Tuesday, January 15, 2013

simple corners.

I really hate to use the word minimalist, because for most people there is a negative connotation there. For me a minimalist home is airy and relaxed, with room to breathe. Some walls left intentionally empty to give space in a busy home. A few carefully chosen, cherished pieces displayed and honored. Books neatly organized in one central location. A calm and relaxing color palette on walls and textiles. Figuring out exactly what you need to be comfortable, and freeing yourself of the rest, in order to create much needed space.

For a start, I found the perfect white paint color for us. We tried true white and it just didn't work. We settled on a beautiful warm white called Sandstone Cove from Behr. It is lovely, and it reflects light wonderfully on the walls. So far I have finished 2 walls in the living room (first photo) and our master bathroom. Throughout the coming months, I'll make my way through the rest of the living areas. I am especially excited to get this color into the dining room and stairways. There isn't much natural light in these areas. The paint color right now is quite yellow (second photo), and I can't wait to see how much brighter it will be.

I don't intend to have completely bare walls, but I did consolidate our beloved family photos to one wall. They used to be all over the place, now they line the stairway into our bedroom. This feels just right. We have one large piece of art in the living room as a focal, and a historic photo of our house by the front door. Oh...and the giant TV. Nothing I can do about this, but make the space around it as simple as possible. We have a unavoidable coat rack by the front door that I try to keep tidy, it is hard. That giant blob of coats makes me crazy. It's areas like this that make it necessary to create visual open spaces......the unavoidable necessaries of everyday living.  Plenty of space is taken up in my home with just living. Clutter just makes it all too much. So out the clutter goes.

There is so much to be done.
I started with the living room for a few reasons. It's the first room you see when you enter our home, and we spend a lot of time there. It just made sense. I have a few more changes to make before I move into the dining room. I need to paint one more wall and the ceiling. I'd like to find some fabric for a throw pillow and replace one of the chairs. I would also love to find a place to store our blankets so they thrown all over the place.

I think that the dining room is going to be tough. I have a large bookcase in there, and although it is tidy, there is nothing minimalist about it. Keeping all the books in one area helps though. I will have to just make sure that I keep it organized.
Well, that's it for now. I will post progress as it happens.

Have a blessed day, Tami

Monday, January 14, 2013

around here.

There has been a much appreciated break in the rainfall,
and we have had many beautiful, but very chilly days.
Everything looks so crisp and bright, in contrast to the usual grayness of winter in the Pacific Northwest. I don't mind winter like this. I love walking in this cold dryness, it is shocking and refreshing all at once.
The furnace is humming nearly all day, offset by the warmth of our gas fireplace. I like keeping the lights low on days like this, maybe a few candles burning. So very cozy.
Today, I have some knitting in mind, mingled with loads of laundry and baking. Homemade macaroni and cheese for dinner with steamed carrots.
A perfectly contented day at home.

Have a blessed day, Tami

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


I can't remember if I ever showed this.........It is completely made from reclaimed wood. I picked it up at a little antique shop. I was either going to use it as an apothecary cabinet or a spice cabinet. Because I have not even started my apothecary inventory gathering, well, a spice cabinet it is. It is situated right next to the stove, in a weird little spot that is both too narrow and too shallow for a regular cabinet. The ledge on top is perfect for storing a few jars of salt.
To be honest with you, this is the way I wish my whole kitchen looked. Bright and white. Reclaimed and a little rustic. Old, well loved cabinets, painted with a million coats of paint, matching better the 103 years our home has been here. Maybe one day, I will convince my hubby, that his most important mission in life is to build me custom new/old kitchen cupboards. Right after he makes the new top for my harvest table, and the doors for my china cabinet........Busy man, that one is.
In the meantime, this little corner of my kitchen makes me smile a little more than the rest of it does. Still I am grateful always for a large, clean, and fully functional space.
Now I off to tidy that large, unclean, and functional space.
Have a blessed day, Tami

Monday, January 7, 2013

in with the new

The decorations are all put away. We have resumed life post-holiday. It already feels like forever ago.

I am always very introspective during the first days and weeks of the new year. Making plans, making financial decisions, clearing out the clutter that seems to accumulate despite my best efforts. It is a time of looking within too, to see if my outward actions are matching my beliefs within. I think during the "birthday season" and the holidays, I take a break from my normal responses to life in order to just cope with the giant task of juggling it all. There doesn't seem to be any other way. I have read so many books on slow living, simplifying, hundred dollar holidays, handmade holidays, etc. Even with this vast knowledge under my belt, it just never changes.
So every holiday season, I juggle until my arms hurt, and every new year I am ready to get back to what I hold true. What I hold true seems to be all of the things I fail at during the holidays. I feel as though I am fighting a losing battle. I think I give in partly because I feel alone in it. Like I am the one who's doing it wrong. If everyone around me is fully engrossed in the typical holiday frantic consumeristic hoopla, then it must be right. Then why does it feel so bad for me. Clearly, I need a better support system of like-minded folks. If I were to choose one thing we did right, we gave more handmade and bought local this year. Okay, all.done. my token after the holidays rant.


On with the new.
Digging in deeper with our nutrition. I have been hearing a lot about what certain chemicals actually do to the human body. It is one thing to know that something is bad for you, but when I can get specifics, that does it for me. I have one child that seems to be particularly sensitive to chemicals in foods. If only for him, we need to get off all processed foods with anything artificial.
I am becoming increasingly unapologetic with my family for the food choices I am making for them. We have some family members battling serious health issues right now because of poor lifelong food choices. My hubby and I are entering middle age, and need to be even more serious with our diet. I am going to hear lots of complaining for awhile. (Nutrition also took a back seat over the holidays.) Just like other changes we've made......they'll get used to it.

Going minimalist. Not modern sterile minimalist, just nice cozy cottage minimalist. I have said before that we live in a 1500 sq. foot home. We have enough space to sleep and bathe, a plenty big kitchen, a dining room/library for homework and crafts, and a decent sized living room. It is enough. It begins to feel cramped when we are invaded by too much stuff. I work really hard to cut down on the things coming in. It is time to take it to the next step, and get rid of more. When I spend a few hours putting everything back in it's place I realize, it's still too much. Way more than a person needs. Too many clothes, shoes, papers, dvds/games, pieces of needless furniture, power cords, small appliances. These are the things that just come to mind. I feel bogged down by these things, the care and storage of them mostly. Too much. It is time for breathing space. (I just found this post I wrote nearly 5 years ago....*clearly* I have not found many answers.)

Being more consistent with reducing our impact on the Earth. Avoiding waste. Reducing packaging. Getting solar. Using less of everything.

Limiting obligations. Slowing down. Taking little getaways together. Summer picnics. Eating well and feeling well. Creating. Learning. Growing. Reading. Knitting. Noticing. 2013.

I am excited for what can be in 2013.
Maybe by next Christmas, I will have more ideas and more answers. I would love that.

Have a blessed day, Tami

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Have a blessed Sunday. I will be back tomorrow. Tami