Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Personalizing Your Space with Something Besides Framed Family Photos

When people hear the term "personalizing" in reference to home decor they generally think of family photos in frames on a table or on the walls.

I'll confess to not being a big fan of things like framed graduation or baby pictures. That's for your grandmother's house.  But I can't have my family feeling completely unloved. I've solved the problem in the picture above: a large bulletin board with a modern black frame. And the board has a theme: travel.

I also keep it updated. I like very old photos in black and white, or very recent ones.

I try to be a bit more creative in the personalizing department. Here's vintage map I found in a closet. It was produced the year our house was built. It hangs by the front door and provides an interesting conversation piece.

How about a craft project featuring names of places you've traveled with your family backed with those maps you always come home with? 

The picture in the black frame is actually a birthday card I gave to my husband a few years back. It has two dogs with suitcases, at a train station. Perfect piece of art for a pair of traveling animal lovers. 

A wooden bowl found on a trip holds shells and rocks from memorable places. If you have kids, you know that rock collecting comes naturally to them. Give them a place to keep them!

Use things that you and your family love and are special to you. That's what says "beautiful home" to me.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Fixing Those Nagging Small Problems

 One of the things I'm starting the new year off with is just doing some of those nagging little projects you see around the house and keep putting off. Not something so big as painting a room or replacing curtains but really small things like replacing a picture that just isn't working.

Or even smaller things. I had two light bulbs  (light bulbs, people!) that were out upstairs, but in areas that aren't really used. Still I kept noticing and making a mental to get it done. I had a clock whose battery had died and every time I looked at it it was annoying but it's by the front door and I was always on my way out when I looked at and felt that frustrating "Need to do that" in my brain. Some books I am no longer attached to needed a new home. Note: I didn't say they need the perfect home. Just another home besides here. The rest will be up to Goodwill.

Saturday I got up and decided to knock out all these little annoyances. The light bulbs, the clock, the books.

A shirt that I couldn't wear because it needed ironing . A button that needed replaced. Printing out some labels for containers.

Once I got started I couldn't stop. 

Sometimes the devil really is in the details. None of these things took longer than a couple of minutes once I started.

Then yesterday my husband was trimming some trees and noticed ivy growing across our bedroom window. He pulled it down. I'm sure he thought I hadn't noticed it but when I ran out to thank him for doing it I told him that I'd noticed it every day for weeks and it was on my mental to-do-list. 

You could probably get up right now and do 5 things in 15 minutes that would alleviate that little nagging feeling in your brain.

You'll feel so good about it, you'll wonder what took you so long.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Letting Go

It's a new year. Let's let some things from the past go. Let's create some breathing space. Let's stop holding on to items we don't use, out of guilt.

 First up: my closet. I could hardly shut the door due to holding on to too many things and letting it get completely disorganized during a busy holiday season. There is a garbage bag full of clothes and shoes in the back of my car headed to Goodwill. I'm still looking at what's left and wondering if I still couldn't do with a bit less. I started by taking everything out of the closet and piling it on the bed. That is always so scary. And I found a turquoise cashmere sweater I'd lost. Now that's just ridiculous.

Yesterday the pantry got a complete overhaul. I wanted to paint it and replace all the shelf paper. I've been trying to get to it for a few months but every time I go to tackle it, I think "I want to paint the kitchen so I'll just makeover the pantry at the same time." That will get done eventually, but meanwhile the quest for perfection in the project kept me from doing what needed done the most which was to just throw some things out and reorganize it in a way that made more sense to how we live now as empty nesters. The other day I got home from the grocery and decided to just do it before I put anything away. Not only can I find things now and only am storing what is being used when I do get around to my kitchen make over the pantry will be a breeze instead of a major project. You can tell from the picture that it still needs to be painted and have that tired shelving paper replaced. But there is a shelf for my tea and breakfast things are grouped together. I can find things! Yippee!

Don't let wanting to do something perfectly keep you from improvement. Remember: something is better than nothing. Small improvements are still improvements. 

The next thing on my list are my books. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Did I tell you I got a Kindle for Christmas?

I know. Oh how the mighty have fallen...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Healthier: 30 Days At a Time

I'm still in resolution mode, how about you? My first 30 day challenge for the year happened by accident. While I was sick the week between Christmas and New Years I was trying to make sure I drank enough water. One day I dug this pitcher out of the cabinet, filled it up with water, added some lemons and made it my goal to drink it by the end of the day. I haven't missed a day since. Every time I pass through the kitchen I see it sitting on the island and can assess how much water I've had and how much I still have to go. It holds a quart and a half and that is in addition to a cup of coffee in the morning and a couple of cups of green tea in the afternoon and evening. The best thing about it is that it is uncomplicated. It's there. I drink it. Easy peasy.