I wrote about wabi-sabi, how it can help you look at your day-to-day life differently and put you at ease.
You might ask: what good is a concept that reminds you things shrivel, break or die?
It’s quite good, actually.
finding beauty in the everyday
With very little coaxing paperwhite bulbs will reward you with clusters of fragrant blooms in as little as four weeks. All you need is a container, a holding medium and water.
Soil is not necessary; paperwhites will happily grow anchored in either decorative stone, glass, pebbles or gravel.
We get good mileage out of tidying up our homes in early December until early January. It’s a natural time to clean up to make room for invited guests and for decorations such as the Christmas tree.
Things get moved here to there and temporarily stored away to make room for new items, and it gets us thinking about our homes and the things we own. In this 1500 square foot house we’re (practically ) five grown ups, so this is a regular necessity.
I received much-needed emotional support this past week from photographing a bunch of grocery store carnations.
Displaying them about the house helped ensure my whole family reaped their mood-elevating benefits, too.
Handling each flower, cutting the stems and immersing them in water, and arranging them to be photographed draws my attention to colour, texture and pattern, to the softness of the petals and the particular green of the leaves and stems. It helps me recognize the beauty of flowers, which opens my heart to feelings of joy and love.
I bought three bunches of orange and pink carnations for $20.00. A bit of baby’s breath was mixed in each bunch.
I like to break up the flowers and arrange them in separate vessels of varying sizes.
Place your bouquets in rooms where you spend the most time, and in areas where everyone can see them and benefit from their beauty.
Seeing them first thing in the morning is important since they help set your mood.
The kitchen is an excellent spot since it’s where we tend to gather before we start our day. Plus it’s most convenient room to change the water!
November arrived and I’m giving myself a pat on the back for getting the garden to bed before things freeze up.
Potted hostas are in the garage covered with a blanket. Pots of mint and catnip are safe in the ground until I retrieve them in the spring.
I hate to waste so I gathered the last of the chamomile, mint and sage, and I’m air drying them.
Air drying takes longer than using an oven or dehydrator, but it’s an easier method for preserving fresh herbs. Plus air drying means the oils in the leaves (wherein the flavour lies) aren’t depleted and you get more pungent herbs.
Any herbs still growing in your garden? Harvest them now and air dry them before it’s too late.
Here are some guidelines:
My next blog post was going to be about a beautifully designed chair I’ve been admiring. But Simon suggested I write about how we’re fixing up the upstairs bathroom. “People love before and afters,” he said.
So here’s a sneak peak as we revamp one of the smallest albeit most important rooms in our more than 125 year-old home.
Perhaps you think the bathroom looks fine as is. True. But a closer inspection would reveal tired, chipped and peeling fixtures. Even though we invested money and endured toxic fumes to have them resurfaced and painted, they became chipped again. The sink is an eye sore, the bathtub is dangerous to our bottoms (ouch!), and the toilet wobbles.
Since it’s one of the most highly used rooms in our home it deserves to be a priority, don’t you think?
So a few weeks ago, after carefully measuring the space, Simon set off to a local hardware store and picked out a new bathtub and faucet, sink and toilet. When he saw something he liked, he sent photos with a text message for approval. And that was that.
Now to find the right attitude while we deal with the disruptions. For example, when we have to pee in the middle of the night we have to travel down two sets of stairs and back up again. By the time I get back into bed I’m wide awake! No more herbal tea before bedtime, I guess.
But it’s a first world problem and I’ll avoid complaining. Given all the homeless and refugees of this world, I’m grateful for our cozy home and that we have the means with which to renovate it.
I can’t wait until it all comes together. Stay tuned!
Above: We love the brick chimney. The plan is to remove and use the wainscoting that’s covering it up to repair any damage that needs to occur to the wainscoting in the rest of the bathroom. We talked about removing all of it and tiling instead, but it’s in such good condition and suits the character of our home.
Above: We need to replace the old pine floor as it needs to be torn up to deal with the plumbing. We’re going with this tile. The colour was inspired by a colour pulled from the bricks in the chimney.
Above: Three hundred pounds of cast iron sitting in a snowbank waiting to be picked up. We offered it for free on kijiji and had loads of interest.
I believe studies that say spending only a few days around flowers, at work or at home, boosts well-being and makes us more compassionate.
These days I travel no further than my back yard to find flowers to bring inside. I love how flowers breathe life into a space. I love how they help me stay connected to beauty and nature.
My garden flowers in bloom right now are not the kinds that lend themselves to big bold arrangements but I’ll be bringing them inside, too. These days I’m thinking smaller scale and choosing tinier arrangements.
Wee flower arrangements are one of the most effortless and least expensive (if you have to buy your flowers from a shop) ways of bringing flowers into your home. They require minimal flowers, leaves or grasses, and yet tiny bouquets provide equal beauty and benefits as larger ones.
First you need to find the right sized vases. If you don’t have any tiny vases, eggcups, liqueur glasses, shallow bowls or an empty vanilla bottle will do. Next you decide what goes in them. When you take a good look around a garden it’s surprising how many choices there are.
Instead of a tiny vase I chose a large cylindrical one for this arrangement. I added an inch or two of water, a stem each of hosta flower and day lily to stand no taller than the vase, and floated two marigold flowers in the bottom. Simple!
I look forward to finding new ways to enjoy whatever else my garden provides and to soaking up all the benefits.