Pretty Pennies

After years of realizing and considering the seven million ways that Husband and I are different (one mill for every year…), one thing I’ve really come to understand about myself is how much my physical environment effects me. He loves the natural, rustic world as much as I do but doesn’t feel the weight of clutter, blank walls, unending cement, wires, and Mess between visits to Nature like I. I go for months in this life without stepping on soil and Earth that is native to that place. Sometimes it feels like I spend days picking up cool, plastic toys that have no texture, pretty prints or history (though the boys are trying to change that with every toss and tumble). Even the dust in my house is unnatural. Remnants of the freeway my kitchen faces darken the cleaning cloth and I stand on my tip toes to see the sun fall over the asphalt in the evening. Over time, my senses feel more dull, and I am less appreciative and noticing. It’s important to my balance to take care of my home space–to have it be kind to my eyes and meaningful in its contents. I really value beauty. In this urban sprawl, a peaceful walk in the woods or a moonlit jaunt through a wheat field isn’t really in the cards. I have to admit that a perusal of Anthropologie can be a temporary salve and leave me feeling inspired and sharpened. This is crazy-talk to my spouse. But that’s okay. He generally likes the end results of my aesthetic cravings.

Coupled with my hunger and eye for the pretty and natural is a practical, frugal side that hushes the urge to invest too much time and too much money in my temporal surroundings. What is too much? Of course, I have no idea. But there is a thing and I am wary so I’m caught in a tension. I hope that even if I had endless resources that I would still strive to find and make beauty in simple things and thoughtful ways. I enjoy the challenge and process….at the risk of turning our home into some wacky craft bizarre…

Here are a few simple things that I’ve done to fill a purpose and add beauty (I think) to our home. I share these because sometimes people tell me that they like something in our house or that they can’t see spending money on decor or that they spend too much money on home stuff. These are a few pretty things that didn’t cost us much at all and help make our home a place that I love and (I hope) our family and friends can enjoy and see beauty in.

Recovered jar lids with pretty paper. I like the idea of reusing things but I don’t like the idea of staring at labels of korma sauce for the rest of my life. Traced around the lids and cut out the circles giving an extra 1/2″ margin of space all around. After cutting notches in the circle every 1/4″ or so, it was easy to fit the paper well onto the lid with some mod podge.

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I bought this storage chest at a ReStore for $10. These are great places for raw materials, and thrift store type furniture and finds. The hinges needed some reinforcement and then, as groovy as those elephants are, I covered it with laminated fabric using a combination of staples and hot glue. Not extremely professional but it works.

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Artifacts from Kenya hold even more special significance since my parents no longer live there. I loved the fabric of a decorative bag that our friends gave away as wedding favors (with Kenyan coffee inside). I was just a little happy to find that when I took the seams out, it fit a unique frame that I picked up from a garage sale ($5). Wah lah – art. Sorry, World Market. 😉Image

Last one. I bought a lamp from a garage sale that had no lampshade. I eventually found a cheap shade that was blah, but had nice shape. Old hymnals that thrift stores practically give away are a great thing to have around, whether you make cards, collages, or, you know, cover lampshades. 🙂 Below, with the help of mod podge, is the result of wanting to turn an ugly shade into something meaningful and vintage. I used high-tech, industry-exclusive masking tape to secure the edges on the inside. 🙂

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How do you decorate or improve your surroundings on little to no budget? I’d love to hear and see your ideas. Give this non-pinteresting girl some help. Puuuuleeese?

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