Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Spring Decor & the Essence of Making a Home

Good morning and Happy May! 

I LOVE the month of May.  It's up there with October for me.

The beautiful, warm, spring weather that has made the grass come back and thicken up and the trees get their youthful green back to them is just my cup of tea... or coffee is more like it.  

Gorgeous flowers in their array of colors are coming back in my gardens and we've filled most of our pots with pretty annuals to adorn the otherwise stark patios on either side of the house.  

The hydrangeas are taking off and should start to bloom later this month, and I have about 12 (twelve!) peony plants that have stolen my heart!  The smell of those is captivating!

I'm always inspired to freshen up inside my house and brighten things up a bit. Putting away the plaids of winter and getting out my spring décor. 

Speaking of home décor, I wanted to show you what came in the mail this week!  We ordered some curtains for one of our long windows in the kitchen. My kitchen is filled with windows showcasing the views of our property and that's one of the reasons we were attracted to this house, but there are evenings at suppertime when the bursting sunset kindly blinds our eyes as we sit to eat.  Not fun.  So I found some perfectly cheery yellow buffalo check curtains from Country Curtains, and I am loving them!

Note that these kitchen pictures were taken on Monday and it was a dreary kind of day outside, so I didn't have the help of natural sunlight.

My mom and I have always liked the look of buffalo checks.  I think it has a very classic Southern feel and that's exactly what I was going for.  Mom has these exact curtains in the red buffalo check in her dining room, and I've always liked the way they hang and look adorning the window. I'm so pleased with the way they turned out in our kitchen! 

With the cream color on the walls the yellow curtains adds a sunny pop of color, and they really compliment the red accents I have.  My favorite color is red so I have many red accents and that's one reason I chose the yellow (technically they call it gold in the catalog), because I was afraid the red would compete too much.  I also like the classic pattern with out subway tile back splash. 

As you know, I don't have a strict "style" that I adhere too, but I do love farmhouse meets Southern.  

I've reread this last night and I was thinking about my "style" some more. I use that term loosely.  It's hard to even say, because instead of thinking sooo much about one style throughout the house I think of how I want that particular space to feel, if that makes sense.  Everything ends up working together I think, but it's probably not anything a designer would put together; because my home is personal reflection of us and and tells our story!

I just want to put things inside my house that please me and make a house a cozy place for us!  Those unique kind of finds, like the ones I have hanging here.  I LOVE collecting things from travels and "hole-in-the-wall" places we visit.  Layering things together add personality and character to a space.

This vintage strawberry tray came from a peddlers-antique mall in Louisville.  It's a favorite I pull out every spring and summer!  The cookbook is something my husband bought me last summer when we visited this very bakery -- The Back in the Day Bakery -- in Savannah, GA.  One of our favorite places to vacation is staying at a cottage on Tybee Island and strolling along the Spanish moss draped live oak tree-lined squares of the old city of Savannah!!!  It's like heaven on earth to us!  If you ever go to there, please do yourself a favorite and visit this delicious bakery!  It will be a special place to remember, and this cookbook has most of their recipes so it helps me to remember that very special morning all the time.

My husband most recently surprised me with this apron at beautiful shop at a winery in Southern Illinois.  The food and atmosphere at the restaurant is wonderful, but this shop was filled with unique finds!

I spotted this apron that used to be a skirt, and I just fell in love with the pattern and colors.  I knew it would be lovely in our kitchen, and so my husband surprised me by buying it for me!  (He's so much fun!!)  I think it's adorable hanging here next to the curtains.

Let me show you a few more little things here and there around my kitchen. My parents gave me this chalkboard at Christmas.  I enjoy being able to write messages or scriptures or songs to fill our soul with beauty and inspiration.

My favorite salt and pepper shakers that look like 2 love birds in a nest, a precious gift from my sister. 

This is how I keep my seasonal coffee mugs!  I love how I can display them all and it feels that much more special to choose one each morning to drink from. I collect mugs and use them like nothing else in the house... we are big time coffee drinkers!


Table is set for supper with my cornflower blue floral china and simple yellow cloth napkins. Store bought rotisserie chicken with smashed potatoes and green beans is the menu.  The yard looks vividly Irish green, doesn't it? Must be all the rain we've gotten. 

At last the sun decided to show up at least for a few moments, so I tried to capture it streaming in!

Home is what you make it. 

It really doesn't matter the size or the style or the views.  We've had almost all of this furniture and décor in a small 1,000 square foot house in the middle of a prairie field, a carriage house apartment over a friend's garage, and even a cape cod cottage in the city that had absolutely no view except for the next house about 30 feet away. 

It doesn't matter! I've always been determined to make a home, even since I lived in our first home as a married couple which was "college courts -- married housing" at the university that was nearly a one room 500 square foot apartment that literally hasn't changed one iota since it was built in the 1950s -- think post--nuclear fallout shelter, cinder block walls, etc.  I laid down colorful rugs over the cold industrial tile and instead of using the harsh fluorescent lights, I set out warm lamps in every space. I set my table for dinner each night, lit candles and put on music we enjoyed, and I made a home out of that sterile place!  Now we look back on those honeymoon days of marriage in our tiny place fondly! 

Home making is in the food we prepare and the coming together almost every night to the same table for supper.  It's the beautiful practice of breaking bread together, be it family or friends.

Home making is being resourceful. Instead of paying for an expensive fresh flower arrangement, snip branches from blooming trees or bushes like this red bud and forsythia.  Another favorite is hydrangea bushes or whatever lovely thing blooms outside in your yard.  Whether it's the homemade desserts or the deli's rotisserie chicken, the secret is in whatever brings the family together!

Homemaking invigorates the senses.  Candles, music, soft blankets, warm bread in the oven, delicious smelling hand soap. 

It's not fancy things. 

You can get an creative as you like, but it doesn't have to be pricey!  Go to the dollar store and pick up what you need, or get out your nicest gifts.  Actually burn that $25 dollar votive that smells like a dream when you're reading a book or you have a family dinner!  It's worth it.

Home making is creating an atmosphere!  Get an inexpensive chalkboard and paint the edges if you like, but there you can write on it something to inspire your family.  Put words in your home that mean something to you and that bring life! That's usually why I write a Bible verse, or lyrics from a worship song.  I have a couple chalkboards around the house for this reason.

Home making is personal.  Put your own personality in your home and then own it! It's your unique style that makes your home interesting and not straight out of a showcase.  I like unique so this is something that comes easy for me.

Home making is not perfection!  I live with a real family and we do life the way everybody else does! Lately I've been the hot mess mama just trying to finish homework in these last few weeks of school.  I've found myself running late almost everywhere I go and yes, I forget to throw out the not-so-fresh flowers before they get smelly! 

I've decided relationships in my life, people in my life, come before home décor! 

So that may look like taking the Christmas tree down a couple weeks late, not scrubbing the bathtubs every week, or having take-out instead of homemade meals...but home making is not perfection, so give yourself some grace!!

You should be proud of where you live. If you aren't, think of simple changes you can make and start with just one today.  It requires little resources, but just thoughtfulness and your own creativity. 

I just showed you a few of my favorite things give me bits of joy in my home, now what's some of yours?  How do you make your home a place your family enjoys?


elizabeth said...

Your home looks sweet and cozy! I love your new curtains and all of those windows!

Debbie said...

Hi Leslie! It's so nice to meet you :) Thanks for visiting my blog.

I love your style! Now I need to go order some of those "gold" curtains!! And I need to change all of my chalkboards today. In fact, 2 out of 4 of them are currently blank, so thanks for some ideas on what to write.

I love the way you describe homemaking - simple and personal. Sometimes in the blogging/Pinterest/Facebook world, we women can feel like everyone else has a home right out of Southern Living, which is just not true.

I am now following your blog, so I'm looking forward to reading more!

Have a great day :)

A Million Skies

H.A.L said...

Hi Leslie,

I love your blog so much! It really brightens my day. We are living in a new house (our very first one!) and at first I was not at all excited about it because we don't have a lot of natural light at the back of the house, and I love light! The front however has wonderful light,thank the Lord. I came across your blog during some cold winter days when I was feeling down and it perked me right up! Your blog has been so inspiring and has really helped me look on the bright side of things to see how we have been blessed by God with a home of our own. I have been making it cozy bit by bit. Thank you for sharing such good tips, recipes and scriptures. = ) I have to ask, where did you find that adorable Jesus/coffee sign?! I really would like to get one for our kitchen too!

Alex = )

Leslie said...

Hi Alex, your kind words have made me smile! I'm so glad my blog could brighten your day and your winter a bit. I love natural light too, so I can understand missing it in the darker winter days. I hope you can see that although perhaps your new home is completely perfect it can be a wonderful home full of life!!! :) The sign came from my aunt who made it for me as a housewarming gift last year, but isn't it so fitting?? Thank you for so much visiting and commenting.

Leslie said...

(I meant to say, is *not*completely perfect...) and I'll add that I have a darker room in my home you probably won't see photographed as much because the lack of natural light. It's very cozy with candles though. :)

The Charm of Home said...

What a great post. Yes, home is what you make it. Have a Happy Mother's Day! Your garden is lovely too!

Michelle said...

You have a beautiful home!

laurie said...

Just beautiful! I LOVE your home, and those new curtains look awesome!