Friday, November 4, 2011

An Expansion into Slow Living

amazing what happens when you slow sown

This week while I spent some time researching more about the slow home movement, I discovered my search leading me to a variety of other types of "slow" focused concepts. The more I learn and process, the more I realize that this personal endeavor of mine is becoming so much more to me than just a challenge to create a slow home. It's expanding to include a shift toward a slower way of life.

In my opinion, this approach isn't about slowing down so much that a person ends up on the sidelines of life, but rather that he or she takes the time to truly consider the impact, as well as the potential effects, resulting from the choices we make throughout life.

I find it comforting to know that there are people out there, lots of them, in fact, who live wholeheartedly within the realm of slow living philosophies. Among them are mothers and fathers, doctors, teachers, writers, builders, and more. They all see the incredible benefits of slowing down a variety of situations within their lives, whether it be the design and efficiency of their home, their family's hectic schedule and weekly activities, how they spend their money, or even the way they celebrate holidays and other life experiences altogether.

I'm moved by the results of their efforts, and can't help but find inspiration in their willingness to share their own personal beliefs and experiences about slow living, even if it's met with doubt or disbelief. It works for them, and it appears that is simply enough, that is the reward.

I want that.

Two months ago, I began this challenge in an effort to live a more mindful, purposeful life. I love the idea that this is a continual process, one that will constantly shift, and evolve with all of the twists and turns in my life. Yet, what I'm finally realizing more than anything, is that the philosophies of slow living are not representative of some momentary cultural trend- instead they're designed to shape and direct our daily intentions and actions toward creating a higher level of sustainability, as well as more meaningful life experiences.

And that my friends is my two cents for the day!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My 401st Post!!!!!!!!

Wow, I almost forgot to make note of my reaching the 400th post written here on Kate's Musings!

Although I have issues committing (there have been a few times when I've stayed a way a bit too long) I LOVE this space!!! I published my first post on April 15, 2008, in an attempt to create a personal space in which I could pursue my creativity and share my opinions, ramblings, adventures, quests, challenges, achievements, photos, and all around love of LIFE.

I think I've managed to do a bit of that since then, and wrote about it here: The Evolution of Me.

It wasn't long before I wrote about my passion for green living expanding and growing, and as I adjusted to my new role as a parent, I realized that it was now my responsibility to teach my children about protecting the Earth and their environment, as well as their own health.

I wrote about the crazy adventures associated with our moves...from Dublin, GA to Columbia, SC....and then from SC to Birmingham, AL and all of the temporary living in between:

And then there are all of my efforts to capture parenting experiences and so many amazing moments shared with my children, such as this, A reminder of Innocence, and this, A letter to Nate on his 5th Birthday, and this, The Little Things.

Most recently, this blog has shifted gears to focus on slow home living...and I love it. It's a true reflection of where I am in life right now...making desperate, yet, whole hearted efforts to create a home that is both nurturing for my family and efficient enough to help us enjoy more of life, rather than wasting precious time and energy. I'm excited to add to Kate's Musings this area in which I can reflect and document my research, findings, challenges and successes regarding my Slow Home Challenge.

I am not perfect, and I have made lots (and lots) of mistakes throughout my 37 years. I'm a little bit out there, a little bit bold, and a whole lot passionate about way too many things. Yet, here I can be myself, no matter what. I can sit at the keyboard and just see where my mind directs my fingertips...What better a way to grow and learn then by creating a space where one can document and explore all of the possibility surrounding personal experiences?

I love that I have so many friends and family who take the time from their busy routines to stop by and visit here...I hope you'll see my life spread out here for another 400 posts!

Slow Home Challenge: The Living Room

My Living Room

According to the Slow Home Studio, all living spaces (indoor and out) in a slow home should have a natural focal point, access to good amount of daylight, and should also be able to accommodate a variety of uses- without wasted space.

I have mixed feelings about my living room as it is in it's present state. Some aspects of it meet the slow home philosophy, and then there are others that definitely do not.

The rectangular shape of the room works well, and provides enough space to accommodate plenty of room for furniture and playing, as well as a clear, walkable pathway in and out of the room. I believe the TV should NOT be the focal point of this room, so we arranged the couch to face the fireplace. Yet, because we do have the TV in here, it's nearly impossible for multiple people to sit on the couch and enjoy a show without having both their head and body facing different focal points. A bit of a challenge...

It's almost impossible to open the plantation shutters in this room- 3 out of 4 have no wall on which to rest, and have to protrude straight out like an open door.

The floor to ceiling windows should provide enough natural lighting, but because they face the North West of the house, we don't get a whole lot of daylight in here until late afternoon. I have a love/hate relationship with the wooden plantation shutters-they're gorgeous, and help provide extra insulation, not to mention privacy. Yet, they're a nightmare to dust, and in in many rooms of the house, if I want to open them all of the way up, there is simply no where for them to go except straight outward, where they block a walking path, or are even a bit dangerous!

While I'm discussing the windows, I may as well point out these lovely curtains. The previous homeowner left these with the house- for which I'm incredibly grateful. They're well made with a heavier, darker colored fabric, that helps serve as both an additional heating and cooling method. Yet, in order to allow any amount of natural lighting into this room, I need to do this weird twisting thing to the curtains and tuck them behind the shutters. It's really way more work than is needed...The funny thing is that I know all I have to do is install some proper tie backs to make them entirely more efficient, to save more of my time, and to prevent further wear and tear.

My husband is a bit of a gadget/technology geek. As an electrical engineer, he's really quite handy when it comes to anything regarding installing new devices, equipment, computers, etc...but as you can see, his priorities don't often include creating a much more aesthetically pleasing presentation of all the wiring that accompanies such technology. We'll be working on that.

More unappealing wires- not to mention it's a complete safety hazard!

And on that note...yes, what you see in the photo above is an actual hole in the wall. It's been there for about two years now. That is high on the priority list this week!

This a big room. Strangely, it's not because of the actual floor space, but rather the height from floor to ceiling. I see it as wasted space (in fact, if someone wanted, they could build another room upstairs above this space!). But since it's not going anywhere, I may as well find a way to enhance it, to use it, to do...something with it! And of course, I plan to tackle a little bit of the decor while I'm at it.

My goals for this room:
  • install curtain tie backs
  • consider re-arranging furniture
  • make use of extra (wasted)  wall space so as to enhance it and utilize it! (add decor?)
  • fix hole in wall
  • arrange all wires so they're not seen
  • install an outlet in the floor underneath of the couch to prevent the lamp cord from stretching across the floor to an outlet in the wall. (husband can do this!)