Monday, January 28, 2013

Little Homey Touches

I'm not much for knick knacks and doo-dads.  Most of my decorations consist of a few framed pictures hung on the wall. Ten of which contain my kids at various ages and stages.  That only leaves about eight others, one of which is a wedding photo of DH and I.  Another is an aerial photo of our property, which was an anniversary present a couple of years ago.

Point being, I'm naturally more into function than decoration.  Although in the last few months, I've been finding myself adding a bit more embellishment to certain parts of the house.  Lest you think I've gone all foo-foo girly, let me add that part of it has been finding a way to use a few items I want to have without them just being clutter.

One item that helped greatly in this endeavor, was an over-the-toilet cabinet that I snagged at Goodwill this past summer for less than $10.  It was in great shape and didn't even need painting.  I gave it a wash and some new shelf paper inside, and it was ready to set into place.  In addition to holding towels and toilet paper in a location very close to the shower and the commode, it is a great place to display some of my treasures from recent travels.

The top shelf contains a picture of a juvenile bald eagle I took when we delivered DS2 to his freshman year of college, an amaryllis I am growing from a bulb (something I've always wanted to try growing and scored earlier this month at Wally World for 75% off), and a homemade candle in an antique canning jar that was a gift from a friend several years ago.

The bottom shelf holds another canning jar that contains sea shells DH and I collected on a sunset walk along the ocean when we went to Myrtle Beach last summer, a small chunk of granite from where DS2 took us climbing this past August (to show us where he rock climbs/rappels), another picture I took in the U.P. (sunlight and shadows along a tree root woven dirt path in the woods), and a mostly intact conch shell I found during that beach walk with DH last summer.

Nothing fancy, and nothing that cost much of anything, but all have meaning to me.

A new item in my bathroom is a hand soap dispenser I made yesterday from another antique canning jar (this one is also a pale green, and scored from Goodwill for 59 cents!) and the pump portion of a many years old hand soap bottle from the store.  (I get my hand soap by the gallon and just refill existing dispensers until they give up the ghost after a decade or so.)

It was super easy to make.  Basically, I took a lid and ring that I had, poked a hole in the center of the lid (I confess, with a corn stabber aka holder for eating corn on the cob), enlarged the hole by mashing a screwdriver through it, then used a pair of needle nosed pliers to gently pull the edges of the hole larger until the fattest part of the underside of the pump dispenser fit snugly into it.  Then I just trimmed the straw part of the dispenser to the depth of the bottom of the jar, filled the jar with soap, and screwed the lid down with the canning jar ring.  Voila, country style frugally decorative--yet very functional!--hand soap dispenser.

Two more items put to functional yet decorative use reside near my front door in what I suppose you could call the foyer--although it is really where the hallway and front door and stairs to the second story all meet--are my childhood toy chest (made by my maternal grandfather--who died when I was 18--used by me, then used and outgrown by all four of my kids), and a doily handmade by DH's maternal grandmother (who has been deceased for nearly a decade).

The poor aloe plant that sits atop the doily (which makes a great decorative touch to a really not so pretty plant and pot) didn't like the 50-something degrees which the house got down to during our power outage last week.  Prior to that, it was nice and rigid and upright (and occasionally used for treating burns and stings), but now it's rather sad looking and blackened in spots.  It also came into my possession at no cost when I volunteered to re-pot all the plants in one of my children's classrooms about fourteen years ago, and the teacher told me to keep all the 'sprouts' from any of the plants I was working with.

Anyway, the toy chest holds a variety of miscellany, including some seasonal decorations for the walls in that corner of the house and a few afghans that I rotate on the back of the couch with the seasons (handmade by various family members, some long deceased).  But mostly it dresses up the entry way, gives me somewhere other than the floor to put that plant, and holds our most recent family picture--the only one with all eight of us in it--which was taken at DD1's graduation.

Next time you go decluttering in your house, take a good look at your miscellaneous heirlooms and emotional treasures, and see if maybe you can come up with functionally decorative spots to use them rather than having them stuffed into drawers, cabinets, boxes, and basement corners.

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