Monday, May 4, 2009

Beauty and Laughter Happen

Life at high velocity speeds your own evolution.
- 'Mind Over Water', Craig Lambert

I am writing this post while enjoying a glass of white wine - Fetzer Gewurztraminer a favorite of mine - and appreciating the sun shining on the Magnolia tree in full bloom just outside my study window. This beauty exists even though my husband has been out of a job since August 2008, I am still recovering from mass lay-offs in December where I work, a family member needs to be moved to assisted living, we are struggling to pay out-of-state tuition for my son and to top it off, my camera is not working. (That's why the picture above is not my magnolia tree, although mine looks almost exactly the same.)

This is probably way too much information, but I wanted to let you know why I usually post only twice a month and sometimes just once. (And my glass of wine is definitely making this easier.)

Frankly, I have been awed by the fabulous bloggers out there who manage beautiful posts almost everyday. I just love Melissa at the Inspired Room and Joni at Cote de Texas. Someday I hope to be able to send in comments to these inspiring blogs. Right now all I seem to manage is reading the posts.

As for coping with the roller coaster that is my life right now, everyday I force myself to find a bit of beauty and something to smile about. Many days this feels like pulling teeth, but if I just pay attention, beauty and laughter happen. Today, it was the magnolia tree and hearing my son's remarks about 'Dancing with the Stars'. He caught a glimpse of the show while I was cooking dinner. His comment about Gilles, "Sit down sexy dancing man! How can anyone take you or your haircut seriously," had me laughing out loud.

So what keeps me blogging even though I don't have nearly the talent of other designers out there and obviously I can't keep up with their beautiful prose and frequent posts? For me, the friendly and warm people found in the design blogging community are a little bit of heaven. Especially at this time in my life, it is a joy to contribute and participate in my small way to such a lovely group of women and men.

For those of you who are interested, a few short blurbs about me and Jewel Box Home appear in the following magazines this month:

Little Boxes
The New Movement to Seriously Downsize Our Homes

Cottage Living
Small is Beautiful

10 ways to get a small-space lift
(No link yet, to see the article go to page 38 of the May/June Midwest Living)

Until next time,



  1. I am a quiet blogger as well. I so enjoy reading everyone else's witty, beautiful posts and then have a hard time posting my own. Thank you for being so candid about your situation. The thing that I'm learning is that everyone has their own voice and that is what is important. Only you can write from your perspective. [This is a lesson that I need to remember!]

    You are doing a great job of having the right attitude by appreciating the small things and being grateful for them. That can help carry us through so much!

    I adore what you post! Even if you want to take us through a tour of your home (with photos already taken!) and help us understand your philosophy - it would be great. I love my small home but right now am challenged by clutter - I need to get rid of some stuff to better highlight the things that I love.

    Thank you again - and post whenever you can!

  2. Hi Marcy,

    Thanks much for your kind and encouraging words! I truly appreciate the insight and wisdom you so graciously shared.

    This was the most difficult post I have 'sent out' and it was so nice to wake up to your positive response.

    As for clutter, I find it is always a challenge in a smaller home. And my husband is a pack rat so I'm constantly 'organizing' him. I do prefer closed storage - closets, cabinets anything with a door or cover to hide the contents. That way papers, clothes, toys and other 'stuff' can be kept out of site and organized when you have the time. Which in my case is maybe once a year.

    Again, I so appreciate your comment!


  3. The best blogs are those that are the most honest. I so enjoy your philosophy of 'less is more' and am trying to retrain my thinking. I appreciate your posts when we are lucky enough to have them. Thank you!

  4. Aw, thinking about you as you are facing life's challenges! My husband was without work for one year (to the DAY he started a new job) and I know how tough that is!

    We are still trying to recover, our house has not yet closed back in Portland so we are trying to keep up with TWO residences. Not easy at all. I'll be sighing a big sigh of relief once we get down to just one house.

    Keep hanging in there, good things will surely be coming your way! You are doing a great job and you need to give yourself permission to ebb and flow with your circumstances! That is OK!


  5. I'm a quiet guest on your blog, although I don't know why since I can never shut up on most of them LOL

    I'm on a blogging break because of a meltdown that includes several things, one being two mortgages, so I understand stress, maybe not yours exactly, but it's no fun and that's a fact. I really hope things get better for you soon and for now, I think I'll join you in a glass of wine or two or three ;)


  6. Tim and Rue,

    How thoughtful of you to take time to comment on my post! Your words of encouragement mean a great deal!

    And Rue, how nice of you to share that you are taking a blogging break. I wasn't even aware there was such a thing. You really made me feel better about my blogging habits.

    Thanks for making my day brighter!


  7. Oh Melissa!

    What a wonderful and unexpected surprise to see your comment on my post! You and The Inspired Room have been such an inspiration.

    And your advice about giving myself permission to ebb and flow could not have come at a better time. I am hopeful my husband will find work in the next few months, but in the interim I plan to follow your advice to the letter.

    It was such a treat to hear from you!


  8. I am a new reader of your blog. And ever since I started reading I saw less and less posts and was wondering if you were on a break.

    There is a saying in hindu philosophy.."This too shall pass" and it applies to both bad and good days. It tells us that we should not get arrogant with our happy times or sad with bad times.
    Ofcourse easier said than done.

    Your blog has been so inspiring to me. It changed my whole attitude about wanting to have a big house. I started looking at my house with new eyes because this same house would be considered a mansion in Newyork or LA or SFO. so what am I cribbing about.

    I understand you are going through tough times right now and there are so many who are going through a similar situation. How about writing a post as to how you keep up your spirit, what keeps the family together and strong and fun, what do you cook and manage grocery shopping, how do you if at all you still entertain?

    Good news is already on your way.. I hear it.


  9. I, too, have been a quiet reader of your blog. I will admit that I have sometimes wished for more frequent posts from you, because I completely agree with your philosophy - a smaller home is just right! I so enjoy reading your ideas on living large in a smaller space.

    I empathize with your life situation, too. My husband was out of work for nine months in the recession of 2001, when the 'tech bubble' burst. His has always been the larger salary in our household, so it was a real challenge for us. In some aspects, we are still recovering from that - but we are recovering and you will, too. You have the perfect attitude - finding beauty in something every day will get you through!

    Know that you have faithful readers out here who are inspired by you - post whenever you can, we'll be here!

  10. Hi Genevieve,

    I enjoyed your article in Midwest Living very much. Your ideas are very helpful for my own under 1000 square foot jewel box condo! Do you know anything about the hot pink chair used in the photos for your Midwest Living article? I cannot find any information in the magazine or online and I would absolutely adore something like it in my bedroom. Thanks for your advice and great website and blog.

    Naomi Mellendorf

  11. Vinita and Lisa,

    Thank you much for your comments! Your encouraging words are so very welcome at this time in my life!

    And Vinita, I will most certainly take your suggestions for future posts.

    With much appreciation,

  12. Hi Naomi,

    Unfortunately, the pictures shown were not from my home or homes of my clients, but were used to illustrate elements in the tips. However, I have done some searching for similar chairs online and have listed the links below. I’m so sorry I could not find a chair with the exact fabric and silhouette, but hopefully some of the examples in the links will be of use to you. I have only named companies with chairs available in pink fabrics.

    - Room and Board - This is a pink Custom fabric available for any chair at Room and Board
    - Room and Board - Pink Striped
    - Room and Board - Melon
    - Room and Board - This is similar to the chair pictured in Midwest Living and could be covered in a pink melon custom fabric
    - I just love the shape of this chair. Again, you could use the pink melon custom fabric.
    - This is a great shape for a bedroom.
    - This tufted chair from Ethan Allen in the custom hot pink may work.

    I hope this helps.


  13. I always enjoy stopping by and seeing if you have anything new. I agree with Marcy, we all have our own voice, each one unique and inspiring. During difficult times, allowing beauty to bring it's healing is good advise!

  14. Gayle,

    Thanks so much for stopping by! Your kind words and encouragement mean a great deal!

    I truly appreciate the time you took to leave a comment and give me a verbal 'pat-on-the-back'.