love of object

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Taking home a new feathered friend purchased this past spring at a flea market

“Caring too much for objects can destroy you. Only—if you care for a thing enough, it takes on a life of its own, doesn’t it? And isn’t the whole point of things—beautiful things—that they connect you to some larger beauty? Those first images that crack your heart wide open and you spend the rest of your life chasing, or trying to recapture, in one way or another”  -James “Hobie” Hobart, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Anyone who knows me and by extension my family, knows our love of object. Our house is full of stuff. Artwork, furniture, knick knacks, bric-a-brac filling walls, crowding surfaces.

I like collecting things. My husband likes collecting things. My oldest daughter likes collecting things and I’m sure this desire will soon be apparent in my youngest daughter. Frequenting flea markets and antiques shops has long been a pass time in our household. Found objects on hikes have recently taken a front seat to our collection.

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An entire shelf is dedicated to these lovely sculptures. On rainy days my husband and oldest daughter sculpt silly and curious creatures out of colorful clay.

We collect but we don’t stow it away. We find one last corner on the side table to proudly display our latest find. We add another piece above the last treasure on the wall, salon-style, so that when we turn the corner to go up the stairs we can see it and enjoy it if only in the fleeting moment it takes us to go from one step to the other.

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Not a square inch of space is spared on our walls even in the corners of rooms.

My husband and I will occasionally fawn over a minimalist mid-century modern interior in some fancy design magazine. We flirt with the idea of paring down our collection but then we hit the road in search of some antique shop we haven’t frequented in a while and find one more thing to add to our home.

A cleared surface may bring order but I think living with objects around you provokes inspiration far better than an empty space. I happily look in on my daughters’ room and see walls covered, bookshelves crammed. There are never enough books to own or knick knacks to look at—I’d like to think my daughters are inspired to create, play, and imagine amongst it all.

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My youngest daughter intrigued by the many things adorning her sister’s bedroom wall.

My family and I are like magpies—always on the hunt for the next shiny object to add to our collection. Our home will never be minimalist, never sparse, never empty.

I live with a lot of stuff and I won’t soon relinquish my desire to keep it, display it, love it. There is great beauty in this world and I’d like to think my love of object puts that beauty within my grasp.

 

into the woods, a party to remember

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After months of planning and with the sun shining, we celebrated our oldest daughter’s fifth birthday last weekend.

Since moving out of New York city two years ago, our family has embraced country life with hikes and nature walks aplenty. As a result, we quickly became mushroom foraging enthusiasts. When it was time to decide upon a party theme, my daughter and I quickly agreed that a mushroom-focused woodland soirée was the only way to go.

I believe the details of this party are better consumed visually, so I have assembled a selection of photos of all the party trimmings. The whole family lent a hand in making this day special, and a big thank you to my husband for adding his creativity and talent. My expectations were exceeded.

To my darling girl, happy birthday! I hope the memories we made in planning, creating and hosting your fifth birthday party was an affair to remember.

We brought out some decor from the kids’ room including the tipi and felted wool mushroom garland to transform our backyard into a woodland wonderland. I wanted the kids to have a picnic area to eat the cake so my husband made a low-lying table out of 4×4 and salvaged wood.

I crafted mini-bird nests with moss, birds, woodland animals and mushrooms as table decor. A moss runner, wild flowers from the yard and Meri Meri Liberty tableware completed the table setting.

Our English Bulldog, Louie, waiting for our guests to arrive near the food table, naturally.

We decided to keep it simple regarding food.  We used a mushroom shaped cookie cutter to add a “fun factor” to the tea sandwiches.

Raspberries, Chocorooms and my husband’s grandmother’s recipe for homemade buttercream icing were key elements to the cake (and taste-tested approved). We added a wood grain look to one of the cakes for some woodland whimsy.

I crafted animal masks out of felt from a template I found online. My daughter eagerly wanted to make a few of her own. I think hers turned out brilliantly, see top left image of her fanciful fox.

My husband made wood cutouts of mushrooms for a party game of mushroom ring toss. Hand painting each one was a fun way for all of us, as a family, to get involved in the party planning.

The featured game of the party was a mushroom scavenger hunt. We pulled images of real mushrooms off the internet and created a checklist for the kids to carry with them around our yard on their hunt. If they found them all, they collected their prize–a wooden top in the shape of a mushroom.

Once again, my talented and creative husband made these life-like (and hard to find!) mushrooms.  He printed life size images of them, glued them to wood and cut them out with a jigsaw.

I purchased twig colored pencils and blank mini-notebooks at a craft store. I custom ordered the Field Notes rubber stamp for under ten dollars and added it to the notebooks. My daughter and I assembled the mini-corked bottles together with cotton spun mushrooms and moss, all purchased online through craft websites. Lastly, I placed everything in a muslin bag with that I inked stamped with a mushroom and tied together with another cotton spun mushroom.

It was a beautiful day for a sweet girl.