Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Happenings: Sometimes You Have to be Raw and Real

I'm going to preface this by saying that both of my children have read this, and they both believe that it is important for me to share it. I always make sure that they have a say when I'm sharing personal and family things. As a parent, what I do affects them and I want them to know that I understand that.

I'm pretty big on perspective. Hindsight has sucker-punched me for the past three years and it's been a hard thing for me to come to terms with. So this post is basically going to be a letter to myself, something to help me put things into perspective a little bit more for ME.
"So why not journal it and keep it to yourself Paula?"

Absolutely, that's a great question. But the answer is fairly clear for me. I know I am not the only one that has been through these circumstances. I find great solace from others experiences. Whether it's sitting across the sofa from a friend telling me of their own trials and accomplishments, reading a stranger's blog and connecting with them on a deep emotional level even though they may have no clue who I am, losing myself in a book whether fiction or nonfiction and because I relate to a character or that person's life, or even learning a lesson from a TV or movie character. It is a succor. So, I'm sharing because what I have learned and been through and am still  learning could possibly help someone else. It can be scary to open up like this on this type of platform, but here we go...

Three years ago, January 4, 2013 I lost my mother. It was unexpected and heart wrenching. Mom and I had had a rocky relationship throughout middle school because let's face it, I was in middle school and I was a brat. But throughout high school we got closer, when I got to college we became even closer, then when I got married we became very close. When I had children that relationship became even tighter. Watching her love my children was one of the best examples I can give of pure unconditional love. I saw her love for me through how she loved my children. That realization made my relationships with my children even closer. Getting through the initial loss of her was like a dream state. I know what actually happened I was there, I made a lot of decisions, and then afterward I couldn't remember the majority of it for a really long time. The loss was huge!

But, 10 months later, just as I was coming out of the dream state into the real stages of grief and acceptance, I had another big blow to handle. My husband of more than eleven years left. I was a stay at home mom that had a part-time furniture refinishing/design business and took care of other people's children to make ends meet... My very first instinct was: go get a job! You do what you have to do. It's pure survival mode and you just go. 

So I went out and got a job. I was good at the job, I could do all of the work, I was efficient, and I made good friends where I was. But, when I got it home wasn't as awesome. My children had been so used to me being around that for them, during this emotional time, me not being around as much was extremely difficult. I'm not gonna lie, it was also extremely difficult for me to be away from them. I tend to cling when I hurt and being away from them more than ever when I was in emotional turmoil was brutal! As a parent you try to hide things like that from your children, so that they won't be affected by your pain. They had enough of their own so I let them tell me their thoughts and their feelings and tried my hardest to keep mine out of the running. Thank the good Lord for counselors, family, and best friends! They got to see all of my sides during that time period and they loved me through it! 

We all made it through and since I was working for the school district I had the summer off. I worked on soft goods, crafts, furniture, and played with my kids. I had a sale and it went well. When the school year started back up again is when we all realized that me working outside the home was just not right for us. The kids were struggling. They would say how much they missed me and wanted me around. 

Believe me, if you're sitting there rolling your eyes thinking how "manipulative kids can be", I know. I promise I am aware of that capability. But, I also know they were hit with a lot too. Even though children are resilient, there are pretty obvious clues when they are hurting for real. So I had all of my family and friends in prayer for my decisions. The children and I were on our knees about it. To a lot of outsiders it may have appeared to be an impulsive decision for me to quit the school district and try my hand at my business full time. It was not. It was many thoughts, prayers, planning lists, sleepless nights, and questioning myself. Sometimes I still question myself. But, the kids are happier, I'm calm knowing that I'm here for them every afternoon after school. I'm able to go to their school events, their extra curricular events, when they're sick I'm still able to do my job as well as take care of them. 

A new business is a learning curve. There is so much to think about and actually do! If I get behind ever it takes forever to catch back up. I have an older home, I'm the maintenance guy. I have two kiddos that are into a lot of things, I'm the carpool. I have to answer the calls, texts, and emails, deal with the bureaucracy of my business, cook the meals, clean the house, car maintenance, lawn maintenance, and I'm still learning. I'm figuring out where I am in my life, I'm learning what stages my children are in and how to be their parent for the now, I'm learning new techniques for my business while still trying to learn all the ins and outs of just owning one. 

I could sit here and make endless lists of what I am learning at this point in my life. But, the main point is that I'm learning to forgive myself when I can't do it all. It's too much! All of that is too much for one person to handle! I have to have my "tribe". Those people who will lift you up when you're down. The people who will help you manage your schedule. The people that will just know when YOU need a little extra. The people that know when you say you're "fine" that you're not actually "fine", but that that's how you cope and try to stay positive, so they let you say "fine" and then try and help anyway. The people that seem to just sense when you need something like food or a little extra cash and send things anonymously. The people who will pay a bill for you and not talk about it because they understand you can't handle talking about that type of generosity. The people that know you well enough to know that you didn't take out a small business loan to help with your business because you're desperately trying to have your entire life be debt free because you're at your limit now and you couldn't possibly take on another payment anyway. You have to have those people. The people with the God-like hearts that just know you are bearing up under more than you can currently hold alone. 

It's so incredibly hard for me to accept help. I'm a control freak and it hurts my stupid prideful heart that I can't always do stuff on my own. But, I'm doing the best I can. I'm human and I'm still learning about so much right now. 

Perspective is funny that way. Showing you that when you thought it was hard, it really wasn't. Showing you that when it was actually hard, you rose to the occasion, showing you that YOU can't do it alone, revealing your faults to you so you can learn and grow. So yes, hindsight and I have gone a few rounds in the past three years, but I've always gotten back up. That stubborn determination I inherited from my family has served me well! Leaning on God, family, and friends is how I've been able to do anything at all. 

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Word of the Year 2016


(google search image)

Over the years of reading blogs I have noticed that many choose a word that they want to symbolize the upcoming year. I have always enjoyed reading those posts. This past year was my first full year to try and balance single parenting and owning my own business full time. There were many growing pains, and most likely more to come. Spiritual growing pains, emotional, financial, and yes even physical. Through all of the ups and downs the one thing I've clung to this past year has been determination. That is both extremely positive AND detrimental! Filling the schedule so much to make the ends meet, making sure I'm at all of the children's functions, trying to keep up this old house because who knows if I will have to sell it or not. When I read that back it sounds like complaints. Those aren't complaints at all. I love the work I do, I adore being there for my children, I like working on my home and seeing the new life I'm breathing into it. The only down side to that is that I give myself to all of that. When you give and give and give...eventually there is nothing left to give. 

(via Pinterest)

This past year I've been very happy, felt God's blessings more than ever, been a little sad from time to time, stressed and sleep deprived a lot, felt joy that I never anticipated, and had my faith in good people restored. Yet, that determination I clung so hard to has left me a bit worn down.
I have hope that the future will be brighter, I have hope that this year will be exceptional. I have hope that I have learned from the past and will only improve. God is always with me, so I have hope.




This business is amazing. It's hard, the hours are long, the schedule grueling. But, when your "why" is your children and your own passion, it's worth it all! 


When these little cuties say how much they love something I have completed, or when they say how happy they are that I came to their school party, or when the boy that hardly ever gets deep emotionally tells you how happy he is that I am the one that picks him up and am with him in the afternoon (even if I'm working)...those things are why I do what I do. This is why I have hope.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Blessings

I have a choice every day. The choice to stay up late and work after my children are asleep, or to go to bed and rest. More often than not, and definitely more than I should, I choose to stay up and work. Sometimes it isn't a choice, but a requirement because I do own my own business. 
Today started out good. I woke happy and so did the children. They began fighting on the way to school. I came home to get to work and immediately discovered how much it hurts to upholster when you have bruised ribs! I work through the pain. It's frustrating and tiring, but it has to be done. 
Next thing I know my power goes out and work gets halted. The children are still snippy after school, daily chores end up being a war time between them, I'm in pain and tired. I get us all calm and Dylan pulls out Uno to play. One round was great! So great I took a picture to document the fun. That ended quickly and with me thinking I had rabid dogs in the house instead of children! What is happening? 
Dinner is eaten, showers are taken, and usually I read to the children. I didn't tonight. We watched a bit of the first Harry Potter and send them off to bed. I usually tuck them in, say goodnight, and head back out to work. 
Tonight, even though I am behind because of this weird day, I'm going to crawl into bed and count my blessings that I have what I have. I feel beat up and exhausted, yes. But, I am so thankful that I get to do what I do. I get to see the children off in the morning. I pick them up in the afternoon. We have time together, even when it's frustrating. I get to kiss their little faces and tuck them in like little burritos at night. I get to do what I love to do as a job! I have amazing family and friends that support me in so many ways it is humbling! I get to have all of these experiences and things because God has blessed me with such a lovely life. 
Life is difficult at times, emotionally deep, messy, joyous, beautiful, happy, and fun. The layers of everything life consists of are what make it such a blessing. 
So as I crawl into my bed and snuggle up earlier than I have in months, I'm exhausted, so happy, and I'm going to rest this time. After all, that rest is a blessing too. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

A Little Upholstery

This little love seat was a hot mess! It had stained upholstery, and needed to be cleaned up and updated. 


I had quite a few pieces going at once, this little love seat is in the lower right corner.


Once I had the piece apart and the new fabric sewn, I was ready to apply it and was constantly under attack from my daughter's cat. He found it great fun to try and rip flesh from my body while I was using the stapler. We actually began to call him ninja cat because he could just appear and attack. My children found this endlessly hilarious!


Okay, the cat is adorable regardless of his ninja skills.

This was a very time consuming piece, but it turned out great! My client's husband is using it in his office and told me just the other day how much he was enjoying it!



This same client also had me reupholster an old vanity stool. The stool's foam had completely disintegrated and the old velvet had faded and was stained in places. I will admit, I have been so busy that I have forgotten to take before pictures quite a lot lately! All I can show you of this piece was a picture I posted on my Instagram of the nasty old foam remnants.


Be very thankful that you couldn't smell that...it was pretty awful!








It turned out cute as it's little tufted buttons! 

More coming up soon, so keep reading and thank you all for your continued support!




Thursday, October 15, 2015

Amy's Dining Room

When I went out and got a job with the school district, this precious woman and I met and became friends quickly. She was one of the main people that helped me get through a very difficult time in my life. She was also a huge supporter when I decided to leave that job and take a leap into owning my own business. Since that time she has become a cherished client as well as being that kind supportive friend.
So I was thrilled to be able to help her make a family piece fit more into her style. She brought me this table and chairs:




The color was too orange and she was looking for a complete change.

The table transformation was done quickly.



Next came the chairs. Because of my limited space I took them 2 at a time.


We changed the upholstery style on the side chairs to fully upholstered.



The two arm chairs were a bit of a different story. Just as finished the last of the side chairs, Amy moved. 


I got everything finished and now they are in their beautiful new space.







Amy and I are working on several spaces in her gorgeous new home. Making small changes throughout to bring everything together beautifully.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Makeovers and the Boutique Sale

My first Boutique Sale went pretty well. I had good foot traffic and much of my inventory was purchased. I had worked so hard getting everything together for it and it paid off. This time, I worked year round to have items for the sale. I had piles of stuff all over my dining room for months. MONTHS! I even had to bag up all of the soft goods and put them in my attic just so we could move around in the house. Through all of that I had client work, home renovations, two kids with toys and piles of laundry, office type stuff, and zero sanity. But, I still felt really prepared for this sale.

During the last sale, I had been working for the school district and was off during the summer. I worked from the moment I was off work in June until the night before the sale in July. But, I only worked on the things that were going into that sale because I was still getting a paycheck from the school district. This time around was VERY different. I couldn't dedicate myself to the sale items like I had before. I had to work on client work...a LOT of client work. But the sale finally all came together. This time though, regardless of the fact that my business is more well known and that I have repeat clients all the time, the sale didn't do as well. That's rough when it is your livelihood.

It looked pretty cute all set up though.






A lot of effort goes into these sales. This year I couldn't have done it without my sweet dad, my gorgeous and kind hearted friend Jessica, my precious friend Erin, and all the encouragement from my Monica.

Makeovers had to be completed on several pieces and a lot of sewing and pillow stuffing happened too.

The Chair




The Table and Chairs


This only came with two chairs so I decided to change some things up and sell it with some different chairs.
Here it is all finished up and so cute!




These are  a few things that are still available:

The Rocker



Small Stripe Table


Chess/Checkers Table


This table is super special. Hand painted board and pieces with gold foil edges.

Various Shutters


Gorgeous and Rustic Pink Chest


Large Empire Low Chest (available as is or customized)



So much new stuff is happening now. Follow along on Instagram to get previews of things that are happening and what is coming up next!









Thursday, October 8, 2015

Halloween: The Dalek and Amy Pond

We take Halloween seriously in this house. It's pretty much one of my favorite things ever. Dressing up, having fun with friends, the fun decorations - I LOVE it! I really always have. Last year my children were both obsessed with Doctor Who, I'll admit that I am too. You can read more about my obsession here. They still are obsessed actually, but last year they wanted costumes to go along with their obsession.

My son, of course, wanted to be Dalek Caan. A particularly evil alien inside a robot shell. This suits my son great because he ADORES robots and all "geek stuff" as he calls it. The problem is, this is a BBC show and here we don't have easy access to the costumes. When we do, they are stupid expensive. I have to watch that pesky little budget, so I immediately began to think of how I could make this thing. He wanted to fit completely inside of it, he is small for his age, but people that is over 4.5 feet of robot to make to where the child can still move and trick or treat. Thank goodness my daughter wanted to be Amy Pond! I just shopped for her and chalked her hair a bit more red than it usually is!

I was supposed to be River Song, but ran out of time to sew my costume. The picture above shows Amy Pond, River Song, and Dalek Caan.




Shopping for Jade was so easy and I didn't fret about it being expensive because it wasn't just a costume, she could wear everything again! Best thing ever!!!

Now on to the Dalek. I gathered my supplies, the most expensive part was the spray paint. I used scrap wood I had around for the form.


I used clear plastic christmas ornaments and clipped off the hangers for them.


Then I laid them all out and sprayed them gold.


The form in all its glory


Multiple sheets of foam core board to make it sturdy but light enough to move. Then I caulked all of the joints so they looked faceted but seamless. It's also on casters so that he can move it around without struggling.


The head was the hardest part for me. I ended up using a hoop I had from my daughter's cowgirl birthday party and some hangers I straightened out and then joined them to the hoop. Then came the painting. So. Much. Painting! Then gluing on the accessories. This was detailed work.


It took hours people...hours!!! I was still working outside the home and on client work at the time. I was making this beast at night and on my lunch hour for the entire week before Halloween!

This reaction though, this face on that boy right there, made it all worth it!!!


He was beside himself excited!


 My little Dalek Caan and Amy Pond (Jade nailed it, she even had her accent and personality down! Love her!)


This tiny video clip says it all for Dylan though.


He was basically a celebrity that night. Kids of all ages, and a few adults too, stopped him to have their pictures made with him. It was awesome to see him so excited and loving his costume so much.

"Most epic costume EVER! I didn't even have to say 'trick or treat'! People just gave me candy and took pictures with me! I'm wearing this again next year!"

Of course he isn't wearing it this year, but I thought that was pretty precious!

After Halloween I came inside and found the Dalek guarding the dining room.
"Hey bud?"
"Yeah?"
"Why is the Dalek in the front hall?"
"Oh, it's guarding my fort in the dining room. I also thought it would be fun to freak out the pizza guy later."

Ahhh, my kid. Love his humor sometimes!


So, what became of the Dalek you ask? He decided to have a theme room and it's now a statue in the corner beside his bed. He plays with it all the time.


I think that was a pretty successful Halloween costume myself!