Spring Wreath Conundrum

The hardest part of saving money is that I continue to want things.  All the time. This time, it was a wreath for above the fireplace. Specifically, this one, from Frontgate:


It is $149 for the thirty inch version. Of course I wanted the big version, we have ten foot ceilings and the proportions would be right. I was feeling very snobby about artificial flowers and figured an arrangement of dried herbs and flowers would be tasteful.

So I asked for it for Mother’s Day, and was told to go ahead and order it. I just could not actually bring myself to do it. It was too silly.  And then I learned that it would only last a year, or two if I were lucky.  Nope.  Not paying what amounts to over $10/month for a stupid wreath. I continued to stare at my mantel, which really needed a focal point.  Poor me.  We have a lot of beautiful, original art that Matt’s grandmother painted, but he did not want to hang a picture above it because it would require drilling into the stone.

Then, in my basement of horrors, I found this thing that I made probably six years ago. I’m sure at the time I thought it was beautiful. It is only 22 inches is diameter, but there is was, unused. I had even been wanting some more red accents in the house.


It takes a special kind of skill to take a blurry photo of a stationary object.

So I took off the ribbons and flowers, and put them up with my wrapping paper to decorate presents.  I wired on dried cornflowers that were hanging in the mudroom. The old me would have run to the craft store for more tasteful fake flowers, but instead I pulled apart what I had and added tiny sprigs here and there.


So it is done. It is small, and hardly noticeable because the flowers on it are so tiny.  No one has hung up a hook in the stone yet, and I am not going to ask.  So there is sits.

In the summer I will have statice and celosia from the garden, which both dry very well and will add a lot of life and color.  My sage is getting big, and I think that might look pretty too.  And in the late autumn I can just rip off the old dried flowers and start wiring on holly and ivy.  One less thing purchased, one less thing in the basement, and all throughout garden season I can have bundles of things drying in the mudroom.


Very…shall we say… subtle.  But it is free, and good enough.  And instead of feeling yucky about spending a bunch of money on something stupid and disposable, I feel good about using what I have.  Happy Mother’s Day to me!


Springtime Homemaking

Switching out things for new seasons is one of those fun homemaking activities that seem hard to come by on some days.  Not spring cleaning, just spring puttering.  Save the deep cleaning for winter.  Here are some things I have been doing now that the weather has turned.

Seashells and sea glass from the kids instead of pine cones and acorns.

Blue and aqua pillow covers and placemats instead of olive and burgundy

Spring scented dish soap and cleaners

Wildflowers from the children placed in the kitchen

Hummingbird feeder on the deck, where we can watch from the living room

A little furniture rearranging to have seats that face the windows

Sweeping the porch and back deck and straightening the furniture

Windows and glass doors cleaned and opened

Wool hats and mittens put away, sun hats and bubbles by the door

A basket in the kitchen to bring out seeds and bring in eggs

Bookshelves arranged and books that I want to reread set in their own section, to grab and bring outside

Sewing machine put in a closet to revisit in the winter: now is not the time

Searching grilling books for meal plans, it feels summery even though nothing is ready from the garden yet

Making sure canning supplies are ready for the summer

The humidity hasn’t set in, pollen doesn’t bother me, and nothing in the garden has disappointed me yet! A wonderful time of year.  Soon it will be time for fireworks, tomatoes, sunflowers, and days in the pool, but for now we are enjoying the present.

I am coveting a big wildflower wreath for above the fireplace mantel, as it looks so bare this time of year.  I also think a big crock in white or cream would be beautiful to set on the hearth and fill with flowers, but I don’t see it ending well with a baby in the house.

I would love to hear what you do around your house as the season changes!














Executing the Color Scheme

I would say half of my posts here are me railing against consumerism, and the other half are me talking about things I want.  This will be the latter.

So last month, I found a color scheme for my house to de-beige it.  Brown was accepted as my primary color throughout the house.  (To include beige, light beige, and all my other favorites.)  Everything that got added had to fit the plan.  The determined colors were:

  1. Navy
  2. Colonial blue (not sure exactly what this is, but in my mind it is a grayed down aqua.)
  3. Red (warm, like brick or rust, and deep)

So as things came up that we wanted or needed, I decided that they would be one of these colors.  We needed blackout curtains for our room, because the moon keeps us awake on clear, full moon nights:



We (I) wanted a gallery wall on the stairs because I did:


I guess there is one painting with navy blue in it!

And we needed a china cabinet so I could move some things out of kitchen cabinets now that all our food is stored in the kitchen.


(It was $400 on Craigslist, is solid cherry, and is SUPER BEAUTIFUL in person. But very brown!)

Well.  A bit of a failure so far, but I do like them, and the curtains were really just practical, not decorative.  And not sure if you are aware of this, but buying pretty curtains that are also blackout curtains would be like $100 per panel, especially when your windows are huge.

At least I have finished up some new pillow covers:


(Why is this couch so weird looking in photos.)

Found some flowers,


And a little green and blue outside.


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Does your home have a color scheme?  Are you good about sticking to it?

Finding a Color Scheme for the Home

You know how when you are planning a wedding, the first thing you have to do is pick your colors?  Once that is done, everything becomes easy.  It also helps to have a style like “rustic”, “elegant”, whatever.  I think decorating your house might be a little like that too.  Without a style and a color scheme, you are just randomly picking things you like and hoping they work together.

Well after looking at pictures of my house, I finally realized that my color scheme of beige, brown, white, off-white, and grayish beige was not really working.  I was complaining about it being cloudy out and how depressing it was when my mom gently suggested that maybe if I had some color in my house it would cheer me up.


I had tried to “warm up” the house by buying various things.  Baskets (brown), new cloth napkins (white with beige stripes!), some creamware pitchers from a thrift shop (off white), a canvas bag for kindling (tan), and more baskets (brown brown brown).  Well.  She was right.


(Seriously.  Why?)

I didn’t know what to do.  I obviously could not pick out colorful things myself.

But I stumbled upon this delightful blog that said to pick four colors.  A primary, a secondary, a primary accent, and a secondary accent.  And luckily for me, the example given used a rug with the same colors as the rugs in my house.  I might not be able to think of a color scheme, but I could certainly copy one!


My colors are:

Gold/ brown (Obviously.)

Navy blue

Red/ burgundy

Colonial blue (I guess that’s what this lighter shade of blue is)


I think green plants are allowed in all color schemes and don’t count as one of the four.

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Red bowl returns.


Maybe I could make some navy and white ticking stripe curtains?


Found this fabric in my craft closet and THINK it is the right shade of blue.  Going to make springy throw pillow covers.


A blue and white pitcher.  Baby steps!

P.S. My wedding colors were peach and champagne.  (Beige and warm beige.)

Decorating as a way to“people” the home

Have you ever heard of the term in architecture to “people” a space? It was used by the architect Donlyn Lyndon as a way to make spaces feel more human, inviting, and alive. I first read about this in William Hirsch’s book on home design. It was my favorite part of the book. I believe that Lyndon originally intended the ideas to be used to make public spaces more inviting, but they are applicable to the home as well.


These are the ways Lyndon says this can be accomplished:

1. Use of human scale. (No two story spaces, uncomfortably enormous windows, or 20 foot columns.)

2. “Windows of appearance”: a window that suggests that at any point a person could appear. (Picture flat, non-operational office windows and think of how uncomfortable a message they send.)

3. Spaces for planned and unplanned interaction. (Areas where people who run into each other can stop and chat, instead of just rushing from one place to the next.)

4. Use of handmade items, or items that require maintenance by hand. Lyndon says that the craftsman people’s the space with his work. Someone who cares for that item peoples the space with their work as well. (Think of a set of handmade tiles vs sheet vinyl.)


I have always been interested in architecture and what make a home feel “right” and this is one of the most interesting things I’ve come across, along with the book “A Pattern Language”.


But a lot of this is only useful if we are building from scratch. How can I use this to make my home cozier and more inviting if it is already built?


Here are some ideas I have come up with. The pictures are all from around my house but I have a looooong way to go with this.


We have no curtains, hardly any furniture and all our walls are beige!  But as time and money allow, I want to use all these principles as a decorating guideline for our home.


Human scale:

Indoor plants that are the size of people feel almost like a companion

Darker wall paint makes a room with too-tall ceilings a little cozier


Windows of appearance:

Windows open


Window boxes

A clothesline (not in the window, but same idea)


Spaces for planned and unplanned interaction:

Seating in bedrooms where someone could sit for a talk.

A chair in a bathroom so one spouse can sit and talk to the other who is getting ready

Tables cleared of clutter so they can be used for eating dinner, doing crafts, sitting and reading, etc.

Seating in the kitchen- either at a table or counter stools


Handmade looking items, or items that require maintenance by hand (now we get to a lot of ideas!)

Items made my hand:



Handmade looking pottery (planters, bowls, etc)

Original artwork

Embroidered items

Rag rugs

Homemade furniture

Knit scarves, hats, etc by the door

Cut flowers

Items requiring human maintenance:

A fire in the fireplace


A well tended garden

Polished stainless or copper pots and pans

Flowerpots by the house


Bird feeders


They are all just ways to say “humans made this house, and humans live in this house”.


Seems so very simple, but so many items seem to say “machines built this house, and for no particular reason”.



It is nice to have a decorating style at last.  “Human!”