Nesting Place, the Book

It’s a rally cry for imperfectionists.  It’s encouragement to the desperate perfectionist.  It’s permission to love your home where you are now.  
Screen shot 2014-05-01 at 12.08.11 PMAnd it is full of beautiful photos styled and taken by its author in her rental home.  It is The Nesting Place, the book.

nesterMyquillyn Smith sent me a pre-release copy of her book, signed!, that I nearly read in one sitting.  I didn’t even need to use the disco ball bookmark she included in the package.  I also ordered another copy from Amazon to keep at the cottage (the signed one stays home with me!).

I’ve read her blog since I discovered it in 2007; and, so, I was excited to read the backstory to how she has arrived at her decorating manifesto: it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.  She starts the book detailing each house she and her husband have lived in during their marriage so far– 13 houses in 18 years!  The following chapters are filled with encouragement, wisdom, tips, and have-I-mentioned-her-gorgeous-photos?.  In short, the book is like sitting down with her over iced coffees in striped paper straws–conversational, warm, real.  I promise you, you will love your home even more, even without changing a thing, after you read her book; and, furthermore, you’ll have the confidence to embark on that project you’ve been mulling over, fresh from Myquillyn’s pep talk, to really adore the house you’re in now.

cottage(I won’t even tell you how excited I am that our little North Carolina cottage is mentioned and pictured within the book.  You couldn’t handle that much exuberance!  Mr. Sunburst Mirror and Sculptural Candlestick Duo are enjoying their moment for sure.)

I’d say the book has a truth for everyone.  For me and our new house (we’ve been in it for 5 months but have owned it for 11), the truth comes in that the decorating can be slow, it won’t look anywhere near done or perfect for a long time.  But my people are here, it’s neat and clean, it has lovely natural light and a specially-crafted shell and for these positives, the incompletion and imperfection and memory of a difficult remodel do not diminish from a beautiful artwork in progress.  Don’t you like to see an artist midway through a piece?  See the process and direction?  That is what is happening here and will be happening here for awhile at the Painted House.  A curtainless window, a rugless floor, a settee that needs redoing, a table that needs painting, chairs that need new fabric all testify to this fact.  I’m embracing Myquillyn’s philosophy.

sofaAs for that sparkly bookmark, it rings-around the partial neck of the torso in the living room–a true Myquillyn move.  (The torso would wear a Myquillyn eye patch, too, if she had, well, an eye…or head.)

torsoThank you, Myquillyn, for the beautifully-written and -photographed book!  Follow her at her blog, Nesting Place, where she and her husband are renovating a farmhouse and barn on the site of an old sawmill.

Checking In, Links, and an Unscientific Instagram Study

Hey, everyone!  I’m happy to say that I’ve been plugging away at projects here in the “new house” (the family and I still call it that).  While the to-do list is still as long as sitting through a piano recital, I am pleased that we’re making progress.  Having our first dinner guests over recently was a kick in the motivation pants I was needing.  The dining room, finally free of moving boxes and stacks of art, was dreamy to dine in at night with the pretty chandy aglow and a vase full of dogwood blossoms.  Screen shot 2014-04-14 at 2.25.12 PMAnd, nope, we didn’t serve quesadillas as the dining room was designed for.  We had burritos, decidedly more sophisticated than q-dillas, with cashew-salsa verde sauce and pico de gallo, and chocolate cake and raspberries.

Having guests over in our new place and watching all the kids laughing around the whole house filled me with joy.

I’ve made the decision over the last few weeks that I’d work on the house with the few free hours I have instead of blogging.  Am I considered a blogger anymore?  Whoops.  But I do feel like I am at a point where I can show in-progress photos of the house–if I wait until the rooms are finished, I wouldn’t post for years.

Also, I need to post the last stop on the loft tour.

Speaking of which, thank you to my friend Myquillyn for featuring my loft tour recently on her Saturday Bird Watching post!

She is living exciting times right now with the launch of her family’s new encouragement website hope*ology and her new book The Nesting Place, which you can pre-order on Amazon, coming out the end of the month!

Screen shot 2014-03-26 at 9.42.38 PMI’ve pre-ordered mine, and I can’t wait to get it.  She was the first decorating blog I found, way back in 2007.  I’ve loved watching her grow her blog into a successful business and now a book–blessings and talent for sure!  We also love advertising our cottage on her blog each summer.  Thank you, Myquillyn!

Thank you, also to Erika Ward of BluLabelBungalow, who wrote the sweetest post about her family’s stay at the cottage recently.  Erika, Erika, she is like a calm, radiant angel with a wicked sense of humor.  I loved working with her on Room Service Atlanta, an organization that she and Dayka Robinson co-created to coordinate designers with service projects for those in need of beautiful surroundings.

Screen shot 2014-03-26 at 9.20.42 PMAfter seeing this photo on her blog of little Cam’s cheeks, I should have crashed their mountain weekend for some baby love.

Screen shot 2014-03-26 at 9.22.29 PMphotos | BluLabelBungalow

Thankfully I didn’t have to suffer long for a baby fix…

Screen shot 2014-03-26 at 9.23.27 PMphoto | Fieldstone Hill  Instagram

I had some quality time with Georgia Lu, who brought her mommy along, in Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay.  My friend Natalie, from 4th grade, and I made a road trip out of it and just swung into Pennsylvania to see Darlene’s historic stone house before settling in on the bay.  People, it’s gorgeous and full of the charms old homes bring.  I don’t know why this bellissima signora doesn’t show us around her house more.

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I took this photo whilst resting on Dar’s vintage silk sectional, sipping coffee and falling under the spell of this room.  She’s got skills and a husband who baked us two loaves of homemade bread to take on our girl trip.  Seriously.

So while I’m away from the blog here, I am still making appearances on Instagram.  I told my friend in the middle of the Great Instagram Boom of 2014 (when my feed grew substantially from Jenny’s endorsement), that soon a mass exodus would occur when everyone realized who they started following.  And I was right!

I love being right.

It wasn’t until I posted this photo that I noticed I was losing followers with every new post–offensive, ill-compositioned oranges:

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Hmm, I thought, this is fascinating!  So I embarked on a week of charting “unfollows” corresponding with each new photo I posted, just to see if there was a trend–because this social media stuff is so interesting to me.  While I was so tempted to post shocking or calculated photos, I didn’t because I felt it was manipulative.  So I just posted photos as I normally do, in the moment and spontaneous.

The first one was my husband biking at sunrise on the beach.  ”Hey, sweetie, your photo cost me five followers right away!”  He loved hearing that, ha!

But the photo that cost me the most was interestingly the one in which I proclaimed, “free da be me.”

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I’m free to be me, but not everyone will like it–especially if they think those are my legs and bottom, with a stick up my rear.  Or they hate Frida.  Those red stems belong to my partial mannequin not me.

The photo of our powder room resulted in the fewest unfollows.

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From my official study, I’ve determined outdoors/family/silliness lose the most followers among my group.  Interiors lose the fewest.  I know, you’re asking, don’t you have better things to do, Angela?

It is just so interesting!  While I’m sure people are just mainly cleaning up their feed, my imagination can’t help but create a scene of my photo popping up on a person’s feed and she screws her face up in disgust, pulls her pointed finger above her head before plunging it down on the “unfollow” button, and yells, “darn you, angenigma, and your germy kids–no more!”  Or something like that.

But enough about the people who left the party early, I’m so grateful that such personalized communities exist–and I adore the interaction with others on my photos and the photos of people I follow.  If you follow my Instagram feed, thank you for the coming along for the ride where I’m free da be me!

I will be enjoying the dogwoods until next post. Screen shot 2014-04-15 at 12.04.40 PM

What Is Your Unword

Last week Darlene, Edie, Myquillyn and I shared our unwords for 2014.  Have you picked one out?  If you did, inspire us by sharing yours in either the comments or link up a post you wrote about that unwelcomed, undesirable UNword.

2014 Un-word of the yearMy unword for 2014 is FRET.

unword of the yearDeclaring an unword has proven to be successful so far.  I am much more mindful when FRET threatens to hijack my day, thinking of the little pep talk I wrote myself last week.  And, really, I’m seeing I do worry about some pretty silly stuff.  Or maybe that is my OCD.  Yep, didn’t you know that the old tagline of TPH was “obsessed and compulsive with offbeat beauty“?

The Un-Word of the Year

There is a little rebel in this good girl.  So when Darlene of Fieldstone Hill Design asked me to join her, Edie, and Nester in announcing an UNword of the year, I felt it was just the way to resist resolutions and do things a smidgen different.  And you can share yours, too!

But, first, what are the crazy chances that this post of the unword falls on my unbirthday?  What?  It’s your unbirthday, too?  Nuts!

Anyway, deciding on my unword was easy:unword of the yearI don’t know about you, but I was born with a furrow on my brow and worries in my little baby heart.  It is not easy to undo what is seemingly genetically wrought, but I’m aiming to be better at controlling the worry instead of the worry controlling me.

What I’ve learned about fretting so far in my life:

  • There have been countless times I have fretted about something, big or small, and let that fret twist up my stomach, keep my eyes wide open at night, whip my thoughts into a frenzy of speculations, and overall incite a general feeling of doom—and, everything turns out okay.  Every.  Single.  Time.  (Results aren’t always how I would have wished, but I make it out okay, smarter, possibly stronger.)
  • There have been fewer situations when I have chosen not to fret, and I let it go.  No twisted gut, no sleepless nights, no frenzies.  Just the little uneasiness of waiting for an impatient person like me. And, everything turns out okay.  Every. Single. Time.

It is a wonder that I ever choose to fret when the result is the same–but the toll on me is not.  Oh, the toll.

So, choosing to reject “fret” this year must mean I have immense amount of self-control.  Nope.   I wield my faith in God to banish worry–sounds pretty Tough Mutha,right?  It is not always easy, as my faith sometimes wanes more than it waxes.  But as a Bible believer, I’d be a fool to reject this counsel:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Phillipians 4:6 & 7

And from the mouth of Jesus,

And why do you worry about clothes?  See how the flowers of the field grow.  They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you?

There he goes appealing to my love of fashion.  I understand this.

But, Angela, why are you getting all Jesus on us here when we just stopped by your blog to look at furniture and paintings and rooms?  

I know, what does this have to do with The Painted House?  Pretty much everything.  Worry kills my creativity.  Worry spikes my anxiety, makes me sick, and represses my appetite for beauty and wonder (click on it if just for the photos).  But I can’t reject worry alone–I need the promise that there is someone bigger in control.  I respect that we all come from different places–but at TPH I can’t ignore that my creativity is one and the same with my relationship with God.

Now, let’s get back to these clothes Jesus said not to worry about.  Please come in size Tall–at least a 34″ inseam.  I don’t look good in yellow.  And, I have orangutan arms.  Thanks!

Do you have an unword for the year?

I hope you will link up with my sweet friends Dar, Edie of Life in Grace, and Myquillyn of Nesting Place next Tuesday, January 21, and share your unword for the year.  You can also post your unword to Instagram, #unword2014.  I’m angenigma on Instagram–see you there!2014 Un-word of the year

Don’t worry, girl, we’re gonna be okay!

girls at the loft

All this talk about fretting reminds me of a moment that changed my course of worrying during my husband’s illness 6 years ago.  I wrote this on the old TPH two weeks after discovering he had cancer.

Just as suspected, I hit a rough patch last night. Too much thinking, too much reasoning, too much trying to put the pieces together–I was struck with fear thinking of the worst case scenario. That churning nausea returned and I could feel my resolve weakening. Even though I told myself that I knew better than to doubt God, I still felt sick as I drifted off to sleep. Please, please help me, Lord, I prayed.

Then sometime in the middle of the night my son appeared on my side of the bed. “Mommy, I had a bad dream,” he said. He does this occasionally and we pray together, asking Jesus for good dreams or no dreams at all. So last night, half asleep, I began praying out loud for him, “Dear Jesus,…” As soon as I said “Amen” he quietly slipped back to his room–comforted and secure. There were no doubts, no questions. And it was then that the phrase “faith like a child” popped into my head. Faith like a child. I need to stop trying to figure it all out–as if there was something to figure out anyway. Stop asking questions, wondering. All I need is to trust.

So today I have worried still a bit more, but then I stop myself and say “faith like a child.” It is so simple, all God asks of us. And, I thank my son and God for that reminder.

I think about that night a lot–it felt so supernatural and gave me a peace that transcended understanding, and it comforts me still.

Temporary Digs

Thank you, sweet folks, for sharing your encouragement and own settling experiences in the last post.  I appreciate the good thoughts so much.  Big changes are scary, altering life as I’ve known it for 6 years.  But I’m feeling more rested now and ready to roll with the next phase of change.  I’m sure my peace has something to do with our temporary home right now:
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It is a very fortunate thing to find ourselves chilling at a lakehouse until we can move into the new house.  A family is letting us use their lakehouse for a few months–which means we could put all our stuff into storage and not have to move twice, score!  It isn’t the most convenient to where we need to be, but neither is moving twice.  But what we don’t have in convenience we have in relaxation and in what seems like a summer’s long vacation.  The problem is, I have to convince myself that I’m indeed not on vacation even though it looks that way and there is still work to do.

But work is easy to avoid and in a week’s time of being here we’ve eaten 1 watermelon, grilled 7 tofu skewers, punctured 1 kid’s palm with said tofu skewer, and spit endless cherry pits off the back deck.

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We’ve seen 2 snakes–one dead and one alive.  We’ve been out on the lake 3 times on the waverunners and capsized 1 time.  The kids have jumped off the dock at least 5 times–Mommy none.

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We’ve fired up the grill 3 times.  And made chocolate chip cookies 1 time.

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I’ve napped, the kids have played Minecraft, I’ve read and blogged and taught some summer school, and I have read library books to three kids piled around me.  And the kitties…well, it didn’t take them long to make themselves at home and discover new acrobatic possibilities.  There is a reason phrases exist like “cats have nine lives” and “cats always land on their feet” and “curiosity killed the cat.”  The cats have fallen from the second story 2 times…that we’ve seen.

IMG_6103So here is to a hopefully fun summer on the lake and making the most out of temporary housing and to accelerated premature aging under the sun on the water.  You’ve got to live a little.

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