Simplicity is the Ultimate Form of Sophistication

Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication. – Leonardo da Vinci

Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication
It’s all about doing the math.

I am inspired to simplify my life. Things seem to take from my life more than they give. I am going to adopt this rule for my home:

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.
-William Morris

Things take time, and I have found that is just not the way I want to spend my time.

Plus I love small spaces like these:

simple-living-simplicity-tiny-houses

I have always loved small spaces. I remember when I was a little girl. My first home was a tiny 2 bedroom single wide mobile home. There was barely enough room to walk between the bed and the wall. After a few years, we moved from a tiny 2 bedroom single wide mobile home to a double wide. I wanted the utility room to be my room. Maybe we gravitate to what is familiar. The size was about the same. And it was the first door on the right. My parents thought it would be best to put the washer and dryer in that room. I had to take a large room. I still love small spaces, but I like them to feel big now.

Perhaps that is growth.

But the truth is I don’t even think my closet will fit into a small space not to mention everything else.

I crave the simple life, but something happens between my heart and head, and they can never seem to come to a meeting of the minds on this idea.

I am not a hoarder, but I have stuff.

Part of it has come from being in one place for too long. For the first seven years of my adult life, I lived in 10 different places and practically lived out of a suitcase. For the last 20 years I have lived in the same place. I definitely accumulated more stuff the latter way.

There is something to be said for traveling light in life, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

The other part of the problem is hanging on to the sentimental things of life after you have children. I guess it’s an effort to hang onto what you know is slipping away. Time goes by so quickly when your children are growing up. Everything becomes special.

This conflicts with the other voice in my head. I never seem to look at a large house and have the same feeling as I do when I look at a tiny house. I have seen some amazing things done with the interior of small spaces. They can actually be very beautiful…and very freeing. Plus, I care more about where I live than the size of it. If living in something smaller puts me that much closer to a location I would love, then I am all for it.

Think of the little time it would take to clean it. Who wants to spend their free time cleaning a big house?

The cost of heating and cooling it. Think of all the extra vacations we could have.

The cost of doing some really nice things to a small space would be so much less than what it would cost to do to a larger space.

Everything about it just says freedom.

So this is what I am going to do.

The Simple Living Project (30 Days at a Time)

De-cluttering and Simplifying: 5 Things a Day or 1 Bag a Week

I love the idea of being free. Less stuff. Less work. Less expenses. Less definitely seems to equal more in this case.

I am going to commit to this for 30 days. And maybe another 30 days after that. I don’t know if I will ever get down to being able to live in one of the tiny spaces I like, but I will definitely have freed up some space, time, and resources by the end of 30 days. My goal is to throw out one trash bag of stuff every week. I am going to shoot for 5 things to get rid of every day. At the end of 30 days, that will be 4 bags and 150 things lighter. If I do this for three months, I will be 12 bags and 450 things lighter.

This project can even be done for a whole year.

1 thing a day = 365 less things at the end of a year.
3 things a day = 1095 less things at the end of a year.
7 things a day = 2555 less things at the end of a year.

The great thing about this is that by doing it daily, we make it a habit.

I want to stick with this, so to keep myself accountable, I will be posting my progress on facebook!

Who’s in? Who wants to join me? You can start anytime! Just comment if you are!

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.
-Hans Hofmann

Creating a beautiful space,

~Topaz

Read about others who are fans of simple living…
Laura Catherine | Inspired Living Through Art, Healthy Eating, and Adventures

Let’s Make a New Picture Rule

picture we will regret most - quote

I have a confession. I rarely take family photos. I know. I know. I am a photographer for crying out loud. But I am no different than the typical client who hates to have their picture taken. What is the matter with us?

I hear judgement after judgement in my head. As if my own voices aren’t critical enough, I hear the voices of every critical thing anyone has ever said to me. OK, I just have to pause here and ask, “What is the matter with THEM?” And what is the matter with me that I give what they say a second thought?  I hate those voices. I don’t know. Maybe this is just me. Do you hear those voices?

We went out to celebrate my son’s birthday, actually this month we celebrated the birthdays for both of my sons.

And I have not one picture to show for it. Blah.

What am I teaching my sons? Of course, while I am not laying blame, I did TRY to get them to do some fun, photo booth style pictures over the holidays.

They. Wanted. Nothing. To. Do. With. It.

I don’t know why.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSC_4723

Oh, wait. Maybe this is why.

This was me, doing I don’t know what. Maybe trying to loosen up, have some fun, and step outside of of my comfort zone?

When you break out a camera, I am going to be honest, it can be lonely outside of your comfort zone.

Very lonely. Especially at my house.

What if we decide to change that and make that the norm?

One of the things that I remember from the memorial service for a beautiful young woman , Jen Burgess Thompson, who passed away much too soon, was their family had this rule that anytime they were all gathered together, they had to take at least one crazy picture. How amazingly cool are they!  She did this with everyone in her life, even while in the hospital because of the ovarian cancer. She had a practical photo booth going on in her bed. I love that.

Maybe it has to begin with us.

Maybe we need to be the silly friend/family member who is always getting everyone to take a silly picture. No matter how much they might complain and grumble, secretly I bet they will love it. If not today, there will be a day that they will be so glad they have that picture.

And, seriously, after a few crazy pictures, I don’t think anyone will be embarrassed by the normal ones again.

Just think of all of the wonderful memories we will make and all of the wonderful pictures we will have of those who mean the most to us. Look at all of the amazing memories and pictures that Jen’s family now have of her.

Get the picture?

The pictures that we will regret most are the ones that we do not take. -Simply Topaz
I recently met an old friend for dinner, someone who I have been friends with since I was twelve years old. We have been friends a long time. A really long time. I am almost 50 years old. You do the math. And do you know one of our biggest regrets? That we did not have pictures of us all together as our adorable, coming of age, 12 year old selves. We have our memories, but oh, how wonderful it would be to have pictures. Yet, honestly, we only have a couple of new pictures of us together. And this makes me sad. I want to celebrate my friendships with lots of fun and wonderful pictures.

It is time to get in the picture and to take more pictures. So let’s make a new picture rule. Each time we are together with our family and friends, let’s take at least one picture, a crazy picture, a normal picture…any picture. Just take a picture, a picture with our family and friends.

Creating a beautiful life,

~Topaz

Creating a Special Place

reading-nook_7019Everyone should have one. I have always wanted one. So I created it today.  A beautiful reading nook.

Sometimes we just need a space that feels good and comforts us. When all is wrong in the world, we can curl up in it and feel comforted and safe. This is that space for me.

I bought the vintage-like DVD trunk last year, one of my favorite things. It holds ALL of our DVDs. Actually, this particular one in the bedroom only has a few DVDs in it, mainly a few DVDs that are my favorites. The main one is in the living room and has all of our other DVDs in it.

I stole the lamp from another room. Don’t you just love a lamp that creates a warm feel to a space? A beautiful, espresso brown chair holds the DVD trunk and the lamp, making a beautiful and unique end table.

The chair by the window was my mom’s chair, the same chair that my brother used to sleep in when he would visit my mom. As special as the chair is, it was not my taste at all. And I should be clear. It’s a recliner. I used what I had. I do that a lot.

Well, that and throw things out.

It is two very conflicting sides that are at war.

A lot.

But none of that seemed to matter when I threw one of my most favorite and most comforting possessions that I have ever owned in my whole life over it.

The brown throw.

My only regret when I bought it is that I did not buy more, because I cannot find this exact one anywhere now. That makes me sad. Because when I love something, I have this overwhelming urge to buy LOTS of them. This throw is my safe place. It makes everything feel all better. It does. It is like it is magical.

I am especially looking forward to curling up in this chair as the weather begins to cool. I am happy just thinking about it.

Creating a beautiful life,

~Topaz

Affiliate links (for a couple of the items used):
Quickway Imports Vintage Style Leather CD Case

1,000 CD Double-sided Plastic Sleeve Black