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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Making it Beautiful

I read a book awhile back by a woman who was a sort of therapist/self-help guru.  In it she described a particular phone session wherein a client called from a low place, a dark place, a place with the threat of self-hurt.  The guru, knowing this particular client well, told them "Find one drawer in your house, dump it out, glean through the contents, organize, purge, save only what you love and arrange them back as beautifully as you can.  Then call me back.  You have one hour."  The client did as they were instructed and all in all, it was a very happy ending.
This story has stuck to me for years, and even though I'm in a grand mood today, I found myself thinking about it over breakfast.  About shaking up a space, wiping out the grime, detailing the nooks and crannies, culling, curating, and making it as beautiful as I can.  About how good I feel in a place like that, how pleased to be surrounded by my favorites, my collections.  About how much it inspires and delights me to arrange these things I love: houseplants, driftwood, stones and bones, feathers, natural forms, and gifts from those who know me well.
This little corner is my very favorite spot in the house.  It's technically our wee dinning room, no more than seven by ten feet, but when I sit here and write, or sup, or type (as I am right now), I feel that southern light soaking into my hair, the huge eastern window at my back with the sound of the river, the oxygen-carbon exchange with my plants breathing life into my skin and the brilliant feng shui that living things impart.
Today I scrubbed it down well, deeply watered every green thing and took my time making it lovely.  I fussed over the maiden hair, glossed up the aloe, polished every inch of glass, and nestled my little blue bird right in the middle.  The only spot I left unattended was the upper corner of the window.  I have no love for spiders, but about seven months ago I made a peace pact with this particular one.  Back then she was teensy, smaller than half my pinkie nail, but she had built a frothy white web and did a number on the flying pest situation that happens when one lives in the country right above a river.  She was such a hunter, I told her as long as she kept up her end of the bargin, I'd leave her web alone.  I saw her just the other day, multiplied about four times in size, fat on flies and gnats and I kid you not, hibbie-jibbies ran down my spine.  But a deal is a deal and I'm not planning on breaking our peace treaty.

So this has me curious: do you have a place in your home that serves to house your collections?  A place that makes you breath deep and feel a little bliss just from looking?  A place you fuss over, arrange, tinker and tweek until it's just right?  
Where is it?  What do you keep there?

I'd love to discuss this in the comment box!
Signing off,
these the two green thumbs.


MrsLittleJeans said...

I love plants, and my favorite spot would have to be the cement yard with plants here and there. They don't appear to want to get organized, I have made a maze for myself, a jungle for the cats, and probably a confusing scene for visitors- can't she organize her plants? I cannot do that...I don't know why. Good to see you! xo

UmberDove said...

MLJ - I love your courtyard! It always feels wild and tropical, so much so that sometimes I forget we live in the same state and certainly forget how much city surrounds you! Kitty boys + jungle = good times.

Janel said...

A somewhat silent reader here!

I am in an almost constant state of nesting and rearranging my collections and vignettes! I live in such a tiny space, it is almost impossible to not be in this state. Small spaces get dirty and messy quickly.

I too feel amaze ballls when my space is just so! Clean, pretty, good smelling and all around cozy. Makes me super happy and I sleep like a baby. If my house is messy, especially my bedroom, I toss and turn all night. Weird, right? Right!

Have a lovely afternoon!

cbumpmax said...

My collections are kidd-o art taped haphazardly to my kitchen cabinets. My organizing fix is satisfied by sorting legos by color. Grow where you are planted!!

cbumpmax said...

PS: I do so love it when my purse is in it's minimalist state. Nothing like a good purse purge.

UmberDove said...

Janel - No, I TOTALLY get it. Like nothing in the world could feel better that floating around in that space. In this house it took me SUCH a long time to "claim" our bedroom space, and it was only after realizing that I disliked being in there that I took it on. And the first night after truly making it beautiful? Slept like a baby. Here here for nesting!

Cbump - Ah the purse purge! Good GOD do I need to take that one on! Also, don't count on any help from BC when he arrives next month: he'll just play with those legos.

calamityjane(t) said...

ii am totally a collector. i used to feel guilty about it until i read somewhere that one of the signs of gifted children is collecting and organizing/categorizing their collections. haha! no guilt anymore! plants have been a constant for many years, and there's nothing like the spring repotting day that will occur every year, necessitating a trip to the garden center for pots, soil, oh, and a couple more plants...
and, i had the same deal with a spider (which i loathe) behind my office door. i felt sorry for it, since it had taken refuge in one of the only quiet spaces in the building, that being an elementary school. eventually it disappeared, but i know what you mean about keeping the deal, weird as that seems.

Sunny Rising Leather said...

I have GOT to get up there and see this beauty.

My teacup cabinet in the dining room is where I organize my beauty: glancing at it over dinner makes me overwhelmingly happy: all of those random patterns and colors, a mishmash of prettiness...


Beth said...

I try to have these small spaces in each room- like little altars everywhere. But I do have one room where I have favorite artwork and a small collection of owls. I sit in the room and just breathe, sometimes meditate, do yoga, or read. I am lucky to have a space like that in our home. My grandmother's credenza is in our dining room and its top surface holds some artwork and the bits and pieces of nature that I often bring home- a couple of birds' nests, feathers, stones, and buckeyes. I often light a candle in that space and give thanks.

kerin rose said...

I dunno....I have been in a purging, not rearranging if I pull stuff out of a drawer, rather than making it beautiful it seems to want to go away...but this all seems very wabi sabi to me!

Brit said...

i love your spot--it's so beautiful with all that green. :)

i think mine, other than my studio as a whole, would have to be the antique vanity in my bedroom. it's where i sit to lotion-up and put jewelry on. i'm always tinkering with paintings and pictures, crystals and old wooden boxes, always rearranging.

pencilfox said...

i shall photograph my collections for you....

i love the light airy space of your working areas....

creative quest said...

Oh thank you thank you!
For letting me live vicariously through your lovely post.
I'm living at someone else's house right now with a room and some nooks to call my own. I am so excited to do this when i get my own house! Isn't it just the truth of things that what we surround ourselves reflects us on the inside. when we clean up and beautify we do so outside and in.
Thank you miss Dove!

Cat said...

I have to admit
i might be considered a collection space hoarder as I have many
I think maybe it comes down to my whole home is one
each area special to the purpose it serves so along with it things are placed intentionally...even our in the yard...sitting areas for different purposes, each with their own flavour
my hair studio is a special more personal place for me...a small room which holds reflections of me...and a place for women to come and be, there is definitely an energy there
and right now my dinning room table serves as some what of an alter as it is where I am writing so journals are stacked here and there, candles, incense, spirit cards,sage frame the space in which I write...a beautiful mess actually

love your beauty sister

love and light

UmberDove said...

Jane - Ah! I love that! I must be gifted! (heehee) And houseplants... they are the best "impulse" purchases EVER!

Sunny - I know that cabinet, and it IS full of color and loveliness. And you lady, glowing in that space.

Beth - It sounds glorious! And it's true: something sacred happens in those spaces that are so carefully created. I love that you honor it so.

Kerin - But you ARE doing exactly that, releasing the old grime and clutter that doesn't fill your heart. And that DOES make it beautiful.

Brit - So true - isn't it always a work in progress? Always needing fussing and tweaking? I think that's what makes it so satisfying.

Foxy - You lady, I know are a collectoress!

Creative - AMEN! And I say it again, AMEN!

Cat - I would guess with full confidence that your home radiates love, ESPECIALLY in the hair studio. I bet it just feels warm!