There is more to the Storied – Blog

I am Storied

I am a lover of stories! I am a discoverer, creator, and sharer of stories. It comes from deep-down and years ago. I have unconsciously looked for the meaning in things, relationships, and places since I was young and believe me, sometimes it is exhausting. More often, it is inspiring and makes me so happy!

I began sharing this outlook as a young adult. Being intentional in selecting or handmaking gifts to give away felt good. Preparing recipes from old recipe cards of dear family members brought connection. Displaying artwork that once hung in a grandmother’s home brought a daily smile. I could not attain these feelings from traditional shopping and purchasing.

As I look around my home, I see artwork collected from dozens of trips. Imagine the stories to be told for years to come. In the dining room, milk glass treasures are front and center, gathered over time. Cookie cutters collected and gifted are displayed on a shelf in the kitchen. You wouldn’t think baking cookies could get any better. A gallery of my kids’ artwork has come together and the pieces are really good. I am beaming!

“Where did you get that?” Over the years, I have been asked that question so many times and it brings me so much joy to share those answers. I began to see I was offering the same words over and over again and encouraged those asking to find and embrace their own meaningful way of living.

What I didn’t realize was how much I had to share. I eventually ventured into offering my approach as Storied – A Home Concierge. I want people to know that slowing down and thoughtfully curating a home and life is not frivolous; it is soothing. Storied makes it ok to think about things in your home as more than just objects. View all you already have through a different lens. Make your home a reflection of you and those you love. Take the time to ask yourself what you want and then wait for it. Allow space for opportunities and sit with that blank canvas until you feel inspired. Create something with perfection thrown aside. You cannot do it wrong.

Finding intentionality in your home life will overflow and when you walk out your door, you will radiate all your home is giving you. Hang onto those stories and when someone asks’ “Where did you get that?” a beautiful conversation and connection will be had.

Artwork from a grandmother’s home that has been in ours for more than 20 years.

it’s storied time

Decor Decisions Made Easier

I recently posed this question to my readers and followers. Which is harder for you when decorating? 1. Knowing what you want and not being able to find it. 2. Not knowing what you want and having so many options. The responses were pretty much 50-50, so here are some ways to make decor decisions easier starting with properly placing your decor energy.

There are just too many options.

Get out your notebook and answer these questions. What is the purpose of this item? Is it functional, decorative, or both? Defining this will help you identify the significance or lack thereof and the impact of this purchase. It will help you put it into perspective.

Wastebasket or hand towels = lower impact = dedicate less decor energy

Rug or entryway bench = more impact = dedicate more decor energy

Do some research! You’ve probably already done the fun research like looking at magazines, Pinterest, and browsing stores in person or online. The next helpful step in the research process is to ask friends for their opinions and experiences. You can also look at product reviews. I recommend setting timelines and limits. How long will you give yourself to decide? Lower impact purchases deserve a few days to 1 week and higher impact items may need a few weeks to a couple months. How many sources will you consult or visit? Again, this number will be determined by the impact of your item.

Be intentional about what stores and shops are good for what type of items. What stores do you usually have success with? Start there if what you’re shopping for warrants it. Consider avoiding a particular store if there is too much to choose from or dig through.

Try an opposite approach by acknowledging what you know you don’t want. Eliminate what you don’t care for, what won’t fit your design plan, and what is not within your price range.

Often it helps to take a break and return to the decision at hand in two weeks. Then it is decision time!

I cannot find what I want.

You’ve done all the research and you have a clear idea of what you want. You have a vision of what you desire your throw pillows to look like down to the color and pattern and you have a design plan around them in mind.

Once again, it will serve you well to set timelines and limits and once set, honor them.

Broaden your decor scheme. Incorporate an additional color, pattern, or wood tone allowing room for items you like, yet don’t fulfill your initial vision. This is how decorating should work most of the time. Find a way to make something you love, work.

Expand the possibilities. Identify 2 or 3 looks that are rather different from each other, yet you like just the same. Don’t back yourself into a corner to begin with.

Pass the criteria you’ve identified for your purchase onto another item. Perhaps the throw pillows don’t have to be navy and white palms and a piece of artwork with those specifications would work just as well.

Create it. Make what you cannot find, reinvent something to resemble your desired item, or commission someone to make it for you.

Approach all decor decisions this way.

Let’s be honest; there may not be an absolutely perfect choice. Ahhh! Knowing this will set you free! There are choices that are pretty darn good and often good enough is good enough. Done is better than perfect! It is for you to decide when this is the case.

At some point, you may have to say, “today we are making a decision” and do just that.

it’s storied time

Feeling Good About the Blues

Give Yourself a Dose of Vitamin Blue

I am pretty certain we’re getting to the end of winter, but it seems to be exiting rather slowly this year. The Groundhog saw his shadow AGAIN and Texas saw 80 year record low temperatures. Texans are not made for that and Minnesotans may be saying “enough is enough”.

What to do? It is fairly well-known that colors can make you feel certain emotions (color psychology). Now, it’s not fool-proof and people may have different experiences with color based on where you’re at in your life or in the world, but there really is something to this. Blue is the favorite color of people not just in the United States, but across the globe. Apparently, it is one of my favorites because my house and primary bedroom/bathroom are blue.

The color blue can bring calm and peacefulness to the mind and body. It can signal stability and safety. Using blue can bring feelings and results of productivity. It can also encourage energy and inspiration. Do we choose blue as our favorite color or does blue choose us?

That has got me thinking. There are two ways to administer your dose of vitamin blue. The first way is more common. It is no coincidence people who live in particularly gloomy parts of the world desire vacations to the beach (blue water) or the mountains (blue skies) from time to time and especially in the winter. They unknowingly are in search of that “blue feeling”. The second way is to proactively bring “blue” into your lives and spaces. Restaurants, hotels, hospitals, and other businesses use the power of “blue” in marketing and to impact their guests’ experiences.

There are a wide range of blues, from navy (my favorite) and cobalt to sky or baby and some may consider turquoise and aqua part of the blue family. Why not! Let’s bring all the blues into our lives and feel good doing it!

Doable ways to decorate with blue:
  • Throw pillows & blankets
  • Candles
  • Vases & flowers
  • Peel & stick wallpaper
  • A collection of blue books or trinkets
  • Towels
  • Frames
  • Rugs
  • Artwork or vacation photographs

It is possible that the effects you once experienced from bringing the color blue into your home may dissipate over time. Try removing your blue items, moving them to a different area of the house, or bringing in a new shade of blue. Ah, renewal!

Bonus (Who doesn’t love a bonus?):

Winter calls for you to “lighten up”

Winter tends to bring more gloomy days and those days are shorter. Here I share some ways and things to include to create light in your home when there is less of it filtering in from the outside.

  • Change to white or bright colors
  • Include metallics in decor
  • Open or push back window-coverings
  • Adjust lighting
  • Add a mirror or two
  • Display colorful artwork
  • Keep things organized and simplify
  • Clean
  • Remove dark or color-less items
  • Bring life in with flowers or plants

it’s storied time

11 inspirations for decorating with written treasures

Putting letters, cards & notes on display

These vintage valentines right here are the inspiration for this post. So many ways to display, decorate, and cherish your notes, letters, cards, postcards, envelopes for years to come.

Give a card or letter special treatment with a mat and frame. This one shared by Mustard Seed Interiors was styled to hang year-round and be such a pretty compliment to the blue and white toile wallpaper.

Put a special relationship on display in a shadowbox frame. Place notes, envelopes, flowers, and other momentos safely behind glass and display on a wall or a table.

String a collection of cards together to make a garland. This Valentine’s Day themed example by Turtle Creek Lane is so sweet! Just think off all the holidays and occasions you could commemorate in this way!

Did you know you can create custom printed fabric? Imagine a lovely handwritten note on fabric. Oh, the ways one could use the fabric to add a personal touch to your decor or give as a gift!

This is one of my favorite ideas! Here is custom wallpaper from Murals Your Way. Design your paper to be an exact copy of a cherished letter or of a salutation or signature of a loved one.

Gather mail you just don’t have the heart to throw away and display it on a beautiful cork bulletin board. Periodically, reread and smile!

Here is just one example of how to preserve the handwriting of someone special. This tea towel by Pretty Things By Jess would be such a treasure. Pick your favorite parts of that letter and have a few towels created, so you’re never without one.

Create a seasonal display with cards received over the years. This cute way Duct Tape and Denim organized Valentines could be used for Christmas or birthdays too. Use an apothecary jar or basket to make your display come together even faster!

Get creative by taking photos of your letters. Focus on a few special words and take a picture of that. Include a trinket that helps tell the story. Have the photo printed in the perfect size! The original letter can be stored within the frame for safe keeping.

Print those meaningful words on a canvas. This will be a joy for you and for any lucky person who you gift it to. This example by 24thAveDesigns is simply beautiful!

Be on the lookout for the perfect envelope to be enlarged into a stunning art piece with a story. This photo by Tria Giovan was shared in a feature by Southern Living.

All of these ideas are so fun! What will you try first?

it’s storied time

5 Ways to a Storied Holiday

What does this time of year & the holidays mean?

What are the memories, feelings, traditions?

Have each family member take a few minutes to list words.

Create chalk art with all the words.

Chalkboard Tips and Tricks here:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/281543713389391/

Gather your favorite seasonal mugs.

Ingredients: cocoa, marshmallows, candy canes, cookies, and other fun accompaniments and don’t forget the whipped cream.

Find the perfect bucket, basket, or platter to hold all the fun.

Make time for a couple “cocoa chats” with family or friends. Enjoy your favorite Christmas songs.

Style your existing decor to give it a holiday flair.

Change a frame.

Add a bow.

Hang seasonal foliage.

Write holiday sayings/lyrics on glass items with non-permanent marker.

Fill containers with holiday-themed/colored items.

Challenge yourself to “wrap” gifts in anything but traditional wrapping paper or gift bags.

Fabric Map

Clothe Napkins Decorative Tin

Dishtowel Wallpaper

Poster Stamped/Painted Craft Paper or Paper Bags

Ice lanterns are fun to make and share!

Gather vessels of various sizes.

Cranberries, pine sprigs, pinecones, mini lights, candles will make it pretty.

Hope for cold weather or a large freezer.

Here is a little help:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/184858759693138887/

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/50384089570641492/

My hope is you will find yourself slowing down, having conversations with those important to you, creating with little effort, and sharing.

it’s storied time

14 things to do for your home and your heart during quarantine and beyond

Declutter

Obvious – Donate & discard unwanted items

Not so obvious – Find one item to repurpose

Create with paint

Obvious – Buy the supplies

Not so obvious – Paint over an old canvas or use spray paint to refresh an item

Frame something

Obvious – Print a favorite photo to place in a frame.

Not so obvious – Frame a recipe, letter, or song sheet.

Plan a décor change

Obvious – Make lists, collect ideas

Not so obvious – Compose a mood board

Use your amenities

Obvious – Take a bath

Not so obvious – Create a spa experience with products, candles, and music

Make something

Obvious – Recover your pillows

Not so obvious – Use fabric from something you already have like clothing or a tablecloth

Learn

Obvious – Read a home décor magazine or watch a television show

Not so obvious – Listen to a podcast

Style outdoors

Obvious – Add an outdoor rug under your patio or front porch furniture

Not so obvious – String outdoor lights for year-round enjoyment

Rearrange

Obvious – Move your furniture around in a room

Not so obvious – Move a piece of furniture to a new room

Organize

Obvious – Store like items together.

Not so obvious – Use vessels you have like baskets, tote bags and large bowls for storage.

Incorporate nature

Obvious – Put flowers in a vase

Not so obvious – Put flowers, rocks, shells in an unlikely container like a mason jar or a coffee can

The sense of scent

Obvious – Light a candle

Not so obvious – Bake something, diffuse essential oils or bring in flowers

Paint a wall or a room

Obvious – Select greige

Not so obvious – Use color theory to make your selection based on your desired mood

Relax

Obvious – Find a quiet, comfortable spot

Not so obvious – Create a relaxation spot with intention

it’s storied time

Color: From Fear to Clear

“I just love that color green you’re wearing!” “It is my favorite color, but I don’t wear it often.” This was how the conversation started. I was at the car dealership having some recall work done. The least likely of places to ponder “color”.

The conversation with the sharp dressed man ( I love that song!) continued for a couple minutes. The inner dialogue with myself continued quite a bit longer. Nobody would know that green is my favorite color, but every time I am asked the question, without hesitation, I respond an enthusiastic “green”! It’s as if I am convincing myself. A look into my closet would reveal something different and until not that long ago, a visit to my home would do the same.

A short time before my encounter at the car dealership, I began making a semi-conscious effort to bring more color into my life. I mean, I love vibrant color! It wasn’t that long ago, I would have the best of intentions with my selections, but more often than I’d like to admit, I came home with “boring beige”. I have spent time figuring out why that is in an effort to break the habit.

There is no doubt color makes us happy. Think about it! All the fun things and places are color-FULL – toys, amusement parks, candy. Have you ever felt the smile come to your face while in a colorfully decorated building or while travelling? So, why do you suppose color goes by the wayside when we dress ourselves and our homes?

Commitment – There is a greater fear of commitment with ‘color’. What if I don’t like it? But, what if you do? You will always wonder what a more saturated hue would look like. I would encourage you to consider what it would ‘feel’ like.

TIP: To ease the fear of commitment start with movable items, small rooms, and cost-conscious purchases. Reinvent something you already have.

Attention – Whether consciously or not, some people avoid color because of what others may think. Color will bring attention to you and your home. Yep, you will get compliments. And you will like it!

TIP: Start with small doses, perhaps one vibrant color. Make a small investment in accessories to introduce color into a room or your wardrobe.

Coordination: You wonder what ‘goes’ with what. Pairing or grouping color in a room or outfit may seem overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be.

TIP: Use the color wheel to identify color pairings. Use a colorful item as a bouncing-off point and coordinate from there. More simply, trust your very own eyes!

Natalie picked out colors for my rugs that I would have never picked out myself.

Client

It became time to walk the walk. I now embrace color in my own home and when working with clients. The fear is no longer there. Instead of wondering what choosing color will say, I consider what the lack of color does. I like to share the benefits of incorporating it into your life. You may find yourself inspired, energized, relaxed, or cheerful. And if you don’t like it, it is as easy to change as ‘boring beige’.

it’s storied time

7 ways to address your decor “weak spot”

Well, first we must talk about what I mean when I say decor “weak spot”. What are those items you are always drawn to? Somehow these items make their way into your cart whether you were shopping specifically for them or not. Let’s be honest, you’re always shopping for this particular item. You can easily pass up all the linens, but those darn candles are calling your name!

I have a few decor weak spots. There is a strong attraction between me and items representing the sea. To be specific, I can walk right by the nautical and beach-kitschy, but white and blue coastal decor is just “wrapped around my little finger”. It brings me to a time and a place that I really like. I also see so much opportunity in vintage frames. I’m not sure I should tell you this, but there are very few instances where one should get rid of a frame. I have other decor items that almost always catch my attention, but these two will be in my hands before I even know it if I am not careful.

I have defined 7 plans for attacking your (and my) decor weak spots. One is bound to help, right?

Buy/Give as a Gift – You find something you just cannot exit the store without. Buy it for someone else! Whose birthday is coming up?

Group Items – If you have gone back and forth or made a snap decision that you cannot live without an item, group it with the others you already have at home. This will give a bigger design impact and be a constant reminder of exactly how many of that item you have.

One Thing In, One Thing Out – You’ve heard this many times before. It really is that simple. If you bring in a new kitchen towel, you know the ones with the fun sayings on them (I love them!), one has to go.

Rotate with the Seasons – I am not a huge fan of season decor, but I do participate to some extent. I strive for items that work for more than one season or holiday. If it makes you feel better, designate items for a certain season and only display them at that time. Don’t forget what you have packed away!

Reinvent – See that green frame at the store? Remember when I told you about my relationship with frames? Take inventory of what you have at home that with a little creativity and some craft store supplies could resemble that which you want to snatch up at the store.

Have a Plan – Do not purchase the item unless you know exactly where it will go. You could even take a lap around the store and see if you happen to forget about it.

One More Time – Ok, ok! Buy that “weak spot” item one more time. You need to be the parent in this situation. Make it a good one and then don’t look back. This approach reminds me of wedding dress shopping. Don’t go to that store or down that aisle again. No ifs, ands, or buts!

I have used each one of these 7 methods; Buy/Give as a Gift, Group Items, One Thing In/One Thing Out, Rotate with the Seasons, Reinvent, Have a Plan, and One More Time on many occasions. Put them to work for you and let me know how it turns out!

it’s storied time

Secret: This is not Frivolous

Creating a beautiful (to me) home has become so important to me, but it wasn’t always a conscious thing. In my adult life, I have lived in three homes. The first one was an existing 1970’s multi-level. I loved the handsewn curtains in the primary bedroom and the recovered cushion on the window seat. The second one was a builder standard two-story that we (my husband) did most of the finishing work on. I fondly remember the wall art we crafted from 2×4 remnants and the barstools that received regular fabric updates. Our third and current home is 100% custom and is still our dream home. Nearly each room tells a part of our story. A reclaimed barn wood wall, photography turned canvas, and shadowboxes filled with small treasures from our trips and outings. I was pulled toward these special touches because they just made me happy.

You see, I always got caught up in the idea that decorating my home was frivolous. Honestly, I still do sometimes. It has taken many years and introspective thinking for me to realize why I take and appreciate this approach. Seeking meaning and creating with my own hands seemed less superficial. It takes more thought and often leads to better satisfaction. These were among the reasons I came up with. Beauty as purpose became a conscious approach for me, our home, and always a warm conversation with others. Whether you personally design and contract items or find what speaks to you at stores, a home of intention supports in all the ways.

Home isn’t a place; it’s a feeling.

Cecelia Ahern

I discovered that making us happy is reason enough to curate a home that is beautiful to you. However, there is real scientific reasoning for what beauty among us does for us! Your home physically protects you, but less obvious, it has the ability to reduce stress and anxiety. Meals are served in your home, but similarly your home can deplete or energize you. The rooms in our homes have general purpose. Do you have a spot to read or be creative; to be fulfilled beyond “shelter”? The days are often crazy, but our homes, if fostered, help us close the door on the chaos on the other side. Our environment directly impacts our wellbeing. Our homes are ours, but do they tell our story? Think about the images, colors, and memories that bring you joy. Bring that into your home! I hope to help you do just that throughout this blog journey and on Storied social media. @astoriedhome on Instagram and Storied- A Home Concierge on Facebook.

it’s storied time