Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Permission to be imperfect

ATTENTION ALL PERFECTIONISTS!!!!!!!!!!! I know there's a lot of writing here, but please, read on. I think this info will be very beneficial.

I am a natural-born perfectionist. I really don't remember a time when I didn't want everything to be perfect. I don't remember ever not striving to make it the best it could be (it being whatever I was doing at that moment.) My parents even talk about how serious I was as a young child. I remember when my sisters and I used to put on our annual "plays" at Christmas for our family. I would always get so mad at my sisters if they forgot their lines or laughed. Geez. I really needed to chill.

I'm slowly learning that perfectionism is unrealistic and unattainable. I have realized how my perfectionism has actually turned into a hindrance in my life. I'm always waiting for the ideal situation to tackle things that need tackled. I buy things to create with, and then I wait and wait and wait until I can have uninterrupted time to create (which, by the way, rarely happens.) Or I'll wait to clean out my closets until I can afford to buy some nice baskets or containers to put things in to. When I do it, I want to do it right. So if I feel like I can't give it my all, then it remains undone. So, my perfectionism has left parts of my life and home unattended. Do you see what I'm saying?

I have come to terms with my many imperfections. It's not that I didn't believe they existed before. Boy, did I know they were there. I just chose to hide them. Well, I'm making it public. I'm not perfect!!! Yay! That's so freeing! As much as I'd like to maintain that composed, well-put-together exterior, it just isn't the real me.

Since embracing the idea that imperfection is a good thing and applying it to decorating our home, I've gotten more done than ever before. For instance, see this pillow down below. Well, I love toile, and I bought that fabric and it sat in my fabric drawer for a long time. I kept waiting to drag out my sewing machine. I kept waiting for a good time. Well, guess what? I have a dirty little secret. Oh, my, I can't believe I'm sharing this.

That's an old pillow under all that pretty toile. A pillow that I sewed a cover for six years ago. It was sitting in my house unused (I wish I had a before pic) because I didn't like the fabric anymore, but I felt too busy to sew a new one. Well, a few months ago, I got out that lovely toile fabric that I admire so much and my hot glue gun. You'll never guess what I did. I hot glued that fabric onto that pillow. Then I hot glued on that cute little gingham bow. The back's not very pretty (see below), but it's a decorative pillow, so I just situate it on the couch with its best face forward.

There are two benefits of this method of covering a pillow. First of all, it is super fast and easy. Second, hot glue is very temporary, so in a few years (or less) when I'm tired of this fabric, I can pull it off and put on a new one. All this without damaging anything. Dried hot glue picks right off, yet it holds up enough to use on something that will have minimum use. Now, I definitely would not expect this pillow to hold up if my kids were going to be beating it up and throwing it around. It does currently sit on my sofa, though, and is holding up wonderfully. I have warned the kids that they are not to play with it!

Here are two more that I covered using the complicated and time-consuming hot glue technique (hee hee):

Now these pillows make me happy. I am finally using the fabrics that make me smile, and it didn't require a lot of time. So if it makes me happy, should it matter how I did it?

I also wanted to sew runners for my bedside stands. It wasn't getting done because I haven't been motivated to sew, and sewing always seems like such a time-consuming task to me. See that runner down below? I just cut a piece of this black/ivory toile fabric with my fabric scissors, and I had myself a pretty toile runner that makes me happy. I could have put some non-fray glue on the edges, but I didn't. Definitely not perfect, but good enough for me and such an improvement over having nothing.

Then there's this lamp...

That lamp was previously an oak color. If you read this post, you know I have a little obsession with black paint. Well, I spray painted that lamp (and the matching one on the other bedside stand) matte black. Then I bought that cute little black/white gingham ribbon and embellished the lampshade.

Oh, see that little jewel in the middle. That was once a part of a very old pair of earrings my grandma gave me. The earrings busted and I couldn't wear them anymore. After they've sat in my drawer for three years, I was inspired to adorn my lampshade with them. They remind me of my grandma and they're actually being used. Why leave something you really like sitting in a dark drawer? Find a way to use it!

Oh, and the ribbon and the jewel were hot glued onto the lampshade. Again, when I bore of this look, I can just peel it all off and the lampshade will still be usable.

Here's a little lamp in my kitchen. I covered it with the ticking fabric several weeks ago. Again, this was fabric I had in my fabric drawer. I couldn't figure out how to "correctly" cover a lampshade with fabric. Finally, I decided to just "wing it." I think it looks lovely. I still need to go back and trim up the edge inside the lampshade so it looks neater. Then I added a little bird nest that the kids found outside to the inside of the jar. Cute. And it makes me smile. Oh, and there's some of that pretty red/yellow toile that I stuck in a black, distressed picture frame.

Oh, and my family has always made fun of me for this one.

Did you see those window treatments above? They are pieces of fabric that I doubled up and then used upholstery tacks to secure to the wall/trim.

Window treatments are expensive. I've bought several different treatments for various windows in our home. The problem was that I never "stayed in love" with them. Then I'd end up selling them at a garage sale for $10.00. Ouch. So, about a year ago I decided to use fabric that I liked to make a quick treatment. The fabric I buy is usually $4.00 to $6.00 per yard. When you figure I only use one to three yards for a treatment, that's much cheaper than buying window treatments in a store.

Then when I want a new look, I can take down the old fabric and put up a new one. And I can use the old fabric at a later time for something else. I guess you can say that I like to "recycle and reuse" my fabric. It works for me.

All of this may sound strange to some. I know. I had a hard time when I first started, but I've come to find how freeing it is to not care for something to be "perfect." Plus, it's a lot more economical. It also permits you to make changes when you normally wouldn't due to the cost of a change (i.e. changing window treatments, buying brand new pillows, buying new lampshades.) Let's face it. The average American cannot afford to make frequent changes in their decor. At least not without charging it. So, if you can find little ways, liking using your hot glue gun and some pretty $5.00/yard fabric, to make your home reflect you and the things you like, you should go for it!

Some time in the near future (hopefully) I plan to post on how I dress up this master bedroom window with some of that black/ivory toile fabric you saw earlier.

Oh, and in case you were wondering what's up with the pic of me way at the top. Well, my little princess did my hair, and I think it's just perfect!

See you next time!



Amanda said...

Awesome post Amber! I could have written exactly what you said about being a perfectionist. I really struggle with it and I'm really trying my hardest to "let down my hair." Amen to all that you wrote! I LOVE your toile and how you used it all. And the earing on the lamp sweet and so creative!!


Ella said...

Just great your "imperfection"!!!!