Six Ways to Personalize Your Garden

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I love this time of year. Spring signals rebirth and new life, as this part of the world awakens from winter’s sleep. For me, spring is gardening season, as plants awaken as well.

In my Backyard Garden Series, I’ve shared information about various types of plants, tips for gardening and ecological hacks. Today I add to that series with this post, Six Ways to Personalize Your Garden.

As important as the flowers, herbs and veggies are, it’s the personal touches that make a garden uniquely yours. That backyard paradise, patio garden or window box full of herbs becomes a canvas to create upon. No matter how large or small the space, the garden is your opportunity to tell your story.

Six Ways to Personalize Your Garden title meme

What Story Do You Want to Tell?

These ideas, grouped into six categories, are merely suggestions to spark creativity. There are endless ways to create gardens, whether they look formal, look wild or fall somewhere in between.

It’s fun to plan a garden. Choosing which plants to grow, what layout to use, whether your garden has a theme or not is just the beginning. After all the planning and planting comes stamping your garden with your unique style and personality. Choose ideas from one of the categories below, several of them or all of them.

Six Ways to Personalize Your Garden firepit
Six ways to personalize your garden – features such as fire pits

Foundational Features

Features provide a foundation for the garden, designating certain areas for particular purposes. When planning the garden, decide what you’d love to include in this outdoor space. This is your sanctuary so make sure whatever you add is a reflection of you.

For me, a fire pit, seating areas and a secluded space for meditation and contemplation were important initially. I’m now in the process of upgrading the meditation area and adding a water feature and electricity for lighting. And I’d love to have an inviting, bohemian style hammock in the shadier north side of the yard.

Feature ideas:

  • fire pits/fireplaces
  • patios/seating areas
  • water features
  • pathways
  • gazebos/structures
  • secluded areas
  • outdoor rooms/kitchens
  • lighting
  • speakers for music
Contemplative Corner
Six ways to personalize your garden – secluded space with its vintage brick

Artistic Accents

With the foundational areas designated, and plants in the ground, now is the time to play creatively. Do you paint? Create garden art. Sew? Make cushions for chairs, swings or the patio in your favorite patterns and colors. Whatever your creative passion…building birdhouses, pottery, macrame, stained glass, metal work…bring your artistic abilities into the garden.

In the house, I create vignettes that tell stories. I do the same in the garden, grouping items together, using unusual containers for plants and coordinating fabrics in my signature colors.

Garden art:

  • paintings on metal or wood
  • wind chimes
  • birdhouses/spider houses/toad houses/bug hotels
  • fountains/birdbaths/bird feeders
  • fabric pillows/cushions/hammocks/tents/throws
  • mosaics
  • murals
  • signs/inspirational sayings/poetry
  • plant markers
  • decorative fences/trellises/obelisks/sundials
  • statues/decorative concrete
Six Ways to Personalize Your Garden art
Six ways to personalize your garden – art from the NW Arkansas Botanical Garden

Repurposed Items

This is, without a doubt, my favorite thing to do, inside and outside the house. I love finding new ways to use existing items and if they are vintage, that’s even better . My garden is full of metal buckets, wash tubs, tool boxes, wire baskets and leftover wire fencing panels. The containers typically hold flowers and plants. One of my favorite pieces, an old minnow bucket, holds a fat candle.

I’ve used a variety of wood pieces in the garden as well. And while I love how the old doors, chairs and boxes look, they just don’t hold up well. Eventually the elements rot them away, no matter how well I paint or treat them.

Use your imagination. If something grabs your interest or sparks an idea, no matter how unusual, try it out in your garden.

Repurpose these items in the garden:

  • metal pieces such as buckets, trays, canisters, wash tubs, tool boxes, metal tables, metal drawers, minnow buckets, gates
  • metal tools such as old cultivators, vintage wheelbarrows, rakes, shovels
  • wire baskets/wire trays/wire boxes/fence panels
  • vintage brick/stone/concrete/paving stones/building materials
  • wood pieces such as chairs, drawers, boxes, dressers, screen doors, signs, baskets – with the understanding that the wood will eventually rot
  • kitchen items such as colanders, strainers, kitchen utensils, storage bins
  • farm pieces such as chick feeders, water troughs, watering tubs, vintage sprinklers, signs, posts
  • odd items such as box springs, tires, sinks, bicycles, vintage metal baby strollers, vintage toys, trucks, automobiles
Vintage Minnow Bucket Candle Holder
Six ways to personalize your garden – repurpose items, such as this old minnow bucket turned into a candle holder and a bucket into a flower pot

Memorials

Some of the most precious items in my garden belonged to family members who have passed on. My Aunt Annie’s red wooden box graces my covered front porch. It holds eight clay pots, full of begonias. My cousin’s wash tub holds vinca this year. Grandpa Bill’s rusty old cultivator is covered with clematis. My mother-in-law’s wind chime sings in the breeze. And the butterfly my stepfather painted years ago brightens the garage wall.

And those are just a few of the family memorials gracing my garden. There are more. All of these items remind me of my loved ones, as they serve in my garden. They tell stories about lives lived and joys experienced and challenges overcome. I don’t use fragile family pieces in the garden. These are all hardy items that can withstand weather.

In addition, I have plants that came from family members. The lilac bush was a start from my grandfather’s. The creeping phlox came from Mom Moore’s garden. And irises from my aunt’s yard now bloom in mine.

Items that can be used as garden memorials:

  • metal, wood, clay containers
  • art including wind chimes, signs, durable paintings
  • garden tools such as cultivators, rakes, shovels, sprinklers, watering cans
  • ceramic tiles
  • kitchen gadgets and containers
  • wood boxes, signs and containers, if protected from the weather
  • outdoor furniture
  • statues/concrete art
  • cuttings and transplants from their gardens
Six Ways to Personalize Your Garden cultivator
Six ways to personalize your garden – Grandpa Bill’s cultivator

Whimsy

Whimsy is defined as “playfully quaint or fanciful”. I love whimsy. It appeals to my inner child, makes me smile and invites play. I make sure I include some whimsy in my garden. The rabbit statue, a nod to the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, stands guard near a clump of ornamental grass. Herbs cluster in an apothecary garden.And a couple of years ago, I created a fairy garden in a vintage wheelbarrow.

Other whimsical touches in my garden include playful art such as the large butterfly, a bistro table and chairs and various candle holders. Special note, only place candles in fire safe items such as metal buckets or votive holders. I love sprinkling candle light throughout my garden by using candle holders from the garden and house. Soon I’ll have twinkling white lights in the garden too.

Whimsy is a state of being as well. When I’m whimsical I enjoy tea parties in the garden, make a bohemian tent to color in, stargaze or appreciate a crackling fire in the fire pit.

Add whimsy with these suggestions:

  • candle holders
  • gazing balls/birdbaths/bird feeders
  • fairy garden/miniature garden
  • child’s garden/vintage toys/lawn games such as croquet, badminton or corn hole
  • playful statues/garden gnomes
  • playground equipment/playhouse/treehouse
  • garden swing
  • bistro table and chairs
  • wind chimes
  • unusual plants/flowers
  • apothecary garden
  • secret garden
  • hammock
  • koi pond/zen garden
  • maze/labyrinth
Fairy Garden
Six ways to personalize your garden – whimsical fairy garden

Tell Your Stories

Your garden, as an extension of who you are, tells your stories. What stories will you include in your garden? One of my favorites is the pair of metal cranes near my contemplative corner. Read their amazing tale HERE.

These cranes tell part of my Scottish story. I christened them with Scottish names. Every time I look at those graceful birds, I think of Thirlestane Castle, in Lauder, Scotland, home of my ancestors.

The natural wildness of my garden reflects who I am, as does the candle light, the vintage brick patio and the many metal pieces scattered throughout the space. They all contribute to the telling of my tale. They all share aspects of who I am. I love that I can accomplish that with my garden. You can too.

Add these elements to help tell your story:

  • garden style…formal, semi-formal, natural, wild, modern, vintage, eclectic, flowers, herbs, trees, vegetables, fruits
  • lights/candles
  • fabrics/tents/hammocks/pillows/cushions
  • statues/art/whimsy
  • family pieces/memorials/ancestry
  • colors/textures
  • wildlife/pets/koi
  • structures/outdoor rooms/kitchen/she shed/outdoor office/he shed/play area
  • water/sand/grasses/rocks/trees
  • music/art/inspirational signs
  • outdoor furniture
Six Ways to Personalize Your Garden - candlelight
Six ways to personalize your garden – tell your stories. The cranes, the candles, the metal containers…they all tell parts of my story.

Fresh Ideas

I hope these six ways to personalize your garden sparked fresh ideas. The garden is such a personal space. Make it completely yours.

If your garden area is tiny, find creative ways to fill it. After the Joplin tornado in 2011, I lived in an upstairs apartment for two years. My “garden” was a 3’X4′ balcony. An assortment of flowers and plants thrived on that balcony and brought me immense joy.

And that is the greatest benefit from gardening and allowing creativity free reign…joy. Oh the herbs and veggies and flowers are wonderful. However, it is the whole experience that blisses me out.

What stories will you tell, in your garden? What will you create there?

Whimsy in the Garden
Six ways to personalize your garden – whimsical rabbit

Check out these gardening finds, from Amazon:

 


 

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Smartr Skin

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Thank you to Smartr Skin for sending me product for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

 

My skin care routine is very simple. I eat a healthy diet and drink lots of water and herbal teas, knowing skin care begins from within. I clean my face twice a day with a Norwex microfiber cloth and warm water. And for years I’ve used a face serum that I make myself, from coconut oil, essential oils, vitamin E and raw organic honey.

So when Smartr Skin contacted me, about trying two of their skin care products, I did my research before saying yes. I immediately appreciated that their products are vegan, cruelty free and paraban and phthalate free as well. Plus, the inclusion of natural ingredients impressed me.

I received Smartr Skin Eye Treament and the Moisturizer. After trying them for several weeks, these are my results and my honest opinion.

Smartr Skin title meme

A Better Idea for Skin Care

Smartr Skin is a physician created line of skin care products. The company embraces a whole-person view of health. They believe that feeling healthy and confident is a result of caring for the whole self…body, mind and spirit.

They also believe that smarter, higher quality ingredients lead to better results. Therefore, they’ve created custom formulations from clean ingredients that nourish the skin, from the inside out.

Smartr Skin cruelty free products
Smartr Skin cruelty free products. Graphic from company website.

Smartr Skin Eye Treatment

This lightweight, deionized water based lotion absorbs easily and quickly into the delicate skin in the eye area. A small drop goes a long way, without leaving behind a greasy residue.

The lotion is unscented and rich with superior anti-aging ingredients such as aloe vera gel, hydrolyzed rice bran protein, and extracts of grape, cucumber, pineapple, passion flower and lemon.

Use Smartr Skin Eye Treatment morning and evening to minimize the appearance of dark circles, puffy bags and wrinkles beneath the eyes. This silky formula firms and lifts, while helping fresh new skin cells to form.

Smartr Skin Begins with Eye Treatment
Smartr Skin begins with Eye Treatment

My Results Using Smartr Skin Eye Treatment

As a teen I first began paying special attention to the delicate under eye area. Over the years, I’ve used a variety of lotions and serums. This area around the eyes is the first to show signs of aging. My desire is to age gracefully. However, taking excellent care of my skin is important to me as well.

I’m finding, I can do both!

I love the Smartr Skin Eye Treatment. The lotion smooths easily onto the under eye area and the lids. A small amount covers the lids and under eye area and I smooth the remainder over my forehead.

This luscious treatment firms and smooths the skin. I can see and feel the difference . My skin feels soft and yet toned, and drinks this lotion up.

Smartr Skin Eye Treatment
Smoothing on a drop of Smartr Skin Eye Treatment. No makeup yet.

Smartr Skin Moisturizer

This gentle, rich formula hydrates the skin, locking in moisture for a healthy, glowing complexion without clogging pores. Great for all skin types, the moisturizer repairs sunspots, eases dry patches and minimizes the appearance of wrinkles, crow’s feet and fine lines.

The superior ingredients in Smartr Skin Moisturizer include sweet almond oil, hydrolyzed wheat protein, aloe vera gel, and extracts of avocado, carrot root, cucumber, ginseng root and linden tree leaf.

Use the moisturizer morning and evening on the entire face, neck and chest to improve skin’s ability to retain moisture, and to reduce inflammation and protect from free radicals.

Smartr Skin Moisturizer
Hydrate with Smartr Skin Moisturizer.

My Results Using Smartr Skin Moisturizer

I appreciate the moisturizer as well as the eye treatment. The lotion is so creamy and lightweight, absorbing quickly into the skin.

My routine the last few weeks is to clean and gently dry my skin and then apply the eye treatment around my eyes and upward onto my forehead. As it absorbs I brush my teeth and get ready for bed or for the day, depending on whether it is evening or morning. I then smooth on a small amount of moisturizer, paying attention to my cheeks and the skin around my mouth. Any remaining lotion goes on my neck and upper chest.

I still use my homemade serum on my lips. To give the Smartr Skin products a fair try, I have not used my serum otherwise. Honestly, I love how my skin looks and feels, using these amazing products. My complexion seems clearer and brighter and my skin is more toned and resilient. And I’m grateful for the natural ingredients and the cruelty free practices.

Not only do I intend to keep using these two products, I want to try more of the Smartr Skin line, including the Vitamin C Serum and the Jade Roller for the Face.

The skin is the body’s largest organ…and often the most neglected. If healthy skin is important to you, like it is to me, check out the Smartr Skin products, for men and for women, on their website HERE. Use my discount code CINDYM20OFF to save 20% off your order!

Smartr Skin Healthier Skin
Smartr Skin means healthier skin. Both products used and a small amount of BOOM makeup applied.

Pick up the Trio Bundle

This bundle includes Vitamin C Serum, Moisturizer and Eye Treatment, for a special sale price!

And Smartr Skin products are available on Amazon as well. Check out the Jade Roller here.

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and Smartr Skin. These affiliate programs provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees, all at no extra cost to you.

 

Blogger Recognition Award

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Recently both of my blogs, Cindy Goes Beyond and Journey With Healthy Me, received the Blogger Recognition Award. For fun…at least it seemed like a good idea at the time…I’m posting simultaneously in both blogs!

You can check out the award for Journey HERE.

The Blogger Recognition Award is presented to bloggers by their peers to recognize their efforts to add value to the blogging community.

Blogger Recognition Award title meme

Thank you to Esme with Esme Salon

Beyond received the Blogger Recognition Award from Esme, with Esme Salon. Esme is an amazing blogger, friend and encourager. She loves to cook and share her recipes. And she offers wisdom to bloggers through her blog and her Facebook page, Sharing, Inspiring, Promoting Bloggers.

Thank you Esme, for passing this award on to Beyond and for all the knowledge and inspiration that you so freely and willingly share with others, including me. I appreciate you!

The Rules for the Blogger Recognition Award

Yes, you know there are rules! Here they are:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to her/his blog.
  2. Write a post to show your award.
  3. Give a brief story about how your blog started.
  4. Offer two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  5. Select up to 15 bloggers to pass the award on to.
  6. Link to each of the nominated blogs.

Blogger Recognition Award cover photo

How Cindy Goes Beyond Began

Beyond began in 2014 as a way to document a Year of Firsts. I adopted the idea created by Lu Ann Cahn, who rebooted her life by trying something new every day for a year. My intention to write daily failed initially. When I realized I needed a purpose to connect my writing to, Lu Ann’s book, I Dare Me, came into my awareness and provided that purpose. The blog launched.

That first year of blogging changed my life. I loved the return to writing, a passion I’d had since childhood. Doors opened, opportunities arrived, the blog flourished.

As my life shifted and grew, Cindy Goes Beyond evolved as well. Initially called Going Beyond, I relaunched the blog in 2017 on WordPress’s paid site, under its current name, greatly extending the reach and the possibilities. Check out this post for more about how my blog has shifted and expanded over the last six years.

The purpose of Beyond now is to encourage others to live life beyond the edges of fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs. Each year a different theme guides me, incorporating a word for the year and a symbol. I offer tips on gardening, travel and life, and reviews on films, books and products.

Blogger Recognition Award life

Advice to New Bloggers

Blogging is a learning journey. My first piece of advice is to not journey alone. Connect with other bloggers. Find groups to join on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram. Bloggers encourage each other and offer amazing support. Start by joining Esme’s group on Facebook.

And set your blog up, from the beginning, to earn money. Blogging isn’t about the money. It’s about helping others and fulfilling your own purpose in the world. However, there are many ways to earn income from your blog. Begin it the right way, so that when you are ready to monetize, you can.

I highly recommend Heather and Pete Reese’s courses. The 5 Day Crash Course is free. And for all the right ways to begin blogging and monetize later, take their Blogging Blastoff 2.0 paid course. I’m an affiliate for both, and may make a commission if you purchase Blogging Blastoff, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I love, and I’m still learning from these courses. They are excellent.

My second bit of advice is to set up a blogging schedule and follow it. I plan out blog posts and social media shares 30 days in advance and adhere to that schedule. This simple practice saves me time and keeps me focused.

My Nominations for the Blogger Recognition Award

Because I’m posting about the award on both blogs, I’m dividing my list of nominees. Check out these five bloggers and their blogs, nominated by Cindy Goes Beyond:

Holly, with Holly’s Bird Nest, is a life coach, mentor and author, offering insight and wisdom on a variety of topics.

Adrienne, with Not Even Hot Just a Mess, encourages others on her health and lifestyle blog, so that no one feels like they are journeying alone.

Stephanie, with A Red Haired Girl, is a wife, mom and former teacher sharing about life and all its ups and downs.

Maya, with Stirring My Spicy Soul, writes a lifestyle and food blog and believes that home cooked meals don’t have to be boring.

Heather, with Life at My Own Pace, is an attorney, online health and fitness coach and runner who loves traveling and self discovery.

Blogger Recognition Award

The Book that Launched My Blogging Career. Click on photo to order.

 

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

Dropping Keys

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A poem by 14th century Persian poet, Hafiz, snagged my attention recently. Known as “Dropping Keys”, the poem initially halted my scrolling because of the imagery. The key is my symbol for the year, a visual representation of how curiosity unlocks doors. Whenever I see my symbol, it is an energetic tap on the shoulder to pay attention to something important.

While the original wording uses the masculine pronoun throughout the poem, the version I saw used the feminine instead, which resonated deeply with me.

Below is the short poem, Dropping Keys, and the unpacking of my thoughts about it.

Dropping Keys title meme

Dropping Keys Poem

The small woman

Builds cages for everyone

She knows,

While the Sage,

Who has to duck her head

When the moon is low,

Keeps dropping keys all night long

For the

Beautiful

Rowdy

Prisoners.

Hafiz

Those powerful words make my heart beat a little faster, every time I read them. An increased heart rate is another aspect of my personal guidance system that brings my attention to something significant. I’ve sat with this poem for several weeks, reading it daily and allowing it to speak to me.

Here is the unpacking of the meaning, for me. Perhaps the poem will connect with you as well.

Living Small Lives

The small woman builds cages for everyone she knows.

The person living small, male or female, is one who attempts to control life and others. Fear and lack of trust keep her vision blindered and her breath shallow. She can’t see that beyond the fear and distrust there is a bigger perspective, a bigger life, available.

Thus the small woman attempts to control life as best she can. To make it more manageable, she builds cages for everyone she knows. Putting people into cages isolates them, undermines their abilities and reduces their impact. It’s an attempt to keep others small, for the small person wants people to be like her.

One of the most common ways to cage another is to belittle them. Have you thought about where that word comes from? Belittle…be little…means to make someone seem small and unimportant. It’s a word Thomas Jefferson coined, that originally meant to “diminish in size”.

The small woman, or man, belittles another with labeling, manipulation and imposed limitations.

“You are too much…too stupid…not attractive enough.” “I want you to remain quiet…to please me…to learn to fit in.” “You can’t do that…you aren’t capable…you don’t belong.”

Dropping Keys cage
Dropping keys…to the caged

Living in Cages

We might grow accustomed to living in cages, for a time. There is a false sense of security there. However, whether another cages us or we build those cages ourselves, the end result is that we stop growing. The outside world keeps going while time slows down for the imprisoned.

We aren’t meant to live small, caged lives. Eventually the spirit rebels against the constraints, the smallness, and yearns for a bigger existence. Rowdiness overcomes us.

I love that word. Rowdy is a noisy and disorderly desire to overthrow restraints. Rowdiness is the soul flexing, readying itself for growth. That restlessness we see in zoo or circus animals, as they pace back and forth in their cages? That’s what the caged soul begins to do, pace in restlessness as it seeks a way out.

Rowdiness questions, tests boundaries and pushes against the smallness. The beautiful rowdy prisoner watches for a key to drop.

Dropping Keys of freedom
Dropping keys…of freedom

Freedom to Live a Bigger Life

I know what living in a cage feels like. By choice, I remained in one for many years. Fear formed the bars of my cage as I allowed others to say how I would live and what I would do or would not do. I lost my voice and my smallness nearly made me invisible.

How grateful I am, for the rowdiness that crept in as my soul bumped against the edges of beyond. How thankful I am, for the keys that dropped to me.

Authors, speakers, films, music, ordinary people living extraordinary lives…all dropped keys to me. What I found, as I at last stepped to the door of my cage, keys in hand, is that the door was never locked. The keys opened up my soul, rather than the cage. They helped me recognize the fear guarding my door. Once I named my fear and overcame it, the cage collapsed. It could not contain me any longer.

The beauty of leaving the cage is that growth happens immediately. And that growth continues, as long as we remain aware of the callings within us. We can’t return to that cage, ever. We’ve outgrown it. We don’t fit anymore.

Dropping Keys unlocked door
Dropping keys…the door was never locked.

Becoming the Sage

While the Sage, who has to duck her head when the moon is low, keeps dropping keys all night long for the beautiful, rowdy prisoners.

In contrast to the small woman who cages, the sage frees those beautiful rowdy prisoners.

A sage is one who gains wisdom through reflection and experience. She’s lived enough life to figure out who she is and why she is here, and she’s busted out of that cage that kept her small.

The sage grows, sees with a bigger perspective and lives in an expansive way. She’s found her voice, found her purpose, discovered her passions and banished her fears. The sage doesn’t care what others think of her or say about her, and she never, ever allows another to cage her again.

As she journeys, the sage drops keys of freedom by fully existing as her wild, raw and beautiful self, showing the caged that life is so much bigger than that which constrains them. She uses her voice and creates art, music, poems, books, blog posts and films that stir the soul into rowdiness.

She is unapologetic about who she is and where she is going. Is she perfect? No, she is still growing and learning and following curiosity. But she is free. And that spirit of freedom is contagious. It too, is a key.

This is Your Key

If life feels small to you…if your soul is stirring and longing for something bigger to embrace…consider this post your key. The door to the cage isn’t locked…however, grasping the key gives you hope to hold on to as it propels you beyond.

I’ve realized recently that the whole concept of “going beyond”, that I’ve been given, is part of my purpose here on earth. I’m called to go beyond, and in doing so, I’m instructed to take others with me. Or rather, I’m called to set others free, so they can find their own way beyond…fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs. Go and live a big life, as the one you are created to be.

Does this make me a sage? Maybe. It is a role that is new to me and yet one I’ve been journeying toward for a while. Journey now with me, for as long as you want. There is a big, wide existence for all of us to explore and experience.

Dropping Keys sage
Dropping keys…a sage in a tartan.

Check out this cool book from Amazon:

 

Click on photo to order book.

 

 

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Wearing the Maitland Tartan

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April is Scottish American Heritage month. And connected to this month long awareness of Scottish ancestry is National Tartan Day. Celebrated annually on April 6th, this day encourages the wearing of the plaid as a way to publicly proclaim one’s Scottish roots.

I happily celebrate this day yearly, with the wearing of tartan. However, this is the first year I’ve enjoyed wearing the Maitland tartan. Because the Maitland tartan is private, it can only be purchased by clan members. I’m a member of the clan, however I had not yet  purchased the official tartan.

That changed last summer. My sister Debbie and I attended our first Maitland Clan Gathering in Scotland. We met our Clan Chief and Scottish kin, who gathered from around the world. When Debbie and I flew home, after a delightful 10 days spent in Edinburgh and the Borders, we carried Maitland tartan sashes and scarves and clan badges with us.

Wearing the Maitland Tartan title meme

The Origin of the Tartan

A tartan is a cloth, originally made of wool, woven in a pattern of colors. Long associated with the Highlanders of Scotland, the early tartans were simple plaid designs of two or three colors. The colors came from dye-producing plants, roots, berries and trees local to specific geographic areas. These simple plaids, worn by the people in the districts where they were made, became the area or clan tartans.

As clans grew, tartans evolved. New clans added additional stripes onto the basic patterns of parent clans. After the Battle of Culloden in 1746, an act of Parliament passed in London, making the carrying of weapons and the wearing of tartans a penal offense. After the act was repealed in 1785, most Highlanders had lost the desire to wear their clan tartans and many of the original patterns were lost. The wearing of the tartans revived in 1822.

Today all Scottish clan tartans are registered through the Registers at Lyon Court.

Pipers wearing their tartans
Pipers on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, wearing their tartans.
Wearing the Maitland Tartan Clan
Wearing the Maitland Tartan – Clan Gathering in Edinburgh Scotland, July 2019

The Maitland Tartan

The Maitlands, a Scottish Borders family, settled in the valley of Lauder after originating from Normandy. What a pleasure to hear my Chief, Ian the 18th Earl of Lauderdale, tell the story last summer of how the Maitland tartan came into existence.

When Queen Elizabeth came through Edinburgh in 1953, after her coronation, the 16th Earl of Lauderdale performed the role of Hereditary Bearer for the Sovereign of the National Flag of Scotland.

Authorities agreed the Bearer of the Flag should appear in tartan, however at that time, the Maitlands did not have one. Lord Lyon, after reviewing the situation, proclaimed that although the Maitlands were Lowlanders, it was fully proper for them to wear tartan.

Lyon suggested a modification of the accepted Lauder tartan since the Maitland Chief was also Earl of Lauderdale. He proposed bordering Lauder’s thin red line on either side with two yellow lines to represent the colors of the lion on the Maitland coat of arms.

And so the Maitland tartan came into existence and was registered. Only those recognized by the Chief may wear it. As a card carrying Maitland Clan member, I am allowed to purchase and wear the tartan and the clan badge as a show of loyalty to my Chief.

Clan Maitland Tartan and Badge
Wearing the Maitland Tartan – plaid and badge
Wearing the Maitland Tartan sisters
Wearing the Maitland Tartan – Scottish sisters

National Tartan Day 2020

What an honor today, to declare my Scottish heritage through wearing the Maitland tartan. Even though I never left the borders of my yard, I enjoyed wrapping myself in my tartan and taking photos outside in the garden.

I feel the powerful connection today to my Scottish ancestry and to the kinsmen I met last summer. And my heart is turned toward Scotland for another reason. Over the weekend, clan members learned of the passing of the Chief’s wife, the lovely Lady Ann, Countess of Lauderdale.

I only met Lady Ann last July. However, I loved her sweet and gentle spirit. I am both grateful that I met her and sad that I’ll not see her again. Ian told us repeatedly last summer that clan means family and that we are all kin, scattered though we are throughout the world. His kinsmen surround him and his children and grandchildren with love, from afar. Our thoughts are with them all during this time.

My intention to return to Scotland in December, for the Christmas Market, is on hold. With the pandemic causing many changes around the world, traveling internationally may not occur for a while.

So today felt even more special, more important. I wore the Maitland tartan for Scotland, for Lady Ann, for my kinsmen and my Chief. And I wore the tartan for myself as a visual declaration that I am a Scotswoman, fiercely proud of my Scottish ancestry.

That tartan is a promise as well. I will return, to Scotland, to my ancestral home.

Wearing the Maitland Tartan 2020
Wearing the Maitland Tartan – National Tartan Day 2020

Check out these books about Scottish clans and tartans:

 


 

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Decorating for Easter with Vintage Pieces and Decocrated

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This is a paid affiliate partnership with Decocrated. All opinions are my own.

In spite of unique and challenging life circumstances, the spring season is well underway. And with the month of April comes the holiday that celebrates rebirth and newness of life. I took time today to shift my spring vignettes. Following that old adage, something old and something new, I freshened my spaces for Easter.

Check out how the following areas transitioned, decorating for Easter with vintage pieces and Decocrated.

Decorating for Easter with Vintage Pieces and Decocrated title meme

The Dining Room Table

I have a small round dining table that is never used for meals. Instead, the cheerful little table holds various vignettes throughout the year. I walk by that table multiples times a day and the decor there brightens the room and my heart.

For Easter, I created a simple table setting. On a neutral woven runner, Easter themed plates anchored either end. My favorite wire cloches cover yellow ceramic baskets filled with artificial speckled eggs.

In the middle of the table rests my vintage wooden sieve. It makes a great container to create vignettes within. The black metal lantern from Decocrated is the focal piece. While at the grocery store today, stocking up on what I could, I saw a beautiful display of potted hydgrangeas. I love how even in the midst of grocery scarcity and concern about a pandemic, beauty can pierce the heart. Two of those small potted plants went into my basket. The light blue hydrangea rests within the lantern.

Vintage Easter

I switched out the Decocrated print in the 5X7 frame to another included in the spring box. It proclaims, “Love every little thing you do”. Spring flowers surround the words, creating a charming print.

The vintage pieces I added are from my mother-in-law’s Easter collection. the little chick egg holder, unknown age but at least 40 years old, holds a pale blue speckled egg. And Mom Moore made the cute ceramic bunny in 1961, making him almost 60 years old.

This Easter vignette makes me smile and reminds me of my sweet mother-in-law, who passed away 21 years ago.

Decorating for Easter with Vintage Pieces and Decocrated table
Decorating for Easter with vintage pieces and Decocrated – dining room table

Shelf Top

Also in the dining room is the bookcase that holds decor rather than books. The top shelf changes seasonally and the whole bookcase gets a makeover at Christmas time.

The wood and wire box, stood on its side, remains, along with the trio of ceramic trees from the Decocrated winter box. Tucked into the box is a spring candle ring layered behind a pink ceramic pot filled with more speckled eggs.

On the other end of the shelf, the Decocrated spring print, by artist Kelly Merkur, shares space with a vintage brass basket holding those adorable speckled eggs and one of the gold canisters from the Decocrated spring tabletop set. Beneath these vignettes is the pillow cover from the winter box, flipped to the rose colored side.

Decorating for Easter with Vintage Pieces and Decocrated shelf top
Decorating for Easter with vintage pieces and Decocrated – shelf top

Entry Table

And finally, the little chippy entry table transitioned into Easter as well.

Top Shelf

The gold tabletop set remains, however everything else changed. Covering the table is a hooked runner, created by my cousin Mindy, who journeyed on to heaven in 2015. Atop the runner is the tray from the Decocrated winter box. It holds the gold set with artificial flowers and a small white candle. And the second hydrangea that I purchased, in a delicate peachy pink color, takes up the other corner of the tray. Nestled against the base of the plant is a vintage ceramic bunny, sporting a spring wreath around its neck.

I love the cozy warmth of this vignette.

Decorating for Easter with Vintage Pieces and Decocrated tabletop
Decorating for Easter with Vintage Pieces and Decocrated – tabletop

Lower Shelf

On the table shelf below, the sign from the winter box remains, now keeping company with two vintage pieces, a bunny shaped bell and bunny candle holder. And the gorgeous plate that completes the vignette only comes out of safekeeping for a brief time in the spring. On the back of the plate important information tells a sweet love story. Walter Davidson, Greg’s grandfather, gave the plate to his future bride, Ada, shortly before their wedding in 1905. In fact, it was the first gift he ever gave her.

How that plate survived over the years, and through many, many moves, is beyond me. I am grateful to have it and very careful with it.

Easter Vignettes lower shelf
Decorating for Easter with Vintage Pieces and Decocrated – lower shelf

The Decocrated Spring Box

It’s not too late to create spring or Easter vignettes, using your own decor pieces and Decocrated. The boxes arrive four times a year, with the change of seasons. Each box is filled with six to eight wonderfully crafted pieces that mix well with any decorating style. (Read more about this subscription box company in this post.)

And best of all, the Decorated boxes come right to your front door. You too can create vignettes, that tell your unique stories.

Click this link for the Decocrated spring box, and use this discount code for 10% off the price of your first box: CINDYLAUDERDALEMOORE10 or code CINDYLAUDERDALEMOORE30 for 30% off a yearly subscription.

During this time of uncertainty and sheltering in place at home, I love creating these visual reminders that spring brings the hope of renewal and the promise of new life. That’s the story I want told in my house.

Angel the Cat
Angel looks at me like, “Really, Mom? Decorating again?”

 

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.