Saturday, December 17, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

Merry Christmas 
from Smooth Stones Academy 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

My Version of "52 in 52"

On the WTM message boards there are a group of moms who took a challenge to read 52 books in 52 weeks in 2011. Well, I am a reader no doubt yet the thought of reading that many books at this stage in life just didn't seem doable. (I started reading WEM three years ago and I have only read the first two suggested books: Don Quixote and The Pilgrim's Progress.) Still the idea intrigued me. I love projects, deadlines and the accountability of doing it with a group.

I am jumping topics here, but I promise to tie it together in the end. We have lived in our current house for eight years. Eight years and we still have white bare walls. There is very little in our house that reflects who we are as a family - our loves, our history, our heritage and values. Just white bare walls. Blech!

Now for the past few years I have been saying that there just has not been time. And there is truth in that. One house. Eight years. Four pregnancies. Two babies. Two losses. Lots of therapy for Thatcher. One Asperger diagnosis. Six and one-half years homeschooling. One doctorate (for dh) now half finished. And I could go on and on. But honestly, who couldn't? Life is busy...for everyone. The reality is that now I can carve a little more time now that the boys are older. The key word is *little*. I am certainly not swimming in time here. I posted recently about how busy I feel my days are. Yet it's a different kind of busy than when the boys were little.

I am ready to begin doing some things around the house. I spend 90% of my time inside these walls and I want what surrounds me to be beautiful. It doesn't have to be designer or expensive, just a home that reflects our family. Warm colors. Family pictures. Simple decorations (I am not fussy about decor and certainly don't want clutter that just requires more time to dust and/or clean).

But here's the deal - I am an organizer, not a decorator. Organizing comes naturally. Systems and plans and linear thinking are almost effortless and energize me. Being creative and artistic...not so much. That's not to say that I do not enjoy it. I do...when I do it...and it's been a vvveeerrrry long time since I've done any of it. I am rusty. I am not sure how to create the look I really want in my home: collected over time, a bit worn, casual with touches of elegance (out of reach of busy boys ;). I took this quiz at Real Simple to find out my "decorating personality." And the result was...
Cozy Casual: You’re about comfort and warmth, favoring warm, traditional rooms made for relaxing with family and friends. Your ideal decor draws on English and early-American furniture designs, as well as laid-back country, cottage, and farmhouse styles. Weathered, low-maintenance furnishings are easy, inviting, and built for daily life. Think golden retrievers, fuzzy slippers, and just about any movie by Nancy Meyers.
Yep, that sounds about right. Unfortunately, my organized left brain gravitates towards living room sets where all the pieces match and fireplace mantle decor that is perfectly symmetrical. Sigh, I know what feels like home to me; I just don't know how to create that look in my home.

Then I read this inspiring article at Femina that further motivated me. Just about every single point made in this post struck a cord with me. Here is a bit of a teaser:
A homemaker needs to be a great many things on a shallow level, but if she wants to get deep in some area or another, that simply adds richness to the home. It adds life. It adds love. Think of a few ideas here with me. Interior design, Cooking, Baking , Pastry Chef, Landscape Architecture, Musician, Artist, Event Coordinating, Educator, Accountant, Tailor, Farmer. A woman at home can dabble in almost anything – not wasting her time, but learning her craft
So I am finally going to tie this all together. This year in 2012 I am going to do my own 52 in 52 -52 home projects in 52 weeks. I am going to hone a bit of my homemaking craft by using 2012 as the year that I begin turning our lovely house into an even lovelier home. I joined Pinterest and have already started pinning some simple DIY home decor projects and decorating ideas. This will need to be mostly low budget for me as we have not won the lottery or anything.

Would anyone like to join me for this challenge? Each week you can choose any home project you wish. Make candles. Paint a room or a piece of furniture. Fill picture frames with new pictures. Create a homemade wreath . Fill a bare spot on a wall with a bargain (or otherwise) find. Design a new centerpiece for a table in your home.

I know that 52 small projects (and maybe a few not so small ones sprinkled in here and wallpaper, say bye-bye) will not make a decorated home by the end of 2012 but it's a start. It feels challenging yet doable. And I am ready to get started right now!