Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Before the journey begins...

“If you don't know where you are going, how can you expect to get there?” 
~Basil S. Walsh

Good question, don't you think? And another reason to spend a bit of time planning where you want to go this year. Dream big... and don't forget to rest along the way.
Wishing everyone a lovely journey...

Photo by The Art of Living Beautifully

Friday, January 25, 2013

When seasons blend together...

After the holiday clearing was done and all the decorations were stowed away for another year, I gave the house a good cleaning and then set about putting it in winter~to~spring mode. I know it's still winter for another couple of months, but there's something about clearing away all the holiday decor that makes me think spring is right around the corner. My illusion (for I write this as temperatures continue to drop while we await a winter storm) is assisted by flowers ~ tulips and lilies and hyacinth are in all the stores. I don't know about you, but it's impossible for me to look at tulips and not think spring.
Which leads me to the winter~to~spring mode going on in my house. For now it's really more of a seasonal blend than a true hand-off, if you know what I mean. I still have lovely pink and white poinsettias that I don't want to get rid of so they're keeping company in my living room with a vase full of tulips and lilies, as you can see below. All lovely and light, no matter which season they convey.
Wishing all of you a beautiful weekend...

I am linking to:
Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound
Seasonal Sundays at The Tablescaper
Sunlit Sundays at My Little Home and Garden

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Before & after: Time in the bathroom...

“There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won't cure, but I don’t know many of them.”
~ Sylvia Plath

Since we're talking about resting and planning this month, it seems an appropriate time to share my bathroom re-do, since I often find that time in the bath is time well spent when it comes to relaxation and trying to clear my head. A hot bath is a wonderful way to unwind and rest and quietly mull over plans.
Here's what my bathroom looked like before: blue walls that didn't go with the floor, a dated sink and fixtures and a storage dresser in need of a new coat of paint. You can see the new pale gray paint starting to go on the walls and the first coat of paint on the dresser. You can also see the sink and a glimpse of the too-small-for-the-space mirror. (Seriously, there is like a foot of space between the mirror and the top of the sink. Not a good thing.)

And here's another shot ~ you can see the old fan and shower head are in desperate need of updating, along with the paint.

Here's the same space above the shower now, with new light and fan fixtures, lilac paint on the ceiling, gray on the walls and a fresh coat of white on the wood trim. Huge difference, isn't there?

The corner with the toilet looks much better with that blue gone.

A proper-sized mirror over the sink makes a big difference in opening up the room.

Since putting in a new sink wasn't in the budget this time around (we hope to gut the bathroom in a couple of years and completely re-do it), I decided to skirt it to hide the dated look. The curtain splits in the middle for easy access to the cupboards underneath.

The old storage chest, which is perfect for holding towels and other toiletries, was painted a bright glossy magenta to help add a pop of color to the room.

Since replacing the floor was out this time as well, I decided to work with it instead of fighting it, and took my color scheme for the room from it.

Another shot of our shower curtain. I searched high and low and to find something with purple and gray in it that suited the look I was going for. This one fit perfectly.

And there you have it. With some new paint and fixtures and a few new accessories, my very old, dated and fairly ugly bathroom is now light and cute and sort of funky vintage ~ a much better look. And it feels much better, too.
What do you think?

I am linking to:
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home
Mod Mix Monday at Mod Vintage Life
Make it Pretty Monday at The Dedicated House

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Monday, January 21, 2013

Idle thoughts...

“Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed 
through life trying to save.”
~ Will Rogers

“Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you.”
~ John DePaola

“Loafing needs no explanation and is its own excuse.”
~ Christopher Morley

“It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do.”
~ Jerome K. Jerome

“Don't underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, 
listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering.”
~ Pooh's Little Instruction Book

Don't forget to rest, plan and dream this week. Wishing all of you a lovely week full of moments of thoughtful idleness...

Photo by The Art of Living Beautifully

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The beauty of sanctuary spaces...

Where do you go when you need time, space, rest? Is it your bedroom? Sunroom? Library? Garden? Do you have a place you claim as your sanctuary?
We've been talking about resting and planning this month and I think the spaces we choose for those activities makes a difference in our success. A cluttered play room, for example, probably isn't the best place for you to go to clear your mind. Trying to rest in a bedroom that doesn't feel like a haven might be contributing to your lack of sleep. I'm a big proponent of making all of our spaces as beautiful as possible, as you know, but there's more to it than just looking good. A lovely, calming space is good for your soul.
I have a few “sanctuary” spaces in my home. My living room, which is full of soft pink light day and night, is where I go when I need a bit of soothing quiet, away from the noise of the television and busyness of the day. My breakfast nook, which is tucked away at the back of the house, is a perfect little spot for creating lists and organizing my thoughts while I enjoy a cup of tea. My bedroom is where I go when I need to really, really rest. It's my place to hide from the world on those rare occasions when I feel it necessary. Drawing the curtains, closing the door and climbing under the covers is like wrapping a warm cocoon around myself.
If you don't have a sanctuary space, I encourage you to create one. Think beauty, comfort, light ~ whatever speaks to your soul.
Wishing all of you a restful weekend...

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The beauty of planning...

Do you have any big plans for the year? I don't mean resolutions ~ those good intentions we all have and most of us break before January is even over. I mean real plans. Little plans or life plans. Things you've put considerable thought into and want to accomplish this year. Fun stuff, serious stuff ~ it all counts. Even planning to set aside time to think about what you'd like the year to bring is a step in the right direction.
I'm all for being spontaneous (if I wasn't, I wouldn't find myself somehow on a flight to Denver at the last minute so I can spend Saturday freezing while watching a playoff football game), but I have found that to get what I really want out of life, it usually helps, first, to know what that is (which is harder than it sounds), and second, to make plans that get me to that goal. Then, of course, you have to follow through. The upside to all that thought and planning and work is that the universe generally appreciates our efforts and rewards them, usually more handsomely than we dream.
I've given quite a bit of thought to what I'd like 2013 to bring and how I'd like to accomplish it. I really want to spend more time on things I enjoy this year, like blogging, taking photographs, cooking, daydreaming, catching up on my reading and working on my Pink Home creations. In fact, I think enjoyment is going to be my key theme this year. I'm going to spend my energies on people and things I enjoy.

I've already mapped out a plan for my blogs and have started keeping my camera charged again and actually using it, instead of snapping quick pictures all the time with my phone. I have also already started getting things ready to get my Pink Home Etsy shop re-opened ~ hence the touch-ups to my main web page ~ and will continue to work on that for the next few weeks until it's up and running. I really want to get The Pink Home started on the road to its full potential this year, so I'm going to focus quite a bit on that in the coming months.
In that same vein, I also really want to learn to sew properly this year. I mean, good enough to make curtains and pillows and things to sell in my shop, so I think this coming fall I'm going to take sewing lessons at one of the local colleges. They offer them then, so I'm going to save my money for classes and a machine.
There are other plans I'm mulling over for the year, but we'll talk more about those later. What about you? What would you like this year to bring?

I'm linking to:
Thursday Favorite Things at Katherines Corner

Monday, January 7, 2013

Ritual and relaxation in a cup of tea...

With Monday upon us and the world coming back to life in earnest this week after the holidays, I feel like reaching for the tea kettle. There is something soothing about the ritual of making tea ~ selecting which type I need most (am I upset, tired, having stomach trouble or just wanting a bit of comfort?), bringing the water to a rolling boil, adding just the right amount of honey (and possibly lemon), waiting for the tea to steep properly, then carrying it back to my desk ~ all in a lovely china tea cup, of course.
Even if you prefer coffee, or cocoa, deliberately take time for a few steaming cups of comfort this week. Observe the ritual and take your mind off whatever is bothering you the most for those few minutes (work, the kids, that fight you had with a loved one, a difficult project). Take a few deep breaths and simply rest.
I think sometimes we associate “rest” with a lengthy nap or a lazy afternoon or weekend, thus we talk ourselves out of it for lack of time. But really, we can take a few minutes for ourselves in the middle of a busy day and soothe our minds and body with a comforting ritual such as making ourselves a cup of tea. That, my friends, qualifies as a bit of rest.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The beauty (and promise) of a new year...

Happy 2013, everyone. A new year, fresh, full of promise and goals and dreams. A whole 365 days to begin anew, to create the life we want, whatever that may be, to fill our lives and hearts with beauty. Fifty-two weeks to spend time with our favorite people. Twelve months in which to delight in our favorite spaces, books, blogs, flowers, shows, indulgences. A new year to discover (or rediscover) what makes  our eyes shine. A chance to embrace beauty throughout our lives.
As I was thinking about the passing of the old year, I was struck by how glad I was, frankly, to see it go. Last year, while fruitful for me in many ways, did not go anywhere near like I hoped or dreamed it would. But then, you know what they say about the best-laid plans...
That got me thinking about what I could do differently in this new year. Last year things were so chaotic and busy with all the moving from one coast to the other and getting the house redecorated ~ so many things got pushed aside. As is usually, the case, the things that got pushed aside were the things I most enjoyed doing ~ creating and designing fabrics, taking pictures, writing articles, blogging, cooking, etc. Before I knew it, moving and redecorating had consumed my entire year. And as much as I love decorating and redecorating, it was also a tremendous amount of work.
On the bright side, all the time and creativity spent on those projects was worth it because they are done and our home is lovely. There will be no major redecorating or renovating this year and definitely no moving. And that means I can refocus on all the things I love but couldn't get to last year. I'll have time to dwell on a thought for more than a few minutes and days to do nothing but photograph a flower 200 times trying to find just the right angle. I'll be able to get back in the kitchen in earnest and plant an herb garden and sit on the porch and read. I'll have time to work on The Pink Home and get my Etsy shop re-opened.
You know, fun stuff.
I'll also be able to work on my writing and blogging more. I was thinking about what I'd like to do with my blog this coming year and it suddenly hit me that I'd like to use it to re-focus my energies and creativity. From that thought came the list below about different themes for each month that I'd like to explore on this blog ~ sort of a mindful stroll through the year as it passes.

January ~ Resting & Planning the Year
February ~ Love 
March ~ Starting Anew
April ~ Letting Spring Blossom
May ~ The Beauty of Seasonal Living
June ~ Blooming Where You're Planted
July ~ The Little Things
August ~ Summer Delight
September ~ Another Fresh Start
October ~ Autumn's Glory
November ~ The Beauty of the Kitchen
December ~ Rejoicing in the Holidays

I'll keep a list of the monthly themes on my sidebar, should you want to join the conversation. I'll be offering ideas and inspiration some of you might find helpful, so I hope you'll join me in 2013. It's going to be a very good year.

I am linking to:
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life
Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound
Seasonal Sundays at The Tablescaper
Sunlit Sundays at My Little Home and Garden

Photo by The Art of Living Beautifully