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Home

What do you love about your home?  For me it is cosiness.  I don’t like big, open plan homes with lots of space and sparse furnishings – they seem very cold and unfriendly to me.  There are times when I wish I could be more Spartan in my decorating style and live in a less cluttered space, but that wouldn’t be me and I wouldn’t feel as comfortable.  I like colour and pattern.  I like being surrounded by things that are special to me, or have been gifted to me by someone I love.  My home isn’t very sophisticated or adult looking.  I have nice artworks, but then they are, quite often, accompanied by something silly or incongruous.  I have lots of vintage items, but then they’re sitting with something from Kmart or a discount store.  I don’t care – it’s whatever makes you happy, right?

My house is small.  But that’s ok.  My hoarding habits are probably better being contained anyway 🙂  But I do like cosy.  I like to feel cocooned.  I like to feel safe and enclosed.  I like to look around the room and see all my “precious things” – they have memories attached to them and they’re important to me, even if they’re not “on-trend” or matching or stylish.  I have started culling a little bit – as much as I like my stuff, even I have to concede that I do have a lot of junk.  But if something has a real emotional pull – I keep it.  It’s there, in my life, for a reason.

So, what makes a house a home, to me…..

  1. Colour.  I like white – I really do – but I would always pair it with lots of bright colour.  Shabby-chic white I love – because it’s distressed and homely and paired with lots of pretty colour, wood finishes and interesting textures.  But stark white, I can’t do.  Plus it shows up dirt too easily ha ha.
  2. Plants.  I am not a great gardener, as I have pointed out before.  But I do like lots of plants around the place.  Greenery is good.  As long as it stays green 🙂
  3. Soft furnishings.  I like a cushion or two.  Embroidered tablecloths.  Throw rugs and patchwork quilts.  Especially when they’re handmade ones.  Curtains I can take or leave – at the moment I am stuck with the ones that came with the house – but I HATE vertical blinds with a passion.  Unfortunately, I have those too.  They will be going as soon as I can afford to get rid of them.
  4. Candles.  I definitely have a bit of a pyromaniac streak.  But I love the soft light they give (hey, I’m in my 40s – I need all the soft lighting I can get!) and they create such a nice ambience.  I love the fragranced ones – vanilla, berry and gingerbread are my favourites.  My house always smells like cookies.
  5. Books.  I am a bit ridiculous with books.  I have LOADS.  But I just love having them around me.  A house without books is not a home. For me, anyway.
  6. Pets. This is one aspect that I am currently lacking in.  It’s so sad.  For most of my life I was surrounded by animals.  Now I don’t even have a budgie or a goldfish.  I am working on getting cats though.  One day (in my fantasy world) I will have a  property large enough for geese and dogs and rabbits and chickens, cows, and sheep again.  One day.
  7. Art.  Whether it be a family heirloom worth thousands, or a cute crayon scribble created by a special munchkin in your life, it’s important to have art around the place.  Things that inspire you or just make you smile.
  8. Music.  I always have music playing.  I have to have at least the radio on when I’m cooking or creating.  It helps to block the world out and focus you inward.  Plus, I like to sing.  I would die if anyone else heard me, but it is one of life’s joys, having a sing-a-long to a favourite tune.  As long as the neighbours don’t complain, it’s all good.
  9. Nooks.  I nearly bought a house last year purely because it had a reading nook with a balcony overlooking the garden.  Oh I loved it.  But I did not like the neighbourhood or the low popcorn ceiling (ugh!) or the ugly dark grey carpet (I was never sure if it had originally been grey or not…).  I really struggled to let go of that reading nook though – it was glorious.  I’m still dreaming about it now.  I would have spent my life in there, snoozing in the sunshine or pondering the Universe.  Sigh.  But nooks are important.  Every home should have a cosy little corner somewhere.  A place you automatically go to recharge and recoup.
  10. Photos.  I think it’s important to have photos in your home.  Family photos, travel photos, childhood photos – they’re all important.  They remind you where you’ve come from and where you’re going.

Most of all, your home should be a place of sanctuary and security.  It should be the place you feel happy to fall asleep in.  The place you can’t wait to get to at the end of the day.  Granted, I am a bit of a hermit, and I probably spend more time at home than most people.  Because I need lots of me time and space, anti-social wench that I am 🙂

My seven-year-old niece had a sleepover at my place on the weekend.  She slept with me (much more fun than sharing with Daddy – he snores!) and although I copped a few kicks to the back during the night, it was nice to share my space with that precious little person.  Having her be comfortable and feel secure with me is what home is really about.  I want my home to feel cosy and welcoming to everyone who visits me.  Especially the little ones.  That is way more important to me than having the most expensive furniture or crockery that matches my napkins.  Because home, most of all, should be about family – whatever family means to you.

Hope your home is a happy place today and always.

x

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Antler

Forgot to post this before Christmas…  Just another ornament thingy I made for my handmade stall in December.  I had made a few of the baubles and wanted some less glittery versions, that could maybe serve as all-year-round decorations.  So, I found these lovely little ceramic antlers in Target and thought they would be perfect for embellishing.

I used, as always, recycled beads from old jewellery, including some rather tarnished and battered metallic ones that I really liked the look of.  There are also polished stone, clay, and wooden ones in the mix.  Strung onto some beading wire, attached to the antler and voila!  I was pretty happy with it and kept one for myself (which is now hanging on my wall next to my faux stag head). The ornament itself only cost $2.40 and I used beads I already had in my ridiculously large stash, so it was a pretty cheap creation all round.

Hope your day is a happy one – thank you for stopping in.

x

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How to Measure Christmas

Christmas Day is just around the corner.  I can’t believe how quickly it has come up this year.  I probably say that every year, but this last twelve months has whizzed by, and so much has happened.  It’s been such a strange, disturbing year, with a lot of loss and grief for so many people.  I don’t know about you, but I am praying for a much kinder 2017.

My Mum is currently suffering with a nasty cough/virus and it makes me very anxious.  I can’t bear for her to be ill.  She is always so healthy and I sometimes forget she is a senior now, and small illnesses can be potentially dangerous.  Also, being sick at Christmas sucks!  I know she feels miserable and concerned and also annoyed that she can’t do a lot – she hates neglecting her garden and other chores.  I just worry incessantly, especially as I am not just around the corner but 30 minutes drive away, and I can’t keep a close eye on her.  Luckily, my best friend’s Mum is just around the corner – in fact, she is taking Mum to the doctor’s this morning (I would have done but had no one to cover me at work). Hopefully she will get some antibiotics (even though she hates taking them, she admits she probably needs some this time) and be on the mend soon.  We’re meant to be spending Christmas Eve with my brother and his family, but I don’t know if she will be well enough at this stage 😦

It’s funny how, in the lead up to Christmas, you think about all the things you would like, and hope that Santa obliges.  This year, I just want my Mum to be well, and for us all to have a nice, peaceful, stress-free time together, with no dramas.

This week, I managed to get all my Christmas shopping done in record time.  I have less people to buy for this year, for one reason or another, and it made it much easier.  I made a few gifts too, which meant less spending (always a good thing) and less stress (a very good thing).  I also decided not to do the fancy wrapping I always do, which usually ends up with me stressed out of my brain and wrapping gifts every night until midnight, making sure they all fit a “theme” and all look decorative and pretty.  Not this year.  I used store-bought wrapping paper and did nothing fancier than tying them with string.  I didn’t even use matching tags!  *gasps*  It just made everything so much easier and quicker and reduced my stress by about a million percent.  I am wrapped and done, ahead of time.

Whilst looking for gifts for my Mum, I pretty much followed the list she had given me (an Ian Rankin book, some gardening stuff, a Michael Buble CD, pyjamas) but I always like to get her some other little extras too, so she has some surprises.  I found this set of measuring cups in an op-shop and thought she might like them.  They look vintage (although I suspect they are not) and I liked the little Wintery scene on them, which I thought would also make them ideal for Christmas decorating, if Mum didn’t want to use them as actual measuring cups.  I just thought they were sweet.  And at $5.00 for the three, I wasn’t exactly breaking the bank.

I hope she likes them, and is well enough to enjoy all of her presents.
That’s all I want for Christmas.

Best wishes to you all.  Stay well and take care of each other x

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Decorating FTW

I’m finally getting sorted in my new house.  I have procrastinated long enough, waiting to have all the storage display furniture I need in order to put things away and stop living out of boxes.  But, having come to my senses, I have decided that if I wait until everything is perfect and I have everything I need (or want), I will never get tidy have a home that I can actually feel happy to have visitors in.

So, with that in mind, I did a big clean up today and proceeded with some serious nesting.  My new console table in the entrance is great – it will enable me to store lots of stuff and it’s light and easy for me to move (with removable shelves).  I had wanted a sideboard/buffet for this area but had been unable to find one I liked or could afford.  In the end, I figured an “open” storage item would be better in my little house, and make things feel less closed in. I want to get baskets for the bottom shelf but am having trouble finding just the right ones, so at the moment it has IKEA boxes in it (not shown)
– they’ll do for now.

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I am going to have the big mirror mounted on the wall but, for now, it will just sit on the table.  It’s heavy enough to stay put.  I’ve tried to make all the knick-knacks and decorative pieces in the same sort of colour scheme/tone.  There’s artwork by my brother, a vintage child’s suitcase (rescued from a rubbish bin!), some op-shop finds, a stone gargoyle from a visit to the UK, tarot cards and a teeny weeny little vintage ivory elephant my Mum gave me.  I kinda hope the elephant is actually bone, not ivory…but it’s really old so I’m thinking it’s the less-than-p.c ivory.

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I think it’s all come together well.  I just hope I can get the rest of the house sorted and fit for human habitation and guests.  I actually hoovered and mopped the floors today!  Like a grown up person!  I did laundry and weeding and dusted and generally acted like an adult.  Hopefully this will not just be a passing fad for me.  I’m trying to be more domesticated.  I need to get a smaller vacuum cleaner for the stairs and second floor – lugging my big Dyson up and down the stairs is not great for my back.  I’m still suffering with a sore rib (it’s Costochondritis which is very painful, but nothing serious – just gotta give it time to settle down) and so I’ve probably done more than I should today.  I’ve lifted lots of heavy boxes and not rested at all so am expecting to be a bit delicate tomorrow.

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My craft room is still in a terrible state (hence the crafting lull I find myself in currently) but I am hoping to tackle that next.  I am dying to get stuck into something creative.  At the moment, the most creative I am being is moving boxes from one end of the room to another and figuring out ways to stack them so they don’t collapse on me.

Hope your day has been productive and happy 🙂

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Cosy Corner

Still nesting… I swear my little crow gets moved around at least 400 times before I find a spot for him.  He’s very fussy about where he goes (or, at least, I am) and doesn’t like to be somewhere that’s not in full view.  So, he’s sitting atop my brand new butler’s trolley / display cabinet thingy.  I love it – it’s so cute.  Room for books and knick-knacks and other stuff (ie junk) that needs to be quickly shoved into a drawer when people come over.

I don’t always buy brand new things – normally I am a hunt-around-until-you-find-it-second-hand kind of girl, but I wanted to have a few new things for myself this time.  Especially this piece – it’s quirky and colourful and just a bit different.  It matches with everything else and yet stands out at the same time. And Mr Crow seems to like it 🙂

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I’m still in a mess everywhere, but am resigned to being in that state for quite some time.  Setting up a home takes a while and I want to get things right, not just chuck stuff around the rooms and say “that’ll do”.   So I am doing little bits at a time – that way it is less overwhelming.  I’m still struggling with motivation about life in general right now (got a lot going on and my brain has decided to just not deal with ANYTHING) so putting stuff away and being tidy is not exactly a priority (I say that like it is EVER a priority for me).  But the more little cosy corners I have, the happier I feel.  Eventually, my whole house will be one big cosy corner – I hope so, anyway.

May your home be happy today and always x

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Moving on…

So I have moved.  Moved away from my little unit and into a bigger (though still small by most people’s standards) townhouse.  The move itself was not too stressful.  The removalists I hired were WONDERFUL.  I thoroughly recommend PMA Removals if you’re in the Perth area. They were two young guys – a bit on the cheeky side but super nice and polite – who turned up on time (in fact, early) and got the job done in record time.  We started just after 7am and were done by 10:30 in the morning!  Nothing was too much trouble for them and they didn’t slack off or whine about having to go up stairs.  They were very respectful and quite charming 🙂  Cute too, truth be told, ha ha (but I’m old enough to be their mother…sigh…).  I was so anxious beforehand because I had had dodgy movers in the past, but these guys made it almost enjoyable and completely stress-free.  Very affordable too.  All in all, a great service and I would definitely use them again.

My new neighbour caused a bit of an issue because she refused to trim her shrubbery and trees around the common driveway (which makes it hard for anyone to get in or out).  In the end she let us cut back part of the tree which was growing very low near my car port, but wouldn’t allow us to prune the conifer trees which are extending about a metre into the driveway.  I didn’t want to argue.  There’s probably some clause I could cite re common areas and whatnot, but I had no desire to get into a debate with my brand new neighbours.  I just “accidentally” brush into the trees when I am backing out.  It’s kinda hard not to.

I like the house.  It has its issues and it is not perfect by any means, but neither am I so it’s a good fit 🙂   Unfortunately, on my week off, I injured my back and so I have been unable to move all the boxes and finish unpacking everything.  There’s stuff everywhere and I so want it to be tidy (unlike my last place…) but at the moment there is not a lot I can do about it.  My craft room is ENORMOUS and I might actually use it as a craft room (how novel!) and not bring all my junk into the dining room.  I’ve taken one of the smaller rooms as my bedroom – how much room do I need? – and so the craft room is very spacious and also bright, which is excellent as my unit was so dark and trying to do anything on overcast days or after 3pm was very difficult if you actually wanted to see what you were doing.

I miss my garden.  Being Spring, everything was in bloom and looking green and luscious and lush.  At the moment I have no garden – just sand – and, other than my own plants in pots, it is devoid of anything living.  I miss my lovely azaleas (cuttings were strategically taken before I moved out though!) and the general green-ness of my unit garden, but I will work on my own plot now and make it nice, hopefully.  There are plenty of birds around my new neighbourhood so I am hoping to attract them in with natives and flowering plants. My Mum has been busy potting up lots of suitable cuttings from her own very successful (and beautiful) garden, so that I have lots of plants to work with and don’t have to buy too many, which can end up being very costly.

I miss being by the water but, if I’m honest and sensible, it’s not like I went and took advantage of the River every day.  My walking regime had fallen by the wayside months ago so I can’t really say I miss walking by the water on a daily basis.  My new neighbourhood is hardly a slum and, if I take the time to investigate a bit, I’m sure I will find nice places to walk and soak up some sun and fresh air.  At the moment it is too flipping cold to do either of those things. Plus I am very lazy and feeling the need to hibernate and nest and generally just hide.

I have made a new friend.  A lovely black and white cat I have named Bernard.  Bernard may well be a Bernadette – we’re not that intimately acquainted yet for me to have found out – but he is so smoochy and friendly and seems intent on coming into my house.  I’m not sure who he belongs to but he seems to like hanging out in my non-existent garden and sleeping under the front hedges.  I was so pleased to meet him – a cat makes everything better.  Will have to watch him around my visiting birds, but hopefully they can keep out of his way.

The drive to and from work isn’t too heinous and, once I figured out where I was going without getting lost, seems to be comparable with my former commute.  Which is good because I am always running late in the mornings.

I have lots of nice shops nearby – not quite on my doorstop like before – including a great fruit and veg grocer who has lovely produce at VERY low prices.  I have a supermarket within walking distance plus a vet clinic just up the road (for when I get my kitties!).  There is a bus stop just outside my place which is handy if I am without my car, and I am only minutes away from a major shopping centre (and a really nice bead shop – score!).

So, I am getting settled.  I am relieved that the whole moving process is over, even if the unpacking saga is not.  I still have to buy a few extra bits of furniture – mostly storage items – and there is still some figuring out to do, in terms of where everything is going to go.  I have grand plans for the place but my imagination may be bigger than my budget.  We’ll see.  At the moment I just want to get everything cleared and tidy and habitable.  I want to be able to have friends and family over and not have them stepping over boxes.

I want my home to be happy and comfortable and cosy and colourful and a place where I feel safe and content.  I want visitors to feel the same.  I want to decorate to my own tastes and not be dictated to be fashion or trends.  I want it to be slightly cluttered (I don’t think there is much chance of it being anything else!) but in a good way.  I’m not into the whole open plan kind of living.  I don’t like the spartan or minimalist look.  Basically, if I could transport Kelly Rae Roberts’ décor into my own house, I’d be pretty happy 🙂

I am so very grateful to have my own home.  I still wake up sometimes and think “Wow – this is mine!” and it is very hard to get out of the rental mindset, that I can actually do what I want now and no one has a say in it except for me.  I also sometimes wake up and think “Oh God! I have to look after this on my own now and pay for everything!” which is a little scary.  But I guess the “new-home-owner” panic will subside eventually.

Sorry for the sporadic and not-very-interesting posts lately.  Haven’t had time for crafting or much of anything and it’s going to take me a while to get sorted and back into the swing of things.  But when I do, watch out! 🙂

Take care, everyone x

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When I Have My House

House-buying is hard.  It is scary.  You have to deal with sharks and idiots and your own self doubt and timidity.  You have to worry about money.  You have to worry about making bad decisions.  You have to fight your fear of being locked in and stuck in a situation you fear you can never get out of.  You have to fight the urge to crawl into bed for a hundred years and not come out until the world is less scary again.

But, on the plus side (and I am really trying to find plus sides in my life right now), you get to have a home.  Your own home.  It will be a struggle and new worries will pop up now that you are responsible for everything that goes on within those four walls.  If stuff needs fixing, you have to get it fixed – you can’t just call the property manager and get them to sort it out.  But, by the same token, you can get whoever you want to fix it and WHEN you want them to fix it.  You don’t have to wait three weeks to have a leaky tap sorted.  Granted, you could also be a grown-up and learn how to fix a leaky tap yourself but let’s deal with one thing at a time here!  Baby steps, people, baby steps!

So, this morning, feeling a little overwhelmed and stressed, and sad about having to leave my little rented house and the lovely suburb that has been my haven and my security for the last three years, I started trying to think of all the things that I should see as positives.  And there are lots of them, if I just take the time to really look (and not be such a party-pooping, down-in-the mouth pessimist).

  1. I will have my own home.  I never thought I would accomplish this.  Fifteen years ago, I had about $1000 to my name.  Now I am buying a house.  I have worked hard for this.  I have saved and scrimped and been a total tightwad so that one day I might be able to buy myself a little house that is all mine.  I’m allowing myself a little bit of pride about that.  It’s a big deal.
  2. Having your own place means you can paint walls bright purple if you want to.  I don’t want to, but I can if I want to.  And nobody can stop me.
  3. No more rent inspections.  Hallelujah!
  4. I can get pets!  I get to be crazy old cat lady after all 🙂 Finally!
  5. I can knock as many holes in the walls for picture-hanging as I like.
  6. I can knock out walls altogether if I like.  Although I should probably get a professional to do that.  Not just start swinging a sledgehammer about because I’m bored and there’s nothing on TV or I’ve watched too many episodes of Masters of Flip.
  7. I can have a beautiful garden.  Or let it all die and just have weeds if I like.  It’s my house AND my garden.  I can do what I want.
  8. Nobody can tell me I have to move out.  Except maybe the bank, if I forget to pay my mortgage.  Or my hoarding becomes a real issue and the council condemns my place and tells me I have 30 days to exit.  Don’t laugh – it could happen.
  9. I don’t have to worry about spilling stuff on the carpet, or marking the walls, or breaking stuff.  I don’t plan on doing those things, but if they DO happen, no one is going to get cranky except me.
  10. Because it’s a two-storey, my craft room will be upstairs.  So all my mess and junk and chaos can be contained on one floor.  The ground floor will be neat and tidy and look like a grown-up lives there.  This is my plan.  I’m not very good at following plans, so we shall see how this one pans out.
  11. Financial security.  Nothing is certain in these un-certain times, but equity is something to hold on to.  And I don’t want to be still renting when I am 80, because rents will be like a bazillion dollars higher than they are now and I will be a crazy old cat lady pensioner.  As it is, I will be paying a mortgage until I’m in my 70s.  Which is a little scary.  But I am trying not to think about that right now.  It makes me hyperventilate and feel a bit sick.
  12. I will have an actual spare bedroom.  Not just a couch.  My Mum can come and sleep in an actual bed when she stays.  I can have my nephews and nieces over to stay.  Friends can drop in and stay the night.  I can be a proper hostess.  I can also just hoard more stuff in the spare bedroom.  Let’s not kid ourselves – you know there’s a very real possibility of it happening.
  13. While I’ve been fretting over the thought of being locked in to a mortgage, I should have been calmed by the thought of never having to move again if I choose to stay there long-term.  I hate moving.  It’s the pits.  I’ve moved four times in the last 9 years and also moved three libraries – I’m so over it.  After this month, I never want to see another packing box ever again.  Or at least for a good long while.
  14. I can start decorating properly and figure out what my style is.  I can experiment with colour and designs and really make this home my own.
  15. I can discover a new neighbourhood.  While I am going to miss South Perth dreadfully, I am going to get to know a new neighbourhood and maybe find some awesome spots to walk and eat and catch up with friends.  Maybe there’s some nice parks.  Maybe they have cool shops.  Maybe I will have really great neighbours. I don’t know the area well at all, so I am going to try and be brave and get out there and see what’s what.  And I have a car – I can always drive to South Perth if I am having withdrawal symptoms.
  16. The house will be all mine.  Did I say that already?

So, there’s lots of positives.  I know I am lucky to even be able to purchase a house at all and I am trying to remember that.  Because not everyone is so blessed.  I’m lucky to have always had a roof over my head, whether it be a rented one or my own.  Coincidentally, the roof in the new place has some issues, and I will have to sort them out otherwise I might NOT have a roof over my head but, I can do that.  Because it’s my house and my responsibility.  Roof and all.  See you in 30 years 🙂