Friday, May 20, 2011

A good night's sleep

It's been told to me that you spend a third of your life in bed. Maybe I heard that on a mattress commercial rather than from some scientific study but it's right there in the front of my head - a third of your life in bed. Well if I do - its wasted time because I don't have a great track record for sleeping. Sincerely some of our greatest family stories have an element of - remember when Mom hadn't slept in days...? Anyway, our 12 year old Simmons Beautyrest pillow-top mattress had pooped out. Hubby and I agreed it was time to stop sleeping in two valleys separated by a rise that divided us in our old California King bed.
But mattress shopping is the worst thing. It's an impossible decision and an expensive purchase. We've had good success with some major purchases through QVC especially because they have that 30 day unconditional money-back satisfaction guarantee. This gave us the confidence to order the Sleep Number bed when it came on as a special value of the day. Boom! We ordered the Cal King. How easy was that? We quickly ran to the mall to try them out in the store but they never have the exact model you purchased since they make exclusive versions for different deals. No apples to apples for us - nice. Well in the 10 mins. we spent in the store it seemed like they were comfortable, customizable and that we got the best price from QVC. We waited.

The day our new Sleep Number system arrived hubby put our mattress and box springs on Craigslist for free, with photos showing - no stains. To know hubby is to know he's a bit against the prospect of anything else landing in his garage for storage - space being at a premium and all. If we don't need it - get rid of it! As soon as he hit enter the phone started ringing. We had to remove the add within 20 mins. The family drove about 80 miles to get the set and was very happy - as were we. Now to assemble this "sleep system". I can't say it was easy - kind of a pain really. There were a few hair raising moments when a hammer had to be employed (not recommended by the instruction guide btw). Hubby likes the hammer. :-) We started sleeping on the new bed that night and for 3 weeks we tried to find our personal sleep numbers. Hubby did better than I did. The two sides operate independently and if you like a soft bed the appearance of the bed when you are not in it is sloppy and low profile. It just kept feeling like a bad hotel bed to me. It had to go back - but what next?

A friend told me about a place in Berkeley, CA called European Sleep Works. I'm thinking - that can't be cheap! I called QVC to ensure I was within the 30 days to return our bed and apologized repeatedly to the customer service agent saying, "We really wanted this to work...never thought we'd have to return it..." I will tell you they are really terrific. don't hesitate to buy something from QVC - they stand behind their guarantee. Love those guys! Hubby and I spent about 90 mins at European Sleep Works last Saturday and knew immediately that this was where we'd find our bed. First of all if you know me at all you know I was already freaked out about a new bed because of the chemicals & gasses a new bed emits - all that fire retardant crap. People do get sick when they get new carpet or new mattresses. Not sure how the government is helping us there?? The mattresses at this place were made in Southern CA using parts imported from Europe. They get around the fire retardant regulation by using wool - a natural fire retardant and a very cooling material in the top layer. So we're talking coils designed and manufactured in Germany, organic wool, organic cotton, natural foam rubber, wood - no evil components made in a laboratory. Yes! If interested I've linked to their site - it would take too long to cover it all here. We were sold. Boom! That was easy.
Do you wonder what we are presently sleeping on? The UPS guy picked up the 5 boxes containing the Sleep Number system yesterday and the European Sleep Works bed is scheduled to arrive on June 7. Yeah, that was a bummer, but hey, they are making our order - kind of like In-n Out Burger. Good things are worth the wait. :-)

See photo for our temporary bedding - Queen size Aerobed carefully placed on the horizontal bed frame slats inside our Cal. King 4 poster frame. Hubby and I get in together - no false move, I'm telling you, or you could get bounced right out. Ha!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Blushing Blouse

I decided to do a dressier and more romantic take on the peasant blouse pattern I used for the vintage gingham - peasant top which I blogged about earlier.
This of course being my entree back into the world of garment sewing. I know, I know, I told you the next challenge was going to be that adorable button-down shirtwaist dress but - what can I say? I'm chicken! :-) I also wanted to learn to work with something other than flat cotton and so in this case I have a blush colored (all the rage, right?) georgette fabric and I'm placing vertical lace on the front. I learned to change the needle on my machine since the delicate fabric warrants that. Easy peasy! This is progress. I like the idea of getting two completely different looks from the same pattern. One will be a fun Saturday afternoon at the wine festival top and the other a beautifully shear, drapey and sexy blouse to wear over a camisole with a straight skirt and some great pumps. It could also peak through a sharp business suit giving it the feminine touch it needs.
Okay, it's in- progress as you can see by the photo. You know, I can't say enough about the sewing class / club I'm participating in. If you are new to sewing you must hook up with some other ladies - preferably one should be very experienced and available to pop around to assist where needed. The plan is to complete this next week. Cheers!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

I haven't posted in a few weeks and so much has happened in the world since then. The evil, dreaded, hated, Most- Wanted, Osama (now apparently Usama) bin Laden is dead. Ding, dong! Now before you move away from this page, I promise this is not another political blog-spot. I actually don't think the killing of the most wanted man in the world is a political event at all and I'm thrilled it's something our country can come together on - perhaps begin to heal. I know - probably - wishful thinking. A girl can dream, right?

Anyway, today's post is really about the day - Mother's Day. Specifically it's a little homage to my Mom who passed away in 1981 - so long ago. My mother was a natural beauty. She was also a real lady and I'm forever grateful for the grace and poise that she modeled for me. This woman, my mom, could put an outfit together such that every head turned when she entered a party, arrived at church or even showed up at work. I'm not talking about crazy kooky outfits, I'm talking about classic elegance - like Grace Kelly or Audrey Hepburn. Keep in mind the bias of the writer here! Of course there were the years when, for some unknown reason, woman's wigs were popular. LOL - when I look back at some of our family photo's (1 in this post) and see her and her sister (Aunt Mary Ann) in those wigs, I just have to smile. Again, they were very in at the time. You could not get me to squeeze my head into one of those today - times change.

I'm sure my mother was very worried about my tomboyish childhood ways. I was not exactly known as graceful. In fact I had a friend whose mother nicknamed me, Grace, because of how often I seemed to trip over my own two feet. Nice lady, right? I was larger than other girls my age. I'm grateful for all the times Mom tapped me in a public place and whispered, "put your legs together". Remember in the 60's little girls wore dresses on a regular basis. Seriously, when I moved schools from one town to the next in about 1969 I saw some girls wearing pants at school for the first time. It was not even allowed at the public school I attended for 1 - 3rd grade. Of course knowing me and knowing I would head right to the monkey bars at recess my mother always ensured I wore shorts under my dresses. :-)

Cancer took my mother and robbed her of her best years. I have an older brother and a younger sister and I know how lucky and incredibly grateful I am that she was around long enough to show me how to be a mother. We won't go into dates and ages but suffice to say I was a young mother myself and my Mom was invaluable to me in initially supporting me and welcoming this family addition. She got to be a Grandma (called Nannie - grandma sounded too old!) and that meant so much to her. She threw me the best baby shower I've ever attended - to this day. It was one helluva party! There must have been 30 women there and we even had lemon custard ice cream rosettes. She helped me with absolutely everything those first couple of years.

I never really liked this holiday since my Mom passed away but over the years I began to think of this day as a day to pull out an old photo - dust off some precious memories - and never forget where I come from. And on occasion, when I arrive at an event and heads turn, I think of her and all she taught me about putting a tasteful and fashionable outfit together.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!