Five Decorating Elements to Create the Perfect Space (and taking life slow and easy)

When making a bedroom cozy, or a kitchen entertainment friendly, or in this case, setting up a reading nook, there are specific components to decorating a space to consider.  The addition of the following things will create a peaceful, flowing, and delightful space.

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1. Incorporate plants- Besides the obvious benefits of cleaning the air and releasing oxygen, they are beautiful live creations to share the space with.  Put a small rose in a pot from the grocery store.  Don’t be afraid to bring in big plants and some unusual ones.  I have a poinsettia year round and a large Asian aloe.  Use pots that please you.

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2. Add gentle light- Do not turn on the overhead lights!  Twinkly lights and candles make a space so serene.  Oil lamps add unexpected coziness.  My eyes have been a little funny lately so I begrudgingly hauled up a lamp from the basement and put it behind my reading chair.  It actually feels cozy as well.

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3. Add color- Add at least three colors and then repeat them.  Even if you are an austere type of decorator, add three different shades of white.  My pops of southwestern color all work together because at least some of the colors repeat themselves in the patterns.  The vibrant pink, reds, blue, and the yellow all are found in two or more items.  It doesn’t matter what the pattern is as long as the colors repeat; florals can mixed with stripes and other designs.

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4. Add comfortable places to sit.  We have our two god-awful recliners with chewed arm rests, but covering them with inexpensive blankets transforms them.  A rocking chair with pillows is always inviting.

5. Add things you love.  Like books, or souvenirs, or cats.

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Finally, take time to enjoy your space.  It’s a little crazy out there sometimes.  Everyone is in such a rush.  At the grocery store the other day there was a quite elder woman who moved slowly and kept adjusting her oxygen tube.  She stood in front of me in line and every few minutes she would mutter, “Come on!  Hurry up!” to the people in front of her.  She sighed exasperated and practically bumped the lady in front of her out of the way to get to the counter.  Why on earth was she in such a hurry?  And did she get there any faster?  On the way home, on thirty mile and hour roads, tailgaters checked out my bumper.

Listen folks, life is going to end before we know it and I know y’all trying to get there before it does, but slow and easy is the new beauty secret and anti-depressant.  You will get there when you get there.  We ought to cut everyone some slack and not schedule ourselves to the point of hysteria.  Take some things out of your schedule.  Take time to smile and chat with the cashier.  Drive safely.  If someone is driving in front of you super slow, pretend like it is your grandpa or your granddaughter.  Just easy now.

And after the supper dishes are cleared, pour a glass of wine and set down in your reading and resting area and enjoy the space.  The way you decorate can be a respite from the world.

 

The Journey of Color and Life

Can I be everything?  Can I recognize the ribbons of similarity running through each divine celebration and realize they are all intertwined and so similar that our entire life is a joyous journey overlooked by the Divine?  Can I be Amish and Catholic and Jewish and Messianic and Methodist?  Can I be Buddhist and Hindu and Wiccan and myself?  Can I celebrate Hanukkah, and Beltane, and Christmas too?

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Love God, Love ourselves.  Are those not our only commandments?  Those can certainly be taken from meditation to maypole.  Those that use their books of designated scripture to pick out what they wish and translate it how they wish, to feel pity on others and make themselves feel better are sadly stuck in chains.  That the One created all people and traditions and colors and life is bigger than we can fathom.  I breathe in the excitement of all this.

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I love all people to a point of heartbreak sometimes.  I love to read about different cultures, different foods, different religious celebrations, different lives, and the knowledge that our lives are all simply intertwined in much bigger forces makes us all one enormous family.

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Just as I am Irish, English, Scottish, Dutch, Cherokee, German, Black French, and who knows what else, I am every religion too as I embrace the ways the world celebrates.  I have had amazing physical healings, have seen miracles beyond description, and my faith is deeply rooted.  I am as comfortable in an American Indian ceremony as I am going to confession as I am remembering my loved ones at Samhain.  So many beautiful traditions and ways to worship.  The world is not black and white but rather grey.  No, not even grey, but a kaleidoscope of color.  Celebrate.

Lost Hobbies…what are yours?

Our living room with Sister Mary Francis

What was your hobby when you were a kid? What did you want to be when you grew up? What is something you are really good at? Your lost art?

When the kids started being gone more and I had to figure out what to do if I weren’t bossing people around and working, I started thinking of all the things I loved to do before I had kids.  I loved to dance (reopened my dance company), I loved to write (I am definitely writing more!), and I loved to paint.  So, a few years ago I gathered up supplies and started painting again.  How different my paintings are now then when I was in high school!  Landscapes and still lifes, fashion design and drawings of cats made way for paintings of farms and farm animals, of praying nuns and villages.  Looking at a painting, one can see the artist’s soul, their utmost desires and needs, their joys and sadness, their inspirations.

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When we moved last March, everything was put up and I haven’t done many paintings of late.  How easy it is for us to get lost in our world of working, errands, play, children, spouses, to-do lists and lose the essence of our expression.

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My paintings will be shown at the coffee shop in Elizabeth next month.  I would love to have some new paintings out to show.  One can tell that I am not putting as much energy into painting as I could as I sell roughly one painting a year.  I can’t do art shows near our town because everyone only knows me as the herbalist.  Last year I did my first art show since school.  I kid you not, every single person came up and said, “Where are your tinctures?”  “Do you have any Allergy medicine?”  “No?  How about Stress and Blues?”  “Oh, who’s the artist?”  I would send everyone to the shop.  Doug had a stellar day; I did nothing!  Then things got busy and the paints got put up.

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People are often intrigued by the paintings of the nuns.  Baffled and interested at the same time.  I paint nuns because I had every intention of becoming one.  After watching Haley Mills in “Trouble with Angels” I decided that is what I wanted to be.  I already made my way by myself to mass often.  I loved the peace and serenity one could find in prayer and the beauty of the Catholic church simply amplified that.  I love helping people and it just all seemed to be a good fit.  Apparently being pregnant is frowned upon when becoming a nun, however!  And of course I realized my true path in life is as a mother and wife.  I cannot imagine anything better.  But my desire for peace and tranquility, for serenity and prayer comes through that set of paintings.

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The farm animals, the New Mexican paintings all speak of what I really want.  I have more paintings in my mind, one of my son Andrew, Maryjane needs to be immortalized in acrylic (though I could never do her justice), a table of brightly colored chilies, a barn, a child praying…..no pastels, only vivid colors.

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What hobbies do you hope to start up again?