Inspirational Card Tree Holder

I love receiving greeting cards whether its for a birthday or for Christmas or for some other holiday (or for no reason at all).  They usually are pretty to look at and it is nice to receive some well written words of love.  We have always displayed greeting cards that we receive.  As a child, the birthday girl or boy (or mom or dad) would set out their cards on a small end table so that the cards could be enjoyed for a couple of days or weeks after the event.  And my parents would come up with different ways to display the Christmas cards they received.  Some years it was making a Christmas tree shape on the wall and filling it in with the cards, other times it was putting them in a basket out for display.

Because I like to enjoy my cards, I wanted to find a way to display them without standing them up on a table.  One of my chores as a child was to dust (which I did not like to begin with) and when there were cards out you had to take them down, dust, and then stand them back up.  And invariably some of them would fall over and knock others over.

A few years ago I found this card holder tree from Pottery Barn:

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It must be pretty popular.  I bought mine probably 12 years ago or so and it has hung in a couple of my apartments, my condo and now my house.  I like it because it can be hung vertically or horizontally depending on your space.

Our card holder tree hangs in our dining room.  It fits perfectly in the space between the pass through to the kitchen and the doorway to the kitchen.  I have hung mine vertically because of the space (and let’s face it I’m too short to hang it horizontally because it would have to be above the pass through and I could never hang anything from it without getting a stepladder).

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My husband and I hang our birthday cards on it.  I also hang all of my Christmas cards from it.  It is so nice to look at all of your children’s beautiful, smiling faces on your Christmas cards while we eat dinner.  We go through times of the year when we do not receive many greeting cards so then I hang pictures from it, little notes, wedding invitations, postcards from the Iowa Summer Writer’s Workshop or other small tokens.

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(Silly golden retriever cards, a picture of my husband and me with our late dog Penelope, a poppy from the veterans, and a shamrock)

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(An anniversary card, a summer writer’s workshop postcard, an angel pin, and yet another silly golden retriever card)

I also discovered that Trader Joe’s sells greeting cards for $.99 .  I saw a couple of cards that inspired me, so I bought them for myself and hung them on my card tree holder.

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Basically, I hang anything on my card tree holder that inspires me or makes me happy.  And since I walk by the spot every day several times a day I get to enjoy all of it often.  Thank you to all of you who send me cards and other inspirational tokens.  They are very much enjoyed.  –June

A Little Vintage Styling

Throughout time, women have loved their handbags, and I’m no exception. I cannot walk through Nordstrom without taking a quick peek at the latest arrivals, and always beautiful classics…..you just never know.  I do the same thing in the shoe department, but today we’ll stick with purses.  My mom and I have always loved everything vintage, especially Victorian accessories.  We use them in our decorating, but also love bringing a touch of something old to our personal style. Years ago, while in a local antique store, I came across a lovely red beaded Victorian bag, the perfect accessory to a little black cocktail dress.

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That handbag was followed by more of the same era, as well as bags up through the fifties.  I loved that they were not mass produced, but rather beautifully constructed, each one unique, beautiful, and truly a work of art. So I decided to display them as such.

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I found a basic black frame in the clearance aisle at Michaels, which I hung on the wall in my powder room.  I then arranged my favorite vintage bags inside the frame.  Vintage collections can include necklaces, bracelets, pocket watches, eyeglasses,  etc…. The frame grounds the collection and makes it feel like a work of art.  You can have fun with the frames too.  There are loads of vintage frames out there that you can use as is, or you can give them a personal touch with a coat of paint.

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We all have that drawer, or box in the closet filled with grandma’s collections of jewelry and odds and ends.  Instead of keeping these treasures hidden away, why not give them new life by giving them a special place in your home? ~May

For more on displaying vintage pieces, check out this link.

http://fleamarket.about.com/od/decoratelikeapro/tp/10-Ways-To-Display-Vintage-Jewelry.htm

Tiny Houses and Creative Spaces

I recently came across a show called Tiny House Hunters on HGTV and I have become obsessed with Tiny Houses.  I don’t actually want to live in a Tiny House.  I can’t imagine paring down all of my worldly possessions to live in a space less than 500 square feet (my husband said my shoes would need their own Tiny House).   And living in that small of a space with another person and a large dog would probably make me claustrophobic, but what I really want is a Tiny House in my backyard to use as my own dedicated writing studio, office and creative space.

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(Photo from bhg.com)

I have discovered that I need a space that inspires me to think and read and create.  It rejuvenates and relaxes me.  We do not have a big enough house for me to have a room that is dedicated only to me.  Our space at home is multi-use which I generally have decorated with art and items that I love, but I have still tried to carve out some spaces in some of those rooms that are just for me.

We have a screened-in back porch that in the summer I use as my creative space although it also doubles as entertaining space.   I have decorated it entirely with items that inspire me.  It has twinkle lights and paper lanterns strung from the rafters that provide lighting in the evening.  The color scheme of pinks, reds and turquoise give me joy when I sit there.  And most importantly it offers a fresh breeze and the green garden landscape as its background.  I spend most of my free time in the summer sitting there reading, writing and just breathing.  I also love to share that space with my family and friends.  I have found that because it is a space that inspires me, those  people that I  love gravitate to it as well for drinks and good company.

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I have more trouble with my creative space once the temperature dips below comfortable “porch-sitting weather.”  Last year for my birthday, my husband bought me a vintage desk that had been repainted pink and finished with knobs that have little green crowns on them.  I call it my “Queen Desk.”  It’s not quite the Resolute Desk, but this was one of the best gifts he could have given me because he knew I was looking for a creative space in the house.  I put the desk in a corner of our guest room.  I thought it would give me that same inspired feeling as our screened-in porch.  The room has plenty of light and is painted a soft light lavender color.  However, despite some effort it is just not a spot I want to sit and be for long periods of time.  It just does not inspire me.  My chair is uncomfortable and often our guest room acts as an overflow closet with items that have not yet found a permanent home in our house.  And even when the mess is cleaned up it still feels like I am just sitting in a bedroom.

So my project between now and the end of porch season is to improve my indoor creative space.  Especially when the winter comes and I am cooped up inside, it is so important to have that spot where you can feel your best and work on some inspiring projects.   I’ll also keep dreaming and designing my Tiny House for the backyard someday.

Do you have some place that you have created just for you that inspires you?  Any tips for creating that space?

–June