Sunday, March 29, 2015

Simply Spring #3: Pretty and Practical Again

Welcome back to the third edition of Simply Spring. I'm continuing with my Pretty and Practical theme. You can find the other posts here:

As you can see above, I did replace the tall purple torena plants (shown last week) with white petunias in my tea cup shaped pots. Much better I think! I replanted the torenas along the walkway. I don't have the luxury of puttering in a quaint little potting shed, but I do have my supplies tucked behind the garden wall. Every time I pluck out a few weeds, I toss them in that big brown basket.

Unbeknownst to me, while I was busy gardening the other day, my nine year daughter was in the kitchen making scrambled eggs for my breakfast. Trust me, she makes them much better than I do! :-) I thought maybe her one of her six older sisters had taught her how, but she says they didn't. That means she just picked it up from watching us all these years.

I'm really trying to live my cottage life dream in my suburban ranch house. That means getting it into order and surrounding myself with simple pretty things.

This morning when I got up, I told myself I could work on the blog after I put away 50 things. I actually stopped counting well past 100, though that included putting my winter clothes in a storage bin. My desk was a mess, but it's looking great now!

My desk area has a bird ~ butterfly ~ flower theme going on with several items like my calender, a small covered container, my tissue box, a vase of silk flowers, a Renoir "On the Terrace" print, etc. I've had this Logitech mouse for a long time, but just switched back to it because it fits in with my spring decor better than my bright red one.  (My kids use the extra one.)

Behind my lap top are two decorative boxes that I bought at Dollar General last year. I keep my receipts in them - one box for the family bank account and one for my personal one. I empty the receipts out of my purse and store them here until I can itemize them on a spread sheet. I love the quotes on top of them, reminding me that buying a lot of stuff isn't what makes me truly happy. Still, I do know that surrounding myself with simple beauty and inspiration certainly enhances my emotional well-being, so I don't mind purchasing small things that add to that.

A new addition to my desk - a card I found at Timothy's Gallery on Park Avenue in Winter Park the other day when I was down there for an appointment. The quote really speaks to me in this season of life: "One day soon you will do it. Follow the path. Take the risk. Launch your ship. Navigate to the place you truly want to be. Whatever stops you cannot be immovable as you yourself have placed it there. Perhaps you have needed all this time to get ready but now you can do it." I needed that as I'm trying to conquer my fears and move forward in life! I bought one for a friend who needs this message, too.

Back to my desk - and making the best of what I have. I bought this solid wood desk for $5 at an estate sale last year and salvaged the hutch from someone's curb. (I didn't have to buy anything expensive! I'm a thrifter at heart.)

I sort of like the worn wood since it has a bit of character and history.

However, I was going to try to fix up this blemish with a wood repair blending stick. It didn't work. It doesn't look any better, and now there is a waxy residue there. Meh.

I was able to pull off another practical fix. I had just purchased this area rug at Old Time Pottery, but the corner kept sticking up.

I didn't want anyone to trip, and it didn't look right. I went to Lowe's looking for an anchor, but came out with blue double sided duct tape instead. It works.

I did have to go back a week later and put an extra little piece underneath, but even if I have to keep taping it down once in a while to keep it flat, it's worth it.

Speaking of rugs, I bought this Little Green machine in February because my daughter got a dog from the shelter and it does messy dog stuff on the carpet sometimes. It cost about $80 at Walmart. I wouldn't do a whole room with it because it's a spot machine, but it's great for little messes. I've gotten some old stains out, too.

True story: this is how our sink typically looks with so many kids living here. Yeah, they just tend to throw their dirty stuff on the pile, if it even makes it to the sink in the first place. They each have an assigned day to empty and load the dishwasher, but you can imagine they procrastinate if they're faced with this pile. So I usually rinse and stack the dishes ahead of time for them. They get much cleaner that way, and I actually like doing this. Really. Something about putting it in order, like a puzzle. Seeing the results gives me quite the boost.

I'm actually a rather random sort of person, so here we are jumping back to the bedroom for the last set of photos. I've tried to reduce visual clutter by only leaving a few things on each shelf of one of my four bookcases in there. (The others are full of books. Imagine that.) I still don't have quite the effect I want, since some of the stuff doesn't "go" with each other. I do like each individual item, though. My mom made the stained glass rainbow and dove for me nearly 30 years ago. The vintage easel frame was my grandmother's. I am trying to keep a consistent place for my purse and black and white tote (a gift from my friend Judy) so I can put them away and grab them quickly. I designated a shelf just for them. And there's a Longaberger basket with copies of my mom's old Birds and Blooms magazines.

The next two were Christmas gifts from my daughters.

A crystal dish holds part of my encouragement stone collection, along with a lump of coal to remind me of my family heritage.

I showed you the new faith heart stone last week, but I just got the dream heart stone on Friday when I was in the vicinity of Ten Thousand Villages again. I am waiting for them to get their Courage and Inspire stones in stock. There is a method to my stone buying madness. I'll write more about why I bought this particular one in an upcoming post on my Watch the Shepherd blog. Maybe within a couple of weeks?

Last one!

What is Bella Grace? I had never heard of it before but saw it in Sam's Club for a discounted price of $14. It's a quarterly magazine that's more like a gorgeous book with 160 matte pages, artsy photos, a sturdy folding cover, and no outside ads. The title reminded me of my poem "Bella Sophia" and the appealing cover just begged me to pick it up. (Peek inside the spring issue.) A quick flip through the pages confirmed my hunch that it's just like me, or at least what I want to become. The subtitle is "Life's a Beautiful Journey." Yep, that's what I think too. So it jumped in my cart and followed me home. The articles are all inspiring and creative, and most of them have writing prompts for further reflection. Since I'm intending to pass it along when I'm done with it, I'm not writing directly on the pages but in my leather journal. 

One question: "What are five things that make you dance with utter joy?" Well, I'm not a dance-y sort of lady, but here's what I wrote:
  1. a good conversation/connection with family and friends
  2. nature beauty and photography
  3. writing to make a difference
  4. an adventure
  5. reading something profound and inspirational
But you could have guessed all that anyway, right? I know that these answers may not seem spiritual enough for a Christian, but they are. I just didn't use the obvious words, but it's all in there. :-)

I've been super lucky to have three of my kids come in to my bedroom and hug and chat while I've been writing this. That sure counts for #1 on my list!

What would you write on your list? What brings you joy?

Grace and peace,
Virginia Knowles

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