Monday, 13 August 2012

House to Home

I’m having a truly brilliant time at the moment as I get ready to move house in just a couple of weeks time. My philosophy with most life events is to just go with it full pelt and get the most out of any experience. If you’re going to be a student then get yourself a satchel and dedicate yourself to take-out pizza like it’s going out of fashion. If you’re getting married spend hours of guiltless time perusing wedding magazines and (if you're anything like me) wandering round bridal fairs asking the prices of things and cackling with glee that you’re making your own for a fraction of the price.

When it comes to moving house there is almost too much potential excitement. There are the home magazine and blogs, the shopping – endless shopping – and if you’re going the frankly superior thirty, crafty home route the many hours ‘winning’ on ebay, the charity shop one-off-wonders, the DIY furniture makeovers and the feeling of being utterly pleased with yourself as you say once again ‘that was a fiver, that was. Destined for the bin before I saved it.’ BRILLIANT!

Charity shop find, re painted and the draw lined from my craft stash!
It has got me thinking though about whether all this nest building can be justified. Is it all a bit keeping up with the Joneses, a bit materialistic? As regular readers will know our house was broken into this year and I blogged about my heart not being in treasures stashed in my home but in bigger things. This is something I believe in and hold to. But does it stay true as I amass more things? When I actual own my own washing machine and bedroom furniture?

A few things have struck me about this. Firstly the really wonderful experiences I’ve had in other people’s homes. I call this the ‘House Hug’ effect. When you walk in somewhere and feel immediately welcome and rejuvenated. Being the hippy wannabe that I am I think this has a lot to do with the heart of the home, do people care more about their beige furnishings or you being at home in their home? Do people have truly generous hearts, cheerfully giving of what they have to you? When they do there is nothing better than curling up with a glass of wine in the lovingly decorated home of a good friend. I love seeing their personality stamped on a place. It is something unique and wonderful to be a guest in that kind of home.

My second thought is creativity. I love to create, whether it’s food or stuff for the house, clothes or a new eyeshadow. It all comes back to creativity for me. I love the ascetic, making things beautiful. I’m a messy creative. I want my garden to be full of bees not to be in regimented lines. Nothing I make is perfect, it’s very definitely ‘home spun’ but I like it that way. When I was doing my Masters we did a personality test as part of the final careers advice. Being a science course everyone else’s traits came up with things like accuracy and thoroughness. Mine were ascetics and creativity. I can say I looked mighty frivolous in front of those scientific types (and a bit of a heads up that I might not be in the right line of work!) It can be seen as frivolous to love beautiful things but isn’t it part of our nature to create, to admire, to feel awe and pleasure when we see something lovely?

My third thought is thrift. Often lovely things come at a price, the cost to the earth of more mass produced rubbish that will be quickly discarded, the cost to the producer who is paid a pittance. Beautiful things become quickly ugly in this light. But the brilliance of reusing, thrift and charity shopping (and fairtrade, handmade, green and locally crafted!) means giving a new lease of life to unwanted items. I long to do this more and escape the now, now, now mentality with each piece having a story of its own and how it came to you rather than being a flatpack from a warehouse. I’m going to go hippy on you again but I think that resonates something into the home, a certain kind of unique appeal. If you’re still not convinced then check out this brilliant kitchen renovation over at Lulastic and the Hippyshake. Isn’t it stunning?

So that long winded blog post is coming around to the fact that I’m guiltlessly celebrating creating a home packed with mismatched but well-loved items. That I’m thinking of the people who will come there, of creating a haven of hospitality that our own lives can operate from and that can bless people that come into it. And that now I’m off to make a bird garland from and old British Birds book, oh yeah!


  1. wow, we are so alike!! and I also have a totally mismatched home full of weird and wonderful bits, some rescued from skips or repainted in new and funky tones! make sure you post some pics of the bird garland!
    red x

  2. Ha ha! At least we love the junk eh?! Plus probably a good thing on a Vicar's salary!! Am hoping the garland will be post worthy, certainly going to be lots of snaps of the new place. I'm going a bit craft crazy! xx