Minimalist with soul: celebrating Christmas in a mindful organic modern way.

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 The spirit of wabi-sabi  & simplicity can feed both our souls and memories.Reverence and respect for things that are handmade ;  finding new meaning and purpose for discarded objects ; and the presence of nothing more than is necessary, meaningful or beautiful (and the wisdom to know the difference) are defining elements of a wabi sabi.

Christmas is just around the corner. But, pretty please first take a deep breathe with me and feel a sense of calm.

Relax your mind and re-center on the moment.

I know you likely have a to-do-list that goes to the moon and back : but try to think about Christmas / Winter Solstice time in a much less agitated way. Recenter on the way you want to feel and experience this celebrating moments rather than follow the craziness around you.

This post will help you create a more meaningful way of hosting your guests and bringing soul to your Christmas / New Year Eve table setting. Time to create your own personal Holiday Spirit !

To make things easy for you I rounded up some simple ideas that are festive yet bring mindfulness with an organic modern  look to help inspire you.

This year dare the mindful  minimalist organic table look !

It is ALL about understanding what TRULY winter is.

Three words:

NATURE, SIMPLE & HOMEY

Once again, Scandinavian and Wabi Sabi will be my guide for this table stetting eye candy  special blog post.

Wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and insight from nature. Wabi (harmony) and sabi (simplicity) chooses humility over ostentation, asceticism over extravagance. When you embrace this way of living, you naturally choose handmade / vintage objects made with wood, clay or textiles over those manufactured with plastic.

Reverence and respect for things that are hand crafted ; finding new meaning and purpose for discarded objects : this is what Wabi Sabi is all about.

Sadly, by looking at people shopping around me these days, you can tell that some kind of Christmas fever caught on fire for the past 3 weeks : multitude of holiday-themed paraphernalia and more plastic and  soul deprived objects than I could even imagined (and I did not dare to venture in toys stores).

In the story of Stuffs, Annie Leonard writes in this blog post about “Reclaiming the Holidays”

“Minimalist Holiday Celebration with Soul is experienced, hand made, home cooked rather than purchased.
It helps us to create a “white space” in our hearts, minds and calendars in order to experience this lovely time of the year.
But let’s not  forget to let our own personality shine through!
Bring on your creativity and your out-of the-box-thinking!”

This should also reflects in our home and on our festive table.

How do you incorporate rustic or reclaimed materials into your home?

Easily as long as you are ready for a bit of a mind shift if you this has not been your traditional way of celebrating so far.

As I mentioned in this blog post “, all we need need is tune in with Mother nature around us and bring some of her simple beauty and colors inside.

Both Wabi Sabi and Scandinavian consist of rustic beauty, for things both manmade and natural and to the idea that things become more beautiful and valuable over time. Cracks in the rough grain of a wood tabletop and natural hardwoods; the asymmetry and irregularity of mix-matched vintage chairs; and soft, earth-toned paint palettes are imperfectly perfect examples of the wabi sabi style.

Worn, weathered decorative pieces full with personal meaning; ornamentation reclaimed directly from Mother Nature ; and an eternal sense of modesty and humility that gives a living space a special intimacy . This season, let’s embrace the mindful wabi sabi way of design and table setting.

COMBINE PAIRED BACK AESTHETIC OF MODERN MINIMALISM

WITH THE CONSIDERED WAY OF LIVING

FROM THE WABI SABI PHILOSOPHY

In a nutshell, you will:

Candles /old crates (wintertime is the perfect time for candle light therapy)

Tree branches / pine cones / red berries / small trees

Terracota / ceramics / vintage touches (family heirloom)

Wooden table / mixed cozy chairs (and yes even Ikea…!)

Earth tone colors palette, grey +white+ black accents.

 
 

SOME RESOURCES TO INSPIRE

YOU SO YOU CAN TRY THIS AT HOME.

LIVE MORE SIMPLY / FIND BEAUTY IN EVERY DAY LIFE / MAKE THOUGHTFUL CHOICES / ENHANCE YOUR LIFE

 

 

 

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SOUL WORK FOR THE WEEK

What part of Holiday Seasons (Winter Solstice/ Christmas/New year Eve) can you improve?

  • Is it cooking from scratch some family recipe with very few ingredients only bought at the farmer’s market?
  • Is it re-using, “tinkering”, “hacking’ complicated, expensive, stressful  family traditions for your table setting and your meal planning?
  • Is it lovingly teaching your family and children that this year you are going to try have a greener and more soulful Celebration time  ? 
  • And remember from  a previous post  about the value of the Wabi Sabi philosophy :

<< When the Japanese mend broken objects, they believe that when something suffered damage and has  a history,  it becomes more beautiful>>

SHARING IS CARING

And I will always try to make it easy to do it for you! Just click on the quote below to share it on Twitter.

Mindful Holiday Celebration with Soul is experienced, hand made, home cooked rather than purchased @unlieusurterre #simplicity #Christmas2013 #Decorate 

Share this blog post on Facebook following the easy link right below. I love to read your comments, so don’t hesitate to do so on my Facebook Page on how you plan to have a more mindful and meaning Holiday Celebrations this year.

 

 

 

Thanksgiving : the Wabi-Sabi way

“We feel Wabi-Sabi at Thanksgiving, perhaps more than any other time of the year.

The farms and fields are combed of grain and produce, the dormant ground appears

as rich as potting soil andthe trees revealtheir branchy bones and wounds

and marks of years of sylviculture.”

Wabi Sabi Simple: Create Beauty. Value Imperfection. Live Deeply – By Richard R. Powell

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It is fascinating to notice the contrast of what our holiday seasons have become compare to the ones, for instance,  our great grand parents used to have. In the old days, the focus was the quality of the food, the time spent together and was certainly  “lacking” of perfectionism that our modern world impose upon us.

As much as I am deeply drawn to scandinavian simplicity – which some of you might object and  define as “perfectionism”-, to me it is the beauty in the simplicity, the absence of too “muchness”, the clean, un-clutter, natural, raw materials used throughout the home.

I am drawn the same way to this beautiful Japanese way of living called Wabi-Sabi.

Wabi Sabi celebrates the beauty of the imperfection. It is actually an art form.

Wabi-sabi is the art of finding beauty in imperfection: it values simplicity, uncluttered, underplayed, and modest surroundings. Authenticity is key to wabi-sabi philosophy: <<the presence of cracks and scratches in things are considered to be symbolic of the passing of time, weather, and loving use>>.

Wabi-sabi decor inspires minimalism that focuses more on the people who live in the space than anything else. Possessions and other items are pared down to the essentials based on utility and simple beauty.

It is such a contrast with our modern and western view of the Holiday seasons !

Just by taking a brief look into the shopping malls, catalogs, magazines and you will be overwhelmed by intricate home decor “made in cheap” that will last you about a season until it breaks or is out-of-trend.So much to “choice” from and add to our natural stress level of the holiday season.

In the end it does not add, it depletes you.

With this post, I hope to inspired you to look at what you already have and use it is a different way, bring nature in, make some easy crafts, share some simple and homemade  food (yes, all made from scratch). Dig into your old family recipe that takes no more than 5 easy ingredients to make. Don’t over do it. It does have have to be gourmet, nor does it have to look like a picture perfect  as the great Martha Steward (love her dearly but she a whole team working for her!).

I used to love creating the same sort of home decor and the perfect  Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, parties, etc. As much as it was rewarding in the end to have something looking like what you had envisioned it was also very stressful and not always enjoyable.

I am slowly learning and reminding myself that perfection is not ideal when stress is fueling it. It is a huge mind shift for me as I have to un-teach myself that in the end it is all going to be fine and friends and family won’t know what was planned “in my mind” compare to what is “on the table”.

Keep it simple and enjoy a lovely Wabi-Sabi Thanksgiving filled up with joy, mindful moments, gratitude shared with friends and family.

 

The Wabi Sabi art of living focuses on living a life based on “being enough”, living modestly.

In terms of “style” It reminds me a little the Shaker style : white and earthy tones palette, natural, raw materials (wood, natural fabrics,

ceramic).

wabi sabi lead

EIGHT easy steps to simplify your Thanksgiving  table setting :

 

ONE :

First gather everything that has a worn wooden look to it (bread cutting boards, wooden bowls, wooden plates, etc.)

 

TWO :

Then gather everything that is made of simple white  porcelain ( coffee cups / plates / bowls )

THREE:

If you have  and can borrow some of your grandma silverware, sprinkle some in the mix.

FOUR :

Take a nice relaxing walk and gather meaningful rocks, branches, acorns, pinecones, dried leaves that you could use in small amount to naturally invite the beauty of the season to your table.

FIVE:

Create some simple and yet thoughful place mats / mini decor to have your guests leave comments, thoughts on what being Thankful mean to them. I gathered many beautiful examples on my Special  “MINIMALIST THANKSGIVING” Pinterest Board right here.

SIX:

Bring some twinkling lights in with recycled mason jars, and simple tea lights to bring lights to your table.

SEVEN:


Have your children, grand children write the menu on a chalkboard.

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EIGHT:

Breathe :: your Thanksgiving is going to be perfectly “imperfect” and beautiful. Enjoy and make yourself a nice cup of tea with your handmade tea bags.

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A SWEET TUTORIAL COMING VERY SOON !

SIGN UP 

NOT TO MISS IT ! 

 

 

HERE ARE SOME EYE CANDY PICTURES

TO REIMAGINE YOUR THANKSGIVING AND

SHINE A NEW SIMPLE LIGHT UPON IT.

 

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[ More gorgeous pictures on my special Pinterest Minimalist Thanksgiving  board ]

SOUL WORK FOR THE WEEK

What part of Thanksgiving Day can you improve?

  • Is it cooking from scratch some family recipe with very few ingredients only bought at the farmer’s market?
  • Is it re-using, “tinkering”, “hacking’ complicated, expensive, stressful  family traditions for your table setting and your meal planning?
  • Is it lovingly teaching your family and children that this year you are going to try have a greener and more soulful Thanksgiving Day?
  • And remember from last week post the value of the Wabi Sabi philosophy :

<< When the Japanese mend broken objects, they believe that when something suffered damage and has  a history,  it becomes more beautiful>>

SHARING IS CARING

And I will always try to make it easy to do it for you! Just click on the quote below to share it on Twitter.

perfection is not ideal when stress is fueling it @unlieusurterre #simplicity#thanksgiving

This speaks to you too?

Please tweet that !

SHARE this blog post on Facebook.

Please don’t hesitate to COMMENT below or  Facebook on how you plan to have a Wabi Sabi Thanksgiving this year.

How to create your own spiritual vignette

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WHY I TRANSFORMED “NATURE TABLE” INSPIRED FROM WALDORF PHILOSOPHY INTO MINI SPIRITUAL ALTARS THROUGHOUT OUR HOME.

Our daughters went through Waldorf schools during their Kindergarten years and I was fascinated by what they called “The Nature Table ” or “The nature corner”.  Those little vignettes are a very artful way of arranging a seasonal tableau with bits of Nature and handmade dolls made with cotton, felted wool and wood. They celebrate the spirit of the season. It’s the place in your home or classroom where you can follow the natural cycle of the year. It’s also a powerful way to connect with your inner world and “meditate” through peaceful vibes and connect with your higher self.

When our girls where little we had our nature table on a low up-cycled coffee table. Then, it gravitated on some shelves with some gnomes and fairies in the mix among rocks and driftwoods from our beach walks in California, gemstones from my mom, a big crystal rock my husband collected on a hike when he was 8 years old.

To be honest when we moved to Switzerland, we have not be as “committed” to our nature corner as we did in the past. But now at age 10 and almost 14, the girls are old enough to have their own little altars in their room to meditate, pray, think, be inspired, re-connect.

So our Nature corner  is becoming a spiritual corner. What I enjoy the most is the symbolism involved in the ritual. Their own altar is a canvas for their soul to expand and let their light shine to help them write their future.

It’s very easy to do. No perfection need. Just bring your imagination to the table. Literally.

  • Gather meaningful  (with positive stories infused) rocks, pine cones, fallen leaves, feathers, stones, crystals, images of loved ones or the divinity or god you worship trinkets that are meaningful for you, a vase for some fresh flowers or a purifying air plant, real or fake candles (no need to burn the house down if this is not safe enough where you have your altar…)

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SOUL WORK FOR THE WEEK 

  • Find your sacred corner : it could be as big and decadent as a whole room if you fancy or as small and minimalist, possibly “Wabi Sabi”  as a cubby hole, a mini shelf, a little wooden box 
  • Schedule time for you. Just for you. Sage your sacred space. Be clear on a simple intention (having a joyful day / meeting the right person / not being stress during your job interview, etc.) Light a candle and some of your favorite incenses (be mindful of their components as some are made with toxic ingredients and create toxic fumes. / Repeat your Core Desired Feelings if you know them. Or repeat the sacred Mantra SA TA NA MA which is the foundational Kundalini chant. It’s Sanskrit for birth, life, death, rebirth.  And you end it with <<May the long time sun shine upon you // All love surround you // And the pure light within you // Guide your way home>>. I love using the Headspace app on my phone because it’s easy, very simple, in plain langage. Now if you like angelic music in the background and ethereal voice effect, this may not what you are looking for. It’s a kind and calm male voice. No music. No woo woo fluffy imaginary. There’s a free trial to see if you like it anyway ! 🙂 And I don’t make any money on this !  

RAW+BOLD :: new quarterly eBook is now out !

Drum roll:

Let’s start this winter season of giving with::: Esprit d’Hiver [first winter edition]

from my new eBook serie “RAW + BOLD”

56 pages of stylish and quirky minimalist home decor and lifestyle ideas.

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Yes ! It is here !

Now ready to be downloaded  {here and here} and enjoyed and tried and experienced and cheered!

I am so thrilled to let you know about my  new eBook serie being launched since Tuesday!

Few nights ago, was the “last “very late night/early morning kind of a day :: Skyping back and forth between Finland and Switzerland to add the finishing touches to the eBook, making sure that the process was smooth and easy.

This eBook serie has been on my mind for many months now. As much I love creating, making, I equally enjoy teaching, passing on my love for minimalist, quirky,  nature-focused, mindful projects to share around the Winter Holiday seasons.

All the 8 projects designed in this Winter edition are easy to make with very little technical skills or materials. It is all about reusing, recycling, incorporating found natural materials. Some involves your children and your friends.

 

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Mind you :: this is not an eBook with 35 projects to make. I have personally nothing against it. I  believe in simplicity and I don’t want  you to feel so much overwhelmed that in the end you may be able to make one only projects out of this thirty-five.

My hope is to  have you enjoy those little moments of togetherness crafting, or solitude busily and merrily making secret gifts or home decor for the Winter season of giving.

I truly hope that you will feel inspired, refreshed, empowered by your own creativity.

Please don’t hesitate to share your own creative projects inspired by this eBook on my Facebook page: here.

I can’t wait to see your creativity bursting!

With love and gratitude,

Lila

Thanksgiving Mantra DIY tea bags tutorial.

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“GRATITUDE IS THE HEART’S MEMORY”

 ⩔What you will need

Bits of organza fabric

The provided PDF template or your own design for the tea bag and its tag.

Sewing machine or a simple needle and some thread

Printer to print your tea bags tags.

Some of your favorite organic loose  tea 

A small funnel to fill the tea bags.

A container (Mason Jar, craft paper bag, hand sewn fabric bag to bundle your lovely handmade tea bags 

Masking tape / paint  / stamps to decorate your container 

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 ⩔PRINT TEMPLATE

 

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 CLICK  TO DOWNLOAD: 

Thanksgiving Tea Bags TEMPLATE PDF

::HOME SHAPED TEA BAG::

✚ Use this template to cut your tea bag in your organza fabric .

✚ Cut it twice for each tea bag.

✚ Hand sew it along the edges, leaving one of the “roof” side open.

✚ Fill your tea bag with your beloved loose tea with the help of your funnel.

✚ Finish the tea bag by hand stitching with your embroidery floss the remaining open side.

Don’t forget to leave a long tail to attach your double-sided tag to it !

::TAGS ::

TRIM : cut to your desired size. I trimmed mine to one inch and 3/4 square (4.5cm)

 PAIR : Choose which tags you would like to pair together and glue them back to back “sandwiching” the black tea tag thread in between.

 GIVE : Find a pretty up-cyled mason jar or your preferred recycled box.

With positive thoughts, fill your container with your handmade Thanksgiving Mantra tea bags.

With simple  and natural materials (twigs / acorns / dried leaves / kraft paper / muslin fabric, etc…) decorate your  container.

HAVE A MINIMALIST THANKSGIVING FILLED WITH MEANINGFUL MOMENTS.

LOVE,

Lila,

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::Here are some ideas from Pinterest ::

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