My husband and I were walking up 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 my mind in all the other things I’ve been doing around the house. All it had in it was a flameless candle leftover from winter! But he knows I love my lantern and want to keep it full of seasonal things, so I was excited to make it look pretty.
I only had a few moments before my parents were arriving to visit for Mother’s Day, but I ran out to the backyard and clipped a few spring flowers. I had some little bud vases handy and got them in place with the flowers just as my parents drove up.
You know what my first thought was as I stepped back to admire them? Ah, it’s so pretty! But my second thought starts with: Oh dear, it’s actually not good enough. … I could do better if I used other vases and better flowers. I should rethink the candle and flower placement. I should’ve done more to it. I can’t show this to anyone else, they might think it’s not “Instagram worthy.”
That “second guessing” happens to me almost every time I create, even though I know better. I’m often so spontaneous and in the moment with my decor. I see flowers, I put them in a vase or a basket and step back to admire them. It makes me happy. Until someone (or myself) points out that I didn’t arrange them perfectly. Then I look at it more critically and realize, they are right. It’s true. It’s not perfect. I know I could do better. Any creative person could do better. Why didn’t I think it through? In fact, while I was at it, I should have decorated the whole porch?! Why didn’t I plan this project out? Why didn’t I set aside more time to make it better?
It’s a tug of war between how I am naturally (spontaneously finding joy in the moment or in creating) and what I tell myself I’m supposed to do (make everything perfect). I think this 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 we were told to wait for her to help us place them. Well, I didn’t wait. I was so inspired I designed it myself before she could get to me.
When she saw that my stencil placement wasn’t as perfectly lined up as she expected it to be, she scolded me and explained that’s why I was supposed to wait. She muttered something about fixing it for me as she wrote “Merry Christmas” on either side to apparently make it better.
Every time I see that mug I’m not sure how to feel. Instead of simply feeling proud that I was a design rebel in third grade and designed a very cute snowman mug, I see her handwriting across it and am reminded that my joy in creating wasn’t good enough for her. She had to “fix it”. I still have that design rebel inside of me, but now I also have the voice that second guesses whether it’s OK to make something imperfect and still feel it is beautiful.
Certainly careful attention to detail and perfection can be important at times, such as when designing a kitchen, for example! Learning to improve your art also can be fun and therapeutic!
But the lesson I’ve learned (and try to remind myself of often) is that 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 critique them or ourselves. And how sad life would be if we won’t create at all until we can do it “perfectly.” So as I’m reminding myself, don’t let perfection or fear hold you back from creating and enjoying beauty in your home this spring! Savor the simple things and let them be enough.
My own lantern is out of stuck, but here’s another wall hung lantern below you could get to have a similar look.
My lantern and the one above were designed to be hung on a wall, but you could also use a regular lantern and hang it on a lantern hook like this. If you don’t have somewhere to hang the hook, you can use a floor lantern hook like this one. I’ll share more similar sources at the end of this post!
Here are other simple ways I’ve decorated my lantern for the seasons:
Show me your lantern styling!
If you get a lantern and style it, I’d LOVE LOVE LOVE to see it! Tag me on social @theinspiredroom and/or post it in The Inspired Room Community Facebook group (it’s free!). I’d love to see your lanterns, ideas and inspiration all year round.
Want more lantern styling ideas? I shared lots of inspiration here!
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