15 Days of Happiness :: Rearrange Something

bluevases

Today’s happiness task is closely related to my post about painting something.  Sometimes we get going and the beautiful things in our lives become part of the backdrop.  We love and appreciate them, but because they blend into the landscape of our days we fail to really see them.  When we no longer see them, their power to bring joy is diminished.  We can do this both with people and with things, and when it happens it’s easy to start looking around at other people, other things, and think we need THOSE to be happy.

I caught myself being tempted to think this way recently when I saw this picture in the Wisteria catalog:

1651-blue-coastal-living-room

I love the bright blues against the white.  The painting, rug, lamps and vase I particularly like, but I don’t really need any of them.

I do have a white living room that I love, so I decided to pull a few things from other places and see how it would turn out.   This is what I did:

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I moved a pillow from another room and placed my Water and Sky quilt over the arm of the couch.

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I pulled vases from other rooms to make an arrangement I liked, then cut my first peonies of the year.

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That was it, but it was enough.  All of a sudden I had a splash of the color I wanted, and doing something different gave me new motivation and pride in having my house look nice.  Sometimes that is just what I need to feel energized and willing to clean.  Rearranging things makes me notice them again, and restores the pleasure I find in them as well.  I didn’t need anything new; I just needed new eyes to see what I already had.

What will you rearrange today?  A room?  A shelf?  Or will you do something far greater, like rearrange a schedule to restore a relationship to it’s proper priority in your life?  Whatever it is, may it bring happiness!

Jennifer

15 Days of Happiness :: Paint Something

 

With the change of every season, I often feel tempted to go shopping for pretty new home accessories.  Stores and catalogs are transformed by seasonal color and designs that make the coming season feel even more exciting and beautiful.   They plan it that way, and while I believe it’s fine to update things now and then, I also know that if we update our fashion at the rate the retailers hope we will, the result will bring pleasure at first, but will end up robbing us of happiness in the end.   There is nothing wrong with liking pretty things; the fault comes in buying too many of them.  Falling prey to retail therapy brings more stuff into our already cluttered homes, gives us more to store/maintain/care for, and usually ends up being a roadblock to our long term dreams by pinching us financially.

One of my strategies to benefit from the gorgeous advertising without sacrificing my goals is to paint something.  It’s usually the color that sucks me in, and I’m particularly vulnerable to the colors of spring when they hit the stores.  My favorite pictures this year came from the Wisteria catalog that arrived in my mailbox covered with every shade of blue – my favorite.

1652-blue-sky-living-room

Wanting something new, and wanting it to be blue, I decided to “shop my house.”  In the basement I remembered a votive candle holder that my sister gave me 3 (yes, three!) years ago.  The plan was to paint it all along, but I never got around to it.  I  used paint I had on hand from another project and got started.  My candle holder looked like this:

before

Pretty, but not me, especially with the metal inserts.  I decided to simply paint over all of it, and a few coats later I had this:

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I also decided to put it to use with flowers instead of candles.

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This project allowed me to be creative, to use something I already had, to display the flowers from my yard indoors, to save my money, and still feel like I had something new and exciting to enjoy.

flowers

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Isn’t it wonderful what a little paint can do!  Perhaps you’ve got something you can update, too.  Making home more beautiful – and doing it with self-discipline – is a happy thing!

Have a great day!

Jennifer

*This post is part of a short series on happiness.  You can find the complete list of posts in the series here.  To read the previous post, click here.  For the next post, click here.

Christmas Mantel 2012

I decided to place just a single Nativity on our family room mantel this year.   In my head the decor was going to be different, but now that the season is here my heart just wants simple.

After all, the only thing I really want for my children during this season is to have as many moments as possible when, in their hearts, they are kneeling beside the manger because the angels are singing in their hearts.

The log that constitutes the mantel presents some interesting challenges.  It’s not nearly long enough to use those adorable stocking hangers, especially with a family of ten.  My solution has been to hang a garland of some kind from it and put the stockings on that.  In the past I’ve used greenery but I wanted to keep the white theme, so I made a simple white burlap garland instead.

I started making these stockings years ago when we were adding a child to our family every 18-21 months.  I never knew how many we would end up with so I started making each stocking out of a different plaid fabric with their name embroidered on it in my handwriting.  That way I could make as many as we needed over the years.  My baby is three and I’m working to finish hers right now… finally!

The final touch is a simple bow in the center of the burlap garland.  Last weekend I was shopping with my mom and found this awesome text print linen ribbon.  Too often I “save” the things I like the most so I’m very proud of myself for cutting into this within two days.  I am kind of wishing I’d bought two, though.  It’s just so pretty!

And so the stockings are hung and the children filled with excitement.  Welcome, Christmas!

Linking up here.

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