My life is to make everything around me beautiful.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Making Humdrum Chores Fun

There is no such thing as a humdrum chore. It is our attitude that affects us. As I've said before, I find joy in the mundane things around the house because of the way I approach it. If I have ironing to do, I may take a bit longer to do it, but I go about it cheerfully. It's a difficult chore if one has a bad back, so I "break it into periods of time." I'll iron a few shirts and then come in on the computer and do something, then go back to it and take another "break" when I'm feeling as though I need one. Same with most things. If it is boring to you, it is only because you make it so. Make them fun to do.

I usually have a drink with me when coming to my office; although, I never put the liquid on my desk. It sits behind me on a credenza. This I learned from spilling a glass of mango/orange juice into my keyboard! Never ever again. Always on the credenza.

If you have to write some correspondence then, put soothing music on and a flower on your desk and write! If you have something you absolutely detest doing, just do it. There is nothing to it but to do it. It'll pass quickly and you'll have gotten the chore done. :-) Always have a positive attitude whatever you are doing. Find the "joy" in it.

Spending Time & Money

I've been very busy with my laundry room but it is finally finished. Haven't I said that before?!?! I made a darling little clothespin holder and couldn't find a hanger to put in it that would fit. I eventually went to the infant's department at Wal Mart and they gave me a little plastic hanger. That fit, but I shall be more careful with the next ones that I make. Above is a photo of it.
I received a magazine the other day that I don't subscribe to, but it had my name on it. I've never cared for this magazine because it is 90% ads. But I wondered why it was sent to me. I immediately emailed them and told them I had not subscribed and asked if it was perhaps a gift subscription. I am always receiving things from people who like me - hmmmmm, can't figure that one out, but it's true! (Received something 3 days ago and hubby said, "You have those people wrapped around your little finger." I said, "No, it's just that they love me!" ) Anyway, in the magazine was an article "Hidden in plain sight"! Well, I tell you, I almost fell over. Just what I've been telling you on this page. Only this instance was a bathroom. Yes, they hid a bathroom in plain sight. Very well done also because most people thought it was a hallway entrance. See how creative you can be.
Now, I want to discuss what a lot of people do. Most of them spend all 95% of their money on 5% of their lives. Ridiculous. Live life fully and spend all of it on the 95% of your life. Make the things you do everyday beautiful. I could have settled for the laundry room just the way it was - boring. But that is NOT the way I do things. If I have to spend any of my time someplace it had better be beautiful - laundry room, bathroom, kitchen, whatever room. I love seeing the beautiful things in every part of my house. It certainly didn't take a lot of money to do that laundry room. A few scraps of fabric, a wallborder which cost a total of $40, old rugs, vintage bookcase for $20 and a few incidentals I had laying around the house. You go on a "once in a lifetime vacation", come home, have photos, may have spent thousands of dollars and have nothing to show for it except those photos. I'd rather put it into my home where I'll spend the rest of my life and view lovely things than that. But, hey, that's just me. Get inspired and do something beautiful!!

Finding Unexpected Uses

I was at the crafts store the other day and bought some little cherries for a project I was doing. When I got home I didn't have any room in my sewing/craft room to put them! I kept them on the kitchen counter until I cleaned my sewing/craft room. I have some order in there now - some being a relative term. Hah. Anyway, I had this old vase and some vintage hankies I display and thought "hmmmm........well, what if I just put them in there until I can figure out what to do with them and then wrap a hankie around the vase. VoilĂ ! It turned out even better than I could have imagined. They look adorable sitting on that counter in the living room. Hubby is going to take that out (someday!) and put a wall there to separate the two rooms. When he does I think I'll just leave them in that vase on a shelf that I will put up there. See how cute it turned out.

Make a Date with Yourself

Time for yourself. It is alright and "just fine" to say "NO"! So many people have a hard time saying that when asked to do something. Now, I understand that there are things you have to do, but there are things you don't have to do. The problem is determining which is which. I have no problem saying no. Sometimes when someone asks me to do something, I have a stock answer: "Oh, I'm sorry, I have other plans." I doubt I'd turn down a luncheon date! But when caught unaware, just have a ready answer available for it. I sometimes "schedule" in time for me. I'm a stay-at-home wife, but that does NOT mean that I have any more time that a working wife. My time is still valuable and needs to be scheduled. Sure, I have more time to fix my home, shop, etc. but that is my choice and others have made their choices. I still have chores, etc. do. I also schedule time for reading, crafting and just "down" time. I need it. Life is frantic no matter who you are or what you do. So remember, you do not have to always say "yes"; NO is perfectly fine. And.............have that "stock" answer in your mind at all times for when caught unaware. :-)

Laundry Room Finished Finally!!

Take a look what can be done with a pass-through laundry room from the garage to the hallway. It's a tiny space probably 7' x 8' but I've given it a little "oooomph" with a rose border. I could not find a laundry room border appropriate to my taste and roses never fail! Then I found an old clothespin bag and hung it on a little metal hook. The laundry sign I decoupaged and tried to sell on ebay and didn't sell. Now I'm glad it didn't because it looks adorable in my laundry room. I can make others just like it though, so if anyone is interested go to the miscellaneous page of this site and you'll see it available. The little french laundry packets are included with fabric that I buy from a woman on ebay. They have sweet smelling detergent in them so I am going to use them but I emptied the envelopes and put them on the wall above the sign. I also have some on the message board that shows in the third picture. There was a "command center panel" there and it was ugly so I covered it up with a lovely message board.

So "gussy" up even the least "handsome" room in your home with "energetic abandon" and see what you can do. It is, after all, your home!

Hubbies DO Love Shabby

I realize I've put on 3 very long photos today, but you need them to see the "spectacularness" of this crystal chandelier. (Only paid $99 brand new!) I've put on yards of chiffon, tied it with organza ribbon and pinned on some little roses I bought from a sweet, magnificent lady on ebay. So I'm showing you what can be done to "fix" a chandelier.

We bought it and hubby said, "Our home isn't a crystal chandelier home." I said, "Trust me." (My usual phrase to him!) Our home can be whatever we want it to be, and I wanted that crystal chandelier!! He put it up last saturday night and it was too high. He had to go out of town overnight monday but assured me he'd rewire it tuesday night when he got back. He had to put more links in (unmatching ones!) and add more wiring. he was concerned about the links not matching. Again, I said, "Trust me." Only took a few minutes for him to do it. When he got it up I performed my magic with the hanging chain. Then he said, "That's really pretty." I said, "Thanks, I knew it would be." He LIKES it, no...... he LOVES it. Let me tell you it was no easy task to climb to the 3rd rung on that wobbly ladder, hold up the slippery chiffon, try to get the slippery organza ribbon tied to that chain and keeping it up there while winding it around and around and not falling to my death!!

I keep telling women friends and acquaintances men DO love the frou frou-y type decor. Most men who come into my house love it. They tell me they do so that's how I know it. They say it feels serene and peaceful.

Do What YOU Like

I tried something different with this little china cabinet I bought when we moved here. Our old home had a built in mahogany buffet and a china cabinet also, so when we moved here we had to get a small china cabinet to hold most of our china and stemware. I whitewashed it and added decals but didn't really like the whitewash because it didn't let the decals show up, but haven't had time to change it until now. I painted the drawers a white and left the rest of it whitewashed and quite like it actually. Then I put on different decals. I really need to change those knobs though. If I like it and am comfortable with it, it goes in my home. No matter what others may think. My home is my home and refuge. I cannot impress enough - do what YOU like!!

Don't Be Afraid to Paint It!!

Several years ago my husband, who is a realtor now, was showing some property to a couple. They didn't like the blue color of the house. Telling me the story, he said it's kind of sad that people don't look beyond the superficial things of a wonderful house that they probably would have liked if it had been another color. After all, they only had to paint it! But I've seen a lot of people who pass up great deals and darling items because it isn't "this or that." So I'd like to show you something today that I did.

This little butcher block storage cabinet was purchased at Wal Mart of about $85.00 and was a light wood color. It has 2 doors and a drawer on the other side for extra storage, which we needed badly. Now, I love wood but everything in your house being one specific wood, say oak, isn't very attractive. It's dull! Yep, dull! You need to mix your woods. I have maple kitchen cabinets, a pine bedroom set, oak dining table and chairs and some enameled wood tables also. I also have painted wood tables. Don't go into a furniture store and purchase a suite of living room or family room or dining room items. Make it look like you have collected over the years from your travels or different places you've lived in. It is much "richer" looking that way. Mix it up. Look in some of the gorgeous wealthier homes and they have antiques, new things, etc. It's in the "Mix" of things that it becomes interesting. So I primed this little cabinet/cart and then painted it white and added decals. It turned out adorable. This is my style. You have to adept it to your style - whatever that may be. It could look vintage antique, french, swedish, modern, shabby chic, primitive country, just by a coat of paint and some decorative accents. Give it some thought!

Laundrys Can Be Attractive!!

I have been looking for one of these for a very long time and finally found one! I want to make my laundry room as attractive as the rest of the house. I'm a believer that every room should be lovely. (Of course, our garage is a different story. It may never be frou frou-y but that's okay. Garages are utilitarian.) But the laundry room is getting a lovely roses border, has a memo board over a panel where all the cable wires are for the house. It just fit nicely there and I couldn't stand having a white panel with "Honeywell Command Center" printed on it showing any longer! Ugh. So this little treasure will fit there quite nicely. I got it from vintageroses on ebay if anyone wants to give her a look. Everything in your home should reflect your decorating style - even your box of Tide! More and more we are turning inward to our homes as true havens on earth. Our safe place. Our place to be alone or with family. Our place for protection from the storms gathering in this world. Our place to be separated from the harshness and coarseness from the outside influences. Our place to allow only those people that we want there to come in. It's our little bit of heaven right here on earth and should reflect that in all we do in our homes. Enjoy being there!!

Preferences & Styles Change!

Collections can truly be only papers covered with ribbon as seen in above picture. Whatever you's your choice and your collection. :-)

Two of my favorite sayings are: "Do it now "and "There's nothing to it but to do it." I am a "Now" kind of woman. Get it done; don't procrastinate. Instant gratifiction! YES!! So if any one of you is sitting out there now and not sure what to do, just get up and do it. Make that decision. You'll feel much better of course and you won't be stagnant.

Our tastes change over the years. When we were first married, we got hand me down furniture from my parents. Oh, it was nice stuff, but still it was my mother's colors, style, etc. That was 1950s type furniture. Then we graduated up(!) the scale to yard sale finds. Got some lovely stuff, too. Then we went into our mexican colonial style. After that it was green velvet sofa and "trying to find my own true style." Then I found country and loved that for a while. I loved bright intense colors at that point. Then I went into a more traditional/formal style. That lasted several years. And then I found shabby and pink and roses! I've always loved pink. It's been my favorite color forever. I love shabby romantic cottage and roses and pink now. This late in our lives I doubt I'll change again. I've found my true decorating style. Of course I'm into whites and pink a lot, but I thrown in a LOT of other colors. Hubby simply cringes when I say "I think I'll paint that white", especially if it's something made of wood. But he finally admits it looks good. His aim in life is to make me happy - something he told me a loooong time ago. And he does - make me happy, I mean. If someone gives me something, it goes in my home. I figure that if they are kind and gracious enough to present me with a gift of their talent or thoughtfulness then I should display it. I love sweet thoughtful gifts. I've never been disappointed.

So my preferences and styles and colors have changed over the years. So can yours. Be bold with soft colors if that is what you want. Or be bold with bold colors also. It's your home do what you feel comfortable with and what you want to live with'll make everyone happy. Oh.......and hubby's really do love pink!! Trust me on this one!

Displaying Collections

I rearranged some things on this little sofa table that I have in our entry. Grouping things together is always ALWAYS better to display than just one of something. That's why I "collect"!! I love collections: pitchers, bowls, plates, bird houses (some I buy and some I make) and pretty storage boxes. Other things too but those are the main things. The little suitcase on the right is one I bought from a sweet woman on ebay. I love it and it came smelling divine of vanilla scent. I tucked the little sachet into the pitcher with black and white stripes and you would not believe how sweet my room smells now. You can also put oil scents on cotton balls and place them around the house for lovely scented rooms.

Decorate the Way You Love

I've spent the day rearranging my kitchen and dining area walls. Only one picture today, but it is a roses print by Pam Hall of a_vintage_rose, who is one of my favorite artists. I have a few that I absolutely love and she is one of them. There are decoupaged signs on both walls, a baby dress that was mine when I was a baby, a vintage rose plate, an old wooden box from a California winery that I've painted white, put rose cups on and hung on the wall. Just a plethora of my favorite things that I love looking at on a daily basis. Never be afraid to hang something that isn't "one of the decorating rules", just do what you love and want to do. I follow none of the "rules" except just to do what I love!

Vintage Hankies

Another one of my "hide in plain sight" tricks. I have these vintage hankies and am going to make them into pillows or use parts of them for pillows at some point. However, I am out of space in my sewing/craft room. It's not a big room and so I have to improvise! This is a vintage gate I rescued from our previous house. It is hung on the end of a soffit in my kitchen. So I simply hung the old hankies on it. It not only makes a wonderful and pretty display but it has the added bonus of finding somewhere to "stash" them until I use them in some other way. They truly are gorgeous old hankies too. "Hide in plain sight!"

Reflections from a Mother's Heart

I am not a journal writer; in fact, I find it very hard to put my thoughts on paper. I am trying to write a history for my children and grandchildren, but that is a great undertaking. I may not ever complete it but there are some thoughts I've put to paper. I really do it on the computer though since I'm usually on the computer and love computers! But we really need to write some things down for our posterity that will be handed down to those who come after us. Soooo I bought these little books in a book store several years ago. I bought one for my son and my daughter. I filled the book and then gave it to them as a gift. It's a very handy little tome because it offers questions and suggestions for you. It truly brings memories to mind! Then you just write them down. They don't have to be long rememberances and you may not use every single one but it really is helpful to have the questions and suggestions for you. I think it is a wonderful gift to give your children. They may be purchased at any book store or specialty items type of store. Just my thoughts....................

Instead of Framing a Picture...............

I've added some decals to the soffit. And I went shopping to buy some more whimsical plates. Here are the results above.
I spent saturday and monday taking plates off the soffit of my kitchen and trying to come up with some new ideas to do. I follow my own rules in decorating. I rarely follow the "established" rules of the decorating divas because I figure I'm "unique" and my home should reflect ME not the magazines or friends. Just ME! So here's what I did. I collect all kinds of ephemera - postcards, cards of roses that people send me, calendars that we used the previous years, just about anything with cottages and roses on it. Framing costs a lot these days also. One picture I recently had done was $300.00 for me and that was with 50% off. It would have cost me $600.00 if there hadn't been a sale!! Well, that is out of my price range but it was a very special large lithograph. So I use old frames that were purchased years ago and are just lying around. When those run out, I resort to FunTac! Now that is the yellowish play-doh looking stuff that is designed for attaching something to the wall or whatever. It peels off easily, holds tight and doesn't leave a residue. I rounded up all the roses pictures I could find and fun-tac-ed them to the soffit. Then I hung a couple of the plates back up there. Try your own "style" and see what you can come up with.

Look with a Different Eye!

This idea came from a friend, Stephanie, who put bunnies in her glasses for the Easter holiday! I thought it was delightful since I have so many stemware glasses. We don't drink any alcohol, but I just love the beauty and gracefulness of stemware and sometimes just use them for water or juices at meals. These are crystal and cost a little more than some can cost, but cheaper one can be found in department stores when sales are going on or at yard or estate sales. You could think of many different things to do with them, but they always add sparkle to a room. I remember when we were in Ireland at the Waterford Glass works. That showroom simply sparkled so much with all the fabulous glassware and china that it was very difficult to get a picture! It was like living in a castle. Just lovely. So my advice to you today is again: "look at something with a different eye" and see how you can make it into something beautiful for your home.

Looking at "Fluff"

This little note holder that I made about 3 years ago is on the wall behind my desk. It holds beautiful roses note papers for when I want to send a lovely note along with something I sell, but it also a visual reminder to me of beauty. When I start feeling frazzled from being at this computer (for hours sometimes!) or in the sewing/craft room, I look at all the "fluff" – this is what I call all my knick-knacks, bibelots and furbelows in my home – and just smile. So I truly do advise people that when you are feeling overwhelmed or simply "whelmed" get out of your chair and walk around. Look at the beauty of the new green grass growing, the flowers breaking through the soil, the buds on the trees and just stretch and smile. Be sure to surround yourself with the beautiful things you want. No, no, it doesn't have to be expensive. Today I'm taking a stemware goblet and just filling it with artificial grass and a paper rose. You'll see it tomorrow. **Smiles & giggles** Remember: Beauty can be achieved in the tiniest, simplest ways and it can enrich our day and work place.

Hiding in Plain Sight

As I've said before, use what you have and "hide in plain sight." Well this is a good example of that. I bought this little wood box many years in California and just kept it back in my hobby room for years before I decided to make it into something special. I painted it and made some graphics and text to decoupage onto it. It's relatively small but I love the look of it and it is "my box!" As you can see it contains some wonderful little glass beads that I intend to make into something very special shortly. But my message here is that everything around you can be beautiful - even plain little wood boxes that have no "personality" until you "give it" to them! Very simple thing to do and so beautiful to look at and utilitarian also. "Form follows function."

Enjoy Your Age and.......Chocolate!

Life is a process; never rush it! There are some 12 or 16 year olds that are trying their best to look 20 or 25 years old. I've seen young women or pre-teens today who, when asked how old they are almost inevitably answer with "almost 12" or "almost 16" in lieu of admitting their true age. Almost all of them have a friend who is older than they are - even if only a few months. I tell them this: "When your friend is 50 years old you will be able to truthfully say that you are still in your 40s." This may not make sense or even register with them what it means now, but they will when they are 49! Don't rush it.

It's kind of like selecting a chocolate in a box. We look at the wonderful chocolate and wonder if a piece is chewy, nutty or smooth and what flavor it might be. The chocolate is then popped into the mouth and soon forgotten. But the process of selecting that specific chocolate is rarely forgotten and anticipated with the next box of candy. Don't rush it; savor it!

Feed Your Soul.........

Never halt in the ascent of trying to touch the human heart. It feeds our soul. Sense stimulation helps keep us in touch. Learning to see is the basis for all the arts except music. Music is the fourth great material of our nature–first food, then clothing, then home, then music. Beauty nourishes. Food feeds all our senses, as well as our bodies. Our eyes and noses are especially essential in the eating ritual. Pick up a fresh strawberry or orange or a bright red apple. Feel it, look at it, smell it. There is beauty in mundane things.

Don't Throw That Away!

I had a little candy dish that I loved, but during our move in 2005 it got "crunched" - a word I like better than broken - and I waited and waited for my sweet hubby to fix it, but he is so busy that I just gave up. The lid survived and was intact though. I didn't want to throw it away as it has roses on it. And if you know me or have been reading this page or my blog you KNOW how I feel about roses! So instead of throwing it in the trash I hung it on the wall in my office behind my desk. It has a little "lip" that make it just perfect for hanging. If you love something enough just find a new use for it if part of it gets "crunched" and is beyond repair. Look at it and say, "hmmmm, can I hang this?" Give it a new use.

Celebrate "Ordinariness"

There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. Of course, we have special events in our lives, but ordinary days need to be celebrated also. You have power over your daily life; no one else. What you do with it is entirely up to you. Celebrate even the mundane daily tasks. As I've said before, I like to putter. For me that can be taking apart a sock drawer and weeding out the socks with holes in them to discard or the silverware drawer and cleaning out the little crumbs that get in there. It can be re-arranging my office or a shelf in my office or living room or just the pictures and "fluff" on the wall. It can be "seeing the room with a different eye" and thinking "Ah, yes, I can do "this or that" there and a little "tweak" over here. It can be draping a beautiful silk scarf over an end table or coffee table or dining table. Little things make a difference. Whatever it is, look at it differently!


Aprons.....yes, aprons. I wear one when I cook or do my painting. I love aprons. They come in all kinds of sizes, prints, designs, shapes and can be just so pretty. I've made them for my use and sold a couple of them, but my favorite is one I purchased at a yard sale. It is a huge butcher's apron with "Art's Grocery" embroidered in red across the top. It was so long that I had to cut if off some at the bottom. It came to my ankles! Now it just comes to my knees. But it is heavy canvas - a true butcher's apron and it has softened over the years of washing it, but I love it. I paid 25¢ for it!! A real deal. But aprons make me feel like a real chef and it makes me feel pretty. I always like to feel pretty! :-) And Art's apron is clean; that's just paint on the front..........Hah!!

The Joy of Fresh Scented Towels

Something I thought of today while toweling off from my shower is freshly scented towels. My granddaughter asked me a couple of years ago what kind of laundry detergent and fabric softener I used. I asked her why and she said, "Because your sheets and towels always smell so good." What a compliment!! She noticed!! And I did tell her. But I have always been sensitive to smells - in the good way, not the allergic way. I love lovely scents. I have so many perfumes I'd never have to purchase another bottle in my lifetime. But today my towel smelled of a new fragrance I bought recently. A perfume. I must have placed the towel to my neck when I had just sprayed it on. It smelled wonderful. So what I'm going to do is just very lightly spray a tiny fine mist from a favorite perfume onto my towels from time to time. It'll keep the linen closet smelling fragrant and being ever so lightly sprayed I'll smell that scent when I'm toweling off. My "scents" from perfumes are in my clothes so why not have them on my towels. Just light fragrances, nothing "overpowering" is good.

Storage Can Be Beautiful!

I've sung the praises of beautiful storage for years and years. Today is just another example of what you can do.

Since we downsized 2 years ago to about 1/3 the size of our other house, finding places to store has just about gotten the best of me! One of my "mottos" has always been: Hide in plain sight. So I'm always looking for ways to be creative while living beautifully. I don't have the area I used to have for my hobbies so I have been trying to "make do" with the kitchen countertops area. While my sweet hubby never ever complains, I still wanted to get it out of the kitchen - especially the cans of sealer, small cans of paint, spackle, Mod Podge, etc. So I pulled some roses out of a wicket basket and "replanted" them in my collection of pitchers. Then I put the cans in the basket and tied one of my ribbons from my enormous collection I have. VoilĂ ! Now, it is in sight but in a much prettier "setting." And I can pick it up and tote it around to wherever I want it. I even have thrown a scarf over it and it sits beautifully in sight on the floor by the coffee table.