Pushing to the "Extreme"

It’s quiet and peaceful as I sit in my studio and write this post – the total opposite of how it was a week ago. The “roller-coaster” of ABC’s Extreme Home Make Over rolled into Tulsa Jan 28th along with an ice/snow storm.

In conjunction w/Simmons Homes Extreme began a project for a deserving family right here in Tulsa. As soon as I heard about the project, I jumped on board – excited for once to have the time in my schedule to give back to a community I love.

If I had to describe my experience in one word it would be = ROLLER-COASTER

Here’s a timeline of my experience.


Jan 15th: I saw a post on Twitter to volunteer, filled out form = Excited!

Jan 19th: Attended “Pep Rally” for the event with several friends, none of us knowing if we were going to be selected. = Hopeful!

Jan 22nd: Notified that I indeed was chosen as one of the volunteers for the project (out of over 1500) = Thrilled!

Jan 25th: Emailed reminder of my fabrication skills = Anxious!

Jan 26th: Received call from the “design liaison” stating that I would indeed be working on fabricating for the home and would I be willing to be one of two head seamstresses on this project. = Ecstatic!

Jan 28th: Build started! Ice and Snow Storm arrived too! = Nervous!

Jan 29th: Received call of seamstress meeting on Sun at 2pm; Still snowing! = Comforted!


Jan 31st: Meeting. Project overview was given to us by the design liaison and one of the designers/architect – Cory. None of the show’s “stars” were present. As a “head” seamstress I assigned projects as best I could with what knowledge I had available as to skill levels. fabrics would be available at 10:30am on Monday.


I went directly from the meeting to the workroom to clean and prep for the “volunteers” I had coming to assist in the project on the next day. One of my wonderful volunteers, Anoli,also went with me to assist in cleaning. = Anticipating!


Feb 1st : After an excited and sleepless nite, early to the workroom to continue prepping for the next two days. I finished cleaning and organizing and worked up work orders so I could keep track of the projects that were being worked on in my studio. Fabrics finally were ready and picked up around noon.

Volunteers were arriving at my studio when I arrived back from picking up fabrics, we all knew this would be a long two days. My dear friend, ShaRhonda, brought taco soup, chips, and drinks for myself and volunteers – great to have food in a crock pot that was ready when ever someone was hungry.


We worked hard through the first day and nite – cutting, serging (and of course my serger decided not to play nice ) and began to assemble projects. Our projects consisted of window treatments, panels and bedding for Master bedroom and pillows for the Master and one of the children's rooms. My wonderful husband, came and did the woodwork needed for the window treatments. The volunteers were great, wonderful talented ladies, Anoli, Karen, Jodi, Patti – first day volunteers. We worked late into the night and two of us even bunked down for a couple of hours in my studio. = Overwhelmed!


Feb 2nd: 2 volunteers; myself, Anoli, & Karen to start, later we added Marilyn & Patti. The design liaison called adding pillows for another room to our list as well. Unfortunately, I began to get very sick and this began to hinder progress, I called in a favor from another workroom pro, Judy to come and assist, by then things were looking rather dim as to the completion by deadline, so I called the other head seamstress for assistance and she made the decision to take the work to other teams for completion. = Exhausted, Frustrated, Sick

For several days I was extremely disappointed and frustrated for myself and my amazing volunteers to not be able to complete the projects – but after some time and reflection I believe that we did the best job possible in the time allotted and the circumstances we faced.

In spite, of the “roller-coaster” I am honored to have assisted in the projects and process and I met some wonderful ladies in my community with whom I plan to keep in contact.

09 Feb, 2010

Marilie SmockComment