MYour husband and I were walking to the porch the other day and he said, “you forgot to decorate your lantern for spring!” I was surprised he even noticed, but he was right! It had slipped me into all the other things I did around the house. All it contained was a flameless candle from winter! But he knows I love my lantern and want to keep it full of seasonal things, so I was happy to make it pretty.
I only had a few moments before my parents arrived for Mother’s Day, but I rushed into the back yard and cut a few spring flowers. I had a few small bud vases on hand and set them up with the flowers as my parents arrived.
Do you know what was my first thought as I retired to admire them? Ah, that’s so pretty! But my second thought begins with: Oh my God, that’s actually not good enough. … I could do better if I used other vases and better flowers. I should rethink the placement of candles and flowers. I should have done more. I can’t show this to anyone else, they might think it’s not “Instagram worthy”.
This “second hypothesis” happens to me almost every time I create, even though I know better. I am often so spontaneous and in the moment with my decoration. I see flowers, I put them in a vase or basket and I step back to admire them. It makes me happy. Until someone (or myself) pointed out that I didn’t arrange them perfectly. Then I look at it more critically and realize that they are right. That is true. It is not perfect. I know I could do better. Anyone who is creative could do better. Why haven’t I thought about it? In fact, while I was there I should have decorated the whole porch ?! Why haven’t I planned this project? Why haven’t I set aside more time to improve it?
It’s a standoff between what I am naturally (spontaneously finding joy in the moment or in creation) and what I tell myself I’m supposed to do (make everything perfect). I think it started when I was in third grade. I had a teacher I loved and that year she let us design our own Christmas mugs. We were all given the art supplies and stencils, but were told to wait for her to help us place them. Well, I didn’t wait. I was so inspired that I designed it myself before it could reach me.
When she saw that my stencil placement wasn’t as perfectly aligned as she expected, she scolded me and explained that I was supposed to wait. She whispered something about fixing it for me writing “Merry Christmas” on each side to seemingly make it better.
Every time I see this mug, I’m not sure how to feel. Instead of just feeling proud to be a design rebel in third grade and crafting a very cute snowman mug, I see his handwriting on it and remember that my joy in creating wasn’t enough. good for her. She had to “fix”. I still have this rebellious design inside of me, but now I also have the voice guessing if it’s OK to do something imperfect while still feeling it beautiful.
Certainly, careful attention to detail and perfection can sometimes be important, such as when designing a kitchen, for example! Learning to improve your art can also be fun and therapeutic!
But the lesson I’ve learned (and I try to remember it often) is that not everything you do or create doesn’t have to be perfect to bring joy and happiness. If everything we do has to be perfect, imagine how little joy we would find in living? It is a challenge to savor the simple pleasures in a creative experience when we feel we have to stop to criticize them or ourselves. And how sad life would be if we don’t create at all until we can do it “perfectly”. So, as I remember, don’t let perfection or fear stop you from creating and enjoying the beauty in your home this spring! Savor the simple things and let them be enough.
My own lantern is no longer stuck, but here is another lantern hanging on the wall below, you might have a similar look.
My lantern and the one above were designed to hang on the wall, but you can also use a regular lantern and hang it on a lantern hook like this. If you don’t have a place to hang the hook, you can use a floor lantern hook like this. I’ll share more similar sources at the end of this article!
Here are some other easy ways to decorate my lantern for the seasons:
Show me your lantern style!
If you get a lantern and style it, I would love to see it! Tag me on social media @theinspiredroom and / or post it in The Inspired Room Community Facebook group (it’s free!). I would love to see your lanterns, ideas and inspiration all year round.
Want more lantern style ideas? I have shared a lot of inspiration here!
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