Take a look at my new curtains!
I can’t decorate to save my life.
God knows I’ve tried over the years. I could never quite pull it together. At rare times I kept the mistakes to a minimum and a room would come out okay, but forgettable.
Most of the time, I made gross errors in judgement. You know, the kind of mistake where you look at something and say to yourself, “What the heck was I thinking?” The brocade couch in emerald green comes to mind. That couch was vile and I lived with it for YEARS.
Outside, however, working with what nature provides, I can perform magic.
Several years ago I tear out the overgrown bushes and tired-looking what-not growing around my parents’ house. Making several trips in my mini-van to and from Lowe’s, I obtain bags of good dirt, mulch, and fertilizer, as well as shrubs, ground cover, flowers, edging, paving stones, etc., and even a few dogwood trees.
A friend does me a favor.
He transports my wheelbarrow, tools, and huge rototiller in his pick-up. That tiller takes up most of the space in the bed of the pick-up. I purchased it previously for my vegetable garden, making the decision to buy the biggest, dadburn tiller available to the ordinary consumer, based upon . . . “Well, if I need to turn over dirt, I’m going to need to turn over a lot of it.” Anyway . . .
As I’m tucking mulch around one of the newly planted shrubs, a resident of my parents’ neighborhood stops her car in the street.
The woman calls out to me, “Are you a professional landscaper? I need my yard done.”
Which brings me to my point . . . .
No one EVER has called out to me, “Are you a professional interior decorator? I need my house done.”
My younger sister, Nancy, however, can take any interior space and transform it into a wonderland of stylish comfort, impeccably good taste, and deft artistry. She can perform this magic in spite of having no formal training, and she can do it on any budget, in any style, and with no missteps or apparent strain.
You may think that her skill and, conversely, my ineptitude in decorating derives simply from the luck of the genetic draw. Not so. I can trace it back to our childhoods.
And that, of course, leads to another story . . .
Christmas, 1959, give or take a year. Nancy is 6 or 7 and I’m 11 or 12. On Christmas morning, Nancy, being the youngest and, therefore, considered the cutest thing that ever appeared upon earth, has her many pleadings rewarded with exactly what she asked for — a Barbie dream house. She already possesses the pink convertible for her various Barbies and their kin to cruise around in. Her other present is, predictably, more Barbie accessories.
Anyway. . .
I open up my two presents.
A sweater. Okay. That’s leaves the GOOD present. I open it up. What is THIS? With sinking heart, I examine the print and picture on the box. A wood-burning set? Why would I want to burn wood with a tool? Hey, I didn’t ask for this! I didn’t even know these stupid things existed!
(Several years later I figured out that the wood-burning set probably came from a far-flung cousin who didn’t want it when HE received it. Yep, it’s sad. As a child I was the victim of re-gifting.)
Picture this . . .
From that point on I frequently notice — with considerable envy — the happiness of my sister Nancy as she sits on the floor, totally engaged, playing with her dream house.
Oh, the fun she has!
She decorates and redecorates. Time and time again I observe as chairs, tables, beds, lamps, and other furnishings are ripped from rooms and thrown out the open side of the house of dreams, landing in Barbie’s yard.
Later, Barbie and Ken drive up in their pink convertible with their “new” furniture. Ken carries the furniture into the house and places it according to Barbie’s interior design. It turns out that Barbie, in addition to her other extreme attributes, has exquisite taste.
You see where I’m going with this?
Two Christmas gifts . . . two very different adults. Nancy can turn a shack into a palace. Me? I can’t decorate and I never became an expert at burning wood with a tool, but I can spot a re-gift in a glance.
Now you know why I’m very proud of my new curtain rods and cafe curtains.
I ordered them online and, miraculously, they fit. They also fit my budget and I like the look. They seem right for a Casita.
You know? I think if Barbie saw my window treatments, she would approve.
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