Thankful for Monday: Happiness Through Gratitude

This is a new kind of project I’m forcing myself to do. Having a few scheduled posts a week really works wonders for my over-stimulated brain. I cannot mindlessly list topics and ideas forever, brainstorming over great articles and DIY-material until I’m suddenly too drained to write or publish any of it.. silly! As much as I love lists, I’ve recently realized I’m wasting a lot of time on them. And.. as you may or may not know, a new mother’s time is very precious and limited.

So I’m urging myself to again start keeping a gratitude journal which once helped so much with my positive outlook. I had been keeping one for months on my iPhone previously, another in a journal my doctor encouraged me to start.. I must say that although I enjoy journaling and scribbling nonsense, the gratitude thing worked best digitally because it was always on hand. I could attach photos in a flash and rate my days.. sadly when I updated my iPhone OS, however, my restoration went wonky and my gratitude journal -and all of the photos- were deleted. I had a bit of a melt-down -I’m lying, it was a full-on panic attack- .. I was so upset I couldn’t now see the progress I had made.. the once unhealthy things I was so grateful for and the realization of what I should be grateful for.. to which of course my husband reminded me, “You have what you are grateful for right here, it shouldn’t be hard to start a new one. I see the progress you’ve made and deep down you know you’ve made it.”

So, on Mondays I will begin to look back at all of the wonderful (and even not-so-wonderful!) things I should be and am grateful for. It is said that keeping a gratitude journal is very healthy, a great way to be open to all of the amazing things you have in your life that you might not be noticing. It’s also said to lift your spirits in a way that cannot be denied. I agree and I urge you to try it! Even if just for a month.

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One

The sweet taste of a homegrown strawberry that I happened to rescue from the brink of death! We were in the grocery store and the fluorescent lighting must have left the shriveled plants with much to be desired. I instantly usherd one to the register and planted it in new soil and a large pot — now it’s branching out into my yard and attempting to spread sugary-sweet red fruit to all of the rabbits in the area. I did get to taste one berry, one very delicious berry, however when I watered it today I noticed my other three berries had been eaten. We have a cottontail friend roaming around now and again so I’m sure he was the one who experienced the delight of the fresh berries — at least someone enjoyed them!

Two

Every single coo and grunt my daughter makes. And the fact that I unbelievably have a daughter and can talk about her. It’s absolutely a trip and I never could have imagined how wonderful it would be. She’s been in my dreams for quite awhile so I feel very fortunate that she has arrived in my arms and left me with a scar I will never forget. I can’t to experience every new moment with her and I want to remember absolutely every day.

Three

Heart-wrenching memoirs of hardship and survival. I’m a dark, depressing memoir addict. I think it has something to do with being inspired by overcoming one’s past to become an amazing and creative person. Having been through a rough and tumbly past myself and having watched many of those I love fall to the negativity of their own past, it’s very enlightening to see what can be accomplished if you devote your life to overcoming it.

Four

My husband’s new-found appreciation for cooking. Not just because I get to taste all of his experiments, either, but because I am also passionate about cooking up my own creations and it’s double the excitement! We have yet another interest that we share and it’s the best kind of interest — the kind that tastes delicious. He keeps practicing on fresh Tilapia and I keep inhaling it.

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Five

Thrifting for vintage, kitschy mugs. Thrifting is not only fun alone, it’s even more fun because of the people you do it with. I often go thrifting with my best friend or husband and we have a blast finding kitschy goodies, vintage magazines and trying on 70s bathrobes. It doesn’t get old! You don’t need a lot of money to have a great time combing through pop-culture memorabilia — just a lot of time and patience. Even a box of old records or postcards can become an exciting giggle fest. No matter what their selection, make sure you look through the mugs and vintage cookbooks — they’ll always provide you with some inexpensive, kitschy fun for your kitsch-en!

What are five things that you’re thankful for this week?

Rice, the Colorful Home Decor Company

I recently had the delight of viewing rice of Denmark’s summer catalogues. The color and decor is very Jeu de Paumes and left my eyes swelling with sugar and sparkle. Eye candy and color for kids rooms, outside and of course, the home!

I can’t get enough, can you? I’m ready to have tea in the garden with all of these goodies tomorrow.

rice

“Rice is a basic survival product for many people in this world, and especially in the Third World.”
~ Rice

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Living Art: How To Make a Terrarium

Terrariums are magical miniature pieces of nature that you can admire anywhere in your home. They are living pieces of art. You don’t even need to be a master gardener (I certainly am not) to put together and care for your own terrarium or dish garden, but you do need to know a few things about what kinds of plants need how much light and watering. Designing your own terrarium allows to you get creative and let your imagination run wild. You can include miniature statues of mythical creatures, little signs and pretty rocks. If you can’t find what you want, you can even make little mushrooms or animals out of oven bake clay.

Terrariums are enclosed, so the plants need to be small enough to grow inside of a glass jar, a small glass box or any clear container. Wide-mouthed glass containers with a removable lid are the easiest to work with because you have easy access to water and prune as you need to. You can even mount your terrarium on the wall in a light box or hang it from the ceiling in a glass globe. It all depends on your imagination and the things you can find. People have even made tiny terrariums inside old light bulbs!

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Tabletop Terrariums at Athopologie

You Need

A container
A group of small plant starters that will grow under the same amount
of light and watering.
Some sand or small pebbles
Activated charcoal
Spaghnum moss
Potting soil

You should plan out how you want it to look before you start collecting your supplies–make a sketch or just have a vivid image in your head. The first thing you will place in your container is a layer of coarse sand or small pebbles that is about one inch thick. This layer is for drainage and will keep your plants’ roots from rotting.

Next you will need to lay on a thin layer of activated charcoal–the same kind they use in aquarium filters to keep the air flow or water flow clean, so you can find this at the pet store. If you are planting in an open-air container you won’t need this.

Lay down your Spaghnum moss in a thin layer so that your soil won’t sink down into the charcoal and pebbles every time you water it.

Now you can add your soil. You can buy pre-mixed terrarium soil blends or you can just mix 2 parts regular potting soil, 1 part coarse builders sand (never use beach sand) and 1 part leaf mold (aka humus). You don’t need to add fertilizer because you don’t want the plants to grow very large and there is already a substantial amount in the potting soil.

Sometimes all your little plants require for watering is a good misting from a spray bottle to emulate rain. You should never place your terrarium in direct sunlight.

If you want to make a desert-themed cactus garden, this would be much easier to do in a dish rather than a terrarium. Since cacti and succulents need drier, sandy soil, you can use special potting soil
made for them or put your potting soil down and then place an equal layer of coarse sand on top after you plant your cacti. You don’t need spaghnum moss, charcoal or pebbles for a desert garden, but if you are using a planter dish with a hole at the bottom, be sure to put a small piece of screen over it so your sand doesn’t fall out. Also, unlike a terrarium, your cacti will need plenty of direct sunlight. Wear thick gardening gloves if you are working with sharp cacti!

Your cacti will only need to be watered about once a month. Always make sure you water your plants with luke warm water instead of cold water so you don’t shock the roots. Image someone throwing ice cold water on you on a hot day!

I hope I’ve sparked your interest for making your own terrarium! They make great little decorations and interesting gifts. Here is a list of a few small plants that would be good for a terrarium or dish garden but this definitely isn’t all of them. Do some research on the care of the plants that you want to use and let your imagination run wild as you plan out the look of your mini garden.

Irish Moss

Great for any tiny landscape and only grows to a max of three inches tall.

Miniature Peperomia

Stays small and and has tiny round leaves. Very easy to maintain.

Wintergreen

Grows to about six inches tall and is very hearty. Blooms tiny white flowers in the summer and smells minty.

Dwarf Japanese Sweet Flag

Tiny ornamental grass that resembles an Iris plant, but only grows to two inches tall.

Leptinellas

Looks exactly like an itty bitty fern and are often refered to as “mini ferns”. These are also easy to take care of.

Butterwort

Cool little carnivorous plant that attracts insects like a living fly paper and dissolves them with digestive juices on its leaves. Only grows to about one inch tall with sticky leaves but will bloom a pretty purple flower.

Mini Bonsai

Would be a cool addition to a dish garden but would be hard to maintain in a closed container because they need to be trimmed and trained into the bonsai shape.

Earth star AKA Starfish Plant

It stays under six inches tall and grows a rosetted star shape of long, spiked leaves. It is easy to care for and is perfectly suited for a terrarium because it loves humity.

Succulents

Cacti and other succulents like Aloe Vera and Jade grow very slowly and will eventually outgrow whatever container you put them in. Plant them when they are small and you’ll be able to enjoy your mini desert garden for quite a while.

Customizing a New Home

CUTiE BookTurning your apartment, house or beach-side bungalow into a home? I’ve moved a lot only recently. After being smothered in a small-town, for way too long, I was ready for new adventures and surroundings. First I lived with a family in my heart*throb, japan. Then we moved around in Indiana’s capital delicious wonderland city Indianapolis, from downtown apartment to east-side apartment. During the summers, I shack up with my lovely best friend in California and always find new places and friends to love. I’ve found amazing people I want to forever keep in my life (there are still many years for us to end up together) and I knew if I explored to find my own paradise in the US I would be truly at peace with my world. (I still plan to visit Japan always until I finally accept a job there -why don’t you???- and live my dreams)

delicate & sweet a balcony for me shoes in a row

So we’re picking up and moving again! This time to a paradise we fell in love with together, Nevada. Now Las Vegas is a kitschy tourist attraction, mind you, but there are always amazing things going on that you can be involved in, it’s not far from L.A. and the sunshine replenishes your body with Vitamin D as well as inspires your mind to produce melatonin.

The most important thing about a new home is what new whimsical world will unfold as I place items around and attempt to customize my surroundings (this gets tough in city apartments!). In case you need a kick start or just a push in a new direction, enjoy the inspiration and let your home drink it up!

Let’s Get Started!

Need some furniture or decor inspiration? Take a look at the resources listed at the end of the article.
Be sure to hit up local thrift stores and flea markets, you could find delectable art-deco, mid-century and antique goodies to paint/ design for your home for a fraction of the cost of most designer deco. One of a kind items are always smile inducers while lounging in your quarters.

With some sanding and a few coats of glossy enamel you can turn a sad, chipped and rusty 60s wall shelf into a new sleek treasure.

paint it~

Starting to see endless possibilities in creating your ultimate wonderland on earth?

Yummy Inspiration & Boutiques

Urban Outfitters: Apartment
Brocade Home
IKEA
Mason Reve
The Paris Apartment
Espirit Cabane
Jeu de Paumes Books
Three Potato Four
Decor8 Blog
Design*Sponge

Miseducated Articles

A Spare Roomedy
Apartment Seventy-Seven
Pretty on Penn St
Home in South Korea
Interiors of Amelie
Gwen Stefani’s Chic Space
Lala’s Kitschy Paradise