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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

thoughts on slowing down...


This is a true story. 

It happened in the Washington DC Metro Station in 2007.

A man was sitting amid the fast-moving crowds in the station, playing his violin. During the time he was playing approximately 2000 people went through the station, unaware that this man was actually Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world, filling the air with six glorious and intricate Bach pieces on a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.

Although people typically paid hundreds of dollars for a seat inside a theater to listen to this man, on this day he was incognito, part of a Washington Post social experiment to find out how we experience everyday beauty in our lives.

This is what happened. During the forty-five minutes that Joshua Bell played his violin only six people stopped to listen. 

Several children were drawn to the musician, but were quickly pulled away by their parents.

And afterward it raised an important question.

If we don't have 

a moment 

to stop and listen 

to one of the most gifted musicians in the 
world ....

How much do we miss when we’re rushing from one place to another?

How much everyday beauty
do you actually ’see’?


Would you have been one of those six people who witnessed something so startlingly unique and beautiful in the middle of a chaotic morning that you stopped what you were doing to enjoy it?

I'm just asking.

Because the truth is, I am both; I am one of those six people who walks around with open eyes and is willing to stop and relish spontaneous moments of beauty in my surroundings.


But I'm also one of those hurried bodies running toward a place I need to be, completely distracted by my latest list of things to do playing out in my head.

I am both of these people.

I know what it's like to be fully awake and connected to my body, to lay with my forehead pressed into my yoga mat, and with my eyes closed, surrender to the slow, synchronized rhythms of my breath so that for a few mere moments, there is nothing else that in the universe except the sound of Prana-life's energy flowing in my ears.

I'm here for my sadness. My worries. My excitement. My dreams.

I feel the changing seasons on my skin.

And I know my age.

Yet I also know what it’s like when I'm simply going through the motions. When my body is one place but my mind is somewhere else, rapidly flitting from one thing to another, planning, worrying, regretting, Googling, and scheduling. 

I know what it's like to be driving in my car, so deep in thought that I suddenly shake my head and realize there are entire swaths of streets, brightly colored signs, and tanned people in swim suits riding bikes on the sidewalk, that I had passed without truly seeing.
 
Buddhists refer to these times as a kind of disembodied living; it's when we cease to be fully present in our body because we're swept away by our cluttered, roving mind.

Instead of being fully awake in The Present Moment 
–aware, with all our senses---
 there is an incessant dialogue going on in our heads where we're figuring things out. Maybe we're stuck in the past (regretting, re-grieving, re-living) or in the future (worrying and planning the things that might happen). But to the degree that our minds are moving 100 miles an hour, we’re not fully in our bodies. We’re not really present for the only life we have,
 which is happening right now.

Hmm…when did we glorify multi-tasking?

Do you remember?
 
 



 Favorite ways to slow myself down

Get out into Nature.
Keep a journal. 
Practice Mindfulness 
Practice Yoga.
Make time for solitude
Do something creative




can you relate to this post?

xo
Leslie
 
 
Part Two: Living fully--begins in our body


Monday, April 25, 2016

Master Bedroom Changes-painted furniture and a new headboard


Oh it's sooooo nice to be back!!


Well, it turns out that April has been rather a mischievous technology friend to me and for the last few weeks I've been nursing a computer that completely crashed. Then in addition, a misdiagnosis by the pubescent-looking technology wizard at the local Best Buy 
(Am I the only one who ages 20 years just sitting at the counter of the local Geek Squad?) 
left me without any ability to write or access my photos on either my laptop or desktop 
(big sigh)...
let's just say I've been getting another lesson on "letting go" lately.
The good news is that in the DIY department I've been quite the busy bee.

I've finished painting our bedroom furniture, which includes two bedside tables and our dresser. Since this is a "friendly budget" make-over I'm making do with what I've already got, although I'm not generally a fan of an entire room of painted furniture, it's a vast improvement.
Here's a few photos of some of the progress.
Dark blah looking dresser:







After: New (gray) paint and hardware

And here's a Before photo of our bedside tables.



Nothing wrong with them
other than they needed some sanding and re-staining or a new paint job.

As you can see I decided to lighten the tables to fit my Modern Cottage vibe in here and I went with a two-tone paint finish.

 I also added a sisal rug from my favorite Newport Beach consignment store for some warmth.
 I wasn't sure about replacing these knobs, I thought about crystal ones but once I hung the botanicals over each one I decided to keep the old knobs. I didn't want to get too feminine in here.
This weekend I also finished my new headboard and I love how it turned out, but of course it didn't go as planned.
It's a long story but after leaving a decorater fabric store full of pricy fabrics that I didn't really love--I found a wholesale fabric store with gazillions of bolts to choose from. And such good prices.

I left with these fabrics feeling absolutely giddy that I paid almost the same price for all three-- that I was going to pay for one yard at the expensive place. I wasn't exactly sure what I was going to do with them but I did change my mind on my original plans for my headboard; instead of using a linen type fabric ---I decided to go with this warm, taupe velvety fabric (on the bolt).
In person it's soooo lush and I thought it would be so comfy to sit against when we're reading in bed.
Alright.
 Are you ready to learn from my mistakes?
Whenever you go to a wholesale fabric store and find that 'perfect' remnant that's the last one of its kind, leaning against the wall calling your name.....please have the salesperson unroll it so that you can see if there are any flaws.
Unfortunately--I added another week onto my headboard project after I found a light, sunbleached line going down the middle of this gorgeous fabric.
So what to do?
Well, after revisiting the fabric store and confirming that yes, I got the LAST piece of this fabric I switched plans. Back to the linen look fabric.

But with one change. Ever since the hubby told me he 'hated' the tufted look for our headboard I had decided on a straight, simple one. But I also wanted to add a little pizazz to it too. Especially since I was using such a common fabric.

I wasn't sure what I wanted to do until I was thumbing through a magazine and boom.
That was it. 


So are you ready for a sneak peek?
...Here it is.....my Monogrammed Headboard!
I still need to mount it on the legs (which are actually 2x4 pieces cut to size so they attach to our bed).
But I'm pretty excited to see how it looks against my plank wall.
I've also been transforming "My Ugly TV Wall."
Remember this?
Here's what it looked like after I painted the walls and added new baseboards.
Still very bland and sad looking...right?


And here's how it looks right now...
 This weeked I finished putting up a shelf over the TV and started adding some accessories. I'll show more next time.



Thank you so much for stopping in, I'm always so happy to hear from you.
Peace and love to you from my sunny window in So Cal.
xo
Leslie


I'm partying with these friends:

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Plank walls and painting is done--Master bedroom update

Hello friends.
Today I thought I post a few photos of my progress in our Master bedroom.
But first.
Let's revisit this dark and dreary BEFORE photo. Yikes, no Photoshop here that's for sure, you can barely see the text. Remember, this is the room that I happily ignored since we've moved in this house. And yes, those are prints I literally tacked up on the wall. Do you need further proof of how neglected this poor room has been?
Here's another pic sans the tacks
but as you can see... this room is screaming for a make-over.

So the good news is the plank wall is done! Well actually there are two walls with planks
--the biggest wall the bed will go against 
and the short entry wall with the master bathroom door.
Yesterday I finished the last of the painting--the trim and baseboards, and even though it was late in the day I managed to get a few photos for you....

Here's a good shot of the previous paint shade.
This photo also shows the new 4 inch door trim that I'm replacing on all our doors.
When Dad and I were pulling this trim off it literally broke into pieces. I'm seeing first hand that all the wood work in this house was installed on the cheap.
This is the first view you see when  you come into the room
and I like that it's a plank wall you'll see first.



photo after the first coat of paint

So what did I learn from my first DIY plank experience?
Well, for starters I wish I would've watched this video before I began-- it's actually exactly what i did except for one teeny weeny thing.
Unfortunately I didn't paint the edges of my planks prior to installing them on the wall... and right after this first paint coat I realized that my regular roller and brush couldn't penetrate the small cracks.
So what to do?
I guess I could've left it alone but I went to Home Depot and found a special fine bristle brush and yep, it took an extra day but I got on the ladder and basically painted over all the seams and cracks in the planks.
I know. Where was my glass of wine?


It's still not perfect but....hooray for that rustic-imperfect look right?

Here's a picture of one of the large botanicals I'm using in this room.


Paint color:
Farrow and Ball Wimborne White--
a warm, bright white that is perfect for this north facing room!

                    Today I'm picking out the fabric for my headboard and here are some of my choices...


....and here's a shot of the foam and plywood that's currently on top my dining room table. I'm excited to try this project--- I think I have all my supplies and since this is my first upholstery headboard I'll be sure to take pictures and let you know how it goes.

xo
Leslie




Friday, April 1, 2016

Master Bedroom Redo--picking my paint color

Hello friends. Happy April to you!
In my last post I mentioned that I'm finally tackling our Master Bedroom--the one room in the house that is completely untouched since we moved in here. I know. Isn't it odd that the room we spend so much time in, is the very room that gets put on the backburner?
But I finally got motivated when my Dad came in town and taught me how to use my miter saw and since then I've got my creative juices going, trying to finalize my plans for this room.

The first step in my master re-do was to figure out the paint color ---which is really about the ambiance of the entire room. For a long time, this picture has been my inspirational photo for our master bedroom.
Or so I thought.
 If you've been to my Pinterest bedroom board you can see how varied my taste is, but the big question for me when deciding on paint shades is how they make me feel--not how they look on a wall. For instance, I really love the trendy grey paint colors I'm seeing everywhere in blogland. I especially loved this bold, dark shade when I painted my dining room.
(Although it's already been changed)
But here's the problem. Our master bedroom faces north and we only have one window which means there isn't a whole lot of natural light in there.
And even though I love the idea of a grey master bedroom--
in either a deep shade ---

or a soft, warm shade...
when I actually tried some grey colors on our walls and lived with them for a while they felt ...well, sort of cold to me. I even tried Farrell and Ball's Cornforth White which is a subtle---barely there--kinda grey--and without any blue undertones at all and I saw blue.
It's not that I don't like blue-greys, in fact I picked this cool grey for our bathroom remodel here.
I just didn't want it for our light-challenged master.
When selecting paint colors--especially white shades--it's crucial to consider the amount of natural light in your room especially in a north facing view--like ours-- which can even make white paint shades look dull.
If you have a room without a lot of natural light I found THIS post helpful.
And if you're trying to pick a grey paint for a north facing room like mine I found THIS post helpful.

The other point I had to consider was my tendency to keep coming back to creamy white hues when pinning inspiration photos. Like this one featured at Thistlewood Farm.

and I was also drawn to plank walls...

and fabric upholstered headboards.
Yep.
I guess it's time to trade our metal headboard for something more sophisticated and comfy.
I just have to decide if the new headboard I plan on making should be tufted like this one...
or simple, with straight lines like this one.

Next time I'll share photos of my newly painted bedroom in the Farrell and Ball paint shade I chose and tell you about the headboard I decided to make.

Thank you so much for following along on my progress.
I hope you have a great weekend. Right now I'm reading the third book in the Game of Thrones series. My son got me hooked but I haven't watched one show and have no real desire yet. I'm too engrossed in the books....anyone else reading something juicy-good right now?
xo
Leslie

Monday, March 28, 2016

Living room update and my latest crush

Hello friends---it feels like it's been forever since I've been here. My parents were visiting for a week and besides doing lots of fun things together my Dad taught me how to use my new miter saw and my (intimidating) new nail gun. As usual, we ended up working together and he basically let me do all the measurements and cutting for the window casing and new baseboards we installed in my living room.
We also did a big plank wall in my Master bedroom which I continued to work on after he left.
And I have to tell you--- I'm soooo excited about all the projects that are now possible with my new miter saw.
Learning how to use these tools is exactly the kind of thing that makes my little heart go pitter patter.  I don't think I mentioned it, but ever since I've started visiting this young, talented DIY blogger
who is fearless about her woodwork--well, actually all her projects-- I've been inspired to face my fears about using tools that can cut my fingers off.
(Ok. see what I mean?--do I have to think about that?)
Although once I got past all my scaredy-cat worries I seriously started to think--hey, if this person can do it, why not me?
Here's a picture of my latest crush--
Mr. Miter Saw-- and my little work station I used when my Dad was here. 
And this is a BEFORE photo of the living room window. Kinda dark... sorry.

Before
I'm using 6 inch baseboards throughout the house.
This window is wrapped in 4 inch and 6 inch pine--and I decided to go with straight cuts for my cottage look.
The most time-consuming part is filling the holes, priming and painting--but it's also exciting to see it all come together. I plan on replacing all the door casings before I install the baseboards. If you remember we had the old baseboards removed when we got our new wood floors, so I've got my work cut out for me. But I really enjoy it.
Here's a photo taken from the entrance ---we now have baseboards throughout this room... woo hoo!!!
In this picture you can see the old wood molding on the ceiling which has been partially removed. I've decided to add planks on the two walls in here. (The third and fourth walls are the fireplace wall and bookcase wall). Although I'm not sure whether I'll go vertical or horizontal yet.
The other big project my Dad and I worked on was my plank wall in my Master bedroom.
I'm challenging myself to a 30 day Master Bedroom Re-do and next time I'll share some of my ideas with you. This is the ONE room that we've done nothing with since we moved in here.
I decided to go the more economical route instead of buying the planks that fit together. And you've probably seen this version everywhere in blogland so I won't bore you with the details. But we did use four sheets of plywood cut into 8 inch widths. I chose to go a little wider than the standard 6 inch.
Here's a photo of the finished wall--before the painting. Boy did I go back and forth on the paint color. You can probably guess what shade I went with.

My parents slept in Michael's bedroom-the official guest room--when they came for their visit. They really like this room because it has it's own bathroom and I always buy new sheets and have fresh flowers ready for them. And I can finally say that my parents have really adapted to our move now---even though it was hard at first.. over time it's working out. We now have these longer--vacation style visits which we all can look forward to.

Before I go I wanted to send out a big thank to those who read my last post. To be honest, I always feel hesitate when I hit the publish button on those kind of posts. I'm aware that some followers are here strictly for my decorating posts--and could care less about my thoughts on other subjects, and so I always expect some negative response that never comes. Thank goodness. But one thing does happen. I'm always blown away by the deep, insightful comments left by friends-- women I've never meant in person-- but whose views and experiences help me realize how similar we all are at our core.

A special thank you to my friend Laura from White Spray Paint Blog who kindly featured my post and who is such a beaming light in the blogging world.  Do you know Laura? Please visit her and tell her I sent you. She'll make you feel so welcome, she's like that.

xo
Leslie 


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