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Harmony Art Mom – Creative Month April

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First of all, thank you to my many followers, here and on Instagram, who have sent your well wishes for my up-coming move to Oregon. This business of selling a house is such a roller coaster ride, even from one minute to the next.

Leading up to listing our home for sale, I spent a lot of time decluttering, cleaning, and staging the home to help potential buyers see our cozy, bright, and inviting home at its best. We have lived in this house for over 30 years, so going through every nook and cranny was emotional and exhausting.  I parted with many items by giving to friends, selling at a garage sale, and gifting to our local hospice thrift shop. I tried to be practical and used many of the ideas found online for making decisions about whether to keep something or let it go. Sigh. The process is draining but now that I am living in a more minimalistic space, I see the wisdom in going through this exercise more often than once every 30 years.

Depersonalizing our home was not an easy task. I have lots of family photos decorating our walls and bookshelves. Once I cleared them away there were huge expanses of blank walls. My daughter and I used Pinterest to find fresh ideas that would make the house still look inviting and far less like a hotel.

In the end, creating a new living space was very satisfying and many of the ideas we implemented will be carried over to our new home. Here are a few of the areas we spruced up.

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We added some small potted plants, arranged interesting books, and created an inviting dining table.

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My daughter picked out some artwork that complemented things we already had in the house to fill up the large blank walls.

I took a quick trip to our local Big Lots and found a few items to give the bar area a little island appeal. I had the basics, but found the wall art and trays to pull it all together.

Other than revamping our house, my most creative activities this month have been scrapbooking and working in my nature journal.

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My sister plans a scrapbook retreat once or twice a year and this time I worked on our family vacation album almost the whole time. I was behind quite a bit and I made a great dent in creating a keepsake album of our travel to the Oregon Coast.

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I was able to keep up my once a week nature journal goal this month which makes me happy; not only that the pages are getting done but that I have made time to actually get outside to find things to journal about that are interesting.

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My husband and I had the opportunity to spend the day with our two oldest sons hiking in Southern California. It was timed perfectly to see the “super bloom” of wildflowers with hills covered in masses of coreopsis, lupine, yarrow, mustard, Mariposa lilies, poppies, blue dicks, Indian paintbrush, and more.

All of our hard work has paid off and we had an offer within a week of listing the house. Unfortunately, that deal fell through. We turned around and relisted the house and that afternoon we had another offer! See what I mean, roller coaster ride of ups and downs.

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I am dreaming of the day that all this will be behind me and I will be living in my new Central Oregon home. Buying a new home was such an emotional experience. But, I knew the minute I walked into the door of the house we purchased that it was my heart home…a place that our family now can make new memories in as time goes on.

 

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Harmony Art Mom – Creative Month February

creative-mom-february-2017-harmonyartmomCreative Mom – February 2017

So far February has been a great month for creative occupations. I participated in an online course that was aimed at beating the winter blues with creative ideas, recipes, and musings on the beauty of winter. It wasn’t a really good fit for me so I was only able to glean a few new ideas but I can imagine that in years to come I will be pulling up downloaded activities to use in winters to come.

Get real Barb!

I had to be realistic. I was not ready to invest in soapmaking supplies, learn to knit more complicated items like gloves, make cheese, or create my own teas. Sometime in the future I will be more in a position to tackle a few of them but now it seemed like way above my skill set (and ability to financially invest).

In a way though, it made me think about the creative activities I already enjoy and find great pleasure in doing for myself and my family.

scrapbook work

Since I have a spot to leave my scrapbooking supplies out at all times, I sit down more frequently to work on my pages. I made a trip to Hobby Lobby for some new paper and a few stickers and this stimulated my creative juices once again. I finished my Hawaiian album and now I’m working on family events in my personal album.

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I baked some yummy treats this month for my sweet husband. He does so much around here that to repay him I will often take his suggestions for a recipe to try. I made him flourless peanut butter cookies, almond shortbread, and biscuits so far this month. The trick is then for my hand to stay out of the cookie jar!

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Sketch Tuesday and my nature journal have kept me drawing and painting each week. I try to keep both simple and focus on the relaxing aspects of drawing. If things don’t turn out perfectly, no big deal.

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Shutterfly has shared so many coupons and free items with me in the past few months that it is an easy afternoon of creating that fits my budget. This wall calendar was a lot of fun to design and customize with my photos. It now hangs right next to my desk and it makes me happy to see my loved ones smiling back at me.

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Here are a few more ways I have been creating during this past month. I have customized my little mini travel watercolor palette for my nature bag. I got my passport renewed and my kids and I have been planning a trip to Canada! I have been taking lots of photos from my window during the rainy days. This California towhee was right outside my office window and I was able to snap a few photos before he flew off. I am working on my picture wall and updating my images to fit my current interests.

So, although I had planned to follow the online creative course, I stuck to my basics and feel like I truly accomplished some great creative energy. That really is what it is all about!
So what have you been doing this month to be creative?

Have you participated in Sketch Tuesday?

Have you listened to Music Monday?

 

Art Show Wall Display 1

You may wish to read this entry from my archives:

Creative Atmosphere in Your Home

 

Mother’s Journal – January 2017

Traditions. My husband and I have talked at length about maintaining old and creating new traditions in our family. Viewed from the lens of looking back on the past year helped us see more clearly which direction we want to steer this ship in the coming months. We actually wrote down all of our family’s traditions that we could think of as we discussed which ones we want to continue and which to let go. So many of our traditions have fallen away over time with the growing up of children.

Some traditions just don’t make sense anymore. Some traditions without the kids aren’t all that fun.

We had to face the reality of having four very active children who have chosen a rather vagabond lifestyle in their twenties. We love being “home base” and we also love being able to pick up and go whenever we can manage it as a couple. With my husband’s impending retirement this year, that freedom will even increase. We are anticipating the sale of our current house and making a big move sometime in 2017 so it is the perfect time to reevaluate our traditions, feeling out some new ideas.

I have felt a little at drift.

My personality loves routine and thrives on traditions and cycles. The thought of having a year where nothing is put on paper because we don’t know where we will be living has me unsettled. Thus, we came up with the idea to create some milestones for me to depend on and then work within that framework. If a tradition comes from these plans, all the better.

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February 2016 Trip to Southern California

Big Plans for 2017

We are meeting my daughter for a warm white sandy beach week in February which gives me that to look forward to and we are anticipating all our favorite traditional activities while we are there. We had a February warm weather trip to San Diego in 2016 and it was just what we both needed. We all have been saving for this trip over the past year because we realized it is something that we want to do to connect each year. She needs to escape the cold New York winter so it is a perfect fit for both all of us. A new tradition!

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April 2016 Shenandoah National Park

There is also a trip on the books now to meet two of my children over the summer for a trip to Canada….I will fly to New York and the we will all drive together up to Toronto. If they both decide they will be living in New York, this may also become a tradition.

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New shared hobby- kayaking!

My husband has planned a big camping trip in August that we can take no matter where we find ourselves living at that time. We decided that we would pick the week and any of the children that can join us will be more than welcome. Our gathering as a complete family has become highly impractical so we need to just enjoy what we can have which is a wonderful trip to a beautiful place, either on our own or with some of the kids. There may be a time in the future when we can be located more closely together but this time isn’t that chapter in our lives. At least right now there is only one child living out of the country (in Guyana!).

The Big Move

In the meantime, as I pack boxes and give things away, my mind is more at ease with the “coming together” times we have placed on the calendar. I will let you know how the anticipated new traditions go as we put them in place.

Maybe this is a time for decluttering all aspects of my life. As I wrote this post, I realized that I have been doing this clearing out in a physical way with my material possessions. It only makes sense now that I am doing the same thing with our family’s traditions…clear away all but the very best and meaningful rituals that still touch our hearts.

Like a flash of understanding, as I finish this post, it occurs to me this also fits in with my word of the year which is PURPOSE. I have been researching, reading scripture, and meditating on the idea of purpose. Do the traditions we are keeping serve the purpose we are intending…to bring joy and connection?

And so I will leave it there. You can imagine me as I go through the next few months contemplating these thoughts. There will be big changes but I will strive to keep connected through the joy of traditions both old and new.

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