• JUST Breathe


Vanessa Middlewick

So, about that obsession I mentioned in my previous piece. I need things to be tidy and organised, and when I say NEED it’s a REAL NEEEEEEEED. With organization comes my sanity, without it I am an anxious basket case … best I read the anxiety piece from the previous issue right?

Here’s the glitch though, I am a mom of twins aged twelve and our third child is nine. The minute these three precious souls entered my reality, organisation was instantaneously snatched from my life, and well...let's just say I'm still trying to come to grips with it all.  My years growing up were far from the carefree life my three have grown accustomed to. The constant challenge in our home is trying to raise responsible and organised little humans. We seem to be getting somewhere with the responsibility, thanks to COVID chore lists we've seem to have maintained and (maybe a bit of bribery if I'm honest :) ), but organisation in our home…. this is a constant work in progress. I, on the other hand was a kid who grew up in a home where organisation was institutional. It was ingrained in me - willingly or not! As a result, my play time wasn’t the real kind of kids play. Playing in my favourite spot - the “Wendy House” was a “game” of 'let’s tidy the Wendy House and make it picture perfect'. There was no cooking with mud, or brewing stews with leaves. Once cleaned that was it. “Game” over. I’d spend hours dusting each miniature tea cup, rearranging the doll's cots, and when my brother entered with muddy feet I would lose the plot. What a wasted opportunity for childlike fantasy play??  So what am I onto here? In my more “mature” years, I’d like to think I have found a healthy alternative, an organised yet  balanced adult “play” time. My once bizarre desire to take out my Labelling Machine no longer beckons me as much as it used to. Yes, I still do get a kick from an organised pantry cupboard, arranged according to food groups (and labelled of course)…. but “Styled Organisation” is now my adult fix.   By this I mean the art of Home Décor Styling - creating pockets of “still life photography” throughout your home. I get to organise and be creative. It’s all about the right combination of elements, while creating different heights to draw the eye in. By elements I mean glass, crockery, wood, books, plants, photos and décor objects. This is not a set-in-stone combination, nor does one need all of these, but the trick is to create a balance of textures at different heights.  One can create an intricate story just by simply organising… I mean styling ;) various elements together on a coffee table, shelf, bookcase or any area of the home that seems vacant and needs to tell a story.

A soothing candle, stack of travel magazines, and a vase of giant cinnamon sticks immediately takes a visitor one off to a whimsical place far from reality. Coloured glass beads coiled up inside a glass dome make for some beautiful light when the sun shines in, and I love to elevate these on top of a cake stand. Yes, a cake stand. Glass or metal, whichever does it for you. Tie this in with a framed family pic and a wooden bowl of seed pods and you have three beautiful elements in one. Glass, metal, and a natural element. 

The trick I feel, is to never do too much of one item. If you’re into copper for example, make sure you use this warm tone properly to stand out, but don't overdo it. Fewer copper items in the home will fabricate a perfect amount of 'warm glow'. It is key you use this colour only when one’s eye catches sight of every third or fourth décor piece though.

How do you do this?

By combining a few different elements to compliment the copper colour. A copper vase filled with porcupine quills, placed on a raised stack of books within a cane basket is styling genius as far as I’m concerned. 

My love affair with stark black - thanks to my spray paint obsession, is still holding its ground throughout my home. Black is a beautiful, bold (and brave) colour, and is beautifully paired with wood and soft greenery. It doesn’t have to be a cold hue and can create a clean, fresh look.

Plants are essentials when styling your home. I’m no Mrs Green Fingers, so succulents, fig plants and delicious monsters are both no fuss, home décor wonders. Place them in a woven basket or an aged pot for a perfect decor duo. An interesting way to display an aloe is by dusting off the soil on its roots and exposing it in a glass bowl with just enough water for it to hydrate.

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