Five Minute Friday – Invite

Five Minute Friday – prompt word, five minutes, just write. No overthinking, no overediting.

This weeks prompt word is INVITE

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I have a policy.

If I know you and you arrive on my doorstep you get invited in.

Regardless of the state of of the house.

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It feels like a risk because somedays the house looks like wolves live here, somedays its diabolical, and theres always someone that arrives on that day.  You can bet on it.

If its a pick up or drop off type visit we’ll often stand in the hallway and chat but mostly its a go on through, through my crazy lounge room out to the back area that’s generally in not much better condition depending on what we’ve been doing and how much I’ve been home or if the kids have done their chores (or if I’ve done mine).

What would be handy I often think would be a parlour. Remember those? A “good room” thats kept neat and lovely for swanning about and “entertaining” in.   But I wonder if thats similar to having a closed door – it says this far and no more. I’ll show you my good side and my good china  but the real me thats kept in another room. It might even say I don’t trust you enough with who I am or with my faults and imperfections and messy kitchen.

No such  luxury around here though. It’s straight into the fray when you cross my doorstop and a bit like Russian roulette as to what you’ll find but I’ve made that policy of inviting in because in my heart I know that people are more important than how my house looks  and because I decided a long time ago that my homes purpose (like mine) isn’t to impress or compete, its purpose is to embrace and I can’t do that with a closed door.

It’s a risk, it takes trust – because our homes tell people about who we are and  – – what if it says the wrong thing?

This blog invites you in too and like in my home my true heart hope is that you leave this place feeling better or lighter or more relaxed than when you arrived but I think sometimes I let you in only as far as the “good room” With the marvels of  editing and cropping at my finger tips its easy to just show you the good side because I love a pretty photo but we all know real life  is whats happening outside of the frame and theres real life scattered all over the place here. 

So come on in  past the “parlour” into the heart of the house with things undone and unfolded and unfinished, where pretences are dropped and the real conversations happen.


Your invited, your welcome.

Just come as you are and I will too.

You can read what other people have written in there five minutes here.
 

 

 

 

 

 

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On Best Laid Plans, Slow Progress and Finishing Already

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One of the things I quite often have a whinge to the husband about is his tendency to start a project and then not finish it.

We’ve had words

Many of them.

And I have to say that finally he IS improving in that regard – we both are.

See  I’m quite good at the starting and not finishing gig myself

In fact I’m excellent at starting and then getting distracted and wondering off, or losing momentum or getting overwhealmed because it gets a tad more involved than I originally thought. Not all the time but often enough.

Anyone else?

Another reason I dither about with finishing things is good old “fear of failing”.

There’s always the risk in finishing that it won’t turn out the way I had hoped for, or dreamed of  or imagined it would and then there’s the risk of feeling like a bit of a ninny. When  things stay in the planning or half done stage, perfection is still a possibility, we’re still fabulously clever in our own minds and there’s no disappointment with the final outcome to contend with.

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The reality is – there’s every chance it won’t  turn out the way I imagined

It might turn out better

It might turn out different but just as good

It might need some tweeking

Or it might be a complete flop

And I may indeed feel like a bit of an idiot

but at least I’ve given it a whirl

Everything we do is a risk and at any point despite all our planning and good intentions it can all go sideways – our four week toilet installation saga that should have taken three hours max is a perfect example. But there are few things you can’t come back from if you just put one foot in front of the other and keep going.

Having a project completed and enjoyed outweighs the risk of ending up with a complete shambles I say and you will hear yourself  saying over and over “why didn’t I just finish it before”.

I started on a gallery wall – possibly the smallest gallery wall ever.

A year ago

Its an example of microscopic proportions but a good one and makes for prettier pictures that the toilet incident.

I have a small wall on the left as I walk out my bedroom door. Its tucked around the corner from the front door. Perfect place for hanging keys  as you come in the door and thats what we used it for. I hung a basket thingy there to put random things in a long time ago.

It ended up looking like this.

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Why is it if you have a handy little basket to pop the odd thing in you end up shoving the most incredible amount of rubbish in it.

I took the basket away as  we obviously  cant be trusted with this type of random storage and planned a gallery wall. It was going to be  very pretty – floor to ceiling maybe with frames  and other interesting or textural items thrown in.

Something along these lines

So I  gave my minuscule wall one coat of Antique White USA. It was a bit of a test to see if I wanted to paint the whole hallway this colour. I covered a canvas frame with some map paper to fit  over the now defunct security pin pad – – – – – 

and thats how its stayed FOR AT LEAST A YEAR !!

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Why I didn’t just do the second coat is a mystery even to me BUT  I think maybe it was the white colour that frankly looked kind of bland rather than all fresh and clean as I had hoped and the map covered canvas that didn’t look quite as charming as I’d hoped either. So what do you do when you hate the look of something?

Just leave it that way for a good year is probably not the right answer. 

Oh I’m easy put off my game aren’t I.

So what got me motivated?

I was OVER looking at the ugly wall

I unearthed a stash of lovely things In my bedroom cupboard that I wanted to hang up.

AND

I had a 20litre tin of antique white USA sitting in my laundry with maybe one litre of paint left in it. I wanted rid of that tin.

Took 15 minutes to paint the wall and amazingly after  the second coat it didn’t look bland but  all fresh and clean like I hoped for.

Pays not to throw in the towel half way through.

Now you know how I mentioned when you start something it sometimes gets a bit bigger than really wanted it to be. This is a perfect example. Even to me this project looked like it should have taken two hours  at the most. Paint the wall, let it dry, hang pictures, done.

Not so

  • The paint went on with what looked like a grey tinge to it – maybe due to age and not been stored airtight – who knows? So that involved a lot of standing back and staring and wondering if I was imagining the grey or was it the light and then wondering why for the love can’t I have paint that behaves normally. Anyhow it dried the right colour. Relief all round.
  • I decided then to pull off the key hanger and the security  pin pad which took off some of the plaster board  which I had to patch  and then paint over again.
  •  Then I had to attach hanging devices to the back of some of the items I wanted to hang and lets just say they weren’t very cooperative and that too involved overnight drying times
  • Then  I positioned and repositioned the hooks etc maybe ten or twenty times till  I was happy with it.

So moral  of  the story – don’t be all put off when things don’t go quite go to plan or get a bit more complicated than expected or you hit a few snags here and there –  they’re par for the course and nothing is ever ever as simple as you think it might be.

Slow progress it was –  squeezed in between work and cooking food and washing clothes and dance classes and various other of the kids after school shenanigans. The thing about slow steady progress though it gets you there in the end just the same as fast furious progress and beats the heck out of no progress at all.

Photos were taken at various times of the day with varied light so some a bit dodgy but you get the overall idea.

Here’s how she came together

Heres how she looked on completion.

 

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Here’s how I felt about it.

What I didn’t think about when I was gazing at my inspiration gallery walls from Pinterest is their location – at the ends of hallways or part of a large room where you could stand back a ways and enjoy them from a suitable distance. No such luxury at my place . Tiny wall is part of a tiny section of  hallway and there’s no seeing it from a distance – it’s a right up in your face as you walk past and anything hung too high or  too low is going to hurt your neck to look at. 

I worked this out when I was finished.

You live and learn.

I left it a couple of days without changing it but as it turned out there was just way too much going on on that little wall for my liking.  My eyeballs  hurt and my stress level increased just looking at it which wasn’t quite the effect I was going for. It looked stressed too like it was trying way too hard.   I like quirky interesting things and I like colour but I’ve realised what I also really like is not too busy, not too contrived and lots of white space. My head gets confused otherwise.

So there was nothing else for it but take a few things off  (and patch the holes 😥). An easy fix really as most of them are.

It immediately  looked better to me. Altogether more relaxed. Simple and restful and one big hook to hang our keys.

 
  

So not really a “gallery” wall at all now and not at all what I had originally planned  but it makes me happy looking at it  and remember

DONE is so much better than perfect.

One project down

Four hundred and fifty to go 

Any projects happening your way. Anything your right in the middle of. 

Would love to hear.

Linking up with #porchstoriesChasing CommunityCreate With JoyBloggers Pit Stop, and Grandmas House DIY Wednesday Link Up

 

 

 

Five Minute Friday – Support

Five Minute Friday  = prompt word, five minutes, just write. No overthinking, no over editing.

This weeks prompt word SUPPORT

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Support looks like different things on different days

This past couple of weeks  its looked like my lovely neighbour giving my family free access  to  her downstairs toilet – – – – – .

I”ll fill you in.

Three weeks ago we bought a new toilet.

Two  weeks ago the old toilet was removed.

Two days  ago the new toilet went in.

I’ll let you work out the difference.

With old toilet gone and  new  toilet sitting in the middle of my laundry  in the way and completely useless  – we were  in what you might call a little bit of a pickle.

Ten minutes though before my neighbours left on holidays for two weeks I had a brain wave and ran next door to see if they could help out. Now these are the kind of neighbours that make you think twice about ever moving house, like grand parents to my children, they have been incredibly generous and kind over the years with their door always open. But I still felt like this was quite an ask. Being the people they are though they handed over the keys to their downstairs granny flat for us to use at will for as long as we needed without a second thought. Now that’s support of the life saving kind.

Support is generosity and kindness and unconditional love and having your back and undeserved grace all rolled into one. And what would we do without people like that in our lives.

The support of a good friend is something I’ve thought a lot on this week

My best friend is away on a cruise at the moment,  totally off grid and I’ve been counting the days down till she’s back. Not that we talk everyday but knowing she’s there not too far away, always ready for a talk or to head off for a quick coffee is something I rely on a lot. She is as generous and good and supportive and hilarious as you would ever hope a friend to be and  I’m missing her big time.

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This as well.  I’m happiest when I talk to my sister on the phone a couple of times a week. As sisters do, we kind of know each other in and out and the last couple of weeks for a number of  reasons – a dodgy iPhone with a mind of its own, early starts at work, busy afternoons  – who knows what else –  our phone catch ups have been few and far between and on the inside it feels like I’m missing out on something really important and grounding and calming.

All of it has been a  good wake up call.

A reminder that I’m a person thats supported at every turn by the very best and dearest of people. Those mentioned and others. In real life and online too.

Thats no small thing.

Thats a blessed life.

So I’m off to ring my sister and I never imagined a toilet could look so beautiful.

 

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What I Found In August

 To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work. Mary Oliver

 

Time to take a look at my best finds for the month just past.  I love to do this as it slows me down and helps me take notice. These days roll on by so fast – I think we can all do with some slowing down and taking notice.

This month I’m linking up with Emily P Freeman and her What I Learned this Summer (or Winter) Link Up  and a few other lovely links ups – see below.

A good mix of house shaped and heart shaped finds this time round  – heres my best five finds for August with some random thoughts thrown in for good measure

1. By The Roadside

If you’ve read here for a while you’ll know  I tend to find a lot of my “interior decor”  by the road. Now ask anyone who does this too and they’ll tell you – the benefits are many. The risks are few.

  • there are no store opening and closing hours to contend with
  • no snooty staff telling you not to test drive the furniture
  • no price tags,
  • no dodgy return policies
  • no credit card debt
  • no eating toast for a week because you blew the budget.

I call it a no risk shopping experience and you never do know just what you might find. The only tools required are a sense of adventure, not caring what people might think and maybe a pair of gloves and a torch if its a late night find.

Anyhoo  this month was no different. So, at the risk of you thinking every item in my house is a road side find – its not – I’ve another to share with you. This one I’m calling “the sun lounge”

Found  by Ethan and myself  not far from home it looked just about new and passed the sniff test with flying colours. This you must do as you want no nasty surprises once your home – so yes that’s probably one risk of road side shopping.


So Ethan claimed it for his room for a good while but he’s done a spot of reorganising of late and I found sun lounge stranded in the hallway.  Now these winter mornings I have the most beautiful sun streaming in my bed room window and do I love a spot of winter sun.  So with only the smallest amount of effort and a few things thrown the way of the charity store (see below) I made room for it right below my window with all that sun streaming in. I read here, I eat breakfast here, and after a quick wash I’m able to gaze out the window here.

It also motivated me to give the whole room a spring clean and to change out the ripped  flyscreens on the window – so all in all a good result. And here’s one of those random thoughts I promised.

Now and then your reminded of some wisdom you already know but have kind of forgotten. This was one. I was reminded ever so sweetly that when  I stop and sit still for more than two minutes the kids somehow sense it and will come find me and just hang out for a bit. It’s like I’m a captive audience and they make the most of it. They sit and talk or read (Olivia) or show me something  funny on instagram (Ethan) or tell me a story from school that I never would have heard otherwise (both). Stopping and sitting for a bit – its not lazy or a waste of time – which is often what we think isn’t it? Lets go with this instead – it’s good work, its life saving –   and hearing those secrets and finding out what’s making them laugh – holy ground.

2. Other “Decorative” Finds

This huge basket.

Isn’t she beautiful. This one I found on top of a skip bin (which I think is called a dumpster in other parts of the world)  Notice I said ON TOP OF – I didn’t go diving through it.   She was sitting right up top and just waiting for me to take her home. She’s a no fuss, versatile and sturdy kind of an item and she fits right in around  here.

And this thing – not sure what to call it, a drum, a barrel, a bucket, a tub ? – whatever it is I found it at the Salvation Army shop for Ethans room.

Its a place to stand his baseball bat, cricket bat, random flags on sticks and his pretend rifle holder – all essentials apparently that are usually scattered across the floor. The miracle is – he LOVES it, he’s  using it and I’m not tripping head over turkey everytime I walk in his room  any more.

3. Online

This website

Be More with Less 

The best way to enjoy your favourite things is to only own your favourite things. bemorewithless.com

And this post in particular

DeCluttering Burst – Let go of 100 things in less than an hour

As you may know, as much as I love a good find I’m also heart set on letting go of all the things that have made there way in to my house that are no longer earning their keep.

This post took that up a notch.

Now I wasn’t going to recommend it without trying it myself. Of course I can’t do anything for one hour solid so I broke it into six lots of 10 minutes each. That means getting rid of approx 17 items each 10 minutes.

This was so easy to do it was scary.  I did two lots of 10 minutes in my bedroom in a flash and stopped counting each time after 17 items.  What I mostly got rid of was from deep in the bowels of my built in closet. Amazing what you can find in your everyday variety bedroom cubby. (See No: 4 below )  I had quite the stash – an amazing number of photo frames totally forgot I had and most of which I didn’t want, shoes I no longer wear,  forgotten clothes, bags, books you name it.

Letting go – oh its good for the soul. But a thing I’ve learnt about decluttering is this – for a long time, a LONG time!!  you feel like your getting nowhere. It’s like you’ve hardly touched the sides and every where you turn theres more stuff. BUT if you keep at it slow and consistently and with the occasional ruthless onslaught like this – one day you find you’ve turned a corner.  The results become clearly visible and you actually start to enjoy the space and lightness you’ve created.  I think I might be just turning that corner now.

100 less things in under an hour  – I can highly recommend it.

4.  In My Bedroom Cupboard

Yes same cubby as mentioned above. Amazingly I found some things in there that I didn’t want to throw away. Found a stash of  frames and wall hangy type things  – my yellow door knob, some wall hooks, the green frame with Ethans foot print in, a yellow patterned frame  – all things I’d put away for safe keeping for lack of a spot to hang them. I thought they would all go together on one fabulous gallery wall but things rarely go to to plan round here.  So some ended up here  on my bedroom wall.

 

And some here

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I’m calling it the smallest gallery wall ever and I’ll share some more pics and fill you in on finally getting it and a few other projects finished in my next post. Let’s just say I do all things under this proviso.

5.  On Instagram

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This is just the prettiest Instagram feed. A simple  cosy cottage feel – it’s like a wee doll house with lots of soft muted colours. Take a peek.


So that’s my best finds for August so I’ll leave you with this beautiful Instagram post from Edie at @lifeingrace



In other words – do your thing, whatever it is, whatever it takes or we all miss out.

Your turn. Any finds your way? Would love to hear

Lv Tracey xx

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Linking up with #porch stories and Chasing Community

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What I Found in June and July

 

“I have been finding treasures in places I did not want to search. I have been hearing wisdom from tongues I did not want to listen. I have been finding beauty where I did not want to look. And I have learned so much from journeys I did not want to take”.  ― Suzy Kassem,

So time for a look at what I’ve found in the months just gone. I do this because I love a good find and yes good things are often found in the most unlikely of places. This looking back gets me thinking and remembering and taking notice and that always serves me well.

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June you were brisk in speed and in temperature,  July you followed suit yet the sun shone warm and faithful about everyday and that blue sky too seemed to take the bite right out of winter. These finds did too.

My best five finds for June/July

1. By the roadside

This mirror

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Yes I’ve been at it again – checking out what other people are throwing out. This find was kind of special though. It came on one of those blah days that sometimes happen when life is just springing more leaks than I can plug with two hands and I feel  like everything I do is adding up to nothing.  Finding this sweet old fashioned mirror on THAT day felt like an  “its OK, keep going” from heaven,  an “I see it all and its not for nothing”. Thats a lot to get from one dodgy old mirror but there it is. A sweet find. Seems to like it on my front verandah for now.

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This side table

Husband found this one. Road side again. It matches Olivia’s existing bedroom furniture just about exactly. Its narrow and fits along the wall nicely and will serve a few purposes. It can hold her school bag that always ends up in he middle of the floor for me to trip over  and a few other odd things she needs regular easy access too.

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 Photos taken after it was unceremoniously shoved into Livvy’s room and the TV plonked on it. Real life, real mess and I might say one heck of a mess going on in there at the time of this photo but that story I’ll save for another post.

2. Online

This one was Olivia’s find  bless her – a story  of reclamation and rescue that she was soooo excited about. I’m sure you’ll love it too.

3.  On Instagram

A few of my favourite finds on Instagram

And these words from Ann Voskamp I’ve come back to time and time again in the last month – some words just grab on and don’t let go.

… Home may be the most powerful word known. And, you know, sometimes home isn't a place you find — but home becomes the place wherever you are. . Sometimes home is tiny, like a quiet crevice in a wild world you can crawl into & exhale & listen to your heart beat & hear His whisper. . Sometimes home is a dream come true simply because He who is Truth led you there. . And then sometimes home isn't what you hoped for but Hope can find you anywhere. . So the Farmer backed up his pick-up & hooked on to that #tinyhouse — the little @TheSelahStudio — to haul east, back across country, because maybe what all our worlds need right now is Selah, a pause. Maybe home is always about finding Selah — a sacred pause. A pause to create, to be safe, to be held, to gather, to circle round, to be. . Love is a roof & hope is a window & Jesus is the only door & He is our safest home. . He is always our way home. . (Tiny 🏠by our kind friends: @handcraftedmovement) #findinghome #tinyhousecrosscountry #tinyhouse #farmtoocean #Voscampers #TheBrokenWay

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… sometimes you feel most at home where no one else feels at home at all. Sometimes where others feel out of place, is right where you get into your groove. . Sometimes you need your little ole world to grow smaller even when there's a whole wide world out there that says success means growing larger. . Sometimes when you feel like an outlier is when you feel most ushered into the presence of God. . So, yeah, you just go ahead & take the back roads & you just take the long way around & when others have all the answers, you just decide to have all the grace & taking the road less travelled may be how you become more. Do not be afraid — & don't be afraid of even being afraid. . Grace is always coming down every road to meet you & carry you toward home. . #tinyhouse 🏠by our friend, Matt: @handcraftedmovement #findinghome #tinyhousecrosscountry #farmtoocean #Voscampers

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And a house shaped favourite.

This one will make you happy just looking at it – so much colour and of course that mismatched vintagy feel that is just my cuppa tea

 

5. Now to the bookshelf

In the last couple of months I’ve started on three books that I had to put down half way through out of sheer boredom. Some books promise a lot but deliver little in the way of believable /interesting characters and plot  – so after three duds I was beginning to wonder if I would find me one that I couldn’t put down which is is what I’m always looking for in a book.  This one I found at a local Community Centre that had a community bookshelf. You can take a book or two and then bring them or a few others back. Love this idea.

I struck a winner at last

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Bread Alone by Judith Ryan Hendricks (or Judi Hendricks) 

I chose this one purely because of the title.   Bread – simple honest, essential, nourishing – symbol of basic sustenance – worth a try.  After looking online I realised I have the cheap airport lounge copy with the awful graphics on the front and the small print  but – – – the contents are the same and such a good satisfying  story.

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How much prettier is this cover. The short of it – Wyn the main character gets unceremoniously fired from her “job” as trophy wife to a rich LA advertising exec – a life she hated but a husband she loved. With no other choice she heads north to Seattle to her best friend and accidentally  back to the  soothing charms of  bread baking – healing and  restorative – it  helps her navigate the path from a life she didn’t want or recognise to a life that feels like home  – “And soon she finds that making bread—the kneading of the dough, the scent of yeast hanging in the air—possesses an unexpected and wondrous healing power—helping her to rediscover that nothing stays the same: bread rises, pain fades, the heart heals and the future beckons”. Source.There are recipes, lovely descriptions of the bread baking magic, a good dose of humour and a relatable honesty about it that swallowed me right up.

Funny how  the tiniest perfection can make you believe everything’s going to be all right.  Bread Alone

I put off reading the last chapter because I didn’t want it to finish but  the other thing I was happy to discover online is that there is a second novel taking up where the first left off. Called The Bakers Apprentice I think I might be downloading that one on my iPad.

So thats my finds but before we go  – – – –

To finish – a quick couple of projects because they’re my favourite

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I do love a tiny table – hall, side, coffee – I don’t mind. They work so well in small houses and can be easily dragged all over the house at will for various purposes whenever they are needed or I feel like a change. The round side table was not so much a find but an inheritance from my mums house when she was downsizing. The hall table I found at a market years ago and left it just the way it was until inspiration recently.

The shape of this one I liked but the dismal brown I did not.

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Round table got a coat of orange paint along with my hall table – a much more delicate looking creature altogether.  Hall table got its second coat but the paint had dried up by the time I got back round to doing the second coat on the other. No photo with first coat of orange paint sorry  – too busy painting.

Heres a quick before and after of my hall table.

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IMG_8497Paint was slapped on then sanded back a bit once dried to make it look a bit chippy. No skill required whatsoever but I’m happy with the result and now in my bedroom – a handy spot for iPhone and iPad charging

 

 

Back to the round table  – I had to come up with a Plan B for the final coat so I had a forage in the garage and found a a soft  grey green that I thought might look nice. Once it dried I rubbed it back to reveal a bit of the orange and thought I had a total disaster on my hands – Olivia agreed and she’s usually my biggest fan.  I left it for a day or two while I came up with a Plan C  and in that time decided I quite liked it after all. I just repainted the top of it as I’d gone a bit overboard there with the rubbing back. Goes to show its worth stepping back for a bit before launching into disaster control. Not my finest painting effort but I like it anyway. More proof like many things in my house that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. 

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So thats my finds for the months just past with a random project thrown in for good measure.

Any finds your way? Any projects in progress? Would love to hear.

Love from my home to yours

Tracey xx

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Linking up today with

#Porch Stories with Kristin Hill Taylor and Chasing Community with Brenda Braford Ottinger

 

 

 

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