Monday, 22 January 2018

Trendy Terracotta

We don't have to take every home decoration trend by heart. If colors currently on trend are not our favorites we don't have to go and paint a living room wall with the latest shade. Most of the trends I just let go. They might be difficult to modify to a small apartment, don't collaborate with my personal style or are just too pricey/ time consuming to produce compared to the time I estimate they will please the eye. Every now and then a trend seems perfect to my home and add's some interesting detail to the entity. For example last year I was hugely inspired by mirror trends and made a contemporary style mirror wall. Mirror wall completed the style I have in my living room and makes it look bigger.

Quite often it is possible to apply trends in small scale. I browse magazines, blogs and social media and think, now that thing looks great, how could I take part to this? Maybe I could use a trend as an inspiration for table setting, small arrangement on top of a drawer or in a new pillow pattern. Just few people have money to put away all decor and furniture and start from the beginning every season. It is not even something to go for in my opinion. Home is home and built little by little with things that please us and we think are pretty and worth having. It should be a place we can rest in comfortable and aesthetically pleasing environment. Plus it is not ecologically clever to get bored to home decor that often.

When I find a trend inspiring I evaluate on witch scale I will take a part. Will I paint my walls or one furniture? Or is it few small objects that communicate that I am aware of a current style? I go through my cabinets and collect objects that could fit the style. I love this year's terracotta trend because it is warm, earthy and inviting color. At least at the moment I don't feel I need to apply it to my home in large scale but small items fit quite nicely with my bohemian style and deep colors. I changed some winter survivor plants to terracotta pots I bought from thrift store two weeks ago. Then I examined my cupboards to collect everyday items that are in terracotta color or near that. I don't keep every set of plates, vases and candles on show. Most of the everyday stuff is in a cabinet and used when needed. It would be unpractical to have all on show even though every set of plates/ mugs/ vases would be pretty. Trends come handy in choosing what items to have on display at the moment and which ones to put inside a closet to wait for next season.

Now terracotta trend is present in my small home in two arrangements. One on top of a writing cabinet where I have my green plants waiting for spring and light. The other arrangement is inside a turquoise cabinet that has glass windows. The inside of the cabinet is painted with okra and goes perfectly to the burnt and sunny terracotta palette. Items on show are all from my own cupboards, nothing new. I also took candles out from a drawer so I would remember to burn them before light summer days.

What trend would you like to bring in this season? Do you find terracotta inspiring color?

Happy and Inspiring Week My Dear Friends!


Friday, 19 January 2018

Bohemian Style Curtain Makeover...

... and How To Develop Upcycling Skills

Curtains are a home decor element that bring warmth, softness and character to a room. Because I live in a top floor I am quite minimalist with curtains. I have no need to cover whole windows with shades. I use curtains to finish the overall style and to get more color. A curtain in my living room has pink flowers on grey base and it completes the theme of my living room space that is lead by grey walls & big grey carpets and pink cabinet & small pink details. I love bohemian style and in my opinion it is essential to have some color theme so that super colorful details and interesting objects stand out. Otherwise the result is a chaos and beautiful textiles, baskets, bowls and ornaments will be just part of the mass.

Today's curtain makeover is both minimalist and bohemian. Black and white combination allows to layer with flowers, plants, beautiful plates, books, chandeliers and textiles. Yet the curtain is interesting with it's tassel details and real eye catcher. You could also use this side curtain as a wall textile or make two curtains to both sides of the window.

Inspiration to this curtain came from the material and texture. I found natural white 80s curtain from a thrift store. I liked the look even though it was slightly too neutral to my taste. I noticed the curtain has a lots of potential to become amazing bohemian style home decor element. It gives through light and is perfect for spring. I had a ball of black mercerized cotton yarn at home and that was all I needed to update my thrift store find to fit 2018.

I think these kind of earthy, natural white and textured curtains are relatively easy to find. You might not find a curtain that is exactly the same, but eye options with care. You could also use simple and loosely woven white fabric to this project. If you want the curtain to be a colorful element in your home decor, you can choose to use different colors of cotton yarn.

Trends come and go but the best part is that thrift stores have items from the era the same trends were in fashion last time. Usually the latest interpretations to the trend have brought a new twist to the style and you have to modify your second hand finds a bit. It is ecological, fun and inspiring to use recycled materials. Not to mention how much money you can save. Study a trend properly and think through what is this trend about. Is it about natural hues, certain color combination, texture, pattern or ornaments that construct the style. This way you see the potential in items that need a little bit of remodeling. Maybe berry hues and interesting textures are in fashion and you find a perfectly textured fabric you can dye. Or maybe you just need to remove paint from a furniture that has perfect shape.

Bohemian Style Curtain Makeover

You will need:

Natural white curtain that has texture
Black mercerized cotton yarn
Piece of cardboard

Step 1. Fit the curtain to a window. You might need to cut and sew it shorter.

Step 2. Cut 6 cm * 8 cm piece from cardboard. Cut a piece of yarn and place it horizontally. Then round 26 layers of yarn around 6 cm. Knot the piece of yarn tightly and remove the bundle from cardboard. Take a second piece of yarn and wrap tightly around the bundle, from about 1 cm from the knot. Take a needle and thread the yarn ends through the bind. Open the tassel by cutting the loops and trim the tassel even. I made 77 tassels like this to my curtain and it took few evenings.

Step 3. Attach the tassels to even rows using the first knot's yarn ends. If you have a notable pattern in your curtain use it as a starting point to plan the rows. In my curtain I have wide and thin stripes and I attached 7 tassels to every thin stripe.

Do you use recycled or thrift store materials in you projects? Do you follow home decor trends? How do you apply trends to your home, do you prefer upcycled home decor and furniture or all new?

Have the most Inspiring and Relaxing Weekend My Friend! By the way, the lamp you see in the pictures is also a thrift store find, you can find Ikat Inspired Lamp Makeover with Paint from HERE!


Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Reading Notes 3/52: January

Happy Wednesday! It is time for a weekly reading notes post. Today I finished third book for the 52 books challenge. The book is a collection of Franz Kafka's short stories translated to Finnish. It contains all Kafka's stories in order of appearance. 438 pages of small print that holds humor, anxiety and notions human community.

3/52 Franz Kafka: Kootut kertomukset (1997) Best classics hold time and reading Kafka made me forget that even his latest stories are written almost hundred years ago. His world is modern and main characters are going through situations we can relate in 2018. Artist's work is left without audience and respect, single life is full of complexes, some isolate themselves waiting to be found and work doesn't give satisfaction but feels more like a burden.

I enjoyed the dark humor Kafka has put to his texts. Every now and then he nails the essence of singlehood. In Description of a Struggle (Beschreibung eines Kampfes)  a man is sitting alone sipping his drink when his euphoric friend approaches him and begins to tell about his love. He listens to the other man's story involuntarily thinking that if he was on his right senses he would know to leave him alone and not share this subject with someone sitting alone in the corner. When the two walk in the night the main character considers to leave home where warm room, armchair and table lamp is waiting for him and it would be comfortable. But then he comes to think that after sitting to the chair nothing would happen only the lamp would light him in the room. That picture is brilliant and gets to the core. Home is cozy, inviting, familiar but doesn't offer any surprises because nothing will happen but the same old. In Blumfeld, an Elderly Bachelor (Blumfeld, ein √§lterer Junggeselle) main character thinks about having a dog that would wait him when he comes home and give company. Hands up how many of you have considered that option at least once? But Blumfeld also likes to keep his house tidy. And he is afraid that dog will gain weight, get sick and unable to move. Old dog would also remind about it's owners time passing by. Could it be that the experience of being single has not changed a bit in hundred years? The dilemma of a home, and life, that seems to lack something. Everything is basically all right, electricity brings light to an apartment, sofa invites to lay down and relax but something bothers in the quietness. Something that not even the most adorable and well mannered dog can solve.

In A Hunger Artist (Ein Hungerk√ľnstler) main character is a notable artist that makes fasting performances. After some years of success artist's shows stop to attract people. Hunger artist is true to the art and can't stop making performances. People wonder how the artist can stand against hunger for days. Finally he reveals that fasting is actually very easy because he hasn't found food that would taste good. The story describes the essence of being an artist. For someone who has strong intrinsic motivation to do art and create there are no other possibilities. No other way of living comes to question. People with appetite find it difficult to deny food from themselves. But what is easy to some might not be option for all. Being an artist is not always an easy option but only option when easier ways to live are unavailable. Hunger artist's sacrifice is honored among people who see his perseverance and don't know about artist's inner world. Artist gives up from commodities his audience sees as necessity but his necessities are elsewhere. 

The theme of work is also present when main characters battle with motivation issues, low respect and enormous work load. Superiors underestimate their work and question it's necessity. Relationship to the work one is forced to do lacks passion and dedication. Characters are isolated to their offices with their tasks and have to proof their worth. Loneliness and incapability, maybe reluctance in some cases, to adjust to the social life is present in many of Kafka's stories. In The Burrow (Der Bau) the main character is like an animal that has buried itself under the ground where it keeps nest and stores piles of food. At the same time the nest is it's safe place but also a prison. The main character is afraid that it's peace will be broken and someone will invade the tunnels it has created. I was not sure if the fear of being found was actually a wish to be found because there is eagerness to hear someone coming. Character patrols outside it's nest and feels reluctant to leave the home but also to return back. In other stories main characters stay on the background studying how the stream of life passes. Instead of fully participating the social interaction they investigate themselves when trying to follow the given roles that have become burdens, boring routines and expectations impossible to fill.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Slow Season

Weather today didn't invite outdoors to take photographs. It has been grey, cloudy, snowy and windy for several days now. But this is how January looks like and I think every season is beautiful in it's own way. Because of minimum amount of light there was no shadows and very little colors. What is special in midwinter is quietness. Snow insulates sound and all I could hear was strong wind and trees knocking. 

I walked few kilometers path and noticed the subtle hues in the sky. Little bit of pale pink and blue indicating that light is there somewhere behind the clouds. I found a place where I could see far away. One of the most calming things in life is to see far. Climb to a hill and follow river and earth with your eyes. I don't like high places but feet firmly on the ground it is liberating to see the vast land around you and breathe deeply fresh air. 

It might be actually good that there are no vivid colors, strong sounds or scents. You get to relax your senses and upload for spring. Once a year you can think the thoughts gathered to your mind and start all over. It is like a home after Christmas, empty, all bling taken down and waiting what comes next. We all need these slow seasons so that we don't run out of energy. 

Monday, 15 January 2018

One Opinion About Creativity

Quite often people make a mistake believing creativity is a magical force that chooses a person to whom it appears. It is like being creative is something given. You have got a receptor that receives ideas and directions. In my opinion there is no such receptor. Being creative is active process you have to start every day and it requires lots of work. I haven't got a single idea ever just waiting and being passive. Relaxing is one way to process ideas and it might feel like the best ideas come when you just wait but actually the process has been started earlier when you have exposed yourself to something inspiring.

How to start the process then? After you have finished a project you have been working for long it might feel like you need a break. Usually my head feels empty as I have run from project to another for a while. When working with one idea I usually come up with the next one because making is one thing that boosts my creativity. When seasons change or a theme has been worked through there might be a gap between works and you get to start from an empty table. An empty table feels horrifying and inspiring at the same time. First it feels like all ideas have been used and nothing new is coming. That is when I look after sources of inspiration. I like to read, watch movies, collect colors from nature (with camera), walk, go thrift stores, study trends and listen to radio. One way to get started is to choose a material or theme and then brainstorm what it could become. If you are looking after home decoration or craft ideas you don't have to concentrate only on home decor books and trends. It might boost imagination to learn about new phenomenons and ideas outside that focus. Actually reading and learning about something that is totally new to you might open new ways of thinking and with opened senses you come up with new themes in your work.

How do you continue when your ideas don't seem to work? As a crafts person my solution is to soak my hands in the materials, do experiments and then finally decide one path and start making. After a break it feels like the projects don't turn out as great as the last ones before the break. There are days of self doubt. I question myself and why on earth I am continuing this when obviously I am nobody with poor ideas and nothing to give anybody anymore. But you have to start somewhere and make without self critique for awhile. Accept the satisfactory. Or what you consider satisfactory at the moment, it might turn out great when you think about it. Because what I have learned is that when you give yourself to crafting, decorating, writing, or what ever is your way of self expression, you start developing ideas and come up with great new project plans. I could twist ideas  in my head till the end of the world and I would always find something that just doesn't quite work. It is essential to move to sketching and testing. Sketches and tests might give results after a while when you hear something new and two pieces of information combine to one. It could be described as the moment when you have just waited and an idea comes out of the blue. But as you now know it was not that simple and there was lots of hard work included.

What I see as the most relevant thing is to see your self worth and believe that you have great ideas coming if you just give time and effort. Also motivation and determination to create are not to be forgotten. Creativity is not a narrow group's privilege and there is no division to creative and non creative people. There are creative people in all fields with different interests and specialties. Still it might arise critique if you consider yourself creative and you might get pressure to proof it. But after all only person who needs to be reassured is yourself. And that means, again, lots of self reflection and work.

Creative and inspirational week to you all!


Friday, 12 January 2018

Spice Wall DIY Project

While I was a cooking a bit more dishes on holidays I came up with a problem you might recognize. Small bags of spices are difficult to use when you have to go through the pile to find the right spice. When cooking you should find right spices as quickly as possible so that following a recipe and preparing food stays relaxing, fun and inspiring. Also when I went grocery shopping I didn't remember what spices I have got at home because managing this pile was challenging. I found myself in a situation where I had 3 bags of cinnamon, four bags of cardamon and I had run out of turmeric that I needed for a dish I was preparing. So frustrating! Sure it would be possible to buy bigger amounts of spices in glass bottles and have those in a shelf. I have found small bags handy as spices keep fresh. Spices that I don't use that often get ruined in big amounts. 

What if you had all these small bags organized on a wall? It would be super easy to find a spice you need in your recipe. It would also be a handy way to follow what spices are running out. You could easily take a picture from the wall and see what spices you got when you are shopping. If you are browsing blogs on your way to work and find a great recipe you want to try that evening you don't have to memorize if you got turmeric or ginger or cayenne. Just check a current picture of the spice wall. Did I get you excited about this DIY? 

As a little extra tip on how to use spice wall differently I have two ideas. How about recipe wall? You could plan menu for two weeks to this wall. Write down the week days with chalkboard pen, write / cut recipes from magazines/ blogs and hang under the days. I know some of you are keen gardeners so how about keeping seeds organized on this wall! You could keep track on what seeds need to be planted first and then keep calendar when you put the seeds to the soil. I am sure you come up with many more ways to use this organizing wall because this framed wall can be hanged in what ever space you need it. Now I show you how to make this easy DIY!

Spice Wall

You will need:

Big frame
Strong cardboard or thin plywood same size as the frame
Chalkboard paint
Wooden clothespins
Woodwork glue
Chalkboard pen

Step 1. Paint the frame and cardboard/ plywood with chalkboard paint. Paint tree layers: horizontally, vertically, horizontally. I bought this framed print from thrift store. The print was glued to the cardboard but the cardboard was perfect to this project so I painted over which worked fine and I had no need to buy extra cardboard or plywood to this project.

Step 2. After the paint has dried properly (24 hours) divide the board to equal parts using chalkboard pen. Measure how much space one spice bag and clothespin needs and decide how much you need around to write spice's name. See how many bags you can fit to the board. I have got 58 cm * 77 cm board and I divided it to 16 parts (approx 14,5 cm *19 cm each). Then measure the place where you attach the clothespin. 

Step 3. Glue the clothespins and let dry.  Remove chalkboard pen's marks. Hang the spice wall and put in the spices. Write the names of the spices and decorate the board with chalkboard pen.

I am proud to start the weekend with organized kitchen. It is inspirational to cook in this space where everything can be found. Especially in a small space like this keeping organized is challenging. You don't need to have much extra lying on desks to have a mess. At least this solution keeps the spices organized and easy to use.

Happy and Relaxing Weekend!


Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Reading Notes 2/52: January

2/52 Carmen Maria Machado's Her Body & Other Parties (2017) might be the best book I read this year. I know it is early to say that because its the second book I have read to the 52 books in 52 weeks challenge. Most certainly this collection of short stories will be one of the best setting 2018 standard very high. I know there are many interesting books coming this year so I really hope to get happy surprises. 

Following might contain some spoilers! Her Body & Other Parties is full of honest and truthful stories which give many perspectives to what it is to be a woman. I found it easy to relate these women and their lives, experiences and feelings. In Real Woman Have Bodies women start to lose their physical body. The thought is haunting and horrible but maybe not science fiction or fantasy at all. Also Eight Bites examines the same theme. Why do we take it given that we are not enough and we need to change. Maybe we don't always even realize the pressure and it's effect on us. 

I read Naomi Wolf's The Beauty Myth (1990) last Autumn and it provoked me to think these themes too. Wolf opens the mechanisms of beauty industry and the ways we are made to think we have to upgrade ourselves to become qualified and wanted. This task takes all our energy from active participation in society, career development and healthy relationships. After reading Machado's stories I came to think why do we let ourselves vanish. Is it actually other things than so called perfect body that we want? I often find myself thinking that maybe things would get better, maybe I would be more successful and happier if I looked different. That different might not be me anymore and in that sense it would mean vanishing and losing myself. It sounds horrible said like this but when it is done in little mundane routines, in the name of healthy eating and good manners it doesn't get us shouting for justice even though we are modifying ourselves and being modified by reward and punishment method. And by reward and punishment I mean for example the comments we get and give to each other considering appearance.

From the stories The Resident was also one that spoke to me personally. In the story main character is accepted to an artist residency. The place of residence is near her old girl scout camp which makes her reflect happenings from childhood and how those have formed her. I began to wonder how it affects to your adulthood whether you are insider or outsider in childhood and/or young age. Sure all experiences we have in our lives makes us what we are. A new perspective I found in this story was that being outside from a group might allow you to see yourself, hear your own thoughts and decide your path without the group's pressure. If we are used to being part of the group we seek groups in our lives and act to fit in. These groups also affect to our thinking and how we see our possibilities. It might be that the fear of being left out makes us go through life in a way that we feel we get accepted. Being alone to get to decide all by yourself is not a life goal because we need people around us, love and friendship. But having an experience of being outsider might boost the inner motivation and dreams. It is no longer a goal to do things right according to social norms. Instead it makes you see the situations where you are being manipulated and tamed to fit the so called ideal. I loved the part where the main character shouts her right to be as she is and not to act as someone else orders her to. So often the norms push us to be what we are not, in the name of good behavior or acceptance. 

These are my thoughts of the book. I truly recommend Her Body & Other Parties as there are so many excellent and thought provoking stories. 

Monday, 8 January 2018

Spontaneous Home Tour


Today when I came home the whole apartment was bathing in sunlight. I rushed to my camera and started taking pictures. Even on a sunny day we have light about 2-3 hours so I had to be quick. After several snowy days and quite dark December it was wonderful to see all the colors in their full bloom. Now that I have edited the photos I can see a leading theme in my home and it is bold pink. There is no corner in my home where there is no pink. Pink is reckless, energetic and inspiring color. Especially small pink details make a nice modern twist to bohemian style that can otherwise look too shabby.

I haven't shared that many interior pictures from my home lately the lack of light being the main reason. Kitchen corner is the only place that has a bit more light even on a cloudy day. It would be impossible to get good quality pictures in a living room when it is dark outside. It has worked fine to take most photographs in the kitchen and play with styling. Now that there begins to be more sunny days I feel inspired to start decorating other corners of this studio apartment. I have no plans to change the whole style. I like the mix of colors, old and new furniture, grey and pink combo and big wall posters and mirror wall. Yet I feel super inspired by the 2018 trends: Earthy hues, terracotta, berry colors and Pantone's color of the year ultra violet. To bring 2018 into my home I am going to go with small home decor DIYs. I already visited thrift stores today to get materials for projects. 

Sometimes it feels that nothing has happened in home decoration sector so it is good to have these reflective moments. Usually home decor DIYs that I make take their place in my home and I take a picture of that corner. Then after a while I change the order of furniture and decor and it looks a bit different. Last year has brought more pink details to my home. Ikat inspired lampshade DIY, wall clock that I made of an old plate and a new quilted blanket that I put on the wall. Two new pillows have found their place as well as furniture makeovers like the magazine/book stand with marble details. I have had many fun and inspiring moments making these projects and I can't wait to have more ideas and experiments this year! 

This year one of my goals is to post more often and write about small things and thoughts. As I told on Saturday's post I have taken the 52 books in 52 weeks challenge so you can expect posts about books and reading. I will also post about DIY projects because crafts, old stuff, recycled materials and experiments are my true passion. Without making and creating I am not truly alive but merely existing. I will continue to play with colors and recycled materials. This year's leading theme in home decor, DIYs and lifestyle could be ecological maximalism. Multitude of colors, textures, layers and atmosphere can be achieved with creativity and upcycling of existing materials.