A Beautiful Mess

“At the worst, a house unkept cannot be so distressing as a life unlived.”

Dame Rose Macaulay ((1881-1958)

An Oil-Pastel Drawing I made last year.
A space that allows us to grow and express ourselves is truly a thing of beauty, and that is one of the ideas behind this oil pastel drawing.

My grandma used to smile sometimes with a shrug of her shoulders and refer to the famous piece of French wisdom, “It’s a beautiful mess”.  Her home was always wonderfully kept; a welcoming place full of flowers and fresh baking.  But this attitude helped her enjoy her grandchildren and embrace life’s imperfections.

Because life comes first, and there is a real wisdom in arranging our priorities and our spaces with that in mind.

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A home doesn’t have to be Pinterest perfect.  It doesn’t have to sport the most stylish and expensive decor.  It doesn’t have to be spotless.

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Displaying special items collected through our experiences can be an inexpensive and uplifting way to decorate.

The real joy comes from creating a space where we can live fully.  A place that expresses who we are, and that enables us to do the things that really matter to us.

After all, there is a profound beauty in living life well.

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Awesome and Simple Friday Get-Togethers.

Post written by Carina Spring 

What do you like to do on Friday nights? For us, Fridays have always been a special treat, and usually involve home-made pizza and watching a movie. I love that kind of Friday. 

Lately, though, we’ve changed things up a bit. We have added regular Friday get-togethers into the mix. Until recently, when we hosted dinners, we would always do it on Saturdays. Somehow that’s changing.  

Having friends over on a Friday makes me feel like I am starting a long weekend. When the evening is done, I marvel that it is even a workday! We’ve spent hours chatting and relaxing in the company of good friends, and we still have the whole weekend ahead! 

Everyone is different, but here are a few things that have tipped the scales for us in favour of Friday get-togethers:

1) We keep it simple. Most times, we order in so dishes and cooking are minimal.

2) There is an understanding that it will be a pretty casual evening.  It’s Friday, we’ve worked all week, so the house won’t be perfect. It’s about genuinely enjoying and connecting with each other, not impressing each other.

3) We’re all pretty tired, so things wrap up early. Everyone wants to be rested for the next day in order to really enjoy Saturday.

4) Often, we hang out and even dine in the family room at the back. With soft couches and big windows, it’s an invitation to get comfy and let the week go.

We still love Saturday dinners every now and then, but they are a different experience. Finding a way to visit on Fridays has meant that we can see everyone more often, and we still have time to pursue our interests and get some rest on the weekend.

No matter what I am doing, Friday holds a special place on the weekday calendar.

Image by Supertrooper, courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.

 

 

Ideas on Creating a Welcoming Home

“… It was amazing what a little noise and brightness could do to a house and a life, how much the smallest bit of each could change everything…”

-Sarah Dessen, What Happened to Goodbye

What Makes a Home Welcoming?

When I was young, probably 12 years old, my aunt, who was working on her master’s degree, took me to a party.   It was hosted by a friend of hers from university and the house seemed to me  full with interesting adults. It was a lively, enchanting affair held in an older home, with arched doorways that connected the rooms. The thing is, decades later, sometimes I still think back to that home and revel in how it made me feel. It had character, but was simple; maybe pretty.  On the surface, there was nothing exceptional about that small house, but the ambiance was warm, welcoming and comfortable. I can’t remember the deco in much detail-  just that it was not pretentious, and that it gave me this feeling of embracing life; a home that was honest and comfortable with itself. These people enjoyed their friends and opened their home in a way that was genuine and, it turns out, unforgettable.

The Secret: Focus On What You Do Have.

Experiences like this have convinced me: It doesn’t matter what kind of house you have. Don’t worry about the imperfections or the size of your house, or the age of the furniture. Your home may be lived in rather than spotless, and the furniture may not be right out of a glossy magazine. Who cares? As we head into the holidays, forget about useless expectations that rob you of the moment. Instead, focus on what you do have and make the most of it.  

So, in that spirit,  here are a few…

Easy Tips to Create a Welcoming Ambiance :

~ Think about lighting. Candles (supervised, of course), and/or Christmas lights create a wonderful feeling.  Lamps can be used to brighten the room softly.  When entertaining, I often use a combination of light sources to create a cozy, but well illuminated space.

~ Music transforms the atmosphere. Download a fabulous free app like Songza, which has themed playlists. You can switch up the playlists to accompany the different activities, enhancing the mood you wish to create. Personally, I love lively, but relaxing music when enjoying pre-dinner drinks, followed by jazzy, soothing music while dining.

~ Informal elegance is the new classic! Think comfortable, gracious hospitality with a down-to-earth touch.

~ Remember that older items often acquire a certain patina, growing more beautiful with age and use.  So display items that tell a story or have positive associations for you! They are personal, charming and interesting to talk about!

~ Plants!  They purify the air and bring colour and life to a room.   I have some geraniums that need a lot of sunlight, so in the winter months I keep them in the family room, which gets sun throughout the short days.  When guests are coming, I take them to the living room, where their bright red blooms create a cheerful welcome and enhance the colours in that space.  Even if you aren’t much of a green thumb, there are plenty of beautiful plants that don’t need much care.  For example, I have several Spider Plants that do well no matter where I put them, and I only need to  fill the self-watering pots every 10 days or so.

Create a Home with Heart

This December, take time to focus on the things in your life for which you are grateful.  A house filled with a generosity of spirit, warmed by smiles, and illuminated  with genuine welcomes is a home with heart. Let’s face it: that is the most beautiful kind of house there is.

Image by Just2shutter, courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net. 

 

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Thanks for stopping by homehurrah.com and I can’t wait to share my next post with you!

In the next few days, I will be writing a post on the easiest way to declutter, while keeping the clutter that counts! Believe me, I have experience decluttering! But I believe that it is wonderful to keep, display, and enjoy “clutter” that has a special meaning, purpose, or visual appeal. Anyhow, this is a great tip for creating a welcoming home, but requires a full article to explain properly. So if you are interested, stay tuned for that.