For The Love of My Home – The January Cure

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I can’t believe I am showing you these photos. 

I have joined Apartment Therapy’s January Cure.  One month to house zen. Each day they email you a task for the month of January to get your home clean, organized and beautiful. Sigh,  I wish I could genie blink myself to February 1st, where I will sitting surrounded in organized beauty, sipping tea and feeling super fab.

I would love if you joined up with me? Anyone up to the challenge? We are only a little late with plenty of time to catch up. Here is the link if you feel inspired! Apartment Therapy: The January Cure

There is stuff, stuff, stuff everywhere in my house. So many unfinished projects, but what a great big thought to conquer and leave the next eleven months to focus on new projects.

The first task was to write a list. Shudder. My list is very hefty due to general procrastination, avoidance and lethargy. It would be great to finish everything this month, but I need to be realistic. Unless I hire help?   For now, list writing has made me very tired and  I require one more coffee before I conquer todays task, washing  and vacuuming my floors.  It’s a demotivating task when you have boys dripping and spilling behind you as you go. My life is a hamster wheel.

I WROTE A LIST! Mark this day…

Kitchen/Eating Nook

  1. Clean out pantry
  2. Organize under sink
  3. Figure out a better garbage, recycling, compost system
  4. Clean out scary sideboard and put shelves above for serving dishes and instant fab.

Front Room (Starred item to be completed during spring)

  1. Organize Office/Writing  Area
  2. Decide if I am going to paint dining furniture*
  3. Put art on walls.
  4. Paint bookcases*
  5. Make cushions*
  6. Slipcover ugly chair*
  7. Revamp coffee table (ottoman?)
  8. Purge book cases

Entryway

  1. Clean out coat closet
  2. Buy entry rug
  3. Buy boot tray for front door
  4. Add hooks for kids coats.
  5. Do new chalking
  6. Paint door
  7. Add  DIY book shelves to useless wall niche and make it useful

Family Room

  1. Wash sofa cushion cover (again)
  2. Finish baseboards
  3. Touch up paint
  4. Create a better play area for Oliver’s toys
  5. Source/make candle sconces

Powder Room

  1. Fumigate pee-pee off the wood floor (seriously consider one of those toilet shaggy rugs…)
  2. Pick a new paint colour or wallpaper*
  3. Source sink cabinet
  4. Paint mirror

Stairway

  1. Finish painting
  2. Clean ceiling fan (or burn)
  3. Start hitting second hand stores for frames for gallery *

Upstairs Galley

  1. Paint
  2. Organize book cases
  3. Clean and paint laundry cabinet*
  4. Hang Mirror

Master Bedroom

  1. Clean out and purge drawers and closet
  2. Refinish bench at end of the bed*
  3. Pick paint colour
  4. Touch up trim
  5. Get rid of fireplace*

Master Bath

  1. To be reno’d later this year, so let it be.

Kid Rooms (Goal: Rooms are for sleeping and quiet activities)

  1. Purge toys.
  2. Purge clothes
  3. Take everything to goodwill
  4. Revamp some storage (Ikea? Yes please.)

Main Bath

  1. Clean out cabinet
  2. Paint*
  3. Convince Ryan we should replace floors in here while when we do our bathroom

Basement

  1. Go through all toys and get rid of at least half.
  2. Come up with a design plan
  3. Pick paint colours
  4. Decide on how to put art on massive walls with out spending a million dollars.
  5. Organize theatre area
  6. Play area needs better storage and furniture.

I’ll keep you posted through the month on any stellar moments, but we do not need to talk about how I got the pee out of my hardwood floors in the powder room due to potty training and general bad aim, not me, Oliver), unless you really want to know….

If you decide to join in, let me know in the comment section!!! I would love to keep tabs on my Facebook Page on our progress. Plus I do much better with accountability.

 

New Year’s Itch…Craving Some Change

 

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So it is a new year, and all of my decorations are pretty much down, except for a few stragglers, and some boxes of bows and wrapping paper that need to go into storage, but I am feeling pretty lazy right now.

Each year when I take my Christmas decorations down I feel like my  house goes from wow to super blah. This could be post Christmas blues, but I am fighting the urge to revamp a little. Except I have no money after Christmas. If you can afford decorate after Christmas, congratulations.

Still, I have been thinking about changing some of my cushions/curtains. These can be relatively cheap fixes. I have these valances that are a few years old now and while I still love the blue, I think they could use a little spiffing up. Or maybe I will just take them down.. Or spiff them up…. I also have the curtains that I completely shrunk that need serious help.

Have you been to Spoonflower? I am in love with this fabric/wallpaper site. The prices are not too bad and you can pretty much find ANYTHING. People upload their own designs and sell their fabrics. I have a soft spot for the little guy and their are some brilliant designers here, so I like to support them. I feel like I am getting awesome fabric and doing good in the world. I bought their fabric before for a pouf I made for Ollie’s room. It is great quality and holding up well, considering Oliver is constantly rolling it around.

This season I love some of the strong colours and geometrics, but I like to use these trends with a light hand. Fashion can change so quickly, making keeping your home from feeling dated an expensive endeavour. So I’m thinking of sewing some cushions covers, possibly new valances (maybe) or a new slipcover for my ugly chair.

I browsed through Spoonflower’s site last night and picked a few of my faves. I haven’t quite narrowed it down yet, but I do have a thing for navy blue.

 

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1. Gold Dust Gradient Dots

2. Crossed Arrows

3. Navy Diamond

4. Watercolor Feather Chevron

5. Octopus Oasis in Sea

6. Connect the Blocks – Ebony

I would like all of these and am currently in deep thought about the possibilities. The octopuses?  I love a touch of quirk in my house (not twerk).

Of course, not everyone wants to order fabric, dust off their sewing and give it a go. So I found some ready mades online:

CUSHION

1. Jacquard Weave Throw -H&M  $34.95

2.Lappljung Ruta– IKEA $9.99

3. Do What You Love – H&M $12.95

4. Count to Tentacle Nautical Pillow – ModCloth $$17.99

5. Donkey Needlepoint Pillow – Tory Burch $175

 

I can’t handle how much I love the Tory Burch cushion. If you know me, you know, this cushion would fit perfectly into my entire life, but the price…ouch. That may require some saving. Of course now that I made it public, Ryan is going to know how much it costs and give me the serious stink eye if he ever sees it on my sofa. I could just have it out while he is at work. The octopus…the pompom detail, very cute.

 

 

 

 

A Lounge Pants Self Intervention and My One Word for 2014.

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After my last child Oliver was born, I hated my body. Even though I lost most of my pregnancy weight,  everything looked weird. I would try clothes on and stare at the alien form reflecting back at me. I had poufs where I  never poufed. I had big droopy cha cha’s and found myself  missing my double A’s (I never saw that coming!).  The things I used to wear now gave me an obscene amount of floppy cleavage and a big scary fold over the back of my pants. Not the look I was going for.

So I did what any women would do in this state of physical and mental chaos. I gained weight, stopped working out and let myself go. The depression that had been chasing me took over. Okay, maybe not every woman would do what I did, but that is what happened to me. Sue me

I had spent  twenty years a very long time in the beauty industry  working as a hairstylist. I had worked in a high end salon that demanded I looked well-groomed and stylish at all times. After years of living in that world, I was having an image crisis. I used to help women through these. I felt like a shadow of myself.

Nothing in my closet fit anymore and then one day I discovered P.J./lounge pants at Costco that could be worn in public and to bed. So I slept and ventured out in the same pairs of stretchy pants for days. I stopped wearing makeup and doing my hair;  it seemed silly to do when I was wearing lounge pants 24/7. I began to think of myself as “The Mom Who Let Herself Go”.  I believed people were whispering “Do you see much weight she has gained?”  I felt ashamed and suddenly wished instead of getting fat I would become invisible.

Alright, fat is harsh and you may be reading this and thinking what on earth is she talking about? I’m sorry, but this was a lot bigger then exploding out of my pants. My soul was hurting.

At the beginning of 2013, I weighed the most I have ever weighed not pregnant.When I stepped off the scale I made a quiet decision to change. So quiet, I would not even acknowledge it myself, I couldn’t bear letting myself down again. I did drop a bit of weight at first, but not much changed.

Six months ago I am not sure what switched. I was just woke up feeling fed up and I’d had enough. It took the whole six months to lose eight pounds, but I lost it. In case you are wondering,  I stopped eating after dinner (mindless carb fests) and became a vegetarian that still eats bacon (who can resist bacon?). I know, I am not really a vegetarian, but I do eat a lot healthier. I was meat phobic prior, so this switch was really easy for me. I don’t miss it at all, except when I am at the Keg.

It is not the weight loss (well it helped) that has me feeling better,  I think it was the caring enough about me to do something. I believed every negative thing I had told myself when I looked in the mirror, but taking that one small step allowed a hope to flicker in me, it cracked the door open enough that God was finally able to reach in and pull me out of my misery.

I had allowed my weight to become the “thing” in my life. We all have our stuff that at some level we battle with. That thing. I have several, today I feel comfortable talking about my weight and ugly wardrobe.  I can’t say I really have a food addiction. I just overeat carbs….often. This “thing”, I put it on an altar at the centre of my life.  I allowed it to fester and grow, until I no longer had control of it and lost all perspective. It broke my heart.

This year, I am going to look in the mirror. I am going to stop searching for the old me, and embrace the women staring back. Those saggy cha cha’s? They nourished my wee babies. Those really curvy hips? They held my babies.  I will put on makeup and throw away my dodgy lounge pants (pictured above), because even if I gain back fifteen pounds, I am worth it.

This is not a fluffy New Year resolution; this is my truth. The last months of 2013 have left me feeling pregnant with expectation for 2014, I hear a resonating ENOUGH, from heaven. As part the the SheLoves tribe, we ring in our new year with OneWord. This is my third year of choosing one word to shape my year and it is very powerful. I encourage you to check out the links! Mine for 2014 is “Better”, not to be confused with “perfect” cause perfection is for suckers.

It is the promise of a better life.

I want to live better.

Feel better.

Look better.

I want to get better and shake off this damn depression.

I will treat myself better.

I want to change the world for the better and I can’t do that if I am invisible.

For the record, I have gone shopping twice (and bought stuff). I had a massive shop at Sephora($$). I may need to pace myself out though, Ryan will need a second job to fund my self-improvement mission.

Signed,

Hot Stuff.

Happy New Year’s!!!

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Have you ever been in a rut? How did you dig yourself out? I would love to hear it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A SheLoves Christmas Party with Confessions From a Neurotic Hostess

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I recently had the honour of hosting the SheLoves Magazine Christmas Party. When my twin sister got wind of this event, she immediately started sending me pins for our “Writer’s Themed” party.

And so it began. Planning the perfect party gifts and decor for our writers. We put a good amount of time and thought into making this a wonderful night.

 

My sister and her friend designed these silk screened pillow cases:

 

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 Gorgeous, right? Sorry, they are not for sale. :( 

 

We made a book tree and book page table runner…

 

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I contributed a profound chalking:

 

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Very profound..

 

We feasted, laughed, cried and shared from our holiest of places. When the evening was finished, the last guest had left,  I sat on the couch with this final thought:

I forgot to offer the coffee I made at 6 pm. 

I  served that 6pm coffee at 11pm to my guests. 

I am a hostess failure. 

How could I serve coffee that was five hours old? In fairness, my company helped themselves to that crappy coffee, but I ignored that it was so old. 

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 I do this to myself every…single…time. I take a wonderful night, hours of work and find the one thing I did wrong and deem the evening a flop.

Enter Christmas; the time of feast, after feast, after feast. Cue stretchy pant.

I do  love to entertain, but I think I have lost perspective. Messed up priorities. Christmas dinner is not actually about a great Instagram photos (although I do love a good pic!) and Pinterest worthy projects. This crazy shallow view has turned me into a stressed basket-case pre-party and for the duration of the event.  Forty-five minutes prior to the arrival guests arrive,  I start screaming at my family, who have wisely gone into hiding, because they learned what is coming:

 “Where are you guys?” 

“ For crying out loud…….WHO PEED ALL OVER THE TOILET SEAT?”

“NOBODY IS TO OPEN THAT JUNK DRAWER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE!!!”  (Cause you know, someone may discover it does, in fact, hold junk.)

I become a complete lunatic on the verge of an epic meltdown. All to avoid sitting with thoughts of failure at the end of the evening.

 Ina Garten says “The most important thing you can give your guests is you.” When my guests have arrived, there is sometimes only a small piece of me left.

I have an intense fear, that people will realize I have no idea what I am doing. This is because most of the time, I have no idea what I am doing. I  wish an entertaining guru would drop into my life for a spell and show me the way. But then I think of my Gram.

Christmas’s at my beloved Gram’s has left me with so many wonderful memories. She decorated with paper table clothes covered in red and green poinsettia’s. There was tinsel, shiny foil garland and plastic Santa trays filled with bridge mix and nuts. Plates of baking would line every available surface; her work from the last few weeks.  My Gram lived in a humble trailer, it was small and our family was big, but we all fit. She made sure we did.

My Gram didn’t create stunning centerpieces, but did she set a beautiful table in love. She cooked for days, and poured her heart in everything. She managed this all this without Pinterest. I wish I still had her; she would sort me out.

This is where I keep going wrong.  If I  work myself to the point that I forget the point, what’s the point?  GET THE POINT? 

These moments that we set aside in our busy schedules in life are about communing and  gathering. Sinking our toes into the soil a little deeper, birthing traditions and observing the old. We are creating memories. It is the times of  year we come together in dysfunctional glory.

 We were all born a mess, but when we gather, we can become a beautiful mess. That is perfection.

I loved my SheLoves Party. There was a whole lot of love poured into and through that night. I even forgive myself for serving super crappy coffee. Now as I set the table for Christmas, all that little stuff that I am worrying about and will never get to anyways, I am letting it go.

I am letting go of the crazies, and clinging to joy.

And I am going to love what I am doing with everything in me.

And even if my meal is a complete fail, I know sometimes the biggest misfortunes can turn into the best memories (or lessons).

Last night my sister reminded me of when I tried to broil my turkey to hurry up the baking. It was raw on the bottom and burned on the top. This may have been because it was frozen when I put it in.  I have come a long way….

So…do you have any Christmas advice, blunders, best memories you want to share? I would LOVE to hear them. 

I hope you have a Merry Christmas and feel the love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Daniela Schwartz © 2013. All Rights Reserved.