Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Creating Beauty Around Us



I've enjoyed the Cottage of the Month, the Mantel of the Month, and the Shabby Suite of the Month, which you can see on the sidebar under "Other People's Houses." These are sites that feature boutiques that sell embellishments for the home. Each month, they feature someone's humble home that is made to look elegant by dressing it up and displaying things that bring joy to the heart.

I've lived in a number of what we might call "unfortunate circumstances" and have come to recognize that it is not so much our income that matters, as to how we live our lives. Once you allow beauty to take over your home and your being, you are rich. As I get older I realize that whining about the kind of house we live in or our income, results in a memory that cannot be erased. We have to make the best of things. How will the next generation remember us, as a people? We we depress them, or will we inspire them?

I've seen some houses that a lot of people would refuse to live in, made into the most appealing sanctuaries. One lady took her tiny home and created a hanging garden all around it. I visited it and didn't even know I was still on a crowded street. She had somehow blocked out the distraction of the outside world. When I had tea with her I came away refreshed and happy!

The painting above is called "Harbor View" by one of today's artists, Paul Landry.

Here are some things you can make out of cast-offs that other people do not want, which will cost you only a few dollars in paint...and sometimes you can get left over paint or returned paint, practically free:

This was an old headboard that had peeling veneer and was scratched up quite a bit. I used semi-gloss paint, and some craft paints, including metallic gold, to make it livable for my home.











This was an old end table that had sort of a hard plastic type veneer. I had it in the yard sale and my daughter rescued it, saying it looked rather Regency, so I painted it white. Now it is a table she uses for a lamp.





























Another piece here has drawers that work really well. It needs a few touch ups where I nicked it bringing it in the room, and it may get another coat of paint.
Here is another old piece that no one wanted, that serves as a side table for a bed. The white paint makes color so much brighter. I find that even without the effort of painting, when a piece is clean and smells nice and well decorated, it creates a cheerful place in the home.
If you want to make the candle stand or the birdhouse, here is how:
You will need a glass candle holder, such as those you find at dollar stores or Goodwill. Find an odd china saucer that doesn't have a matching cup. Use a special glue that is for glass, and glue the candle stick to the bottem of the plate. You can get beads on a twill tape, by the foot or yard, at WalMart or any sewing store. Glue them on the under side of the plate with the same glass glue. I could not get hot glue or elmers glue to work for these projects. Get a pillar candle at the dollar store and paint elmers or white school glue around it and roll it in prisma glitter or the glitter of your choice, and there you have it. The birdhouse ornament can be created with a wooden candle stick and a bird house, glued with wood glue. You can find most of this at a dollar store.
You'll be inspired by another nice editorial by this lady http://www.makeminepink.com/articles/?which=13

18 comments:

Anna S said...

Very true! Having a beautiful house is much easier when you have plenty of money to invest in renovations and decorations. But when we have a tiny budget, our creativity,cheerfulness and willingness to work hard are put to test. So much can be done with very little money. First, EVERY woman can make her home neat, tidy and orderly. You don't need much money for that. And there are many things you can do which cost next to nothing - grow herbs on the kitchen window; arrange your furniture so that your reading/working space catches light; if you can crochet or cross-stitch, which are relatively simple skills, you have endless opportunities to decorate your home. Some of your neighbours might have skills you don't have, and you can take advantage of that! And thrift stores sometimes offer real treasures.
We are the spirit of our homes, ladies. If we our cheerful, our homes are also cheerful, even if not always spotless. But if we act depressing, I wonder how many people will visit again?..

Karen said...

"...whining...results in a memory that cannot be erased..."

That sentence really jumped out at me. Thank you for writing/posting it...because it's something we should be reminded of. And it's something that should be instilled into the hearts of today's youth. We mature ladies know that without "making the best of things" etc. you are sowing the seeds of pain and regret!

If life seems too overwhelming I know it's time to spend some time in the Bible and get a right perspective back. I also set monthly goals tied to the seasons that give me some sense of accomplishment, beauty, and order. For example, this month I am going through my home management binder and adjusting it now that there is a baby in the house. We are also staying home instead of travelling this summer so I looked up your old article from LAF on Holidays at Home! In August I will be focusing on my recipes binder, and learning new recipes for all the bounty we get at this time of year: tomatoes, zucchini, corn. I will also be planning a birthday party for my mother at our home.

Best regards,
Karen

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

I've seen ladies transform their homes for holidays even if it was only for a day. They move their furniture and they do something special, like use the money that would be spent on a holiday for some luxury items that remind them of taking a holiday!

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Anna S, I think your articles are great and hope everyone is looking at your blog!

I agree no matter where we are we make our homes lovely and a haven of rest. They have to be different than the rest of the world with its hustle and bustle and full of the pleasant things that give us a lift--the smells, the touches, the sounds, and sights that make a house a home.

Alexandra said...

So true, and it takes very little to liven up a place. Plants and paint are among the least expensive resources.

Mrs.B said...

This is my favorite type of post!

I have really come to realize how furniture placement really makes a big impact in how a room looks. (o:

And as Anna S. said, almost everyone can keep their home neat and tidy and that goes a very long way in having a beautiful home.

Blessings,
~Mrs.B

Lauren Christine said...

I completely agree. As we currently live in an apartment, I know the value of making use of small space. Sometimes the smallest places, when well kept and made lovely, are the happiest places.
blessings,
Lauren

smilnsigh said...

Wonderful views and wonderful finds.

I've had a bit of a turn on the..."I wish we lived in a different house" thing. We still live in and will always live in, the {now too big} home in which we raised our family.

At one time, I was absorbed in dreaming of living in a cottage, at this time in our lives. I even designed one. My Dream Cottage I called it.

Well, many things conspired to make our changing homes, an out of the question thing. So I had to learn to deal with the *death* of a dream, so to speak. And I did!

I still love books on cottages. I still love the cottage idea. But.. I also made a novel decision. I can't really move to and live in a cottage. So I consider the few rooms we live in now, to be the total of our home. I just sort of 'blank out' those extra rooms. Kind of silly but it works. :-))))

Mari-Nanci

devildogwife said...

You did a wonderful job on the redoing of the furniture. I love refinishing and repurposing old furniture.

Sue said...

Using cast offs in an practical artistic way was how I started out housekeeping many years ago. Some of those pieces are still my favorite ones. Lovely post, like always.
Sue

Anonymous said...

We are living in a house while we finish it, and I agree that there are so many ways to do things inexpensively or even for free! Our recycling center accepts all kinds of chemical things, including paint, and the the still usable items were free for the taking. I painted our kitchen, entryway, and stairwell entirely with free paint! It turned out very nice, and is nice & scrubbable too.

Some of my favorite pieces of furniture I found at rummage sales. Two chairs, in particular, I bought for a dollar each. The lady who sold them to me was very embarassed, because she had told her sons to throw these on the fire, as she didn't think they were worth selling.

"..whining... results in a memory that cannot be erased....." I have to agree with Karen. That sentence jumped out at me, too!! It costs nothing to wield a broom, to wipe up a bathroom, to pull weeds out of the cracks in your sidewalk. When I feel inertia begin to overtake me, I try to do just one thing to better my situation, and honestly, that usually results in much more!!

Please post more on this subject.

Brenda

Anonymous said...

The bit about whining will stay with me as will the comment you once said "to guard the family finances". I often think of this as I shop in order to make frugal food choices. My vicar was talking about possessions yesterday and was amazed when I said much of my furniture was secondhand. I love painting old furniture too. Today I have stuck down wallpaper that had lifted from my walls following a leaking pipe and have re-painted tired areas of my hall, living room, dining room and stairs - all for free with left- over paint and with the words of your post still ringing in my ears. Thank you so much.
Lynn.

Gina said...

This post reminds me of when I lived as a young woman with two other young women in a three bedroom apartment. It was old, but we were optimistic: we had the wooden floors done, I stenciled my bedroom with pale pink roses, and painted an old dresser, and put pretty porcelain knobs on it. We would invite different people over each week for dinner. What fun we had!

Amy said...

Thank you for sharing these pieces. Sometimes I find that I just need a bit of inspiration to find the motivation. I am currently living in a brand new home (subdivision style), every wall and ceiling painted the same tan color. Although I am ever so thankful for our house, I find that the sameness of new homes (within and without) make them dull.

I appreciate your links and entries stirring my mind with possibilities for our home; I want to age it with coziness.

Editor said...

We are trying to keep cool here and so we get to use the internet a lot more than normal. It has been fun, as now we are really looking into architecture, hence the article about thatched roofs on The Pleasant Times.

Amy, your comment reminded me of apartment living, which by the way, is one of our "sore subjects" because of the roots of its architecture and because of its blandness. I was living next door to another couple who had the exact layout of our apartment, but when we were invited over, it certainly didn't feel like the same place. It was a transformation. She had taken green velvet with ball fringe and made curtains that were tied back, between the dining and living areas and it was quite charming. Also she had replaced all the curtains with her own and put her grandmothers things around, and repainted the walls, added rugs and arranged it in a way that did not conform with the rest ofthe apartments. Whenever the manager wanted to show an apartment to a potential renter, she arranged to show this apartment!

Anonymous said...

Susan T. writes:

Another fabulous post! I've got some orphaned saucers around here somewhere that I must transform into candleholders. Thank you so much for that great idea.

The colored doilies on the white tabletops look so fresh and pretty. Did you crochet them, Mrs. Sherman?

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

The colored doilies are from a Victorian grandmother...and it shows me the thought and care and time they spent making something lovely. These were not rich women, either, yet they took the time to do this. Doilies protected furniture and were pretty as well. Perhaps it is the lovely things I have from the Victorian era that makes me admire the people of that time...their literature, their gardens, etc. I do enjoy new things today..the smell of new wood, for example, and fresh cotton cloth, etc.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

I will be adding more color, particularly in the bedding, so that not everything will be white. White can seem "cold" if there is too much of it.

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