winter brightness + beauty

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When I began my 20’s, I always assumed once I graduated college, I’d be out of here. Guess it didn’t quite turn out that way, but in the words of Mumford & Sons, “I will learn to love the skies I’m under“. I’d like to think that I am where I need to be right now, but I hold on hope that a new adventure lies ahead of us soon. In the spirit of embracing where I am {and on a snow day, even! while listening to Sigur Ros, the perfect snowy music} I will share some pretty winter touches in our house.

Up above we have our Ikea-inspired winter forest art that Mr. M and I made. One of the perks of having a long, cold winter is that it gives us extra time for creative projects. I helped M sketch the design and cut out the template and he cut out and sanded the forest out of simple white-coated masonite. We even found two LED stick lights that go behind it to light up at night and bring out the shadows. I love it.

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One of my favorite estate sale finds last year was this linen snowflake embroidered dresser cloth. Each snowflake is so delicately sewn. I have realized that I honestly would miss winters without snow. Obviously it gets old and annoying eventually, but it’s so charming and sparkly some of the time. Having a puppy that adores playing in it is another plus. See, I am trying to make the most of this place, this climate. Makes it a little more bearable.

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Some more estate sale + flea market finds to brighten up our winter days. That flowered tray is actually a gift from my parents from a flea market adventure they had in Denmark. It’s my special little treasure. The tiny vintage cardinal print reminds me of my Grandpa–they were his most favorite birds. The blanket was handmade by M’s Grandma and it happens to be Ollie’s favorite cuddle blanket.

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The tiny wooden snowflakes were a Christmas gift from M’s parents. So pretty. That mini credenza has a story of its own that may involve a journey from the Jersey Shore (um, not the show!!) all the way to Wisconsin.

So there you have it. Our cozy winter home. And now I must admit I am ready for Spring…

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finding a new use

chevron table, originally uploaded by ordinarymoment.
M used his skills to paint us this tiny table for our icy beverages while relaxing on the porch.
He took off the old tabletop from an Ikea table I had, bought an inexpensive table round from Menard’s, then used our leftover paint from the map project to paint a fun, bold pattern.
Can’t wait till next season when we can spend more time in our new hang out spot.

a great lakes solution

lakemichiganpainting, originally uploaded by ordinarymoment.

Our last challenge while finishing our porch remodel this past summer was figuring out a way to cover the large, dirty, paint-peeling window looking into our garage on that long stretch of white siding. We didn’t want to spend hours sprucing up a window to nowhere, so we decided a big piece of art was needed to break up all that white space. We went through a few ideas and settled on a huge depth painting of Lake Michigan, which is two blocks away from our house. Inspired by this etsy card by Crafterall on Pinterest, showing a papercut topography map of the lake, we went about beginning our giant masterpiece. M built a simple frame large enough to cover the window, then I helped him stretch some canvas we had over the frame. He used a projector to trace the outline and I chose monochromatic blues to paint a simplified version of the depths. We bought inexpensive paint samples from Lowe’s for the paint. After we let it dry it was hung over the window to hide the ugliness and bring a big pop of graphic color + design to our relaxation space.
Tomorrow I will share another little project we did using the leftover paint.

laughter and joy.

6 months ollie, originally uploaded by ordinarymoment.
Bringing a dog into our lives has brought so much laughter and happiness. Almost 30 years old, and I had never owned a puppy of my own. Ollie is crazy and funny and adorable and frustrating at times, but oh how we love him. He’s helped us to discover new places and has inspired adventures. Beautiful hiking spots so close to home yet never explored before. He likes to eat and sniff all things–most especially mulch, leaves, pieces of fireworks, any little bit he can get into his mouth outside. He ate so much sand on his first beach trip that his poop was sandy for two days straight. He is tinier than we were expecting and can jump so high, even when we form our arms into a circle and tell him to “Jump through the hoop!”. He likes to do yoga stretches after he gets up and gently jumps up so you can give him a hug. (He is peeking over the couch cushion as I type with his favorite tiny basketball and a wagging tail, hoping I will play some fetch). He is a fraidy dog and hides or barks if something is out of place…a jacket, a rubbermaid container, a big pot on the stove. If we are watching tv and not paying enough attention to him, he will jump on the back of the couch, barking at us to tease us, hoping we will play. He is energetic and playful but when he is finally tired he will snuggle on our laps while he falls asleep. He is pretty awesome and we can’t imagine life without our little Ollie bud.

growing gardens out of my wounds

new growth, originally uploaded by ordinarymoment.
Our garden is simple yet teaches so much by just being, growing. Purple + yellow coneflowers, black eyed susans, and hostas in abundance. There is always unexpected joy from perennials, how they change through the years + seasons. Last summer I carefully divided + transplanted these flowers + greenery from my parents’ garden, which came from my mom in-law’s garden before. Knowing that this sharing of beauty would take time to root itself into the earth before blooming again. How easy it is to have patience + faith your garden will grow each year, welcoming those first green shoots in spring, waiting to see the change a new summer brings. And oh, how it’s grown, my poor little withered plants of last summer now thriving + blooming everywhere. You place a bit of yourself into every plant you pat down into the earth, never really knowing what will come of it until it’s gone through the heat of a summer, into the often cold + harsh winter. You have faith that what you’ve done, the messy work of planting, the care + tending, is enough to bring new life + joy in all the years that follow. Accepting that things may not turn out as you expected, trying to understand that change + loss are unavoidable in life.
So I carry this hope with me in all things. I have to find the good in everything, otherwise I don’t know how to fully live. As someone who is prone to worry, to think the worst, to let fear of so many things get the best of me, I just have to have faith that even in the most trying of circumstances, something of value will come out of it. This past school year I faced challenges + disappointments I never could have imagined. I had a hard time writing, weary from just making it through the day. I did my best each day with what I had, even though many days it didn’t seem like enough. So, I said a prayer (and another, and another…), took a breath, and got up and tried another day. I survived, and have been loving these quieter, relaxing days of summer to refresh.
I will savor these last few weeks of summer, knowing another likely difficult season is beginning. But I will go forth certain that all the challenges that are ahead will serve a purpose in my life, helping me grow into a stronger person, teaching me lessons I couldn’t learn any other way. And I will keep dreaming, keep hoping for our journey to take a new turn, trying my very best to do all that I can to make that happen. In the meantime, I have an amazing husband, adorable puppy, cozy house, and bountiful garden to come home to at the end of each day.
The song that has inspired this post and helped remind me how much good can come from our hurt, our sorrow, our bumpy roads:
I know I’m alive
raised from the dead inside
breaking out of honeycomb tombs
growing gardens out of my wounds

I know I’m alive…

simple inspirations

Once again, I decided to take on the Pinterest Winter Challenge over at Young House Love. It’s great to actually create something you were inspired by rather than merely collecting appealing images. I pinned this tutorial ages ago, detailing how to use fancy paper to pretty-up your light switch covers. I just used mod podge, scrapbook paper, an exacto knife, and foam brush to complete the transformation. It was super fast + easy and the perfect finishing touch for our newly remodeled bathroom. I like how the pattern on the light switch complements the leaves in the shower curtain without looking too matchy-matchy. Such a great almost-instant fix!
I’m going to post more photos of our complete bathroom transformation, skillfully crafted by the Mister himself (and some help from his Dad!).  It’s been finished since fall, but sometimes I still just stand and stare at all its’ awesomeness.

with their eyes all aglow

cozy christmas, originally uploaded by ordinarymoment.
A cozy Christmas Eve, in our pj’s, one last snapshot to end an evening filled with family + smiles. Ah, the fresh scent of our second tree together, the lights, a few childhood ornaments amongst the new. The comfort + promise of so many more to come. Time together, seasons, memories. To grow + expand with our hopes and dreams.
And I realize, that is what this season is all about. The gift of sharing ourselves with others, laughing, loving, just being there. I couldn’t tell you every toy I got as a child, but I could tell you how it felt standing next to my Grandpa at church on Christmas Eve, his deep, clear voice harmonizing with my Grandma’s as we all sang of such joy, hope, and peace. The way the candles flickered + glowed so much warmth as we remembered, all is calm, all is bright. The brisk night air, the stars, the contentment knowing what it meant to be blessed with a family who was always there for me.
 As we grow up, the magic of the season shifts + changes, people come and go, but that love + hope is always there if we remember to seek it. Families grow, new traditions are made, but still that simple act of togetherness will always be the best gift we can ever share.

Vintage typewriter cart score!

estate sale find, originally uploaded by ordinarymoment.

Some more vintage love–a 1940s-50s metal typewriter cart found at an estate sale this weekend…for 5 bucks. What a deal! Discouraged by the lack of treasures elsewhere, we come across a sign for a sale. We go. We find! Isn’t that the best? Recycling at its finest. Taking old, forgotten things and giving them new life. The quality, the character, the story. This is why we hunt for vintage gold whenever we can. I also found a Gwen Frostic print book and a tiny framed cardinal print to brighten up our winter time. Happiness in the things of old.

vintage embroidery turned art

vintage embroidery, originally uploaded by ordinarymoment.

Indeed, I have a soft spot for vintage linens + embroidery. Imagining whose hands lovingly created the dresser scarf, tea towel, hankie to give to their dear ones. The time, the stitches, the joy. A beautiful, simple creation still living on for a new generation to discover + cherish. Handcrafted treasures lasting through the ages. And so I stretch these sweet bluebirds over a canvas, to be enjoyed anew as a work of art. It makes me smile.  A lot!