Getting by with a little help from my friends. (That'd be you)

Hubster forwarded this post to me from Seth Godin's Blog this morning. Although he writes primarily about the business world, and marketing in particular, I think it's spot-on for those of us who stagnate at times in our decorating attempts.  So I'm passing it on to you....

No, everything is not going to be okay

It's natural to seek reassurance. Most of us want to believe that the choices we make will work out, that everything will be okay.
Artists and those that launch the untested, the new and the emotional (and I'd put marketers into all of these categories) wrestle with this need all the time. How can we proceed knowing that there's a good chance that our actions will fail, that things might get worse, that everything won't end up okay? In search of solace, we seek reassurance.
So people lie to us. So we lie to ourselves.
No, everything is not going to be okay. It never is. It isn't okay now. Change, by definition, changes things. It makes some things better and some things worse. But everything is never okay.
Finding the bravery to shun faux reassurance is a critical step in producing important change. Once you free yourself from the need for perfect acceptance, it's a lot easier to launch work that matters.
(emphasis mine)

Here's my take on how this applies to being artful in homemaking/decorating/crafting:

1) Don't fear screwing up.  I truly HATE not getting things right the first time.  I want affirmation that this new thing I'm going to try WILL WORK, knowing that decorating is a very emotional investment of my time, money and energy.  I don't want to go back and say "what a waste of my ____!"  But art (like life) never comes with guarantees.

As artists of our homes, we need to embrace the truism that very little of what we do will be 'perfect' the first time around....or even the second or third in my case.  Stop laughing.

Isn't it just a matter of perspective?  What if we saw our pursuits in decorating as just that....a pursuit, a journey?  Knowing from the get-go it will need tweaked and perhaps even scrapped when it's done?  Our 'fails' are actually just evidence of our own evolution and learning, as well as a way to define what it is that really lights our fire....our LOVES.  Sometimes starting with just an eek of vision is enough to steer us into decorating nirvana.  I very rarely start with a finished 'look' in mind when I attack a new project.  I don't have that kind of logical brain...more like a feeling, or an inspiration of some sort. I also don't have the finances to start from scratch with furniture and accessories.  (And that would take a lot of the fun out of it anyway.) I usually start with some pictures and what I already have.


That's what I did with my bedroom....and it didn't come together like I planned.  So I threw a tantrum.  I played the 'why can't I do anything right' dirge in a minor key, threw up my hands, and chalked it up to a 'fail'. But then yesterday I decided to go shop....hit 3 thrifts, 2 antique shops, Home Depot, and Hancock fabric.  Oh, and craigslist.....ended up with some more inspiration in the form of fabric and some antique dressers.
And last night I sewed some ruffled pillow cases....ruffles make me very, very happy.

And you know what else?  In putting together my room, I realized I 'missed' certain things I'd recently discovered as my LOVES....and was able to spot them while out shopping.  Faded florals and farmhouse furniture, for instance.  See:
 This fabric will soon be shams....

This antique dresser will replace...
my shabby chic dresser.....

And after getting all giddy about some curtain panels I'd sewn up from one single panel I had purchased somewhere or other a while ago, I knew my original plan of a plain roman shade would prolly be best, with longer panels in the future.

(But tell me my short panels were cute, eh? The crewelwork was the long side of the panel, I cut it in half and put it on the bottom and added the ruffle.  I'm disappointed it didn't work for this room though.  Maybe I can reincarnate them into something else one day....)

And seeing the 'whole' helped me see I really wanted something more along the lines of this:

Instead of this:

So now I'm on the hunt for an iron bed frame....after I sell off the dresser and headboard. :)

2) Don't be afraid to either hear the truth or to move forward without  affirmation.
This is really hard for us in the decor blogworld.  We thrive on comment affirmation, no?  When I'm reading thru comments on my blog, I love the positive affirmation on my attempts to make my house a home.  I think I'd be pretty devastated if someone came along and criticized my work.  That said, though, sometimes you just need to hear the truth, ya know?  For instance, Donna of Funky Junk fame offered up a post where commenters could critique not only her blog, but the decor/craft blogsphere itself.  It was marvelous.  That kind of 'realness' helps everyone.  

There's times, like now as I wrestle with my bedroom, that I struggle to show you how stuck I am.  Because it's not going to be ok.  Because there are limitations to my decorating skill, our finances, the structure of our home, my time.....again, it will never be an English cottage, a beach bungalow, a vintage farmhouse, or a historic foursquare.  So I languish away doing nothing, or trying something that ends up not working (read my post on the revolving furniture or ask me how many times I paint any given room), getting frustrated, and giving up. In my desparation, I'm gonna show you the room as it looks right now (which I should mention is a FABULOUS way to get a better perspective on what's working and what's not.) 

So now, dear readers, I seek not affirmation on what I've done, but some ideas on how to move toward the inspiration pictures I posted above.

Here's some specific things I'd like some help with....
The roman shade idea.  Should I go with white, or with a shade of blue similar to my beloved (but not working) panels?  Or a tan to match the bedding?  What color for panels, then?  I don't have chunky window trim, so I think I'll need something to balance the window with my huge bed.  Remember, I want to use an iron headboard eventually.  Just the whisper of something for the panels to fall behind.  The window treatment itself will be the 'headboard'.  But I also don't want anything too dramatic. More farmhouse cozy. 

Closets....the bane of my existence.  You can just see the side of one in the picture.  One whole wall of closets in which we removed the ugly (and non functional) sliding doors (how I hated them) are now draped in too short white panels and valances that made from a bedskirt that matches my current bedskirt.  Help.  They look just, um, wrong.  Maybe I should just raise the valance to ceiling level?  Ugh.  I'm at my wits end coming up with workable solutions.  Really don't want to spend any more money on them, but realize that maybe the only solution will entail buying new bifold doors.  Painted white?  Or the wall color? 

Any other thoughts?  I will say the the bed must stay under the window.  There are no other walls big enough to accomodate it.  The new farmhouse dresser will go beside the bed on the closet side, but I'd like to keep the other side as it is with the little nightstand and rattan chair.  That will leave the wall opposite the bed EMPTY.  An oh how I dread big empty walls. Right now, my shabby chic wide dresser sits there.  When it's gone, it will leave a gaping hole.  Ideas????

Sorry this has been so long and rambly.  I've been working on this post since yesterday afternoon after getting home from shopping.  Then the Seth Godin post this morning really hit me.  I thank you for hanging in with me, and I'm ready to hear all your wisdom and advice...and iff'n you got some Godiva chocolate, I'd take that too.



Beth@The Stories of A to Z said...

Phew girl! You've got a lot going on in your mind today :). Loved this post and can relate. I have been tweaking and retweaking our master and I'm still not happy with it. Here's my 2cents. I would lose the panels all together and try and find some shudders to go on the sides of your windows. Ollies has some plastic ones for $10 each which could be painted and faux crackled or distressed. I would try and find a smaller night stand and move the dresser to the left. As far as roman shades go, I would make some tan check roman shades like in your inspiration photo to the left. The tan check would compliment what you have going on with your closets---which by the way I think look cute!

Jeni Friedt said...

For the windows.....I would do a tan for the roman shades. (I do like the idea of the check) I would then make panels in a fabric that matches the fabric that you used on the closets. (it looks white'ish to me) I would also made the panels with no ruffle to them. then add button holes that you could then use some ribbon/twine to tie them onto your rod. That will keep them relaxed. Another idea I would probably do is to raise the rod up to the ceiling. (along with the closet ones) That will create a bit more drama and make your windows seem larger. You could then hang something cute above the windows between the panels.

The only other thing that I can readily see that I would try would be folding the blanket that is lying on the end of your bed the other way. That way it would hang over the sides some.

Love it so far!

gail@My Repurposed Life said...

so sorry, I will be of no help. I know zilch about decorating. :(
I have a wall to wall closet in my bedroom, w/ 3 mirrored (ceiling to floor) doors.
I would love to start on my bedroom in the Spring (after this huge living room project)
good luck, I'll be keeping up with your progress.

Lou Cinda @ Tattered Hydrangeas said...

I am loving those fabrics you picked out. That faded floral is fabulous! I love the suggstions on the check for the roman shade, I think that would look great and definitely raise the rod to the ceiling level on the closets! I know it will look awesome! Can't wait! OH! I love the ruffled pillowcases!! LOVE'EM!

Lou Cinda

Rue said...

Okay here it is as I see it.... I hate giving advice, but you sound so upset I want to help. This is what I would do, so take it with a grain of salt.

Anyway, I think the window treatments I had in my old bathroom would work there :


PB used to carry them, but they don't anymore. Since you can sew, it should be easy for you to copy them.

Either that or something like the off-white check ones in the picture on the left would be cute.

I would add a stack of books under the lamp on the little side table to give it height and also another lamp on the antique chest to give it balance.

I like these looks for your closet:


You could use drop cloths for the material.

Other ideas... you could look for shelves for above the window and antique them and put up pictures or words up on them to give it interest like the left side picture.

I also think a big puffy duvet at the end of your bed would look really cozy.

For the big wall you could look for large artwork like flower prints or bird prints and hang them from top to bottom in rows to fill it up or maybe paint the chest a different color??

I hope this helped :)


Rue said...

Holy moly! Did I take up that much space?? Sorry Cindy LOL

Unknown said...

Whew! I feel better... If you (with such excellent taste) can struggle than I feel better about my struggles. I feel for you. It is so frustrating when things don't turn out the way expected. I do think you have a great start, and got some great advice. Love the fabric and dresser you bought. They will look good. I think even if you just added accessories/art to the walls beside the bed you could really pull things together.

Anonymous said...

Well this is my first time to your blog and whew...girl I'm tired just from reading your post...LOL! I am the Queen of tweaking and redoing. I never get anything right the first, second or even third time. I have changed my house so much over the past few years and changed up furniture, painted and repainted. In fact, I just did a post on painting my kitchen. That is the 7th time I have painted it in 6 years so you are not alone! You will get it eventually. Right now I am working on our master bedroom, it is small, has sloped ceilings and there is only one way to put our king size bed (that we just bought) but we love having it. So I don't have any advice for you but to just keep tweaking until you walk in your room and go "ahhhh"!!

I also read your post about Pottery Barn. I love PB and agree that they are expensive. I don't buy furniture there but I have a love affair with their pillows, bedding and accessories. It's nice to meet you and I would love for you to stop by for a visit.

Katie@Yoga Gal said...

Hey Cindy!

Thank you for linking to Funky Junk and her post on Likes and Dislikes for the Blogosphere. It has given me a lot to think about.

And I love the photo! You look great! :)

Maddie said...

Oh mommy, I just love love love your blog. Yes I do. I could spend forever catching up on my reading, cuz I'm never here enough to stay on top off all your fun projects, although I do live less than a mile from you, so I kinda get to cheat and see it all first-hand anyway. But still, your humor and style just gush all over this thing and make me swell with pride over the creative and brilliant mother I have.

You can be Luna Lovegood when you grow up...and I'll be you.

love you!!!


Heidi said...

Uhm...ok...you write THIS post the night I come home from home depot with light blue paint samples and a sheet of bead board? LOL, I finally decided I've been surfing cottage style blogs too much, try to live in my own cottage style...thanks for the "inspiration" heh! If my project fails miserably, I'm blaming YOU! kidding kidding...sorta. But I do LOVE the new fabric you found. And, I'm kind of found of your 1st inspiration picture. Thanks for being an inspiration to ME!

Maddie said...

Btw...I am a little bit, very, a lot upset that you're getting rid of the white shabby chic dresser, cuz I just love it. Maybe I'll convince my darling husband that we should buy it off of you. Or maybe I'll just focus my persuasive measures on convincing you to keep it! It's beautiful.

okaybye for real this time.

Cindy said...

Just a thought, how about some large fluffy pillows. The ones on the bed look flat. I love the color scheme you have chosen. Good Luck!

DustyLu said...

iam at a lost for words! you took them all in a fantastic post! lulu

dmvoccola said...

Love the post, but it's really much too late for me to do anything but laugh at it. You are a hoot. I don't think you can ever go wrong with Roman shades. That's the extent of my ability at 1 a.m. Maybe I'll come back again tomorrow and throw a real opinion at you. :) Loved the comment from your daughter as well--very cute.

Three Birds Inspired said...

Great post. Suggestion regarding the closets - I think I would move the the fabric all the way to the top of the wall and either make the valance longer or remove it and show the gathers at the very top of the wall. I think it would be feminine and "flowy" (I make up words all the time) without being over the top and making a man in the room feel out of place.

studio pashnada said...

I've been following your blog for awhile and love your openness. And since you asked...

I personally would want the closet to "disappear" so I would go with fabric panels floor-to-ceiling with no valance & minimal fullness, the same color as the walls.

I think once you get the window treatment, iron headboard and bedding, all the furniture you have will work for the look you want. You definitely need art - you could even hang some on the new "wall" covering your closets. Art & accessories will change it more than changing out the dresser.

As to the window, I think having a roman shade with beautiful, simple draperies on either side & a matching valance will make for quite a statement.

Now, I have to ask this - does your husband ever have input? My husband is an architect and he cares about what goes in the house. I could NEVER have a fru-fru room if I wanted it. I don't go buy furniture along cuz there are two of us who live there. Sometimes I envy my friends cuz they can do whatever they want but other times I feel sorry for their husbands cuz they have to live in such girly houses. (He has a study & I have a studio where we each do our own thing and the guest rooms are pretty much cast-offs right now.)

Now I'm gonna go give my two cents on the PB post. Hope I haven't gone on too much.

www.thewhitefarmhouse2.blogspot.com said...

Wait wait wait! Are you selling that white dresser? If so, I WANT IT WANT IT WANT IT. I will hold my breath and turn purple until I get it, IF you are selling it. If not, love the new dresser. See, sometimes you just need to walk away. I got faith in ya.

Michelle, All Home and Love said...

LOVED this post! I've changed directions so many times, moved things, gotten frustrated. It can be disheartening when something doesn't work out quite the way we want it to. There have been tantrums and tears here and I'm not afraid to admit it.

I may have a couple suggestions on your closet. My mom turned her craft room closet into a sewing area. But she used the top shelf as storage and needed to hide it. She put a long curtain rod between the top of the closet and the ceiling and put up tiers instead of valances. Then she took ribbon and tied them up in a swooping fashion. They look adorable. I can take a picture if you are interested, just let me know.

In our daughter's room that currently has sliding doors that come off the track and don't close, I plan on putting in two french doors that will open out. Then I'll put fabric behind them to hide the mess. I know this isn't cost effective but maybe you can find some on craigslist? I'm not sure if you have enough room to open them out but thought I would put it out there.

I hope you are having a great weekend!

Caroline @ The Feminist Housewife said...

This was a great post! Thank you for sharing your thoughts so transparently. I cannot wait to see the transformation!

Keetha Broyles said...

I'm not a decorator. I want warm, homey, and cozy. I'm eclectic.

BUT - - - I will tell you this - - - I LOVE that picture of you with all your fingerless gloves, pink nails, looking over the top of your glasses YOU!!! That rocks.

PS - - - the bedroom you said you've decided you DON'T want - - - I LOVE that one.

See - - - not a decorator.

Anonymous said...

i looove your colors! would you mind sharing the manufacturer and pattern name of the fabric you just bought? i have been looking for a large faded floral in blue & brown....that may be the one i neeed! ;-)
thanks, laurinda in california

Heidi said...

I think the room looks great as it is! But as I was looking at your inspriation pictures, I noticed that the bedding looked more "crisp" with the white covers. Maybe you could grab one of those fake duck feather comfortors (in white)to make it more fluffy too. Then the white would compliment your walls and curtains differently. I would also change the checks on the top of the closet and around the bottom of your bed to a similar color of your curtains and walls.
I think your curtains are pretty dang cute! Maybe a big viney/with sticks poking out everywhere wreath haning down the upper-center of your window would just add more texture.
Anyways, as I said before...it looks very cute if you don't do anything to it!

ann marie said...

Here's my 2 cents worth. I would definitely make a roman. I would use the bottom of the blue panels, the embroidered section and make a header/valance. Straight or maybe scalloped at the bottom. I'd make it long enough to mount close to the ceiling and have it extend about 4 or 5 inches into the window opening. This way, you'd really appreciate the stitching, which you don't really see much of now, and your room would appear somewhat taller. It'll probably be easier to go with panels that match the stitching rather than the blue. Anyway, my 2 cents worth.

Tammy said...

Ahh Cindy - didn't the 80's rock for fashion? I mean we all wore that and didn't flinch a bit so why do we struggle so bad with our rooms? Have we lost the bravery we had to wear our fingerless gloves and cool skirts with fishnet stockings? What happened to those brave souls we used to be?

Anyway on to your room:
Hmm I love the little panels you made for the windows..why couldn't those become your roman shade base. Use them and then just add a nice small white ruffle to the bottom like your pillowcases- which are to die for by the way.
Then hang some panels maybe out of the same fabric for the shams or just a plain color. I would hang them at the ceiling and then the wall area between there and the top of the windows- hang either some old mirrors or some plates there.
You can make your window molding a lot more dramatic very easily by just adding more on to what you have..you could try that.

closets- hummm as I dont' have any at this moment I'd say just hang the curtains all the way up and I like the idea of a color that blends into the walls.

For the empty wall - since you like farmhouse and cottage why not a good old weathered bench that is long. you could put some books on it and some blankets and then hang either pics, silver trays or plates on the wall above.

Whatever you do it will work out don't worry..remember the girl that was fearless when she rocked it 80's style.

Debb said...

Ok, if I can remember everything... I, too, am loving faded floral material... it speaks to me... of long ago... I still like your shabby chic ... paint it another color -- different hardware... maybe a keeper or you'll have a huge blank wall to fill... loving the ruffles... experiement... you'll know when it all comes together... the chic dresser is too cute.... but, the color is wrong... oh, what do I know these are just my thoughts...

Bon said...

LOVe this!
bon @ Drab to Fab

Joy said...

1) The first thing I noticed was your husband's side...his dresser...with the level on it... I was laughing out loud! Looks exactly like the top of my husband's dresser! Love it!!!!

2)on window behind bed I would a)take the drapes and rod down. b)install wooden shutters painted and distressed white on either side of the window. c)get cheap $5.00 cloth accordian blind to pull down for privacy.

3)Put 2 square frames on either side of the window/shutters (one on top of the other, and either put botanical/bird prints inside a white matte, or stencil on seagrass paper.

4)I would lose the brown skirt & spread and either change to no bedskirt and either a)all white sheets b)soft blue spread/white sheets, or c)white spread/blue gingham sheets

5)closets - lose the valence, but love the white curtains to cover. Perhaps make a cool button tieback on them?

6)decorate the lampshade on your side of the bed. Perhaps with fabric or a pleated fabric...

Just my initial thoughts. Hope you like em, but if you don't, feel free to toss them : )!And I really don't think anything you try could be wrong..you know what you like!!


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