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 đŸ˜„). 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

 

 

 

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More or Less Part Two

I’ve been thinking a lot since I wrote this post.

IMG_6711Thinking and staring into cupboards and rifling through drawers and wondering if I’ve even scraped the surface of this decluttering thing.

I’m convinced less is more

My heart says yes

but my cupboards aren’t so sure

and the drawers say not even nearly.

I’m no hoarder, not even close, I don’t need an excess of stuff to keep me feeling OK in fact its quite the opposite but still I find my cupboards filled to the brim and more than a few of my shelves  laden down.

Its taken me a while to work it out.

While I’ll happily let go of things we no longer need or have grown out of or that are broken or for whatever reason  I no longer want

There are other things I have a whole lot of trouble letting go of.

Things:

  • that might come in handy one day,
  • that are still useful or  pretty or I really like but for whatever reason I never use.
  • clothes that I love that I wore when I was  pregnant or thinner or younger, T shirts and outfits the kids wore and wore and loved when they were three and I look at them and remember how tiny they were
  • favourite toys from when they were little

These are the items that do my head in because they have that heart attachment.

Heres the other thing I haven’t been good at letting go of –  the excess of volume. Its the difference between having five sets of pillow slips and twenty five, same goes with towels and sheets and maybe shoes and plastic containers.

So its the excess I’ve been working on recently rather than the heart attachment stuff simply because its easier and less mentally draining.

Before we get into that though heres a couple of things I have worked out from underneath this mountain of stuff

The  space is worth more to me than the stuff.

Even if I do let go of something that I may need later on – its OK –  the space I have created is still more valuable that the item I may have to replace somewhere down the track.

An excess of  stuff steals your time, your peace, your enjoyment of your home and it just takes far more than it gives.

Letting go of unneeded, unnecessary things makes room for the things that actually matter –  heart wise, home wise, soul wise.

So I  bought a twelve pack of the largest garbage bags I could find – they’re the stand up on their own kind which is very handy but I found out impossible to lift when they are full  so maybe not such a good idea but anyhoo I  decided that I was going to fill everyone of them up for donation before Christmas arrives.

Three down – nine to go.

Unbelievably I filled one with just random things sitting around the house without even opening a cupboard so that was kind of scary.

I filled two cleaning out my linen cupboard. Now keep in mind I have cleaned out this cupboard many a time before but somehow things it just seems to fill up.

Heres the before – I accidentally chopped off the very bottom section with the random shoes and plaster casts and dust collecting and God knows what else.Unfortunately theres no way of making this before shot look good even with the morning sun streaming in .

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Very bleak to open your cupboard door and be faced with that. So I launched in  one shelf at a time in twenty minute stints. No I didn’t pull everything out  onto the floor in one go and then step over it for a week as has been known to happen. One shelf at a time is far less dramatic but on the upside I retain my sanity and my motivation.

Heres the middle progress

And heres the after.

Not perfect but a vast improvement. As you can see I did a little makeover on the shelf fronts with an old map I had on hand – details are below. I had a rearrange as well and folded everything as neatly as I could which I might say is not as easy as it may sound. Now it may not stay like this for long but amazingly I can now find a pillow slip or a sheet when I want one.  The containers and tubs have always worked well for things like fitted sheets which are impossible to keep neat and for the smaller items like pillowslips to keep everything corralled and out of sight. And now that I’m done I see I could do with a few more cause those folded clothes aren’t looking too pretty to me.

Regards the makeover of the shelves I had thought about painting the whole interior of the cupboard but I didn’t want this to turn into a six week project. Somewhere in the process of folding sheets I got the idea to do something with just the shelf fronts.  I love a quick little project and this one was very  very simple. I cut five strips of map the width and length of the shelf fronts. I applied a coat of Aquadhere craft glue onto the shelves and just pressed the strips on. That’s where I discovered my cutting could have been a whole lot straighter but too late to worry about at that stage.  I let them dry overnight then sanded the edges very lightly to get rid of any slight overhang then I put on one coat of clear Estapol. That was it. I love the soft mottled colours in maps so I like the result.

This is what I let go of

  • Most of flat sheets because we rarely use them anymore.
  • At least 15 pairs of pillow slips.
  • The double bed sheets and doona covers as we only have single or queen size beds here now.
  • Some lovely table cloths that I never used
  • Anything I had to iron before it could be used
  • Everything on the very bottom shelf.
  • Scrap pieces of pretty material that I have had forever and haven’t used
  • A couple of random blankets

So I’m happy with the result, happy I can now find things in my linen closet and happy my little map project didn’t go pear shaped as I thought it might.

I thought I would keep photographing and sharing decluttering progress as I make my way through my various cupboards. I’m gonna just go ahead and assume your as interested as I am in what’s going on with other peoples cupboards and share away.

Now I’m no expert on the topic of decluttering or organisation so please feel free to weigh in. Any thoughts? any tips or tricks? anything in progress your way  – would love to hear.

Love as always from my home to yours xx

 

Linking Up with Chasing Community and Porch Stories today

 

 

 

 

 

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#MySundayPhoto – What Progress Looks Like

 

“For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it”  Ivan Panin

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I know, I know its just an ordinary old tap attached to a nondescript brick wall.

Nothing interesting here except that I’ve not had a tap on this wall or in any vicinity of my back yard now for over ten years.

So to me it looks like progress and feels an awful lot like luxury.

No more joining two hoses together and dragging them the full length of the front yard and up the side of the house and right around the back, no more running the gauntlet up and down the yard to turn the tap on and off, no more looking for hose connectors gone astray, no more sloshing water in and out of the house to fill the dog bowl and water the chooks.

In short sheer luxury.

I now have water at my finger tips two feet from the chooks and not much further to the dogs. I can now hose the garden and the pot plants and the verandah and the kids jumping on the trampoline without working up a sweat.

But its been a little while coming.

Ten years ago now we began – and I use the word very loosely – “landscaping” our back yard. The tap that happened to stand between bull dozer and access to the back yard was a casualty. The pipe was capped and the tap itself put aside for the “time being”. That time being lasted until a few weeks ago when Ken and I started installing some drainage in the side yard – another project a long time coming. Unknowing and unskilled we’ve done OK  but we drew the line at putting in the tap. By some alignment of the planets and with a plumber actually willing to turn up when we wanted him to, which isn’t always a given around these parts –  the long anticipated backyard tap was reinstalled in a jiffy without fuss or fanfare. Joy.  After all that time so happy I could have wept – for the  tap now and for the progress made.

Something  banal and common place yes – but its looking kind of beautiful to me.

Whats looks like progress at your house?

What feels like luxury?

Lv Tracey xx

Joining in with #MySundayPhoto today

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Sitting Pretty

This chair  – – – 

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We’ve been keeping company now for ever so long – possibly longer that any other item of furniture I own apart from this bookshelf my Dad made. Not all furniture is created equal and not all designed to last the distance but in my books this one, she’s a keeper.

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Can’t remember where I found her. Most likely the op shop because that’s where I find most things. Maybe a road side throw out ? I do remember I was living in Sydney at the time in my ancient flat that hadn’t a whole lot going for it except a magnificent view of  Bondi Beach. I was doing an upholstery workshop just down the road and I needed a smallish item of furniture that was portable and could be made over in a couple of weekends. This chair was the perfect candidate with  good solid bones – I loved the curve of the arms and the little rounded turned out legs, still do – but her springs were all saggy and needed replacing. So during the course of the workshop I gave her new springs and webbing and fresh fabric and well she hasn’t looked back since. A little worse for wear in places now because its been quite a while but still going strong.

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A random meeting that I can’t recall and here we are still together all these years later. Some pieces of furniture just seem to suit your house and life down to the ground and this chairs one. Versatile – she fits in anywhere with anyone, not precious – she doesn’t need a lot of attention or looking after which is a good thing around here, she’s light enough to be picked up and moved easily and her small proportions work perfectly for my tiny house. “Style wise” she dresses up easy – looks best with something soft and fluffy thrown over her and with a few  cushions thrown on.

So far she’s lived in every room of the house bar the bathroom and including the front and back veranda. She spent a long time in Olivia’s room. A perfect chair for story reading and for putting dressed up dolly’s on. In my room there was more clothes being thrown on than sitting on but out front of the house she gave us a lovely place to enjoy the winter sun. Then for a while she was in the entrance near the front door but again more throwing on than sitting in.

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Right now though – – – 

She’s doing me a personal favour which is the reason she gets her very own post here today. I currently have her moved into the lounge room so I actually have a comfortable place to sit down.

See what I’ve noticed of late is that two children and one husband manage to take up all the available space on the two leather lounges we have, leaving me nowhere comfortable to sit. And forgive me but when I sit down to relax a little I don’t want to be squeezed in between and romped upon by an often less than fragrant  13 year old boy and the squirmiest 9 year old girl I have EVER come across.

So this seat has become MY seat and mine alone for now.

I read this earlier in the year on one of my favourite blogs and it’s somehow  stayed with me.

I felt a little lost in my own home. I can see my mama in my memory sitting on “her” end of the couch every single night with whatever book or cross stitch she was working on tucked into the end table beside her. I decided it wasn’t wrong in the least bit to stake my claim on my own spot complete with all my favorite books stuffed down beside me in a $2 yard sale ammo crate. Heather, Recollected Design 

Well I’m with Heather and her mama – we all need a sweet spot to call our own in our own homes , where our favourite book is in easy reach and theres a place to put our cup of tea or something stronger.  A place no one else is allowed to sit on or put their feet on or leave half of their sandwich or their school bag on.

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I’ve been missing that for a bit. Maybe I’ve just noticed it more since I have been working and don’t have time at home on my own during the day. Organising myself a comfy relaxing place to sit for a while in the evening, its such a basic thing that’s felt like such a luxury. I read more, I relax more, I enjoy Netflix more (which can definitely be a good thing at times)  and the real bonus I hang out with that odd smelling boy and that squirmy girl more. I think the squeezing in and having my cuppa tea bumped about put me off doing that for a good while. My two just love it when I stop all the rushing around and just be with them – – – – the rushing around a necessary part of life I know , but the sitting down just as much too. So while its been a small change, its made a big difference and they’re my favourite kind.  So if someone could just pass me my cup of tea please we’ll be all good.

Got a favourite piece of furniture ? Need to get  yourself a sweet spot. Would love to hear.

Tracey xx

 

Linking up with Home Matter Linky Party , Works For Me Wednesday, Bloggers Pit Stop

Simply Does It – Five Simple Refreshes For Your Home (and For Your Heart)

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The answer doesn’t always have to be long and complicated. Sometimes (not always but more often than we think) the answer is simple and sometimes its easy. In fact they’re my favourite kind. See I’m a great one for overcomplicating and overthinking things  – things like my faith, my writing, raising these two beautiful children  or even cleaning the bathroom sometimes – – – and it gets me stuck. Deer in the headlights stuck.  So what I’ve discovered is that simple does the job really well somedays and for me, seeing progress in even a small way can be all the boost I need to get me back on track and moving forward.

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So enough with the overcomplicating and lets go with a quick and easy post today.  Quick because you will be able to read it in 15 minutes or less and easy for me because  I’m writing about one of my very favourite things. So before this birthday month of mine expires entirely  I’m sharing five simple refreshes (or we could call them tiny changes) that I use all the time when my house is feeling a bit flat and lifeless – or I am.

1. Clean something. A surface, a floor, a corner, a shelf, just one small area. Pick the thing that’s bugging you the most or is the most visible. For me its quite often my kitchen bench – it seems to attract the most amazing amount of items in the span of a day so cleaning that down fresh always gives everything a lift including me but it might be the bathroom vanity, the coffee table, the sink, a work area, the front entrance, or just giving the floor a sweep – give something  20 minutes of your love and care and you’ll be amazed how much better it looks and feels.

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2. Bring in some green. In my opinion green makes everything feel better and somehow puts instant life and freshness into a space. A few indoor plants (or even just one will do) or a bunch of leafy branches from the garden arranged works wonders especially if its on your freshly cleaned down counter, coffee table or vanity. It won’t cost you anything and the stroll around the garden will do you good too.

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3. Have a rearrange. Maybe not the whole room in one go but a shelf, a mantle, the top of a dresser, a bookcase, a side table, a few chairs, anything really. A change – well it really can be as good as a holiday and who says everything has to stay in the same spot anyway. There’s a lot we don’t control, there’s a lot that is out of our power to directly change but a shelf or where I put a lamp shouldn’t be one of them.

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“Nothing is sacred around here.  Just because I bought something with the bedroom in mind doesn’t mean it has to live there FOREVER.  This is not a prison for my things.  I want my things to bring me joy and sometimes if they sit in the same place for too long, I don’t even see them anymore”. Edie Wadsworth.

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My favourite quick rearranges are my kitchen shelves, the cushions on  the lounge, the laundry shelves, my work area and the verandah out front. So go ahead and give yourself permission to change things around as much as you like  – you’ll be surprised what a difference a change of scenery, even a small one can make. Remember there’s no punishment if you put something somewhere and you don’t like it. Just try it somewhere else. Isn’t all creativity just a process of trial and error anyway.

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4. Set a surface free – this is a good one if your feeling a little or a lot overwhelmed by the amount of things you have sitting around and are just not sure where to start. It cuts out all the decision making and umming and ahhing about what to do with each thing. Just clear off one space – again a mantle, the top of a bookshelf, a buffet or a TV unit, a side table, a corner or a coffee table – anywhere thats annoying you because it simply has too much stuff on or in it – be it books or photo frames or vases or any number of cute things. Pack the items away and leave the space empty for a day or two. Just let it breath all on its own for a while and enjoy the uncluttered feel of it. The photos  below show the top of my TV unit that’s in our back sitting area all naked and my bedside table all cleared off because I can’t be trusted not to cram seventeen items on there at once.

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 It takes no time at all and when your ready –  only put back items that you really love and enjoy looking at. I can almost guarantee you wont want to overfill that space again and you won’t be tempted to drop just any old thing on there. We enjoy and appreciate the things we have so much more when they are  not vying for attention  in amongst a whole lot of other things. The other thing with leaving a surface empty for a bit is that it gives you a chance to rethink how you have been using it. So with the TV unit above I worked out when I cleared it off that I really don’t need another surface to put pretty things on. Given that its  a bit more of a utilitarian area what I could use up there are some baskets up there for storage.

As for the  items that don’t make it back on the shelf, here’s a couple of thoughts: keep a donation box handy  If it’s no longer inspiring or seen better days or your keeping it simply because it was a gift – it might be time to let it go. Less stuff to contend with on a daily basis – now thats a refresh in itself. Or for the keeps, just leave some things put away – all our nice things don’t all have to be out at the same time. They can be rotated just like the sheets and towels. In fact I try and have more put away than I have out these days so that when I do get something out that I haven’t seen in a while, I enjoy it more,  it makes a nice change and is way less expensive than a trip to the shops.

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5. Take a break. Now this ones about you. Sometimes when everything’s feeling a bit blah, it’s us not the house that need’s a freshen up.  When getting anything done feels like wading through mud its a sure sign we are just plan old tired and running low. Same goes if you find yourself going all day without sitting down or taking a break. I know it’s easier said than done but doing something to refresh yourself either body, soul or spirit  for at least 20 to 30 minutes a day will pay off on so very many levels.

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What refreshes each of us is entirely personal but heres a few thoughts: get outside in the fresh air, take a walk, read a good book with your feet up, watch a movie, spend some time in quiet and prayer, take a nap, get out with a friend, take time by the water, in the garden or enjoying a view, do something creative – not work creative but refuelling, just for pleasure creative. While your at it – drink some water and take a few  deep breaths. It doesn’t have to be luxurious or idyllic to work. It doesn’t have to be Friday afternoon and it doesnt have to involve a glass of wine. This recent instagram post I read sums the idea up exactly:

So much of life — pulls and minuses and divides us. But these evening moments of solitary walking around our little city lake – walking with seniors and students, Syrian refugees and soldiering on mamas – add to me. I don’t walk fast, I pray sometimes but mostly I just pay attention and I keep going. I feel like I’m getting somewhere. Sarah Bessey.

Author and blogger Emily P Freeman describes it as pressing your ear against the heartbeat of your own life (I love how she says things). Some describe it as  margin or white space, I just call it room to breath. I’ve not always been so good at that and no doubt I’m not alone but taking regular pauses where I’m not doing or making or planning or thinking so darn hard puts me in the direction of it. I know  I feel better when I rest and do something I like to do and better when I take time to breath deep and stare for a bit into the distance. Yes that so called unproductive “wasted” time, has a way of building and blessing and keeping us sane.

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“White space is anything but nothing” Bonnie Gray

So take a moment – take 20 or 30 or an hour regular like and do something that adds and refuels and refreshes you on the inside.

 So there it is –  a few simple ideas for refreshing your home and yourself. I have tried to keep this one short, sweet and of course simple  but if you would like a little more, here’s a few places where I am constantly inspired in pursuit of home and heart refreshment or if you’ve any simple refreshes that work for you please share away in the comments below.

Nesting Place

Chatting at the Sky, Emily P Freeman

Finding Spiritual White Space, Bonnie Gay

Now I know the posts of late have been few and far between but I have still been writing my weekly Women Connect posts. If you have a moment you can read them by clicking on the titles below or just browse the Women Connect page here.

On Making a Difference

Stay Awake To Love

Whatever!

Like Children

On Being Kind (To Ourselves)

Much love from my home to yours

Tracey xx

Linking up today with Works For Me Wednesday

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