I have continued a legacy that my dad started: garbage-picking. Well, not garbage-picking per se; rather, a delight in secondhand items.
My dad would take pleasure in shamelessly sifting through curbside items, dressed in the blue jumpsuit he wore when doing dirty work and car repairs. Most times, he took home electronic items like computers and radios, as he was a ham radio operator. My fondest memory of his garbage-picking skills is the Easy Bake Oven he procured for me as a young girl. Knowing it would be a great “just-because” gift, he brought it home, cleaned it up, and repaired it before giving it to me.
I don’t think most of us kept using those Easy Bake Ovens once we learned how loooong it took to bake such a tiny treat. But the love behind my dad’s action remains and always will, as I’ve been given a deep appreciation for thriftiness and my dad’s giving nature.
Over the years, I’ve developed even more of a liking of thrift store/secondhand items, especially in my decor. Thrifted items are great for cost-conscious shoppers, but provide more benefits than just saving money.
Read along to learn these benefits & to check out my secondhand finds and reincarnations. Continue reading →
Here in NW Ohio, we’ve had a pretty mild winter. And yet, I’m starting to get antsy for spring. The days are growing longer & the sun is shining more, making it even harder to accept it’s still winter for at least another month. Spring officially starts March 20th, but it’s not unusual to experience the last snow in April here in the Great Lakes.
So I’ve decided I’m going to start ushering in spring now— indoors. The first thing I think of when I hear the word “spring” is green: plants sprouting through the earth, new blankets of grass, trees starting their cycle of growth with tiny buds. There’s just no spring without green.
Green is a color of renewal, fertility, freshness, and health. Green symbolizes tranquility, yet it provides a burst of much-needed color after the whites and grays of winter. Read along for my hand-picked items and my tips on decorating with green to infuse the upcoming season into your space.
…In redecorating, that is. (Get your minds out of the gutter!) This past week, I’ve repainting the chests of drawers mentioned here and shown below. The furniture is pretty much the last bit of redecorating for my bedroom, so to celebrate, I made an inspiration board:
I admire the cherry blossoms for their early entrance into spring, their delicate yet strong beauty and their rich, cultural symbolism. Cherry blossoms, or sakura, are celebrated in Japan around this time of year and I’ve chosen to interpret them with watercolor and a mostly wet-in-wet technique. This technique can be unpredictable yet is a great tool for learning to go with the flow, both literally and figuratively. It can also yield pleasant surprises.
(click image to zoom in)
I am reminded of the quote, “This too shall pass.” It is a helpful quote to refer to in times of despair or sadness, yet it is true for all things in life… even the moments that fill us with joy, hope and love. Nothing is forever and the only constant in life is change. Combining the wet-in-wet style with the blooms’ symbolism of impermanence remind me to cherish all moments of life, no matter how fleeting, unexpected or challenging they are.
Ever since I got into painting again several years ago, I knew it would be something I’d have to continue doing for the rest of my life. I need to paint like I need air or water. Truly, that is how you know something is a real passion of yours.
I did end up straying from painting for a little while… maybe 6 months? Not too long, but it has felt like it. Because I’ve taken up a lot of decorating and DIY projects, I knew keeping watercolor painting in my creative schedule would be overwhelming. Thankfully, I was still utilizing my creative energy… but I found myself craving to paint watercolors again.
A few weeks ago, I decided to just do it. The creative urge was very present and I came to a conclusion: I didn’t have to dive into a big painting project. I didn’t even have to honor my personal painting style. I simply had to paint. So, at about 11:30PM on a Saturday night, I set up my materials and tools.
I finally used the fabric I picked up recently for tweaking the colors in my bedroom. I was going to go with the leaf print for curtains, but decided to use the chartreuse gauze instead. I hemmed these panels and paired them with some semi-opaque cream-colored curtains.
One part of my redecorating venture has been selecting a new color scheme for my bedroom. In the past, I’ve decorated with browns and wanted to continue with a neutral theme, so I decided upon a muted olive-green/sage tone. I bought draperies in this color and made some pillows to match… but I noticed I kept drifting toward a brighter olive and lime green. I truly do love saturated color in just about everything: my clothing, my hair color, my art, and my home. So why fight it?
My goal in selecting the neutral green was to have a relaxing bedroom. I strongly believe in using the bedroom only for bedroom/relaxing activities. I’m challenged with insomnia at times, so I usually have a nighttime ritual to bring me into a relaxed state.
Even though I won’t be fighting my love for strong color, I will need to ensure the room is still relaxing. So far, I figure I can do this in a semi-Asian style, which I’ve always loved. One of my goals is to create a small meditation area; another goal is to make the bedroom comfortable for reading.
I picked up some new fabric yesterday that I’d been eyeing for a while now plus found some gauze in chartreuse for $3/yard, score! I’ve learned when it comes to fabric and clothes, it’s best to buy pieces you really dig. I will be making curtains with the printed fabric and possibly additional curtains with the gauze. If I don’t use it in the bedroom, the gauze will also match in the living room. The third fabric will be sewn onto the top and bottom of the curtains. The upholstery fabric on the far left is for a meditation pillow/floor cushion and is very soft. I may also use it to create a new headboard.
There is something very exciting for me about new fabric!