Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Tropical Vegan Home: Happiness = Colour!

I've read a few blog posts recently about happiness -- The Little One is back(!!) with a post about her happiness project,  and Wayfaring Chocolatarian Hannah discusses various forms of happiness, such as goblins and cake. These posts are a good reminder to me that I need to be happy!  I have been, for the past few years, sometimes obnoxiously optimistic and upbeat and happy, but succumbed a bit to the drudgery of my first few months of actual work.  But I'm determined to be a happy person again, and one of the things that makes me happy is bright colours.

A little while ago, I was starting to feel pretty down on our current rental unit.  Probably because we've lived here for 4 full years now, and it was just starting to feel a bit samey-samey.  And because we rent.  This means that we can't paint walls, install shelves, and our real estate even gets funny about hooks getting put into the walls.  In addition to the limitations to personalisation, we have never been able to sign a lease for longer than 12 months, so there is always a chance that we'll be moving out "soon".  As a result of that, we have resisted accumulating much furniture, because we (well, Andy) don't want to have to move much stuff.  So anyways, the off-white walls, tiles, and ceiling started to feel oppressive and I had to do something about it!

Also, our bookshelf was a bit overflowing.  I had several trips of bringing anything remotely work-related to my shelves at uni, but we still had stacks of books on top.

So, when I saw a freecycle ad for a bookshelf, I said OMGYESPLZ!  I was a little bit meh to find that it was white, but thought that would be easy to overcome.  Originally intended for the spare room, this shelf ended up finding a home in the kitchen, instead, housing some cookbooks, and Nacho's food space.

And after a few weeks, some painting of previously-white goods, and some getting my craft on, these shelves provided an opportunity for some colour.

Only, this didn't solve the problem of our over-stuffed bookshelf, because none of those stacked on top made it to this one.  But a few weeks later someone was selling two small shelves for only $10 (not each! for the pair!), so we finally got some more breathing room for our books.

Another easy-pants way of splashing some brightly-coloured cheer around involved yarn, and crocheting, which I enjoy - so this project had a double-happiness factor.  I covered over our white throw-pillow with a straight-forward granny square.

It's double-sided, so we can swap it around depending on our mood.

And we pushed some thumb-tacks into previously-existing holes to spead out our collection of trinkets -- a Welsh love spoon, from my trip to Conwy in 2009, a cowry-shell turtle that a friend brought back from Micronesia, and our wedding hand-fasting cords, made of PNG shell money.

So overall, I'm feeling happier with the space.  And less antsy to change things and move to a house (though still a little antsy for those things).

The irony is that the lease we've just signed is only for 6 months -- at our own request -- so we currently have the least certainty since moving in back in 2007!


the little one said...

I love that my post got you thinking! Great work on spicing things up! Funny that you've been thinking about a home. We've justed started maybe thinking of buying because exactly the issue of not being able to change our rental. We're looking at two places tomorrow. We'll see. A bit scary!

Hannah said...

I'm utterly chuffed that my post got you to thinking about grabbing hold of happiness and instilling it into your life more consciously :) I'm hopeless at decorating or making my surroundings pretty, but luckily my housemate is skilled in this area. Although I sometimes wouldn't mind *not* coming home every two weeks to everything being completely rearranged! :P

I love how you gave the bookcase a splash of colour, and how you've decorated with items that really mean something to you and Andy. xo

Kari said...

Yay for books that are able to breathe :) I have a problem with that too, as no sooner do I create bookshelf space I seem to fill it up again.

I do enjoy rearranging things at home and having things set up so I like the way they look. Your post highlights how it doesn't have to be re-painting and huge changes to make a difference!

Millie said...


as a free lance interior decorator for years I think I can share a quick tip to spruce up the unit you live in without painting. Take a fabric of your choice and soak it in lots starch and water then wallpaper one wall or all the walls with it. Let the wall dry like wallpaper before putting up any frames on it. It is beautiful.and whenever you plan to move out just soak the wall down with water in a spray bottle, once its wet pull it off. Then wash the wall down. The wall comes out just the same as it was when you moved in. I have done this in many of my rental units. Its modern and it makes me happy to see a wall with color and design. I hope this helps to make you happy.

ahintonx7 said...

Interior and the decor of the house is beautiful.

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Vaala ◪ said...

Ooo, bookshelves and colour...what's not to love?! But seriously, I totally understand how your living space has such an impact on your mood and I'm definitely a colour person. We're trying to make sure we create our own home within our flat even though it's not a permanent place. So glad there are lots of places to put all the mountains of books! But I need to get on to hanging some things up. This post is definitely reminding me...

Lauren said...

love all the organization you've been doing! what a deal for only $10 for those two bookshelves! i need to start looking for things like that..
everything looks so neat and cute! :)