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 Disease of Busyness and the Detox Bath

It has been over ten years since I was this sick.  I am an herbalist.  I make the most effective medicine I know of.  I eat well and try to exercise.  I don’t get sick!  My body means business this time.  It wants me to sit down and listen, and hasn’t really given me much choice in the matter.  I have been having colorful dreams (maybe because of all the valerian), and the theme is pretty clear.  Hit them brakes, Sister.

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For as long as I can remember, I do as much as possible in a day.  It is my worth.  No one else is going to do it.  It is my job.  It is normal.  To-do lists and packed days of…the same housework, the same chores.  What, just what, would happen if a client came over and the kitchen floor was dirty?  Would they think poorly of me?  That my house wasn’t sanitary?  That I wouldn’t be able to do a Medical Intuitive Reading properly because I haven’t dusted?

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I do things with such intensity.  The same intensity that I put into gardening, pursuing a new venture, getting the housework done, is the same intensity that I put into having a cup of tea, or reading a letter.  Fast.  Get it done, check it off my list.  Why?  Because I can’t remember what it is like to just move at a slower pace.  Most everything I think has to be done is self imposed.

November was a very trying month.  Actually, autumn, was very trying.  A lot of death and loss.  I got weakened from stress.  If I wasn’t going to stop the insanity, my body would make me.  There are so many things I do to try to prove that I am a good mom, prove that I am good at my gifts and my work, prove that I am a good wife, prove that I am a good friend, prove that I got this.  I am every woman.

The past few nights Doug checks to see if I am still breathing as I sleep.

I have missed December.  I have had to cancel numerous consultations, a sleepover with my granddaughter, two weeks out of my new granddaughter’s four weeks of life, zoo lights, Santa Claus with my girls.  I feel beaten and bruised from coughing.

Something’s gotta give.  Listen, friends, we have to start listening!  We don’t have to do everything to keep everyone from being disappointed.  We don’t have to work so hard.  To drink our tea so fast.  This intensity, drive hundreds of a miles in a week, prove that I am worthy, to-do list madness must stop.  I don’t remember how.

Balance…elusive word.  Choose what I want to do and give plenty of space in between for tea and a bit of reading.  What can go?  What should stay?  “Every time you say yes to something, you say no to something else.”  I have been saying “no” to my peace of mind and my health as of late (or for decades).  I’m listening now.

The disease of busyness affects many of us.  I hope this will inspire some of you to put down the to-do list and re-evaluate.  We are worthy.  It’s time for us to settle down and smile now.

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Feel Better and Out With the Old Detox Bath

While bath is filling with nice, hot water, pour in 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/2 cup of sea salt, a few drops of bubble bath or organic dish soap.  A few drops of rosemary, eucalyptus, lavender, and orange essential oils (or your choice, go easy on the “hot” oils).  A great drizzle of olive oil.  Light a candle, play some nice music.  Don’t rush.  This blend is very alkalizing and soothing to muscles and detoxes tissues.

 

The Do Nothing Day

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We are geared up to hit the farmer’s market today.  We have orders, and vegetables, and customers to meet today.  I have been moving at the speed of light all summer, with to-do lists that would take three days if I looked at them realistically!  I woke up gearing to go.

Doug was up all night coughing, fever, not a happy hubby.  We are not doing the market today.  This throws a wrench in my everyday momentum.  But….what will I do?  I already did the canning and laundry and house cleaning.

Gasp!  Is it possible that we are getting a day off?  I wouldn’t know what to do!  I better make a to-do list anyway just to keep myself from pacing like a caged animal.

1. Drink more coffee

2. Sit on porch and feel sun on my face

3. Drink some spiced chai tea

4. Read a book (currently reading The Pioneer Woman by Ree Drummond)

5. Make homemade pasta

6. Walk aimlessly around the gardens and see what is left to harvest

7. Pour a glass of wine

8. Read a magazine

9. Read a cookbook (maybe pour another glass of wine)

10. If I am really bored, I could do a couple of loads of laundry and can more beans but I am going to try really hard to do nothing today!

…Maybe I will go for a hike.  It’s a beautiful day to do nothing.

Taking a Day of Rest

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Time to stop and smell the flowers.  Doug snapped these beautiful photos yesterday.  Beautiful evening.

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In our hectic society we are taught to go, go, go!  The more one can get done, the better.

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But the whole reason behind taking a day of rest is to recuperate so that we are more efficient and healthier during the week.  Taking a break and a day off should be as simple as breathing.  We only get to live a few minutes in the whole scheme of things…

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A day of rest doesn’t have to be on Saturday or Sunday….one doesn’t have to go to church to make it a day of rest (God is everywhere.)….

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We just need to take deep breaths, enjoy food and drink and friends, and look around at the astounding beauty of nature and all the gifts and blessings and simple pleasures that encompass us, surround us with joy.

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Maryjane’s first swimming day was yesterday at my grandma and grandpa’s house (her great, great grandparents’ house!) and we intend to take Mondays off every week.  Between the shop being open during the week and four farmer’s markets a week, plus keeping up around here, we would be wise not to get burnt out before July!  So every Monday we will alternate between Grandma’s pool and Doug’s parents’ pool.  Every week we go see Grandmas and Papas.  Sun, rest, fun.  A day of rest for everyone! What will you do on your day of rest?

Of Sea Salt, the Art of Bathing, and Writer’s Block

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One of the great pleasures in life is the bath.  It is often overlooked for its relaxing abilities.  It is basically a gift to oneself!  I personally have a great deal of trouble relaxing.  I feel like I have to go-go-go all the time.  I have lists of lists to do and I must fill every moment doing something or I get antsy and quite grumpy.  I promptly fall into bed at 9:00 and sleep great.  However, I think a little balance is due.  I am not a super young person and though I love to keep busy and I will be even busier on my next homestead, my body, mind, and spirit could use a little break.  I practically have to trick myself into relaxing!  A bath is just the ticket.

One of the great things about this house is the claw foot tub.  Oh mama, it’s wonderful.  I am nearly 5’10” and the ordinary bath tub doesn’t cut it.  I love its curved back and circular bath curtain.  I can hide from the world…at least until I get bored!  So, I include a few implements to keep me in the tub for a bit.  A great glass of wine, a book, sugar scrub, a candle, and a wonderful soap.  My girlfriend, Deb, brought over a few bars of delicious soap.  Despite my being vegetarian she insisted I would love them (they are made from a bit of her cows).  Sure enough, it is like slathering on lotion.  They are heavenly bars of soap!

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And tonight being New Year’s Eve, we are going to a hotel with Rodney and Pat and swimming in the pool, soaking my very cold muscles in the hot tub, and then ending the evening with a swing dance.  I cannot wait! There isn’t likely a claw foot tub in the hotel room, but I am loading up my bath stuff and am going to enjoy every second of the hotel bath.  A little pampering to start the new year.  I am going to trick myself to relax!

Sea Salt Bath

Sprinkle 1/2 cup of baking soda into the bath.  Baking soda balances the PH level of the body while pulling out toxins.  (A great way to get rid of chlorine out of the skin if the kids are avid Flippers.)  The baking soda leaves your skin very soft as well.

Then add 1/2 cup of sea salt.  I know most people use Epsom salts but they are large and hard to dissolve.  The sea salt dissolves wonderfully, also pulls toxins from the system, and relaxes muscles.

A drizzle of olive oil all the way across the tub (for heaven’s sake, don’t slip!) to moisturize the skin.

Essential oils to transport you.  Do not use volatile oils like rosemary, mint, tea tree, eucalyptus, cinnamon, clove, etc.  They sound tempting but you will burn your skin! (Been there, done that.)  I personally am taking rose, jasmine, lavender, ylang ylang, and a touch of cedar.  Citruses are uplifting, florals will take you on an instant vacation.

Sit, sip, read, relax.

A quick thank you as we wind down this year.  I have had a terrible case of writer’s block for years.  I wrote three cookbooks to fill the time.  Only an occasional poem would come forth.  This blog has broken through the barriers and I am writing like a friend.  I hope to chronicle our journey while inspiring and teaching (and learning from) all of you.  So, thank you for reading.  What are your dreams this year?  What do you hope to create and achieve?  I am listening….

Love, Katie