Having every summer off allows me time for home projects. I have a mental list of goals & expectations of what I want to complete. Originally I wanted to paint my kitchen & dining room, which I did -- TWICE. The first color was too dark, the second was too light. I was beginning to feel like Goldilocks. I could not find my just right. Subsequently, all of the samples were either too blue or too gray or too something. I really needed to step back from it all. So I did, for a YEAR! It's bad when the background of Christmas photos looks like the Sherwin-Williams sample wall.
My previous summers were filled with painting every wall in my house, to the point where my husband joked that we had lost square footage. It was a place I could go "project-wise" and know I could get it done. The realization that a familiar deed, somehow, turned on me & left me in the lurch. What to do? When it's bad it takes all the joy out of the project!
I was stuck! This never happens to me. I make a decision & live with it. This situation however threw me for a loop. It may have been the paint or the lack of a paint decision that sparked this, but there were subtle life shifts that brought me to this place. I gave myself permission to finally be alone in my home & to think - to take pause. The best way to describe it would be a mental rebellion. I didn't read books, I didn't work on projects, I just was. My youngest child moved away & I got a minute to think. That minute ended up turning into an entire summer. It was the first time in my adult life to be alone in my home with only my husband (who thankfully went to work everyday).
There wasn't the frantic rush to complete project after project & entertain the masses. Being married to the eldest son of a large family, in close proximity, creates an extended household. It was not uncommon for us to have a sibling living here. Not to mention friends of the children coming & going (and eating). But last summer, it was all about me & Netflix. Call me a binger!
I felt satisfied in allowing myself time to ponder the paint. It took me a year to realize that it wasn't the paint that had me stuck. It was me. I needed time to adjust from being the mom to being me. It is natural to be in the mom role. The hard part is rolling out.
This summer, I made a decision. It feels good to get paint on the walls & move forward. The familiarity of the instant gratification of paint helped me to finally re-establish my sense of being. Paint & Neflix are now balanced -- all is good in the universe!
I suppose upgrading to an electronic, sleek, stainless steel model will modernize my cabinet. I will miss the dated, floral design that has seen me through years of kitchen fun. My name is on the back, written like a navy blue, Sharpie tattoo, to identify it at potluck meals.
I have a odd feeling my new one won't last as long or feel quite the same. That 80's country style can not be replaced. I looked online for a replacement, the crock part is still good. It's the pot part that went kaput.
I will move through this. The passing of the only crock pot I have ever owned will be noted on my calendar, as well as the date of the incoming new crock pot. That crock pot lasted 20 years longer than my most beloved dog. Will the new model stand the test of time like the original...33 years? Will I live that long? It will put me at 103 years old! I just might make it!
New times, new meals and possibly a whole new set of recipes...a girl can change when pushed against the kitchen wall!
“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.” ― Herman Melville
There may not seem to be much of a variable between the before & after photos (except for the dog!) but it has been a very tired, dirty, worn chair. I couldn't bring myself to reupholstered it, my heart wasn't in it! This spring I vowed to purge my home & barn (full of our purgibles) of the things I didn't LOVE anymore.
The unique nature of McKinney's historic district is like a big swap meet. We all continue to trade and shift our stuff into each other's homes. With a lot of furniture on my sidewalk, there was a big flow of garage salers all day. Every piece of furniture has a story and all our customers were eager to listen, as we were to their stories about what they planned for the furniture's futures.
This particular pair of chairs was difficult to sell, but the string attached to that was the young gal who bought them. She said she did painting and reupholstering and couldn't wait to put them in her home. It makes you feel better when your stuff is adopted & going to be well loved.
The new owner of my chairs seemed very familiar, however, I couldn't place her. She said she had been in my house when she was very young. It happened that her sister was a grade school classmate of my oldest daughter.
I knew her mother and asked about her, I knew she had been ill (Huntington's Disease), and she told me she had passed. I was so sad for her and her family. I also know they had suffered hard times in their life prior to their mothers illness and somehow rose above their difficulties and made great lives for themselves.
We exchange numbers so I could see the update of my old chairs.
There was such a sad connection. I texted her and reminisced about her mom from 1992. She was a beautiful woman with flowing dark hair, thick drawn on eyeliner (as her daughter had) and a true sense of style. We had been to each other's homes and visited regularly waiting for our girls school bell to ring. She "schooled" me in thrift store finds and designer clothing. She was kind and gentle and eager to help me think about clothing differently.
I texted "My Chair Girl" that evening and told her what I knew about her mom. It was an emotional connection for her. I didn't hear back from her immediately. I apologized for possibly upsetting her, she returned with a text thanking me for knowing her mom and sharing kind thoughts of her. She didn't know many people who knew her mom. As timing will have it, the next day, she was meeting her siblings at her mother's graveside to honor her for Mother's Day. She said she planned to read my text and share the memories with them.
We never know how we will connect to people and how a yard sale can turn into something that connects us on a different level. Reaching out to each other with kindness isn't only about the two people involved at that moment. It can change the lives of other people in a long and lasting way. The deeper connection for me was her little sister. My daughter's classmate reminded me of myself as a little girl; a little sad & deep inside, a little wayward, like immigrant gypsy girl. I overcame my adversity and so did her sister. I hope my kindness helped her as a young girl and continued with a chance meeting at a yard sale.
Kindness and connecting to your community is as rewarding to you as well as the people you reach out to. Our past often comes to visit us. Those children grow up and remember the person you were able to see in them.
I had two mothers of my childhood friends that saw more in me than my own family. They gave me the love and strength to believe in myself and know I am special. Our impact is great with tiny gestures. It's not just their past, they are moving forward and we all need to be a part of them finding their true selves.
I will forever be grateful and hopefully pay it forward. If I impacted only one child, I've done my job. The hope my mentors gave to me, lives on. I can't express my appreciation for those ladies.
We are all busy; however, busy does not equal productive. Busy is doing the necessary deeds that get us through the day. The dictionary's equivalent of busy is: working, buried, employed, engrossed, occupied, overloaded, slaving, snowed & swamped. These mean you get the job done but the only pleasure is completing the task. This is the first time we have analyzed the word busy and understand the true meaning. We are ALWAYS busy. Being busy does not contribute to our self-worth, however, we do like rattling off the list of busy jobs that filled our day. The list validates that we did something of value. It filled our day, but it did not fulfill our day. It is exhausting, beats us down and is basically mundane. However, we feel extraordinary when we can share our artistic intentions & act on them.
When consulting with a client we always try to find a segue to a common ground. Our goal is to find a personal connection & help the design evolution process. People come into the studio & step into the creative, hectic hive. There are fabrics, jars of trims & buttons, big sewing machines, furniture stacked head high--and some how people can connect to this. It is a place for inspiration. Productivity begets productivity. Everybody wants a piece of this!
Productivity, our new favorite word, feeds basic human needs. It is the basis of self-worth & everything we do. Through investigating these two words, we've learned if you don't meet your personal needs, how can you effectively meet the needs of others? The dictionary's equivalent to productive is: beneficial, constructive, dynamic, energetic, gratifying, rewarding, useful, valuable, worthwhile & inventive. It is a rejuvenation -- giving you energy & light.
So, busy does not equal productive. Busy means getting basics taken care of while productive means self-satisfaction. In looking at this closely, it is not just the way it makes us feel, it creates a positive chemical reaction in our brains. Not to be smarmy or snarky, but we feel better when we have created something tangible. Productivity gives you a natural buzz, which happens to be the production of serotonin. You know this feels right!
Read more about The Chemistry of Well-Being
It's tricky . . . power, cooperation, creativity, inspiring, collective goals, optimistic energy, trust & respect, with just a pinch of snark. This is a recipe for our successful collaboration and it is not an easy one. Creating How to Love Your Home Blog, Facebook, Pinterest & our YouTube channel has been a labor of love.
A good partnership is like a marriage - it is giving & taking cues, knowing each others strengths & weaknesses and being complimentary through the process. Not the "I like your outfit" kind of compliments, but being able to read each other's needs. It takes dedication to find the sweet spot in each other's personality and know when to let things roll. Life gets in the way & some days it is hard to push through the creative process. The pressure leaves when somebody has your back. It can't happen on demand, it has to be nurtured.
The journey, is creating a merged personality from two people. Yeah it is a little creepy & is like giving birth, but to a shared idea. The beauty is, we both have our DNA all over it & can't wait to nurture its growth. We collectively tag team new story subjects with unleashed enthusiasm. It is infectious! We want people to feel our excitement for what they are doing in their journey. We are always looking for something we haven't seen before. We look for the goods that spark a connection & we know others will relate to it as well.
We will truly never have an empty nest as long as we are working hard as a team. Nobody said parenthood was easy! We have disappointed days in its lack of bedazzlement and have great joy when our teamwork naturally materializes into "Oh Yeah, that's it!".
(We would only refer to bedazzlement in a "lack of" term since neither of us are the bedazzled type.)
The growth of our joint projects are based on the consistency of our meeting & conspiring on a regular basis. Many of our ideas are formed through just talking about our lives; how things apply to us. It sounds stingy & self-serving but, that's why we are doing what we do. It feeds our souls. We find joy & humor in the most vulnerable places and hope it shows. How many of us get to find a way to do what we love with someone who "gets us" & appreciates life's ballyhoo! We laugh, we cry & find great joy in this opportunity to share the process.
We have had these rich, warm winter days where it has hit 65 degrees and I have to say it inspires me more than anything the calendar can do. It gives me an opportunity to reappraise my garden and outdoor projects that will be taken care of this spring.
Now, I walk my dogs early in the morning with the bleak, bare trees hovering over me... waiting like me, till the spring warms the ground. I have to say this dormant season gives me a little extra time to reflect on the year that has past and gives me something to look forward to.
We are at Mother Nature's mercy and should make the best use of the time she has given us. It is a time of planning & preparing new ideas as spring slips in. I look for signs everyday and wait with great anticipation with an eagle eye for slight shifts and changes in the plants - they tell us all we need to know about what is around the corner...
Take this winter to find yourself. Create the new you and make your surroundings express your true self.
It's planning time. My little book from my purse has peaked out & I will be jotting ideas from here until the coming of fall.
We all have a budget and we hope to help you find those ideas, put them on a tray and serve them like you mean it! It is tough to get to-and through- all the projects we have in mind . . . but be optimistic, realistic and look at all you do as a form of therapy. The satisfaction of finding the deal, producing something with your own hands or trying something you never thought you would try...well, that is victory. It's victory for your well being and loving where you are.
That is "How to Love Your Home" . . . it is at your fingertips
Happy New Year!
Some dogs endure the holiday spirit.
Others, not so much......
We are all worthy of feeling satisfied about where we are in our homes. Our approach to the adventure is as important as the results. The journey of finding our design ideals shifts with seasons & people passing through our lives. We are more likely to enjoy the creative process when things are made easy and How To Love Your Home's passion for finding & sharing tools, tips, & triumphs is here for simplifying the journey to a commonsense approach to homemaking & design!