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Spring Manifesto :: No. 2

Dandelion Yellow Rain JacketGranola BarsWindow

Number 2 ::

Appreciate the beauty of your daily life: the humble dandelion, faithfully springing up in fields, driveways, and cracks in the sidewalk, determined and surprisingly graceful; the joy that comes from saying YES to jumping in puddles, even if you left the rain boots at home; brewing tea and reading books while granola bars bake in the oven.

{see spring manifesto no. 1 here}

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Slow Decorating: Living Room Update

It’s been an long while since my last slow decorating post, but I guess that’s because slow decorating is … s l o w! It can be so frustrating to have a list of things you want to buy/make/do for your home and very little time or money to do them, but I wanted to show you how things are coming along — in the hopes that perhaps some of you are also slow decorating (by need or by choice) and will find my painfully slow progress helpful/inspiring/reassuring that you are not the only one on the planet with an imperfect home (but an imperfect home that you can also love). Wanna see?

Bird Chair

Since my last slow decorating post a year ago, I’ve started implementing some of the changes, and the plan has definitely evolved. I finally got our old chair reupholstered, using the same Dwell Studio fabric I had my eye on. We were considering doing a DIY upholstery job, but chickened out (definitely for the best!) and had local shop Kreatelier do it instead. I love the way it turned out. On the floor there you see a West Elm jute rug in a deep indigo color — darker than the natural fiber rug I was thinking of before, but I like the richness the deep color on the floor brings to the room. The twisty wood side table we’ve had forever, but I moved it up from the basement and liked the organic feel of it in the living room.

Living Room

Stepping back, this is now the view from the front door. It’s a long, narrow room, and I’ve had the hardest time figuring out how to squeeze an entryway, living room, and dining room into this one space. Part of what makes it work now is the new sofa table, seen in the foreground. I had the hardest time finding a sofa table small enough to fit behind our little sofette, and finally hit upon this one from Ikea, which is the perfect size … and cheap! I have a pair of super-cheap Lack tables as a coffee table, my favorite Moroccan pillow on our old white chair, and the fiddle leaf fig tree moved between the two chairs. I still hope to have a proper light fixture installed over the dining table (we already have one, I just need to call an electrician!!) and get rid of the torchiere in the corner.

Entry Table

Here’s a closer look at the sofa table, unstyled and complete with ugly hiking shoes and a recycling basket that needs to be emptied! Floating the small sofa in the middle of the room with table behind it creates a mini-entryway and gives some structure to the living room area. I still want to get some slim baskets to tuck into that shelf, to keep our mail and whatnot organized (yet hidden) near the front door.

Dining Room

Well, that’s it for now! I hope you enjoyed this mini-tour, and I’d love to hear what you think of our progress so far. Goodness know we still have a long way to go.

hugs, Laura


Spring Manifesto :: No. 1

Inspired by Amanda’s Winter Manifesto project a few years back, I have decided to start my own Spring Manifesto to celebrate this glorious season. If you feel inspired to join me, feel free to link up to your own spring post in the comments.



Number One ::

Seek out the spring blossoms. Listen for bird calls. Soak in the sun.

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Streamlining the Cupboards for Summer

Espresso Pot

The other day I mentioned how I was planning to streamline my home for the summer months, and I took the first steps over the weekend. I sorted through our clothes, stowing away winter stuff for next year (giving away several bags of clothes we no longer wear) and bringing the summer things out of storage. But most satisfying of all was clearing out the kitchen cupboards — I am so happy with the results. It feels so good to open up the cupboards we use daily and see a bit of breathing room!

Kitchen Cupboard

We do have more plates, mugs, and glasses that were in the dishwasher when I snapped these this morning (and of course we still have the lower cupboards where most of the pots and pans and less-pretty tools are stored), but even with the others, the cupboards look refreshingly simple. I love that I can better appreciate my favorite pieces, like the lion’s head soup bowls and ceramic berry bowl that were our anniversary gifts this year (9 years = ceramic!) instead of having them hidden away behind piles of mismatched stuff. If you’ve been wishing you could streamline your kitchen, I say go for it! It feels good, and you won’t regret it. You don’t even need to give the excess stuff away (although you certainly can) — just put it in a box and tuck it into the closet for the summer.

xo Laura

Oh, and p.s. - Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mamas out there!!!


My Writing Process Blog Tour

When Daisy asked if I would participate in a writing process blog tour, I couldn’t resist saying yes. It feels so old-school blogging to do a meme — fun! You can read about Daisy’s writing process on her blog In Full Blume, and read on for a peek into my own process. Happy Friday my dears!


1. What am I working on?

My workload lately has been a little crazy! I’ve been trying to work ahead since we are going to Switzerland later this month, so each week has felt like a stretch. For instance, in the past five days, I have written seven pieces for Houzz, three posts for Woodside Homes, and a few blog posts of my own. For Houzz, I am also contributing to a big new product feature for the site where I will be writing as Houzz, rather than under my own byline … which is weirldly exciting! : )

I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog and my vision for it for the future, and what I’ve come to realize is that I really want my blog and life to be more closely aligned. I don’t just want to write about beautiful, heart-filled homes and simple pleasures, I want to lead a happier, more mindful life — and I think this blog can be a wonderful tool to help move my life in the direction I want if I let it. In a bigger-picture way, I am working on a nonfiction book proposal that I am really excited about. I’m sorry I can’t say more about that … only that it relates to chickens, but it’s not a how-to book!

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I write about the home — but while I do cover decorating, home tours, interviews with designers and architects, and all the rest, my favorite work (and what really seems to strike a chord with readers) tends to center around the emotional aspects of home and savoring life’s simple pleasures. I think we are all a little fed up with the constant barrage of consumer pushiness, and people are craving permission to just be happy with life at home as it is, in all its imperfect glory.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I’m obsessed! The home, and our relationship with it, is what I love thinking about; it’s where my passion is. If I wasn’t writing about it for a living or on my blog, I would still be writing about it in my journal. : )

Domino Magazine

4. How does my writing process work?

Once a week I dedicate some time to idea-generating. Coming up with fresh ideas that haven’t been done to death for the 6-10 pieces of writing I do each week is one of my biggest challenges! I love it when family, friends, or blog readers come to me with a quandary, or something they are curious to know more about, because that can easily turn into a piece that I know others will also be interested in. I’m also very visual, which makes blogging and online writing ideal, because it comes along with choosing lots of great art.

When I get ready to write, the first thing I do is choose the photos that will accompany the piece. Then I usually jot out a list of bullet points that I would like to cover, and if I need to, this is the time I do some research on the subject. When all of that is in order, I get typing! The actual writing phase for me is the easiest part, and usually just flows out. The only times I feel stunted are when I realize I’ve chosen a subject that I don’t really want to be writing about!

Tag time! Here are the 3 writers I have chosen to continue the blog tour…

Julie Hill Barton is a writer, mom and dog lover living in Northern California. She has been published in Brain,ChildThe Huffington Post, WestviewThe South Carolina ReviewLouisiana Literature, and other journals. She has an MFA in fiction writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She also has an MA in Women’s Studies from Southern Connecticut State University. She is currently finishing a memoir about her battle with major depression and the dog that helped her heal. To see more of her work, please visit http://byjuliebarton.com.

Eden is a writer, editor, chef, and photographer who believes the best place to swap stories is over a shared meal. She’s a third-generation Californian and technophile, who envisions a world where everyone feels welcome and no one walks away hungry or feeling ostracized. She teaches an Introduction to Thai Flavors eCourse and hosts a family-style supper club in San Francisco. When she’s not feeding people, Eden helps creative entrepreneurs take their product from vision to reality while telling passionate, believable stories and building inclusive communities with the people who need their products and services. She shares a railroad flat with her husband cubes, two-year-old daughter Gates, and a Maine Coon cat named Sprite. You can find her online at The Road to The Good Life, a blog about appreciating and enhancing your life by being grateful for the ‘haves” instead of lingering on the “wants.”

Patricia is a kindergarten teacher that actually never taught, and has been managing a company since graduation — she has always loved paper and fabric and was very fortunate to be able to transform her two hobbies, scrapbooking and patchwork, into part of her job. Patricia is a married working mom with 4 children which are her reason for living and blogging! You can find her online at Miss Lacitos.

Visit the blogs of these 3 lovely ladies in the upcoming week to learn about their writing process. I can’t wait to see what they come up with! hugs, Laura

p.s.: For some reason this recent post did not get emailed to subscribers … so if you didn’t yet hear the news that we gave away our chickens, you can get all filled in right here!

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