Creative Photo Idea For Your Home

You may not have dexterity or feel that you are artisitic but you still feel the urge to be creative and that’s okay because there is a wealth of possible ways to express your creativity.

Welcome to the second post of Freedom Friday.  The series that will hopefully unlock your creative potential.

Confession time:  I am not artistic. I am messy and clumbsy.  I cannot master my hands and make them do works of art…however, I am creative and you can be too.

So here is my #1 idea for unleashing your creativity even if you are not artistic.

So let’s say you got some photos and you want to make them into works of art to hang on your wall.  These photos mean a lot to you.  They may be travel photos, family photos, or photos that mean something to you for various reasons. Is there anything you can do with these photos to turn them into works of art or beautful pieces of decor for your home?

As for me, I am all about books!  Both my husband and I adore literature and we love to write.  If you are like us, you don’t need to be great at drawing or creating things.  However, you can use words and pictures that are meaningful to you to enhance your home.

I used a few lines of this Robert Frost poem which has been special to me and my children and matched it up with this frosty photo. Now it hangs proudly in our lounge.

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You can also match song lyrics or quotes with photos of your choice. Take random pictures of things that interest you such as graphics or wallpaper design or a drawing your child made–  anything that you love. Use a photo editing tool to change the overall colour or feel to the photo to match your interest or your room’s colour scheme.  You can have the image printed on a cushion cover or blown up into a large canvas picture if the resolutions are good. The possibilities are endless!

 

Photo source

Photo source

 

One final note to remember is this wonderful quote from John O’Donahue:

Photo by Marilylle Soveran

Photo by Marilylle Soveran

Welcome to Freedom Friday

Hello everyone!  Today, I begin a new weekly blog entry called Freedom Friday.  It’s the day of the week we give time for freeing our creative side.  Look for upcoming inspirational home design ideas that will hopefully lift us off our mundane habits and get us creating!

Today’s inspiration comes from Pinterest. Unfortunately, I have failed to find the originator of this photo as every web page I clicked onto had a link with a different source.  So if anyone knows where this photo originated from, please let me know.

I am a big lover of bringing the outside in as well as trees (and as you all know) books.  I am LOVING this idea.  I am definitely thinking of doing this in our new home if we have the space!  I think my hubby will agree to it.  🙂

bookshelf

I even like the worn out leather chair next to it and the fur rug underneath.  It’s all about texture and making a showcase for your cherished books!

Please feel free to comment and if anyone has seen some inspiring crafty home decor, please email me pics! 🙂

 

My Top 10 Picks for Best Christmas Trees

I love getting creative for Christmas and decorating the tree is my all time favorite creative thing to do on the lead up to Christmas.  Every year I try to change the theme a bit while still using some of the already owned decorations.  My two teenagers don’t like change which is a bit hard on me as I LOVE change but love them even more.  So usually, I change the tree only subtly like the colour scheme.  One year, it was a tartan theme, another copper, another time it was Victorian and still another jewelled tones.  Last year, it was a rustic theme with hessian ribbon and pine cones.  This year, I decided on a different theme but first, here are my top ten picks for some of the best creative trees I have found online.

  1. Who would have guessed you could get away with spring green and yellow on a Christmas tree?

Christmastree1

2. The next tree I have chosen is a silver and cream theme but I love the lettering added on old sheet music to remind us of the meaning of Christmas.  I also like how she used an ordinary quilt as a tree skirt. Great idea!  When your budget is tight, use what you have!

3. Here we have a nature themed tree also with a worded banner.  It is a nice touch adding extra branches into your tree.

4. I know we have already had a green tree but I love this bright green so much and with the touches of silver, you get a more frosty feel then the other green tree.  (Anyway, green is my favourite colour).

 

5. Red!  Red has always been a lasting traditional colour to use on Christmas trees but the main theme’s focus here are the minature gifts!  Could there be real presents inside those boxes?

6. Below is something I don’t generally go for.  I am not a  big fan of overly decorated trees but the colours in this one look so stunning against the backdrop of this room that I can’t help but love it!

 

7. Here’s thinking outside of tradition, why not use autumnal colours on your tree?

8. The next tree looks like the inside of my wardrobe!  Green and autumnal colours!

 

9. Modern, masculine and just plain gorgeous!

Source

Source

10. And finally, a hearts and ice cream themed Christmas tree

So there you have it, my top 10 picks for the best Christmas trees.  They are imaginative, creative and beautiful.

My Christmas tree theme this year was ‘Winter Wonderland’. It is white, silver and red.

 

PicMonkey Collage

DIY Autumnal Decorations

I know this is a bit late posting but with Thanksgiving just around the corner, I can’t resist sharing some decorating ideas for my favourite season!

A couple of years ago, I began decorating my lounge for Autumn.  Then Last year, I went a wee bit crazy.

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This year, I have added a new addition.

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My new autumnal wreath has fabric pumpkins, pine cones, twigs and berries!

 

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I love the richness of the Autumn colours.  This (for now) graces the wall over my fireplace.
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While I didn’t make this wreath myself, (I found this at a bargain at TK Maxx) I have made many wreaths in the past.  Wreath decorating is simple, fun and extremely therapeutic.  Just get an un-decorated wreath of your choice and then hot glue assorted floral picks, pinecones, nuts, fruit, ribbons or whatever takes your fancy!

Below are some amazingly creative autumnal decorations I found on Pinterest that are simple to make and bring warmth to the home.

Found on wallflowergirl.co.uk

Found on wallflowergirl.co.uk

 

 

 

 

How cool is this?  By simply taking some autumn leafs (I would use fabric rather than real leaves for fire safety) and gluing them to fairy lights, you will have created a simple but pretty autumn decoration for your home.

 

 

 

 

 

Another simple DIY project for Fall comes from houseofjadeinteriorsblog.com:leafgarland2

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For this project, take some fabric leafs, paint some pva (or elmer’s ) glue on them and then sprinkle autumn colour glitter.  Once it’s dry, use a hole punch to punch a small hole in each and then thread with some ribbon.

leafcushion

I love this simple leaf cushion from Better Homes and Gardens.  To make: Enlarge a leaf using a copier to make a pattern. Cut the pattern out of wool felt and attach it to a plain cushion cover using iron-on fusible backing. Blanket-stitch around the edges.

This next one comes from Sweet Something Design on Etsy.  I may just give this a try next year! Isn’t this beautiful?

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Found on gypsypurplehome.tumbler.com

Found on gypsypurplehome.tumbler.com

 

 

 

 

Table decorations can be simply made using all kinds of things from nature.

 

 

Here we have a lovely contrast of colours using moss, branches of berries and acorn caps.

 

 

 

 

Found on Thebudgetdecorator.com

Found on Thebudgetdecorator.com

 

 

 

 

Fill an apothecary jar with pine cones, acorns, autumn leafs, gourdes and berries.

 

 

 

Use a mixture from things you find on your nature walks and things you find at you local craft shop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So as promised, the above ideas are simple and I hope it has sparked some creative ideas of your own.  Now to get ready for Christmas!

Defining and Instilling a Sense of Home

What makes a house a home?

Close your eyes and envision your home- not the castle or mansion you hope to have when you win lotto but the actual house you live in, looking the way you want it to.  No, wait!  Don’t open your eyes yet.  I want you to relax and envision with the eyes of your heart. I want you to think ‘home’ rather than ‘glam house’ or ‘show room’.  What would make your house feel like home to you?  Really think about it.  NOW open your eyes.  Take a look around you.  Does your house reflect home to you?  Is it a sanctuary? Is it restful? Is it how you want it?

Personally, I have taken a step sideways from ‘interior design’ in order to focus on making my house a home.  Realistically, this isn’t always easy when you have:

a) children

b) pets

c) limited finances

If those are your challenges, then please take a deep breath and read the previous sentence again but with an inner and outer smile.  Why?  Because I want you to not think about how awful the mess is and how so many things are in need of repair and how little money you have.  It is so easy to view problems as …well…problems while losing focus on the blessings that often reflect these problems.  As I look at the puddles of dog drool on my laminate floor and the dog hair on my carpet, I remind myself how this big, hairy beast brings so much joy to our household.  Piles of shoes in the hallway?  That just reminds me that I am blessed to have some of my children still living at home with me; for the laughter around the dinner table and the long talks we share.  When I think of our limited finances, I am grateful for the choice I had to work part time in order to have less stress and more creativity in my life.  My life is how I created it…mess and all.

Throughout my life, wherever I have lived, I have always made an effort to remind myself to be grateful for having a roof over my head.  This was the case even with my most humblest of abodes.  Wherever I have lived, I dedicated my home to serving others.  It has been a shelter to troubled teens, free accommodation to college students, a house group meeting place and most often, a place to bless others with a meal and friendship. A sense of home is something all human beings crave and which I never take for granted.

There are several ways to make a house a home. A home should have a sense of harmony between all those living there as well as for those who just visit.  It should also be a sanctuary for those who need to feel loved and embraced at the end of the day.  A home is welcoming and comforting through the use of its decor and scents.  Above all, a home should emanate love. The word ‘home’ describes the spiritual or sensual aspect of the house.  When you walk into someone’s house, you will often immediately sense whether it is truly a home. Making a house a home does not require a lot of money because it starts within the spirit of those who live there.  If you wanted to begin at this very moment, you can.  You can pray or ask yourself, “How can I help?” or “How can I love better?”

Perhaps……

…your teenage daughter who is studying in her room would feel more at home if you brought her a cup of hot chocolate.

…or your wife who has had a stressful day would feel loved by a scented bath being drawn for her.

Photo Source

Photo Source

…or your husband may love a surprise gift of a dvd he has been wanting to see or a movie downloaded and a bottle of wine and a cheese platter to share.

Little acts of kindness, done often enough, goes a long way to helping those you live with to feel at home. However, those acts need to take a back seat to ‘being there’ for those you live with.  When they want to talk, listen.  Listen with your eyes as well as your ears.  Stop what you are doing if you can to give then undivided attention.  Listen prayerfully with your heart so as to know the best way to respond.

Photo Source

Photo Source

Bigger acts of kindness sometimes takes planning.  Family meals can be a gesture of love.  Plan to have fresh vegetables prepared every day and you are planning to give love and consideration to the health and well-being to all who come to the table at meal times.  I found it to be more cost effective to shop for groceries on-line.  It adds the cost as I go along so I don’t over-spend and the cost of delivery is much cheaper than the taxi fare I would spend if I shopped in person.  Sometimes delivery is even free.  Also, if I shop little shops 2-3 times a week then I am not throwing away any fresh produce that went bad before I had the chance to prepare them. Preparing a meal can also be an act of kindness to yourself.  When you prepare a meal, you allow yourself to be creative and mindful.  As long as you are not rushed, it can be a meditative process.

Photo Source

Photo Source

So to recap: Start to bring a sense of home to your abode by being grateful for where you live and who you live with, by intuitive acts of kindness to those you live with and by asking yourself (and God), “How can I love better?”

 

 

Coming Soon On Home And Spirit!

 

coming-in-2015_Home+Spirit

As I mentioned in my post, Plan A Wonderful Year! I have made a list of goals I wanted to accomplish this year.  When it came to choosing goals for 2015, I chose goals that 1) I really wanted to accomplish, 2) that are fun and 3) that are not too difficult or demanding. Also, (as is my way) I listed loads on my list of things I wanted to accomplish so as to accomplish as much as possible without being at all attached to the goal of accomplishing every single item on my list.  I will get done what I get done. I hope it will at least be half of what I have written down on my list. I will persevere but I will not stress out about it EVEN THOUGH by writing it here, I put myself in the rather vulnerable position of having you all hold me accountable.

One thing I found however is that in trying to accomplish this list of goals, my output on this site became rather limited.  I have ended up having to spend a bit of time in contemplation as to what my goals are for future posts.  I am so very excited with what I have come up with so far although it will require quite a bit of research and experimentation so please bear with me as I prepare for future articles.

Just so you know what to expect, I am keeping the focus on Home and Spirit. My interior design articles will henceforth focus more on creating a home that is personal to ourselves (such as Design Affinity). There will also be a series of articles on Christian Mysticism, nutrition, more on meditation, contemplation, book reviews and perhaps some other therapies and interviews (See EFT for Weight, Wellness and Emotional Eating Freedom). This is all still in the development stage so there will be much more articles on other topics.  Also, I will be writing periodic catch-ups on how I am doing at attaining my goals for 2015.  I will be real here and not cheat so you may read about some failures (although I hope not!).

One thing that is not on my list of goals for 2015 is losing weight.  Nope, no way, no-how! Although, I really, really want to.  The reason it is not on my list is that I refuse to face another December 31st being down at myself for not accomplishing this goal.  So I have let myself off the hook and have resolved not to resolve.  However, that is not to say this isn’t my secret goal.  I am actually planning my very own nutritious and easy to implement diet for people (like me) who don’t have time to read books, count calories and learn nutrition or spend money on diet programs and gyms. I am creating it and doing it and maybe I will lose weight and maybe not but hopefully I will feel better and be healthier for making some changes.  I will be posting an article about this in the near future and you may see some positive results or laughable fails…who knows?

Weight-loss-Cartoon-Scale

Oh, I almost forgot!  At the end of the year, there will be posts about traditional Christmases around the world.  So if any of you would like to share about how your country celebrates Christmas or even if you have some unique family Christmas traditions of your own, please email me and add a link to your blog and if I use it, I will credit you and link your blog.

So there you have it, my goals for future articles coming soon!

Simple Craft: Thanksgiving Coffee Table

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I am feeling particularly thankful today as I look back in my gratitude journal at all I am grateful for…big and small!  Every moment in life there is something to notice and be thankful for. Not too long ago, I purchased this glass-topped coffee table for my living room.  It has a wallpaper under the glass which I have flipped over and added autumn colour (faux) leaves in honour of Thanksgiving.  I think it looks pretty under my bowl of pumpkin pot-pourri.

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This will change soon for Christmas.  If anyone has ideas what I can put under the glass please feel free to comment.  Nothing with Santa please.  I have nothing against the jolly chap just don’t think he makes great décor.

My prayer is that you all find time to contemplate on what you already have to be thankful about and you feel truly blessed.

Namaste.

It’s All About Autumn

Growing up In New York meant that I chose Autumn as my favourite time of year.  When I moved to England I was surprised to find that my favourite season changed to Spring. Spring in England is special.  English gardens are beautiful and the grass is always green. What I was slow to realize was the reason that Autumn lost its appeal until I made the recent trip to New York to attend my daughter’s wedding.  Autumn leaves are more vibrant and colourful in the US.  In England, leaves change only slightly and we don’t get much oak leaves. After doing a bit of research, I discovered there are certain weather conditions that need to happen for the best Autumn (or “fall” as we Americans call it) colours.  What is needed is a warm wet Spring combined with a sunny cool Autumn. Basically, Autumn in England (and most of Europe) is cloudy rather than sunny. Personally, I think it’s good that New York has such spectacular Autumn colours. A lot of what you see is pretty grey and dull looking most of time in most areas.

While I was staying at the Catskills ( home town of Rip Van Winkle), the colours were amazing and yet funny enough we met some locals who informed us that the colours were a let down this year due to too much wind and rain.  Really? Take a look at these pictures I took while visiting a local Buddhist temple:

Buddhist temple Catskill

Buddhist temple Catskill 2

Catskill Buddhist temple

 

These colours really make me want to bring the outdoors in.  I didn’t do much shopping while visiting the US as I was under strict luggage weight and bulk limit but I managed to squeeze just two things I found in Target that I simply had to have.  What do you think of this pumpkin-shaped potpourri?

pumpkin potpourri

 

I actually added some cinnamon-apple oil essence as the fragrance was a bit too dull.

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I also purchased this pumpkin made from tree bark which is the pumpkin on the right.

barkpumpkin

 

The other thing I had added to my living room was this vase filled with autumn coloured faux flowers and berries and the copper-coloured pear next to it.  I think it looks quite nice on my fireplace mantle.

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I am loving my Autumn décor so much that for the first time ever, I am not in a hurry for Christmas to come!

 

 

Bibliography: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/outdoors/8114574/An-English-autumn-puts-the-US-fall-in-the-shade.html

Home Office For Small Spaces

Over the past few decades, society’s perception on family has slowly gone through some changes.  When I was a child, it was the norm for fathers to work and mother’s to be at home with the children.  It was generally presumed that it was the father’s role to earn the living and the mother’s to be nurturers and home-makers.  However, women wanted equal rights to a career and equality in the workplace so soon it became more and more common to see both parents working and earning while children being looked after by grandparents or childcare providers.  Society’s views changed again as it began to see that fathers as well as mothers can and should be nurturers.  Then came a sense of regret as both parents would love to spend time with their children. These views were often accompanied by sad comments such as, ‘We both need to work in order to get by.’

Nowadays both parents see their careers and their role as parents as equally important.  Therefore, many have looked for solutions such as starting their own business.  Likewise, many businesses now make working from a home possible for their employees.  It isn’t just people who have children who choose this option.  It has become increasingly obvious to people that they need more balance and less stress in their lives.  More time for creativity, hobbies, social life and relaxation is needed and less time travelling to and from the work place.

However, in order to work from home, you first need to set a up a work area or home office. This alone can be challenging if space is limited.  Below are images of home office set-ups which show creative ways of maximizing your space.

One clever place to set up office is to use the space under the stairs.  It doesn’t have to look messy or cluttered.  Be creative as with the wood panelling used in the picture below.

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How about a home office wardrobe? You can have a fold down or pull-out desk and still have plenty of storage.

 

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Have a corner you can spare somewhere?  The great thing about setting it up in your living space is you can keep an eye on the children if necessary.  This office takes up little space but has plenty of shelves for storage as it utilizes wall space.

 

 

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Another option may be to divide an existing room so that you have a small room for a private office with its own door.  It doesn’t need to be big as you can still be creative with organizing.  Having your own private room for your office means that you can truly make the space your own.

 

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Here’s another great idea.  You can use the alcove next to your fireplace to put a desk in.  You may even choose to have a desk built in.

 

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If you have an attic or loft, you can turn that into a cosy office.

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I really like the idea of a built to purpose attached desk.  The wall lamp and shelving unit makes the space feel separate from the rest of the room.

 

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So for whatever reason, having an at home office can be viable, functional and be made to look beautiful!

 

Note:  All photos were sourced from www.houzz.com

Teal-For Sophisticated Interiors

Wherever I go, I gravitate towards teal.  It is the colour above all other colours that have me salivating. Of course there are different variations of teal.  I prefer the richest, darkest sort with enough green to show through; almost leaning toward jade.  Teal is the colour of sophistication I think.  When it comes to more the deep blue teals, I like it paired up with green like in this picture below.  I love the deep green velvet sofa next to the metallic teal-blue walls.

 

tealivroom

Picture Source

 

I love the colour and sheen of this gorgeous sofa.  The cream rug and furniture tempers the scheme down, making it feel much more calming which also allows the sofa to be seen as a statement piece.

Picture Source

Picture Source

 

Teal is great paired up with reds and oranges like in this kitchen below.  This colour palette makes the kitchen feel more Mediterranean.  Paint effect walls are starting to make a bit of a comeback.  This is less sophisticated than the other teal rooms, but it still works.

Picture Source

Picture Source

 

 

Teal kitchen cupboards–lush!  Looks great with the wood flooring and wicker fruit basket.

Picture Source

Picture Source

 

 

Teal and brown is another of my favourite colour combinations.  I experimented with this on Olioboard.  What do you think? Teal doesn’t have to overwhelm a room.  It can be used in small accessories which can easily be changed if you change your mind.

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Here we have a photo of an actual brown and teal living-room. I like the over-all effect but I am not so sure about those curtains.

Picture Source

Picture Source

 

How dramatic is this?!  Such a wow-effect wallpaper works great in a small bathroom.

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Picture source

 

I had to choose this for my last photo.  This is so me!  Lush velvet, teal curtains and a Chesterton type sofa and willow trees out the window.  I could just see myself reclining with a book and occasionally looking out.

Picture source

Picture source

 

Time for some reading! 🙂 If you haven’t already done so, please check out my new Facebook page.