Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sprucing up the Love nest -- Day 2

Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant; also our couch is green. The beams of our house are cedars, and our rafters are firs. I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valley.  Song of Solomon 1:16-17

She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
Proverbs 31

My dressing table arrived and is all put together (picture to come)!  Somehow, the style of the table makes the rest of my old arrangement look junky by comparison.  So, I'm on the lookout for some thrift store or otherwise inexpensive shelves to hold a little bit of my stuff, plus some books.

I love the style of this room by Lucienne. Of course, I don't have twin beds, but a king sized bed.  And, it's not a guest room, the keeping of which is totally different than that of a master suite.  But, we do have some yellow in our bedroom, which I would like to play down.  We have a quilt made by my husband's mother for me with yellow, violet, and a touch of green in it; she chose those colors because she knows that I love the color yellow.  We have enjoyed the quilt for many years now and still want to keep it.  However, I'd like to de-emphasize yellow for a bit and pick up some other colors.  I think the room in the picture is a very subtle, restful take on yellow.  I don't know exactly what I'll come up with, but this gives me an image to work with.  


I talked in my last blog about how easy it is to let your own bedroom be the last place in the home that you decorate.  It's also easy to let it be the catchall for folded laundry that needs to be put away and other items.  Or, at least it is for me. So, I am being inspired today by poetic images from the Bible regarding the love between a wife and her husband and also the potential beauty of one's most intimate space.

The verse from Song of Solomon, according to various commentaries, could refer to a romantic outdoor spot, a sweet country home rather than a palace, or the freshness and vitality of the couple's physical relationship. 


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sprucing up the love nest...Day I

Carina Comfort Set -- Bed, Bath, and Beyond

Why  is it that it's so easy to neglect our bedrooms and master baths?  After all, that is either our personal intimate space or the intimate space that we share with a beloved husband.  Along with the kitchen, it forms the "nest" in our home.  We begin and end our days in our bedroom.  It's where the romance in our marriages either thrives or dies.  Peace and loveliness in this oh-so-important "nest" goes a long way to making our days sweeter.  

I have this image in my head of having a calm and gentle heart which translates into how I keep the heart of my house.  Some times, I attain something close to this goal.  At other times, I let it become the staging ground for laundry that is folded and not put away, for packages that need to go here or there, for cleaning materials that could be put out of sight, and for an array of cosmetics that could be ordered.

I'm determined this summer to beautify my love nest on a tiny budget.  Yes, I am an empty nester, so any of my young readers might be thinking, "Why does it matter at your old age if the bedroom is a romantic, soothing, relaxing place or not?"  The answer is; you're never too old to want the place you share with your husband to be inviting. :)  Also, the older you get, the better it feels to have a tidy, lovely place in which to re-charge not only your marriage, but your physical health and your spirits.

I have some chronic ailments which slow me down.  It's just when I'm at my most fatigued that I am tempted to clean the public areas of my home, the areas that visitors will see, yet skimp on my bedroom.  Ironically, it's at those times that I most desire to be able to curl up and recover in a clean and comforting environment. In view of that, I've decided to reinforce my routines for keeping the bedroom neat.

Along those lines, here are a few things I've learned in 32 years of marriage:

1)  Your definition of a hot love nest might be different from your husband's, and vice versa.   In fact, your husband may not care very much about a romantic setting as long as there's no clutter and you've got a smile on your face. Try to incorporate both his tastes and yours in your room so that the space is appealing to you both.  Update things as both of your tastes evolve over the years.  
2)  Try your hardest to maintain your room as a place for sleep, romance, and prayer.  Try to find other spaces for work, hobbies, working on your finances, TV, etc. If you live in a one bedroom apartment and must use your bedroom for many purposes, find ways to attractively hide your activities away so that your room will be a restful place.  Catch some 70's re-runs and notice how Mary Tyler More always pulled a screen down to hide her kitchen after she finished cleaning it.  She also made a ritual of pulling out her hideaway bed and neatening it every morning.   Her character was single, but it's not a bad example for married women, too.
3) You will get behind at times.  This is especially true if you are a mother with young children.  That's ok.  Just get back on track as soon as you can.  It doesn't have to be perfect.  Just be consistent in your efforts to keep things neat and sweet.
4)  Teach your children to respect your bedroom.  (And, show some respect for their personal spaces, as well).  Teach them how to knock if they need you.
5)  If you are the mother of young children, remember that the time when they will grow up and start their own adult lives is closer than you think it is.  The transition to an empty nest is much easier if you make consistent investments in your marriage.  Doing what you can when you can to keep your bedroom lovely is one way to show your husband that you love and value him.

I've been totally inspired by this blogger's creative and inexpensive bedroom makeover!  It makes me want to take a beach vacation with my dear hubby, aka the Professor.  :)

Do you have any bedroom projects going on this summer?  Do post a link and some photos! 


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Merry Rose Reads : The Charlatan's Boy by Jonathan Rogers

I received a review copy of The Charlatan's Boy by Jonathan Rogers from Blogging for Books (WaterBrook Multnomah Press).  I was intrigued by the name, the cover, and the premise, and I looked forward to reading it.  It had a charming fantasy plot hook, as well as quirky characters and an innocent tone.   I enjoyed it, but wish I could say that I enjoyed it more. 

The story centers around Grady, an orphan, and the medicine showman, Floyd, who takes him in.  As the pair travel about their country of Corenwald, Floyd exploits Grady as a way of providing for himself and for the boy.  The two use Grady's physical unattractiveness to promote him first as one of the scary swamp people, the Feechees and, later, when people don't believe in the Feechees anymore, as the ugliest boy in the world. All the while, Grady suffers from not knowing exactly who he is or where he came from.  Grady's plot arc revolves around the question of his true identity and the need to find home and acceptance. 

So far, so good.  That plot hook certainly whetted my interest.   For some reason that I can't put my finger on, I felt that the plot didn't live up to its potential.  For me, the book lagged in several places.  Also, I felt that the fictional setting pulled from too many influences.  It felt like an odd mix of Georgia (my home state), the old American west, and Cornwall in England.  I do think all of those influences could unite in a fantasy world.  In this book, however, some of the details conjured up one setting in my mind and other details, another, and I found it hard to stay oriented in the author's intended world.  For me, the setting kept getting in the way of the characters and of the plot.

I am a grandmother who still enjoys reading the best of books for children and teens.  I'm not in the target audience for the book, however.  So, just because it dragged for me doesn't mean that a young child, particularly a boy, might not think it's a thrilling read.

I've noticed that the author has written a trilogy that some reviewers seem to enjoy more than the Charlatan's Boy.  I thought enough of the Charlatan's Boy to take a chance on reading the trilogy.  I do think that the author has talent and creativity, and I can easily imagine that he either already has or will pen a treasure of a book.  For me, the Charlatan's Boy is close, but not quite it. 

Just a note:  The book does deal with questions of belonging and identity and somewhat with faith, but not in a particularly Christian framework.  It also deals with the theme of a person's value not being dependent on his outward appearance, which is an important subject in today's culture.  I think the author was trying to hint at Christian spirituality without being overt. If so, it seems to me that he overshot the mark, moving right past subtlety to hard-to-find. I don't think that means that the Charlatan's Boy isn't worth a read.  I mention this only because buyers might see the Multnomah label and might expect the book to be more evocative of Biblical themes than it is.  


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Attic Treasures and The Dressing Table

When I was a little girl playing among attic treasures (except that they were in a garage), I found a beautiful cover that had been on my mother's kidney shaped dressing table but no longer worked with her bedroom decor.  It had pale pinks in it, if I remember correctly.  I wish I knew what happened to that cover.

Mom eventually abandoned the kidney shaped dressing table in favor of a newer set up, and it, too, moved to the area of old treasures.  Eventually, it ended up in their attic and remained their until long after she died.  One year, I enjoyed "shopping" in my father's attic, which by then contained not only things he no longer used, but several items from his late sister -- who had been a good ten years older than my father.  He was delighted to have someone use these items, especially since it freed up his space.

My mother had classic tastes.  She would never, ever have described herself as glamorous, but she was very beautiful and she had that kind of classic, all-American glamor that I associate with women who came of age in the 40's.  That fit very nicely with my Dad's classic tastes.

My paternal aunt and I, on the other hand, share some random frou-frou, rococo gene.  Her frilly tastes were always neatly presented.  I lean towards SHABBY chic, despite my best efforts to do away with the shabby and leave the chic.  I often spot things I think are pretty for the home and say to myself, "Here's a new direction for you to go in."  Inevitably, the item or look I have just seen will be labeled French provincial, even though I don't always see the French connection at first. 

During my year of shopping in my dad's attic, I snatched up my mother's dressing table and sewed up a cover out of a yellow sheet, some yellow gingham, and some lace trim.  I didn't attach it correctly to the swing arm, so I eventually wore out the swing arm.  The cover is ratty after 11 or so years of use, as well.

I've ordered a new dressing table and hope to create a new little sanctuary in the corner of our master bedroom.  This time, I have chosen something decidedly English -- note the spindle legs versus curved legs.  It's still just a touch frou-frou, though, and I intended on frou-frouing it up. :)   Here's a picture of the table:


What do you think?

Do you have any suggestions for how I might decorate my new space?  I'd love to hear from you, my lovely readers.