Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Best-of-Class: Under 35 and Not So Bad

with age

Definition of : Best-of-Class

A product considered to be superior within a certain category of hardware or software. It does not mean absolute best overall.

All this Christmas shopping has had me on the internet researching everything from sound bar speakers to children's scooters. Every product has a different website leading consumers to new links, new place's to read, learn, review and agonize over every possible choice under the sun. Each site with a different perspective and yet, there it is on almost every one, the phrase "Best of Class."

There is "Best of Class" for speakers under $200, CD Players for under $400, Boots under $500. . .It never ends. But what does the phrase mean? How should I interpret it? Does this commonly used phrase only relate to electronics and material goods? At the time, I pondered the thought for a moment but moved on to more pressing dilemma's like whats for dinner. . .at Moe's.

Shortly thereafter, in a totally unrelated conversation, I was brought back to the very same train of thought, except that consumer products were not the topic at hand. One fun night out, I was hanging with one of my best girl friends at a local restaurant bar, when we made friends with two middle-aged, mostly married men. (That is a topic for an entirely different blog.) At some point during the night, and after at least a bottle of wine between us, one of the men declared that something drastic happens to ALL women at the age 34. Wait, what was he saying to me? Was something supposed to be happening to me that I have been blissfully unaware of? Have I been going aimlessly through these last 6 months without knowing that a train wreck was around the next bend? This can not be true. My head was spinning already trying to come back with a solid rebuttal.

Apparently, according to "Subject A" and confirmed by "Subject B" women lose almost all self-confidence in the looks department at the age of 34. They become impossible to live with, marriages become rocky and all things basically go way south from this age benchmark. I can still feel the heat in my cheeks. I counter argue that I feel great, better than I did at 28 for sure. Prettier. More self-confident. . .of course. Best of Class.

I am sure that he did not believe me. I do not care.

No I am not 24 anymore, as if you could pay me to go back. If that was the case I would be endlessly searching for love in all the wrong places instead of nestled up with The Bug, Coop and sweet Scotty. I would live in an almost empty apartment, with stolen cable given to me by my neighbor, who I am sure just felt bad for me. I would be driving my old Honda Accord, that despite ever having one tune up or any gas, always started but was completely illegal to drive. I would live paycheck to paycheck, work for bosses that I hate, in a career that would never take me anywhere.

I would be lying to tell you that my yearly maintence level of daily preservation has not drastically gone up. I picture the Glamour Magazine article on "What She Spends" and I shutter. I am in the middle-upper category I think. . . I used to be in the lowest. I run more, drink less and try harder. I have tricks up my sleeve I may or may not ever share with you. I own a mirror and I try to remember to look in it. . .from behind. Most days I come to the conclusion that what is staring back at me is not so bad.

The last ten years have brought me to a place I never imagined for myself. I have confidence in my future and peace with my past. I look forward to the next stage in life but try to cherish the moments of today. All of the fine lines, gray hair and muffin tops in the world are worth it to be here, at the age of 34 and as far as I can tell, Best of Class.

And that's not a bad thing to be.



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It Takes A Village: How to Make A Throw Rug for $30


Lately I have been starting more projects than any design crazed person should ever start at one time. So what do I do 2 days after I promised myself I would finish all works in progress  before starting anything else? I find this totally beautiful, 100% wool,  upholstery grade fabric remanent in an equally fabulous stack of fabrics at Post & Gray.

On impulse, Owner Kelly Vieregg and I threw the rug down on the bare floor just to look at the beautiful pattern. I already knew for $20 (yes that's right) that I was going to buy it and figure out what to do with it later.  Just my luck...later happened to be in 20 seconds, because I knew immediately that I was going to figure out how to make it a throw rug!

I decided to use a classic wool throw rug from Williams & Sonoma Home that is layered in our  master bedroom as a model. It is a gorgeous piece of wool backed with a simple cream canvas. Last week on our fun trip to Mary Jo's with Collin, I had her help pick out a yard and a half of heavy dark gray canvas  ($6 a yard) to back to the rug.

Next up,  I put in a phone call to my great friend Christy Parbst who also happens to have a super high-end sewing machine. I told her about the project and I swear she was so excited that she invited us over immediately to have an impromptu playdate and work on my project.

After measuring our hallway, I took the measurements and both fabrics over to Christy's. First  we cut the wool fabric down to size. We then reversed the fabric and laid it directly down on top of the canvas and cut it to match. Christy and I pinned the fabric all the way around and we got to work sewing. Christy decided to sew the rug  just like one would do for a pillow case. When we were just short  of the last edge we stopped. Clipped the corners of the rug so that the corners would be more square and flipped the thing inside out! Since we were running out of time, Christy used her machine to finish the seam but in theory one would finish it by hand. I am not kidding when I say in a little of an hour, we made a classic throw rug.

Here is the fabric just thrown on my hallway floor:


Here we are in Christy's basement measuring and cutting the fabric with a little help from her little man Henry:



Christy the sewing goddess cutting her corners:


We flipped it inside out:


And we made this little crafty thing!


Thank you girls for all of your help! This village of friends just rocks!



Monday, December 5, 2011

Road Trip: Collin and I Run to Mary Jo's and This Is What We Found

What to do on a dreary Monday? Head to Mary Jo's Fabric Store in G-Town is what! My friend, decorator and fabric expert Collin Haglund and I set out in search of fabric samples for her clients and inspiration for me.

This is some of what we found:


Spruce up a chocolate-brown couch with this awesome upholstery weight fabric. Use it on anything from pillows to an ottoman. Be crazy brave and put it on a couch. . .designer heaven.


Multi-colored chevron is more earthy than it appears here.


Love this geometric goldeny yellow!


I want to use this vintage looking fabric in Sadie's room some day!


Dress up a sitting area with this silky organic pattern.


Bold Gray + Yellow ='s FUN!


This is so modern I love it and can't believe Mary Jo's has it in stock! I want to cover a vintage chair in it!


Toned down version of the one above!


Collin is hard at work, of course!

Here's What I Came Up With:


I took this gray and yellow chevron fabric and cut 2 1/2 yards. Collin and I are going to make partial slip covers for the dining room chairs at some point soon but thought for now I would do this:



PS: The fabric looks even better in person. The fluorescent lights and camera flash are the culprits.Oh and go to http://maryjos.com/ for information and directions.



Friday, December 2, 2011

Mommy's Are The Real Santa's Elves


*Future Elf

Tis the Season. . . ready, set, sprint!!!. One Christmas Tree up. Ornaments, half up. Stockings, up. Wreath, I am still working on that part. Two presents under the tree and 22 Day's left to go....my heart is racing just typing this. To that point, I shouldnt be writing, I have too much left to do!

Or maybe I should do what I know that I wont, which is sit down and burn a holiday candle and just relax and enjoy the holidays.That's what sweet Scotty would tell me to do. Scotty that gets up and goes to work everyday to provide for our family. The real life Santa . .And what am I? I am an economic simulator, a christmas time spender, a financial drain and I am one of Santa's many elves. Only Scrooge would be mean enough to care about something as trivial as money at Christmas. Not one to ever be confused with such a person, I will knowingly drain most of every paycheck until my Christmas work here is done. I will not sit down (at least during school hours) until the day after.

Just watch any Christmas movie with an Elf involved and you will not see one Elf napping, relaxing or checking email. Elves run a hundred miles an hour around a workshop (or the mall) to provide toys to all the boys and girls. As such, I will pack, wrap and ship, toys and presents to as many of my friends and family as I possibly can. I will assemble toys with 1,000 pieces and directions written in Chinese. My fingers will bleed from the paper cuts and my back will kill from being hunched over. I will make midnight runs to Target for more wrapping paper and last-minute dollar items for the stockings. I will agonize over what type of cookies we should leave out for Santa, and if Rudolph like carrots or not.

I will concentrate greatly on keeping my "Santa Tales" straight and pray that I don't make even one small mistake. That at least for now, I am still smarter than my darling, sweet and crafty daughter. I am not alone, only one of an almost infinite number of other elves working together to ensure our children have a special Christmas Day. See most importantly, all Mommy's are Santa's elves. We are responsible for spreading the Christmas spirit and for continuing to pass down the traditions of this holiday for generations to come. We will bring our family together to celebrate the birth of our most important family member, Jesus Christ. And for that I think Santa would be proud.