simple natural style is all about natural materials... natural wood, cotton, linen, terra-cotta, straw, and even some concrete. peace, rest and relaxation ooze out of these spaces. earth tones and a lot of white or cream keep these spaces feeling calm and clean.
the clean canvas is the same: white or very light walls + clean floors that can be wood or concrete. i love concrete floors with no baseboards. creamy fabrics soften all the hard edges, so a fluffy white duvet and gauzy curtains look just right. a straw basket or two for laundry or toys provide the perfect juxtaposition against the hard and the unstructured elements. plants keep simple natural from veering toward austere, so sprinkle in liberally...or just add a single large plant or leaf. green is just the jolt of color needed to inject some life into these spaces.
simple, relaxed furnishings of varying shades of wood and white fill in these spaces. caramel leather would be lovely, and worn wicker would be welcome as well. aren't those green couches divine? simple natural all the way.
simple natural style is easy to achieve. use white, cream or pale latte as the wall color and pare back to the basics to get that clean canvas, let go of all the unnecessary. use a few natural materials to focus the now minimal space. hang linen towels in the kitchen and leave the wood + straw broom in the corner. bring a basket out of the closet to corral the shopping kit on top of the fridge or knitting by the couch. add a plant or two. hang a straw hat over the bed and keep the bedding clean and white. hang a plant in the window and relax in your peaceful, minimal, simple natural surroundings. ahhh...
favorite simple natural inspiration:
reading my tea leaves
pure style (+ her books stand the test of time- look for them at the library)
"i feel like i woke up. i just feel like i got to reconnect with something." ~michelle conlin
way back in 2006, a man named colin beavan decided to see what it would be like to try to live without making an impact on the planet. he embarked on a year long project with his skeptical but willing wife and toddler daughter. in 2006, i was at the beginning of my journey toward awareness of the impact my family was making on the planet as well. i heard about colin's project + began to follow along with his blog.
in the years to come colin released a book about his experiences and a documentary was made. some said that he was just out to make a dime...he is a writer. i found the experiment incredibly inspiring. they went further than i was looking to go (no toilet paper or electricity), but i love this sort of documentation. i want to see the extremes that are possible. i want to see (and read about) tammy's teeny, tiny house, and bea's single jar of waste, and leo's one bag. i want my mind to be stretched. i want to be challenged.
so when i saw this movie at the library, i was eager to watch it again. it made me laugh out loud and it made me think. i'm at a different point in my journey now, and i relate to the struggles in a different way. i see the futility in some efforts and also the immense value in the fight. i love to be inspired. i love to learn. and i am loving the journey, the exploration, the fight, the discoveries and rewards that come with the effort.
thank you colin and tammy and bea and leo...and many more... for all of the sharing and inspiration and knowledge you've shared along your journeys. you are amazing human beings and i appreciate you!
p.s. i mentioned colin beavan's new book a few weeks ago...another inspiring read!
i love road trips. jo loves road trips. i think julia tolerates road trips with a very good attitude. mr. tribe drives on road trips. (i'm talking about the road part of the trip here.) sitting can get boring, so even though my girls are no longer small...we've got to have some sort of strategy.
books like keri smith's the wander society are the very best sort of diversion. this book seems tailor-made for a trip, so jo and i can't wait to dig in. we love all of keri smith's books...how to be an explorer of the world or the pocket scavenger would be fun on a trip as well. jo has been saving austin kleon's steal like an artist journal just for this trip.
my wonderful world of fashion coloring book, and let's make some great art have been well-loved favorites in the past. add some colored pencils and it's on. both have a lot of pages and activities. start where you are journal and doodle diary are fun too. (sorry, i only have girls.) :)
lots of library books and all the time in the world to read them is a luxury now that school is out. our library will set a due date extension, if they we tell them that a vacation is coming up. (thanks for the library tip, jo.)
an ipod full of playlists and favorites is good company for staring out the window at all that gorgeous scenery.
a little snooze is never a bad thing (unless you are driving, i suppose).
we're stocking up on podcasts. here are some that mr. tribe + i are looking forward to listening to together:
this american life
snacking kills a little time, and makes mouths happy (and silent- that one's for the littles- i remember) :)
audiobooks pass a lot of time. the library has a big selection.
i'm also looking forward to hearing the rest of levi the poet's correspondence (one of jo's favorites).
crossword puzzles are something everyone can work on together...and make us crack up at all of our silly (read unintelligent) suggestions. :) this one looks about as hard as we're capable of + julia will like it. i found this lateral thinking book that i'm looking forward to puzzling over together. julia likes doing soduko, so i thought she (and the rest of us) might like to give kenken or kakuro a try too.
keeping a journal is always a fun thing to do. don't forget some art supplies and a bit of washi tape.
taking some postcard stamps and addresses along means that we are prepared to mail postcards along the way. last time, i mailed the girls a couple postcards from each destination. it was a fun surprise when we got home... and they kept coming for a few days after we were home. i wrote, "remember when..." + something funny that happened at each stop. they'll be a good reminders of our trip in years to come.
ok, we're ready! happy adventures, my friends! :)
simple lovely style is akin to shabby chic light...very light. spare use of pale pinks, cool greens or barely-there blues could accent the clean canvas of creams, whites and a touch of warm wood. worn furnishings are right at home here, so we can make good use of squishy couches and a bit of natural wood showing through chippy paint. a very few well-chosen flea market finds are the treasures that shine in the midst of a sea of white.
simple lovely style need not come from piling lovely accessories onto an already complete space. the main furnishings themselves can easily do the work of conveying simple lovely style. the choice of table + chairs, couch, or lamp can be as subtle or as literal as desired. craigslist, garage sales and flea markets come in handy, if furniture is needed, but any couch could benefit from a soft cream throw...or... a big, squishy, white slipcovered couch could be great as well. no need to overload that couch with useless frilly throw pillows. existing dining furniture could be painted white...or some thrifted chippy pieces could be employed instead. a modern lamp with a white shade can sit in a simple lovely room just as happily as a drippy crystal or italian tole chandelier. the choice is open.
while i think it is commendable to live with the furniture we have for as long as possible, i do feel that it is ok to make a change. sometimes it is possible to reinvent the pieces we already have. sometimes we might like to switch out an object entirely. craigslist has made it quite easy to let someone else benefit from the things we want to let go...and also to find something we love a bit more. simple lovely style is a great way to see a previously loved item's potential. sometimes making a change is just what helps us to see our homes as enough...and beautiful.
there are choices aplenty for the well-edited use of a few simple lovely accents. natural elements can be collected from our immediate surroundings or from a treasured adventure: floppy roses or queen anne's lace from the side of the road plunked into a jar or a chippy pitcher...a fallen bloom floating in a lone teacup...an time-weathered perfectly pink dress hanging in the bedroom...seashells scattered on a window ledge...pale blue stripes on a kitchen towel...grandma's floral plates in the cupboard...estate sale lace-edged pillowcases on the bed...an old mirror leaning against the wall...a sea-scented candle flickering. the trick is to use only two or maybe three accents in each room. restraint keeps it minimal...and lovely.
as long as we start with less stuff and a clean canvas, simple lovely can be easily achieved. add that creamy throw to the existing couch. paint a chair or two white...and sand that paint back a little, if desired. find some wildflowers, light a candle, make a cup of tea, lean back and think some lovely thoughts.
favorite lovely inspiration:
house of bliss
vintage whites blog
snacking is not a big part of our usual days...but a roadtrips call for some indulgent snacking in my book. time gets skewed as we leave early and sit long between short bouts of cartwheels, headstands, and jumping jacks. meals might not be as enticing as handfuls of this or that, and past experience has revealed the quickly waning nature of the joy found in a chip bag (although maybe not for mr. tribe). :)
so i'm focused on zero-waste snacks with some nutritional value:
-i usually pack sandwiches in a cloth bag to be enjoyed on our first day out, but these jalepeno ciabatta are pretty spectacular too
-fruit often comes in its own zero-waste package, yum...and we'll compost those peels along the way
-veggies can be taken along and sliced up daily for easy jarred snacks to be enjoyed alone or along with hummus or simple guacamole
-nuts and other bulk offerings are handy for variety (these containers are part of my shopping kit + will come in handy for shopping on the road)
-bread + cheese along with veggies, hummus or deli meat can work for subsequent days on the road
-homemade cookies, granola bars, popcorn, or energy bites are appreciated make-ahead treats
-our water bottles offer the opportunity for endless refills and hydration
have you seen and read about emma watson's amazing met gala ensemble? i love the thought and effort that was put into it. i love that it is 3 separate pieces that will allow it to be worn "again and again and again" in a number of versatile ways. she mentions the intention of it being worn #30wears.
livia firth has a powerful voice in the fight against fast fashion. she has proposed a commitment to #30wears when purchasing an item of clothing as a way to respect the maker of said item of clothing. somehow, the thought of emma watson wearing her gala pieces 30 times sounds commendable...and yet, only 30 wears for regular clothing sounds silly small.
i've been thinking about this in regards to my own small wardrobe. when i choose a small number of items to be worn during the month, i often wonder if i like an item enough to commit to wearing it over and over. when i consider the number of choices, i realize that i am often only committing to wearing the item once a week for a month...that is 4 times. there are pieces like jeans, sweaters and shoes that i will conceivably wear virtually every day, but sometimes a top may only be worn a handful of times.
at 4 wears per month, it will actually take we quite a while to tally #30wears. at the same time, i've probably already worn my cropped, flare jeans #30wears in the last month and a half. having a really pared down number of items seems really to be the only way to consciously wear my clothing... if i also have the desire to have a fresh piece or two every once in a while.
i'm sure that #30wears was conceived of as a doable entry level target a fast fasion addict could consider. the intention behind the campaign is noble...but i think we can do better.
on a journey toward zero-waste, simplicity, + compassion :: daring to choose fair one choice at a time