My Garden Retreat

My Garden Retreat
photo Gridley Graves for Country Living

The journey back

It started out like most of the conversations do when people tell me that they follow my website(blog).
I am always humbled and somewhat nervous!
I am so grateful that anyone cares to follow or read my little blog! It completely amazes me!

And then the conversation switched to "You lead such a fairytale life. It must be so nice!"
I cried all the way home from the grocery store!
I don't want anyone to think I have a perfect life.
It's hard...just like everyone else's.

I think it's time to clear a few things up and let you see my current circumstances.

Hold on my friends....this is not pretty!

I have been so overwhelmed lately.

We moved home...(upstairs at least)
I fell off the landing and hurt my lower back.
I caught a really bad cold.
I broke my pinky on my left hand.(I am left-handed)
And just this week....My hubby had a two day, excruciatingly painful procedure on his right hand
(yes, he's right handed)
The store where I work went through a total renovation.
And my home renovation turned 4 years and 6months.(Yeah, we have been under construction for nearly 5 years!)

I do not think I lead a fairytale life.

Until I got home.

And realized how blessed I really am.
God is always so good! He opened my eyes and made me take a look at just what He has given me.
With so much going on all over the world...I felt such guilt for feeling anything other than blessed.

I have been blessed with a gift. A talent to transform space into magical wonderful places. I don't only do this at the store but in the homes of my clients!
I have taught classes on design, living a creative life, living in small spaces and others; but I also teach
on how to get organized.

Showing you these pictures, is VERY HARD for me.
But I want you know. I have been there. I AM there.
I too have to deal with massive amounts of stuff.

And over the next few weeks...
I am going to get my life back.
Do you want to tag along?
I promise I won't ask you to lift heavy things or sort!

I just want you...My dear friends to know I too need to get my act together.
I am usually very organized. It's a little bit freaky sometimes!

This got away from me.
When we decided to move out the cottage in time to let my hubby have a place he could recover...
Away from my work...and the renovation downstairs!
A place where he could sleep a bit late and not have to raise or lower a Murphy Bed.
I allowed this to happen.
I started piling things in the cottage to get them out of the cracks and crevices they have been stored for nearly 5 years.
Out of the construction zone...and out of the basement.
I needed to see what I have.
And now...
It's time to deal with it.

While hubby is upstairs in our tiny new apartment...I will be transforming this...
All of this...

Into an amazing place for me to be creative!

My new Studio!

This will not be easy...If you have ever attended one of my classes you have heard me say these very words.
You also need to know that I don't believe you can have a truly beautiful home unless you deal with it.
(Something else you have heard me say)
I am not going to be hiding things in the closet and pray that it does not fall on my head
I am going to show you how I do this...for real. 

I want you to really is possible to have the life you have always dreamed of.
And how it really does begin with this step.
De cluttering your life.
I would love for you to join me on this journey!
Even if you do not need to get organized...I would love your support!

You, everyone of you who follow me here are my friends and your comments and support mean the world to me.
They keep me going and help me to focus.

So what do you think?
You up for a challenge?

I begin  posting tomorrow!


  1. The nice thing about blogland is we can take pictures from angles that make everything look so a magazine. The bad thing about blogs is that sometimes people see that and think that everything in our lives is like that. NONE of us have it like that! You should only share what you want....I am sorry that someone said something that felt hurtful. They probably didn't really mean it to be that way...You, me, we are all very blessed in so many ways, but you, me, we all have our struggles. I can't wait to follow you in your organizing and fixing up. Get it down real good now, and then maybe I will get my hidden area fixed up pretty too!!

  2. Oh Donna you fairy god mother you!! LOL. I figure a lot of us lead a fairytale life if we have enough food and clothes and a few pretties around us.

    It is easy to see how others live and though they may have a few more dollars than some of the rest of us {okay a LOT more dollars... lol.}...I am content.

    Yes, there are days when I wish the windows that need replacing badly were done and the room that needs insulation was done and on and on, but I am still SO THANKFUL for what I do have.

    God is so good and I can't wait to see your transformation!! I LOVE reality pictures...then I don't feel like such a messy person! HA!

  3. hahaha, you made me laugh, that looks just like my studio, it gets soooo messy, its just overwelming!!! people need to understand that blogging is our fairytale space to go to get away from real life and just play and have fun!!!

  4. If we are creative and busy and involved with our lives with friends and family and work, and kids, if any, then something has to suffer, whether it be a room, a kitchen or a garden. Of course it's not forever, but it seems that when we are at our most fragile, it looks like an insurmountable mess. We have our whole lives to clean pile at a time. I love you for being so real!!!

  5. Have to say there is some really nice stuff you get to DE-clutter..we all a room mine is my son's old room that I need to make into something other then a catch all room....I have a dresser i need to re-paint....been wanting to paint it for two years now.....and if you open it up you will find i hide all my paint supplies in it. can't wait to see what you do with the place...

  6. You go girl! My house at times looks like this too! I am currently going through everyroom and closet at my house and trying to get organized to I will enjoy following along on your journey!

  7. I am so on board with following along with you on this "adventure!" I've been trying to reorganize and simplify my home and life seriously for about a year now and it's such a rewarding feeling...there's so much more time now to do what's really important to me and my family...I've simplified everything from paying bills to grocery shopping. You'll get there and I'm sure there's so much to learn from you.
    I wish more people in the blogs I follow would show more of their "real" life. I'm guilty of this too but I have learned and gotten so much inspiration from seeing the pretty things. I don't believe for a minute that anyone has a fairy tale life-I sure don't-but I like to take the pretty side of what I see and try to incorporate that into my own life.
    So, I'm looking forward to seeing your mess and how you transform into something creative and beautiful!
    Sarah xo

  8. :)Hey...guess what?I still think you are a dear:)...& that you are normal!I see beauty {& think of something to do w/it} in most everything, so I tend to collect "stuff". I try to really deep clean/purge once a year & it feels so good!{I am in the middle of it now!} Messes are not ideal but lets face it..they are a part of life :){@ least that is what I tell myself right now w/ 2 little ones:)}
    Praying for you & your husbands recovery!
    Blessings my dear!

  9. Now is the point where I need to hit "follow" on all of the people above me...I want all of you to be my friends too!!The hardest thing about blogging is the camera angles, and the "fairytale" feel of so many of the blogs I follow. I've tried to keep it real on my blog. Life isn't pretty..most of the time! I applaud you for sharing your messes with the rest of us...who have messes too! I'm right there with you and following along, and can't wait to learn from you. My creativity is a gift...but it's also a mess...most of the time. :)

  10. Bless your heart Donna! I never once imagine myself in anyone elses shoes....I mean, who would want to wear someone else's shoes?! They end up not fitting right, giving you blisters, smelly (lol)etc.etc... It is much better to wear your own cozy, comfortable shoes :)
    Yes, I prefer to live in my own "real" life - crazy and mess as it may be, it is MY fairytale!

    I am ready to go on this "organizing" road trip with you!! I think we all have some spring cleaning to do :)


  11. People ask me all the time how do I keep my house so clean and neat. "It looks so pretty on your blog," they say.
    Um, they do not see the behind the scenes. Sometimes we just have to get it together no matter how difficult.

    Thanks for keeping it real!


  12. Doesn't that just drive you crazy? I had a friend stop being my friend because my life was "too perfect" People see what they want to see and then use the wrong terms like "fairy tale" and "perfect". We all have our own struggles.I so wish that when trying to give a compliment people would say things more like "You seem to lead a happy life" because really isn't that the best we can hope for?

  13. I totally love your blog, I totally love your decorating style, I totally love that you keep it "real"! I'm right there with you on the re-org - good luck! "Fairy tale" may be what your life seems like to her - it's all a matter of point of view - and I think it's great that you could see through different eyes when you got home and recognize that - warts and all - your life is a good one... Bless you and the hubster on your healing and your settling in!

  14. Some people are just nuts! I hear stuff all the time about how lucky I am that we do what we do for a living! Don't get me wrong, I love it! But it's the hardest nut bustin work I've ever done in my life! And it never ends!

    Don't worry my house doesn't look much better right now! Floors all torn up, furniture moved all over the place and all I want to do is get to painting so I can have my wood floors put down! Hey girl we can pull our hair out together! lol!

  15. How wonderful of you to let us see you and your home without the party dress on, that is what I call my home just after I have cleaned and the minute before my guests have arrived. Most of us do tend to show the pretty side of our home, projects and so forth because we believe that no one wants to see the mess that is in the other room or behind the doors. This just makes you even more real and makes me think, yes my office looks just like that room and I am going to be right beside you cleaning and organizing. Good luck to us both.

  16. I'm one of those who lives in rooms of chaos from time to time and when it gets too much, I sometimes run for my bedroom and crawl between the covers and hide and read and pretend it doesn't exist. And then later I find the strength to get up and start cleaning it up in one fell swoop. It makes me feel a little crazy! So I know how you feel! But then I tell myself I'm lucky to have a house to have chaos IN.

  17. I had to laugh when I read this. I give tips on organizing studios and there are times we all have huge messes to deal with for one reason or another. You confirm no one is alone in this. Thanks. I can't wait to follow your journey and especially to see the outcome! Check out my organizing blog sometime if you get a chance. Maybe you can give me some tips or share with my followers! Connie

  18. Of course we are not showing pictures of our dirty kitchens, full of dirty clothes laundry rooms, real life is not so pretty. I always liked to play pretend. I can read between the posts just fine.

  19. Am I ready - to go along on your journey? I can't wait! Thanks so much for being willing to share this...

  20. what a gem you are to share your journeys and those images with us. we do so appreciate the reality of it all! thanks for being in the trenches right along with us!


  21. I am so following you after I saw "the picture". The one of stuff everywhere!!! I so need to be organized...I've NEVER been organized!! Can't wait to try it out!!!!

  22. I'm up for the challenge and will de-clutter right beside you, friend. My craft room looks about like your space. Piles & piles of reminders that, although blessed, I don't have it altogether right now. I too am usually very organized and I short circuit at this type of thing. Thanks for your honesty and I think this is a wonderful and perfectly timed idea, Donna!


  23. gutsy post and i love that! most of us, me too, never show this side of of a great home. you go girl.



  24. I am so grateful for your honesty and I am definitely here to support you in your journey and to learn for my own struggles of being a serious pack rat...not hoarder :o) This is such a wonderful opportunity for each of us who follow you in blogland. Blessings to you my dear...

  25. I'm so happy to see those pictures! I sometimes feel like such a failure because I tend to let my creative messes get away from me. I'll be following along looking for helpful tips.

  26. Hey, you're human just like the rest of us!! I'll be following you. Just today I had to start (didn't finish) cleaning up my studio which is buried in project after project. I think I have A.D.D. We'll help each other.
    One day at a time. God never gives us more than we can handle.

  27. You betcha! I am so with you...I need this...since getting in the *antique business* I have struggled with the excess...I have decided to take back my home and my life...I've been going at it since January and still have so far to go...i am looking forward to your posts and the encouragement...thanks!

  28. I am new to your blog. Thank you so much for showing us these pictures. It comes at an incredible time for me because me upstairs looks exactly like your pictures right now. I am in the process of de-cluttering as well. It will be incredible to gain some tips from you.

    And, I am tired of shoving it all in the closet (like you said above) because it may look good but it doesn't feel good. I am tired of moving piles from the attic to basement to the garage and back again.

    I want to be free!

  29. I think the events of the last days with Japan have helped all of us get a clearer perspective on how blessed we are!

    Yes- I am up for the challenge friend! I have a front room that looks a ton worse- your stuff look seven neatly stacked- I throw stuff in this room to hide it and my what a mess!

    I am having a women's retreat at my house the middle of May and my one desire is to get this room organized so I look forward to all your great tips and seeing firsthand how you do it!

  30. Let me just clear some cr@p off my chair so I can sit down on a ring side seat! I'll be watching and learning...from a pro!

  31. Hmmm, this looks vaguely familiar. Oh yes, my home looks similar from one end to the other.

    You've had a lot of things on your plate and I can certainly understand how time slips away so quickly. Thanks for being brave enough to share.

    Enjoy your weekend!

  32. Hi Donna,
    What a wonderful surprise when I went to work on my blog this morning (after a long blog break) to find your lovely message to me. Thank you so very much for posting about my blog! That was so kind of you.
    When I saw your post today I thought "What a brave and truthful person you are".
    I needed to step away from blogland for awhile just for that reason.
    Everyone has such lovely photos of their homes and it gets a little unnerving sometimes to see such perfect looking spaces. Where is the reality? We all know most people don't live in perfection. Life is never perfect. Fairytale? I've yet to see anyone living one. What fun would life be if we never knew what a bad day looked like?
    So, thank you for your post today. We all know how talented you are, now we know you're just like us behind the scenes!
    Enjoy your day!


  33. Honestly Donna, I don't know HOW you've done a 5 year reno. I'd be at the funny farm, so you're doing great. "real life" happens, so nice to know that about everyone else. I'm here to join you on the journey of organization. I've been working at it! Rebecca told me about your husband's surgery, honey, I'm praying for you guys and that you'll be back to par soon too. Take it easy on your back, don't overdo it. (do we know what that means?)
    love ya,

  34. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I am a "lurker" and shoppe owner. I read your blog every day and receive so much inspiration from your merchandising ideas. I, too, have a "room" that has become the "dark side" and I thank you for the challange.


Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment!
I love reading them~they truly make my day!
~Donna Reyné