Willingness…To Do What?

I got an email from my dear friend, Lori Saylor Milan the other day. We’ve known each other for many years and although she lives in Portland, Oregon and I’m in Chicagoland we have a bond that’s tight. You see we met at a very traumatic time in both of our lives through a Bible Study back around 1996. Since then when we talk or write to each other it’s as if we can both feel the deep connection and by the way, we both know it is a connection made by God and the Universe. No doubt about it.

Anyway, months can go by in between our emails to each other so when she wrote to me the other day it was wonderful to hear from her. Little did she know the incredible inspiration her words were for me. Here’s what she wrote:

“I wanted to tell you Happy New Year and also to see if you are doing all right. I had not seen your blog for a while. I hope David is doing good. I know you have lots of coals in the fire and just might be plain ole busy but I do hope that is all that is going on.

I started a new tradition several years ago. It involves having friends and family pick an angel card from a deck when we meet at Christmas or New Years. I have all my co-workers, children, siblings and friends take one. The angel cards have words on them. During the year each person is supposed to remember their word and meditate and think about it on and off. Look all around you for the meaning. I drew a card for you.

Your word for 2013 is: WILLINGNESS

I’ve reread this email several times that she sent on January 16th. Each and every dang time goose bumps erupt on my arms; tears form in my eyes and incredible warmth heats up my heart. Lori picked the perfect card for me. And just because I am obsessed with defining words, here’s the definition of Willingness:

Willingness: of or relating to the will or power of choosing

What an awesome word for me to have for the year. And, it couldn’t have been timelier. You see, I haven’t been able to write for a good while now. Yeah sure, I’ve been super busy with work. But truth be told, since September my life has been inundated with really tough stuff. I’m talking gut wrenching, heavy stuff – or maybe I’m just too sensitive. (N.O.T.) If I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it a gazillion times that my life is crazier than a Lifetime movie or daytime Soap. And these last several months have had some doozie sagas!

Hence, the desire to write was gone. Kaput. Besides loss of desire I was afraid. Afraid? Yep. Afraid to accidentally (or worse, on purpose) say something that had to do with one of the several trauma-dramas going on around me. Too risky for sure. Funny thing though – even though I wasn’t writing, my mind was going, going, going. Thoughts, ideas and words were whirling and twirling through my mind all day long. All of it needed to go on paper- well, actually onto my computer. And all the while this nagging voice in my head kept saying, “Write what you are led to write and NOT what you think you should write.” Interesting.

Timing is everything. Lori’s word inspired me to be willing. Willing to open myself up once more, willing to be risky, willing to put myself out there without fear of loosing readers with the direction my posts will take, and willing to share my stories with others NOT to inform but to inspire. Inspire what you say? Peace. Love. Harmony.

So here I am writing again. Lori’s word willed me to get back to my computer. Joy, oh joy! I forgot how much I love it! There is some kind of deep pleasure I get in writing. In fact, for me it’s much like doing a puzzle – it is cathartic and calming all at the same time and I simply loose myself in it. And most importantly, at the risk of being bold, I know that I’m a good storyteller. I believe God and the Universe gifted me in this way. Which leads me back to that nagging voice in my head. But more on that in my next post…

Roadside Flares

Somewhere recently I read something about messages we all receive. The author called them “roadside flares to get our attention”. Thank you Lori for your email message. For sure it was a roadside flare for me. It got my attention. It inspired me to willingly throw caution to the wind and do what I love to do and what I believe God and the Universe had in mind for me all along. Besides that I have also discovered multitudes of ways the word “willingness” can be used in my daily walk. I will forever be indebted to you my dear friend!

I’m paying it forward

Lori honored me with taking the time to choose a word for me. It means a lot to all of us to know someone wants to give us a gift of his or her time in a way such as this. So I’m paying it forward. Dear readers, consider the word “willingness”. How does it speak to you? What could you be willing to do in 2013?

  • Right a wrong?
  • Resolve a conflict?
  • Spend quantity and quality time with your family?
  • Loose a few pounds?
  • Go green?
  • Get back to that hobby you love?
  • Play more?
  • Join a club?
  • Do charity work?
  • Pray more?
  • Stretch yourself?
  • Start each morning with a smile?
  • Sleep more?
  • Laugh more?
  • Feel free to be you?

Have fun with this word and heck, take the time to pay it forward to someone else. And, write to me if you feel led to and let me know what you choose to do with this word!

Just be willing…

A Nursery With Room To Grow

Little Miss Blake

Little Miss Blake

I love everything about Home Decor and love to create unique environments.  In particular, I love to design and decorate nurseries and children’s’ rooms.  Not only are they fun, but they’re also a space that most of my clients are willing to “let go in” and let me be really, really creative.  I’ve done my share of nurseries and children’s rooms over the years in my career.  From baby boys to baby girls, “tweens” and teens – I’ve had fun with every single one regardless of the style or theme being incorporated into the design.  But I must say, nothing beats getting to be involved in someone I love’s room – like my first grandchild’s! My daughter, Sammi was expecting in December of 2010 so together we planned the nursery.  Even my daughter-in-law, Kathleen had input into it.  Team effort for sure!

We had several goals in mind for the design of the nursery that incorporated key parts of my personal design philosophy.  They were to:

  • Create a unique environment
  • Use colors and elements of Nature
  • Plan it so that the décor would transition and provide a space for Ansley to grow in
Magnolia Blossoms as wall art

Magnolia Blossoms as wall art

I don’t believe any two spaces should look alike which is why I say I like to create unique environments.  Ever one to say “Ignore the trends”, I prefer to design space with real personal touches.  That’s what really, really makes the space unique.  We accomplished this by decorating with things such as some of the Vintage collections both Sammi and Brent had as children (like their silver baby pieces and Sammi’s music boxes) to a framed “Onesie” Sammi’s gal pal, Blair Kernodle Scheepers gave her that was hand-stitched in South Africa where she lives.  Having this “Onesie” as wall art in Ansley’s nursery not only connects Sammi and Blair on a daily basis, but it is a piece that Ansley will always have to historically mark her infant days as well.  (She actually wore the “Onesie” and when she outgrew it, we had it framed.)  Seriously, I hope to one day see this piece in Ansley’s own home!

The Frog Prince

The Frog Prince

Using colors and elements from Nature is important to us and we are mindful of this in every space we work in.  So, the walls were painted Green (the color of Nature as I discussed in my posts, Using The Color Green In Home Décor and Two Colors Every Homespace Needs) and we created a wall of flowers as art for the space by using plates shaped like magnolia blossoms with hand-painted stems.  A shadowbox of hand-cut butterflies on the wall near her crib also connects the nursery to nature.  Finally, we added “The Frog Prince” sitting on the ledge of the door so that Ansley could connect with the natural world in a wonderfully whimsical way.

Sammi and I both are practical decorators and so creating a space that could transition to her “big girl” room easily was important to us.  Of course, every nursery needs a crib.  But, everything else in the room can transition to any age.  For example, the “changing table” is actually a dresser.  Simply remove the changing pad and it becomes a dresser for a big girl to put her clothes in.  And, my fave part of the room is the hand-painted initials on the wall.  The look of the initials is fabulous and really anchors the space, but once the crib is gone, voila – the initials become the “headboard” for Ansley’s big girl bed.

As a changing table

As a changing table

As a dresser

As a dresser

A view of the hand-painted Initials

A view of the hand-painted Initials

Ansley is nearing the ripe old age of eighteen months now.  I love nothing more than to sit on her nursery floor and have her bring books to me to read to her or to play peek-a-boo as she hides behind her crib.  I have no doubt that she is blossoming within her nursery nest.  And, I have no doubt she will continue to as she grows up still enjoying the décor of her space.  After all, her nest gives her plenty of room in which to grow!

Design Choices and Credits

Crib: Bratt Décor

Dresser: Furniture Classics, LTD

Lamp on Dresser: Thumprints

Hand-cut Butterflies: Found on Etsy

Crib Skirt Fabric: Bergamo

Stool Fabric: Zimmer+Rohde

Window Treatment Fabric: Bergamo

Custom Crib Skirt and Window Treatments: Laurel Lane Draperies

Rocker Fabric: Kravet

Custom Upholsterer: Privette’s Upholstery

Custom Corner Cabinet: Haefele & Associates

Magnolia Blossom Plates: Global Views

Artistic Painting: CKPaints (www.ckpaints.com)

Modern Artwork: Allposters

Custom Framing of Modern Artwork: Campania Fine Molding

Wall Color: Benjamin Moore 2147-40 “Dill Pickle”

Photography of all Images: Cameron Triggs Photography

 

To blossoming in life…

 

Using The Color Green In Home Decor

It’s springtime so open your front door or simply gaze out the window and what color do you see?  Unless you look up, chances are you’re seeing the color Green – Nature’s very own!  Yep, springtime is the perfect season to witness Nature’s predominant color in its entire splendor.  And with all the feel good vibes that come with the green of spring, it’s no wonder that the color Green itself has positive emotional impact.

Green:

A secondary color on the color spectrum, Green is a blend of the primary colors of Yellow and Blue.  Green symbolizes Health, Well-being, Prosperity and Life.  Green is the color most favored by people in the helping and healing fields.

The psychology of Green

As I wrote in my post, The Power Of Color, the use of color is a form of non-verbal communication.  The color choices you make in your space greatly impact it and as I discussed in the post, colors not only symbolize certain feelings, they have the power to evoke certain feelings as well.

Studies have shown that Green has its own effects on us.  For example, using green creates a calming and soothing atmosphere.  Here are some other effects Green has on us:

  • Helps to alleviate Depression
  • Reduces Anxiety
  • Reduces Fear
  • Nurtures us
  • Fills us with a sense of balance and harmony

It’s no wonder that many hospitals and medical establishments use Green as the color of choice for walls and fabrics!

Several people I know infuse shades of green in their own homespaces.  Oddly enough they are all in the medical field!  My childhood friend, Julie has soft sage walls in her dining room and splashes of green throughout her entire homespace.  A dedicated nurse and a person full of compassion for others, I’m not the least bit surprised that she loves Green.  Then there’s my dear friend Jolie.  She uses the color Green in her homespace and her office is furnished with beautiful green sofas and club chairs.  Immediately upon walking into her office you feel a sense of peace and calm – important for anyone that seeks out her medical expertise.  Last but not less, one of my niece’s, Jackie uses green in her home décor as well.  And yep, she’s also in the medical field- she’s a speech pathologist and in her personal life she’s always smiling, always upbeat and one that couldn’t hurt a fly!

So knowing that these three wonderfully caring individuals are drawn to the color Green gives me pause to consider the question of the chicken and the egg – you know, which came first?  Did a childhood love of green subconsciously draw each of them into career paths of helping and healing or vice versa?  Now, stay on the path of connecting the color Green with how we act and react and that flat brings out the wanna be psychologist in me and makes me say…

Go green in your space

Infuse the color Green in your homespace.  After all, if green can have positive effects on us, for heavens sake, we all should consciously incorporate it into our decor.  There are a myriad of ways you can do this without going over the top or ignoring the color palette that truly speaks to you such as incorporating it into throw pillows and accessories, but the easiest and for me the absolute best way to add the color Green to your space is with living plants.  Bringing green into your homespace in such a natural way by far changes the energy of your space – not to mention the health of your space (as discussed in a post, Top Twelve Best Indoor Plants For Purifying The Air).

Live green in your space

In recent years it has become the politically correct thing to go green by physically caring more for our environment in ways such as reducing water usage, reducing electrical usage, reducing gas consumption and of course, by recycling all that we can.  Our planet and humanity just cannot keep handling all our excesses, uses and abuses.  Every day the news gives us more ideas of how to physically care more for our environment.  But as a decorator and a homespace coach, what I call a “psychologist of the home”, I cannot stress enough the importance of psychologically caring more for our environment, what I call “living green”.  By going green in our home décor, we live green by reducing anxiety, feeling calmer, more peaceful and relaxed.  By going green we live green and can more easily live in perfect harmony within ourselves as well as with greater mankind.

Living green connects us to Nature

Richard Louv, author of the book, Last Child in the Woods and his most recent book, The Nature Principle, has some very compelling thoughts on the importance of nature in our lives.  He calls Nature the best tonic we can find and says,

“The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.”

I emphatically agree with Mr. Louv and have learned this for myself.  There’s no better medicine for me than to get outdoors and connect with Nature.  That’s why I also know firsthand the importance of bringing nature indoors as much as possible and so I highly recommend that everyone do this.  By infusing shades of green in our décor theme, we subconsciously connect to Nature.  It’s just that simple.

Early this morning I walked five miles at the park.  I was overwhelmed with the panoramic view of green around me.  With many of the trees in varying degrees of sprouting new leaves, the shades of green seemed endless.  I felt like Julie Andrew’s character, Maria in The Sound of Music as I realized my arms began stretching out to encompass the beauty surrounding me.  No, I can’t sing, but I sure come alive surrounded in green!

To living green…

Decorating 101 – A Lesson For Lilly

I like to think that every moment presents us with a chance to learn something – “a teachable moment” to use a catchy, trendy phrase.

So, when dear friend and client, Jennifer McNally asked B&A Interiors, LLC  to redo her daughter, Lilly’s bedroom, Sammi and I took the project on with one stipulation.  Although this was to be considered a birthday present from Jennifer and Sean, we wanted Lilly to be involved in the decision making process.  Jennifer was in!

In particular, I wanted her to understand the use of color, textures and patterns to create a pleasing atmosphere for her.  As side benefits she ended up learning about budget and patience (which she exemplified as she waited and w.a.i.t.e.d for the job to be finished).  Decorating 101 for Lilly!

Here’s what Lilly learned (at least that was the intention):

Color your world

The project started with a simple question I posed for Lilly.

What are your favorite colors?

In grown-up words, I was asking her what colors spoke to her as I think this is first and foremost the question to know the answer to in any new decorating project.  As I said in my post Color Your World, it is vital to your essence to be true to yourself in how you decorate your space.  Your choice of colors must match who you are in order for your soul to be blissful.  Even a young girl like Lilly needs to feel the color and know it matches who she is.  Learning this so young in life is a tremendous step in the right direction of becoming authentically you.  Furthermore, learning to express who you are in any capacity is a lesson in assertiveness.  Letting Lilly be a part of the decision making process taught her to speak her mind.       

Once Lilly expressed to us what her favorite colors were, Jennifer, Sammi and I hit the design showrooms in search of fabrics. Obviously, we wanted to make sure that Lilly was guided in directions where color, texture and pattern were combined to create a beautiful look for her room.  So, we put together three different sets of choices and then let Lilly make the final decision.  It was a win-win for all of us.  Lilly got to choose the color palette, we gently guided her with fabric selections and then she took ownership in the final decision making.

The colors of nature

Another lesson for Lilly to learn was my firm belief that every space should infuse the two basic colors of nature.  In my post, Two Colors Every Homespace Needs, I explain the importance of this.  The two basic colors of nature (green and blue) when used in interior spaces instantaneously connect you with nature.  And, all of us can benefit from this.

Lilly’s treasured vanity from Aunt Liz

Lilly’s treasured vanity from Aunt Liz

Incorporating these two colors into Lilly’s design was super easy.  We needed to work with a piece of furniture in Lilly’s room that was very special to her that just happened to be a beautiful shade of soft green.  This piece of furniture was a sweet vanity table from her Aunt Liz.  We wanted to make this piece a real focal point of the room in honor of her aunt so, we worked with the vanity’s color by accenting it with a skirted chair using blue for the cushion’s seat.  Lilly can now sit at the vanity primping and preening while remembering Aunt Liz.  It just doesn’t get any better that this!

(You can read more about my love of incorporating family treasures in your home in my post, Creating Beauty In Your Homespace With Family Treasures.)

Even the fabrics we chose for all the custom work had nature’s gifts of color in them along with the bold colors Lilly wanted.  Now that the project is complete, the colors of nature flourish throughout the room.

Make sure your space is peripherally pleasing to the eye

Just as I wrote in a recent post, The Peripheral View Of Your Home, I explained to both Lilly and Jennifer that it was important for the entire space to embrace you in a pleasing way.  So, in the design plan I made sure that regardless of where Lilly was standing in her room, out of the corner of her eye (using her peripheral vision) the colors carried throughout the room.  To highlight these colors, I changed the original soft pink of the walls to a neutral off-white from Benjamin Moore called “Monterey White” as this color is a wonderful backdrop when you are using bold fabrics.  This color (or lack thereof) allowed the bold color scheme to carry throughout the room seamlessly without adding extra busyness.

Lilly’s new memo board

Lilly’s new memo board

The main fabrics infused both green and blue along with the colors Lilly wanted to use in her bedroom.  Window Treatments, Bedding , Lilly’s Custom Memo Board and the Vanity Chair all incorporated these colors.  These colors were even continued into her bathroom where the wall color, a soft green (this was the original color and we left it this way)  was perfect to showcase the bold use of color in the shower curtain and the funky artwork on the walls.

Living in perfect harmony

Lilly’s birthday present of a new look for her bedroom turned out to be so much more than just a present.  I believe that by allowing Lilly to be a part of the decision making for the color choices, she was able to give voice to her essence that she is just beginning to understand and be comfortable with.  This allows Lilly to feel that her personal space reflects who she is and what she is about even at this young age.  She is already learning the joy of living in harmony with herself through how she lives in her space.  Thus, she stands to be better prepared to live in harmony with her family, friends, classmates and anyone she interacts with.  I firmly believe it.

Everything begins in the home

Loving quiet time in my new digs

Loving quiet time in my new digs

Lilly is fortunate to know the importance of home and appreciates what her home gives her – a place of safety and an atmosphere to thrive in.  Her “new do” in her most personal space, her bedroom gives her ownership in how she expresses herself.  I chuckle over how much she loves it.  Jennifer has texted me that Lilly loves showing everyone that comes over to her house, regardless of who it is, her bedroom make over.  She even explains the intricacies of the fabric patterns and how her pillows have two usable sides!

Everything really does begin in the home.  What happens in the home from what we smell, what we eat, what we hear, what we see, what we feel and what we are surrounded with carries over into adulthood and forms us in ways that are incredibly complex.  Starting life in a positive atmosphere full of beauty can make all the difference.

I am deeply grateful to have been part of creating such a wonderful space for Lilly to blossom in. Plus, I am grateful for the opportunity to have been able to teach Lilly and not just present Lilly with a finished project.  Several years ago, I decided I could better serve my clients by teaching them “how to fish” instead of “feeding them the fish”.  It might make for less clients overtime but, I think it is important to empower people to embrace their space themselves once they learn some basics.  For me, Lilly was no exception.

I know Lilly loves her new space and will always remember this first lesson in decorating – what I call “Decorating 101”.  Next on the list for this class of instruction is my dear step-granddaughter, Addison.  Watch out Addison!

Decorate your life not just with color but also with love, Lilly…

Always express your true self through your space! To see a full album of Lilly’s decorating project check it out on my Facebook Fanpage, livinginperfectharmony.  By the way, can you guess what colors that Lilly loves?

The Power of Color

The beauty of color

Photo credit: Susan Muehl

Ever wonder why certain colors become the latest trend?  For instance, the trendy colors as I write are gray and yellow.  Just look closely at the backgrounds of magazine covers, the words on magazine covers, the wall colors on top-rated TV shows, commercials, movie-set décor, clothing worn by models, actresses and actors- the list goes on… right now those in the know use the color gray accented with varying tinges of yellow.  Just pay attention to a Sprint commercial on TV next time you see one.  Everything you see is gray and yellow.

Why these colors?  Why now?

The psychology of color

The use of color is a form of non-verbal communication.  It communicates meaning.  Consider these examples of the psychological power of color:

  • The impact of color is direct.
  • The impact of color is instantaneous.
  • The impact of color is emotional.
  • The impact of color can alter moods and behavior.
  • The impact of color often determines the choices you make.
  • The impact of color is much like the impact of smell- it stirs up memories.

Back to gray and yellow

So, I cannot help but try to psychoanalyze why these two colors are the latest trend.  Consider what they symbolize:

  • Gray symbolizes security, stability and conservatism.  It is a balanced and neutral color that doesn’t evoke strong emotion.  A great example of this is the traditional gray suit for men- practical and timeless.
  • Yellow symbolizes joy, happiness and optimism.  It is the color of sunshine so it makes you feel warmth.  A great example of this is radio talk show host and Oprah B.F.F., Gayle King.  She has decorated her home in yellow and look at how we listeners of her show perceive her as upbeat and full of life!

Put the two colors of gray and yellow together and what do you get?  Perhaps you get a combined feeling of optimistic conservatism and stability?  Is this an indication of our economy and the government wanting us to feel secure, stabile, happy and conservative?  Makes you wonder…

Golden mushroom

Photo credit: Susan Muehl

Remember when the trendy colors were chocolate brown and blue?  (This went on way too long if you ask me!)  Now, I don’t know for sure but I was told from reliable sources in my industry that the chocolate brown craze was because of Starbucks coffee.  Can you imagine?  If this is true, isn’t the power of persuasion (and marketing) fascinating?  Did we all go out and buy more coffee from Starbucks?  Were chocolate brown and blue truly our favorite colors to decorate our homes with or were we caught up in thinking we liked them?   I can tell you I really, really tired of doing chocolate brown and blue in home after home.  I wanted extraordinary, not ordinary.  See what I mean?  Don’t you want to be extraordinary?  More you?  Unique?  True to your essence?

Think about it.  Really begin to understand what color speaks to you the most and then ask yourself why this particular color or colors do.   And while you do, I will give you a short lesson on other colors, the feelings they evoke and what they have come to symbolize.

The colors of the rainbow

Red ~ Passion, Energy, Excitement, Impulsiveness

Pink ~ Love, Beauty, Healing, Passion

Green ~ Health, Well-being, Prosperity, Nature

Purple ~ Royalty, Richness, Power, Ambition

Orange ~ Encouragement, Stimulation, Courage, Strength

Blue ~ Patience, Tranquility, Wisdom, Youth

Dainty yellow flower

Photo credit: Susan Muehl

I have to mention these colors as well although they are not colors of the rainbow:

White (Absence of color) ~ Purity, Truth, Peace, Spiritual strength

Black ~ Power, Sophistication, Depth, Formality

In an earlier blog post, Color Your World I talk about the importance of being true to yourself through the colors you use in your homespace. So, what color(s) do you use?  Why?  Do you honor yourself by using the color(s) that accurately match who you are?

Manipulating your energy with color

Advertisers, retailers and corporate America all take advantage of the subliminal manipulations color can achieve in us humans.  Think about the colors you usually see in hospitals, doctor’s offices and other health care providers.  The color palette used is most often soft blues, greens and grays. Colors to soothe, calm and center you.  No coincidence there!  By using these colors throughout these buildings, moods and behaviors are altered.

Power of color

Photo credit: Susan Muehl

This holds true for your personal homespace as well.  Just as important as using colors that are true to your essence is understanding that infusing other colors in subtle ways in your homespace can actually help balance you.

So why not start allowing color to influence your homespace and balance the energy?   A little bit goes a long way.  It won’t infringe on your décor scheme either.  Just be sensitive to adding color in simple ways such as with throw pillows, accessories and artwork.

Is your personality a tad on the high-strung side?  If so, add small touches of calming colors such as soft blues and greens in your homespace.   (Do the same for your wardrobe, too!)

Are you meek and mild and want to project more gumption?  Infuse bold colors such as red and orange in both your homespace and clothing choices.  It is amazing what a pair of red boots or a bold tie does to a simple black ensemble.

I read somewhere once about the impact of color on men and women.  I wish I could remember where it was but I do remember being fascinated by the psychologist’s theory that perhaps women live longer than men because women routinely wear more colors to brighten their appearance, which in turn brightens their moods.  Ever since then I have become an advocate of my David wearing really, really colorful ties with his suits each day!  I’ve gotta do everything I can to keep the man around for a long time!  And, I obsess over the news anchors on the TV each morning critiquing their ties and paying attention to their choices.  George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America sure wears some great ones!

What color choices say about you

Color of passion

Photo credit: Krisitn Vining Photography

I would love to hear from you about what colors you use in your homespace and why.  Undoubtedly, unless you are following the latest trends, there is a reason you use the colors you do.  Do these colors match your personality?  How?

Also, just for fun I will follow up this post with a few  more posts on specific colors expressed in homes of friends and family.  I love knowing people that live and breathe their true essence through their homespace décor and I want to share their stories.  Once I tell you a little about the personalities of these people and their color schemes, you will begin to understand how harmoniously they fit each other.  Take Lisa, aka “The Purple Lady”.  What a hoot.  She’s a woman totally in touch with her inner self!

Be on the lookout for these upcoming posts.  I think you’ll enjoy getting a glimpse into other people’s lives.  And, you never know, you might decide a color change is in order for you!  If so, I say go for it!  Life is short so color it in style.  Your style, of course!

Think color…

Two Colors Every Homespace Needs

There is a school of thought called ecopsychology that is very intriguing. One renowned expert in the field, Dr. Michael Cohen has written a book titled, “The Web of Life Imperative”.

colors of nature

Photo credit: Susan Muehl

It fascinates me. To paraphrase what Dr. Cohen believes, he says that nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and spiritual satisfaction. In other words, nature-connected people enjoy greater health and more peaceful relationships.

Makes sense to me. How can we remove ourselves from nature when we are part of it ourselves?

But, we have. We have all gotten so busy in our lives with work and obligations that we don’t take the time to immerse ourselves in nature. When we do take the time to relax, it is often by taking part in man-made entertainment. (As discussed in Lindsay Torry’s blog post, “Over-consumption”.) It is time to wake up and get back to the basics. Or at least find ways to bring nature inside.

If you haven’t started to return to nature, start now. Take baby steps at the least. The feel good rewards will soon follow.

My own story of color

Years ago while in college (Go Hokies!!) my summer job was with the Parks and Recreation Department in my hometown – Roanoke, VA.  Throughout the county we had free summer camps set up for neighborhood kids to attend every day.  I was a camp counselor at one of the schools.  If you ask me it was a great set-up for parents.  We opened camp around nine in the morning and closed at five.  It was free babysitting for the parents and built-in fun for the kids.  We took field trips, did arts and crafts and played all sorts of games both inside the school gym as well as on the playing fields.  (It was even with a busload of camp kids that I first saw the movie, Jaws.)

One summer as head counselor, I came up with a great idea for an art project.  I decided we should paint all the picnic tables as they were in terrible shape.  Now mind you, this was in the 70’s.   It wouldn’t happen today- too much red tape I’m sure or worse yet, someone might be allergic to the paint!  So, at a time before rules and regulations were extreme, I took it upon myself to spiff up the picnic tables.  The kids loved the idea.

What color to paint them became the tough decision to make.  The school colors?  The colors of the rainbow?  Psychedelic?  Everyone had an opinion.  So, after a few hours of open debate I made the executive decision to choose the colors myself.

greens of nature

Photo credit: Susan Muehl

The colors of nature

I looked up at the sky.  I saw a beautiful blue.  I looked down at my feet.  I saw lush green grass.  Blue.  Green.  The basic colors of nature.  Perfect!

The next day we started.  Painting the tables outdoors was easy peasy, too.  No mess to worry about as nature would eventually wash it away!

I have to admit at first some of the kids were unhappy.  They were hoping for something far more creative.  But, I had previously explained to them the reasons why these colors would work and once the job was completed, they agreed.

We had brought nature harmoniously together.

Every day that we sat at the tables for lunch, arts & crafts or just to hang out, we connected with the colors of nature.

Bring the colors of nature in to your space

So, my “Helpful Hannah Tip” for you is to bring nature inside by adding splashes of blue and green throughout your homespace.

Regardless of décor, style or taste every homespace should infuse these basic colors of nature.

Kankakee State Park

Photo credit: David Solganik

Have a modern style with a monochromatic theme?  No problem, simply decorate with live green plants in your homespace.  Or add fresh flowers to your homespace like hydrangeas or plants such as  African Violets with shades of blue flowers.

Use only black and white for your colors?  Why not add splashes of green and blue in accent pillows or sofa throws?

Like sticking to a neutral scheme such as varying shades of taupe?  Why not accent with artwork depicting scenes of nature?

Every homespace décor can find some way to infuse these primary colors of nature.  Just look around you, I bet you have more ways in your home than you realize.

Ways to bring nature’s colors inside

If you are looking for suggestions, here are few ways to add  colors of nature into your space:

  • Collectibles such as glassware
  • Framed photographs of family in nature
  • Fresh flowers
  • Coffee table books
  • Baskets to store things in
  • Throw pillows
  • Dishware
  • Candles

As the saying goes, “The sky’s the limit”!  Get busy and bring nature inside!

Happy decorating…