Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Let's Get Comfy!

I can't help it, but sectional sofas remind me of parties with Hugh and perky leotards with bunny tails; days when their soul purpose was to fill the corners of an impossibly large living room, and cradle the tired faces of several someones who had enjoyed a very long liquid lunch.

Sadly, I never wore a bunny tail, but now I find myself wishing I had, and wondering if it is still too late? I have never seen it listed on a bucket list, but it seems like a very good contender for mine, and probably more attainable than climbing Mt. Everest or lining up the colors on a Rubix cube.

So, with thoughts of parties and bunny tails, it didn't come as a complete surprise that I have also been thinking about buying a sectional sofa; I finally see the appeal of having a sofa that invites us to put our feet up and get comfy.

You see, it has always been difficult for me to sit with my feet on the ground, and I worry that I am not being very lady-like in the way that I cross my legs, so why not have something that almost encourages my potential bad manners. (Mind you, it could also be the amount of chocolate that I ate over Christmas that is sweetening my sudden love affair with outstretched, fabric-inclined laziness).

When I think past my lazy thoughts, I also like that there are options, but not like going to a diner options; these are simple and not-too-over-whelming options. Do you want the lounging bit on the left or the right, what fabric do you like, and how big do you want it to be? There are more questions I am sure, but it isn't hard to navigate, and isn't likely to make you run away or just give up and order the grilled cheese.

And, did you know they can fit more people? Even the smallest one will seat three or four, without unsettling your host or making you feel that you are teetering on the edge of someone else's personal space. In fact, they might possibly be my new favorite piece of furniture.

But then I talked to someone who said that they didn't like sectionals at all. She said she didn't know how to sit on them properly, the thought made her uncomfortable, and that they looked like a bed in the middle of the living room. She preferred to sit up, and at a distance, rather than lounging awkwardly close to her friend's bare feet.

As we talked, I understood what she meant, but I also hoped that if she visited someone it was because she liked them, and that they would be okay with her asking how on earth she was supposed to sit on their comfy (but confusing) furniture configuration. Because at the end of the day, it is all about comfort, and if she isn't comfortable I am sure that her friend would happily take off her bunny tail, open a packet of chocolate biscuits, and invite her to sit down at the kitchen table instead.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Musical Chairs for the Holidays

Even if you don't love to entertain, don't you find that there is something about this time of year that makes you want to invite people over to your house? For some, it is about showing off the perfect tree, and for others, a need to share that cozy family feeling that we all crave. Whatever it is, the holidays are here, and all those extra people eventually need to sit down and eat their shrimp.

I am a big believer in sourcing my home before I shop, and it always surprises me what I can find at the last minute. When hosting, I do think it is important to coordinate my seating with the amount of bottoms that will be coming to visit; there is nothing worse than friends being forced to stand and look uncomfortable, while others are wiggling their toes on your favorite sofa. This doesn't mean that you have to provide luxurious options, it just means that it is always nice to be prepared, and offer them a little something to sit upon.

Here are some extra seating ideas that may help you in your last minute entertaining pinch:

Forget about matching everything. They are coming to spend time with you, not judge your furniture.  
Grab the obvious things first; kitchen and dining chairs, ottomans and stools etc.
Check out your garage and basement for bar stools, and folding poker chairs, that you may have forgotten about.
Look outside. Do you have a nice garden bench, chair or small, sturdy table that could be cleaned up for an extra bottom to perch on?
Peek in the bedroom. What about your reading chair, or that bench at the end of your bed?
The office. No, not those gigantic, spinning Star Trek chairs, but maybe you have a more traditional chair that you could use.
Spare Room. Remember that old wooden trunk, and the love-seat that you pile your laundry on? Perhaps they could easily be carried to where you need them.
Big, European Size pillows: Grab these from the beds if you need to. Children, teens (and some adults) will be happy to sit on the floor if you give them a soft place to land.

Now, you have no excuses; thaw the shrimp, and pour the wine!

Photograph from http://katyhahndesigns.blogspot.com/2012/06/mismatched-dining-chairs.html

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Holiday Survival Tactics

Right now, you could probably knit a sweater from the dog fur cozying up in the corners, my tree has lights but no ornaments, and the other night I actually offered a friend a teaspoon of peanut butter to go with her cup of tea. But that is how it should be; she laughingly declined the peanut butter, we found some leftover fudge, and spent the rest of the evening chatting about who knows what.

As organized as I feel in November, it all seems to go to custard in December. I start to worry that I don't have enough presents, and I am sure my bank has made a mistake with my balance, yet I still find myself wandering the supermarket looking for imported chocolates and fascinated by cinnamon sweet rolls that pop out of a can (I don't even care how they taste, there is so much happiness to be had from twisting a can until it pops open - a little like a jack-in-a-box without the nightmare-inducing clown).

After a week of eating too much leftover fudge and gazing fondly at the joyful pop-up cans, my Christmas crazy is officially over. Today I plan to decorate the tree with my daughter, and sort through the shopping bags that are starting to get drooled on by the dog; he has resisted so far, but I know that given a few hours by himself, and an accidental open door, he will be very happy to tear into the chocolate and investigate what I have bought.

I really intended to write about holiday decorating ideas this week, but there is so much information out there already, and mine tend to be more of the homemade variety, that I decided to share a few of my holiday survival tactics instead.

Have a happy (and relatively) clean entrance to you home 

Whether you are coming home from work or shopping, welcoming a friend, or whatever else you do, the last thing you want is to stumble over the front step into a mess. Keeping it tidy will make everything else better.
I actually had this happen to me the other day. Our front door opens straight into the living room, and the coat closet is right there. I was running out the house, and couldn't find the boots I wanted, so I literally flung the one's I didn't want to wear out of the closet onto the floor, left the closet door open, and walked out of the house. It seems so minor, but coming home to boots all over the floor (and cat poop in the closet) almost put me in tears at the end of a very long day.

Take care of yourself 

This sounds so airy-fairy, but even if we love the holidays, most of us find this time of year a wee bit emotional and stressful, so don't forget to schedule something nice for yourself. It can be as extravagant as a vacation, or as simple as spending a few hours with a friend, watching a movie or taking a nap, but don't forget. If we're rested and cared for, it makes us (and the world) a whole lot nicer, and, if we are exhausted and cranky, we are no good to anyone.

Be prepared (especially when you don't want to be)

Even if the word organized makes you break out in hives, this is the time to do it. Make the season easy on yourself, and pick up a box of your favorite sweets from the supermarket, or keep a roll of cookie dough in the freezer (whether you are expecting company, or are going to visit someone, just slice up a few cookies and they will be done in fifteen minutes. p.s. In case of an emergency, make up a couple just for yourself). Being a tiny bit prepared stops the last minute panic when you are visiting (or being visited) but far too exhausted to face the supermarket chaos.

Like many people, I have a bit of a complicated relationship with Christmas, but I do know that if your family and friends really love you, they will take you as you are, and happily accept (or decline) to share your teaspoon of peanut butter .....

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A (new) Christmas Story

'Tis the week before Christmas, and all through the town,
Credit cards are up, and bank balances are down.
With the season of Giving getting into full swing,
The Children are wondering what Santa will bring.

Shopping malls are filled from morning till night,
As Everyone tries to find something "just right".
Houses are decorated, Menorah's are lit,
After too many snacks our jeans don't seem to fit.

People are travelling, Cookies are made,
Presents still to be wrapped, and the table to be laid.
For some a religion, for many a Belief,
For some, when it's over, a huge relief.

The Holidays remind us of who we have lost,
Of what we have Done, and was there a cost?
We promise to be better, and have more direction,
Just one more chance, and we'll try for perfection.

Back to Shopping - just in case we haven't gotten it all,
Maybe it's time to drive back to the Mall?
That last minute sale - that special thing we must get.
Are we trying too hard? Are we having Fun yet? 

Christmas Carols, parties and trees that are faux,
We are running out of Time, so we decide not to go.
It all seems so much, too many to Please,
And dammit, why is it so hard to put colored lights on trees?

But our intentions are good,
And we are sorry for freaking.
I guess our Joy got a little lost, and could do with some tweaking.

Because Children are happiest when they are with Us,
So forget all the shopping, and forget about fuss.
Spend time with Family and Friends that are dear,
Add Kindness to your list, and have a Peaceful New Year!