three years ago…a major splurge for me, but I obviously have a dragonfly addiction.

The butterfly is a match with the dragonfly behind the comfy chair, and was also $12 at World Market. The vases are IKEA, $1 each. The turquoise vase was $8 at Michaels (the same thing goes for upwards of $40 on Joss and Main or One Kings Lane). The watercolor was painted by a friend, but I bought it in a silent auction for $15. The tiny teapot frames were from a boutique in Fredericksburg, $5 each. The leather bound Tolkien books are Ron’s, a gift from his dad when he was younger. Three of the wooden boxes are from the same boutique as the dragonfly vase, and one was a gift from Ron. Two more teapot frames, and a family photo from six years ago, taken by a photographer friend and given as a Christmas gift. The two bottom books were from garage sales, and the top two are from Michaels’ dollar bin. The baskets were garage sale finds, and part of a four piece set for $5.

The overall view, taken from the dining corner. Perfection!

I cannot believe this is my living room. I love just sitting in here. It’s my second most favorite place in the world…Leigh’s house is still my favorite, just by virtue of being located in Connecticut. I’m sure it has something to do with it looking much like Leigh’s, but with my stuff.

This was better than Trading Spaces, since we didn’t have to do someone else’s house while sweating on camera. Also, I didn’t have to worry about coming home to hay on the wall, or orange carpet. Next on the plan of attack is to finish my office, then the playhouse, then Aubrey’s room, and finally, horror of all horrors, the laundry room. The kitchen will be last…maybe. Leigh plans to come down more often. It will sure make this place sell a lot faster next year! However, that will all have to wait, as I pay for the last four days of hard work with the next two weeks of being bed bound. At least I’ll catch up on the afghan that I’m making for Leigh’s grandson.

If you want to see Leigh’s amazing artwork, check out her facebook page at Leigh Whalen!

“You’re beautiful, you’re beautiful, you’re beautiful, it’s true…”

When Nights Are Long, Do You Feel Blue?

Bill and Leigh got here yesterday morning at 9am and left around 7pm, after a hard day of prepping, patching, painting, and installing a ceiling fan. While I had planned to get yellow, in one of my typical Hail Mary decorating decisions, I opted for a silvery blue after seeing a palette from Design Seeds in my email last night that had the exact sage of my sofa. I figured it was a sign. It was an excellent choice, as even Mr. I Hate Everything Decorative commented, “I really like this blue!” Bill actually got Ron to laugh several times (miraculous!). I knew they’d get along as they are so alike, in a good way.

Leigh painting, Bill installing the ceiling fan.

The gorgeous silvery blue wall. Leigh painted the closet in blue to make it “disappear.” It looks so much better than the bright white. I am madly in love with the color, and so glad I didn’t repeat the previous owner’s choice of pale yellow.

Ron has tried to be supportive, and even took off yesterday and today so he could help. Mainly he moved furniture, kept everyone supplied with food and water, and dug for our various supplies that are scattered in every room of the house, porch, and two sheds. However, if this were a movie, he would win for best supporting role.

The only design burp was the decision to gel stain several pieces of furniture. I managed to do the French doors and the threshold under it, but it was already nearing the end of the workday when I finished. My homework was to put a few more coats on by morning. Leigh lives in Connecticut, so she’s used to the cool, relatively dry air. I think she forgot to factor in the South Texas humidity from hell. Ten hours later and the doors are still tacky to the touch. I decided to put off doing the other three pieces, as having a houseful of tacky furniture for who knows how long doesn’t work with the constant level of dog hair in the air. As it is, the threshold is a disaster that will have to be sanded and done again, with the dogs locked outside and a blowdryer in hand.

Doors prepped for gel stain.

Aub spent most of the time working on her room, broken up by food runs. She had to work so she was off the hook for most of the day. She did throw the sofa cushion covers in the washer for me when she got home, which was a huge help.

I had planned to wake up at 5:45 am, shower, go to Lowes, get paint, ceiling fans, and caulk, then get coffee for Aub and me. I forgot to factor the two days of hard labor leading up to yesterday…I was awakened at 9am by Ron saying Leigh was here. I flew out of bed with a huge surge of adrenaline that didn’t wear down until the second they left for the day. I think I was passed out before the door finished closing.

Unfortunately, I have a severe sleep disorder, and if nap, that means there are no meds in my system. That translates to incredibly vivid, and in today’s case, incredibly scary dreams. Ron woke me up because I was shouting in my sleep, and I was apparently in an incoherent panic. I went and climbed in his bed and passed out again until Aubrey got home at 11pm.

What I call the infamous “Three Day Wall” has descended with a vengeance. I will have to push through it for two more days, and then I will collapse for a week, minus a few hours on Saturday for a second photo shoot of my friend for her engagement. I just hope I recover without too much misery. Fibromyalgia sucks ass, and I am so incredibly grateful to have friends who are awesome enough to spend two days of their vacation decorating my living room, as it would take me weeks to get done what they did in ten hours.

Time for more sleep, and I will post pics of the mostly completed room, although it won’t be perfect unless the humidity lets up and we can finish the furniture and doors. Fingers crossed!!!

“Could you be blue, as blue as those eyes of yours, as blue as I am, my sweet, sweet baby…”

I Don’t Know What You Believe, Or What You Think Of What You See

More progress! I can’t believe it, but there is actually a large area of clean floor, a clear chair, and two clear, organized work stations. That part of the floor is swept and mopped, and I have curtains up on my French doors! I now have my neat closet and a fourth of my room.

It started with wanting to display my beads. It’s great to have them in plastic boxes, like the kind you put fishing lures in, but I love to look at my beads as much as I love to look at my yarn. It’s so much more inspiring when I can see my supplies…and they call my name.  Hobby Lobby had all of their glassware on sale, so these bottles were half price. Cost: $1 each, $20 total.

I couldn’t just leave them on the side table (especially since it’s an outdoor table), and I really wanted a place where I could also put up my card making supplies. Of course, I hit up craigslist, and found an absolutely adorable hutch! Price: $40

It took a little doing, and we had to take the legs off, but Aubrey and I managed to get it into the car. As cute as I think it is, I was at Hobby Lobby and found drawer knobs that look like Suzani flowers. I love Suzani prints, so I had to have those knobs. It was meant to be, because they were half price. Cost: $5 total

I needed some way to organize my stickers and my scrap paper. For years and years, I’ve had two IKEA rattan office organizers, but never actually used them. Since I’m on a “use it or toss it,” kick, I thought they might be pretty handy. Indeed, it’s easy to flip through a few of my scraps and about half my stickers. YES, there are more, but they’re tucked nicely away into the closet. Cost: 0$


Now for something to hold my old print pattern magazines like Crochet! and Crochet Today. Not just any old thing would do; fortunately, a while back I decided to pretty up some IKEA cardboard magazine holders. I have about 25 of these old things, some being used, some not. They’re extremely functional. They’re also extremely plain. Here’s a before and after. Once things are more organized, I’ll post the instructions on how to do it. Since these were on hand…Cost: 0$. But if you were to have to buy all the supplies, it’s $2 for five holders, and it takes two sheets of each pattern to cover two holders. Paper is usually five for $1 at any of the craft stores, so it would be about $3 for two holders.


Here are a few more storage bits, and a couple of decorative thingies. The flower wire organizers have been sitting unused for ages, so Cost: 0$

A metal calendar with magnetic boxes to keep track of the days. I tend to lose them. Cost: $1.

A gorgeous way to hide my jewelry making tools. Cost: $4.

Matching storage to hold my aluminum crochet hooks that I use for wrapping wire when making chain maille rings.

I have a friend who truly sends out cards. A lost art, but perhaps the two of us can make it trend. Notecards Cost: $1

A cottage journal. Maybe I’ll actually write instead of type?

A few of my edging scissors.

Just a few more touches before I called it a day. I covered the comfy chair that I picked up at a garage sale a month or so ago for $30 including the matching ottoman. You’ve seen the original in a previous post, and while it wasn’t ugly, it wasn’t cute, either. Hooray for having an old denim chair cover that I happened to come across in the shed accidentally, while searching for something else, of course. Cost: $0.

While organizing a huge pile of curtains this morning, I came across two gorgeous rose embroidered sheers that I’ve had for at least ten years. I had planned to hang something else on my French doors, so I bought rods yesterday, but these were just perfect for topping off that cottage feel. Cost: $4 for the rods, $0 for the sheers.

The end of the day!

The only thing missing is a snuggly blanket for that chair…something that will add a little color. Fortunately, my niece, crochet mistress extraordinaire and owner of JuliaStyles, is working on just such a blanket. I bought it before she even put it up in her Etsy shop. I highly suggest you check it out! Here is my blanket in progress:

There’s still a ton of work to do in here, but I can actually see floor! I’m thrilled and excited, and it keeps me motivated to continue. Now I just have to sleep for a couple of days, then I’ll move on to the next bit. Keep watching as I decorate on a nickle.

“This is a part of me, what I do and who I am.”

I’m On the Edge of Glory

Whoo hoo! I finally did it!

I have a large walk-in closet in my office/bedroom/studio, but it wasn’t being utilized to its fullest extent. I just had bins of yarn stacked against the wall, and three bookshelves against the back and opposite wall. I couldn’t get to anything, stuff was constantly falling, and because I couldn’t see my craft supplies, I wasn’t feeling very motivated to do anything.

However, my dear friend and fairy godmother is coming to visit from Connecticut, and she’ll be sleeping in this room. The room that had crap piled EVERYWHERE. I couldn’t possibly ask her to stay here in the condition it was in, so I finally got motivated to do something about all the mess.

I started by taking EVERYTHING out of the closet. I figured the bookcases can be used elsewhere, as they weren’t very functional for what I needed. I put a large wire shelving organizer against the back wall, and it holds 8 bins of yarn, plus a few other things. I put the other bins up on the existing top shelf. Perfect!

Then it was time to tackle the shredded wall. When we moved in, the previous owners were using the closet as an office, so there was a long L-shaped shelf about three feet up, and one other shelf about two feet above that. The problem was that they were installed with screw in brackets…the kind that aren’t adjustable, but are extremely cheap and sturdy. It wasn’t really going to function for me, because the setup didn’t hold any of my yarn bins. Useless!

Unfortunately, when we removed all the shelves a year ago, we did a really good job of tearing up the wall. I had three options…patch the drywall, replace the drywall, or cover it. Because I had (and still have) several sheets of beadboard, I decided to go with door number three. A few cuts with the jigsaw, a whole lot of loctite, and a full container of brad nails later, I had a beautiful beadboard wall!

beadboard wall

I still had a ton of closet organizer stuff lying around, so I measured out the closet, and sent my husband to get a sheet of melamine, and had him get it cut into four pieces: 3 of 85 x 16, and 1 of 11 x 48. That gave me three shelves that would go completely across the main wall. With the existing top shelf and the raised bit of floor, I would essentially have five shelves in total.

While my husband was gone, I installed the headers, and then the standards. Because there were only a few studs in odd places, none of the holes lined up with the studs, so I had to use anchors with my hefty screws. I also took the precaution of screwing down the standards, again using anchors with the screws. I was done by the time he got back.

headers installed!

Using melamine shelving is great, but if you get the sheet kind, you have to use the iron on melamine tape. Ron picked up the tape, but neither of us could find the iron to save our lives. I decided to just put the shelves up anyway, and when we come across the iron, I can put the tape on with the shelves in place.

I put the three drawer storage containers on the bottom, and based the placement of the first set of brackets on that. Then I used the small desk-sized three drawer containers to gauge the spacing of the next two shelves. After everything was in place, it was time to load ‘er up!

shelves spaced and installed

I started gathering container upon container upon container, lining them up neatly on each shelf. It took about two hours to find things, and a few of the containers are empty (room to grow!), and a few are holding stuff I no longer need, or that doesn’t belong with the other stuff in with it, so I still have some organizing to do.

Ta Da!!

However, I think it turned out beautifully, and looks so lovely. Over the next few days, I’ll go through containers and break out my label maker and label EVERYTHING. I still have a couple of pieces of furniture to buy, a few to get rid of, and some rearranging to do, but I think when my room is done, I will finally have my truly happy space.

On a side note, the burst of organization lately unearthed a few unopened cross stitch kits. Aubrey has only ever done the tiny kits that are Christmas ornament sized. That’s how I got started, so I knew she’d eventually graduate to a bigger kit, and someday to a pattern. It’s been wonderful to see her cross stitching instead of playing mindless games on her tablet, and she’s really enjoying watching the design come together with every stitch she makes. She even took it to work yesterday so she could stitch before her shift and while waiting for Ron to pick her up, after.

Having a well organized studio is conducive to inspiration and motivation. It’s difficult to motive myself to go digging for all my supplies when they are spread everywhere. Now, I will have three stations; one for jewelry, one for cardmaking, and one for sewing/other crafts. I will also have my yarn on display so I can easily see what colors I have in which brand, making it much more likely that I will pick up my hook and crochet something.

I know I still owe you a picture of the final bed project, which I will do as soon as the room is straight. I have a hack story about the mattress that you don’t want to miss.

“Put on your shades ’cause I’ll be dancing in the flames…”