Friday, February 21, 2014

The Delightfully Versatile Chandelier

I love this photograph. Have to admit, I know nothing about horses, but I do know that the composition is simply beautiful (good grief, I hope it's real, and not computer generated. If it is, please don't tell me. Bliss and ignorance are my happy spots).

Anyway, the photograph got me dreaming about chandeliers, and how far they have come. Who knew, that something so formal would gradually become the darling of shabby chic decorating?

Originally, they were lit with candles, and were a status symbol of the very wealthy. Massive lead crystal concoctions weighed hundreds of pounds, and were the precious focal point of many family estates. As years went on, the modern life of electric and gas took over, and acrylic would begin to take the place of crystal. They were no longer special, but they were still a required commodity in many new homes.

A victim of excess, they couldn't adapt, and we were trying too hard to make them fit where they didn't belong. The formality seemed hurriedly bought instead of carefully chosen.

Thankfully, this trend didn't last long, and the beauty of the chandelier was found again. More practical this time, it is no longer an uncomfortable status symbol; it has become the perfect accessory to a more realistic way of living. A small touch of luxury for ever style and budget.

To me, the chandelier is best when it is playing with opposites, and not competing. So, if I had a horse and a barn, I would definitely put a crystal chandelier in it. (And, I would hold parties, and sleep there, and look at it shining against the old, wooden beams, and have romantic dinners, and play lots of music, and feel really special .......)

Gorgeous photograph from Casa Sugar

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Wintry Mix

Truth is, I would rather look at snow, than gray dirt and brittle trees, but what drives me crazy is the eternal pile of boots and coats that seem to reproduce by my doorway. I organize them, I really do, and many of them are mine, but there is something about these cold, wet days that make us all so grateful to be inside, that we peel off our clothes (well, sort of) the minute we walk in the door.

Like many of you, I drool over those entrance ways with lots of hooks, and baskets for mittens and boots, but that isn't what I have; I have a front door that opens into my living room. With no apologies, and no place to hide, that is where the wintry pile has to go. So, I accept the small space, do the best I can, and on a good day, it all seems to work.

It's a busy place in Winter, and rarely does it look neat; wire baskets are jumbled with socks and shoes, boots fall in and around their trays, puddles melt into salty shapes, and coats hang crookedly on the back of the door. The only decorative bit is the assortment of vintage umbrellas, because they rarely get used, sitting in my umbrella stand (shaped like an umbrella, of course - one of my favorite things). Mary Poppins moment aside, none of it is perfect, but it is a system of sorts.

Sometimes, I think it is a good lesson in letting go, and slowing down; accepting that some things are out of our control, and a home will be messy if it is truly lived in. A pile of wet gloves could mean that you have been throwing snowballs at a friend, or building an igloo for your dog.

Even if you do have the perfect place (with a bench to sit on while you pull on your boots..sigh..how lovely that would be) it still might not look like the pages of a magazine;  most people have more than one scarf, the little, tiny loop on your coat is made to break after one season, and it takes time and effort to make those boots stand up clean and straight. Time that is often better spent putting on your pajamas, getting warm by the fire, and heating milk for hot chocolate.....
(p.s. Maybe I should take up knitting, and keep my trees warm and colorful during the Winter months). 

This photograph was borrowed from the Urban Cozy Project 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What's in your Cupboard?

Years ago, I asked a friend for a phone number, and she immediately opened her kitchen cupboard. Inside, was what appeared, to me, to be a giant mess of business cards and notes. Not wanting to be rude (but wondering if she was a little disorganized) I asked why she had them all in her cupboard; I was used to seeing nice, empty wooden doors, not ones littered with phone numbers and pieces of tape. But, when she explained, it was one of those crazy light bulb moments, and I totally understood....

Do you know what actually happens to all those business cards and small notes that we need?
a. Neatly transferred into a notebook (3%).
b. Kept in our wallet (16%).
c. Put on the fridge (25%).
d. Thrown away (7%).
e. Somewhere, until we need them, then we forget where they are (49%).

The inside of our kitchen cupboards is actually found Real Estate; prime space for all sorts of things that we need to remember. With a roll of tape, and a few minutes, you will be more organized than you could ever imagine. Phone numbers and notes will be right where you left them, and all you have to do is change them as needed. No damage to your cabinets, no chalk paint, corkboard or fancy systems, just a roll of tape.
Whether you line them up alphabetically, sort them into categories, or plonk them on higgledy-piggledy (my method of choice), they are always there.

I admit, it takes a few days to get used to the inside cupboard door clutter, but you are the only one who knows it is there.......sweetly hidden, just waiting for you to find your favorite phone number!
p.s. No actual surveys were consulted in the writing of this blog (percentages were totally made up).

Photograph from House Beautiful