Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Am I ok?

If you have been following my blog or know me well, you probably know I have struggled with depression since I was in my teens (and probably before that).  I think the best way to explain the experience of enduring depression is to that of wading through a pool in which the water is waist high.  There is constant resistance to your movements.  No matter how quickly you try to move your legs, the water prevents you from crossing even short distances with any ease or speed.  Accomplishing even small tasks takes more energy than it is worth.  You actually wake up in a mild state of exhaustion before your day even starts.

Aside from the physical exhaustion, is the mental cloudiness.  A constant, heavy, thick low-hanging fog resides right in the center of your brain.  Preventing you from seeing situations clearly.  It is hard to get any perspective and your thoughts turn inward and all you can focus on is yourself.  And usually you focus on your shortcomings.   Or what you perceive to be your short comings.

As a result of the physical exhaustion and mental cloudiness, your relationships with other people suffer.  You have little patience and even less kindness.  This affects all areas of your life:  family, friends, co-workers.  But usually the people closest to you suffer the worst of it.

I started seeing therapists in my teens and found I had nothing to talk to them about.  I cried, usually uncontrollably, throughout my sessions and I felt worse after each one.  It seemed like I went through a cycle where I would try therapy like every 5 or 6 years.  Usually, it was as a result of some incident at school or work that drove me to seek help that no one could give me.  I have been on approximately 7 different antidepressants, either solo or in some dual form of therapy.  I have been on medication since I was 15 or 16.  I had tried to get off of medication various times but it never lasted longer than a few weeks.

They say hindsight is 20/20.  I did not really realize it at the time but I would say I was wading through waist deep water from the time I was 15 years old until the day I gave birth to my daughter when I was 34 years old.  Of course, there absolutely were periods of time when the water would only be knee deep but then for other periods of time (usually months) the water would be neck deep.  Honestly, it didn't phase me much because it was my "normal."

I am not sure what happened the day I gave birth to my daughter but I knew I was different.  I felt a change.  At first, I attributed it to the newness and excitement of having a newborn again.  Her whole birth experience and then the immediate post partum period was a breeze compared to the first time I had a baby.  She actually would breast feed and I assumed I was one of those women that get a hormone rush from breast feeding and that is why I felt so energetic and my head was so clear.

As the months went on, I waited for the water to rise again.  But to my surprise, it hasn't.  I can breathe deep and move swiftly.  I can make memories without a haze surrounding them.  I have ideas and the energy to act on them.

And I have been medication-free for 4 months now.  Longest ever since I was 15!  I feel like I won a race, a marathon!

I started to wonder if I swung into a manic phase.  With all this energy and motivation to do things.  But really, I think I finally feel free to live.  Finally free from that damn water that has held me captive.  And I am really enjoying this:)

But with this freedom, comes apprehension.  When will I relapse?  If I lose patience with my kids and yell at them or had a bad day at work and get really irritated, I wonder if it is happening again.  Am I ok?  Is this "normal" behavior or the behavior of a depressed person?  I hate that my mind goes there, but it does.

I guess I can either enjoy my emergence from the water, no matter how long or how brief it is, or live in constant fear I will go under again.  I think I will chose to enjoy:)  Why not?

Saturday, February 28, 2015

DIY face cream

What else would you do at 11 pm on a Friday night when you should be getting some sleep for a big Saturday but DIY-ing face cream?  Normal, right?  I have been wanting to change up my skin care routine for awhile now.  Ever since I reached my mid-thirties, my skin turned from oily to dry seemingly overnight.  I need a cream that is way more moisturizing and maybe some thing for my wrinkles!  I got some bright ideas from an essential oil gathering I went to recently (thanks, Nicole!).  Here is what you need:

Essential oils.  I used Lavender, Frankincense, Lemon and Geranium.  6 drops of each per cup of coconut oil.

Coconut oil.  I used the solid coconut oil (1 cup) along with a few tablespoons of my carrier oil (liquid) because I didn't have any Vitamin E or shea butter on hand and I had to do this NOW.  I wanted to use something liquid to make the texture a bit softer.  I had the big tub of coconut oil for some time now.  When I ordered it from Amazon, I was disappointed that it was liquid.  It sat in my kitchen cabinet for a few months.  When I checked it yesterday, it was solid!  Yay!

Glass jars.  I got these stubby mason jars from Wal-mart for less than $5 for the pack of 4.

Take all your ingredients and put them in a bowl (just don't use a plastic bowl) and blend with a hand mixer.  I mixed up a triple batch, because I do things in excess and was going to give the extras away.

Transfer to your glass jars.

Boom.  Done.

Actually, I was able to get 4 jars out of this recipe (3 cups coconut oil, 1/4 cup carrier coconut oil and 18 drops each of lemon, lavender, frank and geranium).

Your welcome. G'night.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


It has been like forever since I did an addiction post.  Maybe its because I have not had an "addiction" lately.  Or maybe I did but I was just too lazy to write a blog post about it.  In any event, I have one now and have the energy to write about it.  So without further ado, my current addiction is....

Staining with this combo.

I love the dark walnut alone.  However, the Classic Gray alone is way too light for me.  But the combination of the two with 3 parts gray to 1 part dark walnut (thanks for the ratio tip, Sonia;))?  Yup, fav stain color ever!

For instance, it is great on wooden crates...

On a large floating shelf...
(This floating shelf was my latest DIY project and I am not quite done styling it yet so this is only a teaser.  The shelf post will be coming soon.  Now that the shelf is up, there are a million other projects I feel I need to tackle.  Domino effect.)

And on some DIY signs I made for my Mom for her birthday...
(Not sure why these look darker here but in person, they are more consistent with the color of the other photos.  Maybe because this is an iPhone pic at night.)

I think it is pretty neat that there is a range of tones that come out with the stain depending on the wood.  Its a surprise every time:)

And I have big plans to sand down our bedroom dresser and stain it with this mixture (which leads me to a whole other project, master bedroom redo including our new king bed, making and upholstering a headboard, "new" nightstands and switching out the mirror above the dresser).

Stay tuned for more staining projects....

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Let there be light.

I am lucky to have a Grandma that has sheds full of fun treasures.  I shopped in her sheds in September and came home with these goodies.

 (There is also an old, tattered American flag in there)

Now, I am pretty sure this is a warming lamp from a little chicken coop she used to have in her yard years and years ago.

It was a bit filthy.  I was looking for a cute, industrial type light for above my kitchen sink.  And I knew I could make this one work.  I just had to use a little ingenuity.

First, I removed the socket and cord from the lamp.

Then I washed the lamp.  I stupidly used an SOS pad and scratched it up a little but you can't really see the scratches unless you are right up close.    Thankfully, with it hanging above the sink, no one will be up close;)

Then I had to figure out how to mount it to the existing can light fixture.

I bought this pendant light fixture from Menards (I think).

Make sure you turn your breaker OFF and check to make sure the power is really off to the area.  I was able to mount the lamp to the bottom part of the pendent fixture fairly easily.  I had to leave the trim (outer ring that you can see) from the can light as the hole for the can light was too large for the top part of the pendant light kit to cover.  I ended up painting the ring with some metallic silver paint so it would look like it belonged with the pendent light.  Then I cut the wires going to the socket part (the thing you screw the light bulb in to) in the can light and wired my new pendent light fixture to this.  I just left the housing of the can light as is.  Then I was able to rig the pendent fixture up and here is the finished product.

And I am in love with it!

I am so happy I finally tackled this and got it up.  It looks exactly how I was hoping it would look!!  It took me so long to get this up partly because I was busy with holidays and the kids' birthdays and Craftshop and partly because I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by the long list of projects I made myself in my mind.  I was so overwhelmed, I entered a slight paralysis phase and was unable to do anything.  Finally, I decided to tackle one project and not think about the rest and it worked:)

Next up, reupholstering this settee...

Sunday, February 1, 2015


Dear Sydney,

Today you are 1.  You have endured 1 loop around the sun on this crazy Earth.  In this crazy life, with your crazy family.  Mostly, you have survived one year growing up alongside your crazy brother.

(He was all excited to get his house pillow and take pics with you only to refuse to put that spoon down and no make eye contact or any other face than that one.  Crazy kid.)

This last year has held more joy than I have ever known.  It's like I was waiting for you to complete us all along.

And then you were here and all was just right.  Adding the perfect amount of sweetness and softness that we were missing.

You sure made it easy and fun to have a baby again.  But it would silly to be sad about leaving your babyhood behind when we get to wake up to this girl everyday...

This girl that is so goofy and loves to play peek-a-boo with anything she can find.   She who can easily scale the stairs and walk around the room while holding onto furniture but is not quite ready to walk independently yet.  She who loves Minnie Mouse and singing and dancing.  "Her" who has so quietly and without force made her way to the center of our hearts (which I did not know how that was possible before but now I do).

Which makes me excited to watch you grow in this next year.  And the year after that.  And the year after that.

But before we do that, lets remember your 1 year old toes...

Your petite 1 year old little body standing with assistance of a 1995 Barbie Dream House filled with Marvel superheroes taking baths, doing push ups, riding the elevator and cooking dinner.

Your 1 year old bedroom...

But because Mother Nature decided today was the perfect day for a blizzard, we will celebrate all of your first year next weekend.

Loved your first year.  Loved every minute.

Love you,

Sunday, January 25, 2015


Yeah, this is how today has gone.  I had high hopes my girl would be the perfect cake smasher and I would get kick ass pics but that was not in the cards today.  

But lets focus on what I did get out of it, some camera practice.

 Sorry but I am still learning how to get great pics with very little natural light.  Our house just doesn't get great light and on top of that, it is overcast today.  I took this pic with the AV setting (Canon) and ISO 1600 (I think).  I also edited it a bit in Picassa (because it is free).  I am using a Canon EOS Rebel T3i with 85 mm 1:1.8 lens.

A sheet draped over two dining room chairs, gold and lace banner, 2 gold picture frames and a chalkboard banner.  A cake and cake stand.

For this shot, I switched to manual mode with shutter speed 1/80, aperature F 1.8 and ISO 400.  The cake is out of focus because I had my point of focus behind it.  It definitely gave me more light and I am liking those setting for this area of my house.

The set:
I started with a bed sheet that I ironed but I am a terrible iron-er and there was still wrinkles.  But I was willing to work with it anyway.  Pinterest seems to suggest using a large sheet of paper instead of a sheet so you don't get wrinkles.  

Next, I made a banner using some wall decals and lace and twine I had laying around.

 I think I got these from Target about 6 months ago.

I cut a section of lace and twine and then applied the decals.  See below.

I sandwiched the twine between two decals then strung the twine through the lace after each set of decals I applied.

The lace is only attached where the twine intersects it.

The frames I picked up from an antiques mall on the east side of Madison yesterday.  I got them for my living room or maybe for a Craftshop project but they were gold so I had to use them.  

The little chalkboard banner I picked up at JoAnn's months ago. 

I got the cake at Metro Market and added some gold sprinkles.  

I waited alllllllllllll night for daylight and finally, it was today!

I dolled up the girl in her perfect gold hair bow (Etsy) and tutu (Carters) and set her down with the cake in front of her.


Foiled by an uncooperative child again!!  I didn't even try this with the boy as he was highly offended by anything wet or sticky.  I had high hopes for the girl.  Nope.  Apparently I just have kids that don't have the same vision at I do.

I kept with it for about 30 minutes and got a few ok shots...

Then we called in some superheros to assist....

And then we started sticking stuff in the cake so she would take them out of the cake....

And we ended where we started.   Sigh.....

I had to do some straightening and cropping in Picassa so I lost some quality with the photos.  I don't shoot in RAW as I am afraid I am going to need a whole lot more room on my computer for this but that would definitely help keep the quality during edits.  I know Photoshop is the optimal edit software but I am not sure I have the time and patience to delve into that right now.  Meh.