Saturday, September 14, 2013

Collecting a room

I recently read a quote from interior designer Suzanne Kasler "A room should feel collected, not decorated".

While I have the ability to put together a cozy room, and take beautiful pictures....I do not have the ability to form coherent thoughts on most days.  And certainly not the ability to put into words what's going on in my mind.  Suzanne summed up exactly how I've approached putting together our home.  A mix of old and new, shabby and chic.

Most recently in the office/den/guest we've been working on?  Our recent changes I wrote about here
Well - since its big overhaul in the spring, I feIt like the room still needed some love, some it wouldn't feel like the ugly step child.  Most of all, I wanted it to become a room I actually wanted to spend time in.

So I started culling through our stuff in storage.  And came upon this nugget - 
An old wooden box that was built to hold record albums.  Now it is storing all those big jar candles inside, and is the perfect landing spot for all the library books I bring home each week...with the intention of reading but don't always get to. The box is originally from my grandparent's house...a piece of their history and mine.  

And I pulled out this....
The baby quilt from Thomas' crib.  The $90 Pottery Barn Kids-over the top-"it is so perfect"-extravagance I just had to have, but of course was drastically underutilized.

While I was searching for something for the blank wall in the office, I thought of this quilt.  Because I still love it, and all that represents to our family - our miracle boy's first bed - the nursery in our home - the fulfillment of our dream.  It came to mind when a friend gave me these clips that she was done using in her home
And now we've now hung the quilt in the office/den.  And it makes me smile every time I glance at it.
I threw in some new too, like my pouf!!  
I've been wanting one of these for a while, since they became popular, but man, they can be expensive.  So I held out and waited (which was very hard to do), until I finally found one - the right one - on sale and I had a coupon!!  What I love most about this piece is the softness it brings to the room - both with its shape (round in a room of all straight lines and sharp corners) and the cozy faux fur material.

And just one more newbie - a throw pillow.  This room's sad little futon was already crying out "save me" because I kept giving it the outcast throw pillows while I prettied up all the other seating in the house with new pillows.  So when I saw this baby (that just so happens to match the wall quilt beautifully thank you very much), I snatched it up for just $7.79 from Kohl's - on sale, with 40% off coupons and a $5 off.  Score!  (I'm so getting the hang of this Kohl's game)
There you have it - more updates in the office/den.  I'm finally calling it done!   I feel like a have an extra room in the house now because we actually spend time in there now.....I actually enjoy being in this room.

So - here are my tips:

1) Re-Purpose and Re-Imagine: Capitalize on original investment (the quilt), or take advantage of something free (the clips).  And don't just limit items to their original purpose - bedding on the wall rather than just the bed, a record album box as a table, a wooden crate as a desk organizer, mason jars as pen holders, on and on.  Visitors in our home often comment on the unique items all around - re-purposing is one key to achieve "uniqueness".

2) Balance: this room has so many hard lines (desk, bookcases, file cabinet, wooden futon frame), it really needed something soft.  I was looking for art, but when I considered more frames of photos or art, it was just more hard lines and hard materials - glass, wood, metal.  This adds a nice softness to the room...not to mention a big pop of color to punch up the  main colors of the room - tan, white, brown, black and blue.  Art doesn't have to match - its an accent.

3) Wait for it: literally....wait for it.  The right thing.  Don't settle just to fill in. Its okay to do that with some items - a photo in an inexpensive frame or a piece borrowed from another room (or storage).  But don't buy the first thing you see if its not the color, size, fit, price you really want.  This has been the hardest lesson for me....but its proven itself time and again.  Case in point - when I first started looking at poufs, they were $70+....which just wasn't what I wanted to pay for that specific piece.  In the end, I got ours for $12!!  And because I stayed on budget with that item, that left more money in the budget for all the other accessories I wanted. 

4) Appealing to emotion: When I look at this quilt, I am transported back in time, in my memory and in my heart, to its place in our home - on the first little bed of our miracle baby.  If you can look at something in your home and really connect with it - not just in your intellectual mind, but in your heart....deep in your soul....then you know its perfect.

So there you have it - some interior design insight from me.  I'm not an expert....but I love my home, and that's what I want for anyone.

"Your home should be a hug when you enter it"

I hope I've inspired you to try something new to make your home a hug for you! 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Kindergarten kick off!

We've officially kicked off kindergarten here at home - I mean school - I mean home-school. 

Wasn't I just swaddling him, laying him in the bassinet?

Was it last month when I was holding his hands as he took his first steps?

Or last week when he uttered those first words we'd longed to hear?

And now here he is - officially a kindergartner...whether at home or in a red brick building.

When we chose home school, we chose a life style. Because homeschooling is a whole lot of togetherness.  And that's why we chose it.  We weren't ready to let him go out into the world. I know, I know - its reality.  They have to go out into the world sometime.  Yes, they do.  And once they do, they will be out in the world for a long long time....and there's no turning back.

We believe that the longer you love them and hold them and help them build up their sense of self and where they come from, then they are that much more ready to go out into that world...when it is time.

We have many reasons as to why home school works for us....these are just a few:

I enjoy teaching him and watching him learn.
Because...I enjoy being hands on with him.
Because...I enjoy experiencing the world with him.
Because...there is a lot of foundational learning we want to focus on with him right now, like Jesus, and the Word; character and principles.  OUR principles...not the world's.
Because...I am fully capable of teaching him the academics he needs at this point.
Because...we are all home during the day - together - and it works for us.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Our last summer adventure

So the "unofficial" end of summer has come and gone - labor day weekend.  The school buses pass by our house early, we've kicked-off our start of home schooling, and here in little beach community, the summer's end is very, very visible.  No more traffic, empty parking lots, and businesses starting to board up for the year.  Its a little depressing, but also exciting as I'm in love with the season of fall and all it has to offer...
Apple picking
Pumpkins and pumpkin recipes
Cooler weather
Long hikes and walks in the woods without bugs
Football Sundays
Foliage trips up north

Before the turn of it all, Thomas, Big T and I squeezed in one last adventure.  We'd been talking about it all summer and finally made it happen....and actually - it turned out to be the best day to do it.  Most kids were back in school so our destination wasn't so crowded.

We took the commuter boat to downtown Boston
Did our own little walking tour of the sights we wanted to see
 Played at the Boston Common for a while
had lunch at Fanueil Hall
and then FINALLY hit our ultimate destination - the water fountains on the Greenway.
It was a day filled with the perfect mix of exploring, sunshine and fresh air, exercise, good food, and fun.  Perfect end to our summer of adventure!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Teach a boy to fish....

Recently, Thomas and I took a walk down memory lane.  We were on a road trip to visit friends, and along the way home stopped at the lake where my family used to have a cottage.

Gosh how I miss that place.  Our visit that day truly transported me back in time - the sights, sounds, smells.  "Who says you can't go home again?" (thanks Jon Bon Jovi)

While there, we dropped in (unannounced) on dear old friends, who welcomed us with open arms.  So good to sit with them on their porch, sharing stories and lives again - like back in the old days.  Does the soul good you know.

Well, a grandpa at heart, our dear old friend offered to take Thomas fishing.  What a treat!  Thomas fished for just about an hour - and caught 3 fish in that time!  Are you kidding me?  I think he's hooked!  (sorry, couldn't resist the pun)
I was amazed at how determined Thomas was and how he stuck with it.  I mean, that is his personality - perfectionism runs deep in this boy, God help him (and his mama) - but fishing requires one to be still and quiet - neither of which run deep with him. 
He learned a valuable lesson in that hour....two lessons come to think of it.
1 - He learned how to fish, and
2 - patience and determination can pay off.  I really think fishing will be good for him. 

A trip down memory lane actually turned into a day for making new memories for Thomas and me...couldn't ask for anything better!