when did NOT smiling become the norm?

An interior blog entry, this may not be. But inspirational? Possibly.

On three separate occasions over the past four days, I have had the phrase ‘It’s so nice to see such a smiling face’ directed at me. When did society stop smiling?

I haven’t exactly done in-depth research about this. It’s entirely based on observation – but it seems to me that we have forgotten what makes us smile. You might just think I am a walking cliche. I smile at strangers I pass in the street. I smile extra amounts at people who look extra grumpy. I smile when I see a beautiful sky or when I overhear a child say something incredibly but simply funny. I smile when I replay thoughts in my head. And I smile even when I am covering up a deeper sadness.

Just over three years ago, I moved away from home for the first time to University. And the impression I made? Well… I wore floral clothes, multi-coloured tights and skipped down the corridor. On the outside, I seemed so happy, always grinning and was able to easily find joy in something. Inside, it was one of the scariest things I did. Was I always happy? Definitely not. Actually, for the majority of those three years I was very unhappy. But what I realised is that there is always something to smile about. Even when life throws  bad things your way – no matter what it is – there will be some glimmer of happiness that finds it’s way through you, making the muscles on your face contort into that weird expression called, a smile. 

So why are so many people unable to do this? When you flash your pearly whites at a stranger and they don’t return the sentiment, is it because they are unable to? Or because they don’t like the look of you, or they think you’re a little weird for being so friendly to someone you don’t know? Are any of these even reasons not to smile? Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that everyone should smile at every person they ever meet – sometimes it’s just not the right situation or the appropriate moment. But I smile when I am inspired. And I think that the inability to smile at people sometimes indicates an inability to be inspired by those people.

The things that inspire me are also the things that make me smile. And people are a huge part of that.

How about next time you’re out and about on your own – take a note of the things that prompt you to flash a grin. And see if those things leave a lasting impression on your mind…

If the world keeps on smiling, it will keep inspiration alive and the creative juices flowing. As a result, there will be much more to smile about.

It might not be a proven hypothesis, but it’s my philosophy. After all, The World Always Looks Brighter From Behind A Smile….

Smile

photographs & memories

“I keep your picture by my bed, for when I’m feeling sad and I don’t know why I would be. The way your smile looks so real, I feel like I could start to understand your grace.”

Ok, so yes this quote is a love song – but it does relate to photographs in general.

Have you ever looked at a photo – one that captures a perfect memory – purely to be reminded of that moment? As though photographic evidence brings you closer to that time than replaying the memory in your mind does?

I do it all the time. The way a photograph can bring a smile to your face or a tear to your eye is kind of magical. We capture these occasions to enable us to treasure memories – whether the memories are of certain people in our lives, holidays we never want to forget, momentous occasions in our lives like taking our first step or getting married or even just to remind us of objects we used to have or homes we used to live in.

I love to look back at childhood photographs, looking not only at the people in them, but where they were taken and how much has changed since then. Photographs are like a pictorial journal through time, and they capture the things we don’t see ourselves at the time they were taken. Only when we look back do we notice every minute detail – and that is because we want to. We want to see everything because it helps us to better relive the moments in our minds. We want to see the texture of the carpet in the photo so that it helps us to better remember what it used to feel like, and as much as I adore black and white photography, we love to see the colours. To think that once, it was fashionable to have pale pink walls and brown velvet furniture in the living room and that it was more than OK to have a completely clashing outfit of every colour under the rainbow.

My grandma once said to me ‘you don’t remember sensible things’ when myself and my sister failed to recall what the roses in our front garden looked like the year before. This was obviously her being over dramatic, because she knows how much we treasure what we have, who we were and where we have come from. Because of this, I decided to start a collection of photos that I would entitle ‘You don’t remember sensible things’, an ironic title. Quite unoriginal, but personal. I love the idea of capturing objects in the family that mean a lot to us. So far, I have photographed my grandma’s engagement ring, and a small section of my dad’s china collection.. Next will be the family grandfather clock. Hugely iconic.

As the collection unfolds, I hope to have visual memories of the things I treasure and that mean a lot to the family. Whether or not anyone else understands or appreciates the idea behind this, I will finish it. The photographs will be instant links to the memories of things I am nostalgic for, and who knows, maybe one day they’ll bring a smile to my face or a tear to my eye.

So, how much do you truly see when you look at a photograph?

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poems & lyrics

It won’t come as a huge surprise to many of you, that I am one of those girls who wears their heart on their sleeve and isn’t afraid to cry at any moment just too beautiful for words.

In the past, I have stumbled across poems and songs that have triggered the salty teardrops and made a place in my personal library of thoughts, ready to be recalled at appropriate times. Now is one of those times.

I have been so inspired to design lately. I have ideas bubbling in my head for photographs, wallpaper, fabric patterns… and I think there is a place to put my favourite quotes into these designs.

Typography is getting quite big within the interior design world now. Statements can be made on walls, and single words can be placed in particular spaces to inspire the inhabitant’s creative mind – I want to take this a step further.

Think Sign

How great would it be to be surrounded visually by the things that truly inspire you or touch your heart? You could wake up in the morning ready to face the day as the quote you love the most greets your awakening.

Designing my current wallpaper range, I have discovered that you can create anything you want to and have it printed at really reasonable costs. So I am going to continue to design wallpaper for my personal enjoyment. My next challenge: to use typography and quote poems.

They might not be to everybody’s taste – but that’s the joy of designing your own. You get exactly what you like.

I’ll leave you with some of my favourite extracts. Some famous, some unknown.

“Together can never be close enough for me to feel like I am close enough to you. You wear white and I’ll wear out the words ‘I Love You'”

“I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart) I am never without it (anywhere I go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)

I fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) I want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true) and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you

Here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)”

“There are three things that last: faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love.”

“Beauty isn’t something that pleases the eye, but in some manner touches the soul”

“Today’s perfect woman knows she’s not perfect but tries anyway”

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So, I ask: What inspires you? And can you be creative with it?