Category Archives: in the home

in the home

blog friends + twenty percent off at viola maye

February 6, 2016

Macrame Wall Hanging

Do you ever just meet someone and think “Yep–I’ve just gotta be her friend!”?

This happens to me on occasion. If you’re an adult trying to make friends, you probably know the drill. You hear that so-and-so has a couple of interests that ARE IDENTICAL TO THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL INTERESTS OF YOUR OWN LIFE and you immediately enter stealth friend seeker mode. You sit by them at lunch. You make sure to name drop the obsessive hobby you both share. You both go “What?! No way?! ME TOO!” And like sand through the hour glass, so is the path to friendship paved.

This happened with my talented friend, Layne. After learning that we would be teaching partners during my first year of teaching, our first conversation went something like this:

Layne: “So, what do you do for fun?”
Me: “Well, I like to go to thrift stores…”
Layne: “Whaat? Me too. I love vintage.”
Me: “Whaat? My whole house is vintage.”
Layne: “Oh, I love decorating my house, too. What else?”
Me: “I have a blog…”
Layne: “Whaat? Me. TOO.”
Me: “No way. Gee, it sounds like we have a lot in common. Let’s see, what else…I’m sort of a cat lady?”
Layne: “I love cats like they are my own children.”

(or something like that)

I went home and within a few hours we were both following each other on Instagram, which further foretold the sort of friendship we were destined to have…at one point I thought I was looking at my own living room in her Insta feed…

Catherine's Living Room

Layne's Living Room

And then, Layne did the bravest of things and followed her dreams of living in…Seattle! So while it’s unlikely we’ll be demolishing any flea markets or adopting a pet kitten together, thank goodness for our blogs because from that common thread, we’ve started to become Internet friends.

Macrame and Kitty Meow

And you can imagine how thrilled I was when Layne gifted me with this beautiful macrame wall hanging just because I commented on its beauty and was desperate to find out when I could buy one from her Etsy shop, Viola Maye. How lucky am I, to know such a cool chick and talented artist, even from afar?! Her macrame wall hangings are hand crafted using cotton rope and driftwood from the Puget Sound, and I can’t get over how beautiful they are.


Layne’s designs are made-to-order, and she does custom work too. Be sure to check out her shop, where you can use the code FIELDGUIDE20 for 20% off of a shop item. And for more Seattle adventures and decor inspiration, her blog, The Room Journal, and Instagram are not to be missed!

in the home

On Tidying Up

June 28, 2015

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo


Clothes strewn all over the floor.

A pile of paychecks that may or may not have been electronically deposited.

Coffee mugs with coffee in them. Everywhere.

Clothes–clean and dirty–stuffed in the hamper.

Books precariously stacked on every surface. More books on floor than on bookshelf.

Clothes spilling out of my dresser drawers. Can’t even tell if they’re clean.

A strange array of bobby pins, cat toys, and magazines in my bed.

I am a messy person. I’m naturally untidy and 100% okay with being untidy. I also have a lot of stuff. This has always resulted in a space that is in constant combustion. Too much stuff + no desire to keep it tidy equals a ridiculous mess. And I usually didn’t care about it at all. When I did tidy, I’d clean like a wild fire, throwing stuff away just to deal with it quickly. Whatever remained was fruitlessly “organized.” A week later, I’d be back at square one: trying to clean my messy space and no idea how to get it under control.

My sister is an incredibly tidy person. Leave it to her to introduce me to the KonMari method of organization, the system discussed in the amazingly popular book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She read the book and instantly applied several of the principles to her own space. Not long after, she started sidling up to me, book in hand, reading a pointed passage aloud:

“Have you ever tidied madly, only to find that all too soon, your home or work place is cluttered again?” (Read to me after shaking me awake one morning.)

“…the secret of success is to tidy in one shot, as quickly and completely as possible, and to start by discarding.” (Read to me through the bathroom door. At least she didn’t just barge in.)

“…put all your clothes in one heap, take them in your hand, one by one, and ask yourself quietly, “Does this spark joy?” Your tidying festival has begun.” (Read to me as I rushed out the door to work one morning, miffed because I couldn’t find my favorite shirt.)

I did not want to have a tidying festival. At least that’s what I would say. But on the inside, I was intrigued. (Little sisters know that big sisters are full of wisdom, but we will never let on. Until now.)

Long story short, I read the book. I applied the principles. And while I’m still messy at heart, the KonMari method made it so that I have less junk to put away. This alone has helped keep my space infinitely tidier. And that’s something I’m learning to appreciate. Here’s three takeaways that stuck with me.

Purge by category. This is a key concept. Instead of haphazardly purging a little here and little there all over the house, you gather all items in a particular category (like all books) and go from there. This forces you to truly come to terms with how much of a certain thing you have, and helps you decide exactly what to keep.

Focus on what remains. When purging belongings, I often find myself fixating on what I’m getting rid of. Swiftly getting rid of so much stuff I didn’t truly love shed a new kind of light on what belongings I did keep. Now instead of tripping over several tote bags every day, I have one that I actually treasure.

Cultivate joy. According to Marie, the only criteria a belonging must meet in order to remain is that it must spark joy. This concept is so creative and gave me the freedom to let things GO. Every item I own now brings me joy. Nothing weighs me down.

So…do you want to have a tidying festival? You know you do!