3 Ways to Spruce Up Your House for Autumn

3 Ways to Spruce Up Your House for Autumn | Writing Between Pauses

Every year, I take on a few Autumn crafts. Mainly, it's just fun to make something to decorate your house with. I keep a collection of potential crafts throughout the year and then once Autumn roles around, I pick my favorites. 

This year, I'm sticking to some kid-friendly crafts so Forrest can help me with them. However, here are 3 that I'm going to take on in the evenings sans Forrest! 

1. Paper Leaf Wall Hanging

This is so cute! It uses watercolor paper (perfect for older kids to take on) and then a cutting machine to create them. However, I really think you could just use a larger leaf pattern and cut them out by hand. Click here

2. Autumn Candle DIY

This is a super easy craft! You can buy the supplies for it at the dollar store too, which is really cool, and it would make a great Thanksgiving centerpiece. Click here

3. Autumn Embroidery DIY

I'm really into embroidery lately and this craft would definitely be a little bit more of a challenge for me! It's so cute and would be perfect for the entirety of Fall and Winter. Click here

A Little Reading Nook Inspiration

If you follow me on any social media, you know that on Friday, I was hit by the flu. Well, both Forrest and I were hit by the flu. Having a toddler get so sick is bad enough. But trying to take care of him while simultaneously being taken down by a 103 degree fever is even worse. Nothing anyone can say will fully prepare you for the moment you just can't get off the couch to stop your toddler from throwing every book over the baby gate. But it happens. We've made it through the worst of it. All Forrest has left is a small cough; he's finally eating again (thank goodness!). 

I, on the other hand, can't sleep at night I cough so much and my throat hurts so bad. I have absolutely no voice (try ordering a tea at Starbucks with no voice, it's fun for everyone!). But we're making it through. 

One thing that fell by the wayside over the weekend was, obviously, my blog. I thought and thought about what I should try to post and one thing that came to mind was... reading nooks. 

I've been reading a lot since I got sick. When I wake up in the middle of the night and slather myself with Vick's VapoRub, I often read for an hour until I get sleep again. Looking at reading nooks on Pinterest is also a great way to pass those wee morning hours until everyone else wakes up. 

So here's a little fun reading nook inspiration. Just because it's fun to imagine. 

I definitely have a preferred "look" when it comes to reading nooks. This one (source) is pretty much perfect. The natural wood, tons of books, a bed. I could sleep there. Forever. It's very "cupboard under the stairs" in terms of size, but looks way cozier than Harry Potter's former bedroom. 

That being said, I'm really into these two opposing nooks: you can roll from your computer nook to your reading nook. The window seat reading nook is super popular and you can find tons of options for it on Pinterest. To tour the entire house that features these nooks, click here

Let's get back to my aesthetic, however. If I had to have the flu anywhere, I'd prefer to have it here. Because it's just... better than anywhere else. A big comfy bed and a bunch of books (plus maybe some DayQuil and a few boxes of tissues and someone to bring me tea) would be much better than chasing a toddler and falling asleep on the couch while he watches BabyFirst TV. You can check out an entire Buzzfeed article of these beauties here

I had to include one more just for practicality. When it comes to reading nooks, ones that also act as bookshelves are genius. I love this style and could for sure see myself sleeping there for several days in a row. I couldn't find an original source for this, but you can view the Pin from Pinterest here

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What is Hygge? + Inspiration

It seems like, out of no where, this thing called hygge started showing up on social media. From Twitter to Instagram to Pinterest, social media decor seems to be dominated by #hygge (hashtag-hygge, as I often say to my husband). I can't deny the allure of what appears to be a focus on warm, cozy spaces. So I thought I'd share a few bits of inspiration for hygge--as well as talking about what hygge is, practically. 

So, what is hygge? 

According to KhachiLife, hygge is:

"hard to pronounce and directly translate (try saying ‘hoo-gah,’ then Denmark-ify it). It’s also hard to describe, mainly because it’s more so a state of mind and heart and less an actual thing or action. The two closest English words that offer a good start to understanding this positive attitude are ‘warm’ and ‘cozy’."

So, that makes it... easier? 

In general, on Pinterest, it seems to center around being cozy, using lots of throw blankets, and make sure your living space is warm, inviting, and relaxing. In general, decor has recently been what I consider rather cold (the all-white walls, the stiff, retro couches, the uncomfortable dining room chairs that look pretty); hygge is totally opposite. I would say my mother's living room growing up was "hygge": it was safe, it was warm, it was perfect. Even if it wasn't in Martha Stewart Living. 

Want a little hygge inspiration? 

Here are a few lovely resources I've gathered up. 

My friend, Sian, at Rebel Angel has a great post on hygge. She covers some elements of hygge that are easy to include in your own home. 

25 Ways to Fill Your Life with Hygge. I love this list of 25 ways to add a little hygge to your home (without going totally overboard on one design concept). Most importantly, this list invites you to make hygge your own. 

A free hygge printable, from Design by Claire. I love this pretty little printable. I actually printed it out myself and put it up in my bathroom (which is teal and embroidery themed, in general!). It fits perfectly. 

12 Ways to Create the Danish Hygge Look at Home. Again, great suggestions to adding a little hygge to your life. Of course, the photography is top notch. If only my own hygge home looked that pretty all the time... I notice none of these decor blogs feature toddler-destroyed living rooms as hygge! 

From Oprah (the queen of comfy & loving bread), a few ways to embrace hygge. I do enjoy the reference to calling candles "living lights." Very hygge. 

If you want even more hygge inspiration, be sure to follow my #hygge board on Pinterest

10 Ways to Improve Your Wardrobe

"I need to do something about my wardrobe," I said. "But I don't want to spend money." 

I have said the above phrase at least 100 times in my lifetime. It seems like the constant conundrum, right? You have tons of clothes, but nothing to wear. 

I wrote this post, originally, over 5 years ago--but I think the ideas still stand! I've edited my original post, but wanted to share it again here. When it comes to improving your wardrobe, there are little things you can do to make changes and feel inspired again. Here is everything I do. 

1. Take everything out. Seriously.

Start sorting. Does it still have a tag on it? If so, when did you buy it? If it was more than six months ago, be honest with yourself: you're never going to wear it. Sorry! Then, assess the things you've worn in the last six months or so. If you haven't worn it in over a year, ask yourself if you seriously ever plan to wear it. (This doesn't include winter items, obviously. Seasons are tricky!) The things you don't think you'll ever wear, put into a pile. The things you still think you want to wear, put into another pile. Immediately put the things you don't plan on ever wearing again into a box or bag--you're donating these things, so say goodbye. 

2. Write it out.

Take out a pen and some paper and start writing a list of ways to wear your "questionable" items. By that I mean, the things you weren't sure if you would ever wear (if they still had tags) or would ever wear again (if you haven't worn them in 6+ months). If you can't think of a way to wear an item... put it in the box or bag with the things you're already donating. Use this method to work through everything in your wardrobe, from tee shirts to dresses. Eventually, you'll start moving a lot faster. 

3. Donate everything you never plan on wearing again. 

Don't mope about it. Don't hide it in a closet in the back of your house and tell yourself you might wear it someday. Don't put it in your garage and say you just want to wait until you lose weight or start a new job or win the lottery. It's just taking up space--physically and mentally. They're just clothes. 

4. Reorganize your closet. 

Think of the best way to group things in your closet. Typically, I do all dresses together, all cardigans together, etc. Each section is organized by color as well (usually in ROYGBIV style). This might not work for everyone, though! Think of a system that will work for you (items you wear together often grouped together, for example) and implement it... and then stick with it! Changing how your clothes are arranged can make you look at everything fresh as well. 

5. Organize your drawer spaces. 

I roll my scarves; fold tee shirts and tank tops into little squares and store them in rows so I can see all of them; and roll my skirts and shorts. This prevents both wrinkling and losing track of anything. Again, organize your drawers in a way that will help you stay organized! And remember, whenever you do laundry, stick with the system. Don't just start squishing things in!

6. Clean out your shoes... and clean them up. 

Remember what you did with your closet? Do the same with your shoes! And while you're at it, clean your shoes up! I'm really bad about getting my shoes muddy (I live out in the country! I can't help it), so every once and a while, give them a bath. I keep all of my shoes in a variety of bins in a closet downstairs. I recently did a clean out and narrow down my entire shoe wardrobe to under 10 pairs. 

7. Put art up in your closet: inspiration quotes, paintings, photos, goals, whatever. 

Basically, pretty up the space in a way that will inspire you. You can tape editorials from magazines to a blank wall and create a collage, or pin up quotes or images. Think of your closet as your vision board: it includes your clothes, your inspiration, and you.  

8. Use old shoeboxes (covered in wrapping paper) to store small items, like sunglasses, belts, or large costume jewelry you rarely wear. 

This is my favorite way to pretty up a space without spending any money. I have tons of Christmas and birthday wrapping paper, as well as lots of spare shoe boxes! Just wrap them up in your favorite papers and use them to store delicate items like sunglasses. Then you can stack those boxes on a shelf in your closet easier than keeping these items out in the open. 

9. Set up a row of hooks (or pushpins in an old corkboard) to hang up your favorite necklaces. 

I love being able to visualize everything -- including my favorite necklaces. I used a corkboard, but you can just set up a row of command hooks or push pins in the wall! You can also put up bracelets, rings, or whatever in plain view, so you can easily match outfits to accessories without digging through your jewelry box! 

10. Start keeping a notebook (or Word document) of outfit ideas. 

Starting a notebook to hold all of my outfit ideas was the best decision I ever made! Whenever I need a little inspiration, I just open it up and I have tons of ideas that I forgot I had. I also use it to jot down items I haven't worn in a while, so I can start visualizing ideas for them or looking through magazines for inspiration. It's a great way to stay organized and remain aware of all the pieces you own -- and all their potential!

10 Spring Decor Ideas (You Can Use Right Now)

I have never, in my life, been involved in spring cleaning. Pretty much year round, I struggle to keep up with cleaning: the idea of doing a yearly clean out is ultimately appealing to me, but logistically impossible, especially now. Especially with Forrest. Most days, I can sweep my kitchen floors, wipe down my counters and sink, and start to dust before Forrest needs me (to play with him, to feel him, to hold him, or to just pay attention to him). 

That being said, I'm making a dedicated effort to clean my house more regularly, to get rid of clutter (I proudly threw away a bunch of knick knacks I just don't need the other day), and to work on projects I've been meaning to do for ages. Example: about 2 months before Forrest was born, my mom gave me a mirror with a frame and hooks for coats for my entryway. It leaned against a wall until last weekend. That's a solid 8 months, guys! 

I've been pinning home decor ideas like a mad woman recently. I've decided to start from the front of my house and move back and up (and, yes, obviously, I need to get the faucet that flooded my entryway fixed first, oops). I'm so excited to get my house looking like a put-together house, not just a place to hold a bunch of stuff! Here are some of the things I've been pinning lately. Hopefully they inspire you to get a little work done this spring! (Oh and you can always check out what I'm pinning for home decor by following my board here.) 

1. Get Rid of Bathroom Clutter.

My bathrooms are a weak point: to me, they need to be utilitarian because they get so much use. That being said, I also always wish my bathroom would look like a spa. But with a tiny amount of storage and a baby and a husband who isn't great at being clutter free, it's a challenge. I like all these ideas for organizing your bathroom--and bonus, most of the supplies you can find at the dollar store. 

2. Create Great Canisters for Bathrooms, Kitchens, or Kids Rooms!

I have a million coffee containers and formula tubs I've been saving for months. I don't know why I save them, but I always feel guilty throwing something so useful away. Now, there are tons of tutorials for painting containers and turning them into gorgeous storage containers for around your house. 

3. Use Letters and Thrift Store Frames 

Spelling words or names, or including your initials, in home design is a simple way to add a breath of fresh air this spring! Target sells letters in both large and small sizes--as well as a variety of punctuation. I painted Danny & I's initials teal and put them in the entryway... right above that 8-month-old mirror! I also like to go to thrift stores, buy the coolest frames I can find, and spray paint them to match existing decor. 

4. Get Your Pantry Under Control

About three days before Forrest was born, my mom went to Costco for Danny and I; as a result, Danny and his brother, Nate, put away all the groceries and since then... I cannot find a damn thing in my pantry. It's been 6 months! I need to take care of it! I'm loving this pantry and how it looks. 

5. Create a Terrarium

I've always loved succulents and I've recently become mildly obsessed with cacti. Terrariums are a perfect, no-stress way to include a little greenery in your home. 

6. Make that Entryway Less Embarrassing

Obviously, this is a personal one for me. I love these ideas for improving, organizing, and decorating entryways. Just because it's a place of transition doesn't mean it doesn't deserve a little TLC. 

7. Remind Yourself: Keep It Clean 

I am of the opinion that if you focus on cleaning a little bit every day, you can avoid doing big, massive cleans every week (or, uh, every 2 weeks...). This is a do as I say, not as I do kind of belief, of course. However, I love these tips for how to just keep your house clean. If you can follow through, it makes life so much more fun! 

8. Have a Guest Room? Make It Awesome. 

I love these guest room ideas! Some of them are easier than others. If you have a guest room (ours is Forrest's room... not that he uses it), it can be fun to make these just a little more beautiful, fun, and cozy for your guests. I especially love the framed wifi password! 

9. Clean Your Home Office

Personally, I have a stack of folders, files, and papers on my desk that's been growing/accumulating since September (yep, when Forrest was born)! Someday, I'll get it all filed and organized... and when that happens, I'll use some of these tips to get my office area cleaned up and looking better! 

10. Want a Picture Collage? Use These Tips 

Getting prints of Forrest, and creating a wall collage, has been on my to do list for ages. I love these tips for organizing, great looking collages. 

Share your spring decor tips and ideas with me on Twitter here!