Five Minute Friday – WITH and BETTER

Two for one today friends.

But firstly Happy New Year.

I hope it’s treating you well. I hope it promises much. I hope your doing OK.

So now those words

So the word WITH was the final Five Minute Friday word for 2018. I wrote zero words and totally missed the link up but as words sometimes do this one stayed with me anyway.

And now the first prompt word for 2019 is BETTER and I got me some thoughts on that one as well so as I said two for one but I won’t keep you long.

WITH

We were together, I forget the rest.

Walt Whitman

Very appropriate for the time of year when being with family and friends is such a big part of our Christmas and holiday celebrations.

And with this last Christmas I was reminded all over again that being with the people I love wins out hands down without question over

  • having everything go to plan
  • ticking all the boxes on our “this is what we do at Christmas” list
  • having the house all spruced and Christmas ready

Of course it’s lovely when things do go to plan, when the food turns out how it’s meant, when the house shines as I like it to and guests and or children, take your pick behave the way they should.

Lovely yes – but not essential to joy shared and thanks given and a good time being had. Not even nearly.

So this year things didn’t go to plan and in quite a spectacular way. Ken went into hospital on the 23rd of December with a badly infected wound on his foot and is still there as I write this. Daddy not being home for Christmas was a big disappointment for the kids, not because they thought they would miss out on anything but because we wouldn’t all be together at home.

But as we found out a bung foot and a hospital bed aren’t enough to ruin Christmas. Change of scenery you might call it, a slight detour.

So on the day, we traipsed ourselves up to the hospital after present opening at home and in amongst the antiseptic smells and hard light of the hospital ward we had ourselves a sweet little Christmas. I drank tea out of a plastic cup and we ate the lollies and chocolates that had been left at Kens bedside. The kids pulled a solitary Christmas cracker and laughed up big in telling various versions of the joke inside. We took funny photos and gave Ken his presents and though stuck in hospital Ken God bless him simply has a way of making the kids laugh and making any situation a bit of fun.

We spent the latter part of the day with the kind of friends who are family and my sister and I ate lunch there mid afternoon in the cool breeze of the verandah. A pot luck of what everyone had brought along. I discovered then that I’d left the lemon juice out of my signature Christmas dish so I splashed a bit on there and then and it all got eaten just the same. We played board games which got funnier by the minute, ate cheese, sipped some wine and I was happy just to be in the company of these good people I call my friends and family, all of us with our raggedy edges, all of us a bit tired and worn, all of us keeping gratitude and hope close by.

We focus a lot on the details of Christmas – and of course the things we do – the wrapping and baking and arranging and decorating is part of our celebrating – but it turns out only the tiniest increments of any of these are needed when the people your with are the main event.

Christmas is in the withness

And you know what, the kids won’t remember too much all the details that we bend ourselves in half over, that we think are so important to them – but I bet they’ll remember how they felt, they’ll remember the fun, they’ll remember the feeling of being safe and loved and seen. Thats what gets sealed beneath the skin, that’s what hints at the eternal.

So straggling my way into the new year I’m reminding myself

Choose being WITH, choose along side, choose the long chat, choose playing the game and sharing the joke. Choose to stay with even when it gets uncomfortable and awkward because that’s all part of it too.

The rest is all just decoration.

Now to that other word. BETTER – this one was simple.

I say better Christmas spent in a hospital room with good medicine than Ken not with us at all. They were our options.

Better a simple gathering with the ones you love than an abundance without them.

Better a plan go astray than losing everything.

better Gods ways than mine.

A sudden turn of events may feel like a derailment, it might feel like a good hard kick in the shins, it might even make us wonder what will become of us all, but it has a way of making realer, more honest, truer people of us.

Better that than a game of charades.

And better a grateful heart than a bitter one.

Any day, anytime.

We may not depict these ordinary places on Christmas cards. We may not celebrate them in song. But this is where we live and wonder lives here too Christie Purifoy (Roots and Sky).

Thanks for reading friends. You can read what others have done with there five minutes worth here.

Would love to hear your thoughts so feel free to leave them in the comments below.

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Small Change, Big Difference – Impromptu Feature Wall

I may have mentioned this before but I’ll say it again anyway – small changes that make a big difference are my favourite kind of changes.

I’ll also mention that at the very present moment with time short but the need to write and create relentlessly pressing  – shorter posts (which are hopefully just as sweet) that don’t take me a week or more to write and edit are also becoming my favourite.

So in keeping with that, I thought I’d share a quick change done recently that was easy, fun and mostly done by me sweet girl Olivia.

Last Saturday she announced that she really wanted to declutter her room properly. Now I had other things planned for the day but I wasn’t going to argue, girl on a mission and that sort of thing and her room really did need it.

Now keep in mind this was on top of hours of cleaning and organising I’d done a few weeks earlier (you can see that here) but when I’m doing anything in her room I’m always conscious that they are her things and her stuff and its her decision weather it stays or goes, so not near as much went out as s probably needed. I needn’t have worried.

This time it was her idea and oh she was ruthless. All sentimentalities were cast aside. It helped I think that I told her to just bag up whatever she didn’t want in your room anymore and we would work out later what to keep and what to donate – so no huge decisions had to be made at that time apart from do I want to look at this everyday or not. If not it went into a bag.

She had several bags full in a nano second and her little gallery wall which apparently had a lot of “very babyish things on it” pulled down in a jiffy. She opted to get rid of her desk and chair, the white desk top shelf and the plastic storage unit underneath. Chair and storage unit are now mine, desk and decorative shelves are being sold on Gumtree. The desk  being just inside the door which was the only place it could really go, wasn’t so much used for sitting and “working” at anymore but had become a place just to dump things on.

I don’t have a photo of the whole wall before Liv took to it but this photo proves my point about the desk. From before we had a “tidy up” and after said tidy up.

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With everything off the wall you could see it needed some TLC so I suggested we patch up the nail holes and give it a sand and with that done I realised we’d have to repaint the wall!!

Olivia’s was elated. Bring on the feature wall !!

With Ken being a painter and decorator in a past life we needed go no further than our garage for supplies. She found a darkish teal blue coloured paint, a little girl sized paint roller and she was away. I did the cutting in along the ceiling but the rest was all her. She kept saying “I love this !!!!, “I love doing this” and I kept saying “I know me too” – this decorating thing – I think it’s in our DNA.

Second coat

Two coats later and it was done and she is totally in love with the finished wall which she “designed” herself, very simple which is just how she wanted it and she can rearrange the fairy lights and change the word board whenever she likes.

She was also very happy to notice that her new wall colour matches the colour of the “parlour” in Anne with an E. We’re watching Season 2 now and desperately trying to only watch one episode a week.

These pics were taken during the day so the fairy lights aren’t showing so much but you get the idea and that’s not bad advise she’s giving us there.

Night pic. Light arrangement changes daily

Thank you to best friend Amelia and mum Helen for the fairy light inspiration. Fairy lights, word board, and tiny table from Kmart, our go to place when we’ve got a total of about $30 to spend on decor. We are planning to hit the op shops to find a nice comfy chair for next to the little table.

A very satisfying simple weekend project and lovely to see Livvy so happy about it too.

Any quick easy projects happening at your place. Would love to hear.

And if you’d like you can read my first Small Change Big Difference post here

Marking Time

I’d had the 31st of May fixed in my head for a couple of reasons. Olivia had an inter school soccer tournament on that day and I’d been wondering if I should take the day off to go and cheer her on. And having been plodding away writing this post through most of May in the cracks and crevices of my days – during my lunch break, in the car after work before the drive home, I’d set myself a 31st of May deadline to get it done already and published.

The thing with plans though –

is that life quite often has very different ones.

The 31st of May remains a day locked in my head now for other reasons. It was this day my mum decided her time here on earth was done and went off to her heavenly home. Just like that, no fuss, no fanfare, about six in the morning while I was still sleeping, a month off 91.

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I wrote these words on Instagram a few days after she died and I can’t think of any better to say

Grateful for 52 years with this lady – far longer than many people have their mums for. Grateful that she went in an instant on a clear blue sunny morning, the last day of Autumn before the cold of winter set in. Grateful she is no longer tormented by a body plain worn out that wouldn’t let her do the things she loved to do – she was a maker, always busy with growing, cooking or sewing something but it was the sewing she really missed most these last few years. She was still persevering with crocheting hand towels though and on her last day did a lovely piece of crochet in a bright pink yarn that she was really pleased with. Grateful too on her final day she enjoyed an outing and a laugh. But mostly I’m grateful there was no time for fear in going just time to be ushered straight into the presence of God. Grateful also that she’s now reunited with the three of her children who went on ahead of her whom she spent a life time missing. What a beautiful welcome she’ll be receiving. Posted in honour and remembrance of our very own “land army girl” and my mum Sheila Lincoln 26/6/1927 ~ 31/5/2018

Done and finished with this world but fresh faced and new to heaven – I like to think of her there – the shackles gone, the striving over, the homecoming sweet.

A few weeks along I’ve thought much about how quickly she went. The thought that keeps coming to mind is what an incredible kindness. She kept trying to stay, a little bit afraid of death, not wanting to leave us, still trying to do things and this epitomised her life – she was always always one to have a go, to keep at it, to do something, anything – even in this last little while when everything was failing her, her hands, her mind and her energy – she was still trying.  This last year she often said to me “What am I still here for” with such frustration. And I’d say the one thing I could think of which was ” Well I’m glad your still here, and if your still here God has a reason.” I wonder now if it was that she didn’t know how to let go, how to stop trying, how to stop mothering and I wonder too if it was that we weren’t ready to let her go. And in the end we don’t decide, God does. Decision made for all of us. And what a kindness to her, what a relief not to have to stare death in the face and give in to the going but to just step through that flimsy veil and be gone to Him. These words I think He might have beckoned her with keep coming to me “Come on, its enough, lets be done with it”.

I would have liked an inkling though that she was going. Seeing her all the time I think I stopped seeing how very very frail she was. I would have stayed a bit longer the night before, I would have sat and stared and taken her face in for the last time. Told her a few things, all things I know she knew but it would have been nice to say again, the love you and the thank you, a million times thank you and the you’ve done well and you’ve been a good mum. She would have liked that.

But I didn’t have an inkling – not one little bit. So what we did was eat chicken, thank God I took it that night instead of the next as I usually do and with a bit of guess work and stopping and starting she told me what she had done that day and what had made her laugh. We admired her crochet and I rubbed on some cream – there was always cream that needed to go somewhere – then as always she hurried me off  because she knew the kids were waiting at home, a kiss – there was always a kiss before going and we called another good night to each other, her from her room and  me as I headed out down the hallway. Not a grand parting as partings go, both of us clueless but I can see it was still lovely in its own way. Not knowing maybe a kindness to me as well in the long run

A few weeks along and the reality of it is setting in, the activity thats been buoying us all along is finally done and finished, her ashes are where she wanted them to be, the memorial service which was everything we could have hoped it to be – a fitting farewell – all done. The flowers  on my dining room table are starting to fade and  I keep taking pictures of them because they were bought to celebrate her life and her passing and once there gone they’ll be gone.

It’s been nice to write some words about her particularly today. Today is the 26th of June which would have been her 91st birthday.

Her going makes the sentiments of this post that I wrote in the month beforehand ring all the truer I guess so I’ll share it now as is. Hope there’s something in it for you.

Marking Time

How many times do we hear ourselves say it.

Time flys

And faster every day it seems.

Here we are in June now and do any of us know how we got six months into this new year so suddenly.

On a Monday the week looms large and long but you no sooner get started and you find it’s Friday again. Some weeks seem a total blur one day running clean into another.

And really that would be OK except from one week to the next my kids are growing up and changing and changing fast and I want to grab time and hold onto it so I don’t miss any of it – – –

but it doesn’t work that way and I don’t think I’ll ever remember enough.

There’s no slowing it down, there’s no stopping it, there’s not even a pause button.

All we can really do is try and pay attention.

Take notice of our days and how we fill them – even the most ordinary of them because even they in days to come will feel like gold.

It may be all psychological who knows, but there are a few things I’ve been doing so far this year that I haven’t consistently done before that I feel are helping me keep track and counteract that sense of it all running away from me too quickly.

Nothing genius, nothing revolutionary – really simple things in fact because its me and simple is the only thing that ever works for me on an ongoing basis.

1. I keep a detailed diary.

Now I’ve always kept a diary of one sort or another to keep track of appointments and where we need to be but as I’ve flicked through diaries from years past there’s great expanses of blank pages with a few Doctors appointments, play dates and birthday parties scribbled in. But these days weren’t blank.  They were full of our lives and kids growing and raging around my house and a million things done and my memory fades so fast on the little stuff and unfortunately on the the big stuff too. Thank God for iPhone photos and Facebook!! Well never remember it all, maybe we’re not meant to but enough with the blank pages.

So this year year I’ve been filling my diary pages with what we’ve done and where we’ve been, along with what we’ve had for dinner (what was a hit and what was a fizzer) things the kids are saying and enjoying and even what we are watching on Netflix. Just in point form, no waxing lyrical, no essays. I paste in our movie ticket stubs and occasionally a photo as well. I paste in pretty embellishments too like I’m seven years old because its something Livvy and I like to do together. I write in all the usual appointments and to do lists and things I need to buy too – just everyday stuff but they are our everydays and they’re worth noting. Some days are fuller than others – there’s still a few blanks – like most of life really. I do it not so much for the future but to immerse myself more in the right now.

And yes it’s just your average ordinary everyday diary. Not a bullet journal, not one from a fancy shmancy paper goods or bookshop (how lovely are they though). Mine from Kmart – works the same way . Pics show days not so jam packed with words and embellishments because no one needs to see all my hastily penned shopping lists or my random comments and insights.

2. I get photos developed.

Yes that old fashioned concept where you take a photo and end up with a real photograph you can hold in your hand. All those digital photos on my iPhone and computer and in the “cloud” thingy wherever that is and I wonder what I’ll do if one day any or all of it goes kaput. So no fancy photo books at this stage, I just go down the road to Big W and print a few of my favourites off every few weeks. Costs next to nothing. They end up in frames and on the fridge and stuck in my diary.

3. I make a big deal of small things that reflect the season we are in.

Things like change of seasons, the end of the school term, something scary overcome, a milestone reached, the end of a hard week. Anything really. Acknowledging something, marking it as an occasion or event even with simple words does something. It dog ears the moment and provides a hook we can hang our memories on. It acknowledges the time passing and our part in it. It’s an opportunity for joy and a bit of fun that can otherwise pass by just too easy without noticing. I’ll often make little announcements like “heres to the end of a big week” or “heres to the start of the school holidays”. “First day of summer – time for – – – – ” . Yes they roll their eyes sometimes but if its accompanied by food or something fun they’re all good. This year I made a bit of a fuss of the start (and end) of the summer holidays with a start/end of summer hoorah – packing in the activities and fun and just making a thing of it. You can’t do it all the time with everything – but it’s a great way of taking notice.

4. I write everyday – this ones more for me than for the kids but it helps me keep track of where I’m up to, what I’m thinking about, what’s inspiring me, what I’m learning. I write in quotes or words I’ve taken screen shots of, I write in questions. It helps me work out what I want to do differently and rethink where I’m headed. Sometimes the words will become an IG post or a blog post, some words are just for me.

Some days I haven’t a thing to write but I write anyway and it’s always surprising how much you can write when you think you have nothing to say. It’s helped me feel front and present in my own life if that makes sense and brings a measure of calm. Having written some things out I’m not always scrambling to remember my thoughts. Five to ten minutes worth at the most – sometimes in a pretty book, sometimes in a scrappy old exercise book I’ve found in Olivia’s room. They all work the same way.

5. Pause

This is simply stopping for a few minutes each day. For me it’s usually during my quick as a flash 15 minute morning tea break when I walk downstairs and sit in the sun and fresh air for a few minutes. It only takes a minute or two to take in your surroundings, think about what day it is, what time of the year it is, the weather, what you can hear and what you can see, and how your feeling. – breath it all in and breath it out – be grateful, a simple way of taking notice.

6. Show up where your feet are.

This one I’m still learning and probably always will be. The idea and I know it sounds like a cliche is to be fully present where you are and with what your doing at that particular moment – even if that’s watching a movie with the kids – without stressing about what I’m not doing or what I should be doing next. I feel like I enjoy that time more and that adds to the sense of having immersed myself in the day rather than being a passer through on the way to somewhere else.

7. Do one thing at a time

A bit similar to the above I guess. I have a tendency and maybe you do too to try and make every second as productive as possible which often means trying to do too many things at the same time. I’ll tell you right now for free its exhausting and totally counterproductive. A dear online friend of mine Heather said this to me “Multitasking is just the ability to screw multiple things up at once in my opinion”. I agree. Now having the washing machine, the dishwasher and the slow cooker on at the same time I’m all good with. Trying to cook dinner, pay a bill online, do the lunch boxes for the next day and find some random item for Ken (because apparently in this house I’m the finder of all things ) – I am not so good with. I end up with my head in a spin and things end up half done, badly done or burnt.

These days when I’m doing something and several other things beckon, or one of the people in my house beckon you’ll quite often hear me say “No I’m doing this right now I’ll do that when I’m done here”. Magic little words they are and make for a happier calmer me, a calmer household and a much nicer dinner.

So that’s my few ideas. As you would well know by now I’m no expert on any of the things I write about so if you have a couple of ideas feel free to chime in in the comments below.

I will leave you with these words

“What matters is not how much time a person actually has but how best to inhabit it and make it spacious” Christian McEwan, World Enough and Time.

Linking up today with #PorchStories

and Hearth and Soul with April J Harris

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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