Decorating and redecorating has been a passion of mine for decades. One of the most exciting things about moving into a new house (or new to us) is the prospect of a clean slate and letting my creative juices flow. We've lived in almost a dozen apartments, townhouses and houses since we've been together, and each one needed decor.
It's not just the end result that is satisfying, it's also the process leading up to it. I never had formal training in home decor or interior design. It's something that seems to come naturally to me, somewhat like my photography.
Moving into our fifth wheel full-time was a real adventure in home decor, having to juggle space and comfort and create a living space. That's quite different from using an RV for weekends.
Some see redecorating as a personal project to design and implement, some as a relief from a boring or stale existence. There are those who see it as a tedious task that might be slightly more than a necessity. Others see decorating as a totally creative endeavor. No matter the purpose, beautiful outcomes can be exceedingly rewarding.
I received a few terrific responses on this topic from friends and followers,. Here are some of those (I've edited or paraphrased some):
WendyJo S.- The first thought in my mind about replacing my flooring is that I would be happy because then my floors would be as I prefer. The second thing to make me happy would be potential added value to my house. Third, then my dog could be in house more because I have white carpet, and I love my dog. Fourth, it would give me a sense of accomplishment, which always makes me happier than being stagnant and or settling for things I don’t care for!
Pat H.- My favorite part of redecorating is emptying a room of clutter and starting fresh. The polished feeling after all the hard work is so calming.
Nadyne H.- I like the new, clean, feel of the redecorated space. I love the results of new paint, or eye-wash, best. Everything feels new again. Since moving into our 5th wheel, I have missed moving the furniture around.
Holly C.- Change ... change makes me happy
Mary Ann S.- My daughter and son in law just installed new flooring, stairs and all of upstairs. When they're happy, I'm happy! Family matters a lot especially when times are tough.
Shelley A.- Knowing I did iit myself makes me happy. Making the updates to something fresh and new is good for the soul!
Donna B.- I love the design process and then seeing my vision come to fruition.
Linda H.- There is nothing brings me joy like decorating a home. It makes it a home that fits my personal likes and comforts. When successfully completed it should make living in the home welcoming and comfortable for uniquely you. When I bought my place in 2018, I knew the layout fit me but it needed cleanup and updating. My whole goal was to accomplish a place I want to come home to, settle in and never want to leave. I have just that! I thank God every day I get to live here. It brings me peace, comfort and security to be here. That's what decorating does for me. Unlike most, I'm very spacial and know just what feels right to me when I find it, so it becomes very personal and satisfying. Ten years from now I'll feel the same way about it as I do when I got done. Then I'll hate any change -- when it's right for me, it's right.
Ayub B.- Home decorating or redecorating is like watering a sapling in your garden which brings freshness, multiplies joy and kills the boredom.
BLSMSS- We love our Toy Hauler, but things have changed in the way we were doing things, so we will be redoing our kitchen and living room. We want to make it more ours and not like our neighbors. We need little more storage and an easier flow. We will be bringing more color. We put up curtains and added carpet for that, but need touch more. We have replaced door knobs as they were hitting each other.
Kevin, Yvonne and 4 Doxies- Simple decoration is best for us -- full length over the door hanger mirror with Command Strips or double sided Velcro to steady.
Patte M.- I love the results of redecorating. My background has been in fabricating home decor stuff like upholstery, window treatments, pillows, etc. What I love most and what makes me happy is the bonding time with my sewing machine and manipulating fabrics. The results are a side effect.
D. Clark- Happiness is building a RV from empty trailer. Creating something from nothing is very satisfying.
See Spot Run RV- Several things I like about remodeling -- the challenges that come with a project, then the learning process of what it takes to do the job with quality. The change is always exciting and the final project is rewarding. I will say they usually come in over budget but we have always been happy with the results.
To complete this discussion, I'll quote American businessman Gary Hamel, who said, "As human beings, we are the only organisms that create for the sheer stupid pleasure of doing so. Whether it's laying out a garden, composing a new tune on the piano, writing a bit of poetry, manipulating a digital photo, redecorating a room, or inventing a new chili recipe - we are happiest when we are creating."
When I was ten, we moved across the city to a house on a triangular lot with plenty of back yard. When I was twelve I convinced my mom to let me take the far corner space behind a fence and grape vines, overgrown with weeds and the neighbor's ivy, and till it for a vegetable garden. I grabbed my ten- and eight-year-old brothers and my seven-year old sister, leaving the younger kids out, and we all went out and worked that dirt until it was clear and and ready to plant, making sure we didn't disturb the old rhubarb plant. My mom told me how to make raised rows to plant seeds in, leaving lower rows for watering and we excitedly bought the seeds at the hardware store.
We planted radishes, zucchini, carrots, iceberg and green-leaf lettuce, bell peppers, sweet corn and pumpkins. The two weeks or so waiting for the first signs of growth felt like the week before Christmas -- like it would never arrive. When it finally did, all us kids kept it weeded and watered until we began harvesting our bounty. Did they ever taste great! A couple of months after the final veggies were taken, I was looking through the garden, reminiscing and planning for the next planting, I noticed something odd under the zucchini bushes. I reached down and pulled out a the biggest zucchini I had ever seen, probably two feet long and six inches wide. Evidently every one of us had missed this one on our multiple picking sessions.
Over the years I've lived in several houses, planted many a garden and grown dozens of fruit trees. The satisfaction of successful blooms and the birds, butterflies and hummingbirds they draw to us is like no other feeling. It is especially gratifying when you have selected the perfect mixture of colors, heights, and duration of flowers, shrubs and grasses for the intended space. Even full-time on the road I put out feeders to draw birds to us, and when we finally settle down in a home base, gardens will be cultivated.
I received several great responses on this topic and here are some of them (I've edited or paraphrased some):
Ayub B.- Gardening is a pleasure, be it for food or otherwise. Seeing the plants grow and unfolding new mysteries with every passing day is always no less an excitement. Gardening takes one close to nature, a feeling of being one with nature, a silent dialogue with nature.
Cathy R.- I love the smell of dirt. Pulling weeds is cathartic for me -- I can't do it with gloves. I need my bare hands in the dirt. My mom used to hate that I stayed so dirty all the time, but that's when I was happiest. Standing in the sun, wiping the sweat from my brow, admiring the work I've accomplished, kinda makes me feel like a pioneer woman. My mom used to use pulling weeds as punishment. I got in trouble a lot, sometimes on purpose.
Phyllis J. G.- Dig in the dirt. Plant a seed. Watch it grow. So satisfying.
Don L.- We garden for food, although it's not cost effective. The tomatoes are flowering and the green peppers are growing nicely. We also grow a lot of mint types because, well, just because. Keeps the bugs down.
Theresa W.- Gardening is just in my blood -- I don't know exactly how to explain it. It's therapeutic, a way of life for me. I am at severe unease if I can't be piddling in the yard. There is nothing that can beat digging your bare hands into the dirt and preparing it for planting, whether for flowers, veggies or herbs. You walk outside and you just can't help yourself. It brings so much peace.
BLSMSS- Right now I have one plant, but when I had my house, I had a beautiful garden. I had roses, glads, bleeding hearts, several types of lilies, mums, irises, and also a small garden with peppers, cucumbers, beans, squash, tomatoes, cilantro, basil, and around the corner, pumpkins. I miss the beauty and smell of the flowers, the hummingbirds and butterflies searching for nectar. The only thing I disliked was the bees. We did find a new species of moth we never had seen, just before we sold our house. It’s called a hummingbird moth -- strangest thing. I had to look it up. It brings back memories of helping my mom plant her flowers and garden. We had an handmade cultivator we sat on for weight as my mom would pull it to make rows. My mom's gardens were massive. Great memories.
Elsiesmom (Candy)- I garden for food when I’m stationary. I gotta have flowers for pollination -- flowers are food for bees and butterflies. It’s the rhythm and quiet of being in the garden I enjoy most. The beauty of cultivating the garden always draws me back in.
See Spot Run RV- When we had a home we loved garden. Different things made us happy about gardening. First, we just loved to get in the dirt and make something out of nothing. Flowers always added beauty, veggies are always better when grown yourself and my favorite was the herbs. I can't believe how much better, more flavorful, that home-grown herbs are -- you use so much less. They all create a sense of accomplishment and pride. All this doesn't even take into account the nutritional value of home-grown food. Love to garden!!
Dawg House- Ah, the house days. Never could do the gardening for food thing -- the squirrels were faster at harvesting than I was. I did like to plant with a mix of elements just to keep the yard interesting year round.
Outofsightadventures- I tend to enjoy things that flower throughout the year. At our sticks-and-bricks house our back and front yards were full of many tropical flowering plants. We also had a pretty extensive orchid collection. I guess I love the feeling I would get when my plants would thank me with a gift of blooms. I brought a few of my plant babies with me on the road... I couldn’t help myself!
Pat S. K.- I love flowering plants. They bring so much color and joy to a yard. When I travel I have two tiny vases that I try to pick little flowers for when I'm staying somewhere. I also have a portable vase that lies flat when not in use and fills up like a regular vase when you need one for a volume of flowers. I love it.
The word "photography" comes from the Greek phrase “Drawing the Light”. We all know that photography in the 19th century was cumbersome and time-consuming, and required technicians trained in the art form. But the photograms and photographs taken in those decades have provided an incredible and invaluable window into life back then. Color photos began to be produced by the mid 1880's and the first widely-used color process hit the market in 1907.
When cameras were developed that used roll film, photography became more widespread and amateurs were able to experience the joy of the hobby. Some were good enough or wealthy enough to go pro, which required more elaborate and expensive equipment. That's still somewhat true today, with the biggest difference between talented amateurs and professional photojournalists being the cost of their camera ensemble. Of course, today nobody uses film. For the younger readers, film was a medium that was placed inside of the camera, which was subjected to the light from the camera lens to produce either a film negative or slide positive image. Film then had to be developed to produce paper photographs. Now, the use of digital photography is prevalent everywhere -- cameras, phones, watches, tablets, even dashboards in cars and trucks.
Photographs, whether paper or digital, are useful for documenting family history and events, for capturing memorable times and places, for documenting a person's life from birth to death. It is also quite valuable in capturing moments in nature, often providing views few individuals would ever otherwise see. Landscapes, cityscapes, oceanscapes, and skyscapes make up an incredible library of earth-based galleries, and for the past 50 years, outer space has provided a plethora of planet shots and other scenes from the universe.
I once wrote a blog piece about why I prefer still photos over video. (See "In many ways, photos can offer more than video") In that article I explain that video is spoon-fed to viewers, always making them focus on the movement and thinking about what the videographer intends. Photographs give a viewer time to think, time to explore the picture, time to remember similar sights, time to see what they can see. Even though I've been recording video lately, I continue to feel it's true.
My favorite? I love historic photos and magnificent landscapes, and I love to shoot abandoned buildings, birds, wildflowers, sunrises, sunsets and vivid shots of nature. I like family photos for their nostalgia, but still prefer nature.
As usual, several of my friends and followers have offered their opinions and memories on this topic. Here are some of the great comments I received (I've edited or paraphrased some):
Shelley A.- I like the memories, although I rarely take photos.
Cindy V.- Love the unique. Ones that only an artist sees the beauty.
Jeanne W.- Photos take me back to times of joy and fun. They also keep me connected in a way to family and friends who are far from me. Seeing their pictures connects me emotionally with them and usually thoughts of love and good times. Of course they sometimes bring back sad times as well, times of regret. But all of that is part of life and photos remind me of a life well lived.
Sharon M.- My family has always taken photographs of everything, a big part of my life. I only realized just how important those photographs were after losing almost all of my family photographs in a fire. The only 'survivors' were in a box of loose photos/negatives and miscellaneous items that got put in the travel trailer rather than the storage unit they were supposed to have been in. I truly treasure those few photos and am so thankful for those survivors. My favorite, I think ... my grandfather, when he was 80 years old, on the last horse he had raised and trained at the ranch. I would have been 12 when I took his picture with my first camera, a Brownie box camera.
Andrea A.- I love people photos. They're a timeline for the ones I know, giving insight to who we were in the former stages of our lives. They're often a vision of human emotion and experience, even of people I've never met. Portraits can capture joy, pain, love, grief, kindness, evil, despair, strength with no words necessary.
Cathy R.- I have a favorite pic of my youngest. It was when she was finally healed after her kidney transplant. Such joy!
Tony P.- I love the landscapes that I shoot, a reminder of where I've been. Sunrise's and Sunsets, like one particularly beautiful sunrise on Key Largo back in November.
Nadyne H.- Photos that are current - our kids, grandkids, great grandkids - whether current or from the past, bring me immediate happiness. I find myself smiling so hard it almost hurts. That immediate joy is especially important to me now with all the uncertainty in my life. Photos from my past of my parents, siblings, grand parents, cousins, aunts and uncles give me a nostalgic peace. Happy memories yes, but also can bring me some sadness as I miss those people and the times we spent together.
L.D. Clark- Remembering how much of it I remember since I was a child 70 yrs ago.
BLSMSS- Looking at older pictures makes me happy that I had the picture to bring back those happy times of who I was with and what I was doing -- seeing joy, fun and adventure with my family and friends. It also brings a sadness of who I have lost in those pictures, but great memories.
Kevin, Yvonne & 4 Doxies- Looking at the pictures evoke memories of the time the picture was taken, usually good memories
Tami and Barry “Cruising in Our Cabin”- When I look at a photo of days of old, it draws me right back to the sounds and smells of that moment, me in my scarf, the squeal I made when I caught my first fish, the smell of that fish on my hands, and how gross it was to gut it. The memories just flood back in and it’s as if it just happened yesterday. Yes, a photograph really is worth more than a thousand words.
Habadabeer- My favorite photos are the ones that captured moments I’d completely forgotten. The sudden “oh my God!” moment of shock of surprise and is for me as joyful and precious as an uncontrolled belly laugh! It beats the typical nostalgic reaction hands down.
TheClearyClan- Pictures can be sorted into two categories: 1) pictures you take, so your memories, and 2) pictures others take. The second category could be news photos, historic photos, other people's vacation photos (all 10,000 from the last two weeks that YOU WILL SEE after dinner). For me the pictures I take help refresh memories. Pictures others take I find interesting because they take me to places and times I have not been.
Maui_Boy (Earl J.)- My love of photography began in 1973 as a means to document places and events that I visit with my wife-to-be... It has grown to be helping others share and remember their own adventures since I have grown to love capturing images of people having fun and offering to share it with them... for free. I call myself a Good Will Documentarian, but not accepted by all, it appears.
My initial visit to Brandon, Florida, to visit with my daughter and grand-daughter, took me to a public park where I offered my photos to a young couple with three or four children having a grand time. They took exception to my efforts, called the police and demanded I delete the photos from my camera. A policeman arrived and tried his best to walk me to my car, but I stood my ground and indicated I'd rather stay. He tried his best to get me to admit it was a bit creepy, except that I was wearing an international orange long-sleeved shirt, a photo vest, and carrying a DSLR with a 200 mm lens on a monopod. So, yes, I admitted that it might seem creepy to some but anyone who saw me shouldn't have had any doubt about why I was there. He finally left me alone and had to exit the park with me accompanying him. My granddaughter and I met that same officer in a sandwich shop later in the day. In our banter I told him that I had finally figured out why the couple had reacted as they did. The park I was in was a park for disabled and handicapped kids. He didn't realize that himself. I told him I'd find another park... so, no more calls about me, in that park anyhow.
There is no one better to quote about photography than the ultimate landscape photographer and environmentalist, Ansel Adams: "To photograph truthfully and effectively is to see beneath the surfaces and record the qualities of nature and humanity which live or are latent in all things."
Jack Huber is a writer, blogger, poet and photographer. Like many, he is concerned about the psyche of our planet's inhabitants and wants to try to improve his little corner of it.