Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A Few of My Favorite Things

I am very selective about what I bring into my home.  My home is where I find comfort, where I relax, where I enjoy time to myself after a long day, and where my husband and I live life together.  I don't feel relaxed in a cluttered space, so I like to keep my things organized.  Since I find peace in a living space that is not cluttered, I put a lot of thought into the things I do have in my home.  I appreciate simplicity and thriftiness, so I often shop around for a good deal before I purchase something, even if it means buying it secondhand (why not save some money?).  I take good care of the things I do have and do away with excess; I don't like keeping clutter in my house, but I don't like throwing things away, either.  If something feels like clutter to me, I donate and hope that it finds a new home with someone else.  You know what they say - one person's trash is another person's treasure.

I enjoy vintage things and antiques, family hand-me-downs and heirlooms, color and boho style.  Thankfully, my husband enjoys these things as well, so we enjoy picking out pieces for our home together.  I will rarely pay full price for things, so I've gotten good at thrift shopping and making things myself.  If it's something I really have my heart set on, I will save for it until I can bring it home.

I have written a post like this before (see my post Upcycling/Thrifting here), but that one focused on decorating on a budget.  Here are some of my favorite things I have in my home that bring me comfort, peace, and remind me of the people I love.
I got that tapestry from Urban Outfitters with a gift card I got for Christmas from my in-laws.  I'm in love - it's has peacocks, elephants, and camels in the design.  The orange chairs (there's another one on the other side of the couch) are from At Home - I couldn't pass those up.
The radio was a gift from my great-grandfather and the case of records was a gift from my friend, Bobbie.  Did I mention I LOVE candles?  The one burning is white lace and the other in the jar is tobacco.  The Beatles poster was $2 and I found the frame and spray painted it green.
My tobacco candle, and a stack of records that were given to me by my great-grandfather.  The wooden camel figurine was also a gift from him - he got it in Israel when he went on a 28-day trip around the world with my great-grandmother.
Ah, my record player and record cabinet.  The record player is an exclusive from Urban Outfitters that I got as a Christmas gift from my hubby two years ago and the cabinet is from a local antique shop.  (Notice the record cleaner in the back - that was a Goodwill find).
That's Vampire Weekend's Contra on the record player.
I love my white cart tables from IKEA.  I'm not good at keeping plants alive, so I picked up a couple fake ones at IKEA, as well.  The typewriter was a gift from my hubby and he found it at an antique shop.
I love books and I'm not above decorating with them (along with my vintage cameras).  That's Hemingway and Grey's Anatomy below the camera.
My vintage bike and trunk (both Goodwill finds), a framed pic of me and hubby, and a typewriter that was a gift from my friends, Tim and Bobbie.
My FAVORITE typewriter - a Royal that was also a gift from my friends, Tim and Bobbie.  I like going to the local Savers store to find scarves and tapestries to use.  This scarf covers some damage on this vintage typewriter stand.
A gift from my mother when I got accepted to my PhD program - it says, "She believed she could, so she did."
There used to be a cork board here, but it was falling apart.  I replaced it with some Alice in Wonderland prints that I framed myself with cheap Wal-Mart $4 frames.
My hubby is a music guru - all but one of the guitars was a gift and the drum set was actually free (ask me about that sometime).
I like things that remind me of home, like the Indiana mug which was a Christmas gift from my mother.  Here I have some candles and a cactus that my father gave me (this is one plant I have managed to keep alive!).
Hubby and I upcycled this table together from found chairs and a Goodwill table (see Upcycling: Our New Dining Set).
This was a Goodwill find.
I love these rugs I found for my bathroom at the At Home store for $3 a piece.
My shower curtain (a Target find) to match my colorful rugs.  We love color!
When we lived in Indiana, this used to be our bed.  It now serves as the guest bed in the guest room, but it still has the same comforter set that Justin and I found as a Black Friday deal before we even got married.  The lamp in the back was a gift from my grandmother (there's another just like it in the living room).
I love things that have been gifted to me by family.  The blanket on the bed was given to Justin and I as a wedding gift from my great-grandfather and was handmade by my great-grandmother.  That ceramic giraffe figure was a gift from my grandmother.
This vintage suitcase was another gift from my great-grandfather.  All of the furniture in this room was given to us by my parents - it was my bedroom furniture growing up.
A Hobby Lobby find.
I love decorating with photos and handwritten quotes.
Vintage clock, vintage poster.
I love colorful picture frames and found objects, like this jar of sand and shells I collected while in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina.
A colorful lantern, which was a gift from my grandmother, and a vintage anatomy print.
Flowers, an anatomy print I framed myself (in a Goodwill frame that I spray painted) and some cheap Target string lights.
I love this telephone lamp I got from the At Home store (along with some ceramic sculptures that I made).
My $15 thrift store chair.
Antique yellow rug.
Flowers from hubby, thrift store button jars, and a vintage bicycle print.
Like I said, I love decorating with books.  This Maurice Sendak classic sits next to some of my art supplies (and below my extensive Stephen King collection).
A jar of corks to hold up my Bibles (I found these corks at a thrift store).
I love floral designs, and I found this cozy blanket at a humane society yard sale for $10.
Antiques.  The radio was Justin's grandparents' and the cameras belonged to my great-grandfather.
Thrift store finds (and a graduation photo).  The super 8 film projector actually works!  I found that phone book at a vintage shop in my hometown and it actually has my great-grandparents' names and address in it (and it's full of awesome maps).
Window coverings can be so expensive, but I found these at Wal-Mart for $12 for two panels!
My crate of old cameras.  The ampersand was $4 on clearance at Bed, Bath & Beyond!
Vintage storage tins from a thrift shop in Michigan.
Vintage wire basket and glass milk containers.
I love my colorful bicycle towels from a unique shop in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
I hope some of my favorite things have inspired you to thrift shop, reorganize, or de-clutter your home.  Since I've been off work/school for winter break, I've had lots of time to get organized, and it feels great.  Nothing makes me more at peace than a home that is clean, organized, and full of family treasures and self-expression.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Lucky Few

I'm one of the lucky few that have gotten to know some of my great-grandparents.  There is a long history of longevity on my father's side of the family, and my paternal grandfather's parents (Clarence, or Curly for short, and Florence) lived to their late nineties.  I loved going to visit them as a kid and run around their orchard with my brothers or look at all of my great-grandmother's treasures.  My great-grandfather passed away when I was eight years old and my great-grandmother passed away when I was around the age of thirteen.  On my mother's side, my maternal grandmother's father died young, but I got to know my great-grandmother Zelda until she passed away when I was eight.  I remember her and my grandma would come visit us in Iowa when my family lived there.  

I was even lucky enough to have a relationship with one of my great-grandparents into my adulthood, and I know not many get that chance.  My father's other grandfather passed away last week at the age of 96, but I got to know him for 26 years of my life, and he was a great man.  The love that he had for others and that others had for him was echoed over and over again at his funeral service last week.  On Christmas, my husband and I went with my parents to have lunch with my aunt, uncle, cousin, and grandfather on my mom's side and then we went to spend the evening with my great-grandpa Richard (or he was known as Dick).  He was in good spirits and we got to sit with him as he had his evening meal and talk.

Justin and I came back to Ohio the day after Christmas and we got a call the following day that my great-grandpa had passed away.  It all happened so quickly, but all I could think was that I was so happy we got to spend Christmas with him and talk and laugh and share stories one last time.  My father was very close to him, so I was glad we all got to be together and make memories before he passed.  Justin and I turned around the next day and went back to Indiana for the funeral arrangements.  The service was a beautiful celebration of my grandfather's life and the kind of man he was.  Many relatives and friends stood up and shared wonderful memories of him where he gave selflessly and loved unconditionally.  We all rejoiced knowing that he was finally reunited with his wife, my great-grandmother, who passed away in 2007.  We all thanked God for the 96 years he had on Earth and for the impact he made on each one of us.

One of my most favorite memories of my grandfather is when my dad and I went to visit him early in 2015.  It was January, and Justin and I had just moved to Ohio a couple months before.  Justin had a graduate school class back in Indiana, so I went with him and had him drop me off at my parents' house on his way through to go to Bethel College for the week.  My best friend was turning 26, so I wanted to celebrate with her, and I knew my dad would be going to visit my great-grandpa, so I wanted to go with him.  We left early in the morning on a cold, icy day and drove the 45 minutes to my great-grandpa's house.  We sat at his kitchen table and had lunch together and he told me stories about his church and about my great-grandmother and about his travels and about all the beautiful knick-knacks he had around his house.

My dad mentioned I like antiques, so my great-grandpa started telling me about all the treasures he had throughout his house and we began looking through them together.  He sent me to the attic to look around, and there was so much to look at.  He had a story for every item I asked him about, and it was so fun to hear him share stories about his younger years on the farm with my great-grandma.  He even told me about a 28-day trip he took around the world with my great-grandma.  They made a stop in Israel, and he showed me this beautifully carved wooden camel that they got when they were there.  He had boxes of cameras he showed me, and he even gave me his old 1940s Philco radio phonograph as a gift.  It was in rough shape since it had been in the attic for about 50 years, but my dad and I worked on getting it fixed up and it looks amazing now.  He even gave me a stack of old records to play on it.  The radio turns on and the turntable turns, but my husband and I are working on replacing the tubes so the speakers work.

I love that old radio and what it represents.  It shows where my grandfather came from, and reminds me that he once lovingly picked that radio out with his wife.  They probably listened to music together and danced.  It reminds me daily of the great man he was and how lucky I was to have him as my grandfather.  It reminds me how special my great-grandpa was to my dad and how they were always there for each other.  It reminds me that family comes first, always, and that you should always make time for loved ones because we never know when our last day will be.

In memory of Richard Holderread
March 4, 1919 - December 27, 2015