A Fresh Start

It was a new year and I wanted a fresh start so I sat in my jammies for two days procrastinating. Then a friend asked me to come over and give her some advice on her fresh start and I found my inspiration! Her walls are currently covered in swatches of new paint color, art is stacked around the room and there are piles of flooring samples. I came home and took every single thing out of my living room except the heavy stuff. You should have seen my kitchen! You couldn’t have seen it for all the stacks of stuff in it. At one point my husband came in trying to find a glass of water.

“I love it when our house is like this”, he said.

“What”!!!!? I asked.

“It’s just so cool”

Isn’t he cool?

I read somewhere that my stuff would lose its magic if I took it out of context by removing it from the room. It worked when I redid the bedroom and I was hoping it would work for the living room.

It was hard. I love all the stuff. At one point I broke a big mirror and I was actually relieved a little bit even though it was a tragedy because then I wouldn’t have to reject it. I temporarily lost a lot of nicknacks over Christmas. That helped a lot… until I found them safely tucked away. before and after

I struggled with finding a balance between what kind of look I seem to be attracted to right now – rooms with three things in them – and what is truly the way I want to live – rooms full of stuff.

But it feels good in there now. I like it. There is some familiar and some reworking and some new. A good balance.

wing chair and kittyput a bird on it

My daughter packaged my Christmas presents in a crate she made herself! I used it for my new music center. diy wooden crate

and here is the one of the gifts that came in it:Christmas gift

 

ps

I am going to try to blog regularly now. It seems I took January off. I really missed it, though, and am battling a war with wanting everything to be perfect on here. You won’t be seeing perfect but will be seeing something. Thanks for reading.

pss

look what did show up in my Christmas stocking after all!what I wanted for Christmas

 

Creating a space for everyday life

 

I ran across a blog post the other day (and now I can’t find it!) that talked about how the author worked and worked at designing her home and yet she felt like she was never successful. That it just never worked for her family. The Ikea catalog (of all things) arrived in her mailbox and as she was looking through it she found this definition of home: Ikea's-definition-of-home

 

As I just spent the last while with my living room transformed into a wood shop I had to laugh. Perhaps in my 20’s I decorated without consideration for practicality. Now it is all about usefulness. I love that usefulness can always look good. When something works seamlessly it is a thing of beauty. Although, I have to say, my dining room table does not make a very good workbench.dining room table

Every summer we use our space very differently than we do in the colder months. Our life centers around the table instead of the wood stove when it is warm outside. We enjoy long breakfasts with the sun streaming down upon us. The table is my sewing room, my artist studio, dinner table, blogging spot. My husband spends a lot of time at it reading his iPad, working on projects, drinking coffee.

In the summer I always shove the couch over against the wall and move the table out so that I can add more seating and open the leaves. Come winter I will pull the couch around right in front of the wood stove where we spend every evening in front of the fire.summertime-couchIf I were to only design our home for aesthetics and not for usefulness it would look alot different. I’d start with a beautiful rug and I would throw away the white slipcover. As I don’t think a room really works if the furniture is all lining the wall I would only float it in the proper conversational circle. But we would never use the room if I designed it that way. Ikea is right. My home is for everyday life as it happens. Because when my home works for the way we live, life simply becomes better. And it works great!

 

Paint Chip Pinwheels on My Wall

I can’t commit. I repaint my rooms continually. I rearrange furniture frequently. I bought the large size of spackle to fill all the nail holes from moving art. Several months ago I came up with a great, temporary solution for my unwillingness to live with a look for longer than a year or so: Paint chips!

paint chip wallIt was easy to do. I picked up a few chips in about 7 or 8 colors from my local hardware store. After playing around with the color combinations I cut them into squares and then triangles and stuck them to the wall. I used glue dots which were fun but not a perfect solution. It took a few weeks to get them all to stick. Every morning I would get up and restick the ones that had fallen down in the night. I have them all sticking now. paint chip wall decorationPaint Chip wall my wedding chinaThis is my wedding china.  It isn’t china and I did not get it when I got married. My husband and I saw it in a gallery called Fumiki in San Francisco when we were talking about our wedding. On our first Christmas together he surprised me with a teacup and saucer. Then on my birthday he did it again. Eventually the gallery closed and we could not find the artist anywhere. Her name is Kumiko Hayashi. my bird and a nest

 

 

5 or more ways to style a coffee table

coffee table vignettes

I am always struggling with what to put on my coffee table. It is an old, wooden door from a lumber mill in Eastern Oregon. I love it. I would prefer to have a fabulous carpet underneath to really allow the beauty of the wood to shine but, alas, it sits on a hardwood floor next to a dog that thinks all carpet is lawn.

The table often has coffee on it. The struggle is with what to have with the coffee. Feet. There are feet upon it, too. I decided to grab a bunch of things from around my house and play with different vignettes. Which is your favorite?

my husband's mess on the coffee table

Here is where I started.
This is my husband’s idea of how a coffee table should look.

coffee table styled with a linen cloth

A linen cloth.

my coffee table styled with stacks of books

Piles of books, plants and old, glass frogs.

Jonathan Adler inspired styled coffee table

My Jonathan Adler inspired table.
I found the cat at Homegoods.
The cloth is actually from JA! It’s a napkin.

my coffee table styled with a scrabble game board and a casserole my father made

Using a Scrabble game board and a casserole my father made.

my coffee table styled with flowers

I was so happy to be able to finally walk out into my garden and find flowers.
Springtime IS almost here.

my coffee table styled with a cement bulldog and a real chihuahua

Herman the Chihuahua

coffee table styled with a labrador retriever

Chloe wanted in on the fun, too.

cloth box from bookhou

Recognizing beauty

Some say there is no accounting for taste. I disagree. I think when we are at peace within ourselves and have a sense of calm in our lives, regardless of our situation, we can recognize beauty. Everyone is born with an elegance about them. That elegance can be misplaced, covered up, drowned out, bent. It cannot be lost. It can be rediscovered.

box made of an old fence, frog, branches

my father made this box out of an old fence
the floral frog was my grandmother’s

Coming home to a sense of calm

When I come home I enjoy walking into a bit of prettiness. The colors are calm and soothing.  The air itself is welcoming.  There is a couch that looks ready to be fallen in to.  A table in front of the couch that has a good spot for my feet and a cup of coffee.  The lamp is perfectly placed to shed a warm glow and good light for a book.  There is comfortable seating for several friends or cats and a table at which have been many a good meal and better company.

dog-at-the-front-door

My animals also greet me at the door. They dance and jump, behaving as if I were a long-lost hero. My lab, Chloe, always brings me a gift – her red rubber toy. If my husband is home I get a kiss, too.

What greets you when you come home?

my comfortable couch, pretty living room

a soft spot to land

Cute comes with very little pressure

paint chip wall, pinwheel,

My paint chip wall

 

I have entitled this blog “Cute is Important”. Cute, for our purposes, is the idea of something being the way we like. It puts us at ease. A cute outfit, haircut, living room, boy, girl, car, city, smile, is nice. It feels good. I always wanted to be pretty or even beautiful. I am cute. It is enough. I think cute comes with very little pressure.

When we are at ease with ourselves it is reflected all around us. Our face, our clothes, our rooms, our friends, our loved ones. It turns out you can judge a book by its cover.

The great thing about this is that even if everything is a mess around us all is not lost. Cleaning up the mess helps us to feel better inside and out. We don’t have to wait to figure out that we are alright before we clean our bathroom. It doesn’t matter which comes first: a cute bathroom or a cute soul. They both lead to the other.
When did you figure out how cute you are?

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