My Favourite Clutter: The Patina in These Spoons

Years ago, I de-cluttered my home. I discovered that the process was more about celebrating what you choose to keep than mourning what you decide to discard.

Home…Hurrah’s series My Favourite Clutter is all about celebrating those special items – the ones that share our stories and express something unique about who we are.  The clutter that we love for whatever reason!

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I have noticed, over the last few years, that a lot of the meaningful clutter in our home winds up in my workshop.  Simple items like my son’s first running shoes; the satiny, cream coloured shoes that I wore on my wedding day almost 19 years ago; lovingly home-made cards that we’ve received.  I store these things in boxes or place them on shelves.  I have no intention of throwing them away, and this type of clutter seems to feed my creativity.

The workshop is where I also used to keep these 9 spoons and a tea sieve.  They have travelled over miles, continents, and time to find their way into my possession.  They were given to my mother by my paternal grandfather’s grandparents. (Yup. Pretty old.  My mom figures that some of the spoons are probably from the mid 1800’s.)  If these spoons could tell their story, they would probably need a whole book to say it.

These spoons have developed a natural, worn beauty over time, the kind that cannot be replicated, charming and imperfect with age.

I mean, look at the first spoon below.  How many meals does it take to wear a spoon down like this?  It was clearly someone’s favourite soup spoon!  Do most of the things made in our modern day and age even last long enough to show that kind of wear?

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How many conversations were had over the meals that wore this spoon down?
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I love the patina that these spoons have developed over the years.
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Engraved flowers and a bird infused tea time with a sense of family history.

Last year,  before storing them in a safety deposit box, I decided to have a bit of fun and draw one of them.  No plan.  I just picked up a spoon and started to draw it in the middle of a large paper.

Eventually, I added other things to the drawing: a piece of wood that I picked up while walking at a park with my mom, tassels from (the same) great-great grandparents’ table runner.  The background drawing was mostly from my imagination, and has a lot of symbolism.  The Rosemary branches are from my husband’s plant that we keep in my workshop.

My drawing skills are a bit rusty, but the only way to deal with that is to practice, so this was a useful exercise.   Maybe I would have done a few things differently if I had sat down and planned the drawing in advance, but allowing it to develop spontaneously was part of the fun.  Anyhow, hopefully this is just one of many drawings to come.

I think I am starting to understand why I am collecting “clutter” in my studio.  I may not be able to get to it for a while, but I think I have plans for it all.  Vague, incubating sort of plans.

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Some of the colour and detail are lost in the photo, but it still gives you a good idea of what the drawing looks like.

I would love to hear about your favourite clutter!  Please feel free to join in the fun and link it back here so I can check it out!

Thanks so much for popping by.  Have a wonderful week!image

DIY Lamp: So Easy and Unique!

We were having a really hard time taking down our Christmas lights this year.  The Christmas tree was no problem. We keep it in the family room at the back and we took it down early in January.

But our living room-dining room was a different story. This year I had tried something new. I lit these rooms up whimsically with Christmas lights throughout. At the window, I carefully designed a Christmas tree out of lights. It looked so nice that various guests were surprised when they came in to see that it was not a real tree – just a beautiful, 2-d light structure.

The problem was, none of us wanted to take the lights down. They created such a magical, cozy effect. Then, I saw this idea for a DIY lamp.  I took down all of the lights, and filled a tall glass vase with a string of lights. So easy! Our multicoloured lamp looks cozy and joyful in our living room. (See picture)

The great thing about this lamp is that you can choose one colour of light to create the feeling you want, and coordinate with your decor.  I simply used the lights I had, but there are many ways to apply this idea to your space and needs. (Consider the possibilities:  Red lights for a special Valentine dinner, white lights for an elegant year-round look…)

My son was initially pretty bummed out when I took down our Christmas lights, but after a couple of hours he said the lamp was growing on him. “Actually, it’s pretty charming. Like a star jar.”

Ways to Declutter, Organize, and Celebrate Your Home! Part 1

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

–Dame Rose Macaulay

A Great Read!

Today’s quote is from one of my favourite books on the subject of home: “A Perfectly Kept House is the Sign of a Misspent Life”, by Mary Randolph Carter.  It’s a great book filled with wonderful photographs and interesting ideas on “how to live creatively with collections, clutter, work, kids, pets, art, etc… and stop worrying about everything being perfectly in its place”.

Reconsidering Clutter: An Opportunity to Share and Express!

It’s true that an uncluttered space has a certain appeal – it can be calming and efficient. But it’s also important to recognize that purposeful “clutter” can express our personality and our history,  and can create warmth and visual appeal.

When I first found  Carter’s book, it was a great source of inspiration for me. It was a period in my life when, more than ever before, I started to focus on how to set up my home in a way that celebrated our life and nourished our interests.

I liked Carter’s take on clutter:

“Embrace it, make peace with it, take control of it, share it, reorganize it, and when the time seems right, bid it farewell.”

“Clutter is the grand parade that follows us all our days from a playpen of toys… to the places we call home.”

“Find solace and a little beauty in the clutter of the things we cherish in our everyday lives at home and at work.”

A Home Is For Living!

Part of the reason that I connected with this book, I think, is  that I was raised in an unpretentious home where living life was the priority.   What was surprising, though, is that this book about embracing clutter inspired me to  start a process of decluttering. 

It was a big job. I began to go through all of our stuff, starting with our basement, which we basically used for storage.  I got rid of countless things: I donated tonnes of stuff, and threw out or recycled what was not fit for giving.

In the process, I rediscovered mementos that were real treasures; imperfect, and full of personal history and interesting stories.  These items didn’t belong in storage. It was time for them to add some character to my home!

It was during this period of time that my personal philosophy of home “organization” really started to evolve.

ClutterFree With a Twist!

In some ways, my philosophy is somewhat minimalist. I enjoy living in a space that is not overly or needlessly cluttered.   At the same time, I find it joyful to be surrounded by the things that I love – books, pictures, and keepsakes.  My home is lived in, not perfect;  but it’s bright, clean, and welcoming

So my home has become a  combination of an uncluttered calm space, mixed with meaningful, useful and comforting objects that enhance my life.  It is all about about enjoying the things that you love, in a functional space that enables you to do the things that you love!

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Part 2:

How I Transformed My Home Without Spending (almost any) Money!

 

The above image is by Adam, courtesy of freerangestock.com

 

 

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.