Tuesday, August 19, 2008

You Don’t Love It and It Doesn’t Love You, Release It

Moving from a home I had lived in for over twenty years helped me de-junk. Still, I had too much clutter. I was fortunate to get help from a relative and another friend who were naturals at organization; they actually enjoy doing it! I started the daunting task in the storage shed then moved to organizing the house. My master-organizer friend helped me sort items in three categories:
Give away

Sorting through my treasures and deciding what items to keep and what items had to go was painful. Fighting the thought “I might need that someday” that was stuck my brain, I waded through “stuff.” My cousin said, “If you don’t love it and it doesn’t love you, its time to release it.” This phrase helped me donate some of my neglected treasures to charity. Out went the comb-binding machine and boxes of binding combs, away to an acquaintance went my oak drafting table, chair and drafting arm, and to EBAY went my drafting templates and supplies. I was surprised and pleased how many others needed the things I had held onto, and I have not missed the clutter. It's amazing how much easier it is to organize when there is less to organize. Now my motto is: If something comes in, another item must leave and this usually works.
I have found the ancient proverb “cleanliness is next to Godliness” has merit. I believe that a tidy home allows positive energy to flow more freely and is not so frustrating to look at. If anyone needs help or ideas for reducing clutter, my daughter clued me to the website http://www.flylady.net/ a great site for packrats or some of us that just need a little help.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Decor: Tell Your Story

I wanted my décor to reflect the era of the house and tell my story. I sorted through things I already had to find like items for grouping. In the living room I started with photographs of ancestors since genealogy and family history are two of my loves. I had them printed in sepia and framed with wooden frames. I had an old fiddle that a grandfather once played and placed some guitar strings in an old package on the front. To help tell about my heritage, I grouped the family momentous together at the corner of two walls.

Because I am an artist, displaying some of my paintings is a must. I find a mirror hung here or there is useful in opening up a room. In the photo above on the right, the mirror on one wall reflects one of my paintings which adds more dimension to the living room. As you walk across the room, the mirror discretely reflects other scenes. On the wooden sconces on either side of the mirror are a few keepsakes.
Since I grew up with the colorful Utah deserts as my playground, I am interested in geology, rocks and crystals. I grouped my fossil/rock/crystal collections in areas around the house intermixed with other keepsakes such as my father’s cribbage board and one of his favorite books. I once found a large commercial antique butter churn with my maiden name printed on the front. Since it had my name on it, I had to buy it. This is where I store my firestarters (see my Helpful Hints and Tips, Tip: Firestarters on the right side of this blog page). I grouped it with crocks, a washboard, my father’s branding iron, and a large antique-looking vase containing a few peacock feathers and some hand-carved walking sticks.

I look to the experts such as Pottery Barn catalogs, decorating magazine and books. Stores like T J Maxx and Pier 1 Imports offer fun decorating items. If you have a treasure, make it the center and decorate around it. In the kitchen I used my Mason jar collection and a few old cook books to add my interests to the décor. See my post Adding Flavor to the Kitchen

Manti has power outages now and then so a kerosene lantern is incorporated in the décor of each room. Too keep the lanterns well supplied, I found wick by the yard at http://www.wickstore.com/

Monday, August 4, 2008

Hold Me Back Before I Jump

I can be impulsive, like buying a hundred-year-old house and jumping into the project. The south balcony was so bad it could have temped me to jump in a bad sort of way. I tried to ignore it because I did not have a clue how to fix it. When I bought my Victorian, I was fortunate that the house had a new roof, but I was not to happy that the roofing material covered the floor of this guest-bedroom balcony. Stepping on it in the summer was like stepping on hot blacktop. The railings were loose and posts were rotting and falling apart. I was stumped on how to repair it. I did not opt for a wood floor, because my other balcony floor takes so much upkeep. I considered plain tile, but I just could not get excited about that idea because I was afraid it would crack or come loose during winter. I found that other people in town had tile on their porches that held up through the cold weather. As I was discussing this option with a friend, he said, “Have fun with it.” That triggered my interest, and I started shopping for tile with a pattern. I chose ceramic tiles with a rough surface so they would not be slick when wet, and drew up the floor plan to scale with a graphics program showing how I wanted them laid. I called my trusty carpenter, gave him the pattern and he went to work. When he pulled off the roofing material, he found the floor was rotting in places and was uneven so it tilted to the side. He repaired the balcony floor and installed white metal sheeting on two sides to stop water from doing damage in the future. The floor dips slightly to the center so the water runs off the balcony in the middle. He did a beautiful job laying the tile I had chosen. I replaced the railing and posts. The colors in the tile pull the gray roof, the red brick and white railings together. I now have balcony I enjoy standing on, especially when the breeze is rustling the leaves of the cottonwood trees and bird are singing or flying about. When I look down I often see butterflies flitting about in the flower bed below. It is a job where money was well spent. The tile made it through this last cold, long winter and has not shown any wear or damage.