Alina Sewing and Design

Luke’s Studio: the Reveal

I have a confession to make: though I continually apologize for my recent (ahem…the last six…err eight…weeks) lack of posting, I just have to be realistic and say I don’t see that changing until after the wedding (which is in like…THREE WEEKS). While I’d like to be talking to you guys regularly, I just don’t have time! After working all day, we usually have plans starting at 5:01 or are running out the door to run errands (all wedding stuff). We also finally coordinated schedules with the pastor who is marrying us and JUST start premarital counseling last Friday (I didn’t live here, then we were up to our necks in moving every weekend for five solid weeks, then the pastor was in Israel for a few weeks…now it’s the holidays!) Oh man. So here we are…down to the last few weeks and more items on the to-do list than there are days left.

But I’m excited. I’m ready to be married already to this crazy, godly, over-thinking, busy, smart, handsome, compassionate and encouraging man that’s about to be my husband. I’m ready. I know this wedding won’t go entirely as planned, things won’t happen like we are envisioning and the mid-December weather is nothing but unpredictable. But we don’t care…as long as we’re married at the end of the day, then everything will have gone perfectly.

All that said, we’re working on projects out the wazoo! I’ve never crammed so many DIY projects into such a short period! Don’t worry, I may be making you wait, but I will eventually be sharing all of this! I partly wait because of time and I partly wait because I don’t want to take the fun out of it for the friends and family who will be there. 🙂

BUT…I do have a fun little reveal for you today. Remember when I kept talking about a “client” room a few weeks ago? It was for a co-worker whose husband was deployed. She wanted him to come home to a space that was all his. So, with a small budget, my job was to provide the furniture and some fun elements. I was responsible for the couch (Target), chair (vintage…from Craigslist…I wanted to keep it!), coffee table (thrifted), 6-foot leaning chalkboard (I built it; I’ll give you a tutorial…after the wedding, lol!), metal/wood rolling cart and tall media stand (Crate and Barrel, but I owned them), and a lamp, pillows, etc…all for less than $300.

Watch the video below!

Moving Update!


*Lets out big breath*

I’ve been running around like a crazy person for the last two weeks. May I just remind each and every one of you how much fun moving is…not? Cowboy took a load of furniture down two weekends ago, I took all of the decor/pillows/books/dining chairs/random crap down last weekend and this weekend I took everything in the kitchen, bathroom, hall closet, my closet and some other random boxes. The sad news is that I’m literally living in an empty white box. I had to pack a bag to come back to Kansas City for the week, which was a really strange feeling! The good/awesome news is that, with the help of Cowboy and our cousin Britt, every single bit of the new house is cleaned and things are put away. What an awesome feeling! Next weekend is the final move, so I’ll be getting the apartment cleaned and ready to move out of this week and then all we have left to move is two dressers, my bed and nightstand, the couch and the washer/dryer! It’s been a lot of hard work, but I’m so grateful for the help everyone has offered and proud/excited about how much progress we’ve made! Next weekend should be pretty simple. In the meantime, I have five days left in the office before I transition to working from home in our new city and plans every night this week with my beloved KC girlfriends!

I did finally also get around to posting the apartment tour page with links to projects–sorry about the delay there! I’m hoping to get some more posts out this week about the backlog of projects I’ve done in the last six weeks, but I make no promises. 🙂 I’m also hoping to return to a normal schedule again once the move is over (and we won’t be traveling every weekend anymore!) because I REALLY want to decorate for fall–I feel like I’m missing it! However, I also know that once the move is over, it will be time to start focusing on the wedding again, since I’ve put planning and projects on hold until after the move. Only two months and one week left now! We’ve had two of the four showers people are so graciously planning for us, but the whole “getting married” thing didn’t hit me and feel “real” until we were moving stuff into the house last weekend. I remember standing in the living room looking around and seeing items that belonged to both of us…in the same room…in the same house. I looked at Cowboy and said, “WHOA…we’re going to be living together! There’s like…boy stuff and girl stuff in here!” It sounds funny, and we were definitely laughing, but I got so giddy and excited! He won’t move into the house until after we get married, but since that’s so close and since we’ve been living in separate cities for all but three weeks of our engagement, it was the first time it really felt real. SO exciting!

Seriously, so excited and thankful about where we are in life right now. We are blessed and I’ll be relishing in that this week as one chapter closes and another begins!


Only occasionally do I share my heart here at MYU (like I did on New Year’s Day), but the crazy hours and constant activity and never-ending to-do lists have handed me one sickness after another.  I just recently got over several months of mono and now I’m home from work today with what I think is a sinus infection. But before I keep going and you think I’m complaining, let me preface this by saying I’m grateful. I’ve been up to my ears in stress lately, but that’s my own fault. It’s my own plans (or at least how I’ve chosen to take “control” of God’s plans) that have landed me here. Hard-headed as I am, sometimes it takes being knocked out on the couch for Him to get my attention. Laying here in the silence of my half-empty living room today, I’ve been able to reflect over where I am in this life transition.

I’ve been blessed with a better-than-I-could’ve-asked-for small group of girls that come over to my apartment every other Tuesday night. We’ve been doing life together for the last two years. We’ve gone through bible study after bible study together, encouraging each other, crying over each other’s pains, lifting up one another’s burdens in prayer. We call each other sister-friends…and that’s exactly what we are. But more than that, they’re my warrior-friend-sisters. Tonight is our last meeting before I move (they will continue on, of course, but unless they really start skyping me in like they’ve threatened, it will be my last meeting). We’re finishing up a book called What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst. Essentially, this book is about radical obedience.

Here’s an excerpt from a recent chapter:

God owns it all. We are simply managers of His resources. When we pursue the beautiful opportunities of sacrificial living, we freely acknowledge that truth and then reap the blessings. When we come to understand that we’re giving up what was never ours to begin with, we’re walking in radical obedience. 

Truth. While I love all of my projects and the by-products of every single talented person out there, my heart knows it’s really just stuff. When my brand new, hot-off-the-lot car was victim of a hit-and-run (and almost $2,000 in damages) last year, I was OK. Do you know why? Because that car is still just a “thing.” When I leave this earth after my blink of a life, it’s not going with me. I leave all of this behind. But you know what else I know I’m leaving behind? A legacy. I don’t want to be the friend that couldn’t stop and listen because I was focused on my own stress. I don’t want to be the wife who couldn’t be flexible or positive and encouraging. I don’t want to be the mom (someday) who couldn’t devote full attention because I was focused on what I was planning on “accomplishing” that day. I don’t want to be the stranger who couldn’t give because I’m so tight with my finances. I just want to be careful that my focus doesn’t shift away from what’s really important (yo…that’s exactly what the enemy wants!).

I’m so, so blessed. And, essentially, though I’m excited about where God is physically taking Cowboy and I, I want to be careful to not miss the REAL opportunities to be a blessing in those places. Being in the military means we’ll be moving every few years. What’s been bouncing around in my head is how hard it is to move and say goodbye after just two years here (and we’re even momentarily moving back to a place that we both have family in!). How much harder will it be when we’ve been in these places for a few years? And what about when kids are in the mix? How will they adjust? How challenging is it going to be to create a “home” when everything must be so temporary? But…in my heart, I know that these are silly worries. The opportunities we’re being afforded far exceed my mind’s worry. I know that we’ll take on these challenges as they come–no sense in worrying over them now. And at the end of the day, we’ll be taken to places where we’re uncomfortable, unfamiliar and unsure–and that’s exciting!

So, in summation, I want to be radically obedient. I don’t want my vision to be clouded by worry and temporary “things” that hold zero long-term importance. I want to be effective and joyful and strong. And I’m asking every single one of my friends, family and readers to hold me accountable to that. I shared my heart on New Year’s Day for the same reason…and I’ve returned countless times to re-read my surrender of 2011. I gave the Lord this year and wowza has he surprised me! Within five months of writing that post, I was officially dating Cowboy (actually, it was later that day!), we were engaged, he was moving back to Wichita, which meant I was following him…so that we could be married by the end of the year! This year is nothing but proof of how fast “my” plans can change to far beyond anything I ever expected. 2011 has already been a year of extreme evolution, change and unexpected twists. So, today, I am hitting a “reset” button. I am planning on thoroughly enjoying my last 17 days in Kansas City. I am optimistic about the new memories that will be made in Wichita (including, but not limited to, getting married–yah!). I have zero ideas about where we’re headed next (that’s up to the Navy :), and I’m excited about that.

Here’s to a reset and a reminder to be radically obedient–may the rest of the time I’m afforded be focused on what God has for me…and being grateful for that. You have my permission to knock some sense back into me if I start to get worried and focused on the unimportant stuff. 🙂

A First and Final Apartment Tour

The first time most people walk into my apartment, they almost always say, “wow! This is not how I imagined it being laid out!” and “ohh…I remember the blog post where you made this…and this too!”…which is true! You have always seen the details of my apartment, but never the big picture. Well, before I started packing everything up this week, I decided to take some final pictures. This being my first apartment, I moved into this white box with a just few pieces of furniture, some pots and pans, some bedding…you know, the basics. So I can literally say I’ve been “building” this apartment to what it is now slowly over the past two years. It’s a bittersweet thing to pack it all up and this place will always be important for the memories and growth it represents. So here it is–imperfect, but comfortable and a place I feel happy and content in. Also…please take note if you, too, live in an apartment! You can do a lot with these blank white boxes!

Yes, I do have a yellow umbrella hanging on my balcony.

Entry way

Walking through the entry way, you see this part of the living room to your right and straight ahead.

Left side of the living room/in front of the balcony door.

Living room/front door/balcony door view from inside.

This angle of my bedroom is probably fairly familiar…

This angle, not so much! On the right, you’re looking at the bathroom and the hall closet that you also see from the left-side living room shots.

Bathroom…you haven’t seen it since before I updated!

You have, however, seen my painted striped shower curtain! For art, I just framed a piece of scrap fabric in an IKEA frame! So fun and textural.

This is the kitchen from both ends. The door with the wreath leads to a pantry/water heater closet. 

At the other end of the kitchen (next to the fridge),  you’ll find another door that leads to my laundry room/tool & project supply room.

And that’s it! Not huge, not perfect, still an apartment, but like I said, it’s a special place for me.

Today Cowboy took the first big load of furniture. So, now my living room looks like this. Bittersweet…can I say that enough?

I’ll be back later this week to add this as a separate page. Additionally, I’ll be adding a directory of projects I’ve done in every room so that you have a good idea of where everything has gone! Thanks again for your patience in my lack of posting; I did finish the client room I was working on and now since moving has officially begun, I’m going to be packing and enjoying every second I have left in Kansas City. I’ll be loading up my car with small items (décor, clothing, kitchen items, etc.) for the next two weekends and then we’ll finally move all of the remaining furniture. Since I will just be here Monday-Thursday nights, I have something like 12ish days left here…which means I’ll be living in the same city as Cowboy in just as much time! Have I said bittersweet, yet?!

Crazy Stick Lady

Have you ever done something crazy in the name of a project? Shamelessly proceeded to break social norms for the sake of spray-painting?  Stood strong in the laughing faces of people shaking their heads as you continued on toward your goal? If you have, please stand so that I may applaud you!

OK, sorry for the drama. I was *ahem* trying to see if I was the only person who had done something a little crazy and laugh-worthy just for the sake of a craft.

Let me explain…a couple of weeks ago, I was at Krissy and Alex’s house after some massive, tree-toppling storms had blown through the KC metro area. After seeing a project on Pinterest (GAH!), I thought I might need some of said fallen branches and limbs…just in case I wanted to spray-paint them. 🙂

So I threw caution, self-awareness and pride to the wind as I traipsed around in their yard picking up the “cool” ones.

Krissy took a picture of me loading these into the car…just to prove my dedication to a project, right?? Right, Krissy?! (Probably not. Most likely, she recorded it just in case she needed to prove my insanity later in life.)

Probably even more embarrassing was when I got home and started unloading these. I live in an apartment…and it was a Friday night at 11:30…and it was nice outside…meaning most of the entire building was hanging out on their individual balconies watching this crazy girl (me) unload random branches and sticks from her car, carry them up the sidewalk, fight with them in the stairwell, take them inside, just to stash them on the balcony. I’m fairly certain I’ve lost any and all credibility in this building. 
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done for a project? (This is certainly NOT my craziest…just the most recent!) Anyone? Bueller? 

Running without Shoes

Hi all!

How was your holiday weekend?

Today, MYU is shifting gears a bit; while I love me some DIY, running has been a part of my life for far longer. And you want to know what tears me up? I seem to suffer running injuries more often than I’m healthy. I pretty much thought I was done for. Last year I ended up running my marathon on a tibial stress fracture, just because I was in denial beginning to accept my injuries for what they were. There’s a lot of pain behind this smile, y’all…
Rewind to almost two years ago, I was pretty much smoking a local half-marathon (I PR’ed, folks) and this shoeless guy blew right past me. Um…that guy was NOT wearing shoes and he just BLEW past me. Did you catch that?!

(Note: my feathers were a bit ruffled when a shoeless man blew past me…until I found out who he was and why he runs barefoot. Seriously awesome ministry, Rick. And the soles of his feet were pretty much solid black, in case you were wondering.)

Anyway, back to the story. Fast forward to last year, post-marathon and post-stress fracture; I was on my way to Montana and, on a layover in the Denver airport, I bought this book at the bookstore:

It’s about the Tarahumara tribe in Mexico. Essentially, it’s one man’s journey with this extremely solitary tribe and learning how to run with them. The entire tribe–men, women and children included–run what we consider to be ultra-marathons without so much as losing their breath or getting a single injury. And they do it in sandals made of tires and ropes. Interestingly enough, when Americans introduced modern-day running shoes to the tribe, they experienced injuries. When they went back to their “sandals,” no injuries.


Fast forward again to the beginning of this year. I’d taken several months off of running to allow myself to mentally and physically heal after a hard year of training. I was ready to start again, so I started slow (in pace and distance), consistent and smart. I stretched, I listened to my body when it was telling me to stop, I got lots of rest.

And then I got injured. Same tibia. I was so incredibly frustrated.

Hit the fast forward button again to last month. Cowboy and I are planning a rim-to-rim hike across the Grand Canyon for next March, so we were perusing around at Backwoods. When I saw the Vibram Five-Fingers, I paused and just stood there staring at them. When I realized Cowboy was next to me, I relayed my thoughts on how I thought they were so crazy looking…but maybe just what I needed. He encouraged me to try them on, so I did. My initial thought wasn’t how crazy they looked or felt, but actually how much arch support they provided. I pranced (yep, pranced) around the store a bit and decided I wanted to give them a try before I signed off of running completely. I walked out saying I would save up some spending money.

The following week, Cowboy was in Kansas City and we were celebrating an early birthday for myself. In addition to making me dinner, cleaning my apartment while I was at work, and setting up a work space for a project I wanted to do, he surprised me with a gift card to Backwoods! (And Vibram socks and a Grand Canyon hiking book! And, most importantly, a seriously sweet letter.) Seriously…say it with me now…what a guy! (You thought I was going to say, “awww!” didn’t you?) 😉

The next afternoon, we went to Backwoods and I came home with these:

So crazy looking, right?!

Crazy-looking or not, these babies have completely changed how I run. My form and gait are different, my muscles are different, my breathing is different, my energy is different. In modern running shoes, there is so much padding on the feel that your body settles back into a heel-strike gait. Running barefoot  or in a low-profile, non-padded shoe like Vibram Five Fingers forces you to settle forward and land on your forefoot. Think about this: when you see kids running around barefoot, what does it look like? Are they heel-striking? No…that’s an extremely unnatural mechanic and would hurt immensely.

I don’t discount modern running shoes, but I do know that they haven’t worked for me. And before you ask…yes, I’ve tried nearly every brand and insert. None of it has worked for me until these.

I’ll certainly keep you posted on the long-term effects of training in Vibrams, but from what I can tell, it’s going to be a smooth ride.

What do you guys think? Is barefoot- or low-profile-shoe-running a fad? Do you agree or disagree with the methodology behind these shoes? Have you run in both kinds of shoe–and what did/do you think?

**Note: neither Vibram nor Backwoods have the slightest inkling who I am, so this post wasn’t perked or paid for by them. This is just me, a runner, being honest about my experiences. 🙂


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