Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Grand Plans: First Phase

I used to feel that a worthwhile life meant a life of deprivation. Anything enjoyable had to be bad. I felt ashamed of loving pretty things or experiencing pleasure in life. I've been learning a lot about self-nurturing lately and how I am the person most responsible for my own well-being. If I don't care for myself I won't be able to care for anyone else and more importantly, caring for myself is a way to affirm that I have value. I am important. My wellbeing matters.

I've been learning to love who I am and a natural extension of that is finding ways to practice self-care. Something as simple as getting my hair cut when I need it, going to the chiropractor when my back is sore, taking a daily shower. Getting beyond those basics, which I used to neglect frequently, I'm discovering what brings me joy. Delving into creative pursuits has become a part of life again and I've realized that one of the creative avenues I love the most is making my home and farm a place of beauty. I want our home to be a haven and somewhere that we enjoy spending time.

This Sunday we made the most of the lovely weather by spending the afternoon cleaning out the garage and cleaning up the backyard. I began thinking again about my grand plans for our backyard area, dreams of turning the space into a wild English-countryside type garden with herbs intermingled with rowdy blooms and tall grasses and luscious bushes. Greenery and growth exploding everywhere (but without weeds). Stone paths and draped branches. Very Secret Garden-y.

The problem with my dream is that I don't know a lot about ornamental plants, i.e. bushes and flowers and trees that don't produce something edible. I know a lot about edible plants, but not the ones that are there to look pretty. It's going to take a lot of research to figure out exactly how I want to plan out this magical garden retreat and I'm okay with that.

Last year we were gifted this picnic table by my parents. It's a beloved family treasure and has seen about twenty years of family love. All that use had some wear and tear so I spruced it up with fire-engine red paint to keep the wood from any further damage. It's well-worn and just perfect for our outdoor dining space of my dreams.

This is our neighbor's horse, referred to as Black Beauty (I have no idea what her real name is). She's a pretty girl and adds a nice picturesque touch to our country backyard.

Right now the hunt is on for a good lighting solution. I like the classic look of cafe lights strung over the table. There are two serious contenders for the source of these lights that I'm considering. Both have their pros and cons.

1. Target cafe lights

-- Pretty
-- Cheap
-- Friends have recommended them
-- I can return them to Target if I don't like them or if they break quickly

-- Bulbs are easily broken
-- May burn out if there are multiple strands linked together
-- Would have to run a 50 foot extension cord from the garage and that would be annoying to move every week when the lawn needs to be mowed.

2. IKEA Solvinden solar light strand

-- Solar powered, so no need for extension cord
-- Cheap

-- I'd have to wait til May to get them from Atlanta. 
-- I can't find any reviews to verify the quality of them.

Other than lights, I've been thinking of other things to add in to this dining area. I like the idea of buntings / pennants interspersed with the lights; something like this:

We've got a campfire area to spruce up as well. I'm excited about this whole project and will keep y'all updated. Any suggestions of additional decor that would help make this outdoor dining space more magical?

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