Saturday, December 8, 2012

Mid-December Loose Ends: Part 1

'Tis the season for decking the halls and trimming the tree, but I'll be honest...I can't focus on adding festive decorations to my home until I have a set of neat, clean, orderly rooms from which to start.

Which means that today I spent vacuuming, dusting, organizing, and tying up loose ends of half-completed projects. Here, I'll show you what I mean:

My family room rug has been driving me nuts. It's not horrible, but I've had it for over ten years and it's way past its multi-colored-checkers prime. The rest of the room has changed dramatically in this rug's lifetime, but still it sits here, taunting me in its mis-matchiness and defying my efforts to ignore it. 

As I stared at this frustrating obstacle today, I realized that if I had the money, I'd buy a new rug. Something natural and textural. Yes, something like the jute rug in my front hall right now. 

Wait a minute. 
The current front hall rug is thrashed and totally worn out, and Santa assures me that he will be packing a new rug for me onto his sleigh in just a few short weeks.
Which means that on December 25, the current front hall rug will be unemployed. 
Which means that I could then swap out my annoying family rug for the more-worn-but-less-jarring front hall rug.
Which means I could actually make the swap now, positioning the checkered rug in the front hall until Christmas, and putting the dog-eared but easy-on-the-eyes jute rug in the family room right now. 
Just until I have the money to buy a new rug.

If you can follow all that, I'm impressed.

Furthermore, if you have the imagination to look at this photo, see past the worn spots, and appreciate the visual calm of the jute rug under this cute red dog with the shifty eyes, then I will buy you a cigar. 

Here's another switch-o-change-o scenario. Before my recent wild home improvement binge, my daughters' orange bath mat fit right into their bathroom decor. But after repainting the room and choosing a new shower curtain, the orange is a major clash. 

So I scooped up the poor rejected bath mat, and trundled him off to my bathroom to see if he might find a new home there. Hmm. My bathroom walls are neutral so I welcome the bold punch of color he infuses. And there are some flashes of tomato red in my adjacent bedroom, so the orange isn't a total stretch. But as I've been thinking about this new match for the past week, I find myself wishing there was just a bit of orange somewhere else in the bathroom to tie in to the bath mat. 

The most likely candidates emerged in a pair of prints hanging on the nearby wall. Two cheap reproductions of famous sunflower paintings - one by Vincent Van Gogh, the other by Georgia O'Keeffe - sport hints of orange that could definitely be enhanced. With a highly feisty attitude, I opened up those frames, grabbed a few orange colored pencils, and added some bold touches of color here and there. Yep. Right on the art. And I love the finished result - though fairly unobtrusive, the new splashes of orange give my eye a place to anchor the color of the bath mat, and the room makes more sense to me now. 

But who am I to touch up the work of such iconic masters of the art world? Ha. I am a woman on an loose-end-tying-up mission, that's who. Stand back and give me room.

Over a year ago, I bought a simple teak wood tray at the thrift store. It sat on the coffee table in my family room and it was fine. A billion times, though, I have thought to myself, wouldn't it be great if that tray was red? 

Well. I finally grabbed a handy can of red spray paint and made it happen. So glad I did. 

I'm one of those people who keeps white Christmas lights glowing around my front door all year long. I call them twinkle lights and appreciate their friendly sparkle and delicate magic too much to ever take them down and pack them away. 

But here's the irony. Now that it's finally the Christmas season, and my neighbors' doorways are all ablaze with twinkle lights, guess whose lights have burned out. 

Yep. Mine. So after a month of twinkle-less-ness, I finally bought myself a new string of white happiness and strung it around my door. Ahh. So much better. 

I have a big round saucer on a table in my family room, and I keep it full of treasures from the beach. Shells, stones, bits of driftwood, beach glass, sand dollars. That sort of thing. Normally, it's a lovely hodgepodge of colors, but in honor of Christmas, I decided today to clean the whole thing out and edit my collection down to white items only. I sprinkled in a few small silver baubles, and the sparkling effect makes me very happy. #pacificnorthwestchristmas

Alright, I'll be the first to admit that these projects were not physically strenuous. Compared to my recent work with electric sanders and paint rollers, this was a day at the park. 

But tying up loose ends is never so much a physical challenge as it is a mental discipline. It is the problem-solving and commitment to getting 'er done that makes this type of work so exhausting, and I have to say that by dinner time, I was mentally worn out. 

So my proudest accomplishment of the day might just be this chili that I made for dinner. Nothing fancy, just an ordinary bowl of beans. But like all my other projects today, this meal gave me an enormous sense of satisfaction, and the stamina to keep going.

Because tomorrow, I'll be tying up more loose ends. Heaven help me. 

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