Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Great Day for a Birthday!

Hi there :)

Today is my bestsisterfriend Amber's birthday!! Huzzah!!!

I cannot express how awesomely blessed I am to have this woman as my friend.  We've been friends for... 17 years. Wow! Writing that out is mind blowing 0.0
Anywho, I've witnessed her grow into an inspiring & strong woman of God who carries herself like Proverbs 31 is her biography.  She's beautiful inside and out.

We've been in each others' corner when battling dark days and we've celebrated milestones.  We've endured loss together and cried tears of joy in one anothers' weddings.

I love this girl and I can't wait to see what else God has in store for her!

Happy Birthday Amber! I pray you keep on being the beautiful shining light for everyone around you that you have always been for me.
PS.  Yesterday I had a conversation with Amber and she said this to me:
I also love you very much!!! Regardless of distance I love who you are and I know that as time progresses and you unfold all that God has blessed you to be to your friends and family down there they will love you too.  It's sometimes hard for us to see that we belong somewhere for others.  Not because it makes us the most comfortable.  You are touching lives there.  So when it hurts and you feel like you can't be yourself remember that your presence there even in your most awkward and uncomfortable state means so much to someone else.  You are beautifully flawed! So much so that your flaws appear to be works of art to God and others :) Your fight inspires!

That right there is why I am so abundantly blessed to call her my friend.  She has a way of slicing through the fluff and debris around me and speaking directly to the root of my melancholies.  She always sees me and I can only pray that I'm as good a friend to her as she is to me.  I love love love you girlie!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Yoga-cise: How I'm Working Out

Hi there!

Lamar is always asking me to work out with him when he's doing P90X... I hate P90X... Like srsly!  It's just not that enjoyable.  I feel like, as a beginner, I've got to enjoy doing the workout in order to be motivated to get it done, you know.
Exercise at Home
Child's Pose:
It's good if you just need to pause & catch your breath... like a yoga comma ^.^
So, that in mind, last year my friend Cherie introduced me to hot yoga.  I wasn't sure if I would finish, but I did and it was a great experience.  After that I started going regularly to the Yoga 101 classes to learn the basics.  The teacher was awesome at explaining the poses and really friendly.
Exercise at Home
Downward Facing Dog:
I shot this photo 3 times tweaking little things.  I'm working on getting those heels down.
For some reason, in this year, I've been a total slacker and have not gone to any of the classes.  But in place of the organized class, I've found a YouTube channel that I really like: Yoga with Adrienne.  She has lots of different sequences and also many videos covering the fundamentals.  I also like that her videos are beginner friendly and I never feel like she's doing super crazy advanced things.  But on the chance she does, she always shows alternate ways to do the poses.  Thumbs up, Adrienne! Anywho, I love doing her Energizing Morning Sequence.  It's only like 20 minutes long, but you definitely work up a good sweat and wake up the whole body.
Exercise at Home
Cat (top) Cow (bottom) Combo:
Please ignore my pigeon toes on the cow pose *.* I also need to get my knees in line with my hips.
When I was taking the 101 classes, I got to learn quite a few yoga poses.  I really enjoy warrior 1 & 2.  Warrior 3 makes me feel like an absolute bawse, but I think my favorite yoga pose is the triangle pose or trikonasana.  It even has a fun to say name ^.^  I love, love, love the deep leg stretch I get.  I also really like doing the cat/cow combination.  It's the perfect do-before-you-get-outta-bed stretch.
Exercise at Home
Triangle pose:
I love how long I feel in this pose.  Just all legs and arms ^.^ lol
Currently, I haven't been keeping to a strict workout schedule, but I have written one.  The next step is to work some cardio in.  I'm looking to start regularly walking the dogs. (Two of my friends recently told me my littlest dog is getting a wee bit round... so walking is definitely in order lol) So yeah... I'm glad to say I'm enjoying the exercise I've introduced into my life =) 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Finally I'm Finished! The Striped Baby Blanket

Hi there! Happy Friday!!!

At the beginning of the month, I wrote about starting (and REstarting) a gender neutral baby blanket.  I'm glad to say that the color changes where just want the design needed!  I love how the stripes came out. I used the Biscuits & Jam random stripe generator and then repeated the pattern a couple times.  I like that it looks random but organized... if that can be a thing?
gender neutral blanket
gender neutral blanket

Now it will be washed and dried to soften it up.  I think I'm also going to press the corners with an iron to get them just right.  Then it will be boxed, wrapped and sent to our expecting friends.  I really hope they love the blanket.  I'm always super nervous whenever I gift a handmade gift.  Anywho, I love it ^.^ and now I just need to give it a name...
gender neutral blanket
This is my favorite part of the whole blanket. The reverse single crochet edging.  I love the neat edge it creates.  Don't be surprised if I start putting this on everything! lol!

gender neutral blanket
 Have a great day!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Garden Update for Earth Day!

Hi there & Happy Earth Day!

Lovely cucumber little tendril :)
A bit more than a month ago I started my vegetable garden with basil, broccoli, chinese plum, cucumbers, green beans, lavender, rosemary, and spinach.  I also had lemon balm and spearmint with the intention of using them for tea.  It's definitely been a trial of patience waiting for them to sprout and get settled into the pots.

30 by 30 list
I'm glad that my cucumber, green beans, and basil plants are growing very strong.  The cucumbers have started getting the little climbing tendrils, so they should soon start growing up the trellis.  The broccoli and spinach plants are limping along it seems... they haven't given up yet :)
30 by 30 list
Look how yummy this basil looks! Strawberry basil lemonade will def be made this summer!

30 by 30 list
Cucumbers on the left & green beans on the right.  I love their big happy leaves!
Sadly, the rosemary never sprouted and the lavender has been chillin with two teenie tiny leaves for nearly 2 and a half weeks now.  I keep watering it, but I don't think it's going to make it. :(  I also made the decision to get rid of the lemon balm and spearmint plants because the tea they brewed wasn't good and I know I won't drink it.
30 by 30 list
My only surviving broccoli plant, I'm hoping it pulls through because I love fresh broccoli :)
30 by 30 list
The spinach looks mighty sad... but it's still green and hasn't given up yet.
I added a Touch-Me-Not plant to the garden shortly after starting all the seeds.  Now that it's big enough to respond to touch, it's the coolest plant I've seen in a while!  I think the only other time I was this excited what in high school when I got a carnivorous plant.
 30 by 30 list

Here's a quick video of the Touch-Me-Not awesomess!

I hope you had a pleasant Earth Day! Now go hug a tree ^.^

Monday, April 20, 2015

Dear Me: Advice to My Younger Self

Dear Me Letter To Younger Self

Dear Younger Caleisha,
One day when time travel is actually a thing, I'll send you this letter of advice.

1. You are beautiful.
Beauty is more than just looking pretty on the outside.  Beauty is something that radiates from within... and I'm not just saying that to be cliche.  I mean being honest, trustworthy, kind, and loving are more admirable and desirable than just a pretty face. 

2. Tears don't equal weakness so allow yourself to cry.
Honestly, this is something you will still be struggling with at 29.  You don't always have to be 'the strong one.'  It's totally ok to cry when you're hurting or sad or confused.  Keeping in all those tears is stressful and they're way better out than in.

3. Don't stop writing.
In 7th grade, you write your first poem and you keep writing all the way through college.  After graduation you have a hard time reconciling spending time writing against working or job hunting or 'being a grownup.'  That is foolishness! Keep writing. Don't put down the pen because expressing yourself in poem form isn't like riding a bike.  You will struggle to get back on.

4. Don't take negativity personally.
People are going to say some really awful things to you in high school.  They're tell you that you will fail in the things you set out to do.  They'll discourage you and you will believe them.  DONT. You can do whatever you want.  Just because a particular thing happened in your family doesn't mean it will replay for you. 

5. Appreciate your ablitlity to perform your poetry on stage.
After graduating college you develop quite a lot of anxiety issues.  It makes it hard to get on stage and perform without having a panic attack.  You do learn how to recognize when an attack is coming, and will still read, but it's way harder than it was during college.  Appreciate the calm that you feel when you're inside the performance of a poem... when it's just you, the words, the mic, and the spotlight.  Savor that flow.  Maybe one day it'll come back.

6. Any depression you go through will one day inspire someone.
You won't like to call it, but you have a few fights with depression during your college years.  You think that you're hiding it from your friends, but you aren't. They all see your struggle.  Toward the end of your senior year, one of your friends will tell you how seeing your fight inspires her.  She tells you how you showed her that there is always hope and that you can get through anything.  I realize that the knowledge that someone is blessed by your struggle doesn't make the struggle easier, but it does make it mean something.

7. Heartbreak is inevitable.
You get your heart broken. A couple times. And not just by boyfriends... family... friends... life.  But it's ok because every heart break comes with a lesson.  Some lessons you realize right away.  Some you are still trying to figure out what the heck they were. lol.

8. Don't worry so much about not dating until college because your husband is wonderful.
In high school, you do a lot of fretting about all your friends having boyfriends and you didn't.  There are many many melancholy journal entries about being sad and single.  But don't you worry!  After a few boyfriends and kinda-boyfriends you meet Lamar.  During the time the two of you are dating, he gives you a card that says 'I love our weird love.'  He is for you. Nuff said.  And lemme tell you, you walk down the aisle to "God Bless the Broken Road" and that song was written for you and him. 

9. You'll find some amazing friends that stick by you through thick and thin.
Through all those things I've told you thus far, your real friends stick by you.  And it's really commendable because you are kinda a bee-otch in the midst of your depression.  But anywho, they love you and they understand.  

10. God will always be there for you.  He'll be there when you sink to your lowest and also when you soar to your highest.  Always pray, listen, believe, and have faith.
What else can be said about this?  When you're younger, God is an abstract idea taught by your parents. After your experiences in college, He becomes a real being.  In particular, one night in your dorm room you end up curled in the fetal position crying and you feel a warm hug and a peace... You meet God for real at the bottom of a hole and He is everything.

So yeah little Caleisha.  Take these things to heart.  Life is a crazy thing.  But every experience is a blessing.  You are awesome and I love you.  Keep being your artsy-fartsy self. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Finally I'm Finished: Furniture Rehab Pt. 2

A couple weeks ago, I introduced you to my current furniture rehab for the backyard. [Read that post Here]  At that time I had finished the repainting phase and was heading out to choose fabric for the cushions. I went to my local fabric & craft store to browse the canvas prints and setteled on a bold stripe pattern after pulling a few options.  It's fun but not obnoxious and masculine without being boring.
DIY Patio Furniture

To make the ottoman covers, I measured the old cushions and added half an inch for seam allowance.  I ended up needing four 19"x19" squares and 8 19"x4" rectangles.  Next, was the cutting & piecing together.
DIY Patio Furniture
The original cushions were quite old and ratty.  One had a tear in it and when I took off the fabric, there was definitely a dead lizard in there.  *ugh*  Suffice it to say I thoroughly washed the foam inserts and sent them through the dryer on sanitize.
DIY Patio Furniture
I'm just realizing that I didn't take any pictures of of the cushion covers for the folding chairs... -___-  Anywho, I bought a couple throw pillows from the thrift store and took out some of the stuffing so they weren't so big.  I made two envelope style pillow covers which took me way too long... but when I finally finished them, they were pretty good looking.  When all the sewing was done, the new cushions got a few coats of waterproofer and put into place.
DIY Patio Furniture
TA-DA!!!! They are Kiva and Tootie approved!  I'm really happy with how they came out and I cannot wait until Lamar and I get to spend some time outside in the evenings. I just have to get some new citronella candles to keep those pesky skeeters away. :)
DIY Patio Furniture

DIY Patio Furniture
This is officially the completion of my first furniture refinishing on my 30 Before 30 list!  It feels really great to be able to check something off.  Originally, I only planned to do one furniture refinishing project, but I think I want to do more.  It's fun and I get to give the pieces a new life.
Lastly, I love this picture of Tootie sitting on just the edge of the cushion.  She's such a weirdo, but I love her anyway :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Baby Blanket Makin

A couple of our friends are expecting their first baby this coming May, so as is my custom, I decided to make them a gift.  First, I did a little sleuthing on their baby registry to see what colors they were fancying.  They don't know the gender of the baby yet, so the majority of the items were earth-toned.  Then, I hopped over to Biscuits & Jam to use their random stripes generator.  BTW that tool is stinkin' awesome!  I decided to go with a simple stitch to take a backseat to the stripe pattern.

Crocheting on the floor in the children's section of Barnes & Noble.

The colors I chose were green & brown, with a light and dark yarn in each.  I spent a few days working on the blanket, and when I finally got to the weaving in all the tails stage... people kept saying, "oh! are they having a boy?"  So that basically told me my color scheme was definitely NOT gender neutral... womp womp womp.  Back to the drawing board.

My next color scheme idea was to remove the dark brown and dark green and replace them.  I also wanted to add in white and grey.  These were the new options.  I posted this picture on instagram to poll which color scheme to do.  The consensus was to go with the white/grey/yellow/green option.

Left: white, grey, green, yellow
Right: white, grey, tan, yellow

So I have restarted the blanket.  I think the biggest change in the construction of this piece is my foundation row.  Normally to start a large piece like this, you chain a certain amount & then go back and stitch into the chains.  Instead of doing that, I decided to try using the chainless foundation technique.  SO. MUCH. BETTER!  I think it's fair to say, I'll be using that foundation method regularly.  :)  Wish me luck as I try to speed through this second version of this blanket.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Gas Tank Empty, Blessing Tank Full

Running out of gas is one of THE most frustrating things that can happen to a driver.  Trying to get to a station asap and running out a stone's throw away from one and not being able to get the car restarted is even more frustrating.  This was me Tuesday afternoon.

I got off work early and planned to stop at walmart before heading to yoga class.  As I neared the intersection, my car puttered to a stop and I thought "uh-oh... lemme snatch across this road and stop at that 7-eleven right there!"  I was able to get the car restarted and successfully crossed over all 3 lanes. Then the light turned red... and my car turned off.  Like good night and good luck off.  I called Lamar and he was soon on the way.

I sat dead in the road for like 20 minutes, during which 2 people stopped and asked me if help was on the way, and a third actually got out of his car and pushed mine out of the road into a nearby parking lot.  Yay for good samaritans!  The whole situation had me feeling quite helpless... a damsel in distress if you will, but much less glamorous.  Lamar arrived maybe 15 minutes later with a can of gas and we were on our way home!  Hurray!

While I was in the midst of the rush hour traffic, I felt myself getting more and more anxious.  But instead of letting  my tightening chest get the better of me, I counted my blessings.

1. I got all the way over to the right lane.
2. Lamar is on spring break so he was home instead of an hour+ away in Clermont.
3. I was walking distance to a gas station.
4. I got off early so all this happened before sunset.
5. Kind strangers still exist.
6. I got some unexpected writing time.
7. After gassing up the car, Lamar and I had an impromptu pizza dinner.

What have I learned from this? Always count your blessings, and the gas light is NOT a suggestion! lol! Have a great day!