A little studio peek

With the exception of flooring things are going pretty darn well in the studio conversion process. But I will say that I am amazed that my stuff has swollen to take up the whole of a room that is 2x as big as it's last room.. very scary!

Paint- done!
Furniture moved - done!
Most stuff put away - done!
Flooring - still killing me!

Wicked Wednesday

Uh... yeh I know it's really Thursday and I am sorry about that.. just to caught up in my week and Wednesday snuck right by me! But as promised here is my interview with the loverly Jennifer of Pole Skivvies. I still have not found a local place to learn to pole but that has not stopped me from wanting to do it! ( The photo is of Yannori from Express the Sensual )

Jennifer, how did you come to pole dancing?
I have belly danced since I was 19 years old, which is something I've always loved. But when I was 39, I found I was getting really bored with it. The music and moves I'd been doing happily for so long, suddenly didn't motivate me at all. It was heading into winter and I was having to really push myself to work out at all, which is not like me. Then, a co-worker's roommate lent me her copy of The S Factor (great book!), and it talked about her exploration of pole dancing and exotic dancing, and how it made her feel so beautiful and sexy and so empowered - like she could finally release the person she had always been deep down inside. And I thought, that's exactly the way I felt when I started belly dancing, so it really resonated with me, and I read it and read it and started getting intrigued by the pole.
That's when it hit - the pole addiction. Ladies, it hits hard. I went from having previously - before reading that book - thought pole was cool, but not my thing, to being obsessed with that book, then Youtube videos of pole dancers, then all the different pole forums (thank god for the internet), and within a week I was so nuts I had ordered my own pole and was stuck to the youtube videos like glue. A few months later I would wind up explaining to my eye doctor that my eyes were sleepy all the time and I couldn't handle glare. He asked how long I was at the computer, and I realized that I had been, for weeks and weeks, coming home from a full day's work at a computer to spending another five hours or so watching pole videos. I'm telling you, pole dancers LOVE pole. :)

What was the first big hurtle you had to over come in order to "see"
yourself as some one who did the pole?
This wasn't a big issue for me. I've belly danced professionally and give one hell of a striptease, so there wasn't a lot of mental stuff to overcome.

Did it feel like the " right" thing for you the minute you did it or did you need to warm up to it?
The first time I saw pole, I remember thinking no one's thighs need to be that strong. But when I revisited it via a book that really spoke to me, I was hooked.

Do you pole more for exercise or amusement ( or someone elses amusement?)
It's a combination for me. I like to stay in shape, but I also love the challenge, and I love the community that comes with it. There are no pole classes in Vermont, so I study with a teacher in Canada via webcam (live, private lessons), but I also chat and email and message with a ton of pole dancers from all over the world. They are really the most amazing group of women - I love them!

How does a shy or fat or clumsy or whatever person even get up the guts to do such a thing?
Well, this I understand, because I got into belly dancing because I was the clutziest, most graceless girl you ever could hope to see. So, if even I could turn into a graceful, sexy dancer, then ANYONE can. As for pole, one of my biggest inspirations is Olivia Shelster, whose youtube videos made me feel I could learn to be a great pole dancer. She is this wonderful young woman, a little on the large size (less so, after a few years on the pole), who just has a natural exuberance when she dances, and comes across just like any cool woman you know. She made me feel anybody could pole and make it beautiful. I still love to watch her videos.

If you have kids...what do they think of you dancing?
I have a stepdaughter (she's ten), and she's not into me poling, but she loves to play on the pole herself. She is very much a girl of her own mind, though, so she does not like lessons. But she loves to twirl and climb and creates the coolest Martha Graham-esque choreographies with my belly dance veils.
What I worried about was what her mom would think, but I am blessed that my boyfriend's ex is a very cool woman and a great mom, and she thinks it's great. My man and I are just moving in together this summer, so when we're all living here, I will likely remove the pole when her friend's come to play, if I get the sense any neighbor would misinterpret it. I don't want my little girl having to get caught in the middle of anything unpleasant just because I pole dance.

How do people normally react when they find out your hobby?
Well, they generally know me, so it doesn't surprise them. :) My boyfriend plays it up to his buddies. "You know my girlfriend the belly dancer? Yeah, she's into pole dancing now - got one set up in the basement."

Do you pole dance for others or with others in social situations?...
or is that just not something that happens in the world of pole dancing?
Well, the weird yet delicious part of my world is that, while Vermont has no pole dance classes, there is a really cool little pub near me that has two poles. Generally I just pole at home, but sometimes I drag the man (or a pole dancing buddy of mine in Montreal, if we can work out our schedules) to the pub. He has a few beers and I pole. It's the funniest little place - totally Vermont. There's a nice sports bar with NASCAR on the screen, some booths if you want something to eat, a pool table, a dance area - and then these two poles. I found out about the place because they had a pole dancing contest when they first put in the poles. I couldn't resist - I had to go! I had a lot of funm but, unfortunately, they had (totally unintentionally) bought some really poor quality poles and the pole came crashing down in the middle of one of my spins. So I spoke to the owner and told him what he should buy, and he replaced them right away. So now I have these gorgeous poles to play with when we go out dancing.
I admit it can be awkward at first, since almost no one else ever poles there, they just grind on the pole when drunk, so I attract a lot of attention - but I live for that kind of thing. The best part, really, is the ladies' room, because whenever I go for a bathroom break, all the women there start asking me to show them moves and where I learned. It's fun!
And if there were more pole dancers in my area, we would go out poling ALL THE TIME. :)

If someone wanted to start but could not find classes in their area what should they do?.. besides hang out at the playground with their kids and goof around with the pole there ( hey.. I am just sayin...)
First, you're lucky to have poles on your playgrounds. Vermont has these weird brackety things everywhere and you can't spin on the street signs or most playground equipment. Very sad.
But you could do what I do - take classes with Alena Downs of www.polejunkies.com. She knows her stuff, is absolutely sweet, and is a great teacher. That's important, because you can injure yourself, even doing simple spins, if you're not sure how to hold yourself in the proper way. Believe me, I know. I self-taught at first and had to take six weeks off due to self-inflicted tendonitis, a broken toe, and shoulder pain.

Does your mom/great aunt/priest know that you are a pole dancer?
My family isn't close, so no, they don't. But everybody else does. From my boyfriend's ex to my boss' boss. Who found out over lunch one day, when, over lunch with a friend, he found out I'd been featured in a local newspaper article on pole.

Tell us a little about your business.... those shorts sure do look comfy!
Thank you. :) I came up with the idea to make better pole shorts because, since I don't have pole buddies locally, I wind up posting pole videos on youtube to share. Well, what you might wear at home is not always the same as what you might wear on youtube, for all the world to see. And the first thing I noticed was that almost all shorts of the "booty short" variety gap in the crotch. I mean GAP. Yowzah! I don't need that much sharing, thank you very much. So I started thinking about all I wanted in a pole short and asking what other pole dancers wanted, and came up with PoleSkivvies, which now carries the Tail Spin Short and - coming soon - the Fireman Tank. They are named after pole moves.
They are wonderful - comfy and the right proportions for pole, but they don't give any unnecessary exposure. As I always say, a girl's bikini wax is her own business.
But, really, the business is more than that - it's about connecting with other women who love pole, and who love the sense of freedom it gives them to explore their own flirtatious and sexual side. I try to post a lot of good information on pole dancing and performance, but general fun stuff, too.
Thank you, Maddie, for this chance to talk to you and all your readers. Great questions!

Thank you Jennifer... I hope lots of people stop by to see you and your great shorts! (uhhh..you know what I mean!) Check out Jennifer struting her stuff with a pole dance burlesque style!

Oh joy!

Sometimes it's the most simple of tools that can make you so very happy. Today I would have to pick the Silent Setter This little guy is a work horse at easily setting small sized eyelets in paper products such as card and tags. If you look carefully you can see the two eyelets I set into the front of the floral card I gave as a gift last week. Simple and easy.. that's the way I like it!

A little garden tour

Since the time we moved into this house I have envisioned it with a large cottage garden.. lush, colorful and very homey. Over the years I made tiny attempts at this but never got very far. Well this year we decided to go whole hog and put in a new driveway and really do the yard up right. So money was discussed, heart meds were taken when bids came back at numbers bigger than sending children to ivy league schools, plans were redrafted and final plans were made.

We had hooked up with a great landscaper but quickly came to understand that we could afford for him to do the hard scape and after that I was going to be my own day labor if I was going to be able to do any planting at all this year. So in went the new driveway and pathways and then I went to work. I was at the local plant nursery so often they knew me by name! This post is photo intense so I downsized the pics...if you want to see better click on the photo to enlarge it.

This is a shot from the left hand side of the driveway looking at the front bed pointing towards the house. It features a couple of rose bushes and multiple perennials and a few annuals for good measure. These photos were taken last week.. already some of them plants are double their size and filling in quite well. I am loving the window boxes but they were a HUGE splurge. They are vintage French hay cribs that I have then lined with coco mat and back filled with soil and plants. They have to be watered each day or they totally wilt.

The front yard is completely bordered in beds that I am filling as I can. There are roses on the fences and lillies in the beds. In total there is almost 200 running feet of bed in the yard.
Looking towards the front of the house and over looking the crushed rock pathway done by the landscapers.
Undone projects lurk in this photos.. the concrete area under the urn still needs to be rocked and the open space still needs a few plants. Over all I am very happy with how everything is coming along and since 90% is perennial I hope for an even bigger show next year! :)

A Tiny Tease for Wicked Wednesday

So..... how about something totally new.. something fun for you.. fun for him...would you be willing to Pole dance? Next week I will be rolling out my interview with the owner of a great new woman owned business.. Pole Skivvies

So what do you think... would you learn to pole dance? Would you, could you on a pole? ( with my apologies to Dr. Seuss)

Pass the Marshmellows!

I had meant to post this up an age ago. For Greg's birthday party he had a camp-out theme and to go with that he made everyone their own personal roasting stick. He used a felled branch from one of our trees from which he stripped the bark and then cut up into hand sized handles. He then lightly sanded them to make sure they were smooth. We then drilled holes in the end into which we inserted 18 inch long heavy gauge wire lengths. This was a nice tight fit and gets even tighter as the branch dries and gets even tighter. WE bend the wires at 90 Degrees at the end to make them a bit safe with the added bonus that it keeps the mellows on a bit better!

Greg then put eye screws into the free end and then added loops of ribbon for hanging. We keep ours out by the fire pit for easy use since I am nothing if not all about the Smore!

BUT... if this is all just TOOOOOO crafty for you.. heads up!.. This week at the TARGET Dollar Spot I spotted telescopic mellow roasters for $1. A sweet deal for a sweet treat!

Notions Winners

Woo hooo... just a few moments and the random generator is going to kick out two numbers ......

The winners are .. comments number 4 and 5!!! so will Rachael and Diane please contact me so that I can get you all notioned up! maddie6@bellsouth.net

No fears if your number did not get chosen.. I still have more vintage goodies to give away so drop you name in the hat again HERE

Playing with Fire

I have no idea where the week has gone.. let's all pretend it's Wednesday ..OK? And being that it's WEDNESDAY I want to introduce you to a hot little secret of mine... soy based massage candles... yes indeed. There is no nicer way to enjoy a bit of "grown up time" than by starting with a massage. And while oil or lotion work well enough there is something really sexy about using the soy candle wax dripped straight from the tin for the start of a good time.

It's easy, burn the candle, blow out the flame and drizzle the melted soy wax on your partner for a sensual massage. Soy melts at a lower temperature so you won’t get burned. Whether you want to soothe, invigorate or ignite your partner’s passion all it takes is one of these babies!

Now don't go off and try this with just any soy candle since many are made with things that might irritate your more private skin.. look to places like Good Vibrations and such for products meant for skin play. Make sure to store your soy candle some place cool and dark when not in use... even strong sun in my bedroom window will start mine to melting. Have fun.. be naughty!

Vintage pillowcase hanger covers

Above is one of my many formal gowns that use to get quite a work out. Just about every month we had one formal charity event or another to go to. And while some people loath these events I found them to be a wonderful time to dress up and go out with the ever so handsome Dr. Anarchy. He in this tux and me in my spanx/formal dress had a wonderful time acting as if we were carefree folk with neither children or a cat with reflux for at least a couple of hours a month. But alas with the financial crisis that has gripped the nation the number of fancy/formal charity events has become almost non existent and my gowns languish in my closet actually developing dust on the shoulders. ( Beleive me when I say I know how serious this is and I do not mean to make light of people who are having a very hard time with all the changes that have taken place over the last year, I count my lucky stars each day and say a prayer for each and every family who has been hurt by these trying financial times)

In an effort to save these gowns from a dusty fate I decided to make some hanger covers in the style that graced my grandmother's closet oh so many years ago.
This is pretty easy but I shot a couple of pictures so you could see what I did. First I took the hanger and traced off a pattern onto the fabric which I doubled and folded in two. In this case I used a vintage pillowcase thus I did not have to hem this quick and easy project ( always thinking!) Notice the little tab at the top.. this gets tucked in thus giving a finished edge to the hanger head opening.

Before sewing the front and back together I added a bit of rick rack for embellishment.. perfect match hu?.. Vintage pillowcase + vintage rick rack = perfect match!
So .. you then sew the front and back together, turn outside out, tuck in the little tab things at the top, give it all a quick press and then slip it over the hanger/ dress for a dust free return to the closet. I miss you fancy dress... hope to see you again real soon!

I Have a Notion....

It's time for a Vintage Notions give away!

While cleaning my studio I have found all sort of odds and ends that need a new home. The above photo gives you just a taste of the sort of stuff I am going to be bagging up into Mystery Notions bags. If you would like a shot at this week's Mystery Notions bag just leave a comment here and I will add your name to the magic hat. I will draw next week for a winner. So far I have enough stuff for about 5 bags so we will do this on and off for the next couple of weeks!

p.s. For those of you looking for Wicked Wednesdays.. never fear, I will be back with some very naughty ideas for nice girls next week!

The Thrift God's Smiled upon me

Some of you might have caught sight of this in my last post. I found it on Monday when I went to my local thrift for a quick run through. I nearly squealed in delight ( actually I might have actually squealed, given the funny looks people were giving me!) as I ran over and snatched up this beauty and hugged it to my chest. I have always wanted one but the price has always been more than I thought right given that I don't exactly have a lot of real uses for an antique baby scale! I ran into a pink one last year that was well over $100 at my local antique shop. This one was priced for $14... THAT was a price that made it mine!

The amazing part is that it was a dead on match for the color I painted my new hutch So obviously it was meant to be. Color me happy!


My body aches and my house looks like there was some sort of home invasion but I have gotten a lot of work done on the new school room and my new studio while the boys were out of town ( they return today!) I will not dwell on what did not get done but instead will show you what did . The above handles reside on my newly made over crafting hutch. To understand what a makeover this was you would have needed to see it in it's original form... First, it's very tall.. 7.5 feet and it's big.. my arm span. Next, it was left here by my MIL when she moved to the nursing home ( she has since passed) It was dark oak, brass hardware, brass and glass shelves and beveled glass inlaid doors. Perfect for a little old lady and her Hummels but not for me!
So, I removed the glass in the doors and the side and the glass shelves, primed the whole thing and then painted it a dusky french blue. I inserted heavy wooden shelves and wooden panels in the side walls where I had removed the glass. I papered the inside with one of my favorites from Waverly ( ouch!.. that was expensive, but very worth it) Then for the front doors I inserted real wire screen for the look of a pie safe. ( honest disclosure here.. I had wanted to do chicken wire but got tired of trying to get it to fit. After the third time it curled back and smacked me in the face with those vicious little barbs I heaved it out onto the front porch and went with the screen!) I could not be more happy with it and it has been well worth my time this week!

You will notice that the walls are not yet painted and the new flooring is no where to be seen so until then a real tour of the room is not forth coming but check back in a day or so and I will show you how the Thrift gods smiled down on me this week! Plus, I will be having a giveaway!

At that point

You know that point in a BIG project when things look OH so much worse than when you started and you start wondering what the heck you were thinking?... yep, I'm there.

But soon photos and tours of the new schooling room, my studio and new home gym! But first.. I need some sleep!