Re-Aligning Our Spaces

This winter, I am trying a different approach.  Becoming proactive, I am determined to set myself up for a different kind of success. 

There is a saying that talks about how a flower does not bloom in every season. That it blooms but only after pushing up through the dirt to emerge from the darkness of the soil and battling the elements in order to form a bud.  Wow.  I taped it to my bathroom mirror where it looks me squarely in the eye and reminds me every morning that I am not a superhuman. There are seasons when we need to step back and recharge or focus more on one singular aspect of my life. It’s a hard concept for me to grasp.

I do not relax easily (type A right here, folks) and as the daughter raised by a single Mom, I learned how to hustle early on. My work is also my passion and a big part of who I am.  As a creative, it is a complicated process to try and separate the two–so adhering to several design principles, I am going to give the run down on how they also can be incorporated into our daily life.  After all, our homes should reflect who we are on the inside, as well as out.

Refresh Your Space

I can feel it coming.  Every year is the same.  After the holidays are over and the decorations are neatly tucked away into their boxes, I start getting antsy.  The house feels empty and boring.  I get cabin fever and just. Want. Change. 

Then, I start to obsess over my gardening seed catalogs and all the home décor ideas on Pinterest and stalk the local Sherwin Williams store for the new color palettes for the upcoming season and plan our summer before winter is even over!  I paint a room or move the furniture around.  Anything to ease my seasonal distress until spring comes and I can get my hands in the dirt again and feel relief when I see the buds break through the soil.

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Rachel Hollis, author of New York Times bestseller Girl, Wash Your Face! lays it on the line and says it like it is.  During one of Rachels’s morning shows awhile back, she was talking about balance. Specifically, how to balance your personal life with your work life.   And, you know what was said?  It is not possible.  Yes, I will repeat that again.  It doesn’t exist. Again, wow.  Then she went on to say there are times in life where your focus will be more directed in one area or the other, but that a perfectly balanced work/home/life is not something we should even strive to attain or have floating around in our heads.  It got me thinking:  What season should I be focused on right now?  Or in the coming year?  How do I put this mind-blowing advice into practice?

Joanna Gaines new book, Home Body–A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave, is both visually stunning and thought-provoking.  Chip and Joanna Gaines are by far the greatest power couple I can think of.  They are not only successful because of what they do, but they also give back, are trying to help their community and other entrepreneurs, and they put their focus on family first.  Their décor style is to die for, and I catch myself drooling over it every time I’m in Target, much to my family’s dismay.  I hear, “Mom, stop petting the curtains” and other such embarrassing things I apparently do as the Mom to two pre-teen boys.  So, I was thrilled when last month’s Magnolia Journal was also about stepping back, recharging, and shifting focus.  She says, “We can all choose to be atmosphere changers.” I love that.

Achieve Balance

I hate winter.  There, I said it.  I know what you’re thinking.  Yes, I live in Wyoming, which is one of the harshest states to spend your winter.  The thing is, I love the people here.  I often say it is the last best places to live.  There is a freedom here.  The open landscapes, and the highways we travel, and meeting only a handful of cars for hundreds of miles.  If I am being totally honest, I love the challenge.  Wyoming is one of the hardest places to grow anything.  Since I’m a type A, this works out well for me because if someone says I can’t do it, you better know that I will do it just to prove the point.  I think a lot of Wyomingites can identify with that sentiment.  In a sense, you could say I belong here.

 

Sometimes, you find yourself in the middle of nowhere; and sometimes, in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself.– Unknown

Allowing ourselves to rest is not a weakness, but a strength.   So, this winter, I am embracing it.

Painting a room and moving around my couch are in the forecast, but I am going to do it with a different attitude. When it’s done, then I will rest.   Reading some really great books that I don’t have time to read during the busy summer gardening months is also on the to-do list.  Maybe I will even sign up for that local TRX Suspension training class at the Ignite Pilates Studio that I’ve been wanting to try, and really focus on building up my strength and my ability to sit in the stillness of my mind.  It is in the quiet moments that the greatest ideas come.   Away from TV, iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, work, and all the stress that comes with all of it, it becomes clearer what to focus on.

Find Your Whitespace

There is a term in the art world known as “whitespace”.  It is defined in design as the space between columns, between lines of type or figures that provides visual breathing room for the eye.  This is the founding principal of the modern style, esthetic.  Less is more and in the modern style having only items you actually have a purpose for get to stay.  Everything else goes.

Painfully, this last year I have been trying to clear away some of the clutter littering my home and mind.  I have let go of a lot of the things both physically and mentally that have been bogging me down.  Making room for new ideas in my life, new relationships, and new pathways of thinking was a much-needed change.  Feeling steadier, calmer, I now have more energy.  It wasn’t easy.  It never is easy to let go.  In fact, I think letting go is one of the most courageous things a person can do.

Letting go of all the stuff that isn’t being used and no longer serves a purpose in our homes and garages can be liberating.  There is joy in seeing someone else excited to buy and take home and use an item that I felt guilty for keeping on my storage shelf.  Donating items to your local donation center can be a great experience for the whole family. Giving that baby stuff to a new Mom in need can be a huge blessing.  It took me over a decade to let all of that stuff go.  It is freeing.  Now I have space in my garage to actually build a much-needed workbench!

Introduce New Patterns

Personal growth happens when we challenge ourselves to learn something new or face a fear.  Change doesn’t come naturally to me–or most of u–I would dare to say.  The blessings come, though, when we dare to step out of our comfort zone and try something new.  Einstein once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” 

This past year or so I challenged myself to face at least a couple fears head on.  One fear was flying in an airplane.  What resulted in defeating the fear was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had at a time when I was creatively stuck and needed a big change.  Flying to Texas and seeing the most amazing, vivid, colorful art inspired me.  That experience has reflected in every aspect of my life, not only in my artwork.  Facing fears has a big payoff.  Sometimes we just need to choose a new pattern to refresh our perspective on our home and in our life.

Style Change

Farmhouse is big right now.  Don’t get me wrong: I like it, but it lacks color.  White, black, and neutrals dominate the color palette.  I have just never been able to get on board with that completely.  I love color.  I crave color. Which begs the question: why stick to one style? 

Why not experiment with several?  I have found a way to marry farmhouse with my vintage collections which adds some color, but also uses the natural elements found in a more traditional farmhouse scheme.  Styles are changing and are moving in the direction of richly saturated jewel tones. I am seeing new tones of neutrals, which are muted shades of green and blue. Check out the Pantone Color Forecast for a complete list of upcoming 2019 colors.  Our style should change over time. If not, we become stagnant.

An artist challenges themselves to find their authentic self through artistic expression. 

I have been studying Georgia O’Keefe and learned so much about expressing emotion through color and shape.  She once said, “I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way-things-I had no words for.”   Abstract art never was an attraction for me.  Ironically, it opened myself up to a new way of painting and I learned so much about myself.  For example, I don’t like to paint with brushes.  It occurred to me, why should I be like everyone else?  I have been notorious for using butter knives for everything from opening paint can lids, to using them as a screwdriver, and we never have any butter knives in our kitchen drawer.  Guess what?  I love painting with a butter knife!  It was like it was meant to be, and everything flowed easier when I gave up the perception and expectation I had placed on myself to be like everyone else and just did what felt authentic.  Unorthodox?  Yes.  But, hey, that’s me.  I have never done anything in the same order or in the same way as society as a whole.  Our homes should be decorated in that authentic fashion as well.

Create a Focal Point

“My planner helps me stay focused, motivated, and inspired so that I can reach my personal and business goals. All you need is a stack of magazines, scissors, and glue. Everyone should do one! – Lezly Delgado

Creating a focal point in a room gives it purpose.  It draws the eye in and creates a statement. Giving a hint about the personality of the owner and in a home, the focal point is usually a very specific style, color, or material that is repeated throughout the rest of the home. So, how do we go about creating a focal point for our everyday?

Lezly Delgado, makeup artist and owner of Bonita Beauty Makeup, recently introduced me to a new planner called, The Happy Planner, that allows space for creating a vision board for every month of the year.  What a fabulous idea!  She says it allows her to stick to what her vision for that month is and to intentionally put down her ideas she wants to execute within her life.  With room for a vision collage every month, she is able to carry it around with her and look at it when she feels the need for inspiration.  It is also fun to look back on and see how many of the ideas come to life. 

So, as this year begins, I am challenging myself to open my mind to a new level of thinking. I am choosing a new color palette and rearranging both my house and my mind.  I will be adopting a new way of approaching life and all the stress and problems that are inevitable. I choose to let go of the small stuff, both physically and mentally, to open the doors for new possibilities to come in. For me, it is about repeating pleasing patterns in nature, in the rooms of our home, and in the relationships, I value.  I will continue to challenge myself to grow, painfully, and beautifully. I encourage you to try it, too.  Happy New Year everyone!

By: Megan K. Huber for 82717
Photos by Megan K. Huber of Huber Farms


*The books mentioned in this article can be found locally including Heaven to Earth, Joann’s Fabric, and Rapport.

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