Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Calm

Even more important than diagnosing one's personal design style, is deciding how you want your home to make you feel.  In the past, I have dabbled in a few different design styles, but I have always striven to create a space that is calm and peaceful for my family. Restlessoasis, am I right? These spaces do just that for me:
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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

living simply, my ongoing journey

When I first set out to read a book a month this year, I did not have specific books in mind.....it sort of evolved as friends loaned me books they were reading or as my interest was peaked about certain books. But now that I'm nearly 6 months into the year, I can look back and easily detect a theme- less things, less on the calendar, less social media......just less of it all. I don't think it started with the books I've been reading, but with moving to an expensive area (supposedly only after after San Francisco and NY), living in a smaller space, and wanting to be intentional about what I bring into it. When we lived in Indiana, I was still very conservative with purchases by most standards, but I was not forced to think "where will this go?". We had a huge walk in closet that could have been the size of a small nursery or office, and 2800 sq feet. Thankfully we were aware that we would not live in that house long term and did not attempt to "fill it up" so to speak......Connor made our dining table and a book case for the office that were cheap and could be used outdoors some day down the road, and we were fine with having empty corners. Looking back though, I realize that I wasn't super intentional about the smaller purchases like the $20 variety from Target, or a shirt here and there. Now that we are in Boston, I can feel a shift in the air of how I want to live.
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So, what have I been reading around that theme? Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist, Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner, Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist, The Life-Chainging Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, and currently The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees. If you were sitting in my living room I could go on and on about each one of these books (I loved them all for different reasons), but again, it also started before reading these books when we moved to Boston and we could not comfortably fit a lot of furniture in our home. We stored a few things that we loved (because we are renting and didn't want to sell everything), but a lot of furniture we sold- mostly things that I liked but didn't love ....even sentimental things. Each time we sold something it felt like a huge load was lifted off. As I started taking less trips to Target because I didn't want to spend money unnecessarily and didn't have any more space for things, I also started buying less "small" purchases online, and there was more time in my life because I wasn't running as many errands to return things. Life was made more simple because of this in a lot of ways. I don't think I realized  how much time those things took up until they were removed from my life. In her book Present over Perfect, Shauna Niequist talks about how the amount of time we spend "managing our stuff", whether it's cleaning and organizing those things or running errands to buy/return those things. This is something that really rang true to me as I looked back over the past year and saw how much more time was added to my life just by living simpler.

Here's the thing with minimalism and slow living....it's trendy right now. I have no desire to buy a tiny house, and I will probably not limit myself to a specific number of items in my closet, but I do think I am moving in the direction of a slower paced life and I think that there is something to be said about living that way. First and foremost, there's more time. More time with people you love, more time to do the things that you love. There's less time spent picking out what I'm going to wear for the day, because I have fewer items....I'm still in the process of doing this, but the idea is that what's left in my closet are only favorite items.
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I've been really torn with my feelings regarding instagram lately. Instagram tends to celebrate more.....the more beautiful clothes you have, the more exciting things that you do, and the more new things you buy oftentimes make for more beautiful and interesting instagram feeds. In fact, fashion bloggers have to showcase new material that is available for followers to purchase now (last year's shoes will not do) , so they have to constantly be purchasing (or be gifted) new clothes just to keep it all going. At least interior designers can use client's homes to show new material. As one who follows and has benefited from a number of fashion bloggers and  various creators, I'm not dismissing what they bring to the table, just seeking balance in my own life. I have started to be more intentional about which feeds I follow.....asking myself which ones are focused on celebrating life vs. ones that make me want more.  It's completely subjective, because the answers would vary from person to person, but these are questions I'm starting to ask myself.

Because it's trendy, I think there is a danger that being minimal can become the new standard for things. Such as, you are not living life well unless you live it this way. I don't agree with that message at all. First and foremost, I realize that I come from a place of privilege to even talk about living slower....I don't have to manage two jobs just to make ends meet. Men and women that do that to provide for their families have my utmost respect. The older I get, the more I realize how many different cultures and backgrounds people come from and I don't think being minimal necessarily benefits everyone, and it should never be a new standard for judging others. There are seasons of life where you are in survival mode (and depending on the girls and the amount of sleep I'm getting, I move in and out of that season), there are seasons when your schedule is full because it has to be (doctors appointments, illness, taking care of a loved one etc..), but for me slow living means that I don't over-schedule unnecessarily. I have close friends who live beautiful lives and are incredible mothers and are present with their families who would not be categorized as "minimalists" and I respect and admire them and love the lives that they lead. I don't even think my own life would be truly categorized as "minimalist" by a lot of people. I just realize that I am happier with less and when I live more simply my focus is not on accumulating more because it's focused on enjoying what I already have. For those of you who have hung in there for this whole thing, that's really what I'm getting at. I promise less words and more pictures next post...


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Paint Splattered Napkins

Well, I was supposed to share these pretty napkins prior to Easter to use for an Easter table setting, but as is often the case with DIYs,  it was a total failure the first time around. I used fabric dye instead of fabric paint, thinking the results would be the same......but was I wrong. After ironing them and getting dye all over my ironing board cover and washing them and getting dye all over my washing machine....we had to throw them out because they looked so awful. It happens. Sometimes I think the lesson behind creating is to keep pressing on, past all the setbacks. Both times in creating these napkins, I let Reese help me. She loves creating as much as I do, and when possible I always try to include her in projects. It makes her so proud when she sees that item being used or on display in our home, and the process is always a special mom/daughter time with her. I will say, we had to do this while Charlie was asleep-otherwise it would have been a real disaster.
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We laid down a huge drop cloth and the napkins flat on top of it. I put a smock on Reese, and we both wore gloves. After filling a plastic cup with the fabric paint, I added water so that it was easier to "splatter".  
 We put our fingertips in the cup and after getting a small amount of paint, we "flicked" the paint off onto the napkins. At the start, I encouraged Reese to do small drops on the napkins only to find out that she liked the "big ones". Ha! She's always reminding me that she is her own artist, and I let her do her thing after that. Now that they are finished, I have to say that I kind of agree with her. 

What you'll need: disposable gloves, plastic cup, drop cloth, napkins (I used these), fabric paint


After letting them fully dry (24hrs), iron the backs of the napkins to set the paint. While maybe late for Easter, but I think these will be fun for summer dinner parties or outdoor entertaining.





Thursday, April 27, 2017

Blush & Green

We recently transitioned Charlie to a twin bed, and surprisingly (because it was only like what, 2.5 years ago with Reese?) we had forgotten what a complete transition that is......for everyone's sleep. Can you hear my panic? Maybe I'm imagining it, but I think we are slowly making progress. Anyways, one thing that helps me keep my mind off of the feeling of "what did we just do?!" is focusing on designing the girls bedroom without the crib. Recently, I've been drawn blush and green, whether it's a grey/green or a deep fern green.....I'm loving it all.
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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Some News

Hey guys, I'm excited to share something that has been in the works for the past month.....I've joined the Homepolish design team here in Boston! I'm still going to be here on the blog, still taking e-design and in-person design clients, just adding Homepolish to the mix. Along those lines, I thought I would share one of my latest projects with you:
I love everything about this room, but for me the rug and the Kara Rosenlund art print really pull everything together. And If you have any projects you need help with I'd love to help- just shoot me an email. 










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Thursday, April 6, 2017

DIY Mussel Shell Place cards

As mentioned before, I'm hosting Easter this year! I couldn't be more excited to have my parents in town to experience Easter with the girls. Last summer and fall, the girls and I collected tons of mussel shells from the beach near our house, and have been gradually putting them to use. The natural blue ombre in mussel shells is so gorgeous, and I loved idea of incorporating them in our Easter tablescape. Using this pen, I created these pretty place cards for the table. As you can see in the bottom picture, due to the shine of the shell it is tricky to pick up the lettering on camera, but in person they are so so pretty.
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Though I plan on trading out the dried Eucalyptus for fresh greens/flowers, this is the general idea. I used one of my old scarves as a table runner, and there you go! Simple. 



Friday, March 17, 2017

5 Simple Table design tips for the person who would rather meal plan

When I found out I was hosting Easter this year, my first thoughts went to how I was going to design the table, not the menu. I know- so backwards for most people. While I love all aspects of hosting, the tablescape is definitely my favorite part. And though the most important part of hosting is enjoying your company, I do think a pretty table adds to the experience. I have found that people generally have one of two attitudes towards a beautiful table- the first is one of "oohs and ahh" and excitement to be a part of a special dinner, and the second is a roll of the eyes with a "who are you trying to impress" or a "too much work" sort of attitude. After some time feeling the need to apologize to the latter group for my love of beautiful design (including a pretty dinner table), I have come to embrace it. This is who I am, without trying to impress people, I just really love pretty dinners and it's my way of showing my guests how much I care for them. I also realize that designing a pretty table can be really intimidating for most people, so I thought I would break it down to the basics and dispel the rumor that a pretty table has to be an expensive one:
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1. White tablecloth. I think everyone should have at least one white tablecloth. I have a linen one (old from ikea) that I love and use again and again. Here's one for $12.

2. Greens and/or flowers. Trader Joes is your best friend if you have one near you, they have beautiful/cheap options. If you are on a tight budget, I would opt for greens over flowers......they make such a big impact, and you can use them in the place settings (like the picture above), as a centerpiece, or even draped around a chandelier/lighting. Most florists (even grocery florists) have them on hand even if they aren't displayed- just ask!


3. Something shiny. I prefer gold or brass candlesticks, but this could be vases, napkin rings, or chargers. Thrift stores or flea markets are a great place to find unique items for less, but etsy is also a great option. These are pretty. This past Christmas, I even spray painted a glass bottle gold- just get creative!


4. Versatile glasses. I personally think that stemless wineglasses are perfect. You can use them for wine or not, and they are simple enough for everyday use.


5. Cloth napkins. Ok, these can get pricey-but they don't have to! This is a cheap option, and I have these and use them often. If you are using a white tablecloth, different colored napkins are a good idea. I used my Ikea dishtowels for Thanksgiving this past year and they looked pretty. H&M Home has a great selection of table linens at an affordable price. Another idea for napkins, is to mix and match and accumulate a collection over time (see my collection below). Napkins can be styled a number of different ways- rolled up on the plate with a pretty ribbon or ring, folded under the plate, folded next to the plate, or made into a pretty shape on top of the plate. If it's stressing you out- choose something simple.





* I have white dishes and I do think their simplicity makes it easy to play around with many different tablescapes, but they aren't a necessity.