Spring is ALMOST here!

Hello!

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hello…
hello… (crickets)

Hey, tiny group of people who read the stuff I post to the internet…um, sorry. Man, this family gets in a rut in the wintertime (and we don’t even have a real winter– it’s Tennessee for crap’s sake). I think I’ve been waiting for a big moment to write a new post, but instead, I’m just going to sit down and update everyone. I have serious intentions of updating at least bi-weekly now that the weather is warming up.

We haven’t done a whole lot lately, but here I am, about to update on some house stuff. So without too many excuses, here I go.

It’s starting to look like spring in East Tennessee. I have a love-hate relationship with the sudden warming and greening and general “new car” smell happening around here. Like, I LOVE it, but I’m also a little worried it’s a sign of impending doom and eventually we’ll all just live in a summery hellscape. BUT, it does allow me to start doing garden and yard stuff in MARCH, so I guess, in the short term, I’ll bask in the glory and forget the terrifying possibilities.

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Sis, enjoying her post as supervisor.

So, two things.

First, the garden is starting to spring to life, and seriously, it’s going to be AMAZING this year. We moved in in 2011 and it was a mess:

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But, year by year, I’ve clawed my way out of the bindweed, the lamb’s ear, the fungus-infested irises, the strangling daylillies, and this, THIS is the summer it will look like the garden was designed by a pro (and not a serious novice who’s been figuring it out as she goes). I spent Saturday moving plants to improve the balance of the garden, and this year, I really think it’ll all fill in so beautifully.

I’ve even thought about lines of sight; when you look out our back door, you’ll see a rose bush (blooming most of the summer) surrounded by yarrow and salvia, covered in hummingbird moths and butterflies. So just imagine this:

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…like that.

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The Boy helping to water in my transplanted rose bush.

Additionally, I’ve been working on a plan for the bedroom. “What?” you ask. “You mean the bedroom where you built the closets? The ones we read about last winter?”

Yeah, that one.

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Hear me out. I loved the navy blue. I really did. I think when we built those closets, I wanted a dramatic way to set them off from the white walls. But honestly, I think maybe the drama gives me anxiety. So, I’m working on a plan for dialing down the drama in the bedroom (well, doesn’t that sound weird…leaving it) and lightening it all up. Here are the reasons:

  1. The navy is lovely but it sucks the light out of the room when we’re reading books at night with our son. The color (Volcanic Ash by Valspar) is still my go-to navy, but it’s just dark, and while I loved the concept, and even the execution, LIVING with it is a different story.
  2. I feel stuck in a blue rut in this room. The ceiling is SO beautiful, but SO blue. It’s got every color of blue you could imagine in it, and it makes me feel, in conjunction with the navy, that I can’t do anything else with it. Which is how I ended up with blue winter pillows in the room.

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3. The blue really doesn’t mesh with the white/grey/charcoal/light blue thing I have going in the rest of the house, and I’m a big fan of repetition throughout a house. I feel a bit assaulted (boy, dramatic much?) every time I go into the room and it doesn’t match the rest of the house.

4. I would like to make the space a little more spring-ish, and I’m struggling with that.

5. I’m just ready for a change.

So, I have plans, and I’m seriously considering joining the One Room Challenge, which is a biannual event where a bunch of well-known bloggers tackle one space and redesign it over the course of six weeks. Additionally, thousands of people with small-time blogs (ME) participate as amateurs. They update weekly (a challenge for me) about their design, their progress, and finally, a reveal. So, that’s my plan: join the amateur ORC and force myself to really re-evaluate what I want from our bedroom space. Additionally, I’ll be working on a budget of like, not much. 🙂 So, fun challenge, given I have no real design skills.

So, that’s what’s up. The challenge doesn’t start til April, but March will be super busy. For one, I’m having surgery for a difficult-to-diagnose honest-to-god bizarre syndrome I appear to have in my ears (you guys, I can hear my eyeballs move) and my co-workers and I are putting together some seriously cool library stuff for our students. I plan to ruminate during March while planning my garden for the year and doing some old house maintenance (constant in a house that’s 117 years old), and then kick some proverbial ass when it comes to the interior come April.

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Thanks for sticking with me and reading, guys. It’s fun to share all my hopes and plans and ideas with you.

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Fall Pillows

Hey guys!

I have a confession to make: I’ve been slacking. Somehow I haven’t felt very creative lately. Work is nuts, and I’ve been in a bit of a depression over some hearing issues I’ve been having that frequently make singing and even talking uncomfortable. However, my husband pointed out to me recently that if I can’t sing and do all the theatre-y things that keep me sane right now, maybe I need to channel the energy into another creative endeavor. So, last Friday, that’s what I started doing.

I’ve always made fun (as in, poked fun at, not making people cry) of people who go all out decorating for each season. I have a couple aunts who do that, and I give them a hard time about all the RubberMade boxes full of seasonal decorations they own. That said, I’ve always loved going to their houses during the seasons for which they decorate; color me hypocritical. And, as my son grows older and starts to love holidays, I’m starting to feel like maybe they were onto something with the whole “making the house look special” thing. My kid’s only little once, and last night, he wanted to put up the “feefeeshree” (that’s Christmas tree for people who don’t speak gibberish). So, fine, you adorable aunt creatures. You win. I’m in.

That said, I despise the hullabaloo about “decorations”. I hate the stores that sell Christmas decorations in September. I get mad that people are conned into purchasing corn husks at $15 per clump (is that even the right terminology?).

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This shit pisses me off.

That up there? That’s not a natural birch pole. Or rather it is, but where I come from, that’s a freaking branch. (Side note: I love that you can order it online and pick it up in the store…as opposed to picking it up in your yard.)

So, in an effort to do what home bloggers like to call “nesting,” including “warming up the space with texture” and “coziness”, I set out on Friday to make some fall-ish pillows for our bed. I should take this moment to say that when Peter came home and asked me what I had done that afternoon, I said, “I made new throw pillows for the bed.” Having just come from the bedroom, he said, “Our bed?” To which I responded, “Yes, our bed.” He said, “Today? Like they’re in there right now?” And I said, “Yes, right now.”

He paused. And he said, “I would never have noticed.” But upon further inspection, he did choose the herringbone pillow as his favorite.

I think the not noticing came partly from my color choices. I’d had some pretty pillow covers I made from napkins I bought on sale from Anthropologie on the bed since May or so, but I decided to go more neutral and get some cozy flannel material this time around. I still have a couple to make, and I’m hoping to liven it up with a bit of color.

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The materials I chose: a gray and white plaid flannel, a navy and dark green plaid flannel, a grey herringbone flannel, a cream cotton with a mudcloth pattern in blue, and charcoal corduroy for the backs of the pillows.

On Friday, I made two pillow covers (covers only– I don’t have the storage space for actual full-on pillows). First, using this tutorial for creating continuous bias tape, I made piping from the herringbone flannel.

Then, I made an envelope pillow cover for the pillows I already had on the bed using that piping.

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I went ahead and made a pillow cover from the grey plaid the same way, just without piping. Here’s the look so far:

 

I made the two pillow covers on the right, but the navy one on the left is a navy pillow I bought at HomeGoods last year. I was a little disappointed with how the herringbone pillow on the right read from a distance. It’s a really nice pattern, but it’s so small that you can’t tell it’s herringbone (my current pattern obsession) from the doorway. Oh, well. Lessons in home decorating learned.

I’m about halfway done with creating pillow covers for the bed (I know, that’s a lot of pillow covers, but I’m practicing and they’re fun and I like lots of pillows). I like that the neutral pillows can be spread all over the house once I tire of them all being on the bed. The grey herringbone will probably travel upstairs to the guest bedroom.

Making my own “warming up the house” decorations for this fall and winter is a bit of an attempt to walk the walk; I do want to have a warm and cozy house for the winter. I do want to make the kind of home my family and I love coming home to. I do enjoy mixing patterns and colors and fabrics. I don’t enjoy going out and buying thing after thing after thing to try to make that home what I want it, and I really get frustrated with the pressure to buy trendy items that make my home stylish.

So I’m going to try to make what I can this year and see where I get. I have no talent for this kind of thing; I think I am able to think in big pictures when it comes to my house, but the idea that I need to have accessories that get switched out in appealing ways is a bit overwhelming. But others do it; so can I! In a few years, I’ll have the “seasonal decor” thing down, and my son will remember a sweet, cozy home from his childhood and I’ll remember spending my time creating the home we love on a budget we can handle with the right amount of stuff so we don’t have to get a storage facility. 😉

Happy fall, guys! I’ll try to get back next week with a finished set of bed pillows.