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The idea for this vignette started with the wicker shelf I picked up at the thrift store for $3.99, in fact, everything in this vignette, except the tea pot on the upper shelf, and the metal bracelet on the placement were from the thrift store.  I don’t see wicker shelves as often as I thought I would, or as often as I used to, so I bought it with no second thoughts.   There’s almost always a place for cute little shelf units – because they are not large, they fit nicely on a bedroom dresser, a kitchen or bathroom counter, or in your living room and you can arrange a few items on and around them that accentuate the ambience you have, or are trying to achieve.  They also add height and interest – the interest comes from the design, the natural material, and the textures.  With the added height, your eyes wander around the grouping like they are on a little journey.  I originally began placing different colors of small pottery items but they were not working with the color of the shelf, and something else was missing.  Once I used the tarnished silver items, I realized that it was a lovely patina and reflective qualities that had been missing.  I placed a few aqua river pebbles to add a whisper of color.  The beads draping out of the hand-wrought looking metal bowl, the ivory rose and placement balance out the color from using the shabby ivory wooden box on the lower shelf.  You could still embellish more by placing an interesting item on top of the box – even a small strip of old lace, or tying something onto the wicker shelf.

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I love this lighthearted, positive, upbeat quote!  I feel wonderful just reading it!  One thing’s for sure – charismatic people (at least the genuine ones) are naturally and happily engaged with the people around them.  They are positive, seemingly glad to be alive and in your company.  They have a good sense of humor and wit, and appear relaxed in their posture, gestures, and pace of speech.    Charismatic people have a talent for small talk, communication in general, and if ever there is a gap in the conversation, around them it is a very comfortable gap!   These charming and alluring people have a way of cultivating enjoyable conversations, and a relaxed open atmosphere.  Perhaps one reason why being with a charismatic person can make us feel wonderful about ourselves is that regardless of any inadequacies we may feel we have, they can make us feel like we are interesting and worth getting to know just the way we are, and they can have a way of bringing out the best in us!

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As the British explored the world, they began incorporating designs, motifs and materials of the locale they were in with their own.  Think plantation, coastal, breezy.  Antigua, Africa, Tobago, Barbados.  Rattan, leather, wicker, cottons, linens, sisal, jute.  Dark woods like mahogany.  Tropical plants. As they traveled, they drew and published prints of plants and animals.  Want more inspiration?  Motifs of pineapples, elephants.  Zebra.  Banana leaf shaped ceiling fans.  Then give it a little pop with an eclectic mix of accessories, including a little sparkle with crystal, glass, metals.  Keep your eyes open at thrift stores for items that fit into this design style as they are often available.  The woven box, pineapple base lamp, and white paisley semi sheer fabric panel were all purchased at a thrift store.   

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There is lots of information out there about why it is good to follow your dreams, and I love the charming way that this quote expresses the message that it is good for your soul to follow your dreams.   Sure, following your dreams can reveal, nurture, and elevate personal characteristics such as motivation, discipline, determination, and dealing with setbacks, but on a much deeper level, our hearts, or spirits.   Although certain dreams may be meant to come to fruition,  perhaps it is not always about whether or not a particular dream is realized, but that it is by following it, walking toward that which we are passionate about,  that we are led down paths each with their own unique gifts for us which we may not otherwise have had the opportunity to receive.   Following our dreams keeps us in touch with some childlike qualities and we remain very engaged with life.  Learn to hear and listen to your heart’s whispers!  :)

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It must be the hat that gives this vignette such a carefree flair!  I have images in my mind from commercials of someone running through a country field on a sunny day, with a summer dress, holding the hat in their hands, then the wind blows it away!  The hat is adorned with a lightweight scarf with butterfly images, and beautiful delicate crocheted floral tassels.  Two squares of fabric, that I’m keeping on hand for my next block quilt, sit underneath the hat, grounding it and bringing the eye to it.  The pattern on the fabric squares really sets the tones for the country feel, and the square shapes balance out the round hat and rounded lamp.  The patina and shape of the antique jar is perfect for adding to the country feel – it makes you think you stepped outside your door, and cut off the greenery within.  It’s neutral color keeps the focus on the hat and fabric, yet is an integral part of the vignette.  The warm buttery color of the lamp, scarf and a fabric square, warm it all up, and the blue of the other square gives it a bit of interest and balance.  Thrift stores often have a lot of hats, and I can’t wait to create a vignette with yet another style!

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Simplicity doesn’t have to be about tossing out the television, shutting down your social media, or nixing new purchases,  although it is shifting to a lifestyle with less stuff, debt, clutter, multi-tasking, and thinking, to more living.  By creating a simpler life, we become more engaged and relaxed, more mindful, and we are able to let experiences in.  Have you ever gone for a walk, only to find you were so focused on thinking about something that you didn’t even notice the beautiful autumn leaves?   

 Our complex lives can distract us from breathing in life’s simple, everyday blessings that bring about a sense of contentment.  When we are content, we are happy.  Some synonyms of being content are comfortable, fulfilled, peace of mind, heart’s ease, serenity.  Consciously take time in your daily life to be mindful of what your senses encounter,  and away from thinking about what you are going to buy next, how you can get more done in less time.   Take up pleasurable activities.  Find a light-hearted method of meditation that suits your personality.  Listen to your favorite songs.  Watch the leaves on the trees flutter in the breeze.  Watch a youtube video with the sights and sounds of a mountain stream while you imagine yourself exploring the banks, walking over the rocks to the other side, bending down to run your fingers over the moss.   Do a small kind thing for a stranger.  And probably, most of all, whisper a recognition of gratitude to your heart!

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One of my dreams when I purchase a condo of my own, is to tear out all or many of the top cupboards and replace them with a few well-chosen eclectic pieces.  In fact, it will have to be the first things I do without looking back because it will surely be an unusual thing to do.  Sure, I might end up having to be very creative with where and how I store things, but I’m certainly willing and able to do this to have what is my ‘unique kitchen space’!  In my condo search so far, it is the kitchen that makes me click onto the next one for sale, until I spent some time browsing images of kitchens for ideas, and when I found a few I liked, they were all titled with ‘boho’,   so the browsing continued.  Granted, many of them are a little eccentric for me, and a little overwhelming,  but the inspiration is jumping off the shelves!   The idea is to have various pieces for interest, have a certain amount of items on open shelves, don’t be matchy matchy, listen to your heart, and don’t be afraid to experiment and think outside of the box.  Well, it’s certainly not for everyone, but  you can indeed have a kitchen that will be a delight to walk into and spend time in, will be easy peasy to change up from to time, and will be like no one else’s!  

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Couldn’t say it better myself!  The images this wall quote brings to mind are much more powerful than if it said “Hard times build character”.   Imagine yourself meeting , and having two separate conversations with two sailors.  The first one enjoyed sailing and was always sailing in calm waters surrounded by the beautiful sky, sparkling waters, and interesting shorelines, going about the business of sailing, taking care of business.  This was generally how the life of this sailor was.  Now, you find yourself with the second sailor who  had manoeuvered many a stormy waters, having to shore up precision focus, making split second decisions,   draw on all the knowledge learned,  and using this to figure out what works, how to problem solve if necessary items are washed overboard or broken, what to do if lost and supplies are running short, all the while keeping the safety of everyone else in mind.  These are likely only a few of the problems that would arise.  Then, once everything has returned to normal, and the sailor is back at home, the experience is reflected upon and after careful scrutiny sees where and why good decisions were made, how a different decision might have affected the results, and how the code of honor this person carried were honored (or not) in making decisions.  Imagine how your interaction  and perception of the character of this person might compare.    Challenges bring out new ways of expanding our thought processes, beliefs, and values.  We can become more resourceful, resilient, patient, and confident that in the future, we have the capacity to ‘weather the storm’ .  It can make us dig deep to examine our moral fiber and we can come out on top with a richer character, and wisdom.  In these times, we are forced to draw on all these things, and more, which, in smooth times, are lying dormant.

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Well, this was an interesting little experiment!  Just goes to show how switching out one element can have such an effect on the ambience of a vignette.  I think my favorite it the top or bottom one, but the bird picture is part of a group of four (pictures actually taken from a used book and framed :-) ) in my living room that is perfectly suited for that space.  I might like the bird picture better here if I changed out the rich grey scarf for another color.  In this arrangement,  I started with the glass table lamp – which I like, but isn’t really my style.  I was in too much of a hurry to get a new lamp (long before my previous post about lamps).  The intriguing fruit bowl was purchased at a thrift store, and the metal elements, together with the weave and the objects filling it, bring nature and a little ‘roughness’ into the group.  Wanting something soft and billowy-ish – pardon my english – I grabbed one of my scarves and dropped it into the glass container perched on its black metal stand.  For me, the colors of the scarf added a richness and depth that was missing before.  The container too was from a thrift store.  If you have been following my blog, you will also recognize my ‘tablecloth’ – the small panel of bridal fabric that I couldn’t resist!

Thrift store wall candle sconce

Another thrift store score

It’s nice to have some accents on your walls that are not pictures, that add depth, dimension, texture, and other visual interest –  something that either extends out from the wall just the right amount, and/or something that is sculptural.   I feel the same way about something coming down from the ceiling although there are probably less choices in this scenario.  There are a lot of metal candle holders available that are meant to be hung from a wall but they do not have the substance that I am seeking.  Even though I like quite a bit of wall space to be decorated, I do keep away from small items – some have their place, and it is often amazing how one object strategically placed in a small wall area can dramatically change the ambience of your room.  They can also guide your eyes around the room – like a decorative journey of decor discovery!  I was quite happy when I got this item for only $4.99 – admittedly I passed it by on two visits and this was probably the first time ever that something was still available.  hehe….and don’t think of trying to hide something so you can return to the store later and purchase the item if you change your mind – everyone is on a fishing expedition :-)  and it WILL be found!  It will be fun changing out the filling from time to time for a fresh look.

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