Guilty of the Filler Things in Life

No, you did not misread the title. I did not intend to write “finer things.” I DID intend to write “filler things” which might be the opposite of finer things.

Something I read over at Teal and Lime blog a few months ago has been bugging me. It was a post about money management and how we actually might have the money for the more expensive things we want if the money weren’t being frittered away bit by bit. Frittered away on fillers. Fillers. That stuck with me.

What is a filler? My definition reflects my values and bias. My definition is, it’s a thing you buy to fill a spot on a shelf. It’s just a thing you buy to add some visual element like a color or a metallic touch. It doesn’t have much meaning to you other than that. It could be a cheap small $5 frame one month, then a small $9 frame the next month, and on and on. Until you have a busy collection of small inexpensive frames. But you could have had one powerful impactful large frame. If the money hadn’t been frittered away on the small stuff.

This post is just something to chew on. It doesn’t come with pictures, because I don’t want to choose a picture that offends somebody by showing what I think is a filler, but maybe you own that filler! And are proud of it. It’s okay – my house is full of fillers I’m proud of. But maybe, just maybe I should think more carefully before bringing more fillers into the house.

Maybe we should all choose things carefully so that we either love them for some other reason than filling a “hole” on a shelf, or they have a story or sentimental value. When you’re exposed to blogs, it’s really easy to start believing you need the fillers. Because a lot of stuff written about and photographed out there is, honestly, filler material.

I’m now thinking rather than just a mindless display of more stuff, what about things that have more meaning to us? What about the process of creating because we get joy from making something?

Some posts that got me thinking about fillers were Jackie from Teal and Lime’s posts about how much you should spend in your home and why she quit DIY. I wouldn’t quit all DIY, but some DIY I’ve intended to do for months and haven’t done yet is maybe a big fat message! As with buying things, the things we make should be aligned with a meaningful purpose that’s personal to us. I forget the majority of what I read online. There’s something to the fact that this point about wasting money, time and energy on fillers stuck in my mind.


Bhil Tribal Art

I discovered Bhil tribal art earlier this year when my husband and I found Sutra Gallery of fine art and textiles in Door County, Wisconsin. The owner, Abbey Box, spent a few years living in India and has now brought India’s art to the tippy-tip of northern Wisconsin. There’s a tribal art piece she has that every time I check her site, my heart skips a beat before I see it’s not yet marked “sold.” I don’t know what the artist’s original story was for her art, but I have my own meaningful story that fits it. It’s an important lesson to remember every day. I suppose that means that art is calling me. But it costs enough that I need to ask my husband about it, and might he say “no.” Anyway, I won’t tip my hand for now as to exactly which piece it is! Maybe I will get it and tell the story here. Visit Sutra Gallery online to see some excellent examples of Indian tribal art.

Tribal art from India seems to have been discovered. I’ve seen it on Saffronart and currently there are pieces for sale at Jaypore from the Bhil tribal community in central India. Their works show what they see and live with, mostly elements of nature like animals and trees. Although modern life is catching up with them, so you can now see automobiles and airplanes in their art!

Here’s a sample of their colorful style of art …

Tree-Bird Bhil Painting By Dubbu Bariya from Jaypore

Elephant Bhil Painting By Anil Bariya

Tree-Bird Bhil Painting By Dubbu Bariya

Bird-Cow Bhil Painting By Ramesh Bariya

Peacock-Bird Bhil Painting By Shanta Bhuriya

And finally, for today’s times:

Car-Men Bhil Painting By Ramesh Bariya

The works shown here are from Jaypore.

The style reminds me of Australian aboriginal art. This Bhil tribal art may look different than art you’re used to seeing. But don’t let that stop you from investing in something that draws you. As they say, “art shouldn’t match your sofa!”

Also you might notice price differences when shopping online. Some art may already be framed and others aren’t. Do check on that because good framing to protect art is not cheap and that can account for differences. And also obviously, some art is original and some are reproduced prints. It’s good to look carefully at what you are getting.

Suzani on Facebook

Real quick first: Sunday Oct. 12 is the deadline to enter a $75 gift card giveaway to! As of now there’s 145 entries between the blog and Facebook post so — unlike the Silhouette Cameo contests I’ve entered with 5,000 entries and nil chance of winning — here there’s still a decent chance! So go enter now if you’re interested.

Numerous times I’ve thought you have gotta see this Facebook page I’ve been following. Finally sharing! It’s The Little Silk Road Shop and if you like suzani, you will get a daily dose there. What I like about their page is they share behind-scenes peeks of actually doing the embroidering, they share antique photos of old Bukhara suzani ateliers, and their photos are always just delicious for the eyes.

Here’s a visual feast (and head over to The Little Silk Road Shop’s Facebook and follow if you want more helpings of photos like these!) …

How many of us work in gray or beige offices? What if our workplaces had a little more color like this?

The Little Silk Road Suzani Shop on Facebook

I love to see glimpses of the creative and making process. It’s a reminder of the obvious but overlooked, that these complex, intricate and laborious things don’t happen in the snap of a finger:

Facebook Page for The Little Silk Road Suzani Shop

One of those antique photos I mentioned:

Making Suzani

And there’s plenty of textile eye candy, like these photos of vintage suzani:

Vintage Suzani via The Little Silk Road Suzani Shop

Suzani Vintage from The Little Silk Road Suzani Shop

They show how people weave suzani into their homes:

Suzani Bed Covering

I love this idea of simply stretching it over a canvas for display. Hmmmm. This is giving me ideas for the bins full of textiles I’ve been hoarding at my house. Why keep them boxed up? Why not let them hang free and enjoyed, like this:

Suzani on Canvas as Wall Art

So that’s just a glimpse of what you’ll find. Head on over to The Little Silk Road Shop for more!

Not Your Usual Diwali Lanterns

Diwali is coming soon! This year it’s on October 23. It’s the Festival of Lights in India and more and more, it is celebrated worldwide. Little diyas, oil lamps and lanterns are used to cast the “light” of the festival around the world.

The Purple Turtles — a shop in Bangalore, India — has a unique twist for Diwali lanterns. Check these out:

Diwali Lanterns from The Purple Turtles Shop in Bangalore

Gorgeous when lit, they’re also decorative and unique when not lit:

Diwali Lanterns at The Purple Turtles Shop in Bangalore India

See more at The Purple Turtles.

It’s a Giveaway! Get $75 to Shop for Global Goods at

Edited to announce the winner:

Wow! Thank you to the 260 people who entered the giveaway for a $75 gift card from Novica! I’m happy to bring you the chance to win, and to introduce so many people to the global goodies at Novica. It was so fun reading what you would get, and the diversity of things you picked. I read every one! So … drummmmm rollllllllll please … let’s announce a winner …

I purposely didn’t use Rafflecopter and make you like me all over social media in order to enter. If you like what you see here, I figure you can see the big orange social media buttons up there to the right, and you can follow me wherever it works for you.

So I used the Random Number Generator to draw a random comment. I included comments on the giveaway post plus the 9 comments on a Facebook post (minus my 2 comments there) in time-stamped order submitted. Imagine the 9 Facebook comments folded into the 251 blog comments in time order, for a total of 260. So everything is ranked in the order that comments were submitted. Fair enough! So out of 260 total entries, here’s the winner:

Novica Giveaway Winning Number

Yay! Candie L.!

She has been notified and received her winning gift certificate, in time for holiday shopping!

This one’s for you! Do you feel a chill in the air lately and could use an extra $75 for a scarf or a throw? Maybe you’d like $75 to get some blingy earrings for the holidays? Novica has tens of thousands of products with global flair, and I have one $75 gift certificate for a lucky winner. You can use the certificate to get whatever you want! Spend it when Novica has a discount, as they often do, and this gift can stretch even further.

Giveaway for $75 to spend at

Novica sells items made by craftspeople from cultures around the world, direct from the artisans’ home country, including:

You can get jewelry, clothing and accessories for women or men, home decor and gifts organized by price level. They also have an extensive collection of paintings.

How to enter to win $75 from Novica:

Simply visit links above, then … 

Comment on this post telling us what you’d get if you won.

Comment by midnight eastern time on Sunday, Oct. 12.

On Monday, Oct. 13 I’ll do a random drawing from the comments and notify the winner via email with an electronic gift certificate. It might be the 13th but that will be a lucky day for somebody!

So when you comment, include your email in the private email field or your website address where I can find you. (Don’t put your email in the comment itself though unless you love spam!)

***If you get an error message when commenting here, head over to Facebook and comment on the giveaway post there! It’s pinned to the top of the page!***

Okay, ready to go for it? Scroll down or click here to comment! Thank you for following along here and good luck!

My Story of a Thai Spirit House

I’ve shopped Novica since their very early days about 15 years ago. They were one of the first online shops where you could “meet” the artisans who made what you bought. Internet shopping was new back then, and it truly felt like Novica brought the world to your doorstep. So they’ve been at this a long time. They’ve since grown in association with National Geographic to have products from cultures on many continents.

Novica allowed me to choose something to host this giveaway, and I found something I’ll treasure. During our trips to Thailand I admired the spirit houses, just like these that Novica offers:

Thai Spirit Houses from Novica and a $75 Giveaway

They’re like little replicas of wats, or Buddhist temples. People place them outside their homes. The spirit house is supposed to attract a good guardian spirit to live in it and protect the home from evil spirits. Sometimes I feel my home needs protection from the world – something more stylish than a Brinks or ADT sign!

So I chose the golden Lanna Temple — it’s handmade by Jaifah Aksornsri, an artisan in Thailand who has been making carved wood products for Novica for about 8 years.

Jaifah Aksornsri Artisan from Thailand

You can learn more about her and see all of her work for sale here. I was drawn to Jaifah’s work because it captures the style I loved most in Thailand. It’s clearly Thai design, but with a modern outlook that would fit in many homes around the world. Her guardian spirit house was the one for me. Here it is in our sunroom, which is full of teak furniture we found in Thailand, so it fits the style there:

Thai Spirit House from Novica

It came with gift wrap that was so carefully folded, it can be re-used for another gift or for crafts. And Novica always sends a little card with a story about the product and artisan.

Comment below with what you’d get from Novica if you win! 


The Queen of All Tassel Necklaces Now Available on Etsy

Last year I posted about tassel necklaces and there was one necklace in particular that was pinned like crazy. It was this one from Etsy shop Mimoza:

Tassel Necklace from Etsy Shop Mimoza

If you look carefully, it’s not one necklace exploding with tassels, but many necklaces together.

Today I noticed Mimoza now has a very similar tassel necklace available on Etsy! It is five chains in one necklace, loaded with tassels:

Mimoza Etsy Shop Tassel Necklace

Because this look was so popular, I figured people might want to know, you can get this now! It’s $88 and available at Mimoza on Etsy. I promise to not buy it so you have a chance to get it. :) But I am soooo tempted. I couldn’t wear this to work but it would be crazy fun to wear in India!

While you’re there, she also has smaller tassel necklaces in various colors like this one for $32:

Tassel Necklace from Mimoza on Etsy

As with many Etsy sellers, it looks like you can also request a custom order if you want certain colors or a different number of tassels.

Church Pews in Homes

Maybe I should have held this for Christmas or Easter instead of a regular ol’ day in early October post. But why hold back on a good thing. Years ago I thought one way to increase seating at our dining table from 4 to 6+ was to find an old church pew to put on one side. Recently church pews in homes again crossed my laptop screen, so I … actually I didn’t “Google.” I searched Pinterest. So that big prominent search bar on Pinterest is doing its job!

Here are examples of church pews in homes where the pews really look like they are at home, like they belong …

From ELLE Decoration in the UK:

Church Pews in Homes via ELLE Decoration

From Better Homes & Gardens, this antique pew has unusual features, and they paired those design details well with this mirror:

BH&G Church Pew in Entry

This shows that church pews are perfect for long narrow entry halls, via Atlanta Home & Lifestyles:

Church Pew in Entry Hall Atlanta Home & Lifestyles

Painted white, this pew blends well in this cottage-y country space, from Houzz. Painting all the same color is a great way to unify the mismatched furniture:

Cottage Country Dining Room with Church Pew via Houzz

In this showhouse shared at Houzz, the entryway has a bench that is perfectly balanced with the varied visual elements in this area. This also shows that the church pew look can work in more upscale spaces. I say “church pew look” because this bench is described as a built-in. So if you can’t find a pew in the right style and size you need, you could probably build a bench that looks like a pew, such as this one:

Church Pew in Entry Foyer via Houzz

Most of the time, when you see church pews in homes, they are in dining rooms, entryways or mudrooms. Sometimes you see them on covered porches. They’re best for areas where you sit for only a short time, such as to put on or remove shoes. They’re good for places where you’re not looking to curl up in super soft furniture, such as when you’re eating at the dining table. I grew up Catholic so I spent plenty of Sundays in church and, yes, you can sit in a pew for an hour at church. But why spend significant time sitting in one at home? I can’t imagine they’d be comfortable for sitting and watching TV! So this explains why there’s limited use for church pews in homes. But where they are used, they do serve a clear function.

I collected more images of pews in homes on a Pinterest board for you:

Follow Nomadic Decorator’s board Decor – Church Pews on Pinterest.

Urban Farmgirl recently posted a pew on Facebook and it brought the idea home because I’m also in Illinois. So I thought hmmmmm, maybe there’s one out there for our dining room, somewhere not too far away. Because something of this size, I’m not shipping it.

What do you think? Would you put a pew in your house?