Thursday, September 22, 2005

An interior designer...and all the other domestic things I'm not

After receiving a lot of gift cards for the wedding, plus returning a few things, Steve and I had built up a little money to spend at a whole lot of stores. I've been making a "wish list" of things I'd like to buy to spruce up our apartment (throw pillows for the futon, curtains, wall decor) and things we need to buy in light of the fact that we have guests coming soon (towels, a bathmat, bed pillows). So today I headed to Rivergate to spend all those gift cards and make our apartment feel a little more homey.

The first challenge is how to spruce things up without falling prey to the grip that lots of "stuff" can have on your heart. Neither of us wants our lives cluttered with tons of things we don't need, and I hate getting sucked into the materialism/greed trap. At the same time, I want our apartment to feel like a warm and welcoming grown-up home, not a college student's townhouse wtih a few pieces of ratty furniture and posters from Hobby Lobby.

Armed with my list, my gift cards and the "discretionary spending money" I'd saved for the last few weeks (Steve and I each get an allowance every two weeks--this helps immensely with sticking to a budget!), I headed to the mall. A few hours and several stores later, my trunk was full and my wallet was empty, and I was feeling pretty proud of myself. Nearly everything I'd bought was on sale, and I had found several of the most important things on my list. By the grace of God, I'd avoided going crazy by overspending and hadn't felt so lustful over all the "things" I wished I could buy but didn't truly need. And I had even scored a couple of "perfect! This is exactly what I'm looking for!" purchases (the perfect shade of blue for the throw pillows and a fantastic piece of art for our guest bathroom).

I ruefully reflected that you know you're old when you embark on a big shopping spree, coming out with bags from every store, and not one bag holds a single article of clothing for yourself--it's all "home decor." Anyway, I was excited to have "show and tell" for Steve with all of my great buys (even though I knew he wouldn't be nearly as excited as I was). But my mood fell when we started putting the new things in place. The bright, fun towels I thought would look great in the bathroom didn't match the shower curtain; the wonderful curtains for the bedroom didn't look so wonderful with the bedspread...

Earlier today I'd been thinking, "Hey, I can do this domestic thing!" Now as I look at the new decorations in our apartment, I feel defeated and disappointed by the things that looked so much better in the store than in our home. I feel reminded of one more domestic thing I'm no good at. This whole Suzy Homemaker thing is such a struggle for me sometimes. Words are my craft; language is my passion and my talent. Decorating and sewing and cooking (though I'm getting better at the cooking thing) are not. Who was I kidding?

6 comments:

Jules said...

Oh honey--it will come to you! Don't let it get you down. You don't need to accumulate the "homey things" all at once. Little by little you'll feel like you're making progress. I would LOVE to help you when I'm there in a week! :-) I think you are becoming a WONDERFUL Suzy Homemaker!

PS. Here's a tip: I've found that the best purchases are the ones made at garage sales, auctions and craft shows.

Jackie said...
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Jackie said...

Cheer up girl! :-) I'll NEVER be a Suzy Homemaker ... but it will not be for lack of trying (haha or for lack of experience right now!). I'm much like you ... if I can't write it, then it cannot be done! But it will come in time. I'm not so sure any one person is born to be the perfect homemaker (except maybe Martha Stewert!) .. but it comes to us eventually! And if it makes you feel any better, I'm color blind so NOTHING in my house is going to match with anything! So keep that head up girl! :-) You'll be just fine!

Anonymous said...

I bet your things go better than you think. Nothing is worse than seeing a house accessorized with matching everything that was bought right out of the store. Your new home reflects you--it is supposed to be unique. For example, something in your personality drew you to bright and fun towels, and that's what decorating is, not the need to match exactly. The way you described your shopping trip and the joy you experienced planning and choosing shows that you are on track.

kate chinlund said...

Girl, I feel the same way, except for the fact that I'm still trying to figure out what my passion is! If I could show you pictures of how far our house has come in the last 10 months, I think you'd be encouraged. It is so hard to have bare walls and few to no places to put picture frames... but it will all come with time, this I am learning!

Kathryn said...

Girl, you are so good at writing. I was telling a friend yesterday how great you are at that and how I wish I could communicate my thoughts and feelings as well as you. As far as the decor stuff, don't worry about it. Everyone thinks they can decorate and they really have "it", but really it's just everyone's own opionions. You do what you like and don't worry about anyone else. I'm sure it looks beautiful!