New Year, New Stuff? Reconfiguring the old.


Here we are, just about to start a new year, and true to form, I am thinking about new stuff. Stuff-stuff, I mean, like

house-stuff: new paint, new drapes, new furniture. I only recently realized that this is a pattern for me, at this time of year I start focusing on my house in a way I don’t during the rest of the year. I don’t know whether it’s the difference in the light from outside, or whether I just have a little more time, but I do know that I get itchy to change textures, freshen colors, spiff things up. It all feels sort of like a big puzzle, or building with blocks, when I think about it. If I move one piece from a room, where else can I make it fit? Or if I paint something this color, how is that going to affect everything around it? I love the possibilities, but I do get frustrated by it too. My poor little brain doesn’t handle all those moving parts very well.

Yesterday was a really lovely low-key day at my house. All three of us were just hanging out, loosely together, but not doing anything intense. What that really means is that though we might have been in the same room, we weren’t necessarily talking, but we were all on our devices, and would occasionally ask, “Hey, did you read…?” or “…did you hear…?” Easy. Wonderful.

I spent a huge chunk of the day on Pinterest and on lots of home-goods sites. I have Pottery Barn taste (which isn’t nearly as rich as Restoration Hardware), but a Target budget. Some will call it frugal, but I’ll tell you that I’m just plain cheap. If I can make something myself, I will. And if I can’t make it myself, I might just make fun of it so I don’t feel bad about not being able to have it. Just kidding. Usually.

I found the pillows below at Anthropologie. That little bulldog is awfully cute, but I would never shell out nearly a hundred dollars for him. If I really wanted that pillow, I would probably figure out a way to imitate the style (but not copy). As is, I probably won’t be tossing any dog pillows onto my couch…I have enough trouble keeping the real ones off.


newThese pillows Restoration Hardware pillows are gorgeous, but again, I just can’t swing the price. If you have the extra $100 to spend, by all means, go for it. I’ll probably dig out a skein of extra-fat wool and see if I can approximate that texture.

There is one other part of the “new” stuff equation that I haven’t done yet. I need to visit my favorite thrift and junk shops. I go pretty often, but I have a new list of things to look for. I probably won’t find exactly what’s on my list, but it’s really more about inspiration than about stuff, right? I just want to think on it all. Maybe I’ll make myself a mood board for all of the projects I want to do because there are definite themes bubbling up. It isn’t feasible to just throw out everything, but sometimes it seems that is the best solution.

All this talk and thought about what I’d like to be doing may well get slightly derailed by what I have to do. Our hot water heater is on borrowed time, so that has to be the first purchase. We are switching from a tank to a Rinnai tankless heater. I can’t wait to get it here. I had similar tanks in the houses I lived in in Germany, and am thrilled to be able to find one here. They are so much more efficient than tanks, and while they cost a bit more, that is offset by a lovely little tax credit equal to the difference in price.

When we go to Lowes to get the water heater, though, you can be sure I’ll stop off to pick up a pile of paint chips. And since Lowes is across the street from one of the flea markets in town, I’ll probably have to stop there. My eyes need to see some new things. Yes, I know, leave it to me to be thinking of visual comfort when there are real issues to discuss, important things, like water heaters and what kind of pie to eat for breakfast.

How are you spending your Tuesday?

  • Wendy Tuma

    Well, I don’t get the yen to rearrange my house so much, but I definitely get the Pottery Barn taste on a Target budget. Heheh. And I also understand the poor little brain scenario. I have a friend whose gifting is nesting her home; I copycat many of her ideas. I just made my daughter a pillow based on some she had seen. If I can remember to take a photo before she takes off, you might see it in an upcoming post. I’d love to come and go flea marketing with you!

    • Lori East

      Oh, Wendy, that would be a blast! I imagine we could get into all sorts of mischief.

      I would love to see the pillow! I have a bunch that I want to re-cover, but am not quite sure what direction they’re headed yet. It isn’t as if I don’t have tons of fabric, ya know?

  • Teddy Pruett

    Lori, you can get that texture for your pillows by using old sweaters from that thrift shop. Just google “old sweaters into pillows” and you’ll be enticed.

    • Lori East

      You’re right, Teddy! After I said I could knit it, I remembered a pile of old sweaters in my workroom, some of which are felted, some of which aren’t, that are awaiting their transformations. Of course, there is also.puh-lenty of yarn around here that could serve too…just depends on the color I end up wanting. You’ve gotta love all that texture, though!