Saturday, January 2, 2016

My Blue Haven for the New Year


My Blue Haven is the name I've affectionately given to my bedroom. Though my walls are light yellow, the dominant accent colors range from robin's egg blue to turquoise to 
teal, while 
other items are a more traditional dark blue. I've had a lot of fun gathering the art and accessories. My Blue Haven is supposed to be a calming and quiet place for me to recharge from the busy life of mothering my five youngest children, ages 10-18.

Sometimes, however, it gets a bit crazy messy. This especially happens at Christmastime when I am super busy with holiday preparations AND gathering/storing gifts for 30 people in the bedroom A
ND everything gets dumped in my room when we tidy up the public areas for guests. So there's that.

When I'm totally over looking at and tripping over
 the mess, I carve out time to reorganize and clean. I gather up everything that is out of place and dump it on my bed to sort. I have a bin for stuff that doesn't belong in my room right now. In fact, I gathered up all of our junk bins from all over the house onto the dining room table yesterday and did the same thing. Progress!

So here were my messy shelves before organizing.

And here they are after. My third 
daughter gave me the three blossom shaped candle holders on the middle shelf.

That blue checkered bin holds exercise supplies like my massage ball, my resistance bands with handles, and my hand weights.

I also have an exercise step across the room. Blue!

Here is my desk area after organizing.

A little more detail?

My brother John and sister-in-law Dana gave me the windmill for Christmas, brought back from the Netherlands on their recent Europe trip. (I am jealous of their international travels, but I did a lot of USA trips this year - Maryland in February, North Carolina in July, and New England in October.) My sister Barb made the Peace vase for me. Perfect! She knows that "peace" is one of my key words in life. I bought the flowered vase at Biltmore Estate in NC this summer. 

I bought the Mary Engelbreit "There's no place like home" print at a yard sale for $1. For all my love of traveling, I still love to be home, especially in My Blue Haven, and especially with my crazy big family. The framed photo is our Thanksgiving picture with all 10 kids, 2 sons-in-law and five grandchildren. (One more granddaughter due next month!) 

I organized a desk drawer that my youngest 
daughter had accidentally dumped on the floor, and then my cosmetics drawer, too. 

A pretty new calendar next to my desk covers up a damaged area of my wall. Are you at all surprised that it has gorgeous architectural photos from around the world, along with inspirational Scripture verses? You can find yours here: Our Daily Bread Sojourn of the Soul.

My oldest daughter gave me this beautiful pansy heart ornament. She knows I grew pansies when I was a child in California and I sometimes plant them in my Florida garden. They are my favorites.

In one of the photos above you can see two pencil and pen holders at the right of my desk. These were supplements for my main one, but I decided I didn't need all of that stuff there. Some went into a desk drawer, and some into my other desk top container, but most of it got put into the "take out of this room" bin. You can see below how I now have more room to spread out my work! The decorative box holds receipts and other small papers to sort later. I have another larger paper sort box covered up by a quilt behind my reading chair.

I listen to music on my lap top - I love Itzhak Perlman playing 
Bruch's Violinkonzert. And there's my main pencil holder and another jar for my powdered drink packets.

I get a lot of my style inspiration from Cottage Journal, my only print subscription.

My kids like to hang out in my room and sit at my desk!

Next to my desk chair I also have my comfy reading chair. I made the tie dye panels several months ago, and I often do chalk board designs. This time I decided to combine them and mount the chalk board onto the tie dye panel. I can change out the message whenever I want.

This is my motto for the year: Delight in Diligence. More on that later.

Speaking of tie dye, I made about 20 shirts for Christmas and need to order dye to make a few more. I cleaned off all of my squeeze bottles (mostly empty) and organized everything into a bin.

One of my sons decided to dye his own shirt, but the kitchen sink was full of dishes so he rinsed it out in my bathroom sink and got pink stains in it. It didn't come out with my usual cleaning wipes, but the Magic Erase sponge worked well. While I had it out, I also wiped dirt stains from the door frame, bathroom door, and around light switches.

Between the bathroom and the closet I have a dressing area.

I've had this God Bless Our Home rack since I visited Israel as a teenager, but just decided to pull it out of a storage bin and hang it to hold my bracelets.

This wood and wicker cabinet holds extra toiletries. I bought it at an estate sale years ago and it's been very versatile for whatever I need to store. My dad took the two matted black and white photos in the 1970's when we lived in California. He was quite the avid photographer back then, and taught me to use our home dark room. I love digital photography and appreciate the ease and power of editing with Picasa.

I adorned the top of that cabinet with a vintage doily and part of my word stone collection.

I need all of these words! You do, too! I picked out a related blog post for each one.


I should add a stone for PATIENCE. One of my pet peeves is that my kids take showers in my bathroom and leave their dirty clothes on the floor. Fussing and fuming didn't help. Now I just set aside an extra laundry basket for their clothes just outside the bathroom door. If they are missing something, they can look for it there, or in the five net bags (one for each child) that I hung in the laundry room to harness stray dirty clothes. They all do their own laundry. This is just one way to pick my battles and reduce mama stress.

I also bought a shoe rack for my walk-in closet. The rest of the closet needs a lot of work. I'll get to that after I tidy up the rest of the house.

 I also tidied up my bed area. 

At Christmastime, I bought myself a little tree and decorated it with blue ornaments to match my globe lamp. I replaced the burlap base wrapping with a light blue cloth topped with a blue doily that I slit to wrap around the base.

After Christmas, I replaced it with a stuffed lamb that one of my daughter's found while cleaning her own bedroom. It belonged to my oldest daughter when she was a very small child, and I have a sentimental attachment to it. I took the little jeweled star from the top of my mini tree and used it as a necklace for Lambie. Her original owner is about to have her fourth baby (first little girl) next month, and I'll return it to her then as a nostalgic baby gift. 

Lambie's seat is a stack of books: a photo album I bought so I can create a visible memory of my adventurous year (once I get the physical prints!), a souvenir book from Acadia National Park on the coast of Maine (one of said adventures), and a vintage book, inherited from my mother (whose ashes we scattered at Thunder Hole in Acadia) called Rainbow Cottage by Grace Livingston Hill. Coincidentally, the book's setting is coastal New England. You may know that I have a fascination with cottages, as I described here: My Cottage Dreams. Also coincidentally, that was fueled by another of my mom's old books, Where Beauty Dwells, by Emilie Loring. 

A few days ago, I took the time to imagine a little more about my dream cottage when the rest of my kids leave home and I have an empty nest. I wrote a detailed design list in Evernote. Barb and I used to plan out dream houses when we were kids, complete with drawings of floor plans and lists of items picked out from the Sears catalog.

Of course, whatever home I have will still need a lot of seating for when all of my family comes for dinner! I should also note that when I am purging excess stuff, I often think, "Is this something I will want in my cottage?" Or, as Marie Kondo says in her popular book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up:

"Does this spark joy?"

Joy is a wonderful word. I bought a stencil kit before Christmas to do a wood panel in red and green paint with white mini-lights. Then I used the stencil again to paint a canvas for my bedroom wall to hang year round. But the thing is, I don't like how it turned out. It doesn't "spark joy" in me. So I took it down. I will cover it with primer and repaint it later with something else. I don't have to keep something if I don't like it.

What does spark joy for me? This pair of blue snowflakes that I bought at Wal-Mart. They were in the Christmas decorations section, but I like them enough to keep them up. I hunted around for a place to hang them and settled on my lace-over-muslin curtains that hang over the bed.

  I still have my magazine basket that matches my bedside trash can, too.

I bought the "Create a Beautiful Day Wherever You Go" sign at a gift shop in Bar Harbor on our Acadia trip. It sums up one of my core life philosophies. It's what I think about as I clean, organize, and decorate not only my bedroom but the the rest of my house and my whole life, too.

I hope you've enjoyed this most recent Blue Haven posts. You can find the others here:

  • My Blue Haven
  • More Beauty for My Blue Haven
am still working on goals and plans for the new year, but as I start 2016, I am glad I took the time to refresh the space where I relax, recharge, read, and create.


  1. "Does it spark joy?" is a very good question to ask, good to remember. :-)

  2. Wonderful transformation! I've got to get busy on my house. I left you a note on this post. You really touched my heart. Be blessed!

    Please drop by and say hello!

    Have a wonderful Easter season!
    Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage