Making a house a home is my personal mission, and the point of this blog. As a self proclaimed recovering hoarder I have spent the first six years as a mom purging unwanted clutter from my home. The more I get rid of, the more I realize how much we have naturally all around us.
I’m talking about seeing things that are right in front of us, when I had too much clutter I couldn’t even see what I had, it was all so overwhelming and distracting. Now that I have unloaded what seems like at least 2/3 of my material goods I have the mental capacity to see the natural beauty that is all around me, and I am INSPIRED!
I now gravitate towards patterns, colours and textures that remind me of this natural beauty and I let it influence my creative side. Once upon a time I was drawn to the glitz and the glam of interior design and haute couture and I would acquire things based on someone else’s desires or ideas. Now that I have gotten rid of most of those “alter ego’s” and I have accepted my free spirited bohemian nature I embrace things around me that speak to me. I am no longer interested in things that are as shiny or glitzy as I was before, and part of that is our likes do change, trends come and go and like or not design is influential. But the other part is when you get rid of this old version of yourself, you are free to see the parts of you that are relevant now.
Each season brings its own unique colour palette & layers of texture, this fall I am seeing and loving all the brown, tan, grey and white tones. They are no longer a drag or depressing. When you are bogged down by busy work in the home like tidying up too much stuff your perspective is jaded. When you get rid of that mental clutter you can see the true beauty in the things that surround us
A simple stroll through the forest in the middle of the city reveals layers of green, gold and brown tones that dance in the sunlight. The long lines of the trees take my eye up to the light. The swirling nature of the dancing leaves across the carpeted floor of the forest make me think of a party, I used to party a lot more, before kids. I wouldn’t change a thing now but I do reflect on how when people come together great feelings emerge. The colour palette is so soft and sophisticated – I think, wouldn’t it make for a calm and inviting home? It makes me wonder if there is a science behind it, you know Mother Nature science…like botany, but as a believer I think it has more of a divine design. I realize the subtle beauty of the woods are designed for the wild animals; but it can translate even to those of the human variety!
I’m currently in the design phase for the annual Skirts A Fire Festival’s unconventional skirt competition. This year the theme is “Her 1940’s skirt”. In fashion at this time cut lines are just below the knee – showing off as much leg as ever before and the waist is pulled in showing off the hourglass figure. I look to fashion trends from the past when it comes to my own designs, not because I want to copy them but because we can learn so much from those that have gone before us. Understanding where we come from helps us to get where we are going.
Inspired by the textures and colours of what surrounds me I think of Alberta in the 1940’s and think of what nature would have looked like then…how different would it have been? What have we done to change the landscape? Good and bad.
The Skirts A Fire’s main stage play The Blue Hour takes place in the late 1940’s, after war times. I can imagine there were a lot of struggles for families and that life was probably a little different then than it is today. I imagine farmers and their families in the fields, I imagine the hustle and bustle of the city that changed as women started going to work while men were off to War. I can’t imagine what that would have felt like for families, how this impacted their homes and what traditions changed because of it. When it comes to making a house a home, I think what is going on around us is very influential and very personal.
In my world, I walk back and forth to the school three times a day to get my kids, half days for Isla and full days for Julia. Next year will be a little less walking as they will both be full days. But because of that I am trying to take in everything for what it is, while it is. I am lucky enough to live a stones throw away from the park that we walk through. Most of my walk is spent in awe of these woods in the city. One day I actually saw this bunny on all three walks, must be his favourite “lazy boy chair” spot and he was having a “me day” or maybe “the man flu” and he couldn’t get himself anywhere else. Either way mad respect bunny, I like days I don’t get out of my chair too.
It’s even more than what’s going on around me that influences me, making a house a home is also about self expression and personal growth. Competing in a community event stretches me both as an artist as well as a human – putting my thoughts to paper and the presenting it to the world live in front of the media is very challenging and I wish to do my best.
Skirts A Fire skirt 2019 – “She Sails” an unconventional skirt made of sea shells for the theme “Me, my skirt and I” a self reflection of personal identity.
As a shy kid that had trouble participating in class – tough shell on the outside – I kept mostly to myself, in efforts to protect myself from what I thought would be mortifying embarrassment. This competition is my do-over, my chance to just go for it! To grow outside of my shell and be myself without the hard outer edge. I’m learning to be more vulnerable. That’s the example I want to leave for my girls. I want them to grow up in a home where they see hard work, personal integrity and I want them to see their mom as someone who is true to herself. I was fearful of judgement as a kid, I aimed to be perfectly pleasing, it was never worth the risk to rock the boat. (This was totally a pressure I put on myself, I grew up in very happy and loving home).
This is no longer the case – if you are a passionate and expressive person by nature and you bottle up yourself eventually it comes bubbling over! I know I missed out as a kid on some fun and some experiences because of this shell. But not anymore! No longer hiding behind what I think others expect of me, and aiming to please, I now focus on what makes my heart sing – and expressing myself through the creative arts is definitely one of those things.
As most parents can relate I want my kids to be themselves, and to not worry about what others think. I believe it starts with leading by example.
I have to submit my skirt design within the next couple of weeks, I have started gathering the inspirations, taking in the concept “Her 1940’s skirt” and reflecting on what it means to me, but also what it means to the festival. Some sketches have hit the paper but it’s not nearly ready to be submitted. This year I am taking the full time to prepare – which is unlike all the years before where I rushed to apply and went with my first idea. I think this year is different because I am intentionally focusing and I believe in myself in a totally new way. I am using what skills and resources I have around me to guide me and allowing it to be a process. Not just a task to check of the list, but a chance to reflect and grow. Let’s be honest, I can let the ideas simmer a bit because I don’t feel buried by a mountain of clutter and busy to-to work.
Now that I am officially back to work designing custom window treatments it should come as no surprise that I will use my industry as a source of unconventional materials to make the skirt…but I will wait to reveal exactly what that is in another post.
My industry – handcrafted fabrications + textiles for the home
I am at peace with the process and whatever the outcome even though I will work my butt off to place…it’s a design competition after all. I am not stressed about it this year and I will not let the desire to win over rule my desire to express my own personal journey. I am doing this knowing that I am wonderfully made and I’m good enough.
Making a house a home is not just about interior design and material goods, it’s about so much more! Follow along with me on this journey where every week I will focus on something that rises to the top in my quest to make a house a home. Currently drafting next weeks blog and I think it’s going to be about the GUEST ROOM. But I am very organic and free flowing so that might change – I mean that’s a whole week away anything can happen.
Stay tuned, and happy homing!