Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Color Collaborative: January: Home

During our hunt for our current home, our realtor asked me a very simple question: "Do you want a showy home or a homey home?" We had owned a home before, but I had never thought of home-buying in these terms. The whole process was easier after she asked me this question. I wanted a homey home. I wanted to feel at ease, comfortable, safe. I wanted a home where my children could really live - playing, moving, creating, resting and growing. I wanted a light, bright home, but I didn't want vaulted ceilings or a cavernous "great room." I wanted an open feel and multi-use rooms but I also wanted delineated spaces, places to go to be alone and quiet. When we found this house, we only needed a couple of hours to decide it was the right one for us. It wasn't perfect (could any house ever be? I'm not sure) but it was very, very good and we knew we'd be happy here.


I've always been a homebody. I would rather stay at home, alone or with some combination of my family members, than do anything else. I think I was born to homemaking; my favorite game was "house" when I was little. Even my Barbies were stay-at-home mothers (in evening gowns). In college, I often stayed in at night, crafting in my nightgown. My friends were bemused but I needed to feel a sense of hominess even in the dorm. Little in life makes me as happy as playing house, even now that I'm all grown up. Simply put, home makes me happy. I am especially enthusiastic about my home in wintertime, when I spend more time in the house. My winter home is simple, with a few basic but important elements. Wintertime is afghans and tea, weak sunshine, warm beds, baking scents, piles of books and magazines, candles in the evenings and a fire on the really cold days.


I don't know where I'd be without afghans. I made my first when I was sixteen. I ran out of yarn and it was barely long enough to cover my lap. I don't have it anymore but I have lots of new ones. I've been crocheting in earnest for several years now and there are blankets in almost every room of our house. One of the best things about an afghan is the color it can add to a room. I used very bright colors when I first became reattached to crochet and I felt bold and daring. I was especially unaccustomed to using red. I tend to play it safe with most of my decor, choosing neutral and soft colors for paint, furnishings and linens, but afghans allow me to experiment with color. I love to see my blankets in use. The colors and patterns brighten the room, a loved one's comfort warms my heart.


Art is important to me and I fill my home with artwork from many sources. Most of it comes from my children, though, and I am proud to display their work. We have our gallery wall, made with strips of wood embedded with slices cut from wine corks, where I hang the best examples of their artwork. In the winter, this work is always fresh and new because much of it comes home from school after the annual art-and-writing exhibition just before Christmas. There's lots of homegrown art too, things we make together during homeschool time or on the weekends. If you're looking for bold decoration, children's artwork will never disappoint. It's bright and cheerful: slashes of crayon, oil pastel and watercolor, fabric and glue dried lumpy and stiff, garish colors blending in fevered imagination. They make it, I hang it. I couldn't be happier to do so.


Saturday afternoons are for listening to A Prairie Home Companion on public radio. This is a tradition from my husband's family and one I eagerly adopted. I love radio and I almost always have a radio playing wherever I am in the house. The show is funny and entertaining and I enjoy the music. My children have listened since they were born; they know Garrison Keillor's voice with just a few words. The show is a way of life, really. Saturdays at four, we switch the radio to KANW 89.1 and settle in. In summer, we sit in shade on the back patio with a small portable radio. In wintertime, we sit in the living room together, listening on our tabletop radio. The kids play on the floor with their bins of K'nex and Legos, the Bear and I craft or read. We listen through the late afternoon. The sun moves across the front of the house, the room dimming and shadows creeping up the walls, light fading to dusty blue and violet as the sun sets. We keep listening together in golden lamplight.


This is the first house I've lived in with a fireplace and oh, how I love having a fireplace. As soon as it's cold enough we start having fires on the weekends and we continue as long as we can. The Bear, former Eagle Scout, builds a perfectly beautiful fire and we spend all afternoon and evening in front of it with our various diversions. Sometimes we eat dinner on the floor. We drink cocoa and eat popcorn. Some of the wood is from our own trees, apple and juniper. I love to sit with the lights off, or at least dimmed, and watch the flames and the shadows dancing on the walls. The golden glow of a good fire means coziness and warmth. It's one of the very best parts of winter.


In warm weather, I cut flowers from our yard to make bouquets for the house. In winter, I buy my flowers and they are almost always tulips, my favorite flower of all. I love having a fresh bunch in the house and they have to be bright - lipstick red, hot pink, fuschia, flame orange. A bright bunch of tulips in the kitchen, or on the buffet in the dining room, instantly lifts my spirits. It reminds me that spring is coming and that as much as I enjoy winter, the spring holds great promise and beauty and lovely traditions all its own, inside and outside our beloved home.

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 Don't forget to visit the other Color Collaborative blogs for more of this month's posts. Just click on the links below: 

Annie at Annie Cholewa 
Sandra at Cherry Heart 
and January's guest poster, Bee at the linen cloud
 
What is The Color Collaborative?
All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a color related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about color in new ways.

43 comments:

  1. A beautiful post, love the bright crochet and the children's artwork. I always think children's artwork makes a house a home.

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  2. Oh, Jennifer, this might just be my favourite of all your colour collaborative posts, possibly all your posts. I feel like I have just spent one of the most amazingly comfortable and cosy days with you in your home and it has left me feeling all happy and relaxed. You have created such a beautiful life for you and your family, you can be very proud of your home :)

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  3. Your home is so lovely and is obviously such a wonderful place for you and your family. All of that comes through always in your blog, but especially in this post. The way that you write about it just exudes your love for your home and its love for you and your family. A wonderful post, that might be my favourite ever from you!! xx

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  4. A cosy fire, children's artsworks on the wall, handmade blankets- they are things I love about 'homey' homes and yours is full of these. I'd choose a homey home to a showy home any day : )

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  5. Lovely post, Jennifer. I'm always happiest in my own home too. :o)

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  6. so colorful and beautiful. I AM FOLLOWING, PLEASE FOLLOW BACK http://melodyjacob1.blogspot.com/

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  7. What a beautiful post Jennifer, you have perfectly conjured up the warm and happiness of your home. I could have easily answered your realtor's question for you, I know how important home is to you. It's somewhere I'm happiest too. I walked in the door a couple of days ago and actually said, "How lovely it is to be home". Everything else melts away a little when you close that door. CJ xx

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  8. Such a beautiful post & you have such a lovely warm & happy home. It really comes through on your posts. x

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  9. Lovely post .... So quiet and warm .... have a nice day !

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  10. A very special post, Jennifer, and you capture and share the loveliness and warmth of your home and family. You are a born homemaker.

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  11. A lovely post. All the touches you make to your house make it a home, the children's artwork, snuggly blankets, pretty flowers. I'm just the same, I like my house to be lived in, only then does it become a home.

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  12. I love all the rituals of your home, especially the thought of you all listening together x

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  13. I love all the splashes of color in your home, whether from blankets or flowers. It looks very cheery and inviting!

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  14. I too keep the colours in my home neutral (walls, furniture) so that I can add colour with little pieces. It ties everything up nicely, and the little pieces are easier to change if you grow tired of them. You have a very lovely home, and you've described it all in such a warm, heart-felt way. My dad encouraged us to listen to radio shows as well, but they were all British. I grew up listening to Peter Sellers et al on The Goon Show, and My Word, fun and silly stuff (my dad had reel-to-reel tapes of the early shows) ;) Wendy x

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  15. I just love the pictures in this blog, your home sounds and looks a happy, relaxing place, thanks for sharing itxx

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  16. This was such a great post, Jennifer! Your home must be a wonderful place to be - filled with brightness, warmth, and most of all love.

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  17. There is not much that beats sitting around a fire on a cold winter's day. I love your fireplace. We have one and can't use it for various reasons, all of which will be sorted out this year, I hope. By next winter I will be joining you and can't wait!

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  18. I too love an open fire, it brings back memories of childhood and sitting in front of it with a toasting fork toasting crumpets and bread with a huge pot of tea. No central heating, all together as bedrooms were too cold to laze in. Simple times x. Thanks for following me x

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  19. Such a sweet post. I too enjoy being at home. Wonderful post Jennifer!

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  20. A beautiful post - made me feel all warm and cosy. x

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  21. Loved this post Jennifer I think I want to move in with you. :) xx

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  22. Please may I come for a holiday, and can every day be a winter Saturday? I'll bring the marshmallows for toasting, and whatever blanket I'm making now to sit in quiet companionship. And when I grow restless I will sit on the floor and build, I'm good with Knex and better with Lego.

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  23. You've reminded me we always listened to the Archers on the radio when I was little, just listening to the music transports me right back.....and mum was usually baking! :) xxx

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  24. Oh Jennifer this is a truly beautiful post. I LOVED reading about your home, life and pass times. It sounds completely homelike to me too. Fantastic, J9 x

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  25. I loved hearing about your Barbies, and about staying in in college :) My kids always have a mom that stays home, sewing all day - perhaps this will carry over into their later years. Love the artwork display.

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  26. I super enjoyed reading this post.. it is comforting and pleasant and real. I agree on so many things.. I guess I should say relate.. so many of the things you say are so similar to the way I live. I also love a good fire.. we have a pellet stove going all winter and I just love seeing the flames and feeling the radiant heat. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  27. You definitely make a house a home, yours is very homely x

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  28. I'm with you - I always want a homey home over a showy home. Your home is so cozy and welcoming and homey. I've enjoyed this post so much. I love the artwork display and pretty red tulips!

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  29. What a sweet post, your home clearly is just that, a proper home.

    I have never heard A Prairie Home Companion. I will have to follow that link ;o)

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  30. This is such a lovely post, I feel comforted and cosy just from reading it. I'm enchanted by the thought of you all sitting down together to listen to the radio. :-) xx

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  31. What a lovely post and you most definitely have a homely home. I've never heard of 'A Prairie Home Companion' but I love the thought of you all cosying down together to listen. Wishing you a snug weekend. x

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  32. Everyone thinks the same, a most beautiful post and your home is too xo

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  33. I loved this post -glad to have discovered you and thanks for following me. Like you I love sitting by the fire in winter, though right now I'm longing for more daylight.

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  34. "Apple and juniper" ... what lovely words and what a sweet- and spicy-scented fire they must make!

    A warm and cosy post with beautiful photos. I really like that bird picture on the gallery wall. :)

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  35. Loved this post! Loved everything about it! Your home and how you feel about it is just plain super and beautiful!!! I feel the same way about home. There is nothing better than being in a cozy home with your sweet family and like you I would rather be home than anywhere. I wish you lived closer so we could talk over a glass of wine and you could teach me some more about crochet. Happy weekend friend!!! Nicole xo

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  36. Little beads of brightness, present in the yarn, your children's drawings, dancing flames, or hot orange tulips, can certainly make those cold and chilly winter days feel warm and cozy.

    Poppy

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  37. Umm, I'm with you on this one, I'm a definately home-body too. I love the description of your afternoons together with the radio, sounds like perfection to me.

    S x

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  38. Your home looks so homely and cosy, Jennifer, especially with those blankets and the fire blazing. Just lovely x

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  39. Nice blog post dear!
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    www.dimplekhadi.blogspot.com

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  40. Beautiful post Jennifer. You clearly are a wonderful homemaker.
    Marianne x

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  41. What a truly lovely post Jennifer. I feel all warm and cosy reading it. Your home sounds so welcoming. Hoping you have a great weekend. Bee xx

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  42. Oooh can I just move it? Your home sounds so warm and inviting -- especially in the winter. Thanks for a wonderful post!

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  43. A wonderful post, Jennifer - full of love and contentment and creativity. I love your afghans and know just what you mean about the joy of a real fire. DH and I are great Garrison Keillor fans and often listen to the Prairie Home Companion here too.

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Thank you for leaving a comment. It's so good to hear from you! I don't always have time to reply but I try to answer questions when I can.

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