Friday, June 24, 2011

Embrace the Dust-Bunnies?

"You look "very fancy", my daughter said when she came home from school the other day. There I was, dressed in a skirt, top and cardigan, with my hair pulled back. A normal day, where I had gone to the car dealer, the library and the supermarket - nothing particularly exciting, but apparently I looked "very fancy".

Made me wonder, have our expectations become so low that casual is now the norm, and anything that shows effort is labelled as fancy?

I love nothing more than to go into a home that is a little undone; it makes me feel comfortable, and, most of all, it feels as if people live there. But, taken too far, it can appear a little neglected, like our appearance...

Caring about ourselves, and where we live, is a self-taught lesson on the journey to happiness. It takes some effort to keep a home, and dress in a way that won't get you stares from the people at the supermarket. (Maybe you have been ill, but does wearing your manky slippers out in public really make you feel better?).

Everyone wants to be comfortable, but there are times when it is nice to put a bit of effort into where we live. Whether we admit it or not, a cared for home makes everyone in it feel happier. Straightening pillows, putting flowers in a vase, folding laundry (and putting it away) are all signs that we care, and who doesn't want to live in a place that feels cared for?

I admit, I have dust-bunnies almost permanently in my home; with a dog and a cat, vacuuming could become a twice-daily event, but it isn't. Frankly, it is not my main priority. A fact that was lovingly pointed out by a dear friend who recently gave me a lint-roller as a present :-)
She, and I, both know that I justify the dust-bunnies in my home by knowing that my home is, overall, always reasonably tidy. Not perfect, or super-clean, but straightened. Lived in, but cared for.

I know, that life can become overwhelming, and that thinking about housework is one of the most depressing things on the planet, but unfortunately no magic fairy will fly in and do it for you.

Here are some ideas on caring for your home, while making it easy on yourself:
  - Open the windows and doors as often as possible. A closed up home will smell stagnant and lifeless, no matter how clean it is. Spend a few hours just listening to the outdoor noises!
- Integrate laundry into your day, so that it is not such a chore. Most of it can be done while watching TV, sleeping, listening to music, cooking dinner etc.
- Make an effort to keep your main living rooms tidy (not perfect). Straighten them constantly, and remind the rest of your family to do the same. If they don't, just gather all of their debris in a plastic bag and present it to them (nicely, of course).
- Wash floors, vacuum and mow the lawn as late as possible! This way you will be too tired to complain, and will wake up to a nice clean floor etc.
- Add life and energy to your home with flowers, plants and anything organic. Even a pile of (clean) rocks on a table will help.

Remember, it is not about keeping up appearances, it's about showing that we care....

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Finding the "Why?" to get to the "How?"

As most of you know, I have just added a Monthly (email) Magazine Page as an extension of my website and blog. What most of you don't know, was that it almost never happened at all.

My problem began when I knew that I wanted to do one. As soon as I had made that decision, I became stuck. From a logistical point of view, I knew that newsletter programs existed, and that help was always around the corner (thank you, Ladies), but I couldn't figure out how to begin. Every time I sat down, I became more and more confused about what I should be doing. The definition of how it should be done, conflicted with the ideas that were bouncing around in my head. Nothing seemed to click.

At some point, during my dilemma, I was talking to a friend about something great that she had accomplished. When I asked her how she had done it, she said that she had had to figure out the "Why?" before she could move forward - she needed a reason that was meaningful to her.

This got me thinking, did I really know why I wanted to do the newsletter? At that moment "should" was becoming a pretty weak reason for going ahead; let's be honest, no-one wants to read something that was done just because it "should" have been done. The more I thought about what she said, the more it made sense to me. How can you do something, with care and conviction, unless you know why you are doing it?

I decided to really think about why I wanted to do the newsletter. With pencil and paper, I began to write down my reasons for moving forward. As I wrote, my thoughts began to create my decision, and I knew why (and how) I wanted to do the newsletter.

Mostly, we write because we want to share information about things that we are passionate about, but sometimes it's just because we want to share a part of our journey. Whether it is a decorating decision or a heart-wrenching change in your life, maybe it would help to ask "Why?".......

p.s. If you would like to see my Monthly Magazine Page, and subscribe to future ones, the information is on the left hand side of my Blog. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Television, The Room and The Armoire

Do you remember when Televisions started to get bigger?
When we all wanted one, but didn't want to see them when they were turned off? Their size, and bulk, dominating wherever they were placed? Too heavy for a small table, everyone struggled with what to do once they had bought one.

As quickly as they appeared, Furniture manufacturers came up with a solution. The entertainment Armoire; an  even bigger piece of furniture that enclosed our new purchase, and hid it away until we decided to turn it on. Not the best solution really. Yes, it hid the Television, but it created another problem - where to put the new piece of furniture. Entire walls and corners were filled with an often overwhelmingly large, wooden structure.

What seemed like a necessity for most homes, became obsolete quite quickly, as Televisions got larger and larger. They also became thinner, and we no longer needed to accommodate their bulk into our decorating plans. Before we knew it, the Television had outgrown the Armoire; it was dismantled, or set aside in a basement, waiting for goodness-knows-what. Many of them were expensive, and still in great condition, so we were reluctant to throw them away.

I really believe that we should re-use things if we can. If not, maybe it can be donated, and someone else would appreciate it all over again? But, until you decide what to do, why not try one of these solutions for that fleeting, but usefully wooden, piece of Television history.

  • A perfect pantry or extra storage in your Kitchen.
  • Small closet for a baby.
  • Take the doors off and use it as a bookshelf. 
  • Remove all of the shelves, add a hanging rod at the top, and use it in a Mudroom or Entrance hall for coats and gloves etc.
  • Easy storage for games and crafts (leave the doors on?)  
  • Put your sewing machine in there, and store all of your threads and fabric.
  • A Home Office. Your computer would easily fit. Cork-board glued to the inside of the doors would be useful, and there would be plenty of space for files etc.

Here are a few photographs to get you inspired...

Sanded and whitewashed, a very elegant solution
for an after dinner drink.
Who doesn't need more room in their Kitchen?
As a pantry, or just to store those extra bits and pieces, this is perfect.
For a baby, or a children's room, this gives you just the
right amount of space.