Friday, January 28, 2011

Would You Dare?

I know you all are probably getting a little tired of flower pictures, so do buds of flowers count?  Sorry folks, but it's all I've got at the moment.  It's snowing and gray outside, dreary with a capital 'D'!

I shouldn't really complain though, we were hardly touched by the last big snowstorm that hit the DC metro area.  Our daughter on the other hand was not so lucky.  She had training about 12 miles from where she lives and there was no metro service close by, so she opted to drive herself.  The instructor didn't let them out until 2 1/2 hours past when the federal government was let go and if you saw the news then you know what a nightmare it was for most commuters.  It took her a total of 7 1/2 hours to get home...can you imagine?!

We tried to help her with frequent updates on areas that were particularly bad (we were tracking everything via the internet) but there was little we could do, not a fun position for a parent to be in I have to tell you.  We were also trying to see if we could find her a hotel, but a million other drivers had thought of that already so everything was booked.

Four of those 7 1/2 hours were spent going only 1 mile!!!  I know she enjoys aspects of her job, but it would make me so happy to see her out of the DC area.  It's not a fun place to live in my opinion.  Even on a good day the traffic is insane, and there has to be more to life than working and commuting right?!

Even though her commute was horrendous and extremely scary with cars skidding all around her, including her own, there were others that didn't get home until the following day!  Can you imagine having picked up your infant from daycare and then being stranded on an icy highway for 13, 15, 18 hours?!  Mr. Tide and I are just very thankful she got home safely!

Ok, now back to me and my dilemma.  I got up at 6 am this morning and wandered around my house after feeding and taking the pups out.  I've been doing this a lot lately, wandering and looking and thinking about what I want to change.  I even emailed my friend Connie and asked her to talk me off of the ledge this morning as I debated what had to go and what items could stay in this house of ours.

Our email exchange went like this:

Me:   Good morning!  Ok, talk me off of the ledge my friend!!  I'm so ready to sell everything I own and start from scratch.  Aside from my kitchen I'm not loving much of anything about my house right now.  Ok, I do still love my dough box and my pie safe and a few other things, but I'm ready for a change!  Is it wrong to want to get rid of my grandparent's dining room furniture?!

To which she calmly replied...

HerIt’s late January, and everyone gets like this at this time of year. Remember what I said about breathing. Breathe in, breathe out, repeat as necessary.  No, it’s not at all wrong to get rid of your grandparent's dining room furniture. If there’s something else you want instead, go for it. If it’s just because you want a change, store the furniture in case you change your mind.

Do you all think that's the case?  That we are we all feeling like this as we are trapped in our homes, some of us avoiding work, so we have nothing better to do than to nitpick every little thing?  The color of the walls, the fabric on the sofa, the finish on a particular piece of furniture?  I'm judging every last thing, mentally editing what I want and don't want and then already putting something else in it's place.

I agree that it does have something to do with this time of year and our longing for renewal.  Needing fresh new grass, leaves on trees, flowers, and the ability to throw open the windows and not feel so doggone stifled inside 4 walls, but I feel like this year there is something else.

I feel like I'm hanging on to things that I don't love because I feel like I "should."  It's a self imposed thing and one that doesn't make sense, but it's still there and it's nagging big time for me this year.  Things like the beautiful mahogany Duncan Phyfe dining room set that once belonged to my grandparents.  It feels heavy to me, too formal, and not who I am anymore, but do I dare let it go?  Do I dare move on and let a piece of my family fly out the door in lieu of what "I" want?!

Oh this is a weighty question isn't it?  What would my grandmother say if she were still here, would she give me a disapproving look, or smile and say "go for it honey!"  How do you decide what to keep, what has served you well, and what you can now part with?  I was happy, thrilled even to have that furniture when my parent's gave it to me, but now...

Formal was great when I had a formal dining room and a formal living room, but I'm not living a life that includes formal anymore, so how do I balance the love of something that once belonged to someone I loved, with the desire to create a home I want to live in...see the dilemma? 

I know some of you will say, well hang on to it and pass it down, but what if you already know your children don't want to live that formal life either, so these pieces won't fit into their way of living either?  Oh my, I think I need another cup of tea and boy do I wish I had a car that could drive in the snow (Mr. Tide and my son have the only snow worthy cars at the moment) because I would so go out to lunch, hit a few stores for inspiration, and talk myself out of all of this for the umpteenth time!
I can't pay you for your advice or psychological services, but I would sure love to hear your opinion on this!  Connie may have talked me off of the ledge, but I didn't back up too far my friends! ;-)


  1. Kat, Kat, Kat. You really do have it bad, don't you, dear. Don't make any rash decisions, because I have a feeling that's where you're heading right now. How about new slipcovered dining chairs with Grandma's table and china cabinet? Store the buffet that's behind the sofa, and get a fabulous beachy console table? There are many different levels of change, and the baby doesn't necessarily HAVE to be thrown out with the proverbial bathwater.

  2. P.S. and I will DEFINITELY have to watch what I send you, in case you decide to publish it. ((love you :)

  3. Well...that's quite a lot to take in isn't it? All I can tell you is how I deal with these same type of "cravings". Yes I call them cravings! LOL
    First of all ask yourself you love it? Then, could you love it if you changed it? Lastly if the answer is no to both it goes. I believe we have to make things our own, weather passed down or not. I painted an antique wardrobe because it was formal, and I don't live formal either. Everyone said I was nuts to do it. That I ruined it. But now it is all chippy, and banged up, but I love it and it suits me. That is what matters most I think. And everyone agrees now.
    Is it crazy to want to toss your whole house and remake it into something you LOVE? Heck NO! But you would do yourself a great injustice if you didn't first think, what is it I don't like and how can I make what I already have more me? Sometimes you can't, but when you can??? Well that my friend is pure magic!

  4. I would say that part of it really is the whole, "late January, I've been cooped up in this house and need a change," thing, but I also think that it is very reasonable for you to really want to change things.

    As for getting rid of family pieces, if they aren't working for you, there probably is someone that they would be perfect for. Don't feel bad about giving something away so it can be found by someone else. And you can always do it in steps. If you find something that you like or would work for you better, change it out, bit by bit.

    Or, you could do some revamping to the pieces you have to make them more "you." Paint, new hardware or rearranging are very inexpensive ways to get a little change. You could even try things in a totally different area of the house. Maybe something from your formal dining room could be painted and used in a bedroom or office.

    Sometimes little changes like that can be enough.

  5. Kat, I'm not the one to ask since I change things as soon as I feel the need. ha ha. Go get some Mod Podge and play with it. The smell may get you high!

  6. Kat, the question is "How long have you had these feelings?" If its only recently and part of the January blues, don't do it as you may feel like you shouldn't have later. If it's been awhile coming, only you and Mr. Tide should make that call so you don't regret whateve it is you decide on later.

  7. Dear girl, I think you have cabin fever! This is the perfect time to exhaust yourself moving heavy furniture.

    If you know you are over having a formal dining room (few people go back to one!), either sell or store your grandmother's set, but get it out of the house so you have space for possibilities. I don't see much point in being sentimental about Things. Heartless but convenient.

  8. Forgot to say what gorgeous fat...peonies?

  9. The buds are gorgeous. I like the advice so far. If you are worried about the feeling passing, and regretting getting rid of them, is there a basement or garage that has a bit of room? That would be handy. But put a time limit on keeping it and not using it, especially if the kids aren't interested in it. Grandma may even have had some of those feelings about things she inherited. Better to live without a piece of furniture than to live with it and really not like it. The love it or lose it idea.
    Oh, and why oh why do instructors and workshop leaders think they are soooo much more important than say, someone's safety? Our school board had a workshop last winter, worst day of the winter, cars sliding into ditches, two feet of snow the plows couldn't keep up with, and the Board would not cancel the workshop. I started out and went home but colleagues risked so much to get there and the workshop went on with 1/10th of the staff as the roads continued to worsen. Crazy. Glad your daughter had you guys to guide her home.

  10. Kat,
    I don't think it's uncommon to feel this way after the holidays and before spring arrives.

    However, I think the answer lays in your talent at the end of your lense. Take photos of everthing, even during a meal etc...if possible for memory or sentimental reasons. But, in the end their just things and I think it's so important to live the life you feel calling out to you and that may just require a total change.

  11. I'm not tired of seeing Flowers at all - in fact i will peek around your blog to see more! Please link up to Cottage Flora Thursdays on my blog - i am looking for other gardeners to join in & you seem to be one that enjoys flowers! xoox

  12. Ah, you have that wretched cabin fever, too! It makes us want to change things, for every reason you wrote. Thank goodness you have a good friend who "talked you off the ledge!" Another blogger wrote a post about looking at all of her things with a new attitude instead of making 'keep or not' decisions. I liked that. I know you will make the right choice with the dining set.

    I'm so sorry about your daughter. I have been stuck in horrendous traffic due to snow, but never that long. Turns you into a patient driver.

    Happy Weekend, Kat!


  13. ps - i know what you are chatting about when it comes to feeling itchy to do something different! i've been in that mode too since i can't garden - i would even welcome weeding about i'm going to take around your home too & see if i can help. Keeping what you have & adding to it is a great way to go. although many people suggested to me to paint my den & den furniture - but i can't bring myself to take that kind of leap! Right now - i've got a few goodies i am waiting anxiously to come in the mail to decorate for Valentines Day! xoxo

  14. Hi Kat....spring is just around the corner and you will get the bugs out way before then.

    xo kelley

    ps I think you deserve an award! I gave you one, ; 0 )

  15. I have a house full of family furniture. My kids don't want it and I feel as if I have to keep it. A few things are visible, many are stored in the basement. I just can't get rid of things that have been in the family since my grandparent's parents and now I have so many of my mom's things. I have no idea what we will do when we move in just a few years to someplace where the sun shines more often than here!!

  16. Hi Kat,
    I am dropping by this evening to say hello and I see that you are struggling with what I call, the winter blues and the pent-up-in-the-house syndrome!

    I have been reading the advice of the other commentors and I agree with them all. I say wait until a time when you aren't feeling so torn as to what to do. You will eventually make the right decision and it won't be hard. Just give it time.

    The Sun will come up tomorrow!


  17. I agree with the winter blues as well, we all need a change or at least some sun would be nice! I love the flowers pictures and will never tire of them! I hope you get to get out this weekend and maybe find some inspiration, January is almost done, each day we are closer and closer, at least that is what I tell myself as I take another drink! :) Hopefully my email made sense, this lack of sun is depleting my brain cells! :)

  18. No one ever gets tired of pictures of gorgeous flowers ---but your "buds" are so colorful and interesting--beautiful. Start getting your camera "fired up"--Spring is just around the corner. Mickie :)

  19. Is there anyone else in your extended family that would appreciate having it? If you don't want to use it, I would store it for a while and buy what you want! Your photos are stunning, Kat!

  20. Oh dear Kat, I can see you are struggling with this, I admit I would be too. But! First I would try to repurpose and use the table in another part of the house. Like up against a wall as maybe a cool library table with end lamps on each side and stacks of books and maybe some cool found objects, or a big iron urn full of flowers. The chairs, I don't know, but everyone could use extra chairs. Oh, I'm no help, I know I would even struggle about painting them too. When we made the move to here from the Midwest, our sweet daughters took a few family heirlooms off our hands. We were lucky! Best of luck Kat. xo ~Lili

  21. LOVE LOVE LOVE the bud pictures. There's so much promise and beauty in those beautiful photos.

    I think it is the weather and time of year. I know I feel that way too right now and we've only been in this house for 5 months. I say hang in there and make some small changes. As far as the table, maybe first try to change the chairs out for a more informal style and see how you feel. And personally, I would wait for another month or two before I would get rid of it...once you can open windows and get some better perspective. :)

  22. Kat - it sounds to me like you are tormenting yourself. We live only once, and spend so much time in our living spaces. I say keep a piece that reminds you of your grandmother, you can even refinish it to go with your newer look and lifestyle...and sell or hand down or donate the rest. Your grandmother would not want you to keep furniture out of guilt if it no longer fits your lifestyle or your taste.

    We don't live a formal lifestyle either and so all my furniture reflects that. We sold what no longer "worked". I do have a few pieces from my grandmother, but only kept what means the most.

  23. Stunning images, wow! I'm such a casual girl, I tend to hang on to very few formal things that were handed down to me... only the ones I truly love.

  24. I am also holding on to a few
    of those things. Paintings that
    my grandma did towards the end
    of her life that really weren't
    the same caliber as the stuff she
    did earlier in her life come to
    mind. I try to think of myself,
    with a granddaughter, with something
    that used to be mine or something
    that I'd created; would I think less
    of her if she passed it on to someone
    who might appreciate it more? Would
    I want her to feel happy and free
    and not weighed down by things that
    she didn't love? No to the first
    question and yes to the second. That's
    how grandma love is : ) At least,
    that is how it should be.
    Happy Saturday,
    xx Suzanne

  25. That's a tough one. I would definitely do things slowly in case you change your mind - or your kids do. They are still young enough that you don't yet know if they will move into a big house with a formal dining room one day. You could always move some pieces out, adding the more rustic casual pieces you want, and have a mix.

  26. Kat, I love the new header (is that what you call is)! Makes Spring feel so close! Have a great weekend! Sharon

  27. Kat, this feeling to shall pass! Don't make any rash decisions. Wait until Spring arrives and you get more sun and outdoor air!! I think this time of year we all would like to start over with our furniture, accessories, etc. in the house. We are inside so much this time of year that we get tired of our surroundings. Take some time to think about the changes and then decide. Atleast that is what I would do!

  28. We have been hit hard with snow this winter, too, in NYC. I am so tired of it. Luckily my husband and daughter can take mass transit to work --I'd be so worried if they had to drive, so I can appreciate your worries for your daughter.

    I've had the same furniture my whole marriage...36 years! I bought Ethan Allen so it was a small fortune at the time. It is now out of date but I feel attached to it, like an old friend. If I ever move I will sell it all and start fresh. Perhaps you can put your grandparent's dining room in storage for a time until you can make a decision to sell it?

  29. Getting rid of pieces that have emotional value can be so difficult. Last year my family struggled with the same thing. We had a crib that all four of my siblings and I had used that was made by my grandpa, who passed away earlier that year. None of us wanted it, and my parents no longer wanted to store it, but we felt guilty about getting rid of it. A family friend suggested that we use it to create something new. He took the crib and used the wood to create two beautiful little wall mount shelves for my sister and I, and doll crib for my other sister's kids to use, and a more masculine self for my brother.

    We now all have a part of the crib and the work that my grandpa put into it, in the form of new pieces that fit our own tastes, and none of us are stuck trying to fit a piece into our homes that just doesn't work.

    Is there away you could reuse this table to make it fit your style. Would new chairs change it's feel, or could the wood be used to create the type of table you are looking for? You will still have that part of your grandparent's there, but you will have merged their tastes with yours.

  30. I saw the picture of your living room / dining room make over --and I love the furniture in the dining room. whatever you do ....will be fine....but I love the furniture in the room


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