What I Found In September and October

“The full morning moon is a wonder, made even more so by the ordinary and regular things that live beneath it. I have to remind myself to sometime stop look at life with a wider angle. It all counts. It is all part of our formation – the light, the dark, and all the dim space in between” Emily P Freeman

Time to stop and take a look at what I’ve  done and found and enjoyed and been inspired by in the month/s just past.

A way of

  • saying thank you
  • showing gratitude
  • receiving my own right now life
  • paying homage to the small and simple and everyday and ordinary because they are my kind of things. They talk soft and quiet and sometimes you  have to press your ear in close to hear what they have to say.

Mostly it reminds me that this is a good life full of good things freely given and no amount of  the hard “being a person” stuff changes that.

September is a favourite of mine. My boy was born in September and the weather is always something else. Its when the light starts to change. The cold not quite done with us yet but there’s a whiff of summer in the air most days. It’s when we can still pretend the year will stay right where it is and not be in such a hurry to reach its end. The calm before the proverbial storm. But then October arrives and scares the heck out of me with its reminders that Christmas is just around the corner and the years about got away and what have I  done and how shall I account for myself.  It seems early but its when that sense of overwhelm  can set in.

So I’m gonna go ahead and call this the anti stress edition of  What I Found and share some good things I’ve happened upon that might help if your feeling  the craziness creep up on you already.

But first to a few finds and a couple of projects and a random thought or two.

Finds

1. The Next Right Thing Podcast by Emily P Freeman

Short, sweet and breathtaking

and in particular Episode 5

Offer Your Work With Hope

If you have ever wondered if anything you do is worth its salt or felt scared to do what you truly want to do well this episode will do some good.

Click on the links above or download from iTunes.

2. The WordPress App

You know how I have this little online space called a blog. Well these days  I’m hard pressed since 1. I’ve been working and 2. Olivia downloaded her Sims game on my computer  to edge her out  for five minutes to work on a post. I resorted to my iPad for a bit which proved slow work  and then somehow the heavens opened and I came across the WordPress App.  Of course anyone else who blogs has been using it for donkeys years.

Not I

So I downloaded it on my phone and bingo I can now write in my lunch hour and at baseball practice and in bed and I can upload pics straight from my phone onto a post.  So much easier than from the computer.

So I feel suddenly all up to the minute which of course I’m not as I still can’t work out how to do a basic Insta story and a million other technical things.

The moral though  – find a short cut. If its important to you and it’s not working the way it was, look for a new way, seasons change and as much as I resist it at times we have to adjust right a long with them.

3. 15 Ways to Leave Your Clutter (so you can find a little peace)  by Courtney Carver

I’ll read anything that gives me ideas for keeping the clutter going out and the clear open space coming in and I like  this lady’s relaxed and easy writing style.

A lot of tips she mentions in this post I do in one form or another but heres a couple that were new for me and have worked well.

  • Empty it – sometimes looking in a drawer or a cupboard and trying to work out what should go and what should stay can be overwhelming so I jumped at this idea. Completely emptied the cupboard under my sink  and the cupboard with all the plastic containers in. I took everything out and have just started bringing things back in as I need them.   Now it means I  have a large stand up garbage bag full of “stuff” which is the politest word for it, standing in my bedroom but it avoids the intense decision making process and what doesn’t get retrieved from this bag will go. The other one we have tried is
  • Saying good bye and thanking things for there service – yes sounds all nuts I know but his has worked really well for Olivia letting go of some toys and dolls that she knew she no longer played with but still felt a bit attached to.  She fixed their hair and clothes up nice, had a chat with them, kissed them goodbye and away they went. Some stuffed toys got the same treatment. Sounds heartbreaking I know but previous to this they had been shoved under her bed, or in boxes, dolls with arms missing and legs askew. Better they go where they are enjoyed and played with.
  • One in and two out – I’m trying this one out at the moment. Simple idea and a very a good one given my tendency to find things by the road and bring them home – ahem see below. There is constantly a bag of things leaving my house so I thing all in all there is far more going out than coming in.

4. Just One Thing

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This is an idea that has been saving my life of late. It fits into the small change, big difference category.  You will know yourself that on any given day there might be forty possible things you could do in the time you have available. Thats where my problem sets in. I get caught in the headlights. So much to do, a small amount of available time, I get in a fluster and end up getting nothing done or five things half done and theres no satisfaction in that. Usually while I’m at work I’ve now started writing down one thing (one only) that I want to get done when I’m home. It might only be as minuscule as “fold a basket of washing” or or “clean top shelf of fridge” or it might be something more fun like “hang picture” or “paint table”.    So far its worked well. It bypasses the stress and getting one thing done is better that three things on a list not done.

5.  By The Road

Yes found a few items discarded by the road once again that I couldn’t help but bring home. All before pics no afters as I haven’t done a thing with them yet  – kinda liking them the way they are.

The white cupboard  is going on eBay. I had my eye out for an old cupboard for the laundry that I can put a laundry sink into.  I thought this one would fit right along my laundry wall and do the job but its a tad too long. Thats where a measuring tape kept in the car comes in real handy when roadside shopping.  She’s a beauty but too big for my house so hopefully someone else will love her. The tin truck I might paint or put a trio of plants in – undecided.

6. Finally Ive kept the best  find till last – found not beside the road but literally just down the road from here.

A  sweet ol caravan.

I’m a little beside myself because 1. it’s like having a little mini house to decorate and 2. I’ve wanted a caravan for sooo long it feels an incredible blessing and an answer to a silent prayer I have been praying all year to finally have one and be planning some adventuring and memory making in it.

We only had a small budget which meant we were looking around for something oldish but in good original condition. Somthing ready for adventuring as is but that we could pretty up a bit as well.  My words not Kens.

It  fits under our carport  (just) so with our small house were feeling like we’ve put on  an extension. I can hide out in there and write and I’ve found  Olivia in there reading. It’s the spare bedroom we’ve never had. So now that the guest wing is up and in action if you need a cozy place to stay just holler.

Regards the prettying up  that will take some time but I  did do a quick round of the thrift stores to find a few  bits and bobs to go inside. Found these green cushions, some blue cups, two striped fold up chairs (almost impaled myself on one as the arms are quite pointy so will have to be careful there) and blue fabric which I might make into cushions. Most items $2 and nothing over $5.

I think there’s a blue and green theme developing. So I did have to buy this cushion  because it looked like it was made for my caravan. Everything else so far has come from the house or from our camping supplies.

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As none of these items have actually come into the house I’m thinking they don’t count in the one in two out rule.

Projects

In case I haven’t mentioned it a hundred times before I love to have a project on the go.  It does my home good for sure but it does my soul even more good. I’ts time out,   its simple creativity, its peace for a brain that works overtime somedays. Anyone else have once of those?

Shelving Unit 

Found loitering in my hallway. Around here anything the kids don’t want they completely disown by shoving it out into hallway. This one sat in the hallway for a month before I decided to paint it and put it to good use. A quick fix that I wasn’t too fussy about getting perfect.   Blends in with the wall  which was the idea  and covers a lot of cords and a big ugly power point. I haven’t put much on it which is how I like it. 

Before

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After

 

Oval Dining Table 

This one a little more involved than my usual slap a quick coat of paint on it.  You may have seen this oval table turn up in a few of my pictures. It came from my mums  place when she downsized and I was going to leave it as it was since it was a nice honey colour. Olivia though left a huge batch of slime that she’d made with white glue and Borax on the table. Well that slime took the finish right off so there was nothing else for it but to redo the top. 

 I’ve long admired this table from the inspired room.

So I was going for that sort of look.  It involved some serious sanding back, far more than I would ever normally choose to do, a lot of blue painters tape, measuring and then measuring again, white low sheen paint, wood stain and clear varnish.  

There were tears. I’m usually pretty relaxed about how things turn out but I wanted this one right. Ken being the expert painter decided he’d give the whole top a final coat of clear varnish which was a lovely idea except somehow we ended up with  light brown  streaks through the white. Felled at the final hurdle. So I dragged it back outside and rubbed back the clear varnish off of the white stripes and gave them another coat of white. I realised the finish I wanted was the white stripes to have a matte finish (ie no varnish)  and the wood part shiny so turned out for the best in the end after said cry. 

Heres how she progressed.

 

Finally

So now those reads if your finding yourself getting the pre holiday jitters like me.

  1. How To Plan Your Holiday Calendar 
  2. Four Veteran Mom Moves For Dealing With Stress and Overwhelm
  3. How to Receive Your Own Summer Life with Less Envy and More Gratitude

Friends thank you for being here. I hope you’ve found a little inspiration, enjoyment and calm among these words of mine.

Any finds your way? I’d love to hear.

Xx

Linking up today with Chasing Community  and Porch Stories

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.
 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Chosen  www.waterintowineblog.com

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

@ernsthale

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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