Monday, September 2, 2013

Designing MY Life

by Carol A.

We're baaacccckkkk.....

Welcome to Fall, everyone - my favorite season. And we FOL girls send a big thank you to Terri Porter, who always combines our images in the most artful way to create our seasonal borders. What do you think? It announces that we are back from our month-long summer break, energy restored and ready to chase inspiration.

This week my inspiration came from a "fan favorite" - Nate Berkus. All month long, I've been hearing the ad for his book called "The Things That Matter." I have never been much interested in "design." As a single mother, always working, I needed to support my children and give them  a safe and emotionally happy home. There was never money for cleaning ladies, or decorators, and I got very creative with garage sale finds! Other than some furniture my grandmother left to me, I don't think I even bought any "real furniture"  until I was in my thirties.

To me, better than a velvet throne

Of course we all make choices. I accumulated things.  I love old houses, and I generally try to stick with the original style my house was built for. And I love do-dads and memories and pictures. I'd rather have cool Christmas tree ornaments, and good music playing  than "big girl" furniture. I enjoy Homegoods more than Raymour and Flannigan. But at some point, enough is enough! What attracted me about Nate's ads was that he kept saying that "your home should tell your  story" - and you all know how much I like stories! Here's Nate:

    " Each object tells a story and each story connects us to one another and to the world. The truth is, things matter.  They have to. They're what we live with and touch each and every day. They represent what we've seen, who we've loved and where we hope to go next. They remind us of the good times and the rough patches , and everything in between that's made us who we are."

This fits just perfectly inside of how I have viewed this year. If you remember, my word this year was simplify.  I've been slowly winnowing through all the junk I have saved, in case my kids need it. The truth is, I have finally realized that the kids don't want it  -  they want to do their own thing! So I am trying to ditch the unnecessary. It's hard for me, but I am asking myself - Why do I have all this cookware? I hate to cook! Why do I have all these clothes, when I wear black pants to work almost every day? This weekend I downsized my car - Why was I driving a big one, when my kids rarely ride with me anymore? If I am so fascinated with art, why isn't there more of it in my house, and why am I not spending more time at my local museums? I live 40 minutes outside of New York, for goodness sake - and I go in about twice a year. That's crazy!

To me, better than a crystal vase.

Even my photography workshop in May, which was about defining your style, played into the theme. I was taught that defining your style is not to limit you, it's to cull those many shots that you took just because, and focus you on your own voice - your own story, so that you can get really good at telling it. Your art , like your home, should serve a purpose - it should express your soul.

To me, better than fine china.

So after many, many years of figuring out just who I am, I am moving forward to live it. As Nate suggests, I am going to "surround myself with objects that bring me joy." Now that's decorating I can get into!

The only person you should try to be better than
is the person you were yesterday.

By the way, our theme for September is "MORNING."  Click on the "Monthly Focus" tab above to read more about it, and join us in our Flickr group, and on our FB page, as well as in Instagram and Twitter. Share with us what matters to you, and how you start your day. Happy Fall Everyone!


AFishGirl said...

You're back!!! FOL, I've missed your musings and I'm so glad it's September. The banner top is beautiful, kudos, Terri! I was just thinking about my home and stuff. Good. This is a good kick in the pants. Off to get coffee and toss more stuff and see what it is that speaks to me. Welcome back, welcome back.

heyjudephotography said...

I love this post Carol, and how you brought it all together. Myself, I love design, but I know that I can use a kick in the pants here to bring what I love (we love) more to the forefront of each room. And boy do I love a great purge of stuff!

Dotti said...

What a terrific way to kick off our September! August Break was fabulous but it's so great to be back to 'normal' {whatever that is} and musing with you again, as AFishGirl said. Even as we each have our own style in our homes and clothing, FOL has our own style as well, highlighted in the beautiful banners Terri puts together for us each season. Welcome back, FOL family!

Viv Halliwell said...

I love September too . Now the holidays are over it is time for us to go on our little holiday to Yorkshire

terriporter said...

Love, love, love this post, Carol, for so many reasons! First of all, your first photo brings back such great memories and was a stroke of genius on your part to use it for your "welcome back" post! I too need to do some major purging and where most people have spring fever, I tend to have fall fever and want to clean out and reorganize at this time of year. Thanks for the kick in the pants to do just that.

And in case anyone thinks our beautiful slideshow header is my doing, the photos each quarter are taken by everyone here. All I do is put them together into the slideshow, so I don't want to take too much credit. Thanks to everyone for making FOL a beautiful place to be!

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with you more Carol. I strive t surround myself with people and things that give me joy too. Your images are wonderful; I especially love the pottery collection since I am a big pottery fan. And I love to see art too so I try to go to museums and galleries as much as I can. Heading to New York in October for a fix.

Anonymous said...

I meant to add how much I love your new header too. Exquisite images well put together, Terri.

Sarah Huizenga said...

Great post. Sounds like a great book. I love the idea of each piece in your house should be able to tell a story. A great way to look at pieces you love.

Kim Stevens said...

Oh how I loved this Carol, and you know, one of the things I wanted to do this summer was just that, simplify. And while I did simplify, my everyday really, I just never got to the house. Gotta start somewhere, right! xo

Cathy H. said...

For a while now, I've wanted to declutter my home, but I keep finding it hard to get rid of things. This post makes me realize how much more I would love my home if it were simple and filled with only favorite things! Beautiful images, my favorite is the bottle of flowers!

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