Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ah, Flowers

I just love flowers.

Especially in my bathroom right now.  I love that they sit against the mirror, with light streaming in through the window.  I get to look at them every time I walk in, or even just when I walk past.

I've come to a realisation recently.  I could live in a house with monotone walls.  I never thought I could, always assuming I'd have a different wall colour for every room.  But I'm realising living here that the textured, off-white walls actually suit me just fine.  Colour comes to my home through couch cushions, duvets, photos, and flowers.  And I like it.  I think it is how light it is, that there are windows with views to the outside and not a single room feels dark, confined, or dreary.  The wallpaper is old.  It's pretty tatty when you look up close, but sitting down in the lounge, or walking up the hallway, it looks really good!  Graceful, beautiful, and light.  I'm visual, and I'm definitely noticing that living somewhere that feels beautiful is calming and uplifting for me.

I love having a bathroom that is bright and airy, light, and inviting.  Our last bathroom was, well, utilitarian.  It wasn't really it's fault.  It was just dark and a bit dingy, with a lean-to outside that blocked a lot of light.

Another thing I've realised lately is WHY I like flowers in my bathroom.  Why don't I have them on the dining table?  Or the kitchen bench, or the china cabinet?  Because they get cluttered.  I don't like looking through flowers to see my husband at dinner, and I don't like worrying that they will get knocked over, so they only tend to stay on the table for special occasions.  Every other place in my house at present gets too much clutter, and the flowers simply get lost in the busyness.  And I don't like that. I want to really SEE them, notice their details, drink in their colour, marvel at the changes each day as they furl open.  For me, flowers are a piece of artwork.  So while some folks have a collection of ornaments on a dresser, I have flowers in my bathroom.  On my bathroom vanity I can see them, view them, enjoy them, just as you would a piece of art.  (Deep sigh of contentment, and a sudden thought that I should go wash my hands downstairs so I can have another peek at my flowers!).  I would buy a hall table for the sole purpose of displaying fresh flowers.  Seriously, I would.  And while flowers take time to maintain, I don't really mind.  For me, they are worth it.  Many of these ones were collected down our walkway, interspersed with hydrangeas and agapanthus from our section.  I usually collect and arrange them in the evening, pottering away to my heart's content.  As an aside, my three and a half year old knows what agapanthus look like.  He keeps pointing them out as we are driving along the road! 


Thanksgiving - only for Americans?

A really good friend of mine is American.  She's lived here in NZ for years and is definitely Kiwi, but every now and then she shows her American roots.  Like when she makes pumpkin pie (something many Kiwis don't even know the taste of).  Or in late November, when she makes a Thanksgiving dinner for her family.  This year, I was inspired by my friend, together with Kiwi folks in our life group who have adopted Thanksgiving.

We had Thanksgiving too.  I thought, why not.  It's about being grateful, remembering just how plentiful our lives are, just as the early American settlers were thankful for their bounteous first Autumn harvest.

We didn't have a meal. That was way too far beyond my ability and brain space (especially when I only decided a week before that we'd do something!).  But we had a Thankful tree, and an afternoon tea at which some friends joined us in eating ginger crunch and strawberries and writing things we are thankful for on leaves that we then hung on our tree.

I really enjoyed it.

I'm 'into' being grateful. I think we need to be reminded (frequently) that we are very blessed, and that a grateful heart is a softer and more giving heart, and generally also a happier heart.  I really want my son to grow up learning to be grateful.  Remembering to be grateful.  CHOOSING to be grateful.  In fact I believe in it so strongly that his bedtime prayers at present almost always consist of "Thank you God for..."

To make our Thankful tree, I printed some Google Images of leaves in about the right size, and cut others out of coloured paper (as this was my first time I figured we'd try a few different ones!).  I took the handsaw out on a walk (in my backpack so my husband wasn't too embarrassed to be seen with me!) and cut a small branch, stripped it's leaves, and stuck it in a large glass container with sand in the bottom.  A little wobbly but okay. 

The 'leaves' had holes punched in them, and small pieces of pipe cleaner to tie them to the tree.  The idea came from my life group, where they use those little decorative wooden pegs to hang leaves on a tree.  I just used what we had in the house so it didn't cost us anything extra to do.

I'd like to continue Thanksgiving, but make it more fully 'ours.'  We might get to have the full meal next year with my friend and her family, which would be really special!  I hope to do a tree again, but I'm thinking that as it's not Autumn here I might use silver leaves or spray paint the branches silver and use green leaves. 

If you were writing on a Thankful leaf today, what would you say?