What I Found this Summer

Good without the bad ain’t no good at all.   Everything Must Go

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Hi friends –  if you’ve joined me here for a while you’ll be familiar with my What I Found posts. These are simply a way of paying attention to my right now life and being thankful for all of it. The lovely, the not so lovely, the inspiring, the exasperating, the trivial (that’s sometimes not so trivial) and occasionally the deep down meaningful that stops  me in my well worn tracks. It all counts. It all has a place. Today its a mixed bag of things learned and found and enjoyed and noticed  over these past  summer months.

WHAT I LEARNED

1. Letting yourself ask WHY good and loud can somehow help settle things on the inside of us even when the answers are still illusive or taking their own sweet time in coming.

In my most recent post I had a good whinge about my job. I didn’t mean to but out it came and at the end of the five minutes of writing I decided that regardless of the “whys” and “what fors” I always want hope and possibility to have the final say. Now I’d perculated on those words for a few days before I decided to hit publish but somehow writing them made me feel better about everything. That nagging on the inside, the wanting to cry if I thought about it too much, the frustration, the feeling of being sidelined –  just fizzled out. I still don’t know what will happen with this job,  I can only trust it’s somewhere good and I’m looking at it now from a different angle

Then this happened

About an hour after I published that post in my lunch break I got asked out of the blue to go back onto inbound calls for two hours because of the high call volume. I said yes in about a nano second. In that two hours I remembered how good and life giving it felt to be interacting with and helping people but – – – I also remembered how challenging and demanding and utterly exhausting it is to be interacting with and helping people. The grass isn’t always greener it’s just a different shade.

Then this

With Chinese New Year a fortune cookie arrived on my desk. Now I’m not looking for my fortune to be told, not now not ever but I was hungry so that fortune cookie was getting eaten and this  fell out.

Well let’s hope they are.

Now that made me laugh. See adventure was my “word” for last year and no it didn’t have me canoeing down the Amazon or jumping out of a plane so it was an odd word for me but there it is and I felt like it followed me into this year too but with the change in my work any chance of adventure felt well and truly trampled on. And boring well that’s a word I’ve been bandying about willy nilly since starting this role. So as random as it was, these few words  hit me right at heart level and felt a bit like God saying “get a grip it’s all under control and its better than you think”.

So what I was reminded of (again) is that our emotions rarely tell the real story. Theres always a bigger story in the making than what we can perceive with these eyes or touch with our hands. I thing hope keeps us looking for the bigger story.

2. I like white

Now its no secret how much I love a bit of colour and pattern in the home furnishings department.  Still do. Always will. And if its mismatched and vintagey and all thrown together all the better but over the last few months I’ve had a hankering for white. White walls mainly buts it seems to be spreading and yes I think it must reflect a inner hankering for some simple, clean, and calm in my life. A bit of white it seems can go a long way towards that.

It started with

Painting this  tiny wall

Then I was given this set of white sheets,

They’re microfibre, 1600 thread count – softest sheets I’ve ever had and they feel like velvet but it’s the white that really shone and brightened the room more than I could have ever imagined. Small change but a huge difference.

Then I found these beauties.

$12.00 a pack at The Reject Shop. That bright white was calling my name. Thought I was getting one curtain in each pack so bought six but nope theres two in each. The red sticker that says “2 Pack” should have given it away but no I didn’t twig. I thought I’d put them in the lounge room but they’ve ended up in the bedroom.

They couldn’t go up until I painted the walls and the difference that a) taking the lined curtains I’ve had there for years down b) painting the walls and trim Antique White USA has been nothing less than revolutionary. The sense of space and light in the room now is monumental. It feels so much bigger and brighter and it’s doing me all sorts of good. And even though I’ve got some brightly coloured frames in the works and a new gallery wall in the planning my inkling for right now except for one small painting next to the window is to leave it completely blank.

I like these words from Courtney Carver at Be More with Less.

3. BFFs are the best

“If we have friends we should look only for the best in them and give them the best that’s in us, don’t you think”. Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables

Seeing Olivia and her best friend Milly hang out together all summer reminded me  of what is truly good and right and lovely about having a bosom friend as Anne would say.

These two are of the same ilk, both gentle souls and because of it their friendship has stuck. Both as relaxed and sweet spirited as each other. Their only real agenda when they’re together is to giggle a lot and have themselves some fun. But heres what I’ve really noticed that means so much to me and I know to Milly’s mum as well – they’re good to each other, they have each others back, not interested in comparing or competing, they don’t put each other down or try to out do each other, theres no power plays or tantrums, their not exclusive or divisive, there’s always room for one more to join in whatever shenanigans they’re up to and all of it as refreshing as it is rare. They are each others biggest fans and first picks always when it comes to fun and having a jolly good time. And oh they certainly had themselves a good time over summer.

Let’s just say they summered hard – they swam and played and laughed and FaceTimed there way through. Giggled almost constantly and discussed every aspect of “Stranger Things” ad infinitum and still there were more things to say about it apparently. There were movies, sleepovers, endless selfies, water parks and fun park rides, fireworks and summer sized servings of ice cream and hot chips thrown in on a regular basis for good measure. A pretty perfect summer all round but like anything isn’t it really about the people you share it with.

We can worry so much about what we are giving or not giving our children, are we doing enough and in the right amounts. Are they missing out. And then it all gets put into perspective because the things they really need to be OK aren’t what we can buy. And doesn’t a good friend make just about anything OK. A true friend is somewhat rare and  as precious a thing as you’ll ever find, a gift of a thing. And this is the stuff that really counts isn’t it, this is what they’ll remember when they’re grown – having someone to jump in at the deep end with them and go on the scariest rides, someone safe to tell your secrets too and laugh with till you cry. I got me one of those. So thankful my girl has too.

And the more the merrier

WHAT I FOUND

Both my sisters visited over the summer and when they visit we do the rounds of the op shops together – it’s officially a thing. Now I seem to gravitate to the same kind of things every time- cane baskets, pretty cushions, paintings, plates, bowls , coloured glassware and books. The only non op shop find is the cream chair which I found beside the road as you do – my other favourite shopping location.

Kitchen

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Cushions

Paintings

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Roadside

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WHAT I WATCHED

I’ll confess I’m a bit of a Netflix binge watcher and I managed to watch six seasons of Longmire in an absolute jiffy. Felt like I’d only watched maybe two or three. Nope all six. but I was hooked early on. What I liked about it

  1. The scenery – set in Wyoming and oh my the mountains, that sky – just spectacular
  2. The log cabins – from cute little ones styled to perfection all the way up too huge ranch style ones which were gobsmacking
  3. The “old fashioned”  manners and morals and classic pitch of good against evil. All of it still works for me and in spades.
  4. And it didn’t hurt one little bit all the handsome fellas getting about in cowboy boots and wide brim hats.

Now heres something I learned that I didn’t know. The lead actor Robert Taylor is Australian and I’ll confess I’d never heard of him before despite him having parts in a whole slew of movies apparently. Who knew? Probably because like a lot of good actors he just does his thing and acts up a storm and doesn’t make a big fat fuss of himself. Either that or I live under a rock. Any hoo despite it being  just very slightly slow moving in parts and wanting to buy deputy Vic a more lady like sized coffee cup it was a winner all the way round.

And this movie  – all the hearts

Everything Must Go

AND SOME WORDS THAT STUCK

Show up where your feet are. Show up for the people in front of you. @hayley.e.morgan

Don’t get simpler than that. Be right where you are, whole head, whole heart for the people Gods given you. I think I needed this reminder.

I always say that the best New Year’s resolution you can make is to begin again. It will permeate every area of your life, and will remind you that the small steps often keep us going when we run out of steam with the grand gestures. Leeana Tankersley

New Year resolution or anytime resolution – begin again.  You can download “15 Ways to Begin Again” on Leeana’s  blog now. Just click right here.

And then there’s Shannan Martin and no one says things quite as straight as her

What would it be like if we all flew to the highest, riskiest branch and sang our guts out.@shannanwrites

So now what I really want to know is what you’ve been up to. Any good finds or reads or something you learnt. Would LOVE to hear. xx

Linking up today with

Inspire Me Monday Link Up

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Chasing Community

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Porch Stories

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Inspire Me Monday with Create with Joy

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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.

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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Lessons from an L Shaped Hallway

This post written for Women Connect. You can read more about that here .

“the in-between place is still a place” Christie Purifoy 

I read these words a few weeks ago now and as sometimes happens with words that strike a chord, they’ve stayed with me.

They made me think of my narrow L shaped hallway.

IMG_8553Its an in-between place.

In between the living areas of the house and more business end of the house.  I charge down this hallway arms full on one mission or another day in and day out. Another towel being delivered to the bathroom because no one in this house remembers to take a towel with them to the shower. Or on my way to the laundry, another load of clothes to go in or come out or be hung up, sometimes all three. School uniforms to be ironed, hair to be washed, a bath to be filled. Always something.

Theres the familiar give in one tiny section of the floor where a board has cracked that my feet always seem to find. Dust collects along the skirting boards and gathers in corners and seems on a mission as well – to constantly collect in great heaps just to taunt me. Swishing a mop along those edges right up to the front door feels like a victory in itself but that dust  – it has a way of finding its way back.

 

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I wonder how many miles I do in a day,  early morning, late at night, up and down – how many do we all do.

A lot of life is lived in these seemingly inconsequential in-between places. Not where we were but not where we want to be either. On our way.  Between what was and the place our hearts compass has us pointed – the longed for job, the house finished, our goal weight, the debt paid off, something to come or something to go, a big break, a move, a healing,  an answer.

And we can either be in one heck of a rush to put some space between where we are now and where we want to be or we get lost in the throws of the everyday hard work,  the up and down of the same hallways, the in and out, the dust piling up again and lose sight of where we are headed. Drowning not waving.

Either way the difference its the same – we can miss  the gift that is the “right now”.  We can miss the unique shape and rise and fall of it, we can miss what it might tell us and teach us, we might even miss how lovely it might be.

And I get it  “right here” might not be where you thought you would be because you know as well as I that  life can’t be trusted to stay the same or to do whats its told. Right now  might feel about as  bent out of shape as it can get with so many “not yets” and “what ifs”, with so many questions and so much waiting –  that somedays we might wonder whose life we are living because it sure doesn’t feel like ours.

Yet even in the in-between place are signs and signposts of the eternal running right beneath our fingertips, just below the surface of our daily work. They point the way , they remind us of who we are are and where we are going, they remind us  of the story God is writing with our lives right here, right now.

I’ll tell you a few other things about my skinny hallway

Ken  calls it “the gallery” as a bit of a joke but space is short in my tiny house so each part has to play its part – even the most ordinary of parts. So its lined with paintings  – mostly the thrifted kind and mostly Australian landscapes  because I love a country landscape and they make me feel peaceful just looking at them. Photographs too – wedding photos and the cutest of the squishy faced baby photos some in ornate frames some in old vintage frames because I like the mix of the old and new and I love their little faces. I’ve positioned them all in groups so there is a “view”  as you come out of each door. Destinations for my eyes – like mini breaks and a diversion from the dust.IMG_8547IMG_8546In one corner theres nothing. A  hall table was there for a very long while and now that its  moved the clear space too is a relief for my eyes. No furniture to wash around, nothing in the way just clear uncluttered space.

On the walls theres maybe a 100 tiny nail holes  that have been made in the wrong place – evidence of my picture arranging and rearranging and arranging again and not measuring ever. I’d like to think I was more precise and methodical but the nail holes tell the real  story.

Theres a bookshelf  too – an ordinary looking bookshelf except that it isn’t. My father made it for me what must be 30 years ago now and its still standing strong despite its age. Me too I hope. It was pushed into the hallway just to get it out of the way and it seems like it was made for this space. A happy accident. Its narrow and tucks into the wall barely noticeable but its a spot to put a few nice things on and the extra storage goes a long way.

IMG_1335IMG_1337It just so happens that it covers a hole in the wall. A dual purpose right there.  That hole was first made by Ken years ago now. He hit it out sheer frustration when our boy Ethan 18 months old broke his leg for the second time in a year and it felt like our world was coming apart again.  Our only job to protect him and keep him safe and we couldn’t seem to do it. Ken patched the hole later and painted it over but a few years later it was opened up again. Exact same spot. This time by Ethan himself. His hand went through it running full pelt up the hallway playing chasies with a friend on his back. Yes a house full of kids, a birthday party I think, a rollicking good game being had and Ethan a force to be reckoned with. My heart full. I remember Ken being a bit annoyed at the time with the kids “wrecking the house” but truly that ship had sailed a while before and I reminded him, as good wives do why the wall was weak in that spot. I reminded him that Ethan running full pelt anywhere was our prayers of years ago answered, our dreams come true with his bones gaining strength all the time and him growing fast and big and strong.

Yes even the things we think broken and gaping, the things we might choose to cover up carry messages of our redemption and are reminders of where God has shown up in our lives.

And in my rushing up and down that hallway I only have to catch a glimpse of those sweet little baby faces and I’m reminded oh this place is good and this life is good. My prayers were answered and I can believe they’ll continue to be answered. The questions and the frustrations and the overwhelm are real but they find there place smaller and less significant than they seemed before because life is a whole lot of dealing with “bad”  but just look how glorious is the good. IMG_8549IMG_8548IMG_8550

“Even in the waiting, the listening, and the watching for what’s next, there is still so much right here”. Emily P Freeman

So much goodness, so much life, so much of our  story, so much of God,  more than we often see with our eyes or even touch with our hands.

Even narrow L shaped hallways can remind us of that  somedays

So here’s a few thoughts – in that in between place:

  • Create some diversions from the dust – some mini breaks for your heart and soul.
  • Leave yourself a little blank space.
  • Let the nail hole shows. Remember our mistakes tell our story as much as our victories.
  • Celebrate  the “happy accidents”
  • Look for the  handprint of God in your life, where He’s been and what he has done. There’s a bigger story being told.

“Surely the Lord is in this place and I wasn’t even aware of it” Genesis 28:16

Yes  God is found in these awkward in between places, in the cracks and crevices of our lives, in the places we feel stranded or squeezed in tight.  The very one who sent Jesus down low to the ground with a purpose,  to embrace us travellers weary and dusty and dirty from the road.

xxx

 

Linking Up with #Porch Stories with Kristin Hill Taylor and Chasing Community with Brenda Bradford Ottinger and Tell His Story with Jennifer Dukes Lee