With spring on the way, start thinking about how you can freshen up your outdoor spaces so you can enjoy them. Being 75 degrees here today, it had me thinking about enjoying the warmer weather to come. A friend of mine recently updated her outdoor wicker with fresh cushions made of Sunbrella fabric. I love how she used several complementary patterns and mixed and matched. The colors really pop out at you when stepping out onto the porch. She used the foam that she had from the cushions she bought at Lowe's and simply had them recovered. From my experience with Subrella, it really holds up. If we know there is going to be a bad storm or a lot of rain, we usually move the cushions on our uncovered patio into our garage, but the ones on our back porch have withstood the elements. I highly recommend this fabric and every season they come out with new fun and bright patterns.
I came across this definition of clutter that can be found in Karen Kingston's book Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui. Here are her four categories of clutter:
Things you do not use or love
Things that are untidy or disorganized
Too many things in too small a place
What might be clutter to another may not be clutter to you. However, I do think it is very helpful to hire a professional organizer as an impartial party to help you go through your stuff. Sometimes it helps just asking yourself "Do I love this and use it?"--if you don't, toss it. Try not to think about the "some day" or "someone special gave this to me"--I think these are the biggest traps we all fall into. The space your clear by getting rid of what you don't need will allow you to enjoy what you do love and use all the more. My brother's family used a method that worked for them getting rid some of the clutter in their home. Once a week they would set a timer for twenty minutes and would go through the house clearing clutter. It's amazing what can happen if you make this part of your routine.
I love looking for decorating and storage ideas in local antique markets. Here in Mt. Pleasant, we have a great one that happens to be called "Antiques Market" on Coleman Blvd. I like to breeze through every once in a while and spot things that I think are great. I hope this will inspire you to do the same. Recently I posted a vintage floral painting and I couldn't help but go back and get it for myself. It is now hanging in my breakfast room and I love it! Here are some more finds: blue and white ceramics for decorating, a white wooden shelf for a little girls' room, a beautiful sailboat painting (would be great in a boy's room), amber glass canisters (very inexpensive, and a nice vintage look), a boy and boat print, and a red hutch with beautiful red and white plates in it.
A friend of mine, another DIYer just painted light blue stripes on the walls of her guest room just to add a little interest. She said the project did not take long at all--one day she took an hour or two to measure and tape, and the next day she painted the stripes. What a great and inexpensive way to change things up a little! She is thinking about one day making it a little boy's room, and maybe hanging a cool surfboard on the wall. I love it!
One of my neighbor's homes could be used for a photo shoot on any given day of the week. It seems to always be in perfect order. When over visiting recently I was admiring how she arranged her bookshelves by placing the books in horizontal stacks. She got the idea from my friend Kari who is a professional organizer. I think my shelves have too many books to arrange them like this, but we keep them in a library/study so it is a little bit different. I still like the idea of arranging books by color for a pretty neat aesthetic effect (I have pictures of this on an older post). The built-ins in my friend's home are in her main living area so she wanted them to be totally pleasing to the eye. I really love how she has left so much white space and has filled in-between the stacks with various objects, pictures, and collectibles. Hats off to her. She is also a real DIYer so stay tuned for some pictures I have taken of things that she has found at Habitat for Humanity for very cheap and refurbished to make them look brand new and very expensive.
I just saw in the latest Pottery Barn Kids catalogue that you can send in your kids' artwork to have it transferred onto canvas. I thought this was a great idea and would love to try it. Or I guess you could just give your kids a canvas and let them go at it. I was also wondering who does paper mache projects with their kids and whose play rooms look neat as a pin. I really love the blog "whatever" which can be found at: http://megduerksen.typepad.com/whatever/ because she posts pictures of real life--not staged. Come on guys, a house with kids can never be as neat as they show in catalogs and magazines. So give yourself a break sometimes. Here are two pictures from the "whatever" blog, that show you what I am talking about. The last picture I just love though--I first saw it on Apartment Therapy. This is the whatever blog writer's playroom/reading nook. The vintage look is awesome and I am very inspired by her use of book covers and illustrations as art.
While trying to come up with some ideas for making labels for baskets, I found these on etsy.com. What a great idea. I've seen the chalkboard labels myself (my son has them on his train table drawers), but these are extra cute. To find them go to etsy.com and go to the "Chalkydoodles" shop. She also sells a chalkboard pen that would make writing on the labels much easier. Etsy is such an awesome site for purchasing homemade items.
I am now a stay at home mom but in my former life I was a French teacher--I have my B.A., M.A., and A.B.D. (next step to Ph.D. in French literature). I love teaching and miss it but in the meantime I am enjoying operating a part-time home organizing and design business. Contact me for more info if you are interested!