Sunday, September 28, 2014

Before and After- The Dining Room

We can finally call our dining room done. (Although is a room every really done?) It has certainly come a long way and now that the chairs are finished I'm calling this room complete. It only took 6 years.

Here's a little before shot for ya going way back to when we first moved in 6 years ago.

I know what you must be thinking. Why on earth did we ever take that moonscape down?! 

Unfortunately I do not have a before picture of the chairs (it may be forever lost on my broken laptop), so it's hard to appreciate the full transformation they underwent. I'll just tell you they were a beat up dark wood veneer and the cushions had certainly seen better days with little padding left and a few layers of dingy fabrics. Gross. Greg was not too pleased with me when I asked if we could drive to Queens to pick up chairs I had found on Craigslist. (Mostly because this was right after we had painstakingly painted our original chairs blue- you can read about that here). The chairs looked like absolute crap and I thought Greg was going to just walk out on my dream chairs. Instead he talked the guy down and proceeded to finagle all 6 chairs into the Jeep. Now that they are rehabbed even he has to admit they are pretty awesome.
We debated what would be the best option to refinish them- whether we wanted to keep them wood or paint them a color. Because they had a veneer Greg said it would be difficult to sand down and restain so we settled on painting them. I mulled over the color for a while. After the debacle with painting the last set of chairs I wanted to make sure I got it right. I knew I wanted to do something neutral. The blue on the last chairs proved to be too garish so I wanted something more subdued. I decided to go with a grey just slightly darker than the walls. It goes with our current dining room table and will complement the distressed wood farm style table we plan to build in the future. 
I tackled recovering the seats fairly quickly, adding a cushy 2 inch padding underneath. After that the chairs remained stacked in our garage for over a year before we finally made moves to get them painted. Crazy how life gets in the way. We ultimately decided spraying them would be the best option because we didn't have desirable results with hand painting the previous chairs and we wanted them to have a nice smooth finish.  My uncle does automotive body work for a living so we recruited him for the job. He matched my paint color and had them sprayed in one day at his shop. They came out perfect. 

The dining room was the very first room we tackled, mostly because we didn't want to feel like we were walking on the moon every time we came in the door. We painted it dark blue and I loved it. Until about 2 years ago when I decided I hated almost every color in the house. Everyone goes through that, right? 

Some more before, in between and lots of after shots- 

Check out our old faux stone in the kitchen above and the new view below. 


Again you can see a peek of the old kitchen and living room above and the new below. 

We have discussed taking out the wood burning stove and surrounding stone in the future. We actually use it often in the winter, and love that it saves us money on heating, but it takes up a large piece of real estate and could be dangerous for future kiddos. We'll see where we end up with that. For now I am quite content with how this room has come together. It takes time for a home to come together and often you don't get it right the first time, or even the second or third.

Friday, September 12, 2014

My Practice

The past couple weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind and I have found that I am losing my daily practice. Ever since I completed my 200 hour teacher training I have had a daily ritual of meditating for a few minutes (usually just 5) followed by 5 rounds of Sun Salutations.

Throughout our training our teachers conveyed the importance of a daily, personal practice. It seemed like a good idea in theory but I had a tough time starting out.  Sometimes at the start of a training session (after we did a 30 minute meditation followed by an hour + practice) we would have a “check-in”. These were some of my favorite times. We would be blissed out from our morning practice and one by one around the room we would share what was on our mind- whether it was how we felt in meditation that morning or what we had planned for the summer. During one of these discussions I mentioned that I couldn’t seem to find the time for a home practice. With getting up around 6:30am and finishing my day around 8:30pm there just didn’t seem to be time to fit it in. In my mind the best time to do it was at night before I went to bed so that I would be nice and relaxed. This never worked out as planned. I couldn’t seem to settle down at night to get it done.  My teacher recommended trying it the morning.  The idea of getting up even earlier to practice seemed out of the question but I agreed I would attempt it. I started with getting up just 10 minutes earlier. I mean what’s 10 minutes really?  In 10 minutes I was able to spend 3-5 minutes meditating and then 5 minutes with Sun Salutations. I made myself get up every morning even when 10 more minutes of sleep in my cozy bed seemed like such a better idea.  Eventually it became routine and I actually enjoyed it.  This ritual felt like such a nice way to start my day and I felt “off” on days when I chose to stay in bed instead.  

 image from here

Recently my schedule got thrown off with a flurry of appointments to attend to early in the morning. My daily practice quickly fell by the wayside and now I find myself really missing it. I feel the difference within myself, like I’ve lost my center and need to find my way back. At a time when I probably need it more than ever, I have strayed from spending this vital time with myself.  

This morning my alarm went off at 6:15. I debated with myself for a few minutes and made the first step by getting out of bed and not hitting snooze on my phone. I could see the sun just starting to rise and I felt encouraged.  I made my way downstairs, rolled out that mat and sat for 5 minutes. Then I did 5 Sun Salutations. And just like that I found my way back again.