Friday, January 24, 2014

A Meaningful Mantel And Six Degrees of Separation

I have a special treat for you involves a friend, some tips on putting beautiful, inexpensive & meaningful decor in your home and a story on the six degrees of separation. I'll share that last part with you at the end. I hope that you will hear Emily's heart through these words that she writes. At the end of this post I will share a special opportunity that YOU could have in bringing one amazing couple and child together.


Hello An Inviting Home friends! I’d like to start by saying thanks to Sarah for inviting me to guest post. I’ve shed more than a few tears over her adoption posts and marveled at her creativity. As a preschool teacher, I can certainly appreciate the often herculean task of organizing herds of children (yes, some days it feels like they’re a herd). Sarah invited me to post a bit about my home décor strategies, if we were to have an actual strategy, and our adoption journey—we’ll see how well I can blend the two. 

My husband and I are in the waiting stage of our adoption…a stage that I am filling with excessive nesting. Frankly we need to find our kiddo so I can stop rearranging furniture, it’s getting a little out of hand. For today’s post I am going to focus on one piece in our house, a mantel that my husband pulled out of a dumpster (a favorite department store of ours back in the early days) and the various things we've filled it with along the way. 

Houses tell stories and the things you fill them with provide the punctuation. 

Today this mantel hangs in our kitchen. Just because a piece traditionally goes in one room does not mean it has to go there. This mantel has spent time in our bedroom, storage, and several other places along the way. This is a bit how adoption works too, things you didn't realize were meant to go together all of the sudden just fit. As in Sarah’s case, she couldn't have imagined it until it was—unexpected and beautiful.

We've filled the mantel with the things we love and some that have created disagreement. My advice, try and find something your partner hates and then convince them it’s amazing…true story, last week at the flea market I purchased what I am pretty sure is a banana made out of cement, it’s like 2 lbs, that is in no way proportional to an actual banana (maybe it’s a plantain?) that Michael hates but I LOVE. It’s in the baby’s room and well...right, focus...back to the mantel! I’ll walk you through a few of the pieces:

In order of appearance, this bird was my grandfather’s and my great grandmother’s before that. It’s perched on a candelabra I purchased at Goodwill. 

This is a small picture titled, Assembly of Ruminants, that Michael just hates but is perfection. 

Design, and life, is about compromise. Michael is incredibly creative—he can fabricate almost anything—and he sources his material from barn burn piles, dumpsters, and demolition sites. When I let him be him and set aside my aversion to dumpsters, he creates incredible things and when he let’s me be me, I fill his home with 2 lb bananas and pictures of llamas wearing scarves. 


Tell stories! Don’t buy something because you think it’s trendy; buy something because it tells something about you.

The rocking chairs sat on top of our wedding cake and lived in the windowsill of my grandparent’s home before that. This Sunday my grandparents are celebrating their 62nd wedding anniversary, that’s what we’re aiming for. 

This camel is just, I just, I love it. It’s another Goodwill find. I hope it conveys that we love color and that we may be just a tad quirky. Eiffel tower is from my best friend. She is a French linguistics scholar. 

Moving along, we like to call this section, “things we eat.” The swine picture is a $5 flea market purchase. The rooster was a $10 flea market purchase. And the frame was re-purposed to feature a page from Cook’s Illustrated magazine. The cicada is another French original from my friend. Kitchens in the south of France often feature cicadas. 

Rounding out our tour, this little picture came in the most HIDEOUS frame—we removed the frame and threw some twine on the back with duct tape. And below, we’re featuring a wrench that we dug out of our garden. Yes, when living on a farm things like this happen. 

In conclusion, this mantel is a work in progress and this post is my attempt to describe my process such that it is. Everything/everywhere is a possible source of material or inspiration—start digging in your garden. A full half of the objects on this mantel were purchased at thrift stores or flea markets (flea markets may be a bit of an east coast thing but just substitute garage sales for those in the middle of the country). Design is possible on a limited budget—see every single post by Sarah! 

Imagine a picture without its frame, buy a frame for the frame and throw a different picture in it. Try mixing things you don’t like as stand alone décor pieces, maybe they’ll work in a collection.


Which brings me back to adoption. We haven’t exactly taken the traditional route. We are home study approved and have a great lawyer but we’re functioning as our own adoption agency. We've put the word out through social media, craigslist, created a free website on Wordpress: http://eandmadopting.wordpress.comI’ve tacked business cards to boards at the post office and in the grocery store. 

In short, we’re experimenting. 

I’m not sure how this kiddo is going to find us but when they do, it’s going to be a good story.


Thank you so much Emily for sharing!

What Emily and her husband Michael are doing is new to me. Not the part about disagreeing with your spouse about decor...I know all about compromise. :-) It is their method of adoption that tugs at my heart in every way. 

Why? Because they are like other friends who I know who are waiting to adopt...but this time I feel like I can do something about it!

This article was written which explains a little bit more about their story.

When Emily first shared with me what they were doing my heart screamed, "Yes, why not!" However, the reality is that it can be completely scary to put yourself out there. Whether you are on an adoption agency's waiting list, doing foster to adopt, or doing everything you can to share your story with others...there is great hope, days of longing, and endless days of waiting and dreaming of what the future might hold. 

Dreams that one day, very soon, a child will find a place of belonging and love in your family. 

"Six degrees of separation" is the theory that everyone is six steps or less away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world. Would you help Emily & Michael find their child? Maybe you have a friend...or maybe your friend has a friend...or that friend's friend.

As of today they are still waiting. Their website is a great tool to connect others with them. And before you go, if you have one more moment...would you read this letter they wrote to their future child.

Blessings friends and thanks for following along.

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