Monday, December 5, 2011

Enjoying A Slower, More Meaningful Christmas Season

You probably could have guessed this, but in the past the Christmas season hasn't always flowed very well for me. Don't get me wrong, I've always made it all come together-some how, some way (like most things in my life). Yet, it usually came at a price (like loosing lots of sleep, or not having time to make cookies w/the kids in order to clean the house for company, etc...). And, it always seemed to happen at the very last minute with me running around like a crazy lady charged up on a combination of pure adrenaline and guilt-afterall, my efforts were responsible for building memories for my children!

But this year is different.

With a new found appreciation for a slower, more meaningful life, I started thinking about my vision of Christmas much earlier than I ever would have before. I found inspiration from one of my most loved go to resources, Simple Mom, with her Plan Your Peaceful Christmas series. I began prioritizing certain aspects of Christmas and nixing others. So far, I'm actually feeling ahead, and because of it I've had the time to plan for lots of fun holiday activities, as well as new traditions. It's made such a huge difference-even this early in I just need to keep this rythm flowing!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Slow Home Living Room: Update!

I know, I know, I've been gone for way too long- again. As ashamed as I am to admit this, one of my biggest faults is failure to follow through with all of my many good intentions! Potential New Year's goal- I'd say so.

Moving on... I do have a few updates on some of the changes we've made to our living room to help the room better reflect the slow home principles. I'm so pleased to say that all of them were fairly simple, and cost effective changes, and required very little time and effort to complete! It was just a matter of making it happen.

My goals for this room included the following:
  • 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!)
  • Add cushions to antique wooden chairs to make extra seating more comfortable 
Here is one of the before photos:

And the After:

You can see that the changes here weren't monumental by any means, but they are enough to make a difference. I installed curtain holders on the walls so I could hold back the curtains properly, without having to twist them up and tuck them behind one of the shutters. 

 I also found these fantastic large cushions at a local consignment store. The colors on the fabric match our living room decor perfectly, and they are super comfortable to lean against, which now gives function to these once hard back wooden chairs.

Remember that ugly hole in the wall? In the above photo, you can see that we finally installed a proper box for the speaker wires...however, I still need to patch up the wall along the side.

And that awful lamp cord that ran across the floor...

Well, we installed one of these under the couch, giving us a floor outlet in the center of the room, directly underneath of the couch.

Now we are able to plug in our lamp, and not have to worry about that awful cord running across the floor!

Oh, and when Pete got to work on this project (remember he's an electrical engineer) we discovered something really cool, something that made his work all that much easier- directly under the place on this floor where we planned to install the floor outlet, there is another electrical outlet on the ceiling of our garage. Go figure.

That's when it all clicked-literally. All of the time we've lived in this house, we could never find an outlet that connects to the third light switch on this panel. Now we know. The builder of this home apparently planned to install a floor outlet, but just never got around to making it happen. I'm happy to say that the lamp in the center of our room can now be turned on and off with this switch perfectly! 

As for all that wasted wall space? Unfortunately, I still haven't come up with a solution yet.... Any ideas? Suggestions?

I'd love to hang some large artwork, and would even love to get to work on creating a few pieces of my own artwork to hang...but you know how that goes-my intentions sometimes tend to be a bit too grand. One of these days I'll make it happen!  

In the meanwhile, we've really been enjoying our first cool weather garden! It's been so nice to not have to buy certain produce such as salad greens, beans, and sugar snap peas.

I'm looking forward to expanding the garden next year to include a larger variety of things.

Over the next few weeks (because as you can probably already tell, I've kind of nixed the whole let's get it all done in just 12 weeks idea) I'll be working on the playroom/office/creative space of our house, as well as the kid's rooms. I'm looking forward to it, and am once again feeling inspired!