Home Decorating – Part 2?

I Love Swatches!

Paint Chips. Fabric Swatches. Samples of finishing materials. Wallpaper. You name it, I love it!

Being relatively old school, I am used to collecting ideas from magazines into a folder – if I didn’t keep the entire magazine. I also had a Special Place for paint chips, etc.

Now, however, I am not adverse to using idea boards like Pinterest or Shoptagr – or even building my own using Word – to collect ideas. Shoptagr has undergone some serious renovation and is a fantastic (and free) app to use for all kinds of projects where shopping is a necessary part.

These “Idea Books” provide a place, and a space, to see what I like, pinpoint what I prefer, discover colors and combinations that appeal, and basically get a visual of things I might want to incorporate into my home.

The beauty of this is that I don’t have to spend a lot of money on things I find I don’t care for or lose track of things I want to try.

At the most basic, this is a tool that you can use in any way you like in the way that works best for you.

One thing that is a bit of an ‘extra’ is that paint chips, wallpaper samples and fabric swatches can be used in craft projects. I recently came across a collection of cards using shapes that were either punched or die cut from paint chips. 😉

So, get out there and start collecting ideas, colors, possibilities, tips and tricks!

FOOTNOTE: I came across this article and had to share it with you: Before and After A Dated Kitchen… There are hundreds of thousands of homes just like this one where an update as simple as a can of paint can make huge impact. Personally, I love the color choices, the shift of the fan, the addition of the plants. Enjoy!

Puttering

No, not golf. 🙂

The process of recharging creative batteries. Rediscovering things you’d forgotten, or learning that you can do things you never thought possible.

This time of year is usually HOT, humid and often rainy. Just the kind of weather one doesn’t want to be out in. At least I don’t.

I’m of that age where creaky, cranky joints usually get their way when it comes to Big Projects. For example, my Library/Craft Room/Office needs a clear out and a bit of reorganization. The room is not big, but it is, shall we say, occupied by a lot of stuff. Stuff that requires being moved to accommodate the reorganization.

Thanks to the Current State of the World, a major clear out utilizing a few people and a truck is not an option. That leaves me. Now, I can shift and shuffle and move things about with reasonable ease. Sort of. (Much to the chagrin of my chiropractor…) But thanks to the state of said joints and the weather, I’m not that inclined to do a lot of shuffling about at the moment.

So, I putter. I have a couple of projects that I’ve been pondering since last Winter and now seems to be the Right Time to dive in.

I’m also getting reacquainted with some relatively old technology. My radio, for example. Actually there is a radio and then there is an old stereo with radio and CD player that has lived in a corner of the Library pretty much ignored for a while. Now that I’m also reacquainting myself with my CD collection, it seems to be getting a bit more use. 🙂 The radios work well considering signals are fussy things, especially in my neck of the woods. <shrug>

I recently pulled out one of my sewing machines to play a bit. (I’m still a bit taken aback by the mere fact that I own more than one.) The machine in question has a collection of built in stitches that fascinate me. I’m contemplating what they will look like on a quilt.

It wasn’t that long ago that I dug out my drill, switched to a screwdriver head and repaired my rocking chair.

The freedom of being able to do things yourself. It is an interesting thing. There are lots of things I can do for and by myself that I’d forgotten about. Simple things like repairing the arm of a chair that just needed a part replaced. Installing curtain rods. Building a piece of Do it Yourself furniture.

Puttering.

What projects or ponderings will you be puttering about?

Maymay’s Small Business Showcase

I wanted to share this with you today, rather than wait for my regular posting, because I think (a) the opportunity to see these amazing small businesses and their offering is fantastic and (b) Maymay has done a great service by offering to showcase them on her channel.

Times are difficult at the moment and when you have an opportunity to help out, and are able to do so, it is a double blessing when you can.

Check out the video, read the information provided and, if you enjoy what you’ve seen, drop a comment to Maymay. If you are interested in the various businesses, don’t hesitate to check out their sites.

I know I’ll be doing just that today!

Give Yourself Permission

A few weeks ago I came across an article about the need for some to be given permission to do pretty much anything. Around the same time, in a conversation with friends, the topic came up again and the general consensus was that for people younger than ourselves, there seemed to be a need to get an okay from someone to try new things.

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…

Dr. Seuss, Oh! The Places You’ll Go…

It may sound strange, but as I thought about it, it occurred to me that my generation was one of the last to just jump in and try things. We were the kids who watched the first space flights, the first moon walk, the first reaches beyond what we already knew. We were raised with the idea that anything is possible. What followed us was a group that seemed to be raised with the idea that maybe anything was possible, but the world was a dangerous and unpredictable place. Better safe than sorry.

Now, I understand – and to a degree agree with – the idea of the danger, but I think that perhaps we might have taken it a bit too far.

I’ve talked to folks who commented that thanks to inspiration from watching some YouTubers, they were inspired to get out and explore the world a bit. Starting with their own towns. Still others found themselves trying new things that some would consider hobbies, but for others are simply ways to get by. Cooking, cleaning, gardening, for example.

There is a lot in the world to be inspired by and to do. Travel, even limited, can lead to a broader knowledge of or, experience with, the history and people of an area. Culture in its many forms ties directly into our own individual histories.

We often don’t think about our favorite meals – the ones we had at Grandmother’s table – but those foods and flavors came from somewhere, right? When we start to dig into where the foods came from, often we discover other things about the people as well.

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

George Bernard Shaw

I submit to you that the idea “You can!” is real. It doesn’t really matter what “it” is, if you want to do it at least try. You may, or may not, succeed, but you won’t know for certain until you put in the effort. Should you decide that you don’t like it after all, fine.

As for the idea of “success”, I submit to you that your definition of success can, and probably should, be different from someone else’s definition of the term. It could be something as simple as a home cooked meal or a clean home or a garden that is bursting with color. It does not have to be winning a Nobel Prize if you are not interested in that.

My point is that you will never know what possibilities, what adventures, what you are capable of until you try – and the trying is up to you.

So, give yourself permission to explore, experiment, attempt, play, and all the other things that you have secretly wanted to do but were afraid to.

Let the adventures begin … now!

Putting It All Together

There is something extremely satisfying about taking bits and pieces and putting them together to make something new. Something wonderful. Something unexpected.

It’s not what happens to you, but how you handle it. If Life gives you lemons, make lemonade. If the lemons are rotten, take out the seeds and plant them in order to grow new lemons.

Louise Hay

One thing I, like millions of other folks, have discovered is that while the Rest of the World may be chaotic, focus on simple things, simple steps can restore peace and order.

Quilters take big pieces of fabric, cut it unto small pieces and the sew it to other small pieces to make a big piece once again.

Cooks and bakers combine ingredients to make things that not only feed your body, but your soul.

Musicians take sounds, combine them with other sounds and magic happens.

For some, this process is a new and potentially scary endeavor. For others the process is not only a necessary way of basic survival, but a trusted ally in good and bad times.

Sending you warm thoughts and virtual hugs.

Rediscovering

What to do when you’ve done it all. More than once.

By now some of us have baked far too much, cooked more than we thought we were capable of, cleaned until we can’t clean any more and have become bored by what we normally look forward to watching.

There is something special about rediscovering things you used to do, but for reasons no one remembers, you stopped doing.

Me? I pulled out my CD collection, turned on the DVD player and started rediscovering my music collection.

Streaming is a great option, but as many have discovered not everything is available to download or tuck into a playlist. My CD and DVD collections fill the gap left when what is available just isn’t interesting at the moment.

I have to admit, I do forget that my ancient DVD player has the capability to do more than play video. It is a nice surprise because not only does it allow me to play my music, it plays it through my TV which has pretty amazing speakers. Win/Win!

So far, I’ve pulled relaxing works to listen to. I may move into some soundtracks or rock and roll or <shrug> who knows?

What I do know is that there is something to occupy that space in my head that isn’t overwhelmed by all the outside noise. Not that the Outside Noise isn’t sometimes necessary, it is just a bit too much.

So, if you are feeling a bit lost and in need of Something Different, why not dig into your stash and see what treasures you can find to replace the Outside Noise and restore some joy?

Around The House

Or, How to Freak Out The Cat Without Trying

Today was a Finish Up Project Day. Why? I have no idea other than I just needed a change. 🙂

I finished clearing out the laundry area. This was done after steam cleaning the floors, putting shelving back into place and stocking it with a better organized group of Things I need To Have Handy But Don’t Need Every Day.

This project has been going on long enough Bella Cat discovered the Interesting Hidey Spot Beside and Behind the Dryer. It no longer exists as the shelving resides next to it and the steamer has a new home behind it. 🙂

As I mentioned floors have been steam cleaned, or vacuumed, depending upon location. Trash taken out. Dishes done. Laundry done – and (miracle!) out of the dryer.

Bella had been lounging on the bed when I started steaming the floors. Sadly, it was at that same moment she decided to see what I was up to. Picture: Cat stuck in doorway, terrified of The Thing in Mom’s hands. I finished what I was doing and she flew past me to come to a screeching stop in the Living Room and wonder what had happened to all the Stuff.

This cat Really Does Not Like Change and the afternoon was full of it. Smells were different. Spaces were no longer there. (!!!) Spaces were once again there. (!!!!) Windows were opened and fans on. That funny thing that made some noise but lots of funny air. And, let us not forget, the vacuum was out and about. Yikes!

Bella has once again discovered the Library window and has been enjoying every second possible watching Outside and napping while Mom Works.

She has also discovered the front door and has been seen stretching out to luxuriate in the sunshine.

I’m willing to think she has recovered from her stressful day. Me? I could use a nice glass of wine, a hot shower and a nap. 🙂

Bread Follow Up

As I mentioned yesterday, I have a very old Sears machine that I love.

When I moved, this machine lived in storage for far too long, and as a result I ended up buying a different machine for the interim. When the storage locker was cleared, the second machine went to the second hand shop with my blessing. It made great dough, it was a lousy baking machine.

My machine, old as it is, does all the functions perfectly.

If you are considering a machine, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a good machine. Good Housekeeping has done a great review on 6 Best Bread Machines to consider.

Why buy a machine instead of making bread by hand? You can have flexibility to create bread while doing something else entirely. (You don’t do all your laundry by hand, right? Same principle.) You have control of the ingredients in the bread. No additives or chemicals to keep it shelf stable. If you have dexterity issues, the machine takes the “work” out of the process.

If you are considering a machine, please keep in mind you will need space to use and space to store the machine.

Whatever you decide, good luck!

Spring Has Arrived!

Ever since I first moved to California, Spring arrived with Naval Oranges.

Now, for some that might sound a bit odd, but please consider. Southern California has basically one, maybe two, seasons. Summer and Wet Summer. After a while, unless the Weather Angel gets a bit on edge, it is pretty much the same, day after day.

For a girl from the Midwest, who was used to having Four Entire Seasons, this was…a touch confusing. I could totally lose track of where we were in the year simply because there was nothing to highlight the changes.

Outside my window, the trees were either Evergreens or Palms. And then one year I went to San Francisco in October and was totally blown away by all the red, yellow and orange leaves. Yep, San Francisco has trees that are not Palm Trees. Wow! I’d forgotten what Fall looked like.

My dad thought I was nuts, but he also thought that 40 degree weather isn’t “cold”, either. To be honest, from his point of view when the weather got down to the 20’s that was cold. If it did that in Southern California people would be in shock, if not the hospital.

Anyway, back to Spring. Today I got my First of the Year Naval Oranges.

With all the things going on right now, that small touch of sweetness brought a bit of normal back. Better than flowers in the yard. Better than blue skies. Better than warm temperatures. Better than chocolate.

I hope you find what makes Spring for you. Enjoy it. Embrace it.