Why we can't have nice things - Gym Edition

Posted by: Dena Mehling on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 Categories: |
I love my gym.  I actually was sold on it when I toured the locker rooms because I thought... this place is clean and I don't have to bring a towel.  That was 4 years ago and while, the staff does a wonderful job keeping it clean...  they're forced to contend with filthy creatures.  These creatures are called "Women".  
I know, I know, right... boys are gross.  I'm sure they are.  I don't have to go into their locker room but damn... ladies can be downright nasty.  Coffee grounds and olive oil in the steam room.  Leftover bottles of god knows what left behind.  Gobs of hairs on the shower sill.  Upstairs and downstairs variety.  Yup, true.  Shocker, I know.
So what happened today?  Well, I finish my workout and come down to the locker room. This gal I've seen before but don't know is also getting undressed for a shower. Ok. We all know about the locker room shenanigans but today is quiet and I'm keeping to myself.  I get undressed and toweled up and she does too.  We both walk to the showers and no big deal. I had no kiddos today so I'm luxuriating and taking my sweet time.  Blessed hot water.  *sigh*
I return from the shower and she's back in the stall putting her sweaty workout clothes BACK ON! 
Gross. I don't know about you but after a workout, my clothes are in no condition to stay in all day nonetheless put back on.  Like really, that's how you get a yeast infection for fuck's sake.
But wait... there's more. She lays all over her stuff out on the counter.  Obviously, she doesn't realize that's my counter but that's neither here nor there but she seems to get a little testy that people are walking past her repeatedly to get to the sink bank.
She fires up her phone.  I'm guilty of the same thing but I have discovered this nifty little invention called headphones.  I should show her what they look like because she fires up her phone nice and loud and starts with the podcast or talk radio news program about some random shit or who knows what.  Obviously, we all care what she's listening to.  I'm so much more knowledgable about Sean Penn's meeting with El Chapo and how the cartel has their own opinions on the state of affairs now.

And here's where she loses me.  She starts doing her makeup.  She lays a towel under everything and there's brushes and powders and tubes and pencils.  She loads each brush up and then... wait for it...
wipes it on the towel.  This poor towel has huge streaks of thick foundation all over it.  Only after she wipes the brush on the towel, does she use it on her face.  I'm standing there with my mouth agape.  I mean really... isn't that what the 17,000 boxes of Kleenex in the locker room are for.  Don't you do that after you use the brush and not before?  I wipe my Dena parts with those towels and you want to rub that on your face?!?!  I just can't even.  
I look at the towel and it's fucking disgusting.  She's wiped everything on there.  She's sharpened her eyeliner and left the shavings and then dulled the point on the towel.  She's wiped eye shadow and blush on the towel.  The towel is officially a crime scene so what's a girl to do...  Why wrap her wet hair up in it and get a fresh new towel...
I just can't even.  This is why we can't have nice things and yes... some people are just dirty.

Karma's a bitch and so am I.

Posted by: Dena Mehling on Thursday, January 15, 2015 Categories: | |

(photo credit: I wish I knew.  Found online but please let me know if it's yours.  Your dogs are gorgeous!)

Earlier last year, we thought we were going to move.  I thought I'd get a leg up in the "getting our house ready" process and start cleaning and boxing up the basement.  I packed away all of my fabric and crafts.  Here's the problem... We didn't find a new house we wanted and now it's been months.  We may still move and we may not but let's address the seriousness of the real issue, my fabric's gone.  It lives in boxes in the garage. That leads to a big "out of sight, out of mind".

Enter the "I need new stash" project.  Here's your scenario:  My mom comes to town and she's a fabric enabler.  We like to go shopping.  We like fabric.  She doesn't ask me what I'm going to do with it.  I don't get it from strangers. 

Shocker, I know.  

So we go to our favorite store and there are two displays of Christmas fabric.  All of this fabric is on sale.  Deep discounted sale.  Seasoned shoppers know that this is not the time to plan a quilt.  Planning a quilt requires comparisons and auditioning fabrics.  This is the time to pick anything you like and say "2 yards, please".  It's clearly a stash building exercise. 

Fast forward to this one older lady and she has a cart and she is clearly planning a quilt but she's not sure which fabrics she wants yet.  She's taking every bolt of fabric she may consider.  We're going to call her "Grumpy Gus".  She taking a lot of room where there are a ton of people hovering about and being a little obnoxious about it.  Trust me, I know obnoxious.  I actually am finding GG to be quite rude.  

I, then, hear one of the employees come over and very nicely say the following to Gus:

"I'm so sorry but this [other] lady was going to buy some fabric from a bolt you have and I accidentally put it away.  Can I take it and she only needs a 1/4 of a yard?"

Now, there is easily 10 yards on this bolt which is MORE than enough for a super large quilt backing.  I may not know what Grumpy Gus is planning with that fabric but she has enough and can easily spare 9 freakin' inches.  It's common decency.  So what you may ask does GG do?  

She says "NO!"
I mean, really?  Really.  She won't give a wronged customer 9 inches of fabric from her mighty sale bolt?!?  

The employee actually walks away a little unsure what just happened and what to say.  Gus starts muttering to herself that she took all this fabric fair and square and she won't be bullied into giving it to someone else and if they wanted it so badly, they should have bought it when it first came out.  I took that to mean "at full price" which she wasn't doing either. Just sayin'.

My mom and I are equally horrified.   Here's the problem for GG:

I'm a bitch.  At least, I've been called that before. 

I know what you're thinking.  I didn't say a word.  I didn't curse at her.  I didn't go all "Dena".  I might have, only allegedly, waited until GG was looking for more fabric from the shelves and walked over to cart.  Maybe the bolt in question disappeared and the lady who wanted the long quarter found it.  Maybe two more bolts from the cart disappeared.  They might have landed in my pile.  There may not have been any leftover.

I can not confirm that any of the above events took place.  I bought too much fabric to tell anyway.

Happy 2015! Where have you been?

Posted by: Dena Mehling on Sunday, January 04, 2015 Categories: | | | |
It's a new year and considering my last blog post was in June... I'm WAY behind.  I really want to make an effort to blog more this year.  That and about a million other things so we'll see how that all pans out.

What's happening, you ask?  Since my last post.  The Big One started Kindergarten.  That was far more difficult than I ever anticipated.  Not emotionally, mind you, but logistically.  All of the sudden I was thrown into the world of homework and making lunches.  It was quite the adjustment.  The Little One also started pre-school.  She only goes half days for a few times a week but it's the first time I've been alone in 5+ years.  Did I mention it's glorious?

So what does the New Year bring?  I'm making some goals...

Financial:  Try to eat in more often.  I really enjoy eating out.  Not for the food so much as for the having someone else do it and clean up for me.  It's a huge portion of my budget and I am trying to save more.  I have a big expense in mind that will take a lot of savings and while that's not a 2015 expense, it's a someday expense.

Health:  To become more accepting of the body and cards I was given.  I have a bad hip that I won in the genetic lottery and it's a ticking time bomb.  I'm a constant work in progress but I can admit, it's been more superficial in it's goals.  To look good in this or that but now it's more about the inside.  The heart, the lungs, the hip.  Maybe it's because I'm turning 40 soon.  And yes, I'd like to look good in this or that.

Family:  It's a big year for the Little One.  We're leaving 2015 potty-trained, binky free and in a big girl room.  I have decreed so obviously, we're so going to make this happen.  (ha.  fingers crossed)

Socially:  To not absorb people's moods.  I am guilty of letting people influence my day.  If you're having a bad day, I'll let you bring to me your level and we can bitch together.  It's not good for me.  Plus, throw a kick ass party or two.

Hobbies:  Sewing makes me happy.  Find the time.*

I think my friend said it best... "get rid of stuff that no longer serves me. Clutter, bad habits, pounds, toxic relationships, etc."  I'm stealing your brilliance there, Jenn.

*Notice how I didn't add stupid things like stash diets and only working on UFO's.  That's just not in the cards.  Ever.  I'm off to the LQS.

Look at what I made! 4th of July pillowcase dress edition

Posted by: Dena Mehling on Tuesday, June 24, 2014 Categories: | | | |

I wanted to make the girls new 4th of July dresses.  For some reason, I get very Pinteresty around the 4th of July.  Yes, I'm planning on making Pinteresty an adverb.

I have two little ladies.  One wears a 18-24 mo and the other is a 5-6.  I don't normally make a habit of dressing them alike but on occasion... It's just too cute to not do!

Since pillowcase dresses are the most ridiculously easy thing on the face of the planet, I figured I'd show you how I did it.  French seams and all.  Sounds scary but they're not in the slightest.  Trust.

First, let's gather our materials.  You'll need a pillowcase and some ribbon and thread but since I'm making mine from scratch, I needed: (all of these fabrics are a cotton and a minimum of 40" wide.  I'm using the entire width of fabric.)

-3/4 yard for the main body (red)*
-1/4 yard for the edge (blue)*
-2-3 inch strip for your lip (white)*
-matching thread

If you just grabbed a pillowcase, meet me at Step 13.

* All measurements are flexible.  Keep reading to find out why.

You'll need to measure your littles but to be perfectly honest, I know a standard pillowcase will fit my older girl (5-6T) so I will measure them later.

If you have a larger child or you need to be more exact than I'm being, let me know.

First let's make the pillowcase.  I'm using the "hot dog" method I was taught a lifetime ago.  You're gonna love this!  

Step 1:  I've pre-washed and pressed all the fabrics already because I don't like the sizing straight from the store and no one likes wrinkly fabric.  Just saying.

Step 2:  Get your lip fabric and press it in half the long way with the WRONG sides together.  I made my lip fabric 2 1/2 inches wide.  Think about how much you want to see.  I wanted to see 1" in the end but you may want more or less.  To figure out the lip:  (final desired width x 2) + 1/2" = cut width of lip fabric.  In my case: (1" x 2) + 1/2" = 2 1/2" 

It's hard to see in my pictures but the finished side is the side my iron is touching.

Step 3:  Lay your edge fabric with the RIGHT side up on your table.  Again, think about how much you want to see.  I wanted to see 4" in the end but you may want more or less.  To figure out the edge:  (final desired width x 2) + 1/2" = cut width of edge fabric.  In my case: (4" x 2) + 1/2" = 8 1/2"

Step 4:  Lay your lip on top of the edge fabric.  Align the raw edges like in the picture. 


Step 5:  Lay your main fabric over the lip/edge combo with the RIGHT side of the fabric touching the lip.  You should be looking at the WRONG side of the fabric when you're done.

I put some pins in at this point.  You may not need to but if you do... Make sure the pointy end is pointing towards the raw edge.  This matters.

The whole thing looks like this so far:

Your fabrics may have not been the exact same size.  Who cares... We're trimming later.

It's not that interesting yet.  Sad face.

Step 6: Carefully pick up the dangling end of the body fabric and roll it up towards the pins.  Be a little tight about it and don't get it too close to the pinned edge.  

Step 7:  Grab the free end of the edge fabric and wrap it around the entire thing.  Align the raw edges.  Add more pins. 

Look at the tube we made!

Step 8:  Now, let's sew!  Sew a 1/4" seam down the raw edge.  That's all.  Just one seam.

Step 9:  Let's pull the red fabric out of the tube.  Carefully, as there's still pins in there.  If you put them in properly, you can get them out without a problem.  If not, I'm sorry to hear that.  They're stuck.

Once it's turned inside out, you've can press it flat.  

Step 10:  This is optional.  I like to topstitch down the lip.  You can leave it dangling but I stitch it down.  Sometimes with a decorative stitch.  Sometimes, a straight stitch.  This is entirely up to you.

Step 11:  Let's fold the pillowcase in half with the WRONG sides together and square up the edges.  This is where you'll chop off and make things even.

Sew a 1/4" seam down the edge.  If I we're making a true pillowcase to put a pillow in, I'd sew it down the long side and across the red side but I'm not going to here.  Here we're making a dress.  I'd end up chopping off the short side anyway so why bother sewing it in the first place?

If I were making a pillowcase and not a dress, I would have sewn this across the bottom edge too...

Step 12:  Now, turn it inside out and press the tube.  Sew a 5/8" seam in the same place.  This will encapsulate the seam and you'll have no raw edges in your dress.  No unraveling.  French seams!  Voila!

So that's a long way to get to your pillowcase.  Now, on to the dress!  

Step 13: Measure your little from the neckline to the shins and add 1".  That's your length.  Cut the dress from the edge up.  

Step 14:  Turn the tube inside put again and fold the dress in half.

Step 15:  Measure 2" in from the top and 5" down the side.  Connect them with a backwards "J" and cut them out.  

Step 16:  Open the armhole and fold over the raw edge 1/4" once and then again.  Stitch it down.  Repeat for the other arm. 

Step 17:  If you joined us with a already made pillowcase, cut the top off so there's a place for your little's head.  Otherwise, fold the top edge of the neckline down 1/4" and press.  Fold over again, 1" to make a pocket for the ribbon.  Stitch it in place and repeat on the other side.  Sadly, I didn't take a picture of this step.  I apologize but you can kind of see it here.

Step 18:  Cut a length of ribbon and I attached a safety pin to make feeding it in the pocket you've just created easier.  

Voila!  Happy 4th of July!

I'm nominated for Mother of the Year!

Posted by: Dena Mehling on Monday, June 02, 2014 Categories: | |
Let me first say this.  I was blessed with two good eaters.  My kids have varied palates and will try just about anything. 

Next, let me say that the Little One is not quite 2.  She toddles and though she's been walking for quite a while... she's terribly clumsy, as all babies are.  She and a window sill had a falling out.  Yikes!  It left quite the bruise.

As it looks today: 

Fast forward to last week, I'm snacking.  The Little One's not terribly interested in her Goldfish and rather interested in my almonds.  I can't imagine she's going to like them.  I mean look at what I'm eating!

Nope, I'm wrong.  She loves them.  She eats a few and I try to put them away.  Cue the dying wildebeest noises.  She eats a few more and I try to put them away.  Cue the straight out screaming.  So fine, eat them.  See if I care.  

It's only the next day when her digestive track is revisiting the almonds that I immediately regret the decision to let her eat as many Wasabi and Soy Sauce Almonds as her heart desired.  Her poor, poor little butt.

It's red and rashy.  We've definitely moved past the Aquaphor and straight to the Aqua-Lox**.  She's cracked and bleeding and the poor, poor thing.  Sadly, she's taken to screaming wildly whenever she gets a diaper change these days and I can't blame her.  It's got to hurt.  I stopped using the traditional wipes and went straight to the cold, wet cloths.  The problem is that we're not always home for nice cold, wet cloths... sometimes we go to Target and I have wipes.

Off to Target.  It's Target so it could be for anything but I notice that the Little One is due for a change as soon as we get to the store.  Off we go to the family restroom.  Family restrooms seem to be where interesting things happen for the Little One and I.  Maybe I should just stay out of them?  

I'm changing her fiery little butt and she's hollering.  I mean wailing and screaming.  She's breaking my heart in a million pieces and I'm trying to go as fast as I can.  I clean her up, slather her with more Aqua-Lox, which I'm just carrying with me now and get a fresh diaper on her.  She's still screaming but between breaths, I hear a knock.

"Ma'am...Ma'am... is everything alright in there?!?!"

More screaming.  Louder knocking and I hug the Little One and tell her it's alright and start working on calming her down.  

What I wouldn't give for a freakin' binky right now!  Maybe a glass of wine.

"It's alright."

"Are you sure?!?"

I get her calmed down and back in the cart.  I open the door to go shopping and out comes red-faced, whimpering the Little One with a nasty bruise on her cheek and her mother.

You know me... I'm the one getting the side eye from a few people at Target.

**Aqua-Lox.  The magical cure all for diaper rash.  Aquaphor mixed with Maalox.  Any mom will tell you that it's the bee's knees.

That and that. Maybe more still.

Posted by: Dena Mehling on Monday, June 02, 2014 Categories:
I'm feeling sort of like checking out. Falling off the grid and *gasp* deactivating my accounts.

I want to read a book that I can't get enough of.  It's been awhile since I stumbled onto one of those.

I think this salted caramel trend might be my favorite thing ever.

It's never good when Pinterest tells you that you've already pinned something and you didn't realize it.

I accidentally gave the Big One a caffeinated drink from Starbucks.  Oops.

I need new sneakers. 

I wonder if Aqua-Lox would work on my razor burn, downstairs edition.

I had to chase the dog around the backyard this morning.  She wouldn't come in.  I made a barricade to block her.  It was a scene from Les Miserables in my yard.