Happy Friday!

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday! I love Friday’s. I look forward to Fridays. I always have. I raised my children on “Happy Fridays”. Sometimes I would buy an unexpected treat just to celebrate the completion of a busy week and the beginning of a two day break.

Just in case you may not be in a happy state as you start your weekend perhaps a listen to “Happy” by Pharrell might do the trick. It’s my new personal anthem because it’s an instant mood booster.

What song do you claim as your personal anthem?

Happy Weekend!

How Do You Get Into the Zone?

How Do You Get Into the Zone?

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girl with brushes

I wanted to share with you my last read, The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro. I loved it! Even though my book club met two weeks ago, I can’t stop thinking about the main character, Claire Roth, a struggling artist who supplemented her non-existent income by painting reproductions of well known artist to sell on reproduction.com. She lost her credibility in the art community when she made the decision to paint a painting for her married professor boyfriend who was lost in an artistic manic episode in an effort to save his reputation. However, it all backfired propelling her to take part in an illegal forging scheme at the promise of her own art show. Claire struggles with internal and external judgement of being considered a master artist or master forger.

But why can’t I get Claire Roth out of my head? Probably because I can relate to her creative abilities and her intense painting sessions where she could stay in the present moment and create despite all the chaos and drama in her life. Here are a few excerpts:

“The shower cleans the sweat and the odor of fear from my skin, but it does nothing to wash away the residual emotions smoldering inside my body. Once I start painting though, the feelings disappear.”

“As the excitement grows at the thought of working on my own paintings, I push myself even more. I’ve taken to sleeping in multiple, short stretches during both night and day, upsetting my natural circadian rhythms and further cutting myself off from the cadence of the world…………I remain in the zone for longer periods of time than I ever believed possible.”

“When he leaves, I go right back to work. the zone is the safe place for me now.”

I can identify with that zone, that creative place one can go to escape, a place to take a mini break from everyday life and just be, reconnecting with who you are, all the while, filling your internal cup. Like Claire, who gets into her zone when painting, I am in my zone. of course, when I dabble in DIY and pursue my creative pursuits. It’s an important part of who I am. It’s cathartic, my respite and my heaven on earth.

Can you relate? What do you get lost in? How do you get into “the zone”?

The Meaningful Memories of Our Lives

The Meaningful Memories of Our Lives

In my continued quest to scrutinize all my home’s belongings, it is now time to deal with the ephemera of or lives.

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This, by far, will be the toughest challenge. I have saved a lot of snippets from my children’s lives and have my own memory boxes filled with the remnants of my life too. Letters (who gets those anymore), programs, cards and …….. There’s a lot and way too much to continue storing.

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The good thing is it is it’s all organized and much of it is labelled or in folders and archival boxes. And then there are the photos.

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Trust me, that’s not all of them, there’s more. I attempted a few albums here and there. however, the majority are in photo boxes rarely viewed. That doesn’t serve me or my family. I can do better.

So I’ve decided to reevaluate, purge, reorganize, digitize and assemble these meaningful remnants of our lives in a way that can be appreciated. I want to create containable stories of our lives that we can peruse instead of having to pull them from boxes in a closet to reminisce.  And so I have been perusing the internet looking for ideas and advice. I encountered this divide between those that save everything and those that save very little or nothing.

Aside from report cards and awards, I plan to ask my children what they value and evokes meaningful memories. And I’m sure this report on Mesopotamia won’t make the cut..

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I want it to be about them and for them. And if they don’t want to be bothered in the decision making  then I will have to rely on my own discretion. Hopefully,  a memory box, a binder and a photo album should suffice. The rest will be digitized and only a click away from their viewing pleasure if they would like  to take an all inclusive trip down memory lane. art page I get paralyzed by the artwork, though. I just love these chalk prints. Their masterpieces in my mind. I know, I know,  it’s not about me, it’s about them.

art page evan

 

 

I titled this one “boy floating in water”. I framed and hung it up on No 2 Son’s bedroom wall.

 

 

 

He painted it some time ago and has since taken it down and replaced it with this one. That’s a tell tale sign of what’s important, wouldn’t you say?

 

 

 

And it has gone beyond my children and extended it to my nephews and their basketball careers.

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My sister’s youngest is currently playing for the Boston Celtics.

And then there’s the sand art No. 1 son and I did together.  He was both Batman and Robin for Halloween. Hmmm, the creative wheels just started turning!  These might be  a nice added touch to a scrapbook page!

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Once framed and hung, I recently discovered.a poster from elementary school in the recesses of a closet. That handsome guy with the missing teeth is now  23 years old.

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It’s going to be hard to let go of some things, but it’s time and very necessary. I know it  will be in our best interest  to downsize our family’s memories into treasured keepsakes, manageable and in plane view, for our everyday enjoyment.

Okay so now it’s your turn!  Can you relate to any of this? Do you have a tough time letting go of life’s remnants and ephemera of yesteryear? What are your secrets for both enjoying and containing the memories? Please leave a comment below, I would love to know your thoughts.

 

 

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My Home is Almost Cured!

My Home is Almost Cured!

I haven’t been online too much because I am trying to keep up with my assignments for the Apartment Therapy January Cure; I started it at the same time I vowed to explore minimalism; actually both work hand in hand beautifully and shoving things in a drawer or closet is no longer an option.

So this past weekend, the assignment was to deep clean the living room. It wasn’t too difficult because my living room was already in a good place. To be true to the assignment,however, I did move all the furniture and vacuumed thoroughly including the baseboards. I’m still in the process of doing a family photo collage wall (Assignment 6 Making Your Home Your Own: Prep Artwork for Framing & Display). Haven’t located all the photos just yet and have to paint some of the frames but I’m just glad that I am on my way.
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I recently did a collage on the other wall after painting, but I’m altering that as well. I guess I have a thing for collage walls; perhaps because they can be rearranged and edited pretty easily.

Assignment #12 was bedroom  and wardrobe cleaning which I blogged about here and almost completed with the exception of my closet. Oh my closet, as tiny as it is, was a disaster. I’ll spare you the before pic. I took everything out and dove in.

 

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As I mentioned in a previous post, I want to try Project 333, limiting your wardrobe to 33 pieces of clothing for 3 months. You can read more about it here. It’s suppose to include shoes, but I didn’t take it that far, although I did downsize my shoes collection and donated 10 pairs and plan to list a couple I never wore on Ebay. The beauty of the Project 333 challenge is you can adjust it to your comfort level. There are no hard and fast rules. You decide what works or doesn’t work for you. So here’s my tiny closet that makes me smile each and every time I open it!

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I now have empty hangers!  And the top shelf  is devoted to most of my out of season clothing stored in those two grey totes.

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Assignment # 15, Declutter and Organize Bathroom Cabinets Cleanout,  which includes the linen closet, since there’s just no storage space in our pint size bathroom. Let.s just say it was another disaster that happened over time.

 

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You can see why it took me the better part of the day to get the job done and restore order.

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And yes, my heart sings once again. I’m in love with the order of it all.

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For those of you who may not know, square footage is a premium when it comes to New York real estate. I just went to an estate sale this past weekend. The home looked fine from the outside, but the entire inside needs to be gutted and the unfinished basement has some serious water and foundation issues; it was over-the-top moldy. The asking price is $869K. Realistically speaking, it would take at least $250K to fix it up. I know I digressed but I just wanted to explain why the majority of us live in tight spaces, real estate is very expensive. Even the million dollar homes are small and can still need work.

Back to the linen closet , would you believe I found a pair of my earrings stuffed in a bag of toiletries, left over from one of our family travels? They almost got thrown away!

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Here’s my outbox, a designated spot to put things to be donated tossed or waiting for a new home, looked like after a few of my assignments and decluttering sessions.

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I dropped off most of it off over the weekend. And a local animal hospital was as happy to take my old sheets and towels as I was keeping it out of the landfill. Yeah!

Flowers area a part of the weekend assignments so I picked up some from  Trader Joe’s. Their flowers are reasonably priced and I usually separate them and make two arrangements. One for the dining room table

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and one for the bedroom.

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Although this is the last week for the cure, I have a ways to go. The room by room project list I created at the start of the cure will take a while to complete. But in the meantime, everything is looking up! My home is almost cured and I am steps closer to my goal, keeping only what truly matters:)

 

 

Making Progress

Making Progress

Well I am making progress following Apartment Therapy January Cure and my quest to embrace minimalism. Although I am not completing all the assignments as scheduled, I am making a world of difference in my home and retaining only those items that serve me and donating the rest. Speaking of donating, I found a couple of new places like Project Linus, which takes quilting fabric donations and the New York Public Housing Authority which takes furniture and household items for  residents in need. It takes a litte effort and a few phone calls to locate the right places; however, it is well worth it. Not only does it  spear the landfill, it also is helpful to people who need help.

Back to the Apartment Therapy January cure, I decided t spend a day restoring my bedroom to it’s former glory. It never got back to normal after painting it.

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This says it all. Aside from the messy desk, notice the headboard behind the chair. It never got attached to the bed after the bed was moved to the front of the window. How sad. Never rehanged the curtains, mostly because I didn’t want to use the same ones that I had taken down.

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And the shelves have become overloaded with too much stuff.

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I belong to a book club and  I donated most of the ones stacked back there.

So, I tidied up the desk and vowed to stop  using it as a dumping ground anymore. Those vertical surfaces are so inviting and become magnets for anything and everything, don’t they?

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Attached the headboard to the frame.

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By the way, this headboard used to look like this.

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You can see the transformation here

Next, I tackled the shelving and got rid of the excess clutter.

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So much better now.  Changed the lower fabric containers since they were getting a little too floppy with these sturdy replacements.

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I didn’t bother to style the shelves in my effort to keep it real. The books, binders and paperwork hidden away in the magazine holders are used regularly.

As  for the drapes, I have amassed a large collection of drapes over the years but,I just wanted something different and my color and design aesthetic is changing AGAIN. I was  a  brown, cream, blue fanatic, however, these days I gravitate more toward all shades of blue, various shades of white and cream for a  more airy and soothing pallete. And, I am only interested in furniture and  furnishings that are versatile and will work in almost any room. I like to have the ability to mix it up when the creativity juices start flowing..

So I  hung these Ikea sheer curtains I haven’t used for a while.

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I love them! In the daytime especially because they let all the light in.

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And now, I have a blank canvas to work with. The board you see leaning on the desk, actually there are two,  will serve as my inspiration boards.  I need to hang them and decide what else to hang on the other walls as well.

 

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Also want to purchase some adjustable arm lighting fixtures for each side of the bed. Just haven’t found any that I like just yet.

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Oh and yes, those temporary vinyl shades need to be replaced; yet another thing that i have procrastinated about all because I keep changing my mind about what type of shade to get. Lastly, although I changed the dust ruffle, I didn’t get around to changing the rest of the linens. I have a collection of shams, blankets, quilts and throws to choose from. As you may have guessed, I have a thing for linens and I have to get in check because they take up way too much space and conflict with my new minimalist mindset. A lot has already been donated. Future purchases will be scrutinized or maybe I will just stay out of the home stores because, quite honestly, I’m a linnen addict.

For now, I’m just glad the bedroom is decluttered and ready for the final touches.

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How about you? Any decluttering or changes going on in your home?

Off to a Good Start

Off to a Good Start

I signed  up with Apartment Therapy’s Janurary Cure. It is a step-by-step guide to getting your home on track. As instructed,  I compiled my room by room project list. This weekend,  I took full advantage of being snowed in and decided to start in my boiler room clean out. It was a little overwhelming and I spent all day Saturday and Sunday sorting through fabric, trim, patterns, craft supplies and a host of other household stuff that got thrown in there because it was easier to do so rather then find a proper place elsewhere.  As a result, it became a catch all area that got out of control.

After some very strong internal dialog with myself, I began the process of letting go of the my unused creative stuff I got real with myself and packed it up to be donated to Material for the Arts which provides arts supplies to public schools and non profit organizations with performing arts programs. The rest of the household items will be donated to Savers and The Salvation Army, all to be dropped off ASAP because I want it gone!

So this is what it looks like now.

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It still has a ways to go, however,  it is the unfinished part of the basement. I’m ecstatic that I can see the floor again. Once the entire space is totally decluttered, Mr. DIY and I have plans to make it into an organized functional workspace.

By the way, if you are not impressed with the  picture above, perhaps you will be after you lay your eyes on the the before pic.
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Be honest, did it make you gasp? If it did, take a minute to catch your breath. Just wanted to keep it real. I m sure some of you can relate to  trouble zones such as these, whether it’s a junk drawer, catch all space or overcrowded garage. It’s something that just creeps up on you, festers and turns into an out of control beast. Perhaps I’m being a little dramatic but the trouble areas in my home are disturbing to my overall well being. Thankfully, I’m on my way  to turning all that around and enjoying the ride to only having what matters.

Do you have  a trouble spot in you home?

Happy 2014!

Happy 2014!

 

2014

I have a real good feeling that 2014 is going to be a great year for everyone, including you! Although I am always optimistic, this year I am over-the-top optimistic and I’m welcoming the feeling with open arms because it feels good . Every year, I take time to reflect on the past year and think about what I want to focus on in the coming new year.

This year, I decided to focus on separating what really matters from the things that no longer serve me and hampers my creativity. My creative abilities and insight is a huge part of who I am and serves me in my everyday life. Recently, I discovered a collection of podcasts at Untitled Minimalism containing very meaningful discussions about living life to the fullest.  The timing couldn’t have been any more perfect for me. By the way, please don’t let the name  or subject matter deter you; the discussions go way beyond eliminating the excess in our lives. After listening to several of the podcasts, my take away has been a heightened clarity about how meaningless stuff interferes with your life’s true path.

Spending way too much time looking for something I know I have but can’t find because it got lost in an abyss of clutter in our two problem areas, the unfinished part of our basement and the garage doesn’t serve me. Both areas have turned into a chaotic nightmare that is both overwhelming and anxiety inducing. Realizing that when you have a home, even a small one like ours, it enables one to save stuff, too much stuff, for a “maybe one day” that might never happen. What’s the point? It’s my hope and mission to have in my home only what matters.  I intend to spend the year scrutinizing everything, deciding if it has purpose and whether it serves our family. If the answer is no, it got’s to go! Hey that rhymes:) Nothing will be off limits, including my creative supplies; trust me, that’s going to be very hard but I’m ready for the challenge!  I even plan to whittle down my wardrobe even though it is fairly small to begin with. I rather have a few pieces that I wear consistently than hold on to things that rarely see the light of day and may be of use to someone in need.

As always, I plan to take a creative approach to my first steps to a clutter controlled life. You see, I always fantasize about living in a one room cottage surrounded by nature.

dream cottage
courtesy of tinyhouselistings.com

with and outdoor area that looks like this

outdoor bliss

I will keep these retreats in mind as I scrutinize my belongings. Furniture aside, I will keep only the meaningful items that I would actually take to my fantasy dream cottage. I sure hope you will check back regularly to see how I am progressing. Yes, 2014 is going to be a good year!

What are your plans for the new year? Wishing you a very Happy and Blessed New Year!

Belated Holiday Greetings!

Belated Holiday Greetings!

Post holiday greetings! I hope that you had a blessed holiday and are looking forward to the New Year. Although I adore this time of year, the holidays always seems to get the better of me. Even though my children are older, 22 and 12, and Christmas this year was very simple, I still found myself turning into the energizer bunny running on E. However, the many hours of preparation and endless tasks are a small price to pay for the joy and love floating in the air.  And the beautiful lights and decorations everywhere make my heart sing!

Speaking of decorations, I did manage to almost finish my vintage ornament wreath at the 11th hour on Christmas Eve. It was my Christmas gift to myself.  And here it is:

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I love it!  Although, I had 100+ ornaments, I still had to do another thrift store run halfway through. I had too many gold ones and not enough silver. However, as you might already know, you can’t go to a thrift store and expect to find just what you’re looking for. I did find another box of pretty teal blue ornaments though, and incorporated them into the wreath as well. As for the silver ones I needed more of, I decided to strip some of the gold ones I already had.

strip ornament IMG_9827

Most vintage ornaments are usually silver on the inside no matter what color they happen to be on the outside.
After a few seconds in water, the color film crinkles and peels right off. But in order to retain the silver on the inside you have to avoid getting water inside the ornament. However, if a little gets in by mistake that okay too; If you pour it out quickly it might result in a mercury glass look like this one.

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Just know that it’s not an exact science and requires some experimentation. As for my wreath, I still have a few more spaces to fill. From afar the gaps are not too noticeable but close up they stand out like a sore thumb. When I take it down, I will fill them in at my leisure.

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While working on it,  I had a lot of casualties; some of the ornaments rolled  right over the edge of my work surface and shattered into a gazillion pieces. I will definitely have to wrap it in bubble wrap and find a sturdy box to store it in because it is very fragile. I think if I make another one, perhaps, I can find some vintage looking shatter proof ornaments instead. I’m not sure if there is such a thing but the new glittery ornaments in stores today just don’t do it for me.

As for our Christmas tree, my selection turned into a teachable and reaffirming experience. My intent was to have a cute table top tree instead of using our pre lit one. I wanted to try something different.  The tree I bought home, however,  turned out to be too big for a table top and too small for the floor. So I stacked it up on a crate to give it a little more height and called it our Charlie Brown tree. LOL. The poor thing sat bear until two days before Christmas. Finally, I asked my sons to have at it. I added a few pine cones and ribbon trim and,voila,

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our too-big to-be-on-the-table and  too-small-to-be-on-the-floor Christmas tree that can’t be taken too seriously.

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The last couple of years, I’ve been learning the importance of going with the flow and allowing what will be to be. The strive for perfection is so overrated and I have decided to move on and choose a different path. And although that path may be filled with many unfamiliar twists and turns, I am embracing and appreciating the imperfect goodness and uncertainty along the way. Each step brings me closer to the authentic life I want to lead.

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Between Naps on the Porch:Metamorphosis Monday

I Found Gold!

I Found Gold!

I found gold, vintage gold that is. I was in Home Depot and something told me to stop in the Salvation Army store a few blocks away. I am so glad I listened  to that inner voice because I found all of these beauties sitting on the shelves waiting for me.

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Wait, let me zoom into these colorful beauties.

 

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When I spotted them I was in ornament heaven! In their original boxes and MADE IN AMERICA! Wow! I love how some are really showing their vintage age..

 

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And look at these beautiful shades of blue. I love, I love.

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Only one green and three red,. but don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining.

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Now I have what I need to make a vintage ornament wreath. I decided to use a straw wreath like Virginia used over at   Live Love DIY. She filled in every nook and cranny so there’s no evidence of the wreath form underneath.

Live Love DIY ornament wreath colorful

I just have to purchase a wreath form. All out at the closest Michaels. I will have to try another location and, hopefully, I will be able to start working on a vintage ornament wreath of my very own.. Wish me luck!

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