Tuesday, August 28, 2012


I would love to have you think all my brilliant ideas work out perfectly, but that's not always the case.  Not all of my attempts at organization and house management have been successful.  My questionable choices often come about from wanting to make the things I use in my life more beautiful.  Sometimes my efforts are lovely, other times not so much. 

I purchased a creamer and sugar containers from eBay, deciding to use them every day at my coffee pot.   Elegant, right?

In the set was also a cruet holder.  In my infinite wisdom I decided to decant my honey.  What could be prettier?  Pretty it was, usable, not exactly.  It was too thick to come out the top and when some did pour out there was no way to make it unsticky to put the top in.  It was glass so I couldn't squeeze it.  So I would hold the container over my tea or toast and wait about 5 minutes to get anything from the container, making a complete mess while I was at it.  It took half an hour to remove the honey and much soaking of the item to make it not sticky. 

Then there was the Metamucil container (sorry, is this too much information?).  I keep that on the counter because I don't remember to take it otherwise.  I decided to cover it.  I quickly sewed up a slip cover.  Success?  I'm not sure, I thought it was better than the container but not everyone agreed.  What do you think?

I love photos and I put them everywhere in my house.  I got a lovely idea of putting a clear photo over a candle base.  Then when you light a candle at night it shines through the photo.  Perhaps I should have used opaque vellum?  It isn't really clear in the photo but you can see the clear tape through the glass and the photo doesn't really light up with the candle.  It would have been interesting if it had worked. 

In the end, you have to try out the ideas you have, or you'll never come upon great ideas that work for you.  If they work out, that's great, if not, it's an amusing story for your friends and a learning experience for the next project. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Displaying My Collections

 Who doesn't collect memorabilia of some kind?  Is it sitting in a box in your basement?  Well I personally don't believe collections or memorabilia should languish in the dark, tucked away, never to be looked at or enjoyed.  Organizing as a whole is something I enjoy, however my husband says it's a mania because he can never find anything due to my never ceasing journey to have everything perfectly arranged.  After trying to put my home in order, I found I was left with items without a place.  Fortunately, I realized I could apply my organizing passion in a way that enabled us to appreciate our ever increasing accumulation of treasures. 
I've always been fascinated by vintage beaded purses.  I love each and every one I've collected over the years.  Each one is a little piece of art but I love them so much I actually use them when I go out.  They are not expensive or difficult to find but they do make me happy.  Perusing my favorite organizing store earlier this summer, I stumbled upon a small acrylic container.  It was made to display collectible cars but I realized it would be perfect for some of my little purses.  I would be able to have them out, yet they would not be collecting dust.  As you can see, I can display about four at once, and I can rearrange them to highlight a different one whenever I like.

I've also tried to help my husband organize his memorabilia in our home.  He has various boxes holding things from childhood, college and our years together.  His most important memorabilia is his rock and roll items.  He loves rock concerts and I found an easy way to organize the tickets.  Below is the ticket stub diary I bought for him for Christmas.  This one let him jot a few notes describing his memories.

We have some photographs that went in frames on the wall, but there were also other things that didn't quite have a good place.  Finally, I found a shadowbox and put the miscellaneous items in it (drum sticks signed by Alan White drummer for Yes, guitar picks from Tommy Shaw of Styx and  other various badges and buttons).


These are a few of the organizing displays I have come up with, I hope they have given you a few ideas of how to display some of your treasures.  More ideas to come...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Defining My New Role

A pivotal event in a person's journey is the changing of roles in life--when you have defined yourself for a long time and then the definition suddenly changes.  In my life one of those moments was the emptying of my nest.  The sudden quiet of a childless home can be deafening, and for me, the silence truly accentuated my unaccompanied jaunt. 

Even before I was a mother, it was what I had always dreamed of becoming. When my dream became a reality, I loved being a stay-at-home mom, even in spite of the sleepless nights and constant worry.  As my child grew I knew that he would one day be off on his own adventures, but even though I accepted that I never realized just how profoundly the change would impact my life. 

What I didn't realize was that I had defined a lot of who I was in raising my child.  The role was rewarding--I guided him, soothed his hurts, and enjoyed his presence.   I reveled in it.  I also had numerous hobbies I enjoyed, and now I would have plenty of time to devote to them.  Then why was it so difficult?    I loved writing, taking photographs, making scrapbooks, refinishing items and sewing, but somehow I couldn't start anything.  Instead I would clean and organize my house, trying in vain to find the perfect balance of function and beauty.  I thought that if I had everything in its place, neat and tidy,  then my emotions and my life would also become neat and organized.  

The trouble was I could never achieve that perfection just by cleaning and rearranging the things in my house.

Instead it only prevented me from finding a new purpose.  I didn't know where to start because I didn't know who I was.  Floundering for awhile, I just tried to make it through the days.  It all came to a head on one momentous day--my forty-fifth birthday.  My husband was out of town traveling, my son was at college, and everyone else in my life was involved in their own lives.  I was alone. 

About this time an acquaintance started to become more of a close friend, a woman I respected and admired.  As we began taking walks,  she helped me to reevaluate my life.  I could control the way I responded to my loneliness.   I didn't need to be a victim, I could embrace my newfound freedom. 

I just needed a good place to start.  We'd acquired my mother's piano a short time before, and it occurred to me that although I thought I couldn't learn music when I was younger, I could try to learn anyway.   I had always wanted to be able to play an instrument.  Now instead of waiting for someone else at lessons, I could start some of my own.  I was surprised that I actually enjoyed practicing.  Whether I was good or not didn't matter, it was the process of learning a new skill that mattered.

By conquering a challenge that I never thought I could, new possibilities opened up to me.  What else had I told myself I couldn't do that I actually could?  The next challenge awaited, redefining myself to myself was now the goal.  I have always written stories, some on paper, some only in my head.  Even so, I couldn't call myself a writer, not to myself and certainly not to anyone else.  One day I decided I would stop judging myself or my stories, I would just write.  Two months later I had a completed manuscript!  It would need some editing and polishing, but it was finished.  It no longer mattered to me whether anyone else liked the story or thought it was a worthy story to tell. 

The process of writing the story changed me.  Not only did I prove to myself that I could do it, but I was able to sort through my own feelings and thoughts through the trials and tribulations of my characters.

Now, I am in charge of where my jaunt will take me. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Found Objects

Somewhere along my journey I realized I had an affinity for objects with a history.  Vintage items seemed to speak to me--take me home, I can hear them whisper.  Often you can see in their battered and bruised shells that maybe they had a tough life before they came to me, although their essence remains intact.   Perhaps I can relate on some level.  I find myself wanting to give these objects a home and then a bit of a face lift.  Recently I found a little chair in a consignment store near my home  It was actually a very ugly little chair made sometime in the 40's or 50's, but when I sat in it I fell in love.  It fit me perfectly.  By the time I found it, it had been marked down twice already, but still it stood rejected.  I told myself I didn't really need a little chair and left. That's when the whispering started. Whisper...whisper...whisper.  Yes, the chair started to call to me.  I couldn't get the picture out of my head of this sweet, little chair no one else wanted.  After a few days, I knew the decision had already been made, I would go back and buy the chair.  It had been moved to the back corner, the last place it's located before the owner needs to take it back or it heads to goodwill.  I took the chair home and hid him in my extra bedroom until I could figure out what I would do with him.  One day I went to a vintage sale and found a lightweight, white bedspread and it came to me.  I would make my little chair a custom slip cover.  I had never made a custom slip cover before but I was determined.  After a few days of fitting and sewing, I was surprised with how sweet it turned out.  After being given up on, this little chair becomes a beauty.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Each of us follows a unique journey through life.  When you start, you don't have much control over where it goes.  As you grow, the decisions you make will lead you to your next destination, often without you realizing it.  One different choice, and you could have found yourself in a place you wouldn't even recognize.  For good or ill, we are influenced by those who walk with us on our journey, so it is important to choose our companions carefully.  Ultimately, we must grasp our chances and follow our dreams, so that we end up in a place of our own choosing.  Although we are not always alone on our journey, the decision of where to go is ours alone to make.  In this way we are all on an Unaccompanied Jaunt.