Your Home as your Blank Canvas


Mosaic table is from the book, The Complete Book of Mosaics, by Emma Biggs and Tessa Hunkin. Call #738.5 BIG

You may not think of it this way, but when you choose furnishings for your home you are expressing your creativity. Your home is like your blank canvas, and every choice you make is like putting another daub of paint on your masterpiece. You can carry this a step further by actually creating or embellishing your home furnishings yourself.

Photo from "Handmade Lampshades" by Natalia Price-Cabrera. Call #746.09 PRI

Photo from the book, Handmade Lampshades by Natalia Price-Cabrera. Call #746.09 PRI

When I was a very young woman (oh so many moons ago…) and I moved into my first apartment, I remember my mother teaching me inexpensive ways to make my new place my home. We made curtains and pillows, and found inexpensive flea market items we could repaint and spruce up to add some character to an otherwise bland environment.

I still use many of the same ideas, and I also enjoy making seasonal changes to my environment. In the summer, I like to open things up with lighter colors and simpler furnishings. But in the fall, I bring out the warm colors and cozy fabrics. Each of these choices makes my home more mine as it expresses my creativity.

There are so many different ways to accomplish this! For example, my sister always has a wreath on her door. She makes a new one every season – sometimes even more often. Sometimes she uses a holiday theme – other times they are just seasonal.

Other ideas for adding that special touch might include:

  • building your own furniture
  • personalizing a lampshade
  • creating mosaics
  • placing interesting fabrics in frames or embroidery hoops
  • Add a row of pom-poms to the edges of towels
  • create a grouping of candles on a tray with stones and/or driftwood

There is really no limit to what you can do to create an environment that expresses who you are. The library has a great selection of books and videos to inspire you. Try browsing the Arts & Crafts Neighborhood in these call numbers:

  • nathan_furniture

    Photo from the book, Handmade Furniture, by Rafael Nathan. Call #729.21 NAT

    729.2 – Furniture

  • 738.5-6 – Mosaic/tiles
  • 745.549 – Recycled crafts
  • 745.723 – Painting furniture
  • 745.73 – Stenciling
  • 746.09 – Home decor (sewing)
  • 746.1422 – Rugs
  • 746.641 – Quilting
  • 748.5 – Stained Glass
  • 761-761.1 – Printing/stamping

I’ve also put together a list of some of my favorites:

Jill’s Faves for a Creative Home


Photo from the book, Christmas Details, by Mary Norden. Call #745.59412 NOR

During holiday seasons, you have a new opportunity for creative self-expression in your home.  You can bring this spirit to everything you do…decorations, gift wrapping, cooking. You can choose a specific theme – or just let your natural preferences guide you. I really love to bring nature indoors during the holidays. Lots of dried grasses, juniper branches (with those lovely blue berries), pine cones, bittersweet vines, etc.  But another look I love is using recycled and found objects to create your décor. Whatever you choose – the library has the resources to help.  Here is a list of my favorite holiday craft books:

Jill’s Handcrafted Holiday Faves

Now is a great time to get busy and create your masterpiece in your living space!

Jill Mickel is a Public Services Specialist and a member of the Arts and Crafts team. Her passions are art and community, and she believes that art is for everyone! When she is not at the library or working in her studio, she can be found gardening, cooking, reading, or bird-watching.