Monday, September 29, 2014

Therapy in home decor

Our new front room
As I mentioned last post, I've been finding some comfort in taking care of creative projects around the house. Art can be quite therapeutic. I know that home decor projects don't typically come to mind when thinking of art, but it's been a great creative outlet for me. It's brought me much satisfaction in the past several months. I hope to eventually share all of our projects, so today I'll start with our most recent completion--our front room makeover. 

Our fireplace mantle makeover

Our new leather sofa bed and fun throw pillows

You might remember that we built a tee pee in our front room over a year ago. We worked on it as a family and it showed all of our personalities. It was made with pink and blue fabric that the girls chose (Becca being my blue girl and Kat being into pink). We hung twinkle lights and threw huge bean bags inside for reading. And it was magical. 

The tee pee we built in May 2013

Well, the tee pee was slowly engulfed by a humongous tent/fort that was built around it. It wasn't the prettiest thing since it was built from miss-matched sheets and blankets (just as any good tent/fort should be), but the girls loved it. It hid their mess of toys from me, so I kind of liked it, too. But with the mess hidden away, the mess grew and grew until they abandoned the fort (rather than cleaning) to play elsewhere.

The front room engulfed by forts

So this summer we slowly reclaimed the front room so that it could be enjoyed again. It started with my dad's camera collection and the oak ice box that he built. He was a man of many interests and talents (one of our many common traits). He used to dabble in a lot of various hobbies (jack of all trades), so it was important to me to have his camera collection and oak ice box proudly on display. This then sparked the idea to celebrate family in the space. I envisioned a space where we could sit and enjoy family time without the distraction of TV or computers. A place where we could visit or play games, etc.. 

My dad's camera collection and oak ice box against the wall

Lots of family photos to cherish
I framed and hung tons of family photos on our still empty walls, using a collection of frames with different tones and textures. We married furniture we already had with a few new pieces to bring together a look that Daniel and I had envisioned before we even had the girls or a house with blue carpet.  We built a new fireplace mantle that better reflects our simpler style and I painted the fireplace bricks to match our cream colored walls, since the dirty white wasn't adding to our look. We couldn't be more thrilled. It feels like a room out of a magazine. A wonderful way to cherish family and memories, as well as a beautiful way to welcome people into our home.
The freshened up fireplace and our new family mirror

Friday, September 26, 2014

Change is hard

Yesterday I started writing a blog post about how I've coped with the loss of my dad in numerous ways, one of them being emotional eating. I've used other tools to cope, like retreating from the world or binge watching TV shows (like Gilmore Girls or Mad Men) or completing various creative house projects (I hope to share in future posts), but emotional eating has been a big one. Taking comfort in food seemed to numb the pain a bit. My intention with the blog post was to share how I've recently noticed that emotional eating not only dulled the pain, but also the joy. An interesting juxtaposition. The idea had been introduced to me in the past with Guidepost #3 in BrenĂ© Brown's book, The Gifts of Imperfection, but I didn't truly understand or appreciate it until now. 

As I've begun to focus on my health again (I have an extra 15lbs to lose due to my emotional eating), I noticed that I've felt much happier like the emotion itself was stronger. But I had also noticed that my heartache has been feeling deeper. Out of nowhere, I'd be flooded with memories of my dad and my heart would just hurt. I appreciated the meaning of nostalgia the way Donald Draper presented it in Mad Men“the pain from an old wound." When I'd reminisce, whether it related to my dad or my childhood or even younger times with my girls, I would hurt. And for months, if I hurt I'd do my best to stop the hurt, mainly by overeating. But in numbing the pain (the bad stuff), I was also numbing the joy (the good stuff). So yesterday, as I started to write, I thought I had gotten a grasp on my emotional eating and what it was doing to me. But then surprisingly, I started eating junk food the rest of yesterday, unwilling to stop. Funny how that worked. 

So I might still have some food issues to deal with. And a continual heartache to handle. But I'm doing it. I'm still moving myself back into my life, however uncomfortable that might be. That's where the magic happens, right? Outside of the comfort zone. Change can be uncomfortable. But in order for things to be different, I have to make changes, right? So today, rather than give up after a not-so-great day of overeating (pretty much the strategy that gained me the extra weight), I'm back on the good health kick. I'm back to taking care of me. Because I need to do this, no matter how hard. I have too much happy yet to experience. I want to live a happy and healthy life, for me, for my family, and for my dad. He would've wanted this for me.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Back to School

It's unbelievable how fast the summer has flown by. I realize that Fall hasn't truly began, but my daughter's July 26th birthday almost marks the beginning of the anticipation for me. Shortly after her birthday the stores launch into Back-to-school mode and I get excited (like my favorite Staples commercial.... It's the most wonderful time of the year). It marks the start to my favorite time of year, i.e. the last half. Christmas is my absolute favorite, but I also love all the fun leading up to it. I'm a sucker for Fall and all the pumpkin decor and pumpkin spice flavored foods. I love football season, even though I rarely sit long enough to watch an entire game. I just enjoy those crisp, fall days when all the windows can be open and the sound of football on TV can be heard in the background. I love Halloween, especially because it's my first daughter's actual birthday. And thanksgiving, with all the yummy food and time spent feeling grateful with family. It all gives me such a warm, fuzzy feeling inside (even when it is still 100+ degrees outside).

This year, at the start if this most wonderful time of year, I decided I wanted to decorate for back to school (my girls started a month ago). But when I set out to collect apple and back-to-school decorations, I was surprised to find all the stores went straight from red, white, and blue decor to pumpkin decor. I couldn't find much of what I was looking for. I found a couple things in stores like a pencil vase, magnetic alphabet letter, and some artificial sunflowers, but really I ended up making my own decorations and using what I already had. As much as I hunted for apples to display, I already had a decent collection I was displaying in our laundry room (I had collected them for my kitchen but went a different direction in the end). So I just redistributed my apples and made a few extra decorations like my School Days banner.

To make my banner, I printed out letters using the alphabet provided by Shanty 2 Chic (a great find on Pinterest). I printed the letters at 50% since the 100% ends up being a full page (too big for my space). I then cut them out and attached them to burlap triangles using red eyelets I had in my stash. I strung the letters up using yellow ribbon in honor of yellow pencils and school buses. I have a mantle I could display the banner on, but it's in our front room that we rarely hang out in. So rather than hide away my cute project, I strung them up below our TV in our family room using inexpensive rulers and old Starbucks Frappuccino battles I've been hoarding for years. I couldn't be more thrilled with how it turned out. I know it's a little late, but Happy Back to School!