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  • Writer's pictureWendy Elizabeth

Italy, or somewhere else.

I am having a Sophia Loren moment. It is 40 degrees Fahrenheit outside (4 Celsius) but I am waltzing around the house in a long skirt and a small cardigan, barefoot, pretending I am in Italy. In my head it is 1968, a more elegant time, and I am about to sit down at an old typewriter to finish my manuscript. For me, this counteracts the dull, coldness of the outside and helps me to focus. It makes me smile as I work. As I begin, I contemplate how pretending to be something we are not can transform us, in our minds, into something else. By deliberately capturing a specific notion in our head we can influence our emotions, and therefore change the way we feel. This logically (or illogically) tells me that I can do the same thing in my house. Using the transformation idea I am thinking about changing my living room. It is looking a bit stale. It has been the same way for several months now, and although I like the eclectic feel, and the colors, I think it looks a bit too composed. If we leave our homes and accessories the same way for too long it becomes like wallpaper, we don’t see what we have anymore and even the most arresting design will become boring. I have decided to decorate the room around an idea, my focus is on the end result, not the process. My first thought is that I want to defy the weather outside and make the room appear warmer, like my sunny, Italian daydream. However, my visions of sandstone steps and blue oceans are abruptly shattered by the harsh reality of at least five months of Winter. I save Italy for another day, because I know that when it is freezing cold what I really need is to feel warm and comfortable. Maybe more English cottage (or pub) than Italian villa.

As soon as I have the idea, my writing becomes distracted. I want to move the sofa and I am doing a mental inventory of all the other furniture that I have around the house. I need some unexpected pieces, maybe an old wooden bench from outside, or some bricks? Don’t ask me what I would do with the bricks, but they are lovely, hand-cast and full of character (a dear friend found them years ago, by a dumpster. We carried them away a few at a time when no-one was looking). I will find a place for the bricks. I might have to add some woollen plaid blankets somewhere. When I say “somewhere”, what I kindly mean is to cover the part of the sofa that the cat has shredded. Unfortunately, I always have to drape a blanket over that corner, but fortunately for me the sofa is quite ugly so any distraction is always a good one. In my head my cottage idea cannot have too much pattern. I want it to look ridiculously cluttered, without being messy. A place where you know you can curl up for hours; tucked away amidst the pattern and the organized chaos, sneaking little pockets of time protecting yourself from the nasty cold outside. I know this is one of my wandering-off-on-a-tangent posts, but truly, sometimes, we should let our imagination do the decorating for us. We don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to create a new look in our home. What we do need, however, is a positive thought, an inspiration or an idea. We need a direction. Instead of focusing on what we don’t have, or what we think we need, think about what we want and then figure out how to get there. If I just said that I hated my living room I would be instantly creating a dead end for myself, it is a negative thought that will put me at a standstill. But, if I think about what I want my living room to be eg. warm, cozy, cluttered (I know, go figure!) then I am putting a positive idea into my head. A positive idea that makes me think of the possibilities instead of the limitations. So, next time you want to redecorate, work backwards, think about the end result. Go barefoot if it helps….

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