Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pretty Simple Table decor

A couple weekends ago, I was lucky enough to find myself back in Santa Barbara, California for a few glorious days of spending time with friends, visiting favorite spots and enjoying time at the beach.

One gathering with friends included a simple barbecue of the basic American fare - hamburgers and hotdogs with buns and all the fixings. There was corn-on-the-cob, melons and all sorts of typical, wonderful, simple and delicious summer barbecue food.

My friend made her outside table really special by using some small colored glass bottles which she filled with an assortment of fresh herb sprigs and a simple flower from her garden. They were so pretty! Here, take a look! (remember: you can click on them to make them HUGE for detail).

Just lovely. Have you ever done something like this? Got a link? Share it below!

Monday, February 6, 2012

nail polish post – a little asymmetry

Today I have for you, Zoya Cho and Zoya Skylar from the Zoya Spring collection "True."

I'm no fan of neutrals, but I couldn't resist the soft shimmer of Cho when paired with the more obvious, glass-flecked shimmer of Skylar. Besides, don't they look pretty together?

 (click for detail)

I was inspired by April over at Concrete and Nail Polish where she used Bevin and Farah from the same collection. Another lovely, complimentary pair in this pretty collection.

One more look at them.

I used nothing but the brushes in the bottles of Zoya Polish. What do you think? I think it put the fun in funky!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

epiphany of the week – at least one

It seems the culling continues almost 6 years after it began. During the sorting of "stuff" we've had stored in an extra bedroom at my mother-in-law's home for the past 6 years, I found many items I'd forgotten about, some things I was keeping that just don't work anymore that I could finally let go, and some I still feel the need to keep for "someday" - culling is, after all, a process. These things take time.

My life in a 10x10 storage unit
Not our stuff: Photo by Phillip Stewart

One of the boxes I was most pleased to find was filled with the books I knew I had to keep at the time I packed them away. Seems I was wrong about 95% of them and those were donated to the local library up here in the foothills of the beautiful Sierra Nevada. 

One book, one very special book, I purchased before I ever met my husband. Let's just say I bought it sometime in the 90's. This little book, and it IS little, is titled: Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much by Anne Wilson Schaef and you can find it at Amazon HERE.

I bought the book and looked at it from time to time, but never really on a daily basis. It's written with entries for each day - little meditations or things to think about before you begin your day. This year, just to do something different and maybe useful, I decided to keep it on my bedside table and begin my day by reading the day's entry. It's lead to a few brain blasters or as Oprah calls them, "Aha! moments." I just call them epiphanies.

Temple of Forgiveness
Photo by Jesse Wagstaff

Take January 27th's entry on Forgiveness. Yeah, that one. We hear so much about the F word, how important it is, why to do it, how to do it, when to do it. There are so many articles and books on the subject but I didn't get it until I read this little excerpt. I don't have the proper permission to actually print what is stated on the page, so I'll paraphrase: Sometimes we get so ashamed of the mistakes we've made in front of another person - a good friend, our significant other, a family member - instead of reflecting on it, we deflect those feelings and find fault with the other person. We begin to pick at all the things they've done wrong in front of us. All the hurt they've "caused" us and the finger pointing begins. 

At least that's what I got from the entry.

It made me think of all the times I've found fault with my husband, especially lately. I realized he is the biggest witness of every mistake I've made in the last 12 years. 12 INTIMATE YEARS!!! 

There I sat, considering that, meditating on it if you will. Ruminating. Then I got it. The tears came right behind that. They usually do. Epiphanies are like that for me. I get emotional over the time I've lost hanging on to something and at the same time, I'm so grateful to finally understand and be able to let go of that particular bone I've been holding and picking at for so very long.

I realized that I'd been holding HIM accountable for all the time I've wasted not following my own inspirations and dreams. All the time I've wasted doing everything OTHER than the things I could be doing to get me a little closer to my dream life.

angry face
I am disappoint! Photo by Graeme Maclean

I think I needed to have the 6 months away from him to pursue some of those things a bit and see that I actually can do some of them and I might even be pretty good at a few of them. But I wasn't ever going to get the message from that little passage in that tiny book without having had that time and being reconnected with him again. 

I realized that I need to tend to my own backyard, keep my stuff in order and follow my heart and dreams while still doing my part to tend to the "us" we've created. I realized that, over and over again, I've placed my dreams in the hand of someone else and thought, "here, these are my dreams, now go make them come true for me."  I'm not stupid by any means, but that sure was a stupid thing to do! 

So here I am, standing in my own forgiveness of myself. By forgiving myself all my own misgivings, it becomes so much easier to forgive others their shortcomings. Beyond that even. Who am I to forgive another? Who am I to judge them as I stand here in my own muck? 

The best forgiveness is self-forgiveness. It frees me up to be loving and accepting of all those I encounter, even if my first encounter with them is when they are making a terrible mistake or being cruel or clumsy. I'm going to do my best to walk in that grace and share it. I think that's the key. Show others the way, so-to-speak. Even that's arrogant. I want to love. That's all. When I die, I want those whose lives I have touched to say, "she was such a loving person, accepting whatever you revealed to her with grace and kindness."  Let go of the grudges I hold on myself and forgive them, one at a time.

What grudges are you holding against yourself? How can you forgive yourself and open your heart and mind to more love?  I wish this for you, I wish it for all of us.

Be my valentines
Photo by Nina Matthews Photography


Saturday, February 4, 2012

saturday set the way back machine


If you have enjoyed Aerosmith, Alice Cooper or Weird Al Yankovich, you'll definitely get a kick out of this.

Friday, February 3, 2012

simple items found useful for tiny living

Today, I'll begin a short series for Friday's featuring a few items I've found helpful for use in a tiny living space. These items are tried and true in my own small house and so I pass them on to you for your consideration.

The first item is actually something I've been using since long before I knew what tiny living was fact I discovered them when I was living large in a 3 bedroom sprawling home in which the master bedroom took up one entire third of the house! (It was pretty awesome.)  This simple item comes in a variety of shapes and sizes: I present to you, the 3M Command Adhesive Hook.

I began using the medium plastic hook at holiday decorating time. I used them to hang stockings from the mantel without damaging the wood or paint afterward. I used them to hang the wreath on the door! These little hooks came in handy! But that's all I used them for...until I started living small. 

Then, they were everywhere. I had medium hooks inside the cabinet by the front door for the flyswatter and the dog's leash.

Then I used some small hooks near the stove - up high away from flame - to hang my potholders on. It was convenient and decorative. I hung a few up inside the cabinet near my side of the bed to hold my necklaces where I could easily choose them. I also found these handy for another purpose which I'll go into a little bit later. 

I needed a place to hang longer clothing - Dresses were a bit too long for any of the closets we had, so I found a free wall that was not to exposed and hung up a large hook. It didn't last long, I went beyond it's weight the large hooks were moved to inside the bathroom cabinets where they were used to hang the hairdryer and the hair iron out of site but easily accessible. 

So I tried the jumbo hook for the dresses and it worked for a little while...but I kept getting more dresses...and it gave out with a loud CRACK! Once again forced to hold far more than it was ever intended to. Still, it held up for at least a year!  So I put two of these on the same wall and sort of "layered" the dresses over each other - items on the top hook hanging over items on the bottom hook. This worked too for a while, until it didn't.
Enter the large metal hook! It is rated to handle less weight than the plastic jumbo hook, but for me it was the clear winner. Now that we have closets that fit my dresses, I use them on the bathroom door to hang our  towels on for drying between uses. This looks much better than those plastic "over-the-door" hook solutions and although they don't provide the extra hangar space, I never used that so I don't miss it. We do still use a couple of the over-the-door hangers, more on those later too.

In the beginning of living small, we had my 17 year old son still living at home and he desperately needed some privacy. Though I couldn't offer soundproofing, I could offer some semblance of his own space. I purchased some tabbed curtains, modified them with the help of a talented seamstress friend and used these mini hooks to hang the curtains without putting any holes in any of the wood or walls. They worked perfectly and created a solution that helped make things a little less miserable for a 17 year old living in a tiny house with his parents. (Looking back, I feel really badly that we went tiny before he was on his own. Don't do this to your teenagers, just don't.)

But what do you do when you have removed the last hook and you've run out of adhesive strips to hang them again somewhere else that they're most needed? I can't tell you how long I searched for an answer to that question and just last month I discovered refills of every size at Target. My husband was amused by my excited squeals but I'm not kidding you, I refused to buy new packs of hooks every time I needed new adhesive. Now I have them and can begin to use them here in our new living space without doing any damage to walls and wood and tile.
I keep the extras handy. I store them all together in a plastic zip closing bag under the sink and pull out a hook and its matching adhesive strip when I need them. 3M is constantly adding to this versatile line of organization tools and I see they've developed an adhesive strip made for hot, wet areas like the bathroom shower!  They've created wall baskets and hooks for in the more do you have to drill through your tile into the wall to hang items in your shower. Just head down to your local store and pick up what you need. I've seen these at all the major drug store chains, some craft stores, all the hardware stores and of course the big multi department stores like Target and Walmart. I've only seen the refills at Target.

To see the variety of 3M Command items visit their website here:

I am digging the new "spring clips" which come in handy when your refrigerator is aluminum and therefore magnets won't work!

Have you used these? If so, how and did you like them? Know of something better?

Disclaimer: I have never received any samples of these to use for review. This is my honest opinion on the product(s) mentioned as I've used them.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

meeting christian kazimir – builder of tiny homes in ocean shores, washington

Back in June of 2011, my son Sam and I went to visit the properties of a builder in Ocean Shores, Washington.
Christian Kazimir is the builder of some amazing "tiny homes" on this lovely stretch of beach land and brush.

Ocean Shores, WA  Where the beach goes on forever and ever

Christian's vision of home building is to get the most spacious feeling in a small space with the least disturbance of the existing flora native to the building site. He clears only what he must for the foundation and walkways, then he makes sure the little house has all the comforts of home.

We arrived in the late morning for a tour of the current build at the time. A set of tiny Victorian style homes called Sea Bright Cottages. They were in the mid/beginning stages of building, the outer walls were completed as well as the inner framing and plumbing. The attention to details and comforts was apparent everywhere I looked.

 There were 4 homes on this plot, in various modes of construction. This is the one we toured.

 Looking thru the living area/bedroom wall into the bathroom/laundry room.

The ceiling has built in recessed lighting, saving the home owner having to use precious floor space for lighting. To the left of this photo is the top of the bathroom/laundry room wall. The space above will be left open for storage and or decorating. 

The Loft which wisely uses the space overhanging the front porch. Who doesn't love a front porch? I'd love to see this idea of the smart use of space in more builds like this, so smart!

The house next door, there were two in front, this is the rear, right side home. 

The window looking toward the beach, this is generally the bedroom/living space area, depending on how the home owner decides to layout the space. Christian offered an option to build bookshelves in the middle of the large floor space to separate bedroom/living room and add some storage. It's a cool way to separate the space and I saw it used in another development he built earlier - keep reading!

This is the view out of the window in what will become the kitchen. Coastal scrub and flowers, just natural and pretty and almost as far as the eye can see.

About the time we stopped by to visit, they were adding the special touches to the outside. The molding and special facing that gives a Victorian style home its character. Look at the special attention to the window frames. So pretty.

This is Christian Kazimir, the talented designer/builder of these beautiful little homes. Thanks again for your hospitality and the tour!

Want to see the finished homes? Visit the Facebook page here:

After we got the thorough tour of the Sea Bright Cottages, Christian walked us over to the development he'd just finished and showed us a couple spaces where he plans to build two more in this same theme, with just a tad more floor space. 

This was the entrance to one of the Avalon Cottages built nearby. These were AMAZING and my son was in love almost instantly. They have a real "beach house" vibe without the huge space to maintain. Enough space for 4 to spend a week together or 2 to live comfortably with the occasional visit from no more than 2 other people. Of course, when the weather is nice, you could have more visitors come and stay. 

Another design feature I truly loved: Although the cottages sit fairly close to each other, each porch or patio is "screened off" in a way that fits the build. It adds privacy AND beauty to the little neighborhood.
These cottages were about 600 square feet, and in a while, there will be two more, slightly larger cottages in this neighborhood with the same theme. The two newer cottages will include an addition bedroom adding a couple hundred more square feet to the build. Still a small home but oh so welcoming, don't you think?

To see more detail of the Avalon Cottages, including shots of the interior, visit the Facebook page here:

All in all, I hope Christian will continue to build his tiny homes, he has a wonderful vision and a great eye for the use of space. These are truly well built, cozy, comfortable living spaces for those who can appreciate a smaller footprint. Not to mention the ease of upkeep! You'll spend less time cleaning your space and a whole lot more time enjoying it. Who wouldn't love that?

The best part of the day for me was the drive back to my son's apartment in Seattle. My 23 year old couldn't stop raving about the Avalon Cottages and would love to own a tiny home one day. I think that's cool. 

To learn more about Christian Kazimir's designs and builds, you can find details at the following Facebook pages:
and you can watch his current project, Wildwood Crest Bungalows progress here:

Please come build some tiny homes in California Christian! Thank you so much for your hospitality. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

blog changes/refocus of purpose

So I'm revamping the blog a little.  I'm still going to feature ideas for living simply in a small space because I am passionate about keeping my footprint on this earth down to something from which it can easily recover.

But there is more to living Simple Symmetry than just the space one occupies...there is the space one is occupied BY. The space within.  Our purpose, values, ideas...and dealing with the everyday messiness of the mind.

I've been doing a ton of reading/studying/self-reflection and I need a space to write about this facet of my life along with other "simple life" types of things. They all go together in my world.

So I hope you'll all enjoy the changes, the post count should go up now too. I hope you'll weigh in with your own insights and thoughts about what I post. I'm looking forward to learning from a variety of viewpoints!
Photo by Eric Jacobs

Today's epiphany was compliments of BNet  a fantastic sight for all things motivational, business, inspiration and just good stuffs. You have to join, but it's free.  Today I read an article about multitasking and was struck by the last bullet point:

That one hit me right between the eyes!  The whole experience of reading that one bullet point began with some mental finger pointing in the direction of one of the people I deal with on a daily basis. Oh I was righteously indignant and that finger was LONG!  But then, there was this sudden turning of the finger...and I remembered that "silly" thing I learned so many years ago. The things that bug you the most about others are the things you don't like or won't acknowledge about yourself. BINGO! I am so guilty of this, no wonder it derails me when I am on the receiving end.  I'm trying to wake myself up!  

Ok, I'm awake. This week I practice giving others my full attention. This week I practice offering them my respect.