Good morning friends and happy new week to you! I want to share a little inspiration from Japan and nature today but first I thought I’d talk about something I sense a lot of you are feeling lately – unmotivated! Personally, I finally feel like I’ve come out from under a big blanket that covered me from new year’s until today! I’ve been inspiration-challenged and unmotivated, like my creative fuel tank was at 1/4 and slipping rapidly towards empty! I get this feeling each and every January and attribute it to nature’s way of saying, “Slow down. Rest up, enjoy the silence in your head because it will soon be full speed ahead!”, and well… Nature knows best.
Animals hibernate, trees stand naked with exposed limbs, soil freezes over with no signs of life and yet we always-hungry-for-more humans still push with all of our might to fly forward without any rest or reflection. The moment our body tells us to pause we think something is wrong and freak out. More and more, because I’ve noticed this January pattern for several years now and am “on” to it, I think something is right when I feel like doing a lot of nothing. My January down time is something I expect and roll with these days… Who cares, I reason, I’ll get back on my feet soon enough. This month, I caught up on a ton of boring administrative work, read some novels, went to museums and lingered a lot, did horrible expense report stuff and tax stuff and tried to prepare for the year before me. I cooked and cleaned and ironed and felt crabby a lot. I ate sweets and drank wine and just did my downhill spiral January thing. After three weeks of a giant TIME OUT, I woke up feeling like Holly 2.0 today which makes me happy because I know that I’ve gotten through it, my groove is back and now I can begin again. I hope you are feeling energized too or are on your way and if not, you’ll get there. Don’t worry. You’ll soon emerge from your little bear cave, too. You need these natural pauses, I think it’s good for the mental health over all other things. Learn to accept them and yourself, down time is exactly what you need in order to do your best work when your body says that you are ready.
With that, let’s chat for a moment about pure simple living because this is being highlighted by IKEA’s Livet Hemma blog as one big trend for 2012 and I have to agree with them – though in my opinion, not necessarily only Japanese-inspired for me but nature-inspired from anywhere be it Norway, the California coast, Finland or the Alps… it’s nature that gives us the call to balance and simplicity that centers us. Japanese tend to work with raw concrete, natural woods and light colors in their design and these elements are inspiring rooms in the home in the western world, too. Harmonious natural elements make us happy and for me, these tactile elements help me enormously to connect to my environment as I like to touch a lot – I relate and explore through touch which I am sure annoys every shop I enter because I tend to touch everything. Tactile natural elements are also nice to live around because of their warmth and welcome spirit but for some, the less “busy” an interior is (not a lot of color, clean, simple, etc.), the more inspiration can flow in and around that person.
Do you appreciate this simple, calm style in your interior too? Are you feeling inspired for 2012 yet or still in a creative coma hung over from all of the work you did in 2011? Talk to me people.
(images: Nina Broberg/IKEA Livet Hemma)
As I sit here cross-legged on my sofa with a cup of lavender earl grey tea and Jo Malone’s Grapefruit candle providing the perfect ambiance, I’m reminded of one simple truth: Moments of solitude can be the most soul-stirring and magical touch points in life.
I love my living room where I am writing this because it’s the one place in my home where I can truly live and do all of the things that I take pleasure in – entertaining, writing, reading, watching films, even taking an occasional cat nap, exercising, dancing or enjoying nothing more than tea and Amy Winehouse on my stereo. Just a few moments ago I was engrossed in answering a reporter’s email when the bell rang and I accepted a package of books I had ordered — All 11 V&A Pattern Books that I’ve been dying to own arrived along with a jaw-droppingly tactile new book I mistakenly spotted (and so glad I did!) called “One” by Victoria Alexander published by Murdoch Books. One? What’s that? Here is a show following by a tell.
Pages with ruffled edging (oh my!), a few lovely inserts like an envelope here, a small card there… Gorgeous matte paper with a lovely weight to it, lots of snappy travel photos, quotes throughout, layered elements of papers, maps, fabrics… It’s stunning from a visual perspective and though I’ve just begun to read it, I am certain I’ll finish this book because it’s the perfect combination of self-help and visuals.
I must admit, I barely read self help books, not because I don’t need to (ha ha!) but because I don’t like to read them. Too much text, too much blah blah. Often a writer can take an entire chapter and edit it down to two pages because we don’t always need the full scoop. I’m happy to get half a scoop with photos allowing me to explore the missing half, the half that I can search and find on my own. I like books that allow me to come to my own conclusion in the end. If a book that talks about the journey of someone’s life — what they’ve learned, where they’ve been and how they approached then solved their many issues allow the way — and combines those words with photography throughout I am absolutely going to pick it up and give it a good solid flip through. If I read a few sentences and the word “I” is used ad naseum, the book returns to the shelf but on the other hand, if it captures my heart through text and imagery from the very first page then its love at first sight and it will be on its merry little way to the cashier’s desk clutched tightly to my chest. I know a gem when I spot it.
One – Living As One and Loving It is such a gem.
About this book the publisher says, “One is a celebration of individuality and life. Author Victoria Alexander writes with humour and wisdom about the importance of believing in and valuing ourselves. She reminds us to trust in ourselves, try things on for size, take risks and ask for what we want – after all, we might just get it. At its heart, this beautifully layered collection of stories, quotes, reflections and evocative images is about the power of choice and about enjoying life, with all its shifts and changes. Its message is universal: accept who you are and who you can be, whether you live alone, or whether you are one of many. ” I can’t wait to explore more about this book, to dig more deeply and to find out more about a book that is meant for everyone – from those living alone to those in relationships, as I think we all can feel very alone at times whether in a huge family or simply as a party of one in our little cottage by the sea.
Do you have a copy of One? What do you think of it? Isn’t it sumptuous?
(images: holly becker for decor8)