Monday, May 26, 2014

The Projects Will Continue Until Morale Improves

Stress, thy name is relocation. Nemo recently decided to accept a job offer in Wisconsin, over 600 miles from the area we've called home for the last eight years. So for the next month we'll be extremely busy orchestrating the move.

Our house went up on the market on Friday, and we've had several showings so far with positive feedback. Although our agent reported that someone loved everything about the house, but hated the outbuilding. Me too, sister. Me too.

Prayers are appreciated for a quick sale.

We still have to find a place to live in our new city and we'll probably be making a trip out there in the next few weeks to scout out real estate, but realistically we'll be renting for a while before we buy.

Anyway, on to the project. With house showings on the horizon I had my eye out for a twin bed frame. We've had a twin mattress on the floor of my attic sewing room for two years, which doesn't exactly scream class.

A week or so ago I was out thrifting with my MIL (I'll miss our outings so much when we move!) and I came across a cute vintage metal bed frame. It was very dusty and cobwebby, but other than that it was in great shape.

The foot board of said bed.
One afternoon when Noni was sleeping Professor Nonappington and I sanded and washed it down.

 A bucket of water and a paint brush kept him occupied for SO LONG. It was incredible.

Then I dragged everything to my weed patch for many many layers of this blue spray paint (which looks oddly light in this picture.) The paint I used was Krylon ColorMaster from Walmart in Oxford Blue. In my opinion, it should be marketed under the name "TARDIS blue".

It took three cans of spray paint to get it completely and evenly coated, and this is the final result!

Here's the pic of the sewing room that appears in our listing.

 If we were staying in this house, I would have no worries about where to put any more kids we might have. One can easily fit 4 stinky teenagers in that room. It's huge!

The quilt is by my lovely, talented, and very busy grandmother. I love the colors! I hope to put this on Noni's big girl bed in about 6.7 years when she is ready to vacate the portacrib.

It is just too stinkin' cute. I can't even stand it. Can you?

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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Going Off

I owe my recovery from severe postpartum depression and anxiety to many different things. Loving care from my family, regular exercise, taking "introvert time", and perusing my passions all played a pivotal role in bringing me back from the brink.

As important as those things were, I absolutely would not be here today if it wasn't for medication. That sounds alarming, but it's true. Looking back on it now, I can see how close I was to tragedy.

That has been very hard for me to admit. For the first six months I was on Zoloft, all I could think about was how to convince my doctor to let me stop taking it. At the time I subscribed to a commonly held misconception that taking antidepressants made me weak, that that taking a pill every day somehow made me less of a person. I've always had an internal drive that makes me want to do things on my own--or not at all.

During my second six months on Zoloft, something changed. I was stable enough to look back on my life up until that point and realize that I hadn't really been living. My depression and anxiety didn't start when Noni was born; it was something I had been suffering from since early adolescence. I was just so accustomed to it that I didn't even realize that being afraid to leave the house, to be a passenger in a car, and to call people on the phone, is not normal. Having an hours-long debriefings with myself after any kind of social interaction to identify everything I did wrong, is not normal.

Zoloft introduced to me the concept of a semi-normal life, and how awesome that can feel. After half a year of blissful normality, I began to question my belief that I could think my way out of mental illness, that I could overcome it if I simply tried hard enough.

When my one-year Zoloftaversary was approaching a few weeks ago (the time at which my psychiatrist said he would feel comfortable letting me wean off my wonder drug) I found that I wasn't sure if I was ready to give it up.

I've heard it said that medication is a crutch. Well, there are lots of kinds of crutches. Sometimes you use a crutch because you have a relatively minor injury and you're too lazy to go to physical therapy.

And sometimes you need a crutch because your left leg has been blown off.

(Ok, I guess one could use a prosthetic in a situation like that, but it ruins my metaphor. Stay with me here.)

I have considerable momentum built up after a year of remission. I have a whole bag of (mostly healthy) coping mechanisms that I know how to use when the going gets tough. I now know to make eating right, exercising, and nurturing my interests a priority. I've discovered how to share my feeeeelings. I've learned to ask for help.

I was worried that it wouldn't be enough. As much as I thought about it, I couldn't tell if I was using my crutch out of convenience or necessity. I guess it's something you can't really know until you throw it aside (Gradually! And under a physician's guidance!) and try to walk.

I made the decision like I do most big decisions. I closed my eyes, held my breath, and jumped. With the caveat that at the first sign of trouble, I will accept the fact that I need help. And that it's totally ok if the help I need is an (FDA-approved, of course) chemical.

My dose is currently half of what it was two weeks ago, and as I suspected it hasn't been an easy transition. Of course I decided to do this during a particularly stressful juncture in our lives (possible employment and housing changes, hooray!) and it's hard to tell if I'm obsessing because I'm without my Vitamin Z or if my life right now would make the most stable person in the world obsess about things they can't control.

Besides the emotional stuff I'm going through a little bit of  physical withdrawal, which is pretty common even when gradually lowering the dose. Oddly, it seems very like my experience getting adjusted to being on Zoloft in the first place, albeit MUCH more mild. But I've got tremors, tingling extremities, ringing in my ears, and "brain zaps", which feel a little like a bolt of lightning ricocheting around inside my skull. Fun. Times. Can't wait until this part is over!

I'm at peace with however this little experiment turns out. If I can be this lovely Normal Eva without it, then great. But if being on Zoloft long-term is what it takes to maintain my mental health, then that is what I'll do. No guilt, no second guessing myself, no self-loathing. Just moving forward.

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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Accessorizing the Boodwah {Project}

I tend to get a little hyper when I'm stressed out, and ZOMG YOU GUYS, the stress right now. You don't even know. Possible job changes and possible moves hundreds of miles away...stress. Hence all the project posts.

I've been harnessing my seemingly unlimited nervous energy to tackle all the little projects that have been crowded together on my back burner.

It's a three-parter today, folks!

Part I:

I picked up this lovely painting at the St. Vincent de Paul store for one dollah.

But I didn't buy it for the painting. Sorry, Martin Johnson Jr. I took your painting out of the frame and it pretty much disintegrated, so into the trash it went.

The frame had some nice details, which got a thorough scrubbing with some Murphy's Oil Soap and a toothbrush.

Then a few coats of spray paint. 

Same blue as my new lamp!

Then I got a scrap of perforated metal sheeting that was left over from another project and cut it down to size to fit the frame, then glued it in place. Do you see where I'm going with this?

Part II:
 We didn't have a mirror in the master bedroom for the longest time. Then I finally bought an appropriately sized one at a thrift store for $8, but it was kind of ugly and I never got around to hanging it, so it was just leaning against the wall for the last six months or so. No time like the present, Eva!

It got a light sanding by the helpfullest toddler around. 

 Then it too got a few coats of the blue spray paint. I painted the stripe by hand with a 1" foam brush and a paint sample I had in my stash.

Part III:

Lastly I spray painted a scrap of wood I found in the basement and screwed some brass hooks into it and...

Look how organized my jewelry is!

Note the bored toddler reflection in the mirror. She's clearing asking herself why her mother is taking pictures of the wall and also why said mother isn't fetching her some goldfish crackers.

Never again do I have to hunt for a matching pair in the jumble that was my jewelry box.


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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Lamp Deconstruction {Project}

I've done a lot of DIY projects in my life, but I've never messed around with lighting. I didn't even realize that an Average Jill like me could work with wires and electricity and stuff.

But the lovely Sheena, the lighting ingenue who blogs over at Bean in Love, made me think that me + lamp repair might not = unmitigated disaster.

There was a beaten-up vintage glass lamp with a nice marble base at the thrift store for many, many weeks in a row. I always feel a little sorry for things like that, and eventually I couldn't stand it any more and paid the $3 adoption fee.

I SWEAR I took an official before picture, but I can't find it anywhere. 

**UPDATE** I finally found the "before" picture. It was in the completely wrong folder.

There's my little diamond in the rough.

The "remember how all the pieces go back together" picture.

Taking it apart was a leaning adventure.I forgot to take step-by-step pictures of the process but there's a very good tutorial here.
I had picked out a nice light blue color of spray paint at Lowe's, but when I got it home I realized that it had a flat finish, which didn't jive with my plan.

So I grabbed the only can of spray paint I had in my stash that had a satin finish and went with it.

All the metal pieces got a few coats of paint, the glass pieces got cleaned, and then I got back to work putting it all back together. Despite the "remember how everything goes back together" picture, I had a very hard time turning it into a functioning lamp again. My spacial reasoning skills aren't tip-top at the moment. Or ever.

Then once I finally got it assembled I decided that I hated the color, no matter how shiny it was, so I took it all apart and repainted the metal pieces with the original color I had chosen.

I added a $5 shade from the Dollar General, and BAM! My first lighting project was complete.

Fancy, no?

All in all I spent $13 on this project. I couldn't be happier with the results!

My masterpieces lives in the guest room now, so if you ever to meet it in person all you have to do is come visit us!

Love that retro plug.

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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Operation: Curb Appeal {and WIWS}

So I woke up from my winter hibernation a few weeks ago and realized that our yard looked terrible. It's always looked pretty terrible, but now that the epic kitchen renovation is finally nearing completion (after 2 solid years), the yard looked extra bad by comparison.

In classic Eva fashion I made a ridiculously ambitious to-do list, then freaked and called in some reinforcements. Luckily my younger sister was able to make the trip and lend her muscles to the cause.

1. Power wash anything on our property that would hold still long enough.

2. Re-paint foundation blocks

3. Spread 35 (!) bags of mulch

4. Spray paint patio furniture, mail box, railings

5. Make the outbuilding look purdy.

6. Stain porch

It's been almost two weeks since beginning this mass of projects, and I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I still need to paint roughly 1/3 of the foundation and stain the porch. As you can imagine, painting/staining is not something I can do with the kids running about, and since CJ is a very unreliable napper the progress has been slow. 

As it turns out, sprucing up the outbuilding was a little bit...impossible. There's a reason my sister dubbed our outbuilding "The Murder House". But I assure you, nothing has been murdered behind that door, unless you count mice. Which I don't.

Power washing it didn't do terribly much, but I did build the planters on either side of the stairs and planted a few shrubberies. It will have to do, I'm afraid.

Zee outfit:

Blouse: Merona, scored at St. Vincent De Paul shop just yesterday.
Skirt: Hand-me-down
Tights: Merona. Ran in to Target for storage bins, came out with tights. Which is usually why I only go in Target if I am having a Starbucks emergency.
Belt: Kohl's
Shoes: Madden Girl

Do I look refreshed and rejuvenated? Because I got to sleep in until 9 and then sipped tea in bed while watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It was wicked awesome. But somehow I still feel tired. I think it might be all the yard work.

Happy Sunday, friends. And a very happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there, whether you be a mother of the biological, adoptive, foster, or spiritual variety. God bless you!

Linking up with Fine Linen and Purple today. Click through for more posts by lovely ladies who probably won't bore you about yard work.

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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Give me some sugar. Or Buffy. (7 Quick Takes)

So what with massively sucky springtime illnesses, sewing, spring cleaning, and other general craziness, I haven't blogged in...oh gosh, not since March. And what better way to get back into the swing of things than a good ole 7 Quick Takes with Jen...

 When my sister was visiting last week I very helpfully got her re-hooked on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Then yesterday she sent me a panicked text that the show seemed to be removed from Netflix. I promtly lost my ever loving mind because I just gave up sugar in a show of solidarity with some friends who are doing a full-on cleanse and how the heck else am I supposed to reward myself at the end of a toddler-drama filled day if not with a bag of M&Ms and some vampire death matches? I ask you.

My sister and I had a mutual spaz attack via text, but luckily it seemed to just be an issue with Netflix and all seven seasons reappeared after a few hours. So don't expect regular blog posts from me any time soon, because I still have 2.5 seasons left to go.

Although I am tempted to finish up the series over the weekend JUST IN CASE.


That whole giving up sugar thing--worst idea evar. I'm dying here, Buffy or no Buffy.


And I don't think that giving up sugar at this point will save my teeth. Next week I have a dentist appointment--my last one was on the day I went into labor with CJ, so it was almost three years ago. Oy. So I'm a wee bit nervous as to what they're going to find.


To distract ourselves from the aforementioned craziness, Nemo and I have thrown ourselves down the rabbit hole that is RV conversion planning. The conversion itself can't start until we move someplace where we have room to work on a 40-ft bus, and that is still a long way off, but planning it is way fun. Lately I have been fooling around with floor plans at the aptly named MY current favorite design features an extra half bath. It is a palace, I tell you.


A few months ago I uncovered the two fireplaces on our first floor and found beautiful, pristine condition tile underneath. Recently I decided to do the same thing with the two fireplaces on the second floor, but my luck had run out.Fiurst of all, I discovered that we had a roommate
 All I can say is, thank God it wasn't a rat.

And secondly I found that the fireplace surrounds weren't tile, but cast iron that had been painted over approximately 1,474 times. I would really like to smack the jackasses that did that.

Stripping the layers upon layers of paint off just ONE of the fireplaces was a nightmare. It cost untold hours and a fortune in paint stripper. Many, many brain cells were harmed from the fumes. The other fireplace may have to stay ugly forever because I can't even think about repeating the process right now.


I've got some super cute dresses in zee shop at the moment. 

I consider this one to be my crowning achievement.


Oh FTLOG how are these kids still awake? I realize it isn't quite 8pm yet but they were so tired they were falling all over themselves and something had to be done. And yet, Noni has been lying in her crib blowing raspberries at nothing for the last 45 minutes. I guess that was a bad call.

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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.