Settling In

If you’ve followed our journey from California to Oklahoma, you’ll remember how we decluttered A LOT before we moved. 
But one thing we did not anticipate was no land at all. So when I unpacked boxes filled with chicken waterers, animal traps and horse needs, I had to readjust again that we lived in town.

There is a certain mentality one must have in the country. Mud and dust are accepted as life and even seasons. An independence, yet community develops—because you do need your neighbors. In town, everyone seems busy, but I’m not sure with what.

I didn’t realize how much I watched out the windows until the boys commented about our Mormon neighbors across the street who every day at 4 back out of their driveway.
One directs as he stands in the road while the other backs out the drive way. Their driveway isn’t long, nor twisted, but this is their routine every day. 
Or another neighbor’s flag blows wildly helping me to anticipate some kind of weather coming.

My boys bought me a bird feeder. 
I watch the birds. Especially during that cold snap.
But within days hundreds of starling-like birds took over. They finished all of the seed before lunch time, every day.
I took the bird feeder down and hid it on the ground so only the little birds could find it.
I saw a squirrel digging through its contents for the black sunflower seeds he so enjoys, leaving the other seeds in piles around the feeder. Ugh!
Then I saw a mouse near the garage. Guess I will have to curb feeding the birds.

My house has a lot of windows. They allow a lot of light.
But I find my view is thwarted. There are no mountains to see. No fog settling over the valley in the distance. No soaring hawk to hear. 
When the dogs bark, it’s not so much someone who doesn’t belong on our property, just a passerby who our dogs don’t know.

Looking out the window at the narrow back yard, with its junk the puppy has strewn across, or out the front yard with its brown lawn and occasional grass tufts rising up, makes me long for the blooming lilies outside my California front door, or the three foot geraniums that grew by my fish pond, or the wild flower meadow my son had so carefully spread out my front door. What colors! 

I found my iris bulbs that one son made sure we brought.
But I had promised my husband the yard was his. I would not take over it. He had been so excited to have a yard to mow.
So I look at brown and turn my gaze back inside.

What can I do?
I’ve written before about creating clean corners for quietness.

I love my reading corner. Know the chair I told you about? I did purchase a floor lamp and a rug.
Now that reading nook is a favored place—not only during the night hours when I can’t sleep, but during the day when I just need to sit.
The cozy blanket made it perfect when I was sick and could do nothing but sit anyway.

As moms with little ones, those quiet times are precious and needed.
As moms with grown children, those quiet moments allow me to bring needs of those precious but far away before God in prayer.

I simplified my curtains—with so many windows, it would cost a fortune to cover them all. And those dirty shades had to go!
I ordered a pack of 12 twin sized white sheets. I used clip on hangers, folded over the sheet to the desired length, then used the clips to hang them. No sewing!
Still have to make some of them hang equally...
Bought, painted and cut conduit pipes for curtain rods.  (Technically, I bought and painted, son cut and hung.)
For brackets, I used "L" brackets and conduit "u" clips attached with nut and screw. All painted black.

Welding the decorative door knobs at the ends didn’t work, but another son glued them on with resin. 
Bedroom windows have a drop cloth liner for privacy.
Cheap. But Works. And I like it.
When heavier curtains were needed, I bought drop cloth—4x12 and cut them in two. 

Instead of a fortune spent on a few curtains, I have all my windows covered with clean, crisp, easy to open curtains without too much money.
(I do know you are suppose to mount your curtains as high as possible on the wall and a foot out from the width of the window—to give an appearance of big windows.
We could not!! Nothing mounts in this plaster smeared brick without leaving immense holes! So alas, the curtains are mounted within the framing of the window. But because they are white and light, the sun can still shine through them.)

I splurged on fake plants. I have never been able to keep plants alive inside the house.
Too many factors—toddlers who eat dirt, boys who play ball, why can’t I remember to water them? Plants never seemed worth it.

But while I staged our home in California, I bought several plants that made such a calming difference, that I wanted to do it again here.
I used plants for privacy in the windows. That touch of green against the crisp white curtain soothes me.
I found this unusual tree with wavy branches. I retrieved some of its broken stems and put it in a jar with lights. 

I scattered white lights over my piano.
Those little Christmas trees without ornaments that I refuse to take down add their glow. 
Those corners of light bring that bit of cheer needed during those many gloomy days of Oklahoma.

As each room was painted. (my husband paid someone, so I didn’t have to—sooo worth the money!) Each room took a different look as my colors took over the brown, dingy rooms. The soft greens of “grassland,” and “sage” soothed my spirit and brought calmness to my eyes. 
The blues in the bathroom and bedroom allowed me to rest.
I hesitated to add pictures that would clutter the walls. (Then I found the plaster walls were smeared over brick with no framing between. Makes pounding any nail in the wall impossible.)

I’ve written before about what color does for you: See Are You Seeing Black? How advertisers manipulate you with color. Red can make you hungry (notice all the hamburger places that are red). Blues and greens are calming. Yellow is energizing.
I chose colors that soothe and bring light to each room. Makes a huge difference. Doesn't make me feel like I'm in a cave. 

My one son was quick to bring his deer heads, ducks and fish to the scene.
They did add to the rustic decor.

Here's my spice rack, redone, to fit in a different kitchen

And I made a coffee corner (though my husband and I don't drink coffee, my son does) Tea condiments clutter the counter. Now they're on shelves in one place.

Remember my magnetic wall in California? It’s made from paint with iron filings that enable magnets to stick to them. I mounted all those Christmas pictures people sent to us. It brought them closer throughout the year.
Would I repeat that wall?
It did look overwhelming, and messy, and too much.
I found my answer. After making a frame for a mirror, that broke during our hurried escape from the rental, I looked at that frame for weeks, wondering why I didn’t just throw it out.
I had no place for a mirror that big now.
But, because I had spent so much money on the trim, I hated to just junk it.
(Ever spend so much money on something that you had to keep it? Ugh!)
Well, it did pay off.

I painted it with the magnetic paint and used magnetic frames to put the every-changing pictures of our family. 
I’m hoping the frames would eliminate the junky-aspect, and keep it neat.
This also helped my husband’s area---where we had a multitude of pictures hovered around his desk. Not sure how it didn’t distract him. 
Will see if this works.

What else might help you?

I repainted my husband’s dresser he’s had since he was twelve. What good solid wood! Can’t figure out the drawer pulls---a bit crooked, but that must be fixed another time. 
I cut off his desk, and made a bed table and painted it black to match the "new" dresser. I spray painted the drawer pulls. Looks completely different.

Since our closet is two feet wide (max), my husband’s dress clothes must go there.
My clothes condense into that bedside table.
I also took the extra desk drawer and put wheels on it to slide under my bed for extra storage. There’s a feeling of “AHHH” when clutter is gone.

Spring does come to Oklahoma too. The dreary looking day deceives, for the temperatures are in the 60’s. Outside pulls, puppy’s mess notwithstanding. 
Draws me to sit on our front porch. The boys moved  my swing so I can watch the cars and wait for my husband to return from work in the evening. 
I splurged and bought geraniums. I needed color and something alive. 
Maybe I can keep these indoor plants alive. How hard can it be?
Maybe I can plant my iris bulbs in a pot and they might make it. Or not.

Easter is coming.
All my boys and their families, except one, will be here. Always a hole left for that one.
Joey’s mom and brother are coming too.
It will be a full house. Over twenty.
Lots of energy.
We have the room. But not the yard.
We’re getting ready.
Gives motivation to finish projects. Find spots for everything.
Ready to enjoy the grandkids.
See the boys and their girls.

Settling in will be complete.

Displaying all 5 comments

I love your curtain ideas! xoxoxo Helen

Wow, you've been busy! But it all sounds so good and so helpful in making you comfortable in your new home. I'm also horribly busy, but trying to make room for Katrina and her family to stay with me, do hope it's not more than 2 or 3 months. The boys were here last weekend, move in this Sunday. Having them for two days certainly showed me where I need to remove things. They touch everything! I'll try to call when I can.

Very nice.

We may be moving as well ...hearing a call from the state of Texas but so far, it is only in the wind.

May God bless you and keep you in His perfect peace!

It's looking lovely! Thank you so much for your descriptiveness and pictures.

As far as the bird feeder goes, you could try putting it on a metal pole with a circular squirrel guard (mouse guard too) and adding a wire cage with holes just big enough for the smaller birds but not big enough for the starlings.

God bless you, Sonya!

I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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