Wednesday, July 9, 2014

This is what life looks like

So I had all these grand ideas and plans when I started this blog.  

I had so much inspiration and excitement and I knew in my head exactly how things were supposed to look and go.  I was supposed to take beautifully composed pictures of incredible things I'd made, and post them in a timely manner, accompanied by witty banter and clear, concise explanations.  I was supposed to take incredible photos that captured my everyday life in an artful and interesting way.  On top of that, I was supposed to actually do interesting things.  I was supposed to have this clean, minimal, modern blog design that would just pop together.  I'd find a simple way to procure photoshop and then I'd take a quick, informal crash course, and be self sufficient for the majority of my design needs.  My wonderful, artistic boyfriend would be able to whip up a logo that looks exactly like the one in my head, in time for a charming sunday brunch.  I'd get a fair number of posts up and then start sharing my blog with friends, family and communities I aspired to be a part of on the internet.  Maybe someday my blog would be a comfortable side income and people would pay me to putz around with my sewing machine and a glue gun.

None of these things happened.

Or I should say, none of these things have happened yet.  This is hardly surprising, given how unbelievably absurd all those things look when written down.  From even an inch away, nearly anyone can see they are mostly wishful thinking held together by gossamer strands of total naiveté and blind hope.  And, if the last 8 weeks are anything to go by, almost zero actual effort.

I love making things.  In the last 8 weeks, I've hand painted a set of bamboo serving spoons, quilted a pot holder, concocted some hand scrubs, finished one quilt top and am halfway through another, hemmed a pair of jeans, learned to repair holes in knit clothing, upholstered a bench, sewn 5 faux leather bottomed clutches, a weighted yoga bag with a handle, 4 burp cloths, a felt turtle stuffie, 3 kindle covers, a tablet cover, 2 gathered skirts, 2 envelope pillows, a few grocery bags (and a partridge in a pear tree).  Clearly the making of things is something I've got down.

What I don't have down is the documenting part.  Almost every time I made something, I wouldn't remember until after I was finished to take pictures of the damn thing.  I also realized that after I had a finished product, I wasn't really interested in doing it again to document how it should be done.  Inevitably the first time I made something, I would have to unpick seams, or recut pieces, and I hardly thought my botched attempts were worthy of publishing.

And then I realized that THIS is the point.  I cannot write about a perfectly staged and orchestrated life BECAUSE I DO NOT HAVE ONE.  My life is messy.  I screw up tutorials, and unpick seams, and throw out batches of undercooked banana bread (because good lord, bananas are all different sizes and a big vs. small banana makes a huge difference in cooking time, and no where on any recipe does it tell you that piece of really important information).

But everyone's life is messy.  And lying about my messy life to make all of you think I'm way more together than I actually am does two things I don't want.  1. It makes it seem like my life is different, or somehow superior to yours.  If I only showed you the most perfect takes of my life, I'd be telling you I silently judge you from my corner of the internet for not being as "effortlessly together" as I am.  How horrible and mean and unwelcoming is that?  And 2. I'd be befriending you with a mask on.  I'd be denying the opportunity for a real connection and relationship because the person you'd learn about through this blog would only bear a passing resemblance to me.  You'd miss all the accidentally awesome moments in an imperfectly curated life.

So here's my promise: I will post more often.  About what my life ACTUALLY LOOKS LIKE, and not how I'd like it to look.  When I tell (and hopefully show) you that I've made something, I will also tell you everything I did that you should probably not do (like not unzipping the zipper you just sewed in, so you can't even turn the beautiful lined back you just made).  I will be real and messy and as authentic as I can be.  And I hope you come back for it. Because this is what life looks like.  And my happy home really isn't so different from your happy home.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Learning to be a photo taking person, and a photo challeng

I am awful at taking photos.  You can take that sentence in both interpretations.  I am both awful at the act of taking out my camera/phone and snapping in the general direction of objects or people, and at producing a photo that doesn't make me think "See? This is why I don't take photos."  The whole process is generally accompanied by a sad "womp, womp" and a begrudging admittance that I am not destined to be a photographer, or even a particularly adept instagrammer (is that a thing?  You see how lost I am about this whole topic?  My photographic prowess is undoubtedly less than that of a not-very-savvy 12 year old).

Something alive, from above and makes me happy!  
Enter Project Life.  I came across some incredible page inspirations on Pinterest (the Mecca of largely unnecessary, but remarkably pretty things), and knew I wanted to give it a go.  The only problem is my aforementioned ineptitude at documenting anything.  So naturally, being the neurotic planner that I am, I decided to break down the process into steps.

Step 1: Remove the "ugh" moment after actually taking a picture.  I researched and downloaded some photo editing apps, Pic Tap Go and the A Beautiful Mess App.  It's amazing what a filter can do for your photos.  I knew that before this, but I don't think I KNEW it (if that makes sense).  I pretty much feel like someone's 90 year old great aunt every time I open up a photo in Pic Tap Go and it turns out all pretty.  "Look!  Look at how much better it looks!  That's AMAZING!", to which the boyfriend generally gives me a humoring half-smile and a "Yep, that's great"

Pretty sure the only way the boy lets me take pictures of him is if he's not looking.  Something I love.
Step 2: Actually take pictures.  My phone used to live in the bottom of my bag, which I lovingly call "The Pit."  To access it fast enough to capture some kind of moment was something akin to pulling a safety pin out of a ball pit.  You know it's in there, and it has to come out, but who knows what madness you'll find before hand.  Sometimes when I'm trying to get something out, I throw in a sacrifice so the bag gods will be appeased and release what I'm looking for.

Something from above AND something pretty :)
To solve this problem I whipped myself up a couple of cute clutches (tutorial coming soon!) so that I didn't have to carry The Pit around with me everywhere.  My phone is now within grabbing distance pretty much all the time, and I have a bunch of clutches that make me look way more together and fashionable than I actually am.  Win.

I also set myself goals, to take at least 3 photos a day from my photo challenge list.  Sometimes I take more.  Sometimes I forget entirely and then frantically attempt to snap photos when it's dark out and they turn out so terribly that no filter could ever save them.  I figure you can't win them all, and this just as much about the process as the photos.  I think if you get too rigid with anything, it stops being fun pretty fast.

Here's my list of photo challenges, to help me remember and get excited about taking pictures.  I try to think about these as I'm going through my day.  It sort of feels like a big scavenger hunt!

So far, it's been going well.  I have a few great photos that I love, and I even took a selfie!

Something ordinary and makes me happy

Yep, this is my job and my "Something that makes me happy."

See?  Selfie! I think this counts as something weird.  

Friday, May 2, 2014



So I have to admit something.  I know, it's a little soon to be divulging secrets, given that we really met about 5 tiny characters prior to that sentence.  But, since we're all friends here, I can tell you that I sat here staring at the word 'hello' for probably 15 minutes without knowing how to follow it up.  Carving into your own little corner of the internet is sort of a weird feeling really, but I'm glad you're here.

This blog is a place where I share all my adventures in creating and finding a happy home.  I recently realized that a word that stitches my whole life together is 'belonging'.  I am happiest when I am at home, in my social community, in my body, in my family and in my house.  Home can be a lot of things to a lot of people, but I think we all can agree that there's something warm and wonderful about that distinctive "home" feeling.  That's what this blog is about: a happy home, whatever that looks like for you.

You can read more about me in the aptly titled "about me" section.  I have a couple of projects/posts in the works coming soon, including my new found endeavor to become a photo taking person (I've been pretty dismally hopeless about capturing any part of my life, even special events, before this) and a foray into Project Life, some sewing projects, and a few random acts of kindness that I like to call "Drive-by Smiles."  Can't wait to share all those with you!