May 31st - Whimsy and Wit

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

"Oh, the fun of arriving at a house and feeling the spark 
that tells you that you are going to have a good time."

Whimsy is playful and fun, 
and wit is the ability to share something 
in an amusing or illuminating way.

Start Quote
Many women approach decorating very seriously.

But often homes that best express 
their owner's authentic sense of style 
are decorated with a lighthearted touch.

They possess that spark of high spirits that tells you 
good times are part of this home's personal history...

Our sense of humor doesn't have to be 
communicated through sight gags 
so much as expressed through the subtle charm 
of the unexpected through whimsy and wit...
End Quote

Sarah shares some of her favorite people 
who have created whimsical worlds.


Harriet Bennett


My favorite place to put whimsy in my home? 

My front door. 

Right when you come in my wreath is there to greet you.

Of course that means I need to go make one now, 
I haven't made my summer one yet.

It's going to have pinwheels!

How about you? 

Where do you put your whimsy and wit?

Gratitude Journal

1) My night off. I'm going to go and make myself a pinwheel wreath that I've been wanting to make ever since spring started.

2) A lazy day. All we did was laundry and play and tv. 

3) Supernatural. I love Sam and Dean.

4) Taking time to practice the piano. And the kids coming and playing with me. Productive for me and yet also good parenting. Win win.

5) Hump day is over. 

May 30th - Foraging

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

"The whole thrill of junking is that you just know the next table will have what you've been looking for all your life."

Doesn't that sound a little like gambling?

It can definitely be addicting.

But as long as you don't get addicted, it is so much fun.

And it is a gamble.

Start Quote
Rambling and roaming, I rummage...
searching for nothing in particular 
and everything in general.

Why should I limit myself with expectation?...

Forging is good for the soul.

Often after we've made a major change in our lifestyle 
by tightening the purse strings
-whether it's voluntary or necessary-
a deprivation detox is required.

The world hasn't stopped selling, 
we've just stopped buying.

It's easy to start feeling a little self-pitying, 
especially when we are bombarded on all sides 
with the kind of slick advertising 
that pushes all our emotional buttons 

You may intellectually want to divest yourself 
of the desire for worldly goods, 
but the material girl in all of us 
still suffers from the "gimmies."

The best way I've discovered to hush her up 
is to take her out more often to outdoor stalls and sales...

It can't hurt to look.
End Quote 

"The strategy of flea market shopping is simple, yet complex.

If you go in search of a particular object 
your eye will 'edit out' other very suitable objects. 

This method sets you up for disappointment. 

However, if you go for the pleasure of it
for the mere hunt, 
you are bound to see something to come home with...

Don't forget that objects are not the only benefit 
to shopping a flea market. 
Your curiosity will be rewarded 
and you may come home with some great ideas 
- and the exhilaration is free!"

My mother-in-law came with us to Vintage Days, 
and she came home with some great ideas. 
She started creating, and they look great!

Sarah, along with Charlotte, has some great advice.

It doesn't have to be flea markets, 
it can be anything from thrift stores, 
yard, tag, garage and estate sales.

Always ask yourself if it's beautiful or useful
and know what you're going to do with it when you get home. 
You've got to absolutely love it, or don't take it home.

Also, bargain if you can. 
If you can get it for a better price, you should try.

"Foraging gives us the ability 
to view the old and abandoned in a new light
-reclaiming them from oblivion with creativity and choice, 
just as we do the days of our lives -
and redeeming them with love."

Gratitude Journal

1) A lady bug came to visit me today. Landed on me and stayed awhile. It brought good luck.

2) My kids and their singing abilities. I was inside and from outside all of a sudden I heard Jacob at the top of his voice singing "Single Ladies". It was incredible. I think we've maybe only heard that song a couple times. 

3) Finishing a bunch of laundry.

4) Actually making dinner. Sure it was a sandwich, but it was delicious.

5) Visiting teachers. I love visits, and I love that they usually bring me chocolate and a great message.

May 29th - Collections

Monday, May 29, 2017

"What do you collect?

What favorite things have you accumulated over the years 
that you know lovingly display around your home?

I hope you collect something that you love with a passion, for there are few pleasures that can compare to browsing in little, out-of-the-way shops and flea markets, searching for that mysterious object of desire, the value of which you alone know in this world. 

The thrill of the hunt is only equaled by the discovery." 

Sarah tells us about how she collected tea cups.

The first one came on a summer day with her daughter and a very good friend. The next one came and did not bring her as much joy, nor the next, nor the next, to the point where she stopped buying them. 

"The collector walks with blinders on, he sees nothing but the prize.

In fact, the acquisitive instinct is incompatible 
with the appreciation of beauty."

Start Quote
This certainly explained my disappointment 
with the cups that followed the first one. 

I was less beguiled by their individual beauty 
than I was compelled to collect them. 

Actually, what I really wanted to do was to re-create the wonderful memory of that summer day spent with Karen and Katie. 

Now I have that first cup - that tangible memory - sitting on my desk holding pens. Its singular beauty never fails to please me. 

I've started to give away the other cups as gifts, 
receiving more pleasure in sharing them 
than I ever did in buying them.

I still delight in bringing home treasures
-but now, when something catches my eye, 
I stop for a moment to remember Mrs. Lindbergh's advice:

"To ask how little, not how much, can I get along with. 
To say - is it necessary? - 
when I am tempted to add one more accumulation to my life."

If I think I can't live without the object of desire 
and I can afford it, I'll collect it. 
But now I pause first.

Simple Abundance is not about saying "no" to our creative impulses, whether in collecting, dressing, or decorating. 

It's about knowing when to say "enough" 
End Quote

"One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach.
One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few."
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

My favorite collections are my magnets. 

I love my minion magnet from my parents, the skeletons from my best friend, and Ayn Rand because I love her.

We also collect places we've been to. When Robbie goes on a trip himself he gets a rectangle, like Georgia and Washington, and when we go together we get a less rectangular one (that's not a thing, is it.) Robbie's little men from Korea. 

Of course we've missed a few. Our honeymoon in Mexico, our vacation in Big Bear Lake, our annual trip to Pismo, Robbie's trips to Illinois and Texas...

And then the musicals.

Again, missing a few. Shrek, Memphis, I think that's it, and that's only because they didn't have magnets for sale! Crazy, right? 

I want to one day see my entire refrigerator full.

Shelby collected shells and sea glass. 

I was admiring her collection today.

I want to keep adding to it. 

I know that you can't take it with you
but I think she would like it. 

Gratitude Journal

1) An entire spur of the moment weekend at my parents. I hope my home is always like my mom's home, a place where people come and they never want to leave.

2) Cool mountain weather.

3) The quietness that is the mountains. The crickets and bugs, the frogs, the darkness with just the stars and moon to give light in the night...It's beautiful.

4) Reading a new book in one day. A Wrinkle in Time, awesome. 

5) Being home. Especially that the car got us home, the engine light kicked on again...

May 28th - By Love Possessed

Sunday, May 28, 2017

"Your possessions express your personality.

Few things, including clothes,
are more personal than your cherished ornaments.

The pioneer women,
who crossed a wild continent clutching their treasures to them,
knew that a clock, a picture, a pair of candlesticks,
meant home,
even in the wilderness."
-Good Housekeeping, August 1952

We Mormons have a rich pioneer history.

I love pioneer stories.

I've always loved how they could move their entire lives in a handcart, and if you were lucky a covered wagon...

and how they loved a few things,
and left everything else.

But material possessions, while we love them,
aren't everything.

Sarah talked about Margaret Reed, and how the only way she would go across the plains is if she could go in luxury and style. They had velvet curtains on her covered wagon and they took her organ!

Unfortunately, they left with the Donner party.

She saved her children off of "snow, bark, and leather broth" until her husband got back with help.

"The fact that her family did not perish
-physically or spiritually-
had absolutely nothing to do with the worldly goods she had counted on, for the wagon and all it carried had to be abandoned along the way because it was too heavy and cumbersome to travel through the mountains.

The possessions that saved Margaret and those she loved were of
Spirit - her wits, her faith, and her courage."

Sarah tells us about her daughter's godmother who experienced the 1994 Los Angeles earthquake, and how "in a few minutes, everything from valuable antiques to sentimental souvenirs became pieces of jagged glass, shards of china, and splinters of wood on the floor waiting to be swept up and thrown in the trash...

Start Quote
Once the initial shock wore off,
she said that the loss of her possessions
actually became very liberating.

After the sharp pain came peace.

All sorts of things she thought she couldn't live without,
all the things she believed were crucial
to expressing her personality
became what they really are,
just things.

Now as she re-creates a nest of comfort,
she's surrounding herself only with objects
that she really needs or loves
-the useful and the beautiful-
but fewer than before...

Here's what I believe.
I believe our possessions can be very revealing,
offering insights into our personalities
in intimate and illuminating ways.

I believe surrounding ourselves with objects that speak to our souls
can bring us authentic moments of pleasure.

But I do not believe possessions define us.

Instead, I believe it's what you love
that expresses the authentic woman you are,
not what you own...

[Jacqueline Kennedy's son said about his mother and his]
recollection of what meant the most to her:
'The love of words, the bonds of home and family,
and her spirit of adventure.'

Her passions defined this extraordinary woman.

Today I wish for you, as I wish for myself,
that when our authentic adventure comes to a close,
we can also be remembered as being by love possessed.
End Quote

Gratitude Journal

1) Grandma's and Mom's cooking.

2) When my kids can just be kids, which I try to do all the time, but you know, when they can just go explore and look for frogs and rocks etc etc.

3) Wildflowers.

4) Church. Today, taking the Sacrament, and listening about hope and how humility isn't weakness, and the Plan of Salvation, and how perfect love casteth out fear...Sundays are great.

5) Talking about Shelby with my family.

May 27th - Personal Touches

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Today Sarah talks about "interior vision inventory".

You do this when
-you don't know what you want,
-you don't know how to get rid of something,
-or you know what you want but you can't afford it right now.

My parents asked, "What is your blog about tonight?"
I answered, "interior vision inventory",
and they replied "I have no idea what that is."

Well, neither did I.

The good news is it's not as complicated as it sounds.

And, we've already started.

Start Quote
One of the benefits of sorting through your belongings
and identifying what's beautiful, useful, or sentimental
is that clarity emerges.

You will probably be surprised by
how much you already own that is simply waiting to be
reconsidered, rearranged, reupholstered, refinished.

Just don't be surprised to discover that
even if what you live with is beautiful,
it might no longer suit you...

Decorating shouldn't be about how a room looks in a magazine
as much as how you feel in that room.

If you are to create rooms with an authentic view,
self-exploration must come before paint chips and fabric swatches.

Personal flourishes can bridge the gap
while we wait
for our interior vision
to find outward expression
in our surroundings...

Personal flourishes can be had for little or no money
if you are willing to invest passion, perseverance, patience,
and a fresh perspective.
End Quote

Personal flourishes, personal touches...


Some of my favorites are my picture frames.
Some are from the dollar tree store, others from the thrift store.
But you put them together on the wall in an intricate way with beautiful pictures of your family and bam!
Maybe $15 for a personal touch.

And it took at least 3 years to put it together.

Robbie is making me something like this
to fill up an empty space of wall.

We already have the fence boards, we bought some stain,
I already have the twine and clothes pins...

When you take an inventory of what you don't know you want but you think you want something there, and of what you know you want but you can't have yet, and it's all a little overwhelming...
don't stress.
It'll all work out.

In the mean time, add some of you to your home.

I promise it'll be in your budget.

"Personal flourishes can be had for little or no money
if you are willing to invest passion, perseverance, patience,
and a fresh perspective."

Gratitude Journal

1) When your dad gives you a beater of cookie dough...yum.

2) Getting to go to the zoo as a family, and then grocery shopping. So much crying, and yet so much fun?

3) Wunderlist. Robbie and I shared our grocery list, and we cut the grocery time in half. It was amazing!

4) Good books. We read Where the Wild Things Are

5) Today is done. This week has been rough.

May 26th - Decorating

Friday, May 26, 2017

Today Sarah likens decorating to writing a book. 

Start Quote
A book may look inanimate, 
but like a home, 
it lives, breathes, and expresses your being.

As a writer, the gleam of inspiration comes first;
your decorating discoveries might begin with a 
picture of a living room that makes you sigh.

To flesh out the initial idea, I then need to do research;
that's what you're doing on your creative excursions 
and with your decorating archive

Next, I need an outline;
you would develop a plan or budget. 

At this point, I'm usually overwhelmed 
by the enormity of the project; 
you may be, too. 

For me, this feeling only subsides after I plunge in and start
to write my rough draft; perhaps you're now pulling up the old carpet to refinish your floors, or you've begun stripping wallpaper or painting. 

Usually after I've finished the rough draft, 
there's an initial sigh of relief 
followed by another wave of panic. 
(Does this really work?)

However, once I step back and begin to edit
a sense of calm is restored. 

Ideas come fast as the book
-or the room-
begins to take shape. 

Now the real fun start:

This is the stage in which you make the room come alive with personal flourishes, adding the decorative details and accessories that have special meaning. 

I love the flourish of revising because you get to 
fix what doesn't work, making what does work even better.

But we're still not finished: 
the first draft is always followed 
by another and another, 
with more revising until my editor tells me 
it's time to stop.

However, when you're creating a visual memoir through your surroundings, 
it's a never-ending story.

You don't have to stop...

You'll always be revealing a new aspect of your personality as you discover it.

You'll constantly be editing, weeding out what you outgrow, making both subtle and significant decorating changes as the chapters of your life allow for, or demand, rewrites...

Let passion be your muse...
Let her guide and teach you to trust your instincts.
Aspire to live surrounded only by those things that you passionately love.

Be patienta magnum opus can take a lifetime to create.
End Quote

I remember the first thing I was passionate about...
my blue couch.

Robbie wanted a recliner, and I wanted a small couch to fit our small living room, so we settled on a powder blue love seat. 

I knew that it was going to work somehow, some way...

Little did I know that it would work in the perfect house, not our old one. 

But I trusted my instincts, and I'm so glad I did. 

Later I found a yellow and white ottoman at the thrift store, and a matching blue and yellow chair at Target, and then an L shaped dark blue couch. 

It all goes so perfect...even though it took a few years. 

What is something you are passionate about
when it comes to decorating your home?

Gratitude Journal

1) Today is over. We had lots of kicking and screaming and biting and hitting and jumping on each other and whining and crying.......

2) The library. It was hard, but at least Jacob enjoyed some good books while the twins didn't pay attention at all... Jacob was full on counting. It was pretty awesome. 

3) Cuddling my babies. I got them home just barely in time for lunch and a nap (even though it was only 11, they were ready). And after a long and tiring morning, they still cuddled into me as I rocked them and sang, as if all was right with the world and nothing bad had ever happened anywhere. 

4) Dinner and playing with friends. It is so good to have friends. One of the girls tried to teach me how to do a cartwheel. She was too sweet, telling me I did a really good job because I kept my legs straight. Yeah, but my legs weren't over my head or hips now were they. 

5)  Watching Robbie do a cartwheel. How can he do one but I can't?

May 25th - Passion

Thursday, May 25, 2017

"What is passion?
It is surely the becoming of a person."

Start Quote
Many women long to live passionate lives, to be swept away
-but at a safe distance and in small doses...

Passion, after all, means the abandonment of reason 
in the reckless pursuit of pleasure...

Passion is wild, chaotic, unpredictable.
Permissive. Excessive. Obsessive...

Passionate women can't help but exult in their emotions, 
revel in their desires, howl at the moon, act out their fantasies...

The rest of us have real life responsibilities that leave little room
(or so we think)
for giving in to passionate impulses:

runny noses to wipe, dogs to walk...
[household and family to run]

There goes the day.

There goes a life, and not with a bang,
but a whimper and a whine.

What we don't realize is that passion 
is the muse of authenticity.

It's the primordial, pulsating energy that infuses all of life, 
the numinous presence made known with every beat of our hearts.

Passion does not reveal herself only in 
clandestine, romantic, bodice-ripping cliches. 

Passion's nature is also cloaked in the 
deep, subtle, quiet, and committed:

nursing a baby, 
planting a rose garden, 
preparing a special meal, 
caring for a loved one who is ill, 
remembering a friend's birthday, 
persevering in a dream.

Every day offers us another opportunity 
to live passionate lives rather than passive ones...

If we will will stop denying ourselves pleasure...

Passion is part of Real Life's package
because we were created by Love, for Love, to Love. 

If we do not give outward expression to our passions, 
we will experience self-immolation
-the spontaneous combustion of our souls.
End Quote

"The only sin passion can commit is to be joyless."

I don't know about you, but I don't want to self combust, 
or wither away into nothing...

Here's to passion, and loving every day.

Gratitude Journal

1) Workout. I did not want to do today...and even though I got there a little late I finally made it out of the house. Working out was just what I needed to kick my butt.

2) Best friends. A lot of times there are people in life that you wanted to be friends with, and then somehow it gets ruined and they don't like you anymore because of something you said or did. It sucks knowing that someone doesn't like you, even when you know you did nothing wrong. That's why best friends are so important. You realize how much it means to your heart that you have someone (besides your family and your spouse) who will love you no matter what, who will want you in their life all the means so much.

3) Cleaning other people's houses. I can't even tell you the kind of therapy that it is for me. I have no idea why, but working out and then seeing your best friend and then helping her clean her kitchen, is super helpful. It's like ingesting a burst of sunshine.

4) Passion. The last couple of days I didn't know what I wanted to do, and then I remembered what I'm passionate about. Teaching piano, making music, being with my family and friends, creating...I'm excited about tomorrow, and focusing on my passions.

5) Tomorrow is Friday!!!