Out of the Green: 2018 Colors of the Year

Pantone colors

Rounding up the proclaimed colors of the year for 2018 reveals one thing: we’re done with green. Last year, the bright and neon hues were influenced by Pantone’s Greenery. While the risky tone aspired to feel fresh, Greenery didn’t deliver a universal appeal (creating comparisons to the Mucinex Snot Monster).

This year, neons are out. Nuanced, almost muted, tones dominate all the major paint brands and fashion houses.  While the bright, primary colors pop faithfully as accents, they aren’t overtaking 2018 palettes.

Colors of the Year for 2018

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Pantone: Ultra Violet

In my opinion, Pantone remains the truest predictor as they scour all areas for top color trends. This hue feels both fresh and nostalgic, as the muted purple echos royalty while forecasting a turn toward neo-luxury.

“We are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination. It is this kind of creative inspiration that is indigenous to PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet, a blue-based purple that takes our awareness and potential to a higher level. From exploring new technologies and the greater galaxy, to artistic expression and spiritual reflection, intuitive Ultra Violet lights the way to what is yet to come.” – Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute.

My main critique is not of the color but rather, the galaxy-inspired styling. It’s derivative and  reflective, mirroring the several-years-old Gen Z affinity for star-scape.

My hope: Maybe Ultra Violet will replace Millennial Pink.

Benjamin Moore: Caliente 

For me, this pick disappoints with its obvious application. Are you updating your oak-cabinet kitchen? Make it look like a bistro with this red. Are you sick of your dull tresses? Add these mulled wine undertones to your brown bob. Did you hit a midlife crisis? Pick the compact SUV without a silver or navy finish.

While this brand is known for timeless selections, this color doesn’t impress. It’s too overdone to feel fresh and too safe to become a real classic.

My thoughts: If I saw this chip, I wouldn’t assume it was part of the Benjamin Moore brand.

PPG: Violet Verbena

PPG created a color that was much more nuanced than I expected from their team. It falls into a similar family as last year’s Shadow from Benjamin Moore. When I saw it, I immediately thought of three literary references:

  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austin
  • Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Any tone that takes me away from pure design into another passion is one worth considering. I imagine this as the handmade-purple dye that springs from soaking linen in purple onions.

While the color clearly resonates more as a tame accent wall, I can appreciate the layers of subtlety.

My opinion: It’s the Ultra Violet for people who like to smell their books.

Sherwin Williams: Oceanside

I have tried so hard not to hate this tone. I cannot like it. Jewel tones are so done, like on-clearance-at-Walmart done. Jewel tones will never really be classic and at best their styling becomes tawdry. I only appreciate them as something bourgeoisie, ironic or costumed.

For set design, Oceanside could evoke the flamboyance of a Victorian brothel without defaulting to gold and maroon. For real life, it’s impossible to light in a home and outdated to wear.

The pity? I actually like the name. I wouldn’t paint a cottage this color but, I want to go somewhere with walls painted in Oceanside. I just don’t want it to be this Oceanside.

My issue: I never liked the jewel-tone trend and I’m not going to start liking it now.

James T. Davis: Cozy Cover

My only local choice, Cozy Cover comes from James T. Davis. The tone mimics last year’s similarly subtle hue. A reflective choice, this color uncovers the local tastes, where many families add their warm touch to historical homes.

As someone who constantly covets change, I always appreciate a strong neutral tone. It provides a backdrop to the colorful transitions of life. And who doesn’t struggle to find a decent beige that isn’t too yellow under flourescent lights?

My Take: This local paint brand stays in touch with the needs of the Lynchburg market.

Out of the Green

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Each year, the selected colors are both predictive and prolific. Trendsetters, as always, tells us what to want before we know we want it. My favorites, Ultra Violet and Violet Verbena, take me somewhere – Ultra Violet gallops forward and Violet Verbena swishes backwards. My least liked tones, Caliente and Oceanside, fall flat. They don’t spark a discussion, inspire nostalgia or push the limits of design.

As a whole, these selected tones reflect a push away from last year’s bright and blaring colors. So, I’d like to see what you think.

Which colors are you bringing with you into 2018?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

 

 

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Bite the Bullet Journal

bullet journal

02439b4ff84fe4382299a19196750e59Creativity and organization collide beautifully in a daily journal routine. In our detached and digitized world, the feel of a beloved book brings a stir of sensations. The cover feels warm. The pages sound soft. The dust smells like new markers. As most people relentlessly busy-brag about how out-of-control their lives have become, we can break the cycle with little, leather-bound books.

Behold- the bullet journal.

What is a bullet journal?

Bullet journals bring together the best parts of tracking your life and recording thoughts with none of the restrictions. Typically, the pages are completely blank, although some have light grids to help with designing the pages. Most people use them for daily organization on the bulk of the pages and save special pages for large goals or thoughts. What started as a big idea (from the actual Bullet Journal brand) has turned into a nostalgic revolution for intentional living.

The idea of keeping a journal is not new. However, many people struggle to keep up with a daily journal because of the commitment to logging everything in longhand, paragraph form. By contrast, bullet journals mix daily reflection with lists. Think of it as a to-do list on which you can reflect over time. Everything is shorthand and simple. The typical page includes:

  • Topics
  • Page Numbers
  • Short Sentences
  • Bullets

The best part? You don’t have to be artsy or creative to enjoy this process. The official Bullet Journal team has created a template to help people get started. However, this post reflects on my personal journey in productivity and note-keeping.

 

 

 

 

 

My Journal Process

As a young person, people would always gift me empty journals. They knew I liked to write and sketch (…holding books in my hands so that I could smell them). However, these journals would pile up in my bedroom as I really could never fill them out. I would try to start a traditional diary and flame out. Then, in high school, I had an epiphany. I often collected paper snippings that inspired me. They weren’t something for a scrapbook. Instead they were usually quotes, blocks of text or images cut from magazines, calendars or homework assignments. They would wear and tear as I moved them from my bulletin board to a desk drawer then a file box. At the same time, I was dedicated to my daily planner to keep me productive and organized. By college, I started meshing the two, using the gifted journals. Each page contained:

  • The date
  • A to-do list for the day
  • Dates and times for events
  • Hand written copies of quotes or facts that I found during that day
  • Doodles

The result? I developed a daily routine for planning my day at the outset and reviewing my progress in the evening. I quickly used up those empty journals, going through several each year. With time, special pages were added with long term goals or collections on a similar topic. For example, I usually put a list of new years resolutions at the very back and check my progress monthly. Also, the back fills up with brainstorms for blog posts, craft projects or big ideas.

When bullet journals surged into popularity, I had no idea what they were. However, people kept asking me where I got my bullet journal. Most of my friends, coworkers and family members link me to these little, analog list-filled books, knowing that they have been a core part of my life for about 15 years. I can see why they are becoming a popular way to inspire productivity – they’re a natural fit and add a welcome contrast our busy, digital world.

 

Logging for Productivity

There are several ways that keeping a daily journal inspires productivity. First, it helps you identify your tasks and goals. Each morning, as you review your list, starts with a plan. Each evening, you enjoy the satisfaction of noting your progress. Second, it reminds you to prioritize. Sometimes, our expectations can get out of alignment with reality. There are some tasks that never seem to get done because they aren’t really important. This exercise encourages you to question each item and consider whether it is worth your time. If you find yourself copying a task from day to day for several weeks, it probably don’t belong on your list at all. Third, the process allows you to appreciate your progress. As you track, you will see slow growth. Tracking both challenges you to improve while celebrating your success. Over the months and years, you’ll find that your productivity spikes simply by setting aside time to focus on intentional living.

 

 

Popular Page Ideas

The freedom of a blank page can be adapted for both short and long term goals. If you’re looking for ideas to get started, Pinterest offers hundreds of ideas to style your pages. I’ve found that many people enjoy tracking similar themes, including:

  • Daily, Weekly or Monthly Spreads
  • Bucket Lists
  • Places to Travel
  • Mood Trackers
  • Books to Read
  • Birthdays and Anniversaries
  • Memories
  • Spending logs
  • Collected quotes
  • Things that make you happy
  • Meal or snack lists
  • Sleep logs

You can log anything that is important to you. So, everyone’s journal is different and personal. This is the key to their overwhelming popularity.

 

 

 

Bullet Journal Tips

Everyone should keep a journal in the way that works best for them. However, I have collected a few tips over time as I’ve explored this process.

  • If you like prettier pages, you can create design elements in pencil first. Then, trace them with a fine tip pen to make them permanent.
  • If your pages don’t have a grid, cut a piece of graph paper to the page size. Use a paperclip to secure the graph paper behind your page. This can be used as a guide when you work on the page. Then, just move it to the next page when you’re done.
  • Test your writing tools on a back page before you begin. You’ll want to make sure nothing will bleed through. Some pages are thick enough for paint. Others will bleed with a felt-tip pen.

Bite the Bullet Journal

Bite the Bullet JournalThe beauty of a bullet journal rests in customizing. If you are just starting, a short daily log can form the habit. As you make this a regular part of your routine, it will be come a loving, self-care moment as you reflect on the meaningful moments of your life. No matter how simple or complex your journal, you’ll find daily inspiration to be productive.

If you have any tips or ideas, I’d love to read them. Let me know in the comments.

*Note: I don’t use an “official” bullet journal or endorse a particular product.

 

 

 

 

100 Tips to Declutter Your Home

reading light

Later is the best friend of clutter… – Peter Walsh

Clutter articles range from judgmental, hoarding horror stories to useless, vague suggestions to advertorials for decorative organizational bins. Regardless, the peaceful state they all promote is both much-sought-after and mysterious to attain. Such was my struggle when I dumped my bags into my first apartment, a 400-square foot bungalow in South Florida.

As I compiled a long list of DIY projects and purchases, I also started absorbing artifacts from my parents, castoffs of caring friends, and unsolicited housewarming gifts. I just took everything with a “Thank-you” and added it to the pile. Very quickly, my apartment took a form that did not reflect who I was or how I wanted to use the space. So, I started thinking back to my missteps over the years. I remembered my hard-to-clean, impossible-to-organize childhood, teen, and college rooms. Those habits grew into a similarly unchecked living situation. So, determined to take ownership for my home, I began research.

Read Up

The stories that impacted me most where ones that focused on the journey of the person writing the article. They imagined a specific life and sought that state of being. For example, The Minimalists lifestyle was inspired by a desire to break with the corporate world and the related consumerism. Below are ten websites that I would recommend.

  1. The Minimalists
  2. FlyLady
  3. FrugalWoods
  4. ZenHabits
  5. Unclutterer
  6. 356 Less Things
  7. My Unhoarded Life (archive)
  8. Organized Castle
  9. Reading My Tea Leaves
  10. Not My Hoarding Mother

Each of these stories contrasted my awkward, messy world. I wanted to be able to focus at the end of the day. I wanted to sit in peace on the weekends. I wanted to spend less time cleaning, and I wanted that cleaning to be quick. So, I decided to make a list to break down what could stay and what needed to go.

Make a list

My first place was very full and very dysfunctional. I had a plethora of cheap tools, knick-knacks, and bobbles with nowhere to store or display them. Buying a host of organizational systems wasn’t the solution. Figuring out exactly how much room I had in my place set the benchmark for curating my stuff.

  1. Consider how many things you actually own. How many boxes would you need to pack up and move? How much time do you need to spend cleaning your stuff? Find a meaningful way to measure your belongings. For me, I measured each existing surface and cabinet to estimate how much stuff the apartment could hold without buying furniture. Then, I placed the existing furniture in a pleasing arrangement, discarding anything that didn’t fit. This left me with a specific amount of space to fill, both for storage and decoration. This was my limit.
  2. Document your belongings in list or photo form. You’ll begin to realize there are so many things that you don’t want to acknowledge or curate. However, that is what you’re doing by owning them. You are committing to caring and keeping those items- passively every day. You’ll use these later when you decide to sell your stuff.
  3. Look at lists of people who live smaller lifestyles. Capsule Wardrobe and Minimalist bloggers can give some perspective on how many items  you can reasonably use.
  4. Write down the tips that challenged you most. Post there somewhere that you’re regularly reference.
  5. Restrict your consumption until you understand exactly how much room you have and how much you want to one. Nothing new should come into your space until you finish the decluttering process.

Cut the Easy things

  1. Expired body product and makeup must go.
  2. Manuals and guides usually have digital versions. Bookmark those pages and recycle the paper ones.
  3. Bottles, jars and cans should be recycled if you aren’t using them.
  4. Cardboard boxes can be recycled.
  5. Go through your games and look for the broken or missing parts. Swap with someone who has the same game. One of you will end up with a complete set.
  6. Look through your Tupperware and recycle the most scraggly pieces.
  7. Old candles and potpourri that have lost their scent, lose a place in your home.
  8. Expired food should be composted or disposed.
  9. Samples that you’ve never used should be thrown out.
  10. Old medications can be turned in to an appropriate station.
  11. Excess wire or plastic hangers can be donated to thrift stores.
  12. Ditch that smelly sponge.
  13. Swap your old air filter.
  14. Trash your oldest, broken shoes.
  15. Donate old Halloween costumes and props.
  16. Trash full coloring books, after you frame your favorite pages.
  17. Socks that don’t have a mate, should be cut up for rags.
  18. Old spices that have lost their flavor must go.
  19. Swap your old toothbrush for a fresh one.
  20. Cards, mail and papers that have no meaning can be recycled with paper.
  21. Old calendars can be recycled.
  22. Sell any movies that you don’t want and don’t watch.
  23. Cookbooks usually contain only a few good recipes. Copy them and donate the book.
  24. Takeout menus are meaningless in the digital age.
  25. Takeout condiments fill up little nooks. Clean them out.
  26. Old prescription glasses can be donated and recycled
  27. Random business cards can be turned into digital files and tossed
  28. Check your cables. Recycle any that don’t match a device.
  29. Old paint doesn’t get better with age. Donate or recycle depending on the condition.
  30. Digitize and file receipts. Most paper copies aren’t needed.
  31. Pick through your paperbacks. You will probably find some that you don’t want to read again.
  32. Curtains from a previous living space can be sold or donated.
  33. Remove any body products that make you itch or breakout.
  34. Recycle any old containers for empty products.
  35. Infrequently-used kitchen appliances can be donated or sold.
  36. Clothes that are the wrong size should be donated.
  37. Shoes that are worn out, should be tossed.
  38. Pet toys that your furbaby won’t play with should be donated to a shelter.
  39. Magazines, all of them, should be recycled.
  40. Leftover supplies for craft kits and hobbies should be donated.
  41. Mismatched sheets and pillowcases, should be donated.
  42. Extra, or old blankets and pillows should be donated.
  43. Broken decorative items should be repaired or discarded.
  44. Your button collection can be donated to a sewing enthusiast or crafter.
  45. Old, unworn jewelry can be gifted or loaned to family members.
  46. CDs should be donated or recycled.
  47. Junk Mail should be recycled.
  48. Old, expired cleaning supplies should be disposed of per label directions.
  49. Duplicate tools should be sold or donated.
  50. Stained or soiled clothing should be recycled or tossed.

Take a Count

Next, you must match your belongings to your actual lifestyle. The examples below can help guide you to determine what you need for how you like to live.

  1. Count your seating and compare it to how much you actually host. You may find you don’t need any many chairs. If you have two people and never host large dinners, you can probably do with a small kitchen table and two chairs.
  2. Sort your pillowcases. You only need 2 sets for each bed. 1 on the bed and 1 in the wash.
  3. Sort your bedsheets. You may find you only need a warm and cool set.
  4. Look through your towels. 2 towels per person will work if you do your laundry every week.
  5. Sort your blankets. You only need 1 per person for an extra snuggle. Extra, pilled ones can go to an animal shelter.
  6. Consider your tablecloths. If you only pull out those linens a few times a year, you may find you need 1 nice tablecloth total.
  7. Look through your mugs. These collect over time from gifts and events. 1 or 2 mugs per person is plenty and will cut down on the dirty dishes.
  8. Think about your tableware strategically. If you aren’t much of a host, you may be better served by 1 durable, plain set of dishes than several fancy sets you don’t use.
  9. Make sure you don’t have duplicate utensils or unitaskers. You only have 1 kitchen and two hands. Keep that in mind while you’re sorting items.
  10. Make a list of your actual hobbies that you actually did this month. Sell all the supplies and tools that don’t match that list
  11. Check your recreational items. Whether it’s sporting equipment, outdoor furnishings, board games, or musical instruments, you may not be using every piece. These items are usually easy to sell.
  12. Measure your bookshelf. If the average book is about 1-2 inches thick, you can divide the length of your bookshelves by 2 to figure out how many books you can actually store.
  13. Measure your closet and clothing storage space. There is a finite amount of clothing that you can keep in your home. Limit your wardrobe to that number.
  14. Work through your wallspace. Photos or art should be displayed and will be limited by those dimensions.
  15. Do a time study exercise. Seeing how you spend your time reveals what kind of stuff you actually use. For example, you may not need many kitchen gadgets if you rarely cook. Or that aspirational yoga mat may actually sit in your closet for months.
  16. Count your collections and do the math on their value. If you enjoy collecting as a hobby, think about how you can limit the grouping to your favorite and most valuable pieces. If you are trying to collect to build a profit, make sure you turn the inventory regularly. Regardless, the amount you keep should be limited to the available space.
  17. Count the number of boxes that work in your deep storage spaces. Once shelving is installed, you will be able to calculate the number of bins that can fit. Heirlooms and seasonal items shouldn’t exceed these limits.
  18. Tally the time you spend cleaning and organizing your things. Consider how you want to spend your time and make sure your possessions remain proportional.

Then work in a circle

  1. Make a list of all the rooms in your space in a spreadsheet. Then, make a list of all the storage areas in each room. This will give you a list to work on weekend by weekend when you’re clearing out your space.
  2. As you’re working through the list, just take one storage area at a time. Pull everything out of the space. Get rid of any trash or broken items. Move anything that is out of place. Then, see if the rest will fit back in the space. If it doesn’t, challenge yourself to remove items until they fit the space in an organized manner.
  3. With the remaining, “Don’t fit” items, toss them all in a laundry basket. As you work, you’ll keep adding your second tier stuff to that basket.
  4. Second Tier items are anything you feel doesn’t quite belong in that space. You may not love it. You may have a better version worth keeping. It may just not fit and needs a new home.
  5. Moving from space to space and room to room, keep tossing the trash and delegating second tier items to the laundry basket.
  6. Once you loop through your space, make sure all the trash is tossed.
  7. Then, poke through the second tier stuff. For whatever reason, you felt like it didn’t belong in that space. Try selling all of it, for reasonable prices, at a yard sale. Don’t think twice- Just do it.
  8. With the remaining items, think about anyone less fortunate than you. If you know anyone that might be able to use that extra stuff, just give it to them. Don’t think twice- Just do it.
  9. Look through your space again and enjoy the openness. It’s different right?
  10. Make a plan to regularly go through this loop.

Plan for the Future

  1. Most ascribe to the “One in one out” rule. Hold yourself to this.
  2. Practice polite phrases for kindly rejecting new clutter. People won’t understand and you will be asked to explain often.
  3. Map out habits and hot spots that contribute to disorganization. Plan to tidy those regularly.
  4. Build new hobbies and habits to replace consumption. For example, walking in the park with a friend can replace social shopping.
  5. Moderate your access to new stuff. This can be anything from unsubscribing to brand emails to avoiding your favorite bargain basement.

Although the decluttering process remains highly personal, my favorite tips can shift the way you think. Ownership requires time and energy. Consider how you want to use yours before you bring something into your space.

Wishing Upon a Shore

Beach feather in the sand

As a child, I spent my summers at the family beach rental — getting up early to watch the sunrise and falling asleep at night on a couch in the screened porch. Everything was a little damp and too warm — perfection. At that beach house, I made a lifetime supply of bad watercolor art. I sketched and read back issues of national geographic. I talked to strangers. I acted precocious and peculiar. If there is a place where my soul was formed, it was sitting on the end of a bulkhead, endlessly trying to capture the toxic waves of the Jersey shore in green and gold glory.

Atlantic City Feeling

“I’m going to be a diving girl!” proclaimed Sonora at the outset of Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken. Released in 1991, this film rolls along with the nineties nostalgia by reminding us of our romanticized Great Depression fixation as we head into our own roaring twenty-twenties. As much as I am prone to mock the melodrama, I still replay the “jumping on the horse” scene each time I need motivation. Because I can often relate to the metaphorical, “Look ma, there’s a girl climbing the tower.”

 

The ambition, the angst, and windblown bob continue to capture my imagination. Currently, the shift dress silhouettes and boardwalk beachwood inspire my  aesthetic.

A Seaside Place

At the aforementioned getaway, I would often paint at an aluminum table on the porch — which I begged my family to keep in storage. The ornate legs were difficult to sand and refinish, which I kept in their original glossy white. The green top always capture’s people’s imaginations. For some, it reminds them of a similar piece in their own home. Others have never seen a similar vintage piece. This table fits with my overall home vibe: a simple, seaside place.

 

The beachy inspiration may be hard to detect if you assume themed seashell and beach umbrella style. My look does not hearken a tourist motel room scream toward theme. It’s a feeling inspired by the rush of grass on the dunes and the quiet, bleached tones of a wabi-sabi vacation home.

I’ve always yearned for a simple space, with useful, trusted, practical belongings, that provides a sanctuary for my art. With each apartment, this table sets the style – simple, useful, and trusted.

Vintage Dress- The Conscious Mercantile, Espadrilles – Target, Sunglasses – Franchesca’s

100 Ideas to Use Beads

“Out of clutter, find simplicity.” ― Albert Einstein

Over the past year, I have been purging my beads, bobbles, and buttons. They accumulate over time with a broken necklace here and an unfinished craft there. To the maker’s eye, each little bead has value. So,  you put it in a box or a jar for later. Then, they pile up to a resounding nothing as you don’t know how to use them. This week, I cleared out a large amount of my bead and ribbon hoard with a sunday school craft. We spelled the student’s names in modge podge and they decorated with all the beads and ribbon desired. It was wonderfully fulfilling and fun to see those meaningless random faux pearls and brass buttons catch the eye of a child.

handmade headband tutorial
Jersey Headbands

Similarly, I grouped my beads by color and shape to create a host of fabric flowers to adorn my floral crowns and jersey headbands. In my pursuit to use up these little plastic bits and bobbles, I collected a variety of clever ideas to use these spare sparkles.

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Bead Projects for Home

  1. Fruit Bowl via Vikalpah
  2. Bead Bunting via Paper and Pin
  3. Candle Votive via MinnieCo
  4. Woven Planter via The 3 Rs Blog
  5. Perler Bead Coasters via Brit + Co
  6. Wood Bead Garland via Little House of Four
  7. Beaded Wind Chime via Garden Therapy
  8. Beaded Dog via Cut Out and Keep
  9. Artist Trading Blocks via Mark Montano
  10. Mixed Media Scrap Wood Dolls via Mark Montano
  11. Beaded Frame via P.S. I Made This
  12. Bead Art via Cut Out and Keep
  13. Beaded Trees via Cut Out and Keep
  14. Tetris Magnets via Moms Crafters
  15. Bookmark via Happy Hour Project
  16. Suncatcher Ornaments via Chica Circle
  17. Napkin Rings via Crafts by Amanda
  18. Suncatcher via The Artful Parent
  19. Ibiza Style Buffalo Skull via By Wilma
  20. iPhone Case via Color Made Happy

Bead Projects for Fashion

  1. Beaded Bandana via Quiet Lion
  2. Pom Pom Tassel Sandals via Little Inspiration
  3. Wood Bead Keychain via Be Crafty
  4. Fabric Wrapped Bead Necklace via My So Called Crafty Life
  5. Safety Pin Necklace via Who What Wear
  6. Cactus Earrings via Kittenhood
  7. Beaded Bangles via Cut Out and Keep
  8. Pearl Embellished Heel via P.S. I Made This
  9. Hair Pins via Do It Your Freaking Self
  10. Pearl Sunglasses via P.S. I Made This
  11. Pearl Patch Earrings via P.S. I Made This
  12. Beaded Cuff via Cut Out and Keep
  13. Gold Bead Bracelet via P.S. I Made This
  14. Beaded Rings via Cut Out and Keep
  15. Crystal Tube Bracelet via P.S. I Made This
  16. Wish Bracelets via Happy Hour Project
  17. Stud Earrings via Smart School House
  18. Hair Tie Bracelets via Curly Made
  19. Head Phone Wrap via Imagine Hearts
  20. Super Soft Headbands via Verderamade

So, here’s to pulling out those excess beads and turning them into something new. Let me see your projects!

 

Homeworthiness

Each object should deserve space it occupies in your dwelling. That’s a lofty goal, especially for those who embrace a minimalist lifestyle.

Everything in this collection is homeworthy.

This sets the standard for everything in my collection. Through careful and conscious craftsmanship, I offer art, furniture, and accessories in the greater Lynchburg, Virginia area. Everything you’ll find is a result of my desire to consume less and make more.

Home design

But you may be asking, where this goal comes from and why I came to pursue it.

I care about what comes into my home, and I’m sure you do too.

My journey in making actually started as a change in my consumer habits. For my first apartment, I mixed vintage, hand-me-down pieces with any cheap homegoods I could find on sale. I quickly noticed that the pressboard, cardboard, and temporary pieces looked cheaper with age. However, handmade goods, just looked better with time.

I learned to appreciate hand-made, and often, slow-made things.

So, I completely changed the way I consumed. I sought out older, better pieces to fill my home. I looked for real art from local artists to adorn my space. I learned to appreciate hand-made, and often, slow-made things.

But there were still a few gaps, a lot of room for creativity. So, I’ve started a collection of homegoods and accessories inspired by thoughtful consumption.

5 Reasons You (Mistakenly) Hate Your Apartment

cool coffee table

Four apartments in ten years have hosted my life and belongings. In each, I have experienced seasons of both comfort and frustration. Throughout my nomadic renting, I learned to focus on making the space work for my lifestyle and adjusting my lifestyle to the space. With this balance, a temporary living situation becomes a freeing and empowering experience.

My First Place

Do you ever get angry about something because you know a situation your fault? My first apartment revealed my gaps in life management. Everything was a mess, perpetuating my stress and discomfort. I couldn’t afford the necessary organizational items to corral my belongings, more so the large pieces of furniture like desks, dressers, and bookshelves. As I started to dumpster dive for furniture, I noticed an overwhelming imbalance of tiny junk and useful places to store it. Knick knacks, clothes, textbooks, and random gadgets littered all of my surfaces. However, I really needed a couch, some dishtowels, and a filing cabinet. Eventually, I piled everything into cardboard boxes by item type and started googling.

Frustratingly, most home keeping advice is focused on houses and families. I didn’t need to organize children’s toys in a playroom or create a bin system for Christmas decorations. I needed a plan to take the piles of stuff from college and childhood and make my apartment function for my single, working life. Projects quickly became clear as I began outlining my problems:

  • Furniture arrangement for sleeping, working, and entertaining
  • Clothing cycle that can be maintained
  • Meal plan and regular grocery list
  • Organization for existing belongings
  • Filing for paperwork and a process for paying bills

Although I thought I functioned well in college, my adult life needed much more management. That meant taking ownership of my space and making my apartment work for me.

#AllTheReasons

Home lust – it trips all apartment dwellers from time to time. The resentment stems from a feeling of comparison and manifests as a subtle discontentment. However, renting makes sense for a lot of people. Below is a list of reasons you may mistakenly hate your apartment.

1. It’s too small: People tend to expand and outgrow the space available. The trick to enjoying a small space is living with less stuff. It won’t feel small when there is a place for everything. Look through your extra stuff and decide if you want it more than the open and airy feeling. Then, make a plan to control how much you consume in the future.

2. It’s temporary: This mental obstruction keeps a lot of people from enjoying their apartment. They feel like it’s not a “forever home.” Therefore the effort to decorate it seems to be wasted. However, I find a freshness comes from moving around. It makes you really consider filling your home with things you like and will take with you instead of just buying stuff to fill your current space.

3. It’s up stairs or without a yard: While I love a yard, not having one doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing all the green. Ideas for porch and indoor gardens are becoming more mainstream. Also, you can spend more time outside because you have less space to maintain. Focus on the parks and green spaces around your apartment. Make those a part of your routine.

4. It’s not custom: Just because you don’t have built-in shelving or a pallet accent wall doesn’t mean you can’t make your space reflect your personality. There are a lot of great temporary ideas to decorate apartments without losing your deposit. Personally, I like to line walls with molding to create a little leaning gallery.

5. It’s cheap and ugly: I’ll admit that I’m not fond of the builder-grade fixtures or the white carpet. However, fixating on it doesn’t make it go away. Instead, I find ways to shift the focus away from the unsightly elements and move it to the parts I like. For example, I usually center furniture around the windows as the focus point. This draws my eye to the 3rd story view instead of the floor.

53b2729d15a7e0a9287e0a3041d56aa3Love Your Space

This month, I’m moving again and my new space is actually smaller than my last two apartments. Instead, I chose this spot based off of location because I wanted walking access to certain amenities. As I’ve begun packing my belongings, I am reminded of how much my consumption habits have changed. I keep clutter to a minimum by limiting my possessions to the amount of space I have.

The process requires a total understanding of my priorities. For many people, it will require deep research if you didn’t grow up functioning in a rental situation. I needed to consider my most basic needs and focus my living situation on what I could control. Then, I prioritized the space around that.

You will find yourself challenging norms and slowly shifting your habits. With time, you may even find that you no longer own items that were previously a standard part of your routine. Also, you will remember that as seasons of life change, so do your needs. A mindful evaluation of your stuff and your space will help you maintain an apartment that works well for you.

 

 

An Intentional Day Keeps the Clutter Away

I don’t have salt and pepper shakers. This is a shock to most people. First, they must process my presumption that I have properly seasoned your food. Then, there they consier my audacity in skipping over this mainstay of culinary tools. Why no shakers? Simply put, I haven’t found the right ones yet.

Quote from THe Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis StevensonQuestion Everything

As Tyler Durden in Fight Club explains, “You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your —– khakis.” Similarly, I started a journey several years ago to question what I own and what “owns me.” So, I refuse to bring something into my home that I don’t love or need. This is one of the quirks of careful consumption, which permeates my home. In our consumerist society, I find that waiting to get the right object is considered a little bizarre. Below are some quirks of this process.

You won’t settle for “just now”. This means you refuse to bring something into your home when you feel it doesn’t belong. For example, I’m using my kitchen chairs as part-time desk chairs. I’m not sure I truly need a desk chair or that I’ll keep my current desk. So, I’m making do with double-duty furniture.

You are willing to borrow for the short term. I know this seems cheap but, I will borrow or rent things before I buy them. Trying them out to see if they work in my life is the best way to make the decision. This really helps with tools for new hobbies or furniture in a temporary space. More than once I have assumed that I was going to need tools or supplies that I never used.

You do a lot of research — online and in person. You probably think about a purchase for months before it actually ends up in your home. You ask a lot of questions, especially for current users of the product. And when you are finally sure, you buy it.

In the meantime, your life will seem a little odd — missing a few normal pieces. But, it’s a refreshing habit in our consumer culture to be a little more deliberate about purchases.

Questions to Ask

If you’re interested in a lifestyle focused on careful consumption, you will find yourself questioning every purchase. This is a journey that I started as a young adult and it is starting to shape both my consumption and creation. Below are some of the questions I use during the buying process.

Is it in my budget? If it’s not in the budget, you probably shouldn’t buy it. Obviously, you have to start by having a budget. Then, you need to get your spending on track with the budget. This helps with impulse buys that you may regret later.

Can I borrow it? This works well for tools, instruments, and large items. Often, family and friends have stuff in storage that they prefer to see used. I’ve even had people loan me art or furniture because they would prefer someone enjoy it. As long as you’re responsible, borrowing is a good way to figure out whether you want to own one for yourself.

Can I get it secondhand? Careful consumers look for ways to use items that have already been produced. This lowers the overall amount of waste in our society. If you can save something from a landfill, that is a win. Figure out if the item is something that you can get used.

Do I already have one? While it may sound obvious, many shoppers repeatedly buy items because they lose them. It’s a common problem with clutter. To avoid this issue, make sure you organize and declutter your home before shopping again.

How long will I keep it? This question speaks to the durability and sustainability of the product. For non-consumable purchases, try to buy items that you intend to keep for a while. For consumables, give some thought to how you will dispose of wrapping and waste.

Where is it made? There are several questions related to this can help with ethical consumerism. This question  forces you to acknowledge the origin of the item and understand how it came into existence.

If you’re starting to think more carefully about what comes into your home, then you will find yourself asking the questions above.

Tips and Tricks

With each new month is a chance to save a little cash and look at ways to declutter our lives – like with the 30-Day Minimalism Game. After a month of conservative financial choices, most people are a burned out on frugality. So, below is a list of ways I try to feel richer without spending money.

1. Go to the library: This is one of those tired tips from frugal people that no one seems to use. Our local library is often very empty. If you feel a little deprived in the spending area, get some new media from the library. The new stories will make your world feel a little bit richer.

My tip: Start with a book of quotes. These small ideas can be digested quickly and inspire a new tone for the day.

2. Propagate a plant: Not only is it cheap, propagating a plant allows you to duplicate your possessions. The extra sprout can move to your office or make a nice future gift. Also, the process of researching and growing a new plant feels rewarding.

My tip: Work with a green-thumbed friend on this little project. They can help you make sure you maintain both plant’s health.

3. Rotate your stuff: Pack some stuff away for a few months. Whether you choose clothing, accessories, or home decor, a little free space feels good. Then, switch the items out every few months. It will make things feel fresh, like you’re shopping in your own home.

My tip: Set a personal limit on how much you’re willing to store. For example, I have limited home decor to 4 bins total, 3 for Christmas decorations and 1 for other decor. This means I have to get rid of something before I bring in a new decoration.

4. Use those supplies: Almost everyone has random leftovers from hobbies lying around their house. Pull them together and start looking for ways to use them. If they’re cooking ingredients, find a few recipes to use them. If they’re crafting supplies, create something new with them. Not only will you free up some space but, you might get something new through the creative process.

My tip: Mark Montano’s blog gives a lot of ideas for supplies that most people are trying to use up. He posts frequently so, keep your eyes on his site.

To summarize, holding back the clutter in your life starts with an intentional thought process. Each day, you will find yourself choosing between chaotic clutter and calming free space. Whether you are a creative person, Type A or super busy, you will benefit from this shift toward anti-consumerist thinking. I’d like to know, how do you get control of your environment?

Back in Black and White

Mushroom Desktop Wallpaper 2

“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”- Albert Camus

I skipped out on all of the holiday craft fairs and art shows with no regrets. First, I found myself wondering if the local market had seen enough of me. Second, I was a bit tapped for creativity. Third, I have been overloaded at my day job (which I don’t talk about much on here). Sometimes, I need to take the time to step back and really think about what I’m doing. As I have said before, the key to my making is “Homeworthiness.” I refuse to make things that I think could sell. Instead, I craft pieces that I truly believe deserve a place in your life.

Which is why I’m back on the scene with some digital wallpapers. I thoroughly enjoy getting a fresh background when I spend so much time looking at screens. I chose to embrace simplicity, selecting a design that would work well in black and white. In fact, I’ve been hung up on B&W designs as I brainstorm for my spring collection.

As we are all setting goals for the new year, these little grayscale mushrooms spring up to remind us of the fresh new season. Even in the cold, foggy days, there is room and incentive to grow. So, this is my little gift to my followers, a daily reminder that you too, will grow in the coming year.

Download the wallpapers here.