Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Contentment, blogging, and three things.

I was in my yoga class the other day when I heard my teacher bring up the topic of contentment

--otherwise known as Santosha.

I don’t know about you, but I’m hopelessly drawn to the idea of contentment. The mere word makes me go soft inside, and I immediately think of an existence without all my worries. I think of calmness and ease—two qualities that I have to work hard for—because the truth is, I am one of those people that gets a certain vision in my head of how things are ‘supposed’ to go; and I get comfortably attached to that vision. I like to plan out things in my head—creative and noncreative-- and then without realizing it, I want life to happen the way I plan it.

Does all this sound like a sanitized version of controlling behavior?

Ok. I own that.

Although I think I’m getting better.

My yoga practice—which was deepened by my 200 hour teacher training experience--has been a total game-changer in my life.

On this evening, while I listened to Shannon begin the class with a brief discussion of contentment, I had one thought inside the darkened, heated room.

“Ahh…this is why I come to my mat.”

I don’t practice yoga with the goal of achieving certain postures (called asanas) or for the strong, fit body which I do appreciate, the reason I practice vinyasa yoga is because it’s one the of the ways I nourish my soul.

It’s the meditative feeling I get from my synchronized breath and movement.

But even more.

I’m fascinated by Patanjali’s eight limbed path, a way of living that adds another dimension to what happens on my yoga mat.

The topic of contentment— is part of the Niyamas—five guidelines that have to do with the relationship we have with our Self.

I think of the Niyamas as a chance to be curious about myself and to become more self-aware.

So what did I hear that evening that I liked so much?

This beautiful description.

Santosha means pure contentment; it is the feeling that happens when we stop craving “things” we don’t have. It is the sensation of bliss that is possible when we stop believing that things outside ourselves--possessions, events, status-- will make us happy.

Contentment happens when we honor all our experiences--our joys and our struggles without needing to judge and label these. We accept our life joyfully, as it is right now.

Because we know that everything we need for happiness is already here, inside us.


Can you imagine waking up each day feeling this way? 

Because although I have fleeting glimpses into this version of contentment, I also realize how much I need to grow. And after this class I jotted down some thoughts on this topic and identified ‘red flags’ that move me away from contentment in my own daily life.

Maybe you can relate.

Three things that keep us from feeling contentment.

1.                “I’ll be happy when this happens…”

You can inject your own personal word into this sentence but it’s the mindset that is the point.

Personally, I’ve been noticing how often this sentence pops up in my head and I see it as an uncomfortable part of living in a house that’s considered a fixer upper.

What I’ve noticed is that living in a house that’s the focus of constant change and ‘beautifying’ gets me –too easily--into a state of dissatisfaction. For me, it’s the dark side of being a home improvement DIYer. You develop this keen set of eyes that immediately zero in on the ‘problems’ –eyes that habitually identify everything you dislike about your surroundings because it doesn’t fit your aesthetic vision.

 Truthfully, this is the part of living in our new home which makes me queasy. Sometimes I purposely step away from posting about my house projects because I need a break from that mindset. I don’t like it when I become too focused on nit-picking my house because it makes me feel ungrateful.

Again, this is just my experience, maybe you have a totally different view.

2.              Comparing ourselves to others with judgement.

This is another way we drift farther from contentment; whether you compare yourself and end up feeling worse, or use others to elevate yourself, making comparisons is just plain yuck behavior.

 And it has a powerful effect on our psyche.

On the yoga mat this is easy to identify; it happens when we look over and see someone getting into a physically difficult pose and feel instantly deflated because we can’t do it.

But I’ve discovered that the yoga mat is a metaphor for what happens in real life. And we can catch ourselves making similar comparisons during our day.

I do this with blogging; I notice that too much blog hopping on designer blogs makes me feel discouraged. Instead of inspiring me it feels depleting. In fact, I recently questioned whether I want to keep blogging about my house projects period, because there’s something that happens when you share your projects on a blog. You become acutely aware of how long things take to finish. And for me, there’s a sense of everything being in slow motion when I’m posting about a project. Suddenly I’m aware of the number of days I’ve been working on something, and I’m sure it’s because I’m seeing so many amazing bloggers/designers begin and finish projects in record times. Even though I realize it’s like comparing apples and oranges—I don’t even consider mine a design blog per se, it does feel distorting.

3.              Perfectionism—the one red flag that seems pretty obvious.

The more we’re fixated on achieving perfectionism at something, the more at risk we are of feeling discontented...disenchanted…self-critical, you pick the word. Without realizing it, this is another red flag that affects the creative things I do. My photography is one area that I get relentlessly picky about and this often leads me to actually postpone my blog posts. I’m just too dissatisfied with the shots I’ve taken.

It really is a slippery slope: the struggle to have high expectations in our work and creative endeavors, while maintaining a sense of contentment that is NOT attached to our (latest) finished project.

Do you know what I mean?

I always love to hear what you think.
What do you do that keeps you from feeling contented? 


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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Do you need some inspiration today? (I know I do)

Hello friends.
If you've been following me on my
(newly reactivated) Instagram,
you've already got a peek of the planks I put up in my living room. I finished painting and caulking them this weekend but all my cans of white paint got me craving even more creamy light-filled rooms.
Rooms from houses that are wonderfully finished---unlike mine.

Have you ever felt this way?

If you're living in your own version of a fixer upper maybe you can relate.

You know that occasional tired lens that you see your house through, usually triggered when someone new walks into your home. All of a sudden those parts of your house
--like your old staircase that desperately needs to be re-done--stand out like a gigantic sore thumb and for one lazy second you think, "god-I-wish-this-house-was-done."  

The truth is, most of the time I'm driven by moments of pure exuberance, like right after I unplugged my nail gun and looked around my newly planked room and felt proud that I did it by myself. 

But every once in a while I get seriously impatient. 
I want to live in a house that feels completely like ME right now. A home that reflects my own personal, quirky style today, because it's so hard to live in rooms that look like they belong to someone else.
Especially when it comes to my home, it's so hard to be patient.

Life is so interesting isn't it?
It seems like I'm always being reminded that attaching myself to "the outcome" is not the way.

Dear universe, I get it.
I do understand that the journey is everything. I do realize it's the process of getting there that gives our life meaning.

(But psss... can we please fast forward through some of this fixer upper stuff?)

Ok. All done with the wishful thinking.
Today I'm sharing some pictures from a few of my favorite tumblrs because there's something about each one that inspires me.
And sometimes it's the littlest things that catch my eye.

a unique, casual light fixture..
the mix of chic and rustic...

a happy shade of green...

these pendants!

open shelves filled with vintage pieces...

a charming old mirror with all that white....

an ethereal bedroom and that chandelier...

And finally, don't forget to stop by and visit my friend Michele's post today. If you don't already know, Michele has been sharing the incredible transformation of her fixer upper almost weekly on her blog Hello Lovely, and you won't believe what Michele and her hubby have accomplished in only nine months!

This is one pretty amazing DIY couple.
(cutie pies too)

Well, I hope you're already feeling that surge of inspiration for whatever your own project might be.
I'll be sharing some pics of my planked living room soon.
love and peace,

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Our Classic Cottage Bedroom Reveal

Hello friends.

Today I decided it was finally time to share some updated pictures with you, so I bought some fresh flowers for this bedroom.... and here we go.
It feels like it's been forever since I started working on our master bedroom.
May has been an interesting month, lots of overcast days here by the beach, in addition to some stressful 'life' stuff I've been distracted by--- all of which adds up to a feeling of needing to go slower. Be easier with myself. Somehow (thankfully) I've managed to finish this bedroom despite my roving attention and it feels good to check this room off. 

Even though I expect a few more changes to come, at least for now the basics are done.

First let me give you an update on a few of my decisions.

Remember these two sets of mirrored doors that almost ran the entire length of our 18 foot wall?
The mirrors were the first thing you saw when you entered the room.

And now..... this is what you see when you step in the room.
Ok. So what happened with those sliding mirrored doors?
Well, after a lot of agonizing and googling ideas on updating mirrored doors with wood trim and paint,  I decided to go with my heart.  Once they were removed I just didn't have the energy to update them because the truth is, I just didn't want mirrored closet doors in this room.

And since we plan on consolidating these two little closets for one large walk-in at a later date... why not get rid of the doors now?

So once I framed out the closet openings I headed to Ikea where I bought two sets of white wood rods and white linen curtains.
And I have to say, once I cut the rods to size and put up the curtains it completely changed the entire vibe inside this room.
All this hanging white linen adds a ethereal lightness to the room now.
Or has the hubby says, "it feels more beachy now."
Tackling this room on a budget meant lots of painting. This included repainting both nightstands in SW Downing Sand and SW Dover White.

Before: TV Wall

Here's our TV wall right after it was painted in Farrell and Ball's Wimborne White.
Notice that dark wood dresser.

After: TV Wall
I painted this dresser in SW's Dorian Gray and replaced the hardware for an updated look.
These matching lamps were previously on our bedside tables but I replaced them with new lighting fixtures when I made the monogrammed headboard.

So far these Pottery Barn wall sconces- are perfect for reading in bed.

I made this new shelf using simple wood brackets and a ten inch wide plank from Home Depot that I painted in bright white. I think it adds interest and symmetry to an otherwise blah wall.
Notice those TV wires? They're (mostly) gone now.

Underneath the TV is a wood tray that hides the remote and TV receiver.
My original wish for this wall was No Wires Showing. I wanted all the TV wires to run behind the wall and even bought a kit from Lowe's that made cutting the holes easy
( we actually didn't need it)

 and once we ran the main wire behind the wall I realized I still had this one receiver wire that would be visible! 
I was bummed, but I put it inside one of those plastic wire covers and pretty much accepted it.

One of the first things I did when we moved into this house was replace all the  flimsy, old blinds with bamboo shades...
Before-Window Wall
After-Window Wall
---with new baseboards, window casing and curtains.

I added this trim to the pair of lined linen curtains I had stored away from my previous house. Thanks to Marty who let me know that Hobby Lobby has a good selection of affortable fabrics and trim there.

What I like most about our new lighting is that it allows us to have more space on top the night stands, although right now we're trying to keep them clutter free.
It feels much more restful and calming in here.

Well that's it. In case you're interested, here's how I put this room together.

Master Bedroom Budget Friendly Makeover

DIY monogrammed headboard : $155
plywood- $25;
foam, batting, and adhesive $52
fabric-3 yards @ $12 each=$36
monogram stitching $42
legs on headboard; one 2x4  (already had)

sisal rug: consignment store
vintage mirror over headboard: own
Botanical Prints behind night stands: consignment store
nightstands and dresser: own
bedding: own
bedskirt: fabric remnant cut into long strips & held with Velcro: $19
2 Pottery Barn Chelsea Swing Arm wall sconces: $276
shelf and wood brackets: under $25
misc books and art on shelf: own
2 wood trays- from HomeGoods $14.99 and $16.99
plant basket: thrift store $10

Whew, I think that's it. Let me know if you have any questions.
And thank you so much for following along on my little makeover.  I always appreciate hearing your ideas and opinions.


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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

It's done!! How I made my upholstered monogrammed headboard

Well, my new monogrammed headboard is done and I love how it turned out.

If you’re new here let me remind you.

Here is the old, metal headboard we had forever. Nothing wrong with it. But since I was finally giving our poor, neglected master bedroom a make-over, I decided to include a new upholstered headboard that I could make myself.

Just to recap, so far my Classic Cottage Bedroom make-over has included:

1.     Painting the entire space with Farrell and Ball Wimborne White

2.    Adding plank walls, new baseboards and window trim

3.    Re-painting the two nightstands and dresser

4.    Adding linen curtains (from our old house), bamboo blinds and new lighting.

5.    Re-styling our ugly TV wall by adding a new shelf

Whew. Now I know why I’m still not finished, that’s a lot of DIY work isn’t it?

Anyway, back to my FINISHED headboard (woo-hoo!)

Since there’s lots of wonderful tutorials all over blogland on DIY upholstered headboards, I don’t have much to add, --but I will share a few things I learned along the way.

Tufted or Not?
The first thing I did before buying my piece of plywood was deciding on the design/and fabric for my headboard. You can see my fabric tip HERE. I wasn’t sure I wanted a tufted headboard because we like to read in bed and I was looking forward to finally leaning against something soft and comfortable.

Except.  I really like the look of a tufted headboard. So…what to do?

Well, my indecision was all for naught because when I asked Mr. Moss his answer was swift and definitive.

“I hate those tufted headboards,” he said.

(“Hate?” Really?  Hmm. I didn’t even know you knew what ‘tufted’ looked like but ok.)

Since he’s usually so unaware  easy-going about my decorating decisions I definitely wanted to go with his opinion. And it didn’t hurt that it would be so much simpler to make too.

After reading a few tutorials online, I got my measurements for the new headboard by using our current metal one that was still attached. It was basically the same measurements minus the curve.

I took the measurements to Home Depot and had one of the guys cut my dimensions from a piece of half inch plywood.

deciding on foam

However when it came to pick my foam I decided to go rogue. 

After reading the post HERE and visiting our local Walmart I felt uneasy about using the foam mattress recommended as a cheaper option. I really wanted a clean look and since I wasn’t tufting--is that a word?-- the headboard I worried that using a mattress might look lumpy in spots. Plus I was saving so much money making it I decided to use the foam sold at the fabric stores, and cut it to my own dimensions.

But before paying full-price for the foam at Joann’s Fabrics I decided to Google Foam and Fabric stores and at the last minute found a place that would cut my foam with their giant machine. It ended up being a big warehouse that was 30 minutes (drive time) away but the prices were so cheap. Plus—I wouldn’t have to go through the headache of cutting through all that foam.
(Plus--I live in SoCal remember? So I'm used to long drives).

I ended up buying a high quality density foam, along with all the batting plus a can of adhesive (recommended for a professional job) ...everything for only fifty bucks!!

Despite the drive time, I was happy. I got great foam with clean, neat edges.  

The rest of the process was pretty similar to the other tutorials.

The monogram

Except for one detail I added to my headboard: the monogram

I decided to add it because I felt like my non-tufted linen-look headboard needed something to make it special. And no, I did NOT embroider this myself.

Here’s another easy thing I did. I found a local store that embroidered logos for businesses and sports teams and told them what I wanted to do. After browsing their catalog i found what i was looking for:

A monogramed letter with a classic laurel wreath and THIS STORE couldn’t have been more helpful. After deciding on the size monogram I wanted on my headboard, they printed the pattern out and I took it home.

Once I unrolled my fabric, I positioned the pattern where I wanted the monogram to go—basically deciding on the distance of the monogram from the top of the headboard---and I used painter’s tape to place the pattern on the fabric.

When I took it back to the shop the owner unrolled the fabric -looked it over, and gave me a thumbs up and one week later I picked up my monogrammed fabric.

Stapling the fabric to the plywood

Once I wrapped the plywood with foam and batting I stapled it around the plywood, careful to pull it tight and smooth. I DO think the spray adhesive helped although I didn't read a tutorial that mentioned using it. 

Next came the fabric.

When it came time to staple the fabric onto the plywood, I had to measure and find the center of the headboard and line up the monogram before I began to staple.

I used tape on the back of the plywood to keep the monogram in position while I began to staple. I know a lot of tutorials recommend being on top the plywood as you staple and pull the fabric, but because of the monogram I kept the headboard mostly upright for the initial stapling. I wanted to make sure it stayed in place.

Then, once the top was secure I ended up putting it face down while I finished the stapling. I found it really helpful to keep checking the front of the headboard to make sure the fabric was being pulled nice and flat.

Attaching the headboard to the bed frame

When it was finished we simply attached it to our bed frame by lining up our "legs" which were actually 2x4 pieces I had cut with my miter saw.

It definitely takes two people the way we did it. I wanted to attach the legs first so I could decide on the height of the headboard by looking at it against the plank wall.

This meant using a level on  the top before we screwed anything together.

Here's another picture with the new linen pillow shams I just bought:

I really love the finished look, I think the monogram on the headboard adds a lot of bang for the buck! ($42)

Just for fun, here's the BEFORE shot:

And here's the AFTER:

Well, that’s pretty much it. Lots of common sense stuff but I hope it helps if you’re thinking of making your own headboard. I always say, if I can do it, you can too---and I mean that.

Stay tuned for this room's final reveal ---I've got more details to share in this room…it’s almost done. I’m just working on those mirrored closet doors now.

Also---I may be the last blogger to do it, but I'm finally on Instagram now as Gwenmossblog---I just activated my old account so you can follow my updates there too.

Thank you so much for following along...
peace and love


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