Author Archives: jennamichelleharrison

alternative christmas trees

okay. some of you might think i’m one of “those people” that cranks up my christmas music early (nope. can’t stand it for too long), starts posting pictures of my red starbucks holiday cups (well, i’m not necessarily above it), or starts posting christmas countdowns in august (listen, i barely know what year it is), but in reality, while I LOVE christmas and all it stands for and brings– i am not one who SIMPLY CANNOT WAIT TO PUT UP ALL MANNER OF CHRISTMAS DECOR. Go ahead and call me scrooge but something about storing lots of stuff and putting up knick knacks of every shape and size; whether it be snowmen, santa or snowglobes, just doesn’t get me jazzed about the christmas season. instead, i’d rather have a few season-y pieces that still get me in the holiday mood but doesn’t require lots of storage and time. Also, while we’re at it, let’s discuss something else…. the EXORBITANT PRICES OF FAKE CHRISTMAS TREES. first of all, no. and second of all, don’t talk to me about how they last for years and all that because come january 1st, when i have to pack that sucker up for days, i’m gona be mad it wasn’t a real one that i could just toss and sweep up the needles of.

so now that i have thoroughly convinced you that i am a sour scrooge, let me say this: decorating the christmas tree used to be one of my favorite pastimes. me and my three siblings all had about 200 christmas ornaments we had made over the years in various vbs-es and school projects. we all got to put all of ours up there and my mom didn’t worry too much about having a perfect tree because our handmade ornament is what made it special and meaningful. (also, real quick: saw a cheetah print themed tree and.. not okay, people) But, getting all the ornaments out and the tree put together when we only have a few days together around christmas has become a chore. and the trillions of store-bought ornaments starts to seem like money wasted and space taken up. I think recently i have tired of stuff and material items and the excess and so while i hope one day i get to have meaningful tree time with my own family, i’d much rather go easy on spending money and focus more on what the season is really about — family and friends and the grace that was born that day.

so, naturally, when i started seeing alternative christmas tree ideas, i thought “these are genius”. circle claps for the clever people that wanted to celebrate with a tree but didn’t necessarily have the funds, space, time, etc. to go traditional. i already have a fake baby tree (thus nullifying all my previous arguments) but i’m already dreaming of other ways to incorporate a tree without the real thing. let me know what you think!

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which one is your favorite? any other ideas, you better send ’em this way!

fall has fallen

okay so here in Texas, we don’t have seasons necessarily (this pin about sums it up: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/245305510924134033/) BUT we can still dream about fall decor and what ways we can incorporate fall-ish inspiration into our lives. THIS picture seriously makes me dream. The organic feel of using food as adornment is genius.

The color scheme is the other element of this image that jumps off the page. here’s the thing. i like fall, but i don’t always love the drab, dark, disposition of it. Some days I do. The simplicity and boldness of the colors is often beautiful and reminds me of the shifting seasons (or the idea of it at least). so, the balance in this picture of the colors in the corn and the blue, is just the combination that makes me long for real seasons and a cup of coffee snuggled up.

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What’s your favorite thing about fall?

 

how to get out of a rut.

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creatively, i often find myself at a place where i am bankrupt. my drive, desire and inspiration is depleted and i find myself in a place where i am questioning whether the instinctual vision i usually feel close to the surface in my mind is actually real or not.

now the root of this usually is my time with god. creatively, he is at the center and focal point of not only why i do the things i do (painting, crafting, etc.) but the also the inspiration behind them anyways. usually once i get my mind right, my creative block usually goes on at least a short hiatus.

things i tend to avoid when trying to get my groove back is – comparing myself, trying to copy something exactly, whether it be an oufit, decorations, art, etc, and most importantly; taking it slow. often i get frustrated when i don’t immediately have a great idea or i do and then i can’t execute it the way i imagined. by refusing to compare myself or my ideas to other people’s, i am more gracious to myself and allow myself time to think about what i am really hoping to accomplish in whatever venture i am trying out. the other faux pas act of copying someone exactly diminishes your abilities and limits the scope of what you are capable of creatively. I’ve found that the less i copy, the less i compare myself later. I find lots of inspiration in people, pins, and past ventures; whether by other people or my own. BUT the difference is that when i copy someone in their precise artistic choices- i have now curbed my capacities. instead, i seek inspiration in those things that excite me, move me; and then i use those feelings to create something that mimics those emotions but in my own unique way. No one really cares to or wants to see work by a person who exclusively and knowingly just copies other peoples work. It comes off shallow, fake, uninspirational. And the juxtaposition; the ‘original’ (whatever the argument of whether there is any truly original work aside), is something that impels, motivates, and leaves people better.

This is always a struggle for me, as i’m sure it is for most artists and those that would consider themselves creative (aka everyone in their own way). but the value and importance of learning to get out of a rut and continue to make the world better by being yourself and staying true to your own unique and valuable talents cannot be understated.

so, “some quote about you being born an original so don’t die a copy”. which makes me cringe. but REALLY. find who you are and what you want to tell the world and then do and be that. humbly, courageously, boldly. because the world needs you people.

(my) space jams.

okay, that title was too much. combining myspace and space jam is really a tragedy in itself. but alas, a post about spaces i’m loving:

maybe it’s my love of design, maybe i’m just judgmental, but i feel like I find myself subconsciously critiquing spaces, their design, or font choices, etc etc. I’ll choose to think this is an endearing, necessary quality that complements my natural abilities. But, because of this, it’s often hard for me to see past choices people have made creatively (or not creatively) in their house, event space, or store. I just think that the atmosphere you create is vital to the mood and feeling of a place or event and it translates to the way people feel about what is happening around them. i guess this means i would turn my nose up at the DESPICABLE mess that’s in my house right now but we won’t discuss that.

i think when i think of events, my ideal setup is open but intimate; warm but not stifling. Naturally, i’m drawn to wood, brick, natural lighting and the like. These spaces seem like canvases so that you can make the event and decor speak for itself instead of being defined by the space it’s in (although all events are defined by the space to some end). Sometimes really unique spaces can be hard to come by so when I see pictures of awesome ones it keeps my hopes alive. Second best to outdoor events to me, are these sorts of spaces. I can only hope to hold events in these spaces some day. until then, i’ll keep dreamin’.

 

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(spaces from R to L: craft studiospatina vintage rentals, 401 RozendalAndrew Richard Designs rachel craven textile studio , and unknown)

What are your favorite spaces that you’ve had or seen events held? Share please!

I’m pining over…

Current obsession: pineapples. Pining over them (not to be confused with pinNing, although I am doing that, too). Pineapples have never really caught my eye or made me stop in my tracks before. But recently, I cannot get enough! Not the actual fruit either, ESPECIALLY NOT THE CANNED KIND. Just the look of them. Prints of them, glass ones, painted ones, it’s irrelevant. The point is (get it– they’re pointy?), “I like them, I love them, I want some more of them. I try so hard, I can’t rise above it” (<– tim mcgraw anyone?).

Okay, so I’m feeling fiesty today but I really just like them and need everyone to share my love of them! I also just found out that a pineapple signifies “hospitality” and “good nature” which I would also hope are words that describe me. So I am a pineapple, you guys. I’m going to go now before things get too weird but enjoy these beautiful things

 

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What are you currently loving?

the digs

after a two-week hiatus, i am back and ready to share my digs with you! I recently moved into a duplex (ish) by myself after living with 11 different girls in 5 years. while having roommates was awesome and i got to live with some of my best friends, i was REAL ready to live by myself. to have my own space, to decorate however i wanted, and to have a place that really felt like me. enter apartment number three; filled with natural light, short on space and easy on the eyes. a new build with character is hard to find and i feel like they kinda nailed it. get ready for picture overload + enjoy!

(and note: yes, i do really enjoy books + america. if only you could see my shoe collection…)

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WHEW. if you survived– congratulations. For being such a small place, i managed to get ample pictures, huh? Here’s some Q + A for you lovelies.

what first drew you to the place?

honestly, natural light was on my list of “musts”. with a small budget and limited options in the rolling metropolis of bryan + college station, texas, searching for a one-bedroom place with the things i wanted was really hard. it was discouraging because i wanted a space to relax and that i felt happy every day waking up in. this place is that for me. ideally, i wanted an older place that had lots of character but this was a good balance. i feel really lucky.

what is at the top of your home to-do list?

i just recently got my green chair (thrifting. ethan allen, wutup) so finally actually feel like i can have friends over to hang. but i really want/need a rug + possibly coffee table and FOR THE LOVE OF PETE- kitchen chairs. i don’t have space for an actual table but there is bar space where i can put two chairs. i’ve been searching for the perfect ones to do a lil paint project on. eating on sofa chairs is getting old fast. most of the other areas i’m content with for now but those three things are a work in progress!

what’s your style?

I used to stress myself out about matching everything and having a certain “style” but mixing and matching is my favorite and makes me feel most at home. I hated the feeling of having a color scheme i felt limited in so i kind of threw out the formalities and decided to just do what i like. i highly recommend it.

ALSO THIS QUOTE IS TRUE: “Have nothing in your home that you don’t know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” William Morris

(aka tell that hoard BYE. you don’t need every tshirt you own from 1999, promise.)

where do you shop most for home decor?

jenna is my name and thrifting is my game. partly cause i’m cheap, partly cause i love the hunt, partly cause i don’t have tons of dough to be spending on brand new stuff anyways, but it has served me well so far. i’d say about 90% of my decor and furniture is thrifted and its fun having stuff that you can’t just find anywhere else. sometimes this makes things more frustrating when trying to find certain things (ie: rugs, kitchen chairs, coffee table, ANYTHING PARTICULAR REALLY), but i prefer it.

alright your turn, what are you most looking forward to doing or updating in your home?

on why simplicity is often best.

whether it’s a token white t-shirt, classic chocolate cake, or a single flower in a vase; sometimes it’s the simple things that can speak the loudest.

when planning a party, an outfit, a vacation, or even, heck, your life. I think often we get lost in the hundreds of thousands of options. Lots of great options. Lots of unique and fun and crazy and loud options. This gives endless choices that can often lead to being overwhelmed (Side note, name this movie: “I know you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?” please say you’ve seen this).

Sometimes the answer to your problem is not MORE solutions but less. I think in the world of Pinterest, Sam’s club, and excess, it’s easy to feel like more is more. I think as a creative, it is often making the most of out the least. And when done right, simple details can speak volumes about a person, an event; it can tell a story that might have been lost in the clutter of all the surplus. So I’m not saying you have to only buy one snack– in fact your guests might resent you for that. But before you go all crazy adding toothpick DIY sparkly rainbow poof hearts (or something like that) to your party, think about what is truly meaningful and what you want to express in that particular arena of your life and then execute it a simple way that still feels “you”. I’ve been finding that living minimally (comparatively speaking of course) has challenged me to use what I have, where I am and make it represent who I am and what I want to tell the world.

Here’s some inspiration in simple images that I found compelling:

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(photos via: Good Grief, Miss Agnes!, unknown, Occasions Online, and Design Sponge)

 

And maybe your math teacher was right (and it pains me to say it but), just KISS: Keep it simple, stupid.