Friday, March 29, 2013

All About You...

Last week, I wrote about Emotional Insurance; the small things that we all look forward to when we first walk through the front door. I got so many responses, that I just had to share them with you. 
I do hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did.
Thank you for your constant feedback, and for making this blog such a pleasure to write! 
See you next week,   

Wendy, What a fabulous post!
I love seeing my cats curled up in their favorite chairs, snoozing

The most important .... is the kitchen. 
It's where I used to spend so much time and felt the most productive.
... clean counter tops and an empty sink are important to me....... it all goes back to organization. 
When I am organized, I feel like i can handle the rest of life a lot better.

...whenever we're away, for either a short or long period, upon our return(just as the key is inserted into the door lock), I would swear that the entire dwelling breathes a kind of sigh of relief, somehow glad that, finally, we're back.

I like coming home and seeing the pile of shoes and coats that my children have left on the floor. I want those memories, because I know they will soon grow up, and I will miss having them around. 

Ok girlfriend!
My emotional insurance list!
- painting of my fav place
- plants I have many
- nz book on coffee table
- bowl of chocolate kisses
- wild pillows on sofa

Nothing makes me feel better when I come through my front door than the smell of my favorite candle.
Coconut Lime Verbena from BBW or Buttercream soy candles...
...our living room, the first thing visible upon entering the foyer, reflective (in its furniture and mounted artwork) of our joint tastes, but every other room in the house looks and feels as if it recognizes us as we enter.....

My wedding photograph is my emotional insurance

A clean kitchen counter!

No dishes in the sink,and dinner in the crock-pot.

I have a bowl of shells on the table that I have collected over the years. It reminds me of when we used to go on vacations with my mom and dad and grandparents and cousins. Seeing them almost makes me forget the other pile of stuff on the table LOL


Friday, March 22, 2013

Emotional Insurance for You and Your Home

This week has been unusually busy for me; I have felt like I was chasing the train, instead of sitting in a comfy seat traveling to my favorite destination. Not someone who thrives on feeling over-scheduled, I found myself dreaming of bed-time, or, at the very least, walking through the front door, and into my home.

I know I've said this before, but when you come home, it should be somewhere that makes you feel comfortable. It should welcome you in; your home should be your refuge, not a place that makes you roll your eyes as you turn the key.

One of the simplest ways to do this, is by placing some tangibles around your home that will make you feel happy straight away, with barely any effort at all. 

When I come home, I look forward to seeing my pink geraniums, the daybed with my Union Jack pillow on it, and no dishes in the sink. These small things instantly remind me of life, family, and how grateful I am to have a dishwasher. (In my perfect life, there would also be dinner cooking, and a fire lit). Making sure I have these things,  is like giving myself a little bit of emotional insurance. 

Have you ever wondered what would give you a bit of emotional insurance when you walk in the door? Would it be:

-   To see all the coats and scarves neatly hanging on hooks?
-   A clutter free entryway, with all coats and shoes hidden from view.
-   Seeing a favorite photograph before you even take off your coat?
-   A vase of flowers, or a plant, on the table?
-   A neat pile of books waiting to be read?
-   A big basket for whatever you wanted to put in it until later?
-   Having the coffee maker set, so all you have to do is press the button?
-   Knowing your favorite comfy chair is free of stuff, so that you can have a sit down?

Write to me, I'd love to know what is on your emotional insurance list.....

(Squishy, comfy, patchwork chair from: Couch in England)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Space for Children to Call Their Own

I visited an Art room at school yesterday, and I didn't want to leave; it was joyfully cluttered, over-flowing with activity, and it smelled of warm crayons. The Art teacher looked so comfortable in her paint-splattered smock, and she welcomed me with such a big smile, that it made me feel like a child again. 

Our children's lives are far more controlled now; school days start at 7:58am (not 7:59am, or you'll get a tardy slip), they are allowed exactly 1 1/2 minutes to go to the bathroom, and they are driven to sports activities that mandate entire days to practice for a game that is, well, just a game...So, when I walked into this colorful room, it really made me smile.

Don't get me wrong, I know that we all do our best, and we need rules, but we also need permission to be ourselves, at our own pace. The Art room is that place in school; a perfect oasis of mess, in a ridiculously formal environment. 

It's not just about creativity, it's about having the freedom to discover what makes you tick, and not to be controlled all of the time. Children need to figure out who they are in-between the activities. Some crave organization, with straight, printed labels, and a place for everything, while others like to grow a mountain of stuff that crawls towards you when you open the door. Many want their favorite color from top to bottom, and others just want a place to play with toys or listen to music. (Strangely enough, they all seem to know where everything is). 

I am a firm believer in giving children some place to be themselves, and letting them own who they are. And, I think their bedroom is often the easiest place for us to give up control. If I am decorating a child's (or teen) room, my biggest goal is for them to know that it is about them, and I want to create a space that they will love. Here are some ways to do the same thing with your child:

- Pretend to interview them.
- Take notes as they talk, really listen, and try not to judge their answers. 
- Ask them what they love about their room the most.
- What would they get rid of if they could? 
- What is missing? And, why do they want that in their room?
- Ask them to draw, or write, about their most perfect room.

Afterwards, take some time to read over your notes. Decide what you are willing to do, and why/why not? Be as open-minded as you can be. Consider alternatives to what they want. Wait a few days (this shows them that you really do care) and then write your own list.

- Offer solutions eg. more, or less, storage and organization, removing an old piece of furniture, storing childhood toys, creating a wall for posting notes and thoughts, painting everything a different color, getting new curtains, having a more grown-up theme etc). 
- Consider giving them a small budget, and taking them shopping for some new things. Let them  spend it any way they want.
- Don't promise them things you have no intention of doing.
- Plan how, and when, you will both work on the solutions. Schedule a start date.
- Explain what you cannot/won't allow (and why). 

I know this might seem like a lot of work, but if we give them the time, and show them that we really care, they will learn how to embrace who they are, and create a place that they will always love...

Photograph of a Girl on a Swing, by the talented designer, Kate Jackson

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Ick Factor

My kitchen garbage is almost overflowing this morning, but I don't mind. It is tucked away in a vintage cupboard, and no-one can see it. Of course, I will empty it soon, but if I had to look at it, out in the open, I would be mortified. And, I admit, it would cause me a wee bit of stress.

Having a lovely home is personal, and we all have different styles, but no matter how much we love our home, we still have to deal with the ick factor. Sometimes, it's the utilitarian things that distract us the most, creating the biggest impression in the worst kind of way. Sadly, a beautiful room can be quickly undone, if we choose to ignore the things we don't like.

Useful things are the warhorses of our homes; they do so much, work very hard, and we need them.

Garbage Cans and Toilet Brush Holders are two of the worst design offenders. Even the words make us cringe, but every home has them, and just because we don't like them doesn't mean that their ugliness becomes invisible. We all use them, so why not give ourselves another excuse to decorate, and accept the ick factor on our own terms? Here are three easy ways to get you started.....
  • Treat them as an accessory - a decorative feature that goes with your room. Be adventurous in your choice of texture, size, shape etc. Ignore convention in favor of good design.
  • Make them invisible - blend them into your home decor. Buy subtle colors (or ones that coordinate with your room) and stay with low profile, classic, simple designs.
  • Keep them hidden - store in a cupboard, or under a sink. Losing one cupboard to a garbage can may be worth it to you. 
Think of useful things as just another creative opportunity (or, a reason to go shopping). Either way, here are a few photographs for you to look at (while I go and empty my own garbage.......)

Photographs borrowed from.....
Trash Bucket (Urban Outfitters)  Simply Human Cream Garbage Can (Amazon)
Flower Bucket and Brush (Remodelista)  Red Kitchen Cart (Wayfair)
Wicker Basket (BasketLady)  Under Cabinet (Cliqstudios)
Red and White Striped Can (Sears)  Green Retro (Rayfei)