Making the Old New Again

Occasionally, I find amazing little treasures at flea markets or antique stores– tired, chipped, battered pieces that call out to be restored to their former glory or given a new makeover.  No one wants to be stuck in a corner of a shop, collecting dust… everyone longs to be in a home with someone who appreciates their value.

Medieval Table 2

The beautiful little table inspired by illuminated manuscripts.

As I decorated this table, I imagined it supporting a cup of tea for a woman reading tales of queens, knights, & trusty white steeds.  I imagined it in a very bohemian house where someone meditates serenely, incense floating on the air.  I imagined it in a little girl’s room, holding a small lamp & collection of treasured objects.  I imagined it being useful & enjoyed once again.

Medieval Table 1

Fabric & metallic paint decorate the top of the table.

Inspired by illuminated manuscripts, I refurbished this table with jewel tones– amethyst, emerald, & gold.  All the papers, fabric, & paints combine to put the FUN back into function.

Until it gets its forever home, this table is the perfect height for my coffee mug, journal, & fountain pen.  Treasured once again.

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Shades of Green

The grey of a coming storm brings an electric sizzle to the air & an unrivaled brilliance to colors in my back garden, especially the greens.  Like a photographer arranging a neutral backdrop to enhance the colors in her subject, Mother Earth enhances the hues in nature by rolling grey clouds across the skyscape.

rainy day 1

As the most recent storm approaches, I stare out the window of my sunporch, marveling at the greens & laughing at my inability to name them all, despite growing up with the world-famous box of 64 Crayola crayons with the sharpener in the back.  Let’s see, there was green-blue, blue-green, yellow-green, green-yellow, olive green, sea green, forest green (like that’s one color!!), & just plain “green”. 

rainy day 2

I run outside in the first fat raindrops, absorbing the countless greens of the entire garden at their most vibrant.   I get closer to my viburnum shrub, still countless shades of green on one plant.  Zooming in, closer still, I see countless greens in just one leaf.   

rainy day 3

Grey days are anything but dreary!     Grabbing my camera, I make a vain attempt to capture the many shades of green in my garden before the clouds shift & take some of the brilliance with them. One hot, summer day in the not too distant future, the attention-seeking sun will bleach many of the greens, turning them to dry browns.  Rather than lament the loss, I’ll cheerfully count the reds of berries & blossoms or the yellows of peppers & squash.  There’s always something wonderful to experience in the garden, every second of every day of the year.

 

What Makes a Perfect Day?

What makes an ordinary day more extraordinary?  What makes a typical Saturday perfect?  BALANCE.  Just the right mix of work & play, activity & inactivity, movement & stillness.

We woke to a brilliant sun suspended in a turquoise sky.  Instead of the usual rush, we took our time to enjoy a leisurely breakfast & an extra cup of coffee as the birds soared around the backyard, looking for their breakfast, too.  We agreed that we wanted to get our errands done as fast as possible so we could get back home & get outside.  That we did… in record time!

The garden was calling as it tends to do on a 70 degree spring day.  “Play with me!  Nurture me!, it beckoned.  I played in the dirt, weeding flower beds until my fingernails were full of dirt & my arms tingled from a slight sunburn.

Then, the lawnchair began calling as it tends to do after a few hours of yardwork.  “Sit with me.  Keep me company!”  How could I resist?  I grabbed a novel & a glass of wine, reading in the shade until the next voice called.

My dogs, dozing in the grass, grew restless as they tend to do after too much time lying about.  “Walk with us.  Pet us!”  I stretched lazily then rose to get their leashes.  We had a wonderful walk, enjoying the neighbor’s yards where daffodils & tulips of every color danced in the sunshine.

When we returned, my boyfriend was calling as he tends to do on a Saturday after too much time apart.  “Eat with me.  Spend time with me!”  We made a delicious stir-fry veggie dinner & sipped some more wine as the sun began to set on our perfect day.

There’s nothing better than a day spend doing what I love with those I love the most.

A Splash of Color

My heart practically bursts with joy, wandering my back garden in early spring.

birdseed

Beckoning Birdfeeder

daffodil 1

Daffodil in Bloom

Forsythia

Flowering Forsythia

hyacinth

Inhale deeply… can you smell the sweetness?

little ones

Beautiful things come in small packages.

pale daffodil

Delicate daffodil

puppy fur

Dogs napping on the deck… sure sign of warmer weather.

sedum

Luscious, succulent sedum

Spring Beginnings

Mourning doves coo from rooftops & robins happily chirp on bare branches, announcing the arrival of Spring.  “Welcome back, everyone!”, I say with a smile, always glad to see animals return to the area.

Smaller birds are gathering straw & twigs for the nests they are building in my 14-room bird “palace”.  Soon, baby birds will be heard calling out to their mothers, “Feed me!”  Last month, my boyfriend took down the birdhouse, cleaned out last year’s abandoned nests, replaced rotting wood, & raised the birdhouse back on its post to make it an inviting space for expectant moms.

Birdhouse

Look closely, the middle room on the upper level is already someone’s new home.

Bright greens, yellows, & purples replace the greys, browns, & whites of winter, brightening my mood as well as my yard.  After months of drab neutrals, pops of color dance before my eyes.

crocus1

crocus2

daffodils

I can’t help it; I’m excited!!  I want to clear away the dead plants that no longer feed or shelter wildlife.  I want to throw open the windows so the brisk breeze can deliver freshness & positive energy to my home.  And, I want to give myself a thorough “spring cleaning”, too.  For me, this means releasing thoughts, habits, & experiences that no longer serve the greatest & highest good.

What has been outgrown?

What should be nurtured?

If we tune in to nature & tune in to ourselves at the same time, we’ll find that what’s happening around us is happening in us as well.  New ideas flow like sap.  Dreams blossom into reality like crocuses rising from the decaying leaves.  Seeds planted in our lives mirror the seeds planted in the soil.  The interconnectedness of all things…

When It Snowed…

Last Wednesday, a big winter snowstorm was predicted by the weathermen.  Appointments were canceled & businesses closed in preparation.  I could bemoan the change in conditions that compelled me to stay home… or…

I can be thankful for…

  • the opportunity to stay in my pajamas, while enjoying a leisurely cup of coffee in bed.
  • the chance to daydream as I savor the beauty of snow gently coating the brown earth & bare tree branches.
  • the smell of homemade soup simmering in a crock pot while a double chocolate cake bakes in my oven.
  • time to write in my journal, tucked under a fuzzy blanket.
  • the inks, handmade papers, & paints that were beckoning me to play in my art studio.  (Here’s the result.)

Hands Art Journal

Most of all, I’m grateful for a day to be still & savor the quiet moments that snowfall brings.

Curtains Make It Cozy

With the majority of my kitchen renovation project completed, I can focus on decorating (my favorite part of any home project).  I’ll admit, I’m very selective when it comes to how I furnish my home for a few reasons.  First, it’s a reflection of me.  How I maintain my home says a lot about the kind of person I am.  Second, I want it to be warm & inviting for family & friends.  Third, I know I have to live with my choices for a long time so I want accessories & furnishings to be just right.

I spent weeks looking for curtains in a style that incorporated the golden yellow, sage green, & cranberry red that were in other elements throughout my kitchen.  It’s hard to find things in mainstream stores that aren’t mainstream so I decided to make them myself.  I ordered a beautiful Arts & Crafts-style template, purchased fabric paint, & sewed the curtains so they fit the space.  I visualized the finished product & got to work making it a reality.

stencil 1

stencil 2

It took hours over the course of a few days but they are finally done.  The curtains brighten the space & make it very inviting.  I absolutely love them!!

curtain 3

curtain 1

Handmade curtains, rugs, & decorative items personalize a space.  I hope these photos inspire you to create something unique for yourself or someone you love.

Thoughts Become Things

Am I living a life in alignment with my authentic Self?

Whether it’s the darkness, the cold, the end of the calendar year, or just the fact that I’m not getting any younger, this is a period of rest, reflection, & redefinition for me.

Rest:  I put great care into making my home a sanctuary, a cozy place where I can be still to listen to my heart as well as the great Spirit of which we are all a part.  I take stock of everything in my home, from clothes to decorative objects scattered about.  Do these material possessions speak to who I am now?  Or, should they be given to charity to be appreciated by someone else?  I declutter my home & my spirit.

Reflection:  Through various techniques, I reflect on my values, priorities, & hopes for the future.  Anything in my life not aligned with my authentic Self needs to be seriously reconsidered & possibly discarded if it can’t be transformed.  This period of soul searching isn’t easy.  Not at all!  Change is scary.

Redefinition:  I ask questions such as “What is important to me?” and “Where do I want to be a year from now?”  The challenge of turning my thoughts into actions occurs at this stage.  I can’t simply sit passively, waiting for life to happen.  It doesn’t work that way.  I have to take the first step so the Divine (call it Fate or Destiny) can meet me along the way, illuminating the next step.

It all starts with thoughts… then thoughts become things.

A Gardener’s Prayer of Thanks

One of my favorite autumn rituals is preparing my garden for winter.  I take this time to kneel, putting my hands, prayer-like, on the cool soil, giving thanks to Mother Earth for all she gives to me.  “Great Mother, thank you for your countless gifts this year.  Thank you for the doe who greeted me at my fence at dawn, staring at me as I stared in awe at her.  Thank you for the abundance, from blueberries & raspberries to herbs & vegetables; I appreciate it all.  Thank you for the summer days when my niece & I made fresh pesto from your rich bounty.  Thank you for the returning snakes, spiders, birds, & rabbits who signal a healthy, safe yard where they can eat & take shelter without fear of poisoning from pesticides & herbicides.  Thank you for the moonlight that continues to peer in my window at night, bathing me in her magic.  Thank you for the bulbs that are hibernating, resting before they make an energetic return in the spring.  Thank you for unforgettable times with my boyfriend who loves & appreciates you as much as I do.  Thank you for providing a space for my dogs to nap in the sun.  Thank you for a place to set our hammock & some lawnchairs so friends & family feel welcome.  Thank you.  I’m so very grateful.”

Thank you for a sunny place to rest my paws.

Thank you for the breeze that blows through my ears & tail.

Thank you for the changing leaves & rolling clouds.

Thank you for the dried zinnias, whose seeds feed famished birds.

Thank you for the tools to make my workload lighter.

Thank you for the memories.

I feel like Mother Nature is simply making a costume change, preparing to return in a new, dazzling display of icy blues & snowy whites.  Every season is special & I honor every one.  Blessed Be.

Cobwebs in My Creative Space

I knew it had been a long time since I played in my creative space when I saw a big, silky cobweb connect the ceiling to the top of my art table.  How did this happen?  Creativity is a key component of my life yet I diminished its worth, letting anything & everything else get in the way.  Setting aside the things we love isn’t healthy so I took a couple of hours to clean my art space & reacquaint myself with the treasures waiting patiently on shelves, tucked into storage bins, & hidden behind cabinet doors.  This reawakened my creativity & inspired me to start a new project.  Gathering the paints & objects that “spoke to me”, I went upstairs & decided to transform an old table into something new.  First, I painted it a glossy red, then covered it with gypsy-inspired objects.

It’s important to reevaluate our priorities once in a while, making sure we allow space in our lives for who & what matters most.    To see Gypsy Table & other art work that I have for sale, please visit my shop at  www.etsy.com/shop/PureSusan.