Monthly Archives: October 2017

Brain Dump: Decorating and Creativity

Lately I’ve been cross pollinating between my Instagram photos and blog photos. I read recently that that wasn’t “allowed” in good social media management, that all photos on your blog and Instagram account and Facebook should be separate and unique. But then I pulled up my sweat pants and remembered that I should probably put on deodorant while reading an article about fashion do’s and don’ts. There’s a theme of not doing stuff in my life. And also laziness.

Hang onto your hats, I’m all over the place in this post.

In other news, I love my dining room.

There are a lot of un-done spaces in this house, but the dining room is like “ahhhh” when I walk in there. I spent years decorating with a lot of red and turquoise. And I still love those colors. But when we bought this house I remember someone telling me that if you need to know what colors to decorate with, you should look at your closet. And I was all, “Hello purple and green and blue, why aren’t you in my house?”

So purple and green and blue are everywhere now and I love it. I still love red, but it’s less dominate.

Oh who am I kidding I love all the colors.

And in further news (but also somehow related to the dining room), I started drawing and painting again. I have a project to share soon, but let’s just say that this season of the witch and my love of creepy houses is leading the charge.

I just woke up one morning and thought, “I used to draw, what happened?” Isn’t it funny (and by funny I mean totally not humorous at all) the things that derail us from the childlike loves we once had? Depression, “real” careers, struggling relationships, illness, over-demanding self expectations (especially for creatives who keep thinking that the things we love should make us successful or pay for groceries). I think, for me, I put so much pressure on myself to produce something perfect. I somehow feel that my writing or drawing or anything else should be top notch or else what’s the point? And… that is some *incoming profanity for anyone who needs to earmuff-up” BULL SHIT.

So I started drawing again. It doesn’t make me money, it doesn’t look professional, and I’ve never enjoyed myself more. It’s the ACT of it that makes me zen out and feel a fraction of the childhood joy I used to have when I was being creative. I have zero expectations about these little paintings and drawings. I drink tea, I watch The Gilmore Girls, and I create just to create.

 

I also took over the dining room and my family was all “hey, um, are we ever going to get to eat in here again” so I moved a larger table into my office.

And it made me realize that my writing should be like this drawing. It should be a joy. Because if not, what’s the point? If it’s simply my meal ticket, or the hinge on which my identity hangs upon, or something that makes me feel stressed, again, what’s the point? Because under those conditions, the writing won’t be good. I won’t be happy. The folks that live in this house with me will be like, “Um, you’re not very fun to be around.”

And then no amount of pretty dining rooms will help.

So I’m drawing again. And I’ve decided to write like I draw. To take risks, and write, even if it’s crap, even if it doesn’t pan out, and enjoy it. Enjoy it anyway.

 

So let’s stem the creativity rant for a moment and talk back-splashes. Our kitchen doesn’t have one, and the pale linen color wall paint really wasn’t standing up well against food splashes. We want to remodel someday, but for now I didn’t want to spend money installing a back-splash. I investigated those faux stick-on tiles but I just didn’t love them when I saw them in person. They felt squishy and plastic-y to the touch.

So I painted. I got some navy chalk paint and painted the back-splash. It’s dark and scrub-able, but I have stencil design ambitions.

 

I started a Pinterest board to collect the ideas, but instead of focusing things, it confused me even more. Mermaid scale patterns! Circles! Moroccan patterns! I want all the stencils.

This is by far my favorite one, but this isn’t so much a stencil as it is hand-drawing precision and I’m intimidated. So for now we just have a navy painted back-splash.  But I hung a plate on the wall above the stove so I’m not a total slacker.

Lastly, can we all just take a moment and say “ahhhhh” over the gorgeousness of this stairway and blue paint color? I feel like this paint color is the perfect New England shade. The perfect mix of sky and robins egg and gray.

We recently visited Sleepy Hollow Cemetery (another post for later), and visited The Old Dutch Church (think Washington Irving and Ichabod). It felt just like taking at time machine back 300 years (except for the whole taking-pics-with-my-iphone-thing).

 

So okay. I think I’ve covered all I could possibly cover in one scattered post.

So what to do now?

I need to patch some gouges in the basement walls.

I want to sit in my pajamas and watch Stranger Things.

This would be a sure bet of a bookie taking bets.

Happy weekend!

 

 

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Things That Are Floating My October Boat

 

She’s here. The very best month of the year. The heat starts to break, the leaves start to fall, and I get to drag all my Halloween decorations out of the box. I used to make a day of it. I used to bake and leisurely decide where to place all the things, but now there’s a new element in that equation. The element’s name is Jane. And she does not give one hoot about my day of baking and organized decorating.

She prefers to throw open the boxes with great zeal, and toss everything around the house willy nilly. A spider on the door handle? Sure. A paper ghost made in pre-k propped up in the fireplace right next to a real candle? Let’s live dangerously. A witch on the counter-top next to the Gatorade box? Even better.

I wouldn’t trade it. Not for all the slow-paced decorating days in the world. That little whirlwind of a girl makes this house a home. Not the decorations. Not the baking. Her enthusiasm and happy spirit is what gives these four walls their joy. Gone are the days of magazine-ready rooms, but I wouldn’t trade this for anything.

So far we’re packing a lot into this month. The three of us made a day trip to Frenchtown, New Jersey, and all I can say is, “Here, hold my drool cup while a take some more pictures.” I first heard of it because that’s where Elizabeth Gilbert hails from. But when I looked at photos online, and figured out it was only an hour away, we loaded into the car for a quick day trip. So worth it. It’s a quaint village located on the Delaware River, right beside Pennsylvania. We walked through the shops and the streets, and paused by a house with purple shutters while someone inside played the “Mario Brothers” theme song loudly on their piano. It’s a funky little community and so much eye candy for house-stalkers like myself.

 

Speaking of house stalking, this big guy is for sale. We liked it okay. I kid. I kid. We loved it so much we posed in front of it, and then I used the zoom on my iphone camera to try and see inside the windows. This thing has Hallmark October Movie Set written all over it.

We ate at a local Mexican restaurant, which was a DELIGHT to this southern girl because fellas, the north is not impressing me much with this particular branch of food. BUT, this little town has a good place located in the basement of a shop that did their burritos up right.

Something else that’s giving me so much October joy is this sweet piece of art my sister made for me. She made one for my other sister that’s equally amazing. She does all kinds of custom art and you can find her here. 

And lastly, but certainly not least, Jane fractured her wrist. So I’ll go on record that that was NOT floating my boat this month. Hearing her thump-thump-thump fall from the top of the basement stairs shaved at least five years off my life. But this picture? This picture floats my boat. This was my girl pre-cast, straight out of the ER, dancing her heart out to “I Put a Spell On You.” This picture sums up my baby. A heart full of joy, even in the face of rough times. I tip my hat to her. I want to BE more like her.

So that’s what floats my boat. Halloween decorations. Quaint little New Jersey river towns. Fun art. And Jane.

Happy October indeed.

 

Remember

I wrote a little something on Facebook, which was initially supposed to be just a small blurb about this awesome house I saw/stalked (people are so touchy when you stand outside for prolonged periods of time with your camera). But funny things happen when you’re writing, sometimes it’s like tapping an underground spring, and before you know it things just come bubbling up and out. I’m sharing it again, here.

So here’s a cheers to the untapped springs. Here’s a cheers to each of us climbing over the boulders and the hills. Here’s a cheers to learning to love yourself for what was already deep inside, but just forgotten. Here’s a cheers to remembering…

House

In my life I’ve spent a good deal of time feeling unclear about a lot of things. People, decisions, relationships, work. I’ve also felt unclear and murky about who I am. I’ve felt insecure. I’ve felt that others feelings were somehow more valid than my own. I’ve felt that if others were unhappy, or mad, or disapproving, then my emotional state had to reflect that. I’ve felt confused and depressed, but lately I’m coming out of a fog I wasn’t even aware was there until recently. I see so clearly, all of a sudden. I feel like God herself came down to give me this epiphany. I am not in charge of anyone else. I cannot make anyone else love me. I cannot look to anyone else to make me feel secure or good. We’re all driving our own trains, passing through this life under our own steam. I came in alone, and I’m heading out alone. It’s just me. And God. And I have to do what I do to be who I am, and take all that encompasses being Liz out of the box I shoved her into. That’s no one else’s fault. I owe myself that apology. And it’s my job to unpack my soul, to stretch my legs and remember myself. What a blessed relief.

It was getting awfully dark and tight in the box.

Anyway, this weekend I saw this house in Frenchtown, NJ. And lately as I’ve allowed myself to ponder questions like, “Wait do I really like this?” Or, “Wait, does that really sound fun? Or, “Wait, that doesn’t seem right to me.” I stood in front of this house and had a moment of total clarity. From my earliest memory I have always loved a spooky looking Victorian house. Always. Not with a regular love. With an all-encompassing passion. Like a “if I snuck inside to live there how long before the owners notice” kind of devotion. And when I was little I always believed that one day I would live in one and fix it up.

As I was standing in front of this house, a cold breeze on my face and a few raindrops coming down, admiring the star light fixture on the front porch, my daughter yelled, “Wow!!! Look at that one, Mom! I bet the Grand High Witch lives there!”

And I grinned so hard and so wide I was afraid I might break my jaw. Because while I lost myself for a while, and finding myself has felt like an epic battle, I’m back. All that I packed away years ago didn’t rust or disintegrate. I still love this season, and I still plan to live in a house like this one day, and I wake up in the mornings looking forward to the sun and what could happen. I want to hug the old me. I want to say, “I’m so sorry I didn’t take very good care of you, but look! Look at that house. Remember all the things you love? We’re going to go find them again.”

Remember who you are. Remember what you love. Remember to pray to whatever you believe in because there is power out there.

And it feels great to step out of the box and stretch free again. I can’t recommend it highly enough.