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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.