Monday, January 29, 2018

My latest DIY: Wainscot Wall with Picture Ledge

Hello friends, since I'm down with a bad cold today I thought I'd post some photos for those of you who like to see DIY projects.

This is my latest.

I had posted this picture on my IG the other day, but it wasn't really finished because I decided to add a "lip" on the ledge afterwards. Just to keep the art from sliding off.
I'm like that. I sort of figure things out as I go along.

If you're thinking of adding some architectural interest to one of you walls, here's what I used:

I'm a visual person, and when I'm looking at a lot of DIY measurements and instructions I find it intimidating. Show me pictures! I especially like to see the wood pieces of a project before they're assembled.  Maybe this is helpful for you too.

I chose to use basic 'common boards' for this project since I was planning on painting them. Plus, I already had these 1X4s leftover from another project, so why not use them?

I found the panels on the same aisle as the beadboard and as you can see, it's plain and smooth.  Here's a close-up look of the thickness of the panel--after I cut the height down. 

I only needed one 1/4" panel for this wall.

 First I decided how high I wanted the picture ledge to be.

Then I measured, cut and leveled the panel on the wall. It wasn't long enough but that was ok, because the 1x4s at each end would cover the gaps. All I did was center the panel. (thanks Dad for solving this problem for me)

I added two additional vertical (1x4) pieces in the middle, using my trusted level the whole time.

Before I nailed the panel to the wall I also needed to cut out the space for my electrical outlet. After I bought a new blade for my jigsaw it went perfectly.

I had planned on using wood glue on the panel, before the nails, but I totally forgot. That's what happens when you work alone, I know if my Dad was here that wouldn't happen. But luckily since it was a small area, the panel adhered to the wall easily.

Before I nailed the vertical 1x4's into the panel I decided to roll on three coats of white paint. Then I would only need to touch up afterwards. 

Not having to paint around those vertical pieces made it so much quicker!

close up of the picture ledge:

Since it was in my little dining nook I didn't want a big ledge, I thought 2 1/2 inches would work fine.

Here's a close-up after I added the lip to the ledge. I still needed a final coat of paint and caulking but you get the idea.

The best part of this project is that it looks great without any art at all. I love the simple all-white background too.

I'm really happy with how it turned out. It gives me a lot of flexibility to change things around, especially for the holidays. If  you have an open floor plan without a lot of wall space this is a good idea for you too.

I sure hope you're staying healthy, I was doing so well until this last weekend. 

Have a great week friends, and thanks for stopping by!


Joining these friends:

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tickled pink. My best Craigslist find ever and my new living room tour.

Hello friends! It's been awhile since I invited you into my home and shared some pictures, but today is a special day. Yep, I'm beaming through my computer screen in case you can't tell because you'll never believe it.

But I hit the jackpot on Craigslist.

And the first thing I wanted to do was write this post to encourage anyone else out there who might be currently and faithfully checking Craigslist for that ONE piece of high-end furniture that you really-really want. 
You know, one of those great finds that you know is so improbable that you give up checking for months because the chances are so low that you'll find the right thing in the right size and in the right color. 

 Don't give up, it can happen.

In my case I was looking for a neutral colored Lee Industries sectional that would fit in our living room.

I'm not sure if I mentioned it, but I had finally agreed with the men in my life that when it comes to sheer comfort and space, we are truly a sectional family.
(Honestly? They hated the RH down couch I got at their outlet store)
The problem was that I didn't want to pay the price tag for the brands I wanted.

So I started looking on Craigslist several months ago for fun, typing in words like Lee Industries, Barclay Butera, William Sonoma, Mitchell Gold, etc..  

Eventually, I stopped after seeing gazillions of sectionals that would never work.

Until last Friday.

When I absently typed in "Lee Industries" into my phone and a very blurry picture of a sectional covered in clear wrapping popped up. For a ridiculously low price.

Turns out a young nanny was selling some furniture for her boss and when I met her at the storage unit and she opened it, I was stunned to see high-quality furnishings stacked to the ceiling. 
I bought my Lee Industries Sectional without even taking all the wrapping off, I was so incredulous that the measurements were perfect. 
Apparently this sectional had been in an extra house purchased solely for the English mother-in-law whenever she came to visit the States.

Mostly it sat unused in a beautiful Newport Beach home.

I really love the coziness of a sectional.

Even though I think of our home as a beach cottage, I've discovered that I gravitate more toward warm neutrals rather than blues.
These pin stripes are a more practical choice for our family  than white. We do have a white couch in the other room and while I love the look, I'll need to eventually get slipcovers made for it, it's just too hard to keep it clean.

There it is, the coveted sectional 'corner' loved by all.

The old gallery wall is gone for now, part of my need for uncluttering. But I've got a new DIY project to show you soon. Another place for my old oil paintings.

I decided to keep the chairs in white canvas slipcovers, and I have the fabric to re-cover these whenever I get the motivation to unroll all that fabric and pre-wash it.

What's your opinion?
Are you a sectional person or couch person?


sharing this with friends:

Friday, January 12, 2018

Have you ever opened your heart to someone and felt worse? Read this.

It was an experiment I never forgot.

The psych professor gave us the simplest instructions, then he split our tiny class into two halves, lined each student directly across from the room from another classmate and blew his whistle. With each whistle we took a step toward the person directly across from us. We were instructed to keep stepping forward until we got close enough to this classmate to ‘feel’ like our physical space was being invaded.

It was a visceral lesson about recognizing our physical boundaries. Those invisible lines around our bodies that help us define 'where I end, and you begin.' 

And for most of us, our physical boundaries are no brainers. We instantly feel the discomfort when someone invades our physical space, when a stranger suddenly moves nose-to-nose with us to ask an innocuous question. Unless we’ve been the victim of sexual abuse, our bodies will naturally react to these kinds of bodily intrusions.

But recognizing our emotional boundaries is much more complicated; there is no solid body to brush up against and delineate clear lines when it comes to defining our healthy emotional space.

Instead, we do this with our senses. Like a blind traveler we must turn our awareness inward and with astute ears, detect the rumblings within that warn us when we’re bumping into those emotional boundaries, the ones that give us that confident clarity of, "This-is-Me."

What makes this dynamic process tougher is that we live in a world that has been permanently altered by the values of social media. Whatever platform we’re on—whether we blog, engage on Instagram, or Facebook, the emphasis on fresh content with the incessant drumbeat to share- share- share is powerful.

It’s always in the air, this urgent momentum to offer up the most intimate details of our lives--even while it’s happening— or risk missing the chance to keep our followers interested.
Coupled with the values of a reality TV culture, our natural instincts get blurred.

We feel unsure.

  • How much to share?
  • How will I feel if I share?
  • What kind of personal details are off-limits to the world?
Lately it’s a topic that’s on my mind because of my current writing project. 

For those of you who read about it-- yes, I am still writing daily. However, I’ve changed my original plans to publish everything on my post. (You probably noticed)


Well, I’ve discovered that not everything I write should necessarily be propelled into cyberspace as a forever snapshot of my life, at least not without the necessary pause to consider how it aligns with my comfort zone. Especially since I’m writing memoir that’s littered with personal details, emotional angst and people’s names, it falls into that questionable zone between private and public.
Suddenly as I grapple with these questions... my old classroom experiment seems more relevant than ever.

Let me explain it with a story. 

When our boundaries get blurry

I once had a neighbor that I knew in a cursory, “kids-on-the-same-team” kind of way. One sunny afternoon I ran into her on the bike trail with her newborn baby in the stroller. And before I could finish my “Hi, how are you,” she was off and running, unloading the most achingly private details that were happening in her life at that moment.

Clearly, she was in so much distress it didn’t matter that we were mere acquaintances. And in the short time we spoke I ended up knowing about her possible bi-polar diagnosis, her lack of interest in sex, and her worries about her marriage. As I listened to the raw emotions pour from her— and my heart went out to her— I could feel my old professional identity come alive.
So this is what I did.

Instead of nodding and encouraging more intimate information, I turned my attention on slowing her down. At that moment I didn’t know if she was suffering from postpartum depression (highly likely) or some variation of bi-polar diagnosis, but my over-riding concern was how she would feel long after our meeting on the street; and the last thing I wanted was for her to be overcome with regret and shame later.

I’m telling you this story because it’s a clear example of how fluid our emotional boundaries can be, especially when we’re in crisis.

Before you share your own intimate details with someone—whether it’s face-to-face or in your online world, you should have an awareness of the following:

Two kinds of sharing
Vertical & Horizontal

When I used to lead small therapy groups, Irvin D. Yalom was my rock star. In the nerd world of group psychotherapy, this Stanford clinician made me feel like a starry-eyed groupie at a rock concert.
His clinical work felt alive and relevant even outside the session room, so I'm going to share something right now. Stay with me, I promise it's not psych0-mumbo-jumbo.

According to Yalom, there two ways we can share ourselves with someone and each way can have a powerful effect on how we feel afterwards.

1. First, there is the kind of sharing that he refers to as, vertical sharing.

This is what my distressed neighbor was in the process of doing, sharing one intimate detail that unleashed another one and another one and so on, hence the visual image of going deeper into that Pandora’s box of distress, in other words, vertical sharing.

In the right setting and with the right person and with enough time, this can be one pathway for deep, authentic healing.
But vertical sharing is also characteristic of those with poor emotional boundaries. If someone has sexual abuse in their background, or if they are the midst of a crisis, or if they have self-esteem struggles, they can have problems recognizing those emotional boundaries that keep them feeling whole and intake; I’m talking about psychological boundaries that separate you from others and unlike our solid, clear body boundaries, these can feel fluid and muddled, depending on our emotional state.

Why should you care about this?
We’ve all had an experience like the one I had on the street. Maybe with someone in crisis like my neighbor. Or possibly it was with someone you cared deeply about. And you might have been confused about what to do, maybe even overwhelmed by their neediness and so it ended poorly. For you and for them.

But chances are it's you who can relate to my neighbor; maybe you remember a time when you were emotionally raw from prolonged stress or grief and you felt your typical ‘privacy’ boundaries crumbling, so you surprised yourself by opening up to a friend and it resulted in a great memory, cathartic and positive.

Or worse yet, maybe you felt bad afterwards and now you're afraid to open up again.

2. This is where the idea of horizontal sharing is important to understand.

Kardashian style vs Oprah style

Let's pretend you're the listener. Instead of viewing one’s fragile feelings like a broken water sprout and allowing intimate details to flow freely, it can be more compassionate to help that person contain their spillage. Instead of nodding and encouraging new details it's helpful to guide someone overwhelmed by their emotions, to what Irvin Yalom refers to as a “horizontal” kind of sharing.
Horizontal sharing is focused on process rather than the content. It’s focused on you, the WHOLE person—and specifically on how you’re feeling after your private words are out in the open.

It's as simple as, "Wow, you've just shared something really painful, how are you doing right now?" or a truthful, "I really want to support you right now and I'm not quite sure how to do that."

Horizontal sharing like its visual image, is about staying right where you are emotionally, and becoming aware of the effects on the sharer-- and the listener, before you tread any deeper.

Think of it this way. If vertical sharing is characterized by a Kardashian-style conversation with its focus on titillating details, horizontal sharing resembles an Oprah-style conversation, with slower dialogue, eye-contact, and a warm touch of the hand. And more importantly, the concern about the entire person rather than just 'the juicy details.' 

 Have you ever poured out your heart to someone and felt worse later?

If you’ve ever shared vulnerable details with someone and later felt red-faced regret, most likely this kind of horizontal sharing was the vital piece missing. Leaving you feeling raw and exposed.
And that can feel worse than opening up.

The take-away

The bottom line for you to take away from this post is that like me with my memoir writing, there are times in our daily life when we need to pause and listen to our instincts.

Know yourself.

In a world that has normalized voyeurism with a booming reality show industry, and saturates us daily with the most lurid, sensational headlines of a 24-hour news cycle—it’s not hard to see how our definition of ‘healthy boundaries” can get blurred.
As you navigate your way through your relationships—whether face-to-face or in the online world-- remember that your innermost feelings and private struggles deserve to be acknowledged in a way that makes you feel valued and understood. Especially when you're feeling vulnerable. 

But don’t confuse mere “vertical sharing”—pouring out your deepest feelings—to be the end-all. Yes, it can be cathartic. And a worthy risk.

But here’s the game-changer: the key to making it an uplifting experience is the response on the other end.
Value yourself enough to keep healthy emotional boundaries. And realize it's these clear boundaries that will help you choose the ‘right’ setting and listener--who will give you the kind of support you truly deserve.

Sharing this post with friends:
Feathered Nest Friday

* Dear Friends, I apologize for the weird fonts and spaces you see, I'm having real issues with Blogger.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Something I learned in my twenties (on changing your life)

Years ago, when I was a twenty-seven-year-old grad student I found myself completely paralyzed.
No, I’m not talking about physical paralysis. I’m talking about a mental one, I’m talking about having a burning desire to tackle something that felt incredibly challenging, even downright scary, and I couldn’t do it. Only it wasn’t exactly optional, it was something required of me at my job, a task I was completely capable of performing, and I found myself stricken by stuck-ness. 
I simply couldn’t ‘see’ myself doing it. In other words, it was my own view of myself that was holding me back.

As you enter into this new year and you begin your list of new goals or resolutions, it’s easy to become myopic, to focus your energies into defining WHAT your goals will be and the logistics of your new schedule, rather than spending more time on the WHY question.

Why am I not doing those things I say I want to do?
Because at the heart of any real, enduring changes to your life, is You, and all that invisible emotional baggage you carry around with you. After all, it will be your consistent actions and follow-through each day that determine whether your dream becomes a living, breathing reality. And this is where the insight about your own self-image, those old beliefs and feelings you have about yourself will begin to surface

What happens if you don’t feel completely ready for aspects of your new undertaking?

What if you’re walking around with an outdated image of yourself that undermines your self-confidence?

What if underneath all your excitement about your latest goal, you can’t actually see yourself  completing it?

If you’re like me, there will be times when you will need to simply ‘act-as if,"  while you persevere through those times of struggle.
In a world where only eight percent of people succeed at their New Year’s resolutions, I think this little lesson from my twenties can be a game-changer.

Let me explain.

When I was a grad student, my first real job included keeping a specialty Eating Disorder Unit in a Southern California hospital filled with patients; this meant being the face of the unit in the bustling professional LA therapy community. Only at this point in my life I was still suffering with what I refer to as the “imposter” hang-up, based partly on fact.  I had stretched my way into a dream job above my experience level, and without anyone to train me, I found myself immersed in a fake-it-till-you make-it situation.”

For anyone with a modicum of self-confidence this would have been fine, however I was plop in the middle of my clinical program, and raw from my on-going personal therapy (required for degree) and every day I was struggling to be successful at new job on which every EDU employee’s work hours depended on--- to say I felt like I was walking a thin tightrope is an understatement. I was completely in touch with all my insecurities. Which at this point included my lack of a Master’s degree.
Funny the things we give symbolic meaning to; I was surrounded by fellow staff members all with Masters degrees, PhDs and MDs and back then that felt like a metaphor for my life. 
Fortunately, all my neurotic performance worries manifested in a type A achievement on the job, which meant at least outwardly, I appeared perfectly comfortable most of the time.

Except for this one situation.
It was to be my job to get up in front of a community of professionals who were coming to see our charismatic Medical Director, Manohar Shinde lead a teaching seminar in our hospital boardroom, and it was turning into a jam-packed event filled with clinicians, --that little old grad student Me,—had admired from afar.

“What?!  Can’t someone else please do this?” I asked the Nursing Director, a woman who became a female mentor for me. “Pat-can’t-you-do-it, please?”
Of course not.
This was my job and when I wasn’t standing in front of a podium shaking, I was efficient at it.

On the afternoon before this dreaded event—which had now taken on ridiculous importance in my head—cementing my imposter status to the world—Dr. Shinde surprised me by stopping by my office and asking me to lunch.

A private lunch with our Medical Director was rare and I knew why.
Over our lunch—while he ate quickly and I picked at my salad-- he listened with keen ears while I  blurted out my litany of self-doubts about this situation, after which I was sure he would relieve me of this duty. Instead he gave me a bizarre response.

He said, “Yes, I think you will need to act as-if.”

I was confused. WTF?  Was he telling me to pretend? Did this esteemed psychoanalyst and my personal role model whose daily focus was on uncovering one’s most authentic feelings and encouraging truth-telling, advising me to…fake it?!
“But… that’s not how I feel!!!” I blurted out. “I don’t feel like that person you’re asking me to be.”
Remember, I was practically living on a psych unit, this was the way staff talked.

And his answer was basically yes. He encouraged me to think of it this way. No psych-mumbo-jumbo, just this simple one-liner. Basically, there are times we must do things without that feeling of emotional readiness. But with our actions, often the (desired) emotions will follow.

I remember feeling stunned. Everything I was learning in my therapy and witnessing on the Eating Disorder Unit was focused on the principle of honoring our feelings. Exploring them. Working through them. Nowhere did it imply ignoring them.

I was acutely aware that if I listened to my feelings right then, they were telling me this task was completely premature for my comfort level. I wasn’t ready. I was simply too insecure.

He wiped his mouth with a white paper napkin and hurried away after he patted my hand.

“I know you’ll be fine.” He smiled.

Well, I don’t need to tell you the end of this story.
You probably figured out I did my job and it went fine; and for a short time, I stood up and acted like the confident person I hoped to be someday, feeling ever the faker, but once I got over the shock of having a fairly successful experience, I felt different.

Today I understand. Although my insecurities of those days have become duller, I never forgot THAT CERTAIN FEELING I had afterwards. It was jolting and indisputable, an electrical charge wiring me for the future.

It was that feeling of, “Yes! I can do this.”

I realize now I would have been deprived of this transformative experience if I wasn’t forced to plow through my most primal fears and get to the other side.

To “Act As-If” means acting before we’re officially feeling ready. It means honoring our feelings, but not being restrained by them. It means that you might be the smartest person in the room with the best intellectual grasp of your dream, and you’ll need to be aware that those same cognitive machinations can contribute to your decision to wait. And think about it some more.
When it comes to our dreams or goals, beware of what I call, analysis-paralysis.

I know from first-hand experience. Which is why you’re reading these words right now.

Action will be the game-changer in your life.  And thankfully, it’s your actions—whether they begin as New Year’s resolutions or simple habits—that will begin to change the way you view yourself.

In the words of Oprah, “You get the life you have the courage to ask for.”  Well, I’ve been a slow learner of this ‘asking part.’ But I’m getting braver.

Are you feeling immobilized by those nagging self-doubts? Are you stuck waiting for that perfect moment to embark on your private dream?  

Getting emotionally unstuck requires intentional action. Get moving, start small. Every day do one little thing toward your goal.

And remember.

Sometimes you just have to jump out into the

air and grow wings on the way down.

I'm sharing this post with friends:
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...