Posted in General

Hello Spring

It’s been beautiful here this week in the Northwest!  Spring has officially arrived.  With the warm sunshine early and now the rain.  Do you know that smell of new rain?  That smell of water hitting the asphalt, kicking up the dust and dirt that has been frozen over for months now.  It’s not near as cold as many other places in the world, but we have our own winter that leave us longing for spring.

And this week has me ready to burst with all the newness that comes within this season.  Soon we will see all the flowers open and bloom.  The grass will grow and lawns will be mowed.  Jackets will be put away and more walks will commence.  Already the windows are open and the fresh air rushes in.

We have so many new happenings in our lives.  Spring is a great time to start new projects.  To look at the goals that you set out to achieve and really get to work on them.  If you haven’t started yet, now is the time.

I am spending time thinking on this today as we embrace these changes in our life.  Bring on the beauty of Spring.

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Posted in lists

7 simple and almost free ways to create beauty on a budget.

Yesterday I talked about self-care and how adding pretty items such as flowers to your home can help create tranquility and positive energy.  Today I thought I would share with you some simple ways to create beauty that can help achieve the same thing.

For a very long time, money was extremely tight in my single mama household.  The idea of spending even the $5.99 that a bouquet of 5 tulips cost, I could not spare.  So I would have to think of other ways to bring beauty into my home.   Mind you back then, this was much harder due to my mindset.   I was not inclined to focus or really understand the need for self-care.  I could understand enjoying pretty things, but for the purpose to fill me up with beauty?  No.   To create a more positive space for myself and my kiddos. Nope.  My home was much more about function than sanctuary.

But this long journey of self-discovery and learning has made me understand I am a better Mom, Friend, Daughter, Sister, Auntie, etc when I am taking care of myself.  When I bring beauty into my life and my home.

Here are a few things you can do to create beauty in your home and life, on less or for even no money at all.

  1. Find a single flower that you like.  If you can, buy just one.  Place the single flower in a small vase, set it by your bedside so you see it when you go to bed and when you wake up.
  2. Plant your favorite flower in a pot or in your yard if you can.  When this blooms, pick a flower each week and do the same as before, either place near the bed or in the bathroom, where you get to see as you start and end each day.
  3. Look through old cards and if they have a photograph or picture that you like, frame them.  Often times we keep cards from birthdays or anniversaries, but we put them in a box and do not really think about them again.  Bring them out.  See if any have sentiments that would bring you joy to read on a regular basis.  Or perhaps the card itself was beautiful, frame it. Set it on your desk or counter where you can look at every day.  Let it fill you up.
  4. Go for a walk in a park that you love, take your cell phone and take pictures of the scenery.  Take a few of them and have them printed out. You can now print from your cell at numerous places.  Put these on the fridge.  Frame them.  Stick them on the bathroom mirror.  Seeing your own photography of items you love, adds to the joy.
  5. If you can draw or paint, go onto Pinterest or online and find a picture or image and recreate it.  You can find paints, small canvases or a drawing pad for under $5 at many different craft places.  Being creative is a great way to bring your own brand of beauty into your home.
  6. When looking online, if you can not draw or paint (as I can not) print out the images you like.  There are lots of options to finding free pictures, as long as you are not looking to sell other peoples art, you should be able to print these out.  If you can not afford to frame them, make a wall collage of 6 or 9 small pictures. Make them bright and colorful or black and white.  Just something cohesive that pleases your eye.   I have an old collection of postcards that are all in pink, framing 3 of them creates a nice wall hanging for one of my bathrooms.  Simple and easy.
  7. Ask a friend that is creative to re-make the item you find pretty.   If you can not re-create it and you have friends that can ask them.  To keep it less expensive or free, offer an exchange for what you are good at.  I can not draw to save my life, but I can sew.  If I wanted a beautiful picture recreated, I could ask my sis-in-law who paints beautifully and in exchange, I could make her a quilt.  Utilize your friend’s strengths, offer your own as well.  Folks like to be helpful and useful; this could be a great opportunity for someone to showcase their own talents.  Which creates a whole other level of care.

Creating beauty in our homes does not have to be hard, expensive or take a lot of time. We are often short on time or energy, so thinking about making our spaces more beautiful instead of just functional can be something we rarely get around to.  But when you put just a tiny bit of time into creating spaces that you truly love, you are able to relax more.  Able to rest more and recharge.  Looking at things you enjoy can’t help but bring positive thoughts more to the forefront of your mind.  This is just one way you can take care of yourself.  Create spaces you love.  Bring beauty in however you can.

Let me know if you have any ideas to add to the list.  Tell me how you create beauty on a budget in your own home.  I love hearing new ideas.

 

Posted in General

Pretty Things

I love flowers!  All different kinds.  Tulips, dahlias, and peonies though seem to be my favorite.  I found a few years ago that having flowers in my house; on my counters, tables, even in the bathroom, makes me smile.  If for no other reason, that they are pretty.

There is something about beautiful things that have a calming or brightening effect on us.  Whether it is a pretty picture of a favorite place or favorite people.  A beautiful poem or letter that we’ve kept.  Flowers, paintings, art, etc.  When we surround ourselves with the things we find beautiful, we can not help but smile more.  Feel more relaxed.  Seem more positive.

Part of taking care of ourselves as wives, mothers, daughters, girl friends, etc, is understanding what we need in order to be filled up.  We first have to understand what we are missing.  What do we long for that maybe no one else knows about.  Is there a void in our daily self-management that we have missed that we need to address? Do we even recognize our need for some self-care?  Do we even know what this means?

As a long time single mom, taking care of my own emotional and mental needs has not always been at the forefront of my daily life.  The little mouths that needed to be fed, that was priority one (still is).  Going from a stay at home mom to a working mom, took the focus and energy.   When away from the kids, all I focused on was when I would be back with them.  Keeping the roof over our heads now that I was the sole provider in my home was exhausting and took a majority of the time.  Nothing mattered but my babies. Not me for sure.

Years of this single minded focus takes a toll though.  On a body, mind, and spirit.  Being a mama is tough, being a single mama even tougher.  Not because as a single mom we do things all that different than any other mom, but because we do not have someone else who says “I got this today.  Why don’t you go take a bath? Go out with girl friends? Or get to sleep early?  Sleep in, I’ll make breakfast.”  There is not a partner that offers moments of a break from the constant need we are meeting in our roles as women.

When we solely focus on the needs of our children or spouse or family members or whomever else we care for, we lose a valuable and important piece of the puzzle.  It’s as if we forget to pour a section of the foundation that the house stands on.  It’s going to become lopsided and things will start to shift.  What we are attempting to build could start to crumble.

We must take care of ourselves too. We are one of the pillars our home stands on.  For some us, we are the only pillar.  I teach my kids that they are responsible for their own happiness.  That it is no one else’s job to “make” them happy.  No partner, kids, friends. People were not put into existence to make us happy or content.  This is our job for ourselves.  It’s not our kids or spouse or friends etc that will bring us fulfillment or contentment.  They are definitely important to us, fill us with great memories and moments of pure joy, but they can not be the ONLY thing that fills us up.

As women, we are often so busy caring for those we love and cherish, that we forget or just don’t even think about ourselves.  My generation of women (us 40 some things) didn’t seem to be taught from what I can tell, that it is ok to spend some time on our own self-care.  That it is ok to say no (a different post at another time).  That it is ok to take an hour or a day or a weekend, where the focus is on our own needs.  But when you hit a wall, as many women eventually do, because we are only able to expend so much energy outside ourselves without filling up our reservoirs, we have to finally accept and learn how to take care of our needs as well.

For me, one of the ways I found to do this, was to surround my self with pretty things. Often this means, pretty flowers around my house.  They brighten my mood just looking at them.  When I refill the water and recut them, I smile.  They bring color which I love.  I used to associate flowers with a lover, partner, spouse.  As if that person in that role could be the only one who could make flowers feel special.  When I let go of that, because I realized and accepted; I really enjoy having fresh flowers around, and there was no one else around to bring them, I started to get them for myself.  And found they really fill a spot in me that desires to look at pretty things.  That when I have fresh flowers in my home, my house feels brighter.  The energy shifts as I am surrounded by pretty things.  I am calmer.  I myself am brighter and have a lighter mood.

What are your pretty things?  Do you take the time to think about what can fill a void that you may have?  It may be a small, simple thing like fresh cut flowers.  I encourage you to surround yourself with beautiful things.  Not just create your spaces to be about function, but to also see them as a way of meeting some self-care needs.  And if the word self-care is not something you are familiar with, stick around, that is what this blog is all about.  I hope to have something to offer to others as I have learned valuable lessons and may just have a nugget or two that can brighten your day.