Thursday, June 4, 2015

Two Books that Are Rocking My World

I have been reading two great books recently.

-Sophie Hudson's Home Is Where My People Are. This book is literally lol funny. Ask Mr. Hippie. There I am, sitting in bed, guffawing. Rolling. Her list of 80s/90s clothes that she sacrificed when she married her husband and moved to a smaller closet? Hilarious! I lived the 80s/90s. I totally get the fashion concepts. I also totally cringe.

Sophie Hudson is hilarious. I heard her in person at Allume last fall. She is very down to earth, and she hits on some hard topics. There was a chapter about some close family friends whose dad was an alcoholic. There was a bit on family disfunction and hurts and brokenness. It was worth the price of the book.

"The thing about your own family's dysfunction is that typically you're so immersed in it that you don't always see it for what it is. When you are with someone else's family, though, you haven't spent a lifetime conditioning yourself to look past the unhealthier stuff."

It just reminded me that every family has it's junk. (not just the Duggars, btw) Sometimes other people's junk is easier for us to see than our own junk. But, the junk isn't the end of the story. Sophie ends the chapter with the idea of redemption. Strongholds and junk can lose their grip and even disappear. Healing can happen.

It looks like hope. It's forward progress. It's grace. It's redemption.

So, I totally didn't mean for this to take a plunge into the serious...That's what Sophie's books make you do. It tempers some serious, life changing ideas, with a good dose of humor.

Moving on to the other book...

-Design Mom: How to Live With Kids, by the Design Mom herself, Gabrielle Stanley Blair. I've been reading the Design Mom blog for about as long as I've known blogs existed for reading. So, when I heard she had a book coming out, I was pretty excited. When I heard the topic, living with kids-a room by room guide-I was even more thrilled. When one of my blogger friends reviewed it and gave it 5 stars, I ordered it!

Because one of Design Mom's weekly posts is "Living with Kids". It is tours of real parents' houses. And they are gorgeous. I read them, and I think, but how do you have all those pretty things with little kids around? How is it even worth it?

This book is the practical answer to that question. Just because you have kids doesn't mean your house has to be filled with only non breakable kid friendly stuff. It can be beautiful.

So, I am only in (almost done with) the first chapter, but this book is already rocking my world!

First thing...what does the idea of design encompass? I've always thought of design in a more of an ascetics way. Design is beauty. Design is home decorating. So, I've always thought that I'm not into design.

But, really, design is also function. It's having things work in the best way possible. You all know I'm all about that! Efficiency should be my (second) middle name!

Design is where ascetics meets function. To sum it up...

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. (William Morris, designer)

This means that as we look at the design of our houses, we should be aiming for ascetics and functionality. How will they best serve the purpose we are aiming for? How will they look the best while serving that function?

This book is the answer to those questions. It truly is a design book. It gives many different ideas on how to balance ascetics and function.

My house houses 4 kids (with all their accompanying gear. Oh the gear!). It also houses 2 adults (with all our accompanying gear-one of whom has WAY less than the other. Because she is not a packrat!). I want my home to be a haven for our family. I want my home to be pretty without being fussy. I want my home to be comfortable for guests. 

Within the past few years I have given myself the freedom to buy beautiful things for my house. I don't pay full price, but I don't settle for something I don't like either. Sometimes I buy something that has no function. It is just collecting dust. Like this blue glass jar. But, every time I see that jar, I smile. Same thing with my shower curtain, my bright flowery hand towel in the kitchen, and my new summer bedspread. I love them, and the happiness it gives me to see them around my house makes them money well spent.

Second I said, I'm only in the first chapter. But I'm already making changes. The first chapter has to do with the entry way of your home.

Now, if you have been in my house, you know that both entry ways are a design disaster. The side door opens onto a (maybe) 3x3' landing. You can go up a couple stairs to the kitchen, or down a flight to the basement. This is our main entry door. Shoes come off right when you enter. Keys, books, papers, everything, gets dumped right there. There is nothing efficient or functional or beautiful about it.

Since starting this book, I've been pondering how to make this area more functional. I'm thinking about how to maximize that cubby hole in order to have room enough for all our shoes to be placed neatly. It current system sort of works, but it is a constant source of irritation. I'm leaning towards finding either several bins that will hold shoes and other paraphernalia, or else a shoe cubby, that will hold at least 12 pairs of shoes.

Our front entry way is more functional, but it needs some work. This entry is basically a 4x4' space, hemmed in on one side by a coat closet; the other side by a wall, and the third side by the door (duh). That closet has been a catchall for a lot of things. School books, pots and pans, coats, boots, baby gear, vacuum, and bags. Basically, if I couldn't find a place for something, it tended to makes it's way there.

Well, no more.

I've cleared out everything but the boots, bags, and coats. And the vacuum. I am left with a hanging bar, and a shelf. I am going to buy some heavy duty hooks to hang my bags. I am going to buy some nice IKEA wooden hangers to hang coats. I am going to figure out how that shelf will be best utilized. It already makes me less stressed (and more zen) to get something out of that closet, or return something to it.

Third thing...this book has amazing photos. Every page has gorgeous photographs! Which is great for me, because I am a good copier. I see other people's ideas and I figure out how to implement them in my life. Photographs are great for that.

I love all the practical tips. It's everything from carpets to bins to seats. Laundry to family photo shoots to displaying kid's artwork. What will work best for your family? What will look the nicest for your family? It is so helpful!

Anyway...I think these are the longest book reviews I've ever written. I'd encourage you to do whatever you can to get yourself a copy of both. Buy them. Borrow them. Beg your library to stock them.

And have a fantastic day!