I was lately browsing through the archives over at Heartfire at Home when I found a post that got me thinking (that happens to me more often with Linda's posts): if you could take only 5 things from your home, what would they be?
Oh dear. Tricky one that.
When I bought my new apartment this spring, I knew I had to start ruthlessly decluttering. Ruthlessly. Not only because I'd have less space to hide my stuff in (note the keyword HIDE), but also - and mainly - because it was time to let go of the old. It was quite a task. A Herculean labour even - but without the smell of cow shit. I managed in the end though. Which means that the vast majority of the stuff I've got left - still quite a few bits and bobs - are things I really love. And would therefore much prefer to keep.
Hm. But what if I really HAD TO choose?
This is really hard. Well, there are my two loved-to-death old teddy bears (I don't still sleep with them, no). So I'd probably grab hold of those instinctively in case of a calamity. And then there's all my paperback or leather-bound friends. How would I ever be able to choose from those beloved treasures? But I suppose, if I really had to... I'd probably go for some of my hard-to-replace old loves. I'm obviously counting 'a couple of books' as one item here. Just as my teddies are one item. Alright? And some special mementos like cards and photos and other small pieces I could put into one big envelope or a small box so that'd be just the one thing too (she says in a tone that makes it clear she won't not suffer any objections).
But then it gets really tricky. So many of my other treasures are hard to carry. I can't see myself run outside with hands full of asian ceramics or my collection of tea pots (yes, I have a 'thing' for tea pots - and tea as a beverage obviously). I suppose I could wrap myself artistically in one of my much loved Designers Guild throws that are the epitome of cosy gorgeousness to me (maybe it's a good thing they cost an arm and a leg or I'd get me a new one every week rather than once in a blue moon - when I think I REALLY deserve to splurge). As for my long-coveted fire place: I wouldn't be able to move it one inch let alone get it out of the house. And no matter how happy I am to have it - it's still 'just an object'.
So I walked around my apartment and wondered what really lifts my spirit when I look at it. And won't give me a hernia as I try to haul it out of the house.
After a quick browse I had my answer. I'd go for the paper-cut art that I found in a tiny shop at Greenwich Market in London, called Paper Moon. It's run by a lovely Chinese couple of which Wei, the female half, is the artist. She makes the most gorgeous Chinese folk art: paper-cuts, using just scissors and sculptural knives. The level of detail is astounding. I'd have been ready for a mental institution after just trying to do one tiny perfect leaf or little person. With a notice on my door that says 'keep scissors away from patient at all times'. Every piece is priced in accordance with the number of hours it took to create it (most of my pieces took between 10 to 12 hours). And they're still very affordable.
I just adore those fairy-tale like images, they're like little stories that you can see something new in every time. Most of them look more Scandinavian to me than Chinese somehow. Oh, and I really love their meaning. Each piece represents a special kind of traditional 'blessing': good fortune, long life, love. What's not to love? They obviously make great presents too, as you're not only giving someone a pretty work of art, but in a way a symbolic blessing as well.
The photos don't really do them justice, but I thought I'd share them with you anyway.
Detail of 'Happy Life'
'Garden of Eden'
So yes, I'd go for these lovelies. They're super lightweight too, as I still haven't framed them. Hum. And of course they'd count as just the ONE item. I'm pretty sure my house will be home to several more of them before long though. Would have already had me some more if I hadn't been sure Ryanair would give me grief over several of the bigger items - that I therefore reluctantly left behind. My wallet gave a tiny squeak of relief. If you ever wonder what kind of present would say you really love me - get me their large white butterfly paper-cut. You don't even need to gift-wrap it. Be prepared to have to wake me from my swoon though. NOT with a bucket of cold water.
So that leaves me just one last thing to choose. Which is obviously going to be the large wheelbarrow I'll put in the storage room. That I can stuff with some cushions, books, tea pots, throws and some really special memento knick-knacks. Of course still only counting as ONE item.
Don't give me that look. What do you mean I don't quite get the meaning of the exercise?