Hi! I'm Melissa Averinos. 

Please click here for Longarm Quilting info!

I'm a longarm quilter and fabric designer for Andover Fabrics. I wrote Small Stash Sewing. I illustrated The Family Doodle Book. I wrote and illustrated DIY Mason Jars. I have another craft book coming out in Spring 2014. I am a lifelong painter. I am a Cape Codder, good listener and lover of pie. I love yoga and roller derby. Let's be friends!


 

 

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Friday
Sep172010

422: I miss you!

Hey you guys!  I am good--- don't worry! Just kind of feeling quiet lately. I miss you though, so I will be back with a check in soon.

But today I just wanted to pop in  and share an article about me  that was in a local paper today! It was written by the fabulous Susan Blood who blogs at Trout Towers and Opera Betty. Go and say hello!

You can read the article in the Barnstable Patriot here.

Also, some of my paintings are now up at the awesome local  boutique Shift (Conscious Clothing).  One of the owners is Amy DuFault, who blogs about sustainable fashion at ecosalon.com.

And, um, remember how I went to London? And saw that guy from Jane Eyre in a play? Well, I maybe kind of received a letter from him. Which I will blog next time.  

:o)

xo,

melissa

 

Thursday
Aug262010

421: be my fitness pal?

So a friend of mine told me aout MyFitnessPal, a free fitness/calorie tracker. I have used FitDay and really got a lot out of it, but she had such good things to say aout MFP that I looked into it.

I really like it! It's much cuter than FitDay.

And it has saocial media type of aspect that I love, of course. Like a fitness-related facebook/twitter kind of thing. (With really good forums, too!) And it feels like a much more interactive site than many of the others I've seen. It's that social network part of it that makes it so much fun. I have  wanted to be active with an online fitness/nutrition community, but  it's like starting all over in a new school--- you know? I thought, well, I already have this awesome crafty community, why not see if any of the people I already know want to join me!

So I am making it my mission to get my peeps to join with me so we can all support each other. About 20 of my twitter/facebook pals have joined so far and we are having such fun with it!

Do you already work out and eat well? Great, join us and help us stay motivated!

Want to get fit or manage your eating a bit better? Awesome! Many are in the same boat. Starting out with our community of  crafty friends is a great way to stay on track!

Overweight and bummed? But not quite ready to make a change yet? Join anyways! You can keep your food diary private and just start logging what you eat to be aware of it. Often, just knowing you are going to record it will help you make better choices! And if it doesn't, you'll be able to see in black and white what's going on. It doesn't have to be scary and you don't have to change everything all at once!

Your crafty community is right here with you ready to support and encourage you! Add me as a friend (my username is yummygoods, of course), check out my friend list and add those you know. There are a handful of fellow fabric designers, as well as clothing and quilt designers!

 

Let's do this together! In our awesome crafty community we already cheer each other on in other aspects of life, why not this very important one?

Click here to begin! And then go to this post and leave your info so we can all get to know each other!

xo,

melissa 

P.S. All of us who have been tracking and using the site actively for the last ten days have lost weight!

Friday
Aug132010

420: peace is every step

Even after all these years of struggling with Depression and Anxiety, I am still taken by surprise at how quickly those jerks tiptoe up, tackle me and drag me toward The Abyss if I'm not paying attention.

Had a couple of down days this week.

Not too bad, really. But after a couple months of feeling pretty dang good most of the time, even being a little low feels scary.

Nothing was wrong, nothing was going on, I just started feel like I was... dissolving. Crumbling like a sugar cube in hot tea. Only not as sweet or charming. More like a urinal cake, maybe. Do those crumble? Probably not. Well, anyways. You get my meaning.

So, I could feel myself crumbling, dissolving from the inside out. Heart heavy. Sad eyes. Low energy. Lost. Hope draining rapidly.

Again, it wasn't as bad as usual (even though it does sound pretty bad!) I think I am just noticing it sooner now. Like when you catch the tiniest hint of the scent of something before the smell is undeniable or overpowering, you know?

I did not want to end up in The Abyss or staring at the bottom of an empty Ben and Jerry's pint or overwhelmed by the B.O. of Depression, so I had a little talk with myself.

Me: What's up, buttercup?

Sad Me: meh.

Unhelpful Me: ugh, she's the worst.

Me, (ignoring Unhelpful Me) : no, hon. not 'meh.'  Let's figure this out before it gets worse, ok? Why are you  feeling so down?

Unhelpful Me (interjecting) : um, because she sucks?

Me, (to Sad Me): Just ignore her. Is something wrong?

Sad Me (doing her best  to ignore unhelpful me) : Hmmmm... nothing that I can think of that isn't there even when I'm feeling good. Nothing new.

Me: Ok. This is what we're going to do. Since there is nothing really going on, it's probably just that free-floating Anxiety mofo. He is just making shit up and we are just going to try not to buy any of it, ok?

Sad Me: We can do that?

Unhelpful Me (taunting Sad Me): You can't do that. You are doomed. DOOMED! (turning to you guys) Dude, she is totally doomed.

Me (disregarding unhelpful me) : Yes, we can do that! It's not easy because Anxiety is very convincing and Depression  tries to sit on you and squash you, but we are just going to keep in mind that we haven't been getting enough exercise this week and that's what  usually keeps the bastards  from showing their nasty faces.

Sad me: Yeah, I know. I know. I always get this way when I miss a few workouts.

Me: Right! See? It's ok. We just have to make sure we do what it takes to stay strong. And we have to jump back on track as soon as we notice we've been tackled by those guys.

Unhelpful me: Um, yeah. She's not gonna do that. She's just going to sit there and let Depression use her for a bouncy house and then hate herself for it until she implodes.

Hey.

Where did she go?

Me to Unhelpful Me: She went for a run!

I started to write that out as a dialogue just between Me and Sad Me, but there was definitely a voice missing!

See, not only do I deal with Depression and Anxiety, but then there is Unhelpful Me who judges me for having those problems which just compounds it, of course. Awesome.  I do know that Unhelpful Me is just those dudes wearing a mask, but still. Not cool, guys.

Also,  now I sound like a Total Crazy Person. Let's not call these 'The Voices In My Head'. How about 'My Internal Monologue'? Does that work?

Can we agree on that?

Oh, good. We all  thank you.

So, I did actually go for a run yesterday. A five mile run! And I did it again this morning! And wouldn't you know it? I feel much much better. (Take that, bastards! Ka-POW!)

With every run, every yoga or pilates class, I feel better. With every step in the right direction, I release anxiety and I find peace.

 

'Peace Is Every Step' is a  quote/saying by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Zen monk. It's also the title of one of his  books.  I haven't read him in a while but this phrase has always stuck with me. And why not apply this phrase literally? I do feel my internal peace growing with every step of a run, with every posture held.

I did this design last week, using one of my photos from that  trip to Provincetown last fall and some hand lettering that I scanned in.(Of course, I had to make a tee shirt out of it.)

I blogged the Buddha photos in a different post, this one, where I talk about that old "I suck" feeling. It's worth mentioning that the "I suck" feeling is a result of not catching the whiff of depression like I did this time! Progress, yay!! I assure you, if I had let it go this time, I would have been camping in "I Suck-Ville" within a few days.

Next time I'm crankified or down, I am going to try to remember that Peace Is Every Step. And I hope that by saying that to myself, I will be inspired to throw on my sneaks and run (or a walk or go to pilates, yoga, zumba etc) and find my peace. You too?

xo, m

Monday
Aug092010

419: ok so i'm a little freaky what of it

What have I been up to?

Just being my freaky little self. Making silly designs and putting them on tees and such.

Like this one.

Darcy vs. Rochester tee, mug, and bumper sticker:

Do you love Mr. Darcy? Or is it Edward Fairfax Rochester's brooding that gets the knickers in a twist? I think we all know where I stand on the debate.

It doesn't take much for me, apparently. A British accent, a stern look or witty comment, and a flouncy cravat. (Unless you are my honey and then all it takes is being him.)

Are you like me and Beth? Do you swoon over a #hotbritishguy in a cravat?

Omg, Cravats! mug

(You may recognize that girl from the header on Beth's blog.)

And for those of us who would take Rochester over Darcy any day of the week (or night, mmm):

 Team Bronte tee shirt

Oh, don't worry, Team Austen is in the works, too. Then we can play for both teams. :o)

And now for something completely random: Parsnips, The Vegetarian White Meat tee shirt:

 

What? These are the things I think up without trying. I know. I'm a bit odd. But I'm ok with it.

I was talking on twitter about my tees and Elizabeth from Late Bloomer Quilts said, "Now if only you created a guinea pig design, I would put you in my will!"

What was a girl to do? I was up for the challenge. After several failed attempts at drawing her (apparently famous) little Melvin, I took Elizabeth's advice,  "Just draw a twinkie and put little legs on it!"

And it totally worked!

Peace, Love, Guinea Pigs tee and mug

And a little less girly version

The moral of the story is: Be careful what you say on twitter, because I may actually take you up on your offhand request!

Another example: I was already planning a QuiltDad = Awesome tee, because he does, but was tweeted the suggestion for a Quilt Dad Is My Homeboy tee and 45 minutes later it existed:

 

What can I say? It's not like I don't have other things I should be doing, it's just that this is my fun. Stuart will be watching a ball game and I'll be there on my computer designing silly tee shirts. It also is great practice and helps keep my style loose and fun and "me" rather than trying to be too commercial and perfect-like. With this Zazzle stuff, I am just totally being myself and making things that I like and if others like them too, then yay!

In that spirit, here is one of my favorites to date. When I was working on this, Stuart looked over my shoulder and gave me the eyes as if to say, "Girl, you are WACKED."

Yup. True story.

OK So I'm a little freaky what of it tee and mug:

xo,

melissa

 

Friday
Aug062010

418: chin up

Had kind of a down day yesterday--- the first in a couple of months!

(So, that's good, in a way, right?)

I blew off a bunch of workouts this week and started to crankify.

Sometimes I try to talk myself out of a grumpy mood. Or paint myself out of it.

I needed to hear this, so I painted it to myself:

And today I thought I would gussy it up a bit for you, just in case you needed to hear it too:

xo,

melissa

 

Wednesday
Aug042010

417: strikeoffs are here!

Oh, you guys. The fabric looks so good.

And it feels so good!

There are three colorways.

Colorway 1, greens:

I'm kinda crazy for the mix of greens, yellows, orange, gray, cocoa and eggplant.

Colorway 2 is blues:

The blues have some delicious salmon in there.

And of course, Colorway 3 is pinks and oranges with brown:

And cream, butter and olive. (Sounds like dinner!)

I'm so happy to be with Andover! The whole process has been simple, friendly and supportive. I have been waiting a very long time to see these designs on fabric and I couldn't be happier with how they came out.

Wanna know the name of the collection?

Swoon.

xo,

melissa

 

Tuesday
Aug032010

416: strikeoffs, catch up and unicorns

A few months ago, I was on going to my friend Hannah's house for the first time and I took a wrong turn.
And I drove past this:
Wait. What?
Yes.
A giant unicorn on the front of someone's house.
But that's normal, right?
No?
I WANT IT.
As I was looking through my photos to find that to show you, I came across this bag that my friend Regina gave me:
Ummmm......
Doesn't that look like the same unicorn that's on the house? With the super long horn and the little goatee?

Oh, unicorns.
Oh, oh! I got two more pieces of Anonymous Unicorn Mail! From that same person with the awesome writing! Makes me so happy.
....................................
You guys?
Strikeoffs of my next fabric line come today!
Tap tap tap..... taptaptaptaptap.......
Are the here yet?
.......
.....
...
.....
How about now?
No?
>sigh<
It's been so frigging long since Sugar Snap came out that it feels new all over again!
All of the other designers that came out when I did have had several lines by now. I am looking forward to having several lines, lemme tell you!
I'll be back with sneaks of the strikeoffs as soon as I can.
Even though my camera lens is busted. I'll have to use the other lens. See, I am kind of a jerk to my camera. I don't put it in a camera bag, so it gets a bit of the rough treatment. Like, sometimes it takes a tumble and the lens gets all jammed up and I have to shake it and smack it a bit to get it to focus. I am bad that way. Stuart can usually fix it with his Daddy Magic, but I don't know if even he has enough magic to make it work this time.
........................................................
Miracle of miracles: I am still working out!
Running 3x a week for about 45 min each time.
Pilates 2x a week.
Trying to make it to Zumba once a week.
Bikram yoga 3x a week.
Feels great!
Some randomness for you:
*The other day, I felt this hard lump under my skin in my arm. I was like, what is that!? Oh, cool! A bicep!
*I am enjoying the tv show The Good Guys. Tom Hanks's son is one of the leads and I can't help but love him like I love his dad.
*Of course, still digging what I call 'My Dancing Show', So You Think You Can Dance.
*I managed to get to the beach for the first time this season----before August! Last Tuesday, Stuart and I went to Craigville Beach after work. The water was so warm and it was even choppy! I had fun busting the waves with my head. "Honey, did you see that? I totally just busted that wave with my head!"
What are you up to?
Monday
Aug022010

415: icebox cake

Do you know about Icebox Cake?

I didn't until I met my handsome honey. It is his special birthday cake, and now his son's.

Stuart's son Zach turned 14 last month. Zach has been my little buddy. I met him when he had just turned five! He's now 14 and on his way to high school! So weird.

So, birthday. I made him the requisite cake. Which is really not cake. It is literally cookies and cream. Chocolate cookies and whipped cream, to be exact. It tastes exactly like an ice cream sandwich or cookies n' cream ice cream. Frigging YUM.

You make some fresh whipped cream:

And then you smoosh it onto these Famous Chocolate Wafer Cookies:

And then you stack them up and lay them on their side:

And make like a loaf type shape. And then you 'frost' it with the whipped cream and crush up some cookies on top:

And then you throw it in the fridge for a few hours (the longer the better) and the cream soaks into the cookie and it gets all mushy and then you chow that stuff down, yo.

And if you are lucky, there is a little bit left over and it is amazing for breakfast the next day. I  mean, Im guessing.

xo,

melissa

Wednesday
Jul282010

414: zazzle + yummygoods = awesome

I'm designing stuff on Zazzle, a print-on-demand thingie place.

I've been toying with this idea for a while. I had signed up to sell on CafePress and Spreadshirt in 2007, but never did much with it.

I've been designing tee shirts for years and I created a ton of designs for products when I was first looking into licensing in 2004. Not to mention the years of surface design since then! So I have a lot of experience and material to draw from. It's a natural fit.

I took the plunge last week and I am having so much fun with it!

I get to do my favorite parts---design and marketing--- and they print and ship. Perfect!

And  I get to crack myself up and make things like this you=awesome mug :

 

And um, I designed this "I brake for Unicorns" bumper sticker:

You know, because I am kind of geeky for unicorns. As you may have noticed.

 And also maybe a little bit silly. Just a little bit.

You can tell because I designed these:

Guess what?

Chicken Butt!

That's right. Guess What Chicken Butt shoes.

I love these little guys. I drew them years ago, but they have stolen my heart again.

I kinda wanna do a fabric line based on them. Would you buy chicken fabric? Hmmm.

Of course, I couldn't resist making a bumper sticker:

And, um, a mug:

Because that's what mature, adult women do on Saturday nights, right? They design 'Guess What Chicken Butt' merchandise. Right?

Did you see that the chicken's butt is right there next to where it says 'Chicken Butt.'? Planned it that way, yo! Also, if you are right handed, the "Guess what?" side faces out , becoming a perfect trap for coworkers who will say "What?"  Mwah aha ha.

Did you know that there are other fabric designers on Zazzle?

Yup! The first one I had heard of doing it was Heather Ross, who tortured me by putting her Far Far Away Unicorn on shoes.

And how about some Betz White-designed shoes in her lawn chair pattern?

Also: Bari J and Patty Young.

I need to order my own Sugar Snap shoes, based on my first fabric line:

But which ones? The slip-ons above? Or the pro-keds:

If you want to be notified when I add something new to the shop, at the bottom of the sidebar here, click on 'Join Fan Club!' and then, you know... do so!

I hope you'll bear with me showing you what's new from time to time!

xo,

melissa

Tuesday
Jul272010

413: sneaky peek of my next fabric line!

This is from one of the (hopefully) three colorways.

xo,

melissa

p.s. no, it's not called Sneaky Peek, silly!

Sunday
Jul252010

412: omg my birthday

As you may recall, I turned 36 a few weeks ago.

As is usually the case, I didn't do much of anything.

But.

I did come home to this note on the kitchen counter when I returned from my Bikram yoga class in the morning:

That's my honey's cute writing.

And this is what was waiting for me in the fridge:

Fresh fruit salad! Which I ate in one sitting, all four cups of it, from that measuring bowl.

Fruit salad is my standard birthday request. I frigging love fruit sald. Fruit salad, fruit salad, fruit salad.

So, that was pretty much the highlight. Yum! (thanks, babe.)

Also, my yoga class sang happy birthday to me, which was cute.

Beth and I  did get to celebrate our birthdays together a week or so ago during our Double Birthday celebration which consisted of several hours of BBC drama and eating my weight in cheese (Cheese Dinner, as we liked to call it) and jordan almonds. Go to that link to see the throw quilt I gave her that matches the bunny pillows and duvet cover I made  a while back.

......................................................................................

A few days after my actual b-day, Beth gave me the present she made for me that she spent all of fourth of July weekend working on:

Look at those tiny stitches! On fancy-pants white muslin!

You may know Beth is all hot for whitework and drawn thread embroidery. Like, obsessed with it.

And this is her first project.

And then she gave it to me.

Omg.

And not just 'omg'. Nope.

OMGLONDON:

My very own whitework embroidery souvenir of our awesome trip to London!

But wait, it's not just embroidered.

No, because that would be too easy for Beth. The more complicated, ridiculously detailed and---let's face it---impressive something is, the more she loves it and wants to master it. Oh,  that Beth. What an overachiever.

Lucky for me, I am often the beneficiary of her madness.

Dude, she did this hem:

That, my fiends, is Beth's first foray into drawn-thread embroidery.

Those tiny little openings?

She counted the threads and pulled them out and drew others together with tiny stitches to make that shit happen.

The girl is crazy, yo.

Crazy awesome!

>sigh<

I'm so lucky.

xo,

melissa

Tuesday
Jul202010

411: unicorn tee and raspberries

There is a new category in the Yummy Goods online shop.

It may have something to do with a unicorn tee shirt.

I mean, maybe.

....................................................................................

Yesterday I started to keep track of my food intake again. At the beginning of the year, I used the LoseIt app on my ipod touch. I was diligent about it for 6 weeks and it really changed the way I eat--- for the better! This time around, I am using FitDay because I am on my laptop more than I mess with my ipod. They are basically the same thing so I would recommend either one!

I also went running for the first time in months yesterday--- 45 minutes without stopping!

This morning I went to pilates even though I didn't want to and I am so glad I did because it was actually fun! And tonight I am going to Bikram yoga.

I'm checking in about it to stay accountable. If I am not yapping about it then you can be sure I have stopped!

................................................................................................

 The other day I went out to check on my garden weed patch:

Weed central. Like, weeds as tall as me. Not that I'm so tall, or anything. But still.

At least the respberries are doing well:

At a neighborhood plant sale a couple of years ago, I bought a few canes in a bucket that someone had obviously just dug up from their yard.

And now they are taking over the place! Yay!

mmmmmmmmmm.

xo,

melissa

Next time: The ridiculously awesome thing that Beth made for my birthday.

Monday
Jul192010

410: OmgLondon part 7, Quilt Exhibit at the V&A

More London. Ok?

One of the awesome things we had planned in  advance was to go to the Quilts 1700-2010 Exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

That's right, a whole special exhibit on quilts. While we were there. Magic, right?

Of course, no photography was allowed in the show, so I can't give you an accurate portrayal of what is was like.

But. The walls?

They were pink. PINK!

And surprisingly, it was rather dimly and moodily lit, which was kinda neat.

In the museum shop, there was this great big  book of the exhibited works, but it was a.) too expensive and b.) too heavy to cart around so I didn't get it.

I got the postcard set instead. They are snack-sized.

Also, I got some, well, what else? Fabric!

I didn't realize until after I bout it that it's by Liberty!

Don't fret, you can buy some too.

They also had all sorts of other cool quilty merchandise like this awesome wrapping paper:

And this stool that I really wanted:

And I didn't see this teatowel or I would have scored one for sure:

Aghhhhh!

We saw the quilt it is based on in person at the exhibit. It was rad.

I did grab this mug that is based on that quilt:

SO frigging cuuuute!

 xo,

melissa

Sunday
Jul182010

409: but really, you're all winners (plus unicorn action)

Oh, yeah.
Remember my  400th post giveaway?
The winner is........Renee! Who said:
I discovered your blog about a year ago and have throughly enjoyed it. If I'm ever in the area I would love to check out the shop. It's a long way from Georgia but maybe one day. Congrats on the book, the new line, and #400! What a great reason for a giveaway!

Yay! ´╗┐Email me your address and I will send you my book and some of my Sugar Snap fabric!
While I'm at it, a big congratulations to the winners of the Fat Quarter Friday giveaways:
Anjanette Middlebrooks
Alexandra Rosenblum
Helen Flener
D. Ciomperlik
Elizabeth Starks
Yay!
..................................................................................
In other news, (though I don't think this is news to anyone, really):
Dude, I am such a slacker.
I have a ton of emails that I haven't responded to and it makes me feel like a bad person.
Please forgive me?
I will buckle down on Monday and attack the inbox, ok?
More evidence of my slackitude: This awesome piece of Anonymous Unicorn Mail that I got almost a year ago.
And I'm just now blogging it:
So the image is  from Natalie Dee this adorable webcomic. I emailed the artist to see if it was she that sent it (she? her? whatever). But she was all, " I have no idea what you are talking about." So I don't think it is her.
Also, yes, I am assuming a female sender. Is that wrong?
I mean, my first piece of Anonymous Unicorn Mail was from a dude, after all.
Hmm. Food for thought.
So anyways,  it was very sweet and encouraging:
And doesn't this person have the awesomest handwriting? Jealous.
This same person sent me another piece of Anonymous Unicorn Mail but I don't have pics of it. I have been wanting to blog it just in case that person is still reading and wants to know that I a.) got them and b.) appreciate them. Resounding YES, yo!
More, please, Awesome-Handwriting-Anonymous-Unicorn-Mail-Sender!

Also, I have been a bit slacktastic with the exercise and eating well since my 30-day Bikram Yoga Challenge ended a week ago! Like, I may have eaten my weight in cheese the other night at Beth's.
But, as of tomorrow, I am back on track. I will go to Bikram 4-5 times a week, run at least 3 times and hopefully hit up the Y for a couple of pilates classes. If you are in with me, feel free to state your plan in the comments for accountability!
I just went shopping and bought all sorts of good things for me to eat. As we walked to the car with our groceries, I did the following, just so I could say I did:
I carried a watermelon.
xo,
melissa
p.s. I kind of want to do my own webcomic.
Wednesday
Jul142010

408: omgLondon part 6 The V and A, sculptures

Back to London for a bit, y'all.

The fabulous, amazing, wonderful Victoria and Albert Museum. Known to all as The V and A. Sounds like the VNA but it's a whole other thing.

I have several posts on this place alone. We'll start with this hall of stone and marble sculptures, if that's cool with you.

Woe is she:

 Row upon row of marble busts:

I couldn't get over the detail. I mean, look at these crazy-ass eyebrows:

And this guy's curlicue hairdo:

 Someone chiseled those fine tresses from marble, yo. That is just craziness.

Some lovely waves and tendrils:

The eyes are creepy, but I love the little oak leaf ornamentation here:

Pretty hands:

I hate just drawing hands. I can't imagine sculpting them.

Beth and I were each walking around separately when I saw this guy:

Later, I was like, "And there was this one statue that had a 'Whatchu talkin' 'bout , Willis?' look on his face."

And she was like, " I know! I saw that guy!"

See what I mean?

xo,

melissa

Thursday
Jul082010

407: I'm bringing flexy back

Today will be my 26th Bikram yoga class in the last 27 days. I still need to make up one class, but I'm almost all of the way through the 30-day challenge!

I am the least disciplined person I know, so I kinda can't believe I'm really doing this! Yay!

Do you know about Bikram yoga? It is a series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises done in a heated room. Like, a hot room. Like 105 degrees hot. Which, I have to say, I actually love. You know how I hate to be cold.

I found this video on the youtube that is from a Bikram yoga studio in London. Check it out.

Yes, you really do sweat that much.

Beyond the heat even, the postures are  challenging. Even so, it is a yoga that is for beginners as well as experienced practitioners. Not because it's easy, mind you, but because you work where you're at. You don't have to be "flexible" or "in shape" to go. You get flexible and in shape by going. Right?

You just have to give it your honest effort each time. That's all. And over time you build the strength, the balance, flexibility, patience, humility, determination.

One of the things I love about Bikram yoga in particular, is that it is so challenging that I have to concentrate only on exactly what I am doing the whole time. And that, my friend, is meditation! I am super-focused in class and that has been carrying over into other areas. I have been getting much more done at the shop. I just feel more... well... focused is the only way I can say it. Oh, wait, here it is: More productive.

Also? Tired.

Daily 90 minute sessions of challenging yoga in a room heated to 105 degrees? Um, yeah. I'm tired. But it's a good tired.

So, Bikram yoga = really hot, really sweaty, really challenging yoga. Awesome Yoga! It is definitely not for everyone, but it is for me.

Bikram's Beginning Yoga Class. Book available on the Bikram site.

When I started up a few weeks ago, I  just wanted to get back into a yoga practice. (You can read about my yoga history here.) I thought it would be fun to blog my experience, including any changes I feel as I go through the weeks. Megan, who owns Bikram Yoga Cape Cod where I practice, took my measurements and weighed me. You know, just in case there are some pleasing changes to note.

I'm not doing this to lose weight though, rather to be healthier and let the yoga work through me. I didn't want to start a big regime and change my eating and be all diet-y about it. I just want to get back to yoga and let the yoga change the way I eat. Because I know that it does and it already has.

I was not in tip-top form going in, that's for sure. I never drink enough water, I usually eat too much and I could stand to lose about 20 pounds. I hadn't practiced any yoga in a while, or even been working out.

Bikram Yoga. Book available on the Bikram site.

The first two weeks I was just trying to get to class every day. Like, ok, am I really going to follow through on this? I wasn't hydrating and I wasn't eating any healthier or more moderately.

The first class back was a killer.  I had to sit out some postures because I was dizzy. Going into it I was already at a disadvantage, being dehydrated---me with my not-drinking-water-camel-like-ways. But boy, did I start guzzling my water between postures! If you are well hydrated before class, you really don't get thirsty or need any during, but I was a hurtin' puppy gulping from my pink container as quickly as I could. It seems like it would cool you off, but it just gives you a stomach ache and makes the postures more difficult, which you don't think is even possible.

This is what I wear to class:

It's actually black. A danskin one piece. I only wear this for Bikram classes because I don't want to be fidgeting with my tops, always pulling them down over my hips. It's not flattering, but it is the only thing I can imagine wearing in that heat and working that hard!

So after about two weeks of struggling through class pounding my one bottle of water a day, I decided to try harder to hydrate before class to see if it made a difference.

Dude, it totally made a difference! I hardly even needed a sip during class, and I swear to you, the postures were about 25% less difficult. I won't say easier because there is nothing easy about it, but I honestly did them with much less difficulty. So much so, that I am currently a water drinkin' fiend! I think of it as Yoga E-Z juice now.

So at about the two week mark, the water thing changed and so did the food. I just am eating lighter without even trying. Not that I don't sometimes mindlessly snack or eat more than I'm hungry for, but mostly I just want to eat fruit and yogurt and cheese and salads and only when I am hungry.So that's what I'm doing. I know, weird! But what I love about it is that I'm not trying to do it. I just want to.

The other night, there was a guest instructor at my studio, so my teacher Megan was taking pictures of the class. I don't think I've ever been photographed during my practice before! Makes those balancing postures even more challenging when someone is right in front of you with a camera!

I am almost at the point of bringing my forehead to my knee in this posture, which is actually called Standing Head-to-Knee, or dandayamana janushirasana in sankrit. The teacher is firing instructions out like an auctioneer: "Standing knee locked like a lampost , unbroken, like you have no knee! Thigh muscles contracted! Lock the knee! Lock the Knee! Tack the big toe down on the standing foot! Two hips in one line! Lock the lifted leg! Flex the toes, all five toes toward back your face! Kick the heel toward the mirror, keep kicking, keep kicking! Both legs locked, solid, unbroken! "

This is what happens when I just let the yoga work on me. I want to eat better to fuel my yoga practice. I want to drink water so I'm well hydrated for class. I want to get more sleep so I .... you get the idea.

Additionally, I can definitely see improvements in my postures. I m ean, how could I not after all these classes! I am naturally pretty flexible to begin with (don't stab me!) but it's been a long time since I was at my most flexy and I am approaching that again. My strength is building over time, as is my balance.

But you know what might be the most awesome?

The self-respect I feel for sticking with it.

I might be tired, but I feel like a badass. 

xo, melissa

Thursday
Jul012010

406: Quilt Market recap: Sandi Henderson

Yes, more Quilt Market eye candy.

Sandi's booth was lovely, as always:

And she had a little visitor:

Those chairs kill me.

Yum:

Love that new colorway of Meadowsweet.

Again with the chairs:

Nom.

I love this cathedral windows pillow.

I love how it looks but I would never want to make one myself. All that precision gives me hives. Well, maybe I could make one all wonky and rough. Melissa-style.

Which, I guess, I can.

Maybe I will!

Sandi gets some good unicorn lovin:

Smooooch!

xo,

melissa

Wednesday
Jun302010

405: OMGLondon part 5. Stonehenge

The final stop on our Evan Evans day tour was Stonehenge.

The weather was lovely. Blue sky.Whispy white clouds.

 

The place was beautiful. This is what it looked like when I turned around, away from the stones:

And doesn't this view just beg to be recorded in paint?

I don't know why it took us all day to realize how much we enjoyed our tour guide, the Dapper Young Man, Phil.

For the whole trip, we had been sitting in the second-to-last seats on the bus listening intently to  his commentary and guffawing  at his jokes--- and often the only ones doing the latter! I don't know if it was because we were a) the only ones listening  b) the only ones who got them c) the only ones who spoke english or d) very easily amused.

We found him totally entertaining, informative and charming.

Also? Stonehenge was fuzzy:

Fuzzy wuzzy was a Stonehenge.

Some spots in the grass had sweet little colonies of buttercups and such:

I couldn't resist picking a few and shoving them into my brochure.

Probably totally illegal, but, you know. I'm a rebel like that.

We chatted with Phil a bit for the first time before boarding the coach back to London, and found him to be just as funny as his told-on-every-tour-every-day commentary.

Beth and I have decided that when we go back to England, we are going to take another of his tours and sit right behind him so he has a good audience for the whole day. It's going to be a blast.

We arrived back in London after 8pm and walked out in search of dinner.

I got fish and chips.

That's right, scones and tea in Bath for lunch followed by fish and chips for dinner in London.

I want to go back.

xo,

melissa

Tuesday
Jun292010

404: shop yummy goods online!

I told you I would do it!

Go ahead and click the giant button:

I wanted to wait until it was all perfect and 100% ready to go, but whatever. I'm just winging it anyways. Let me know if you see any typos or if you have any trouble! This is all new to me, so bear with my growing pains!

My book will be added to the shop soon, ok? I'll let you know when.

xo,

melissa

 

Monday
Jun282010

403: Wing Stand Bikram Yoga Studio

Ok, so I've been meaning to blog about this yoga thing for two whole weeks already so I am just going to frigging do it!

But  first  I have to explain to you about Wing Stand. Bear with me.

(I know this is kind of long and there aren't many pictures, but as a personal favor to me, will you read the whole thing? Thanks, you're a pal.)

Ok. Wing Stand.

Do you remember Unicorn Stories Episode 2: To The Moon? The one that my Unicorn *Hearts* Moon project from the book is based on?

{In case you are new here, Unicorn Stories are these little silly animated shorts that my friend Beth and I make to amuse ourselves.}

Well, I never said much about this before, but one of my and Beth's favorite things about that episode is what we refer to as 'the breakout star of the show: WING STAND!' aka Wing Stand.

Do you have any idea what I am talking about? Remember when Unicorn needs to get up to visit his love, the moon, and all of a sudden Wing Stand just waddles onto the scene...walks right up to Unicorn  and is conveniently selling sets of wings for just 5 cents?

Here, just watch it again, ok?

 

See? Wing Stand.

So ever since we made that episode (almost a year ago now? What?) we always refer to things that just work out or show up when we want as Wing Stand (Blank).

It goes like this, you say, 'Oh, hmmm. I wish I had This Thing I Need or Want.'

Then there is this goofy innocent sound effect that goes like this: Doot-dee-doot-dee-dooo....

and voila!

Up comes walking Wing Stand Thing I Need.

A recent example: When we were in London, we had decided we wanted Indian food and just moments after we set out in search of vittles we happened upon this great little Indian restaurant. Like, immediately after.  Wing Stand Indian Restaurant. We actually said, "Oh, Hi Wing Stand Indian Restaurant!"

Another: Just got an email from Beth after she read my last post talking about tomato plants and she's all, 'I have some Wing Stand Tomato Plants for you.'  Someone gave some to her husband and they have been sitting on the step waiting for a home which Beth was reminded of when she read about me getting my jollies off of sniffing tomato plant leaves.

Wing Stand Tomato Plants. Doot-dee-doot-dee-doo.

They just showed up right when they were wanted.

Get it?

.....

Now, hold that in mind while I tell you a little of my yoga history, ok?

I have been practicing yoga on and off for 20 years now.

Let's be honest, mostly off.

But  yoga is in me- I am a yogi, whether I am physically practicing the postures or not- and when I do it I feel like I am  home.

I went to my first class when I was 15, with my 23-year-old-boyfriend. I loved it. Growing up,  I didn't play sports, dance, ski, ride horses, nothing. Never. But I loved this yoga class. I remember being in knee-down twist and the teacher came over to adjust me and he said "You're really flexible in this." I only went to a couple more of his classes but it stayed with me.

I used to stretch a lot in high school, like, just by myself, in my room. Maybe it was after those classes.

I thought it was so cool how I could just relax into a position and just by staying there and breathing, slowly my body would sink deeper in and release and I could reach further than when I started. I still think that's awesome. I remember  telling my friend Jake about it and showing him by having him stretch and see the difference after holding it for a little while. This was all 1990-ish.

In 1997 I went to Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. I did a 3 month residential volunteer program  that used to be called the Spiritual Lifestyle Program. After that was over I stayed on for another 2 months.

Crafty side note: I made my first quilt just before I went there because I wanted to bring one with me! This is me on the front lawn of Kripalu with my quilt:

I have so much to share about my time there (like how I gained 35 pounds in 5 months) but for now I'll get on with my yoga history.

Since 1997, I have gone through periods of practicing and then it falls away... then I find it again... then I leave again.

In 2000 , I started doing Bikram yoga. I might have been consistent for 6 months. In 2002 I was working out a lot at the gym doing lots of spin classes, pilates, yoga and lifting weights.  Again, for maybe 6 months.

In between I might have gone to a class here or there.

A few years ago I was practicing power vinyasa yoga 2-3 times a week for 2 years. That was the most consistent I'd ever been and it was so good for me. I fell out of the habit and have gone back for a few weeks or months at a time since.

I have been wanting to develop a strong practice again. Like, a lifelong practice. I talk about it and think about it all the time. It's just something I want in my life.

.............................

Ok, so that's my yoga history in a nutshell. Now, I have to break off again for a moment to tell you a little bit about Delia.

She's one of my favorite customers, a psychotherapist who works from an office just around the corner.

A couple of summers ago, when I was just setting up the shop and hadn't even opened yet, she popped in to say hello and tell me how excited she was watching my little shop take shape and how thrilled she and her associates were about what I was bringing to our little (tiny!) West Barnstable community. She has this charming South African accent and exudes joy and peace and is always wearing some fabulous floaty linen pants or gorgeous earth-toned sweater.

One day she came in wearing the most amazing thing and I had to take her picture:

 She is just a neat lady.

Last summer she brought me organic strawberries that she got for me at a roadside stand just to thank me for being here. See what I mean?

In the fall she came in to tell me that there was an office available in the building she works out of and wouldn't it be amazing if it could be a yoga studio? Or something? So we were talking about that and how wonderful that would be and I even mentioned it on facebook and talked with some of my yoga teacher friends about it. A few weeks went by and I told a few more people about it but nothing ever came to fruition. I let it go.

Last month Delia stopped in to chat and  she told me that a Bikram yoga studio was opening up in that spot by her office! Which is 3 buildings away from my house!

Doot-dee-doot-dee-doo: Wing Stand Bikram Yoga Studio!

I was like, whelp, looks like I'm going to start doing Bikram yoga again! 

Megan, the owner of Bikram Yoga Cape Cod, stopped in to introduce herself and I told her how happy I was that she was in our little area and that I wanted to go and hey we should document my progress getting back into Bikram yoga so people can see what it's all about and we can get her some more students and we can call it Bikram-ize Me and we can take measurements and pictures and I'll blog about it and yeah, woo! 


So I went to class the Saturday after my return from England and after class as I am laying there, spent and sweat-drenched, Megan mentions: hey everybody this is Melissa and we are doing a documentary on her Journey To Perfect Health with Bikram Yoga!

And I was like, oh, I guess I'm actually doing this then!

Which is awesome because if she hadn't taken me up on it, there is no way in hell I would be on my 16th class in 17 days like I am now!

Yes, today will be my 16th class!

I had committed to 5 days a week but decided to try to go every day, figuring I would end up missing a few anyways. But I only have missed one day in over 2 weeks! In Bikram yoga sometimes they do this thing called a 30-Day Challenge, which you can probably guess is doing Bikram Yoga for 30 days straight. Or 30 classes in 30 days. If you miss one like I did, you can double up one day to make it up, which I will. Because, hey. I'm literally halfway there, I may as well keep going, right?

There is also a 60-Day Challenge, which was just written about in Oprah's magazine. It's a great article, you can read it here.

So, there. I've finally explained about Wing Stand and my yoga history and what I'm up to. Now I can get on with reporting about my experience. But I'll have mercy and end this post now. I mean, you're probably asleep by now.

But first, tell me: do you have any experience with yoga?

And I don't want to hear "Oh I'm not flexible, I can't do yoga" because that's like saying "Oh, I don't know French so I can't take French lessons."

Right?

xo,

melissa