Category: Renovation

The Value of Sketching It In

It’s been over a month since we moved into our newly renovated house and it’s been quite a journey. The first few weeks were really about adjusting, getting used to how things work and, honestly, trying not to ruin anything! When we found our bravery and started settling in, it quickly became apparent that making ‘home’ was going to take time. It’s going to take time to become familiar with our new home, to figure out how we want to live in it and what it wants to be.

As we make a start, one of the most helpful things we’ve done is to use an approach that’s rather like sketching in a first draft.

For example, let’s look at our dining room. This is what it looked like when we first moved in.

As we imagine how we’d like this space to be, there are many considerations. We don’t own a dining room table or chairs yet. We have a limited width to work with and a sideboard we’d really like to use. We’re also thinking a rug might work well but we’ve never had one before so we’re really not sure. To help us decide, we’re sketching it in using what I’m calling ‘placeholders’ to figure out how things might work, look and feel.

With curiosity and no attachment, we sketched it in.

We put the sideboard in place. We added the one table we happened to have to give is an idea of proportion and placement. My sister Suzie had a rug that a friend had given her so we put it in place to get a feel. Suddenly it was much easier to get a sense of what’s possible.

So often we stay stuck in our heads because we can’t quite see the possibilities before us.

We spent a lot of time thinking and talking about what might work in this room but as soon as we sketched it in, the picture became clearer. Now we know that we don’t want a table any wider than this one. In fact, a little thinner would be even better. We’ll probably need to escape the grip of the strong sense of centre in the room and scooch everything over to the left. Maybe we’ll save some space with a bench under the windows instead of chairs. And even though the rug isn’t what we’ll end up with, using it as a placeholder sure let us know that a rug works in this spot. It immediately warms up the space and adds a sense of welcome.

Putting something in place, sketching it in, taking a bit of action, all of this can make the picture clearer. Sometimes that’s all you need to find your way to the next step.

Where might ‘sketching it in’ offer some clarity to you?

My Strategies for Handling My Biggest Project to Date

This month we are moving in with family, moving all of our things into storage and, at last, our renovation begins.

Oh, July, you will be an adventure!

During several recent events, people asked me how I was managing it all and whether I’d be sharing more about the renovation. In terms of sharing, I’m doing a lot of writing and picture taking behind the scenes but it’s all pretty raw. Perhaps that’s why the place I’m doing the most sharing right now is Instagram stories. It’s a quick place for me to share a photo and go, “Ack! Is this storage place going to be enough?” or “Omg, look at Scout on top of all those boxes.” I’m really loving being there and sharing. So if you want a daily dose of cats, the garden and the move, be sure to visit me on Instagram and check out my stories.

As for how I’m handling it all, I feel like I’ll have much more to say in a month but for now…

My Current Strategies for Handling My Biggest Project Ever

Be Devoted to Sleep. With so much on the go, it’s easy to become exhausted. I’ve been fiercely committed to getting to bed at a good time and trying to get 7 hours of sleep, no matter what. If I need a nap, I take it. If something on my to-do list needs to get cut, it’s cut. Sleep matters.

Eat Nutrition-rich Rood. I always find this is the hardest thing during busy times. This time I’m going to try and make sure that the fridge is stocked with simple and healthy choices all the time. I found this food prep video very inspiring and it’s exactly the approach I hope to take. (Yep, I’m just starting work on this one)

Drink Lots of Water. When things are demanding and I’m tired, it’s super easy to make one more cup of tea or drink one more cup of coffee. It’s all too easy to rev myself up while depleting my fluids. Not to mention that the heat has hit and I’m doing lots of lifting, shifting and moving. I’m reaching for water more often then not, maybe even with a few lovely berries for colour and sass.

Logs & Check-Ins. I start each day with going over the state of all of my projects, including the reno. I remind myself of what has been achieved and also what needs to get done. Throughout the day, I keep a journal page that lists not only my plans and tasks but also things that have happened and information I need to record, for example, “Building inspector called at 10:40 and said… Remember to email him about…” At the end of the day I review my page, noting in particular what didn’t get done so I am ready to tackle it the next day.

Communication & Relationships. Not only are there lots of moving pieces to a big project like this but there are also many people involved. I try to make sure that each communication not only moves the project forward but also deepens my relationship with the person involved, whether that’s a member of the family or the renovation team.

Remember the Dream. There have been many (and no doubt will be many more) reasons to stress and worry. There will be hard work and a thousand decisions and who knows what else. It’s easy to get caught up in it all and forget that above all else this is a blessing, an opportunity for us to create our home and make it a place we love. On the hard days I will remind myself that I believe it is worth the effort.

Remember What’s Important. From early on in our relationship, Justin and I made a decision that has served us well. If we ever feel ourselves getting edgy over something or other, getting a little heated about what colour to paint the walls or whether the couch should be on this side of the room or that, we stop immediately and remind one another, it’s not that important. It’s a colour. It’s paint. It’s a couch. It’s not us. What matters to us is each other. All the other choices will be just fine. It’s love that makes a home.

Remind me I said that when we’re picking lighting fixtures ;)

Taking My Energy Back (aka Don’t Leave Pieces of You Behind!)

This week I let go of the last of my club-girl clothing, in particular this exquisite floor-length, black fitted dress that I loved beyond measure. I loved my life at the time I was wearing it. I loved who I was at that time too. And I love the feelings that  flood into me as this dress transports me back to my clubbing days, all those years ago.

We often hold onto items like this because they represent a part of ourselves. It’s almost as though we’ve taken a piece of our identity and magically infused it into the object. Perhaps this is why we protect the item so fiercely, why we simply will not let it go. It keeps an important part of us in safekeeping. We feel that if we let it go, we will lose that part of ourselves. So instead we keep that university textbook, that swimming badge, that cookbook, that club-girl dress.

But what if by letting it go of the object, we were able to release the energy and bring it back home?

What if instead of relegating my club-girl attitude to a dress at the back of my closet, I owned it again? I’m not talking about turning back the clock or living in the past. I’m talking about having that energy take shape in my life today, live in my body today, be alive in my psyche now!

Perhaps that dress is in a closet because I don’t believe that there is room for that part of myself in my life anymore and that is painful. In response, I mourn that part of me and build a shrine to it in my closet.

But that part of my identity is always available to me; it must be because it IS me.

It might not look the same now as it did in the past but let’s not get distracted by the details. It’s deeper than that. It’s about embodying the essence of who we are. So, while it’s true that I likely won’t be dancing at a nightclub into the wee hours, sweating, flinging my hair, hands up, hips moving*, I am still a dancer, still fierce, still sensual, still wildly alive.

I am the container for that energy, not the dress.

So the answer isn’t to take the dress out of the closet and start wearing it again. It isn’t about going clubbing or reliving my past. It’s about taking that locked up energy and giving it a home in my life now. It’s about answering the question, “What does that look like for me today?” I know it looked like me dancing in Luminato this year and that’s just the beginning.

No part of yourself needs to be relegated to the basement, the closet or the storage room. You get to be all of you at each stage of your life – wild, strong, fierce, gentle, introspective, curious, adventurous, solitary, playful, sexy, reverential, silly – everything.

This week, as I lovingly folded up that dress and put it in a bag for donation, I felt a deep sense of release but not in the way people talk about in books about decluttering. This release was not about letting go; it was about taking back. I released my club-girl energy from its beautiful black-dress cage so that it could roam through my life freely and with abandon once more.

Take It To Your Journal

Is there a part of you that’s been relegated to the past?
Is there an object that holds its energy?
How might you bring that energy back into your life today?

Let’s choose wholeness.
Bring your energy home.