A Serene Home

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My closet today.

A few years back, when I was getting ready to sell my home of 15 years, my mother lamented– “But you have created such an oasis of calm and peace here. How can you even think of leaving it?”

I replied, “I have that calm and peace within. I carry it with me. I can recreate it anywhere.

That said, the past year has not been calm or peaceful. But I still carry those feelings within me. And it is time to recreate it here.

As I have written before, I love the location of this apartment in a walkable city. I love being on the second floor up in the tree canopy. We are three blocks from the Metro train, which my son takes to school.

What I do not love is that the building manager smokes cigarettes in his workshop in the basement and the hallways smell like an ashtray. Also, the lady in the apartment below me is hard of hearing and in the evening I can hear her TV blaring. Ever the minimalist, I have solved two problems with one appliance: the air purifier. It cleans the air and the white noise of the fan cancels out the TV noise.

So how do we create “serene?” First we declutter. Then we clean. Then we add some nature elements.

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Here is the floor of the northeast corner of my bedroom. See the paint and scuff marks?

As a sometime renter, I have noted that most folks do not have the same standards for cleanliness that I do. To be fair, none of my roommates or husbands did either. So, I have always understood that cleaning to my standards was a beauty requirement that I needed, but others have not. No judgement. I’m just taking care of my own needs here.

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Same corner after a couple scrubbings and a wood restore product.

I’m not going to lie to you, this was a significant time investment. But I had recently attended an art show with a friend and we both loved a particular piece that had been created with a 24″ x 18″ piece of paper and a sewing needle. The needle had been used to poke holes in the handmade paper in a complex and beautiful pattern. I estimate that it took hundreds of hours of human labor to create.

And I asked myself, “What beautiful thing do I want to create this week?” And the answer was, “A serene home.”

You may see more serene home post in the coming weeks as I manifest that calm and peace from my heart to the apartment.

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Close up of His Royal Highness. He is made of jade and sits atop my dresser for now. I am told that he is a Feng Shui prosperity toad. I think that he is adorable, and if he increases my prosperity or romantic prospects…well then, Yeah!

More Vision Board Manifestations

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August 29th-sleeping with the windows open when an electrical storm passed through.

I felt the electricity on my skin when two nearby lightening strikes occurred. Yowza!

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Carpet of moss on boulders (from the vision board.)

And a carpet of moss hidden in a nook of the Missouri Botanical garden that I have strolled past dozens of times.

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No boulders, but moss carpet.

And bonus–not on the vision board, but any time I encounter a fawn in real life I feel I have stumbled into a secret dimension where my people live.

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While on a walk in a local park today. See how pretty the spots are!

 

This Week’s Linen Project

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I bought this 100% linen dress at a discount store for $16 USD.
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Yeah, it had these weird trumpet sleeves and yeah, there was a stain like someone had dropped the dress in a snow puddle.

But let me remind you from the previous post that 1 yard of new linen is $26 USD and this is a complete garment (read 3-4 yards of linen) for $16 USD.

So, let’s get creative!

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So I cut those weird sleeves off and hemmed them in a way I found interesting.
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Sleeve hem detail
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And I took the extra sleeve fabric and made a pocket. Because…well….pockets!!

But I have to say that I love the embellishments on this pocket and you will likely see similar details in future projects.

And after I lose 20#, I will model the garments rather than hanging them on a wall hook.

 

Birthday Wrap/Card

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I bought this adorable faux plant at a fair trade store.

My daughter’s birthday is coming up. She likes to decorate with both live and imitation plants. I won’t see her in person, so I’m mailing it. I boxed it up.

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Box repurposed from another use, and plain roll of paper that I can decorate.
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I thought about printing a repeated pattern, but went with the idea of just using the wrap as the birthday greeting.

It’s a little scribbly–but enthusiastic. [Don’t tell her it’s on the way]

Bonus Content:

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No green linen here.

I had an idea for a piece of fabric art I want to make and I went searching for some green linen for the project. I didn’t find any at the charity shops OR the expensive new fabric store. I did find all this beautiful fabric that I will turn into … I don’t know… something. While there are some design constraints to using not new fabric, I love the sustainability and frugality and required creativity of using found cloth. Just for comparison purposes, that brown linen in the lower left corner is new, one yard and cost $27.00 USD. All the other pieces combined were $13.00 USD. I’ll post completed projects here.

Plant Curtain Fail

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Dining area and window

I’m not a big fan of metal blinds. They are not pretty, they are hard to clean and they are…well…hard, not soft like curtains.

I like the view from this window, up in the canopy of the tree and there is not a strong need for privacy. The only folks who can look into this window from outside are the next door neighbors, if they are standing on their stair landing during the months that the leaves are gone.

So, I thought I would experiment with a plant curtain-using plants to obscure the outside view to the inside.

I took down the venetian blinds. I bought some new pots and plants- Sansevieria Trifasciata and Sansevieria. I moved some chairs out of the way and pushed the table up to the window.

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Meh.

I didn’t like it. So I moved everything back. I switched up the plant on the table and gifted two plants to my son who lives nearby (one of the new Sansevieria Trifasciata and an elephant ear plant that was just struggling.)

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A morning’s work for naught.

The left over plants got moved to the elephant ears former site.

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I like this little vignette.

Sometimes you just can’t see it until you see it.

Vacation Manifestations

I’m taking a brief vacation in Wisconsin to visit my daughter. We are doing typical vacation things: a visit to the art museum, renting a canoe and paddling around Lake Yahara, buying fruit, pastries and gifts at the local farmers’ market.

Yesterday, there were two manifestations from the vision board:

Staring at me from a greeting card in the art museum gift shop-the bunny in the center of my vision board.

The second manifestation was on Lake Yahara. It was a reflection of light and clouds on the waves. You will just have to trust me on this one as I did not take my camera on the boat.

Fun!!

Countertop for the Fridge

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Apologies for the blurry photo. My camera was not working the week we moved in.

Some of you may remember that this side of the kitchen, when we moved in, had this claustrophobic arrangement of pantry-stove-refrigerator. I had the building manager remove the refrigerator and I replaced it with a small one, and topped it with our microwave.

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Still small, but at least there is room to swing a skillet.

I wanted to add a wood counter on top of the fridge for the following reasons: fewer food bits on the floor between the two appliances, expanded work surface and the kitchen could use the warmth of a natural element. Plus, I had an idea to do it inexpensively.

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I used this piece of wood, this saw and glue and some sand paper that was hanging about from previous projects.
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This wood was sourced from sustainable European forests, and measured 1″ x 24″ x 36″ before I got my hands on it. It was about $20 USD from a big box store.

I live in an apartment, so my wood shop is my dining area.

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Here you can see that I used dining chairs protected by my son’s towels as sawhorses.

I cut the board to 28″ in length. Then I used the leftover piece to create a base, as the fridge door hinge projects up a bit from the top of the fridge and I didn’t want the microwave to wobble or the counter to slope.

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I glued the scrap-base on in this particular configuration because the microwave sits toward the back of the counter. [Also, you can see that the edge I cut is not straight. What can I say? That perfection is the enemy of “good enough?”]
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Then, since I did not have any C clamps to hold the glued bits together, I set it where I wanted it to go and weighted it with the microwave.

Then, as the glue was drying, I vacuumed up all the sawdust I had left in the dining area and went off to the gym and the library.

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Ta-Da!

When I came home from errands, I finished the wood with a coat of olive oil. After the first coat soaks in, I may need to add more.

And yes, I did get a new water kettle.