When you can’t find your Christmas Spirit

(An affiliate link is used in this post. If you purchase from this link, I will receive a small commission, at no cost to you) 

I love Christmas. I’ve said it before.

But last week, I found myself stressed out and absolutely not in the Christmas mood. I look forward to this time of year, all year, but I can try and cram too much into it, leaving me tired and pissy. Lol

I did an informal survey on my Facebook page asking how many had the Christmas Spirit and I was a little shocked by how many said they did not. 

It’s perfectly understandably, really. We have pretty high, pretty unrealistic expectations for this time of year and when the ‘holiday season’ doesn’t measure up, it can put us in a slump. All of this on top of the day to day duties that don’t go away just because it’s Christmas. 

When I was younger, I struggled with the ‘Winter blues.’ I absolutely LOVE the cold weather and all that comes with it but I would often get depressed. Maybe it was unmet expectations and maybe it was something else, but it was very real. 

I’m going to list below some ideas that help me when I can’t find my Christmas Spirit but I don’t want to gloss over the fact that for some, this is a very difficult time of the year. If that’s you, I want you to know, that I understand. 

I can remember one Christmas season, I was probably 21 or 22 at the time, I was lying in bed, looking up at my makeshift Christmas wreath on the wall of my tiny 300 sq.ft. studio apartment. This “wreath” was nothing more than tied-together pine tree scraps that I found somewhere then I wove an old strand of colored Christmas lights onto it. It was my Christmas tree, because I couldn’t afford one.

I was crying.

The room was dark, lit only by the tiny colored lights and it was quiet. My ears were filling up with my tears as I lay there. I was alone.

I was sad and I was exhausted. I was managing at McDonald’s at the time where it took me 45 minutes to get to work, on foot, every shift. 

In my little world, everywhere I looked, I saw pain and difficulty and hardship. I saw nothing to be happy about in that moment. 

Both my heart and the room were filled with heaviness, it was my favorite time of the year but my Christmas Spirit was nowhere to be found. 

 My husband and I have worked very hard to get where we are now and thankfully those sad days are few and far between. But sometimes when I’m lacking adequate rest or overwhelmed with life and not able to do all that I want to in the Christmas Season, I will slip back into Boo-ville, lol these are some of the things I recommend to ignite our Christmas Spirit:

Give a gift
This may feel cliché but the old saying – it’s better to give than to receive, is actually true! This gift doesn’t have to cost you a thing, it can be as simple as walking a neighbor’s dog for them, babysitting a single mom’s kids so she can get some shopping done or some much needed rest, taking your gently used clothing to a woman shelter, inviting someone over for a cup of coffee or a simple meal or just visiting an elderly neighbor. You absolutely will feel better when you give a “gift” to others. Try it!

Take some time to reflect on your blessings
My entire life I have battled the depression demon. I have to will myself to find the good in things because by default, I see the bad… and then wallow in it. lol
But I know this to be true, there is always good to be found, even in the darkest situation, we just have to train ourselves to look for it. When we choose to focus on all that we have vs all that we don’t, our entire outlook can shift. We are so blessed, every one of us. 

Crank up some old Christmas tunes that you love
One of my favorites from my childhood is Silver Bells by Bing Crosby and Carole Richards, it was old when I was young but it brings back so many fun memories. Another is O Holy Night by Mariah Carey and the beautiful Carol of the Bells by Pentatonix.
What are your favorites? How long has it been since you cranked them up, sang at the top of your lungs and danced around the house, if you felt like it? Music is powerful. Let it remind you of the beauty of the season.

Watch your favorite Christmas movie
When I have the Christmas/Winter blues I need to be reminded how good my life is. One of my favorites is the movie: One Magic Christmas

Copyright: Walt Disney Studio

Have you seen it? The young mom in the movie is completely stressed out and disillusioned with life and the season. She receives the “gift” of a great tragedy to make her realize how good her life was. I hope you’ll check it out, it’s a game changer! You can purchase it here on Amazon or possibly find a bootleg copy on youtube. :-) 

Remember the reason for the season
If you’re a person of faith (like I am), sometimes the only thing that will do the trick is to read The Story in Luke, chapter 2 to recalibrate our thinking. There IS a reason we celebrate Christmas and that is the birth of Jesus Christ. One of my all time favorite books to read during the Christmas season, especially if I’m in a slump, is An Angel’s Story by Max Lucado. 

Copyright: Max Lucado

It’s a short but fascinating, fictional account of what may have happened in the spiritual realm during the birth of Christ. It completely takes my mind off of what I may be dealing with and puts my focus on what really matters and that is the miracle birth of baby Jesus. You can purchase it here with my affiliate link from Amazon.com. Add it to your cart with all your other purchases and let me know what you thought of it, I’m sure it will become part of your Christmas tradition, too! 

I wish you all the best of this beautiful season, friends! Maybe do something you’ve never done before to receive a gift that you’ve never known before. :-)

Blessings on you and yours,
Catrina

Oh Christmas Tree!

Earlier this year, when Summer was giving way to Fall, l was suffering with insomnia. Night after night I was wide awake long after I had hoped to be asleep. At first, I was stressing about it, I knew how much work I had to do during the day and being sleepy all day was not part of the plan. After the first few nights I knew I had to switch my thinking, stress is not good for the body and it clearly wasn’t changing the situation.

So I started to think about Christmas. Without question, it’s my favorite time of the year. As a December baby, I feel most like myself in the cold winter months. (Everyone tells me that that doesn’t have anything to do with it, but I don’t care, I think it does. lol)
I began concocting elaborate decorations in my mind, trees decorated like I’ve never seen before using colors I’ve never seen on a tree. To pass the time (and not focus on the fact that I wasn’t sleeping) I dreamed up opulent garlands and wreaths loaded with fruit and flowers, they were amazing!

My insomnia finally passed and right after Halloween I began to see Christmas trees popping up on my instagram feed. Oh no, too soon, I thought! There seemed to be an unspoken contest to be the first to post their tree and decorations. Towards the middle of November, I was hard pressed to find a post that wasn’t Christmas related.

I started to notice, again, the overly styled photos, that looked an awful lot like all the photos before them. It was easy to spot the trends. It was easy because they were everywhere, in nearly every photo.

We got super busy in November, we had our 16th annual bowling tournament for our non profit, finished up a few bits with our kitchen renovation, hosted Thanksgiving and then my niece’s wedding. Before I knew it, it was time to decorate my own home for Christmas.

I confess, that for a moment I began to overthink the decorating of my own home. I feel in a small way that because I talk frequently about decorating and home decor that my tree and my home needs to be “picture perfect” and/or “share worthy”.
Foolishness, I know, but those thoughts ran through my mind.

Then I thought about all the millions of women who follow the trend setters, style makers and influencers who will never post a photo of their Christmas tree (that they love) because they don’t deem it “instagram worthy.”

How very, very sad.

I didn’t go with my opulent decorating plans. Somehow after the intense November that we had, I only wanted calm, traditional and predictable.

So my tree looks exactly like it did last year.

It has no particular color scheme.

It’s faux.

It’s not flocked.

It doesn’t have a fancy ruffle skirt or a trendy box.

It’s not share worthy.

Catrina-At-Home-Christmas-tree-2018.jpg

But I love her.

When I see her, I see ornaments that my nieces and nephews made me, ornaments that were gifts from friends, ornaments that I found at estate sales, one ornament that has survived since my childhood and ornaments that I made because there was no money to buy any.

This tree tells a story, our story. And like so many trees in so many homes across America  they will likely not receive any ooohs and aaahs from others but they will do what they were designed to do, bring a few days or weeks of joy to our homes and lives. And that friends, is what decorating should be about.

Maybe next year will be calmer and I can revive my dreams of opulent decor, or maybe not, who knows? What I hope more than anything is that we all have the courage to buck what is expected and pursue what is right for our families in this season. Because that’s what will make the season memorable! I don’t want the 2018 Christmas season to pass in hurry and stress, it’s too important to me.

If you haven’t already, I would LOVE for you to share your tree with our little community on Facebook! Just click here to post a photo of your tree in the comments and tell us why it’s special to you.

Blessings on your home this season,

Catrina

 

 

3 Ways to Instantly Improve Your Home for the Holidays

The holiday season is in full swing and I’m excited!

I was in one of the home decorating groups on Facebook recently and I saw a comment that a woman made on another lady’s Christmas decorations. The commenter was bummed and she said, “I’m not doing anything this year because I don’t have the money. Me and my house will be sad this year, but oh well.”

Her comment made ME sad!

I wanted to reach through the screen and say, “Don’t give up so easily! There is much you can do for your home to make it feel warm and cozy and someplace you want to be!”

So I put together this short list of  3 ways you can instantly improve your home for the holidays:

  1. Turn on some tunes!
    Music is transformative. It has the power to encourage, empower, brighten and lighten you and the mood of your home! Whether it’s Christmas music in your favorite style or by a favorite artist or music from your high school or college days or even a favorite movie soundtrack, don’t underestimate the power of some good tunes to change the mood in your home for the better. And best of all, even if you went to buy music from a music store, vs a download, it’s very affordable, definitely a good bang for the buck.

    close up photo of a woman listening to music

    Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

  2. Put on your favorite scent!
    Burning candles or incense is another way to instantly transform your home. When you or your guests walk into your home and it smells amazing, it’s an instant atmosphere shifter and mood lifter! Even the smallest, darkest space is brightened by a burning candle, there’s just something about it that says, comfort. Most of us have candles tucked away that we have forgotten about or just don’t use, I encourage you to pull them out and burn them often to lift the spirits of your home.

    burning candlelight candles container

    Photo by Adrianna Calvo on Pexels.com

  3. Smile!
    This may seem obvious or even simplistic but it’s probably the most important. Our smiles tell ourselves and others that we’re optimistic about the future, grateful for the present and happy to be here! What it doesn’t say is, everything is perfect, we have zero problems and thousands in the bank, etc.. Those things don’t have to be true to wear a smile on our faces. However humble our homes may be, however humble our Christmas may be, we can still live in gratitude and that will always change our attitude.
    A smile says, welcome! It also says, I’m choosing to focus on all that I have vs what I’m lacking this season. Trust me when I say that a friend would rather share a bowl of ramen noodle soup with you in a cheerful, welcoming home than an fine meal in a highly decorated, squeeky clean mansion where they feel unwelcome or unwanted.
    Your smile can transform your home.. and you!

    pasta dish

    Photo by Buenosia Carol on Pexels.com

So remember, it doesn’t take a lot of money or much effort to create a home that is cheery and inviting. We have got to resist the notion that is pushed on us from society that we need the latest and greatest things to have a nice home or a nice holiday. We don’t.

We are the makers and shapers of our homes. We set the pace and the priority.
We determine whether or not we have a good holiday. The choice is always ours!

 

Blessings on you and your home,

Catrina

Holiday Overwhelm

As I’m sitting down to write this, I confess I’m feeling stressed.

My to-do-list to get my home ready to host Thanksgiving for my family is a mile long and I’m running out of days to work on it.

I’m not a procrastinator, there have been a few (very important) things that have delayed my attention to said list but the fact of the matter is, I’m still behind.

Did I mention we were in the middle of renovating our kitchen?

Did I also mention that we are hosting our big annual fundraiser for our 20-year-old non-profit this weekend?

Anyone else feeling the strain of Thanksgiving preparation?

I love Thanksgiving and I love having my family over for such a wonderful holiday, so naturally, I want it to be ‘perfect.’

What is perfect, though? I ask myself.

When I stop stressing myself out over whether or not the crown molding is going to be painted in time, and I chill out for a hot second, I remember that what makes it perfect will be everyone being there and enjoying themselves.

That may be corny to some, but that’s what it really boils down to, doesn’t it?

I’m trying to remind myself of these three things:

Prioritize
I.e. determine what is most important. For me, as I stated above, is that all of my family can be here for Thanksgiving and everyone enjoys themselves. So simple. And this is largely determined by me and my attitude on that day. It’s my house, I set the tone. If I’m stressed, everyone will feel it. Consequently, if my attitude is gratitude, they will feel that and feel at ease. When I keep my focus on that, that is something I can work towards and it has nothing to do with whether or not the recessed lighting gets put in.

Let go of the ideal
We all have an idea in our head of how things ‘should’ be for the holidays, right? The food is supposed to taste perfect, the house is supposed to be uber clean and decorated to the nines and we’re supposed to look amazing, too! Perfection, everybody, perfection!
But you know what holidays stand out in my mind? The ones that didn’t go according to plan, the ones where something unexpected happened. Like the Thanksgiving the pecan pie filling was green. no joke! lol #PieFail Or the Thanksgiving my chunky little nephew took his first steps. sniff, sniff. I love him so much!
Perfection is boring, we must let go of the ideal and embrace… life.

Embrace the imperfections
Two Thanksgivings ago we hosted the holiday at our house with cardboard taped down in the dining room. This was because we were renovating the dining room that year and needed to protect the floor. We stopped the renovation, cleaned the place up as best we could and invited everyone over. It was an awesome Thanksgiving, the food was amazing, no one was fighting, lol and we all had a great time!
I have already accepted that my old sliding doors are not going to be finished in time before Thanksgiving, I guess I need to sit down and rationally work through what is possible to get done (without killing myself or my husband) and what I need to let go of. The food won’t taste any better or worse if I don’t have a backsplash in my kitchen, right?

I  feel myself a little less stressed now than when I started writing this post. Thanks for ‘listening’ to me work through what’s important. You all are the best.

If you’re starting to feel the stress of the holiday, too, my hope is that you will be able to prioritize what truly is important, let go of the ideal and embrace the imperfections of real life. The holiday will likely be messy.. but amazing.

Blessings on your home,

Catrina

 

 

My home = Me

It’s been said, more than a few times, that our homes are reflections of who we are.

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As in, the current state of your home is a mirror of your current state of mind, what’s going on, on the inside.

If you’re honest with yourself, would you agree with that statement?

This maaaay or may not be something that’s fun to think about. lol

gulp.

How do we feel when our home is freshly cleaned, the laundry is folded and put away and there are no dishes in the sink? I don’t know about you, but that one time that happened, I felt pretty amazing! LOL

After a little thought and a little looking around my own space, this is what my home, at this very minute, is saying about me (good and bad, lol):

1.  There are a lot of areas that I want to improve (they don’t reflect how I currently feel about myself.)

2.  There are a lot of areas that need to be completed, they are unfinished/unrenovated. (I still have a lot of personal work to do.)

3.  I have done so much decluttering, but I still have a ways to go.

4.  I’m still working on defining my true, personal style (I got a late start, that’s a story for another time).

5.  I am most definitely a Creative Soul.

6.  I take risks in some areas and play it safe in others.

7.  I have a quirky, mischievous side.

8.  My colors truly reflect my personality:
loyal, trustworthy, dependable, passionate, energetic.

What does your home say about you? :-)

This exercise doesn’t have to be a negative experience, if we are willing to look at our personal spaces with fresh eyes, we can learn a lot about ourselves!

Think about it..

Ever known someone with an immaculate home where everything is in order without a speck of dust anywhere? I’m not talking about special occasions, I’m talking everyday life. Would you say that person likes to be in control? Would they follow behind you re-fluffing the pillows and putting a coaster under your glass? Their perfectly controlled environment is reflecting their desire to either be in control or appear to be in control.

Without getting too deep, those who have every square inch of their walls covered with decor are sometimes feeling the need to hide or cover up some aspect in their lives and will feel vulnerable or naked if their walls are bare.

The other day, I was looking for a pair of earrings and it struck me, just as I would never be found living in a home with a matching set of sofa and chairs (just my personal preference, not a rule for everyone), I also do not own any jewelry sets with matching necklace and earrings. Weird, right?

That absolutely isn’t a conscious decision. I don’t consciously choose to not buy matching sets of furniture or matching jewelry but when I buy what I like, not giving any thought to what others expect me to like, I naturally gravitate towards what coordinates vs. what matches.

This is my home and personal style reflecting who I am.

So, when I look around my home (that is a true reflection of who I am in this moment), as much as I may not want to admit it, I have some work to do. I understand that I am under construction and my home definitely reflects that.

But.. I also see objects, artwork and furnishings that I love to look at and be around. I bought them because they said something to me and I see myself reflected in them, and I’m at home with what I see.

Our homes are ever evolving, (hopefully) just like us. May we give ourselves and others abundant grace during the transitional times.

I would love to hear about what your home is saying about you! The good, bad and the ugly, all are welcome. :-)

 

Blessings,
Catrina

 

 

 

 

New Project: Dining Room Sliding Doors

A common problem with one-hundred-year-plus-old homes is a small kitchen.

One of the first projects we did in our home was to knock out the wall between the butlers pantry and the kitchen to expand it but it’s still pretty small by most standards.

The only time I feel the small size is when we have family gatherings. And boy, do I ever feel it.

Try as I may, try as I might to get everyone to hang out in the dining room or our spacious living room, everyone flocks to the kitchen and it instantly becomes 20 degrees hotter in there. No bueno.

After thinking about it for some time, my solution was to expand the doorway to double its size. This meant I was going to lose a 30″ lower cabinet on that wall, a small bookcase and a 48″ upper cabinet.

Catrina at Home kitchen

My kitchen, looking into the dining room.

 

Dining room

This is the dining room with the original swinging door to the kitchen.

I was also concerned about privacy. I was used to a door between the kitchen and the dining room and I wanted to be able to be in the kitchen with a door shut and not be visible from the front room or the dining room. I know that may seem strange to some but it was a non negotiable for me.

I finally came up with the idea to install to hanging/sliding doors in the dining room with privacy glass. Now I needed to find these doors.

Our 1908 Craftsman Bungalow has all the original architectural elements. Including the solid wood five-panel doors, eight inch baseboards and five inch door casings and crowns. I wanted to make sure we didn’t bring anything into the house that didn’t fit in.

My ever so resourceful husband found these barn doors on eBay from the late 1800’s.

IMG_2625

1800’s barn doors found on eBay.

What a guy!

But they needed a ton of work.

So much so that I started and stopped work on them several times over the course of two years. They needed to be reinforced and of course, patched, sanded and painted.

Enough is enough and I’m determined to have them done by Thanksgiving of THIS year! (2018)

Here’s an update video on how things are progressing since Monday morning:

 

 

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The trouble with ‘neutral.’

I have a love/hate relationship with trends.

It’s always fun to see ‘popular’ designers make their predictions for the year and  introduce new and tried and true ideas to the mainstream.

The trouble begins when we start listening to and following the ideas of ‘experts’ instead of our own intuition.

Then there’s the ‘pack mentality’, where we follow and copy the designs of those that we deem are ahead of said pack. They may be bloggers, you tubers or instagram influencers. But we find some we like.. and we imitate. Why? Because they’re popular and their homes get thousands of likes, so instead of figuring out what WE like and don’t like, we just adopt their style and claim it as our own.

Because at the root of it, we all want to be popular with our homes well liked by our peers.

Gulp.

One such trend is decorating in light neutrals.

Disclaimer: if you have done the hard work to figure out your home color story and truly love a light neutral palette, this post is NOT for you! Please don’t take offense where it wasn’t intended. :-)

Everywhere you look on Instagram and Pinterest you will find homes decorated in a light neutral palette. EVERYWHERE. It’s like these homes are mating and birthing new ones everyday. I’m serious! LOL

In every style you can imagine, with one thing in common, the lack of color.

(For the sake of this post let’s define “light neutral” as any shade of white or ivory, light gray or light tan.)

My concern, if you can even call it that, is that ‘going neutral’ can be a socially acceptable alternative to having to make tough choices about color.

There, I said it.  Neutral = non commitment.

It’s much easier to:
a.) copy someone else’s style on Instagram than to figure out what you really love, and

b.) buy anything and everything in white, gray or tan than to figure out your home color story.

Catrina At Home Ashley Furniture

Photo credit: Ashleyfurniture.com

Here are three common reasons for going with a (default) neutral palette:

  1.  Folks don’t know where to start with their home color story
    Figuring out a color scheme for your home can be difficult, I understand. But if you are drawn to color but are living in a (default) neutral home, this is work that’s worth the effort! I highly recommend looking up various colors and color schemes on Pinterest and finding out which ones speak to you. Take fifteen minutes a day for a few weeks to invest in this exercise and I promise, the colors you are drawn to will start to jump off the screen. Make a note of them!
  2. Folks aren’t brave enough to embrace their own choices
    I gotta say, this really makes me sad… and angry. lol Social media has made it commonplace for friends and family to give their unsolicited opinion on.. well.. everything, including your home, and it can make a person gun shy about stepping out of the norm.
    I encourage you to do it anyway.

    Life is hard enough without putting ourselves in prisons of our own creation.

    When thinking about what colors you want in your home, how they are going to be received by others should never enter your mind. This is your home. It should reflect you. When you put in the work to figure out your tastes and have the courage to embrace your uniqueness, your home will be a place you love to be in!

  3. Folks just want to fit in with the crowd. 
    It’s high school 2.0. No one wants to be the oddball or the outlier. Everyone wants to fit in, with the in-crowd.
    We are all created so uniquely, why do we try so hard to suppress those characteristics that make us special?
    So many neutral spaces that I see, lack personality and contain what so many other neutral homes have in them. If you’ve seen one, you’ve likely seen them all. I can tell absolutely nothing about the homeowner by looking at the photos of their homes. :-(
    I’m not talking about standing out just for the sake of standing out, but I am talking about embracing your unique personality and tastes and letting that shine through in your choices for your home.
    I realize this is harder for some than others, but we can do hard things. Oh, yes we can! :-)

Again, if you truly like a neutral palette, embrace it! But if you have defaulted into this color scheme because ‘everyone else’ is doing it, first of all, don’t beat yourself up. Secondly,  take some time to figure out who you are and what you really like and thirdly, start by adding in small touches of your color story to see how it feels.

Above all, remember that the journey of discovering your color story and your decorating style is a very personal exercise. Quite closely linked to your journey of personal discovery.
Our homes are reflections of us. In their current state. (Gulp)
The more confident we feel personally, the more confident we will feel in our choices.

We’re all in this journey together friends and our homes (and our lives) are worth the effort. :-)

Blessings,

Catrina

 

 

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The never ending story…

Are you who you were five years ago?

Probably not. And that’s a good thing!

I read a blog post the other day on this topic. Then I heard it mentioned on a podcast this morning. And just a few minutes ago I saw a Facebook post mentioning the very same thing.

In my world, this is called a sign. Three times is a confirmation. :-)

So naturally, I had to share it with you.

The topic is simply this- Your home decor is a never ending story.

Does that make you uneasy?

If you’re doing it right, your home decor should not be a one-and-done kind of deal. Decorating your home is not something you do, and then you’re done. And the number one reason for that is this- as you continue to change and evolve,  so should your home.

Renovation shows give us a false idea of how things work. A designer comes in, knocks out a few walls, decorates the whole place (in their style), and…. the end! Everyone’s happy and excited and they’re all done! Like forever.

Our homes should reflect us and if they truly do, they should also change as we change.

So how does one afford to pay for their ever changing personas?

Is this even possible?

Here’s three tips to help your home stay current with YOU:

  1. Never go all in on one style.
    This is my general recommendation for decor anyway (it dates your home), but having to replace a few pieces is much easier and much more affordable than having to replace nearly everything in your home when you get tired of it in 3-4 years. (Dang that was a long sentence, but you get the point.)

    I know it’s easy to throw out a common word to define our style, but just as your personality cannot be defined with a single word or short phrase, your ‘style’ should not be described in fewer than 5-7 words. When you fill your home with objects you love vs. what fits into a certain style, it’s easier to update by just replacing a few pieces over time.

    catrina at home : @dobbinstcoop
    Photo credit: @dobbinstcoop
  2. Shop secondhand.
    Y’all know I’m a huge fan of estate sales, garage sales, craigslist and second hand stores. While it’s true that I can find unique items (and furniture) for my home, I also save a ton of money in the process. 

    When I pay 1/4th of the retail price for a couch or 1/16th of the retail price for a rug, I don’t feel so bad about replacing it in 3-5 years. And of course, I sell my old one on Craigslist so the ‘new one’ is even more cost effective.
    This doesn’t mean I didn’t know what I liked when I bought the first one, I absolutely did, but I accept that I’m changing and growing and so are my tastes.
    I do find that the older I get, the better I do at choosing bigger items that are closer to who I am and how I want to be reflected in my home, which leads me to my next point,

  3. Don’t go trendy on the big stuff.
    There are some furniture styles that are classic choices. These styles have stood the test of time and are good foundational pieces in your home. These are pieces that (if they’re good quality) you can have for 10, 15+ years, regardless of the current trends. These classic styles/pieces are what you want to look for. 

    Textiles (curtains, blankets, throw pillows, bed spreads, table cloths), Paint, knickknacks, artwork and even smaller pieces of furniture are a great way to infuse your personality into your home, over time and without breaking the bank and will not cost you an arm and a leg to replace them. 

As you continue to change and grow, so should your home. You are not a stagnant being, you are learning, expanding and becoming who you were meant to be.

If your home reflects who you used to be it may be why you no longer feel comfortable there. To feel encouraged and refreshed in your home it must reflect who and what you are right now or where you want to be.

Thanks for reading, I appreciate you!

Blessings on your home,

Catrina

 

 

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3 common mistakes found in living rooms

Please know that these “mistakes” have nothing to do with your style or personal taste and they have zero to do with how expensive your furnishings are. This is most definitely not a critique of anyone’s personal preferences. I get so many questions around “what is wrong with my living room?” that I thought I would put the 3 most common issues together in one post.

These pointers are not meant to add pressure on you to change anything in your home. But if you don’t like the way your living room currently feels, check these three things first. Here are three common mistakes I see people making in their living rooms.

Improper spacing of furniture
I see this everywhere.
It’s either too close (the coffee table is practically kissing the couch), or its too far apart (all the furniture is against the walls). Here’s some useful info to help you with your furniture arrangement.

Catrina at Home living room

Example of coffee table too close to couch.

  • Ideally, the coffee table should be around 18″ from the couch. Enough for decent leg room yet close enough to be able to put down drinks and appetizers. A coffee table that is too far from the couch (or anchor piece of furniture) is a useless piece of furniture.
  • Furniture should be placed in the room so that when seated, people are no more than eight feet apart from each other. This is called a conversation arc. When furniture is placed too far apart it discourages conversation and people feel disconnected from one another.
    Unless that’s your goal, lol keep the furniture within the conversation arc.

 

Wrong size area rug
I’ve seen this in million dollar homes and one hundred thousand dollar homes, it seems folks from all economic backgrounds need a little help in this area. Here’s the general rule:

  • Your area rug should be big enough so that the front legs of your living room furniture are able to rest on the rug by at least 6-8 inches. Keep in mind the ‘conversation arc’ mentioned above when determining how large your rug should be. Most living rooms need an area rug that’s at least 8’x10′.
  • When there is floor space between your furniture and the rug, the room can feel disconnected and uncomfortable. When the front legs of your furniture are resting on the rug it brings a sense of balance and coziness to the room.

    boho-midcentury-style-home-3

    The proper size area rug for this room. Photo: Decoholic.org

 

Artwork hung too high
I have racked my brain trying to figure out why people have a tendancy to hang artwork so high and I cannot figure it out! lol Here is the general rule for hanging artwork in your home:

  • The middle of your artwork should be at eye level, around 60″ from the floor.
  • If you’re hanging multiple pieces of artwork, i.e. a gallery wall, arrange the artwork on the floor and find the middle point, that middle point should be around 60″ from the floor. That’s it! Super simple.

Catrina At Home Gallery Wall

A beautiful gallery wall by Laurel & Wolf

 

Now, having said all that, remember, please remember, that your home is your home. Do with it as you please! Rules were made to be broken and your home is a fun place to throw all the rules out the window and do what you want.

If you have any questions or comments about these common mistakes I would love to hear from you!

Blessings on your home,
Catrina

The (un)original home

I was listening to a podcast today. Something I typically do when I’m cleaning one of our Arbnbs. It helps keep my mind off of dirty dishes.

The podcasts I listen to typically fall into one of two categories: Business or Home. I’m so varied I scare myself sometimes. LOL

Today I was listening to the Style Matters Podcast and the special guest was Heather Bullard who is an Editorial Prop Stylist and Creative Director who’s work can be found in many major magazines. Gorgeous work, by the way.

Zandra, the host of Style Matters was asking Heather about what her interesting job entails and one thing she does is find homes and rooms that can be photographed for magazines. How cool is that?

This is what struck me: Heather said that it’s getting harder to find original homes because there’s so much duplication.
Let’s let that sink in for a moment.
i.e. people have stopped creating original spaces and have started copying each other to such an extent that it’s getting harder to find original spaces.

She sites Instagram with the swipe up feature and Pinterest as the perpetrators of this ‘easier than ever to copy a look’ mentality that stifles our creativity.

Heather wondered if people have become less confident to do things original and on their own and feel a little more secure being one of the crowd, looking like everyone else. She believes there is a culture of timidity that’s paralyzing, where people are afraid to branch out and really do something that they love for their own home.

Y’all know how much and how often I harp on this but I’m not going to be done talking about this for a loooong time.

(Deep breath)

Friend, the easiest thing to do is follow the crowd. The path of least resistance is easy to walk down.

You are a unique creation as varied as a color wheel. Your home should reflect all your facets and flaws, where you’ve been and where you’re going, your personality and your personal style. You are unique!

I urge you, turn off the Instagram and Pinterest if you have to, turn off the ‘advice’ of a family member or friend, take some time to really figure out for yourself what you like and what works best for you and not what will get you the most complements or look the best in an Instagram square. (Sorry if that was too blunt.)

Be bold and courageous in your decorating! Have fun! Pursue the things you love and bring you joy! Who cares if no one else can tolerate the site of it, it’s not their home. :-)

http://allienyc.com/about/

Photo credit: Allie NYC

This is your home. It’s where you and yours go to be refreshed and inspired, nurtured and loved. When one walks into your home it should feel like a big ol’ hug from you because it so strongly reflects you.

I realize this is easier said than done. And it can take a long time to get our homes where we want them. But I always want to be the little bird in your ear that keeps reminding you and possibly giving you courage to… be you.

In your life and in your home decor.

Catrina At Home Milk Magazine

Photo credit: Milk Magazine, Graham Atkins Hughes

I, of course, do not encourage you to do the opposite of what you see everywhere just for the sake of being different but I alway encourage you to follow that gentle (or giant) nudge you feel towards a certain color, piece of furniture or nicknack. Explore it, play with it!
And most of all, think only of how you and your spouse feel about it.

That’s all for now, friends…

Thank you Heather for your insight!

Check out the Style Matters Podcast here and check out the episode with Heather Bullard here!

You can also find Heather on instagram here!

 

Blessings,

Catrina