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The Big Tree With a Lesson

If you have read my blog for a year at least, you may remember that I decorate the 15 foot tree at the Unitarian Universalist church we attend in Easton, Maryland. This year I added a new element or two which brought a little different texture to the tree’s design.

The bigger tree on Shalavee.com

The bigger tree on Shalavee.com

The big tree on Shalavee.com

The amazing paper snowflakes are courtesy of the talent of Nancy Sawyer. And the embroidery hoops hold fabric from an beloved and ill fated tablecloth. See the backstory post here and know that this eureka of recycling absolved me and my heartbreak.

The bigger tree on Shalavee.com

As I was standing there festooning the tree with a few of my favorite helpers, it dawned on me that like all the ornaments on this tree, each of us is unique and homemade in our own way. And like the re-purposed materials I used, we are made of the recycled experiences of our family and our own lives. It seemed a simple and yet profound concept. The bigger tree on Shalavee.com

 

Merry Christmas to One and All ! I hope you all find a single moment to know your life is filled with magic and blessings!

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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Christmas 2016 is Decorated

When asked why I hadn’t gone to any effort to wear an ugly sweater to our neighbor’s party, I answered, this is not my realm of effort. I use every drop of my holiday creativity to decorate my tree. My tree is for me and it kicks everyone else’s tree’s butt. Plus at my age, you don’t want to waste an opportunity to look good at a party. Please.xmas tree 2016 on shalavee.com

I usually don’t like to start decorating too early, as in right after Thanksgiving. Because, if I only have a month’s worth of joy for holiday decorations, I want to make sure it extends into the New Year a little. So we collected our tree on December 10th. Got to see our friend Sue too.

The tree took three days to decorate. One session to light with nearly a 1000 lights. One to swag and swath in mesh and ribbons. And one day to put the ornaments on. Because that’s how I Christmas tree decorate. Christmas 2016 is Decorated on shalavee.com

Christmas 2016 is Decorated on shalavee.com

Christmas 2016 is Decorated on shalavee.com

Although the tree got done, the other places in need of styling remained unsatisfactory. And then my inspiration dried up. I lost my mojo, my creative momentum. Until finally, yesterday, I finished up the job. Sheww. Christmas 2016 is Decorated on shalavee.com

Christmas 2016 is Decorated on shalavee.com

I want to have fun every year decorating. And the fine line is between having it be fun and having it be a chore. Between doing it for me or for a greater audience. I watch myself very carefully and I can say that I did well this year. When I was done, I was done.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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Great Gatsby Garden Party

This past Saturday at the end of May, I gifted my services to decorate for our friends Paul and Peggy’s Great Gatsby Garden Party. I luckily was also an attendee so I enjoyed spending most of my day in their lovely garden. under the rose arbor on Shalavee.com

Mark and Shalagh at the garden party on Shalavee.com

Gatsby garden party on Shalavee.com

As I take my party decorations very seriously, in planning my decorations I went right to Pinterest and trolled around for ideas for this theme. The black and white and sparkle was definitely a nod to the Deco era and black tie fanciness but I also knew that this was a garden party and we needed some soft and elegant to balance the glitz.

decorations for the Gatsby party on shalavee.com

The croquet courtside on shalavee.com

A side table croquet court side was peopled with a flask, a fan, and flowers. And we chose to lay blankets and pillows on the ground for a lay-about feeling. The host organized a horse race game from 1930 which was equally entertaining with our friends as horses.

1930's horseracing game on shalavee.com

Dress dummy and mirror for the garden party at shalavee.com

I used a dress dummy and full length mirror as a vignette in the corner of the garden.

Draped rose arbor for the garden party on shalavee.com

arbor roses on Shalavee.com

The rose arbor was the food area and I felt it necessary to visually soften the supports by draping them and then I added a sisal rug to the patio for the indoors outside feeling.

I ordered a lot of flowers, “Ascot” roses, calla lilies, green button mums, and snapdragons to make arrangements for the food and bar tables. The florals turned out way better than I had hoped.

Big arrangement foe garden party on shalavee.comr th

bar table for the Gatsby Garden party at shalavee.com

Garden party food on shalavee.com

When we arrived, the host and hostess had us all open envelopes with secret identities of famous people of the 20’s in them.  I was Georgia O’Keefe. Why not Dorothy Parker I wondered. Thanks be I wasn’t Zelda. secret identity gatsby party on shalavee.com

The hostess and friends at the garden p-arty on Shalavee.com

Florals and lemonade on Shalavee.com

Blush champagne and sparkling pink lemonade, mini quiches, smoked salmon deviled eggs, and lemon bunt cake were all served with flair and care. The day was a little hot but we all chatted in the shady spots and the whole occasion was jolly and lovely. Cheers to a garden party effort well done by the host and hostess Paul and Peggy, and the supporting cast.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Weird Spaces and A Plan

My front hallway has been in a state of disrepair and flux for many many years now. I had done some funky “looks like leather but it’s made out of paper bags” treatment in the area below the chair rail (known as the dado) but I’d ripped that off. And an idea to put up bas relief type joint compound diamonds around the top of the room has now left me wishing I hadn’t. Because those are going to have to be sanded off. Lots of dust. I have been planning a remodel and these pictures sprinkled throughout are my inspirational pics. Yet I wondered what was the deeper meaning of my inability to decide what to do next.

After reading the following article from Kathleen Shannon at Braid Creative, I realized this state of my entry way representative of how I was feeling about me.

“No weird spaces.” by Kathleen Shannon

This has become my mantra as I settle into our new-to-us 1950s mid-century modern ranch my family and I just moved into. You see, we lived in our last house for six years and there was always that one room that was never quite right – it felt awkward, lifeless, and unfinished. In our new house I want every room to feel comfortable, full of life, and conducive for creativity – whether it’s cooking, writing, or playing.

darker floors on Shalavee.com

Darker Floors

When I went through coaching training with Martha Beck she taught us the most interesting concept about the spaces we create. We all know our surroundings impact our attitude, but Martha Beck taught us that the spaces we live in are actually metaphors for our life. This showed up true for me when that one room that always felt funny to me finally found its purpose when I had a baby and it became his nursery (I got goosebumps when I finally made this realization). And every creative I know who is having a difficult time finding focus, clarity, and even clients has weird office space. For example, one of the creatives I’m coaching right now is officing out of her laundry room – yet the rest of her home could grace the pages of Dwell magazine, easily! I wonder how that alone is impacting her creative business.

looks a lot like my hallway but not on Shalavee.com

Try this: take a mental tour of your home and office (whether or not you office out of your home.) Identify your favorite space – what do you love about it and why? Now identify your least favorite space (it doesn’t have to be a room – it can even be a closet or a drawer). What about that space isn’t working for you? How does it feel? How are these spaces metaphors for your life?

Now do this: give some love to your spaces this week. Do a few things to make the weird spaces not so weird. Put on some music, light a candle, and start decluttering and decorating. another kilim rug on Shalavee.com

She asked if this struck a chord with anyone and of course I replied with this.

Kathleen,   
 The weird spaces piece got me thinking. I really believe this is absolutely true. My entryway/hallway is wounded. I began to reinvent it but have not finished the vision. And the same is exactly true for me.  After taking the Braid Branding course, I am still working to see myself as a new entity, artist, entrepreneur, and creative and writer with a “career”. It’s becoming clearer as I work hard to raise my esteem and create projects I like and make connections.
    So my feeling is I need to do something with the entryway even if it’s wrong. Add color and sparkle until a clearer vision comes. Because it’ll never be exact, it’ll always be a work in progress.
    Thanks Kathleen for this thought parallel.
Love it.
Shalagh

painted floor idea on Shalavee.com

Kathleen’s gracious reply was this:

So glad this email struck a chord. 

I love your site – “Practicing the art and mystery of housewifery” is so intriguing! I can see a parallel in “inviting people in” and your entryway when it comes to the work you capture, shape, and share. 
Have a great week, Shalagh. 
Kathleen

 painted front door on Shalavee.com

I was originally really inspired by the idea of painting the inside of the front door a happy color. I love love the painted ombre steps idea and I feel like the right rug will make the most cheerful impact.

another ombre stairs shot on Shalavee.com

I’m hoping that by posting this post I’ll further my process along. And you’ll get to see the before pictures of the hallway when …wait for it… I do my next video walk through. Soon people. Soon. Just a few styling tweaks in the living room.

Wanna see the whole month of 2015 posts? Start here. Yesterday’s post, go here.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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Romance Is Still Popular

I am fascinated when I’m shown which pictures or posts or pins have been the most popular throughout the year on my social media.

I stumbled on my most popular repinned pictures from Pinterest and when I looked at the pictures, I see a theme.

green wash paneling on Shalavee.com
There’s romance in our hearts. Details and scrolls and guild. Destinations and foreign cultures and worlds to discover.

Feather tassle on Shalavee.com

Petticoats and ruffles and feathers and sumptuous walls that ooze with depth of multi-color washes and time.

dark background with elegant spring branch in vase on Shalavee.com

Seems the world wants its “new” tempered with some good old-fashioned depth. And that ‘s just the way I will always want it too.

gem shapes on verdi gris wash background on Shalavee.com

Because that is more interesting to me than white walls.

I can sit and linger in your depth, marvel at your details, and languish in your history.

We could enjoy each others’ company over a glass of absinthe in stemmed carnival glass glasses.

And reminisce about how great and deep we and the world used to be.

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