Monthly Archives: June 2010

WABI-SABI BATHROOM MAKEUNDER

Here in Maine–“the way life should be”, according to the state slogan–there is a tendency towards wabi-sabi even if unconsciously. Wabi-sabi is the Japanese art that contradicts feng shui. Instead of decluttering and fixing what is broken, wabi-sabi instructs finding the beauty in leaving things as they are found (even if that means a state of decay or peeling paint for example). Because we are on an island, everyone tends toward saving stuff for future use. We repurpose a lot of things that others might throw out. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. And besides, it takes a lot of time to get anything done as the wait list for contractors is very long (and the markup on labor very high).Plus it’s basically just our summer house.

Art work covers most of the ugly wallpaper.

All that being said, this is why we are living with a bathroom in our old farm house that people in the city might instantly want to upgrade and renovate. We finally got someone to repair the leaky roof but haven’t replaced the missing ceiling yet. We did get a new light fixture for over the mirror but the spackle is still visible. The ugly wallpaper is peeling but rather than do anything about it, I recently came up with another solution. I’ve hung a collection of old needlepoint cross stitch samplers and other art work we had so that it nearly covers every inch of the wall. And in the Maine tradition of using what’s on hand, I found we had a pint sized sample of Valspar one-coat paint in Beach Blue satin color. Just enough to paint the yucky wood cabinet under the sink, the doors of the built in cabinet (shown with the crazy crocodile ceramic pull we added years ago), and also enough to paint the surround of the door and the bottom ledges of the windows as well as a stripe around the shower stall.

No need to write in to me that the beach glass blue color is weird with the yellow and brown existing tiles. It IS weird. It’s wabi-sabi. And yet with the accents in the art work and the towel colors, the weirdness works for us. Maybe that’s because we’re both artists and see things slightly skewed anyway. And it is a funky farm house on an ocean bound island after all. You can’t get better feng shui than that in my opinion. Have you done unusual things with your space? Show me!

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Filed under ART, Creativity & Future Projects, Feng Shui, Fun, Getting Organized, Interior Design

LUCKY PEONIES

Feng Shui By Fishgirl absolutely LOVES peonies. They are traditionally good feng shui symbols and you’ll see many ancient Chinese painters have used them if you look more closely next time you’re in a museum. Especially good used in the Love & Relationship sector of your space, peonies strengthen that area of the bagua because of their red, white, and pink tones. But recently a local flower expert here in Maine told me that peony plants can outlive many people, thriving for a hundred years or more. I have never heard that before and never had it explained to me by any feng shui masters. However, I am certain this is probably at the root (no pun intended) of the reason why peonies gained good luck status with feng shui masters of ancient China. The point is they represent longevity and if you place them in your Love area, you are encouraging a long happy relationship.

Peonies and cats. Artist Ru Yun

If you want to activate your Love & Relationship area, find some art work of peonies and hang it there. Or get some fresh peonies and put them in a vase within your Love sector. Let us know what happens!

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Filed under ART, Feng Shui, Feng Shui Home, Love & Relationship

WHEN YOU JUST CAN’T STOP EMAILING YOUR EX

Being friends with you ex sounds like a lofty and noble idea. If I sound skeptical it’s because I know from experience that it’s difficult to truly do. With so much shared history—much of it romantic, intimate, and sexual—if one partner breaks it off with the other can friendship really happen without lapsing into codependence? Old habits die hard.

Photo: agoodhusband.net

If you’re emailing your ex under the premise of friendship but you’re using his or her pet name from when your relationship was hot ‘n’ heavy, that means you have very shaky boundaries. If you’re signing it “xoxo” you’re flirting even if you sign all your emails to everyone you know “xoxo” because once you’ve actually had physical xo’s take place, the written x’s and o’s are fraught with undertones. Flirting = hurting unless you’re trying to reignite the relationship.

This is why feng shui tradition suggests that when a couple breaks up there should be a clean break. Unless you share children with someone, is there really a need to keep in touch? If you’re still tied in emotionally to your ex, your heart is already full. If your space still has reminders of your former relationship everywhere you look, the residual energy of the past is taking up space that a new love could be occupying. By making a clean break now, you give yourself the space you and your former partner need to heal completely. Further on down the road (do yourself a feng shui favor and let at least 9 years go by) you’ll be in a much better position to create a genuine friendship with your ex.

Are you lonely? Examine your home and your behavior. Are there ghosts of exes past lingering in your space keeping you from finding a new mate? Please feel free to share your own experiences with making a clean break in the comments below!

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Filed under Feng Shui, Health & Fitness, Love & Relationship, Self Help

BLUE HILL INN HAS GREAT FENG SHUI

Centuries old buildings can sometimes have problematic feng shui. Along with the quaintness and charm can also come ghosts and residual negative energy build up from a long history. Rooms in vintage buildings might also feel cramped and crowded. Antique furniture poses its own problems. The Blue Hill Inn on Union Street in Blue Hill, Maine has only very positive vibrant energy. Much of that has to do with its innkeeper Sarah Pebworth. Sarah’s love of the place and attention to detail is evident everywhere one looks in both the interior and the gardens and grounds of the inn. With a passion for food and Maine, Sarah has a very entertaining Innkeeper’s Blog that draws you into the Maine scene whether you are lucky enough to visit or are halfway around the globe.


Whether or not you are staying at the inn you may make a reservation for breakfast at the inn. It is served each morning between 8 and 9:30 a.m. in our sun-filled dining room. Fresh fruit, assorted juices, and freshly baked sweet breads accompany a choice of cooked-to-order entrees or homemade granola. Blueberry pancakes, Belgian waffles with strawberries, brie and sweet roasted red pepper omelets, and amaretto french toast are favorites among guests. Local ingredients, including Maine maple syrup, are featured, as well as coffee from Maine roasted coffee beans. Food allergies and restrictions are easily accommodated. See what I mean about attention to detail?

I have had the pleasure of capturing the Blue Hill Inn in paint on canvas last autumn when the trees were ablaze with color. I embedded nautical charts of Blue Hill and Penobscot Bay into the scene. Do you think I captured the essence of the Blue Hill Inn’s spirit? What’s your favorite B & B inn? Do tell!

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Filed under Architecture, ART, Feng Shui, Qi, Travel, Uncategorized

CURVY BEAMS: Thumbs Up

This pic comes from the same house as the last post about the 5 elements. I wanted to show you how sometimes beams are okay. Here the beams are straddling the bed on either side. Since they aren’t crossing you as you sleep, you aren’t really feeling the negative weight on you. (That’s a good thing, because these beams look really heavy!) Also, the unique curvature of the beams and the ceiling I think solve some of the feng shui problem. The curves certainly add yin appeal to all the square yang shapes used elsewhere in the room. Usually I disapprove of too high ceilings in the bedroom but here the headboard of the bed seems almost extended by the big red painting over it and then the clerestory windows above—all of it works and anchors the bed so it’s not swimming in a too big space.

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ELEMENTAL HARMONY:Using the 5 Feng Shui Elements

Photo: Luxe Magazine

The 5 elements of feng shui are: Fire, Earth, Wood, Water, and Metal. Balancing those elements successfully in a room–and the overall home–takes some thought and planning. The room in the picture here is from the featured “Art House Del Mar Mesa, CA” in Luxe Magazine. Click here to see the rest of the home.

How are the elements covered in the room above? Obviously the fireplace represents the fire element, but so do the red/orange accents in the art and the cushions (so if you don’t have a fireplace at home, you can still add the element through color and even a red candle). Wood is surrounding the window frames, the floor is wood, and the side table is a tree stump–it doesn’t get much more woody than that!

Earth is in the plants as well as the brown leather sofa and chair. We can see the gleaming metal table stands but metal is also represented by the color white. Without the successful blending of the other elements, this room would have too much metal and feel very cold and uninviting.

Take a moment to see if you can discern where the water element is. You might have said the blue painting. But it is the glass table tops and the large glass windows that represent water and also the color black. In your own home, you can add water element through color, through pictures or paintings of water, through actual water features, or use of glass and mirrors.

In addition to successful element balance, the feng shui harmony created in this room can also be attributed to the use of yin-yang shapes (some round yin shapes and some square yang shapes). See if you can count how many of each in the picture. For example, the fireplace is yang but the sculpture over it is yin.

And last but not least, the art itself is great feng shui. From the vibrant colors in the painting to the wonderful curved yin shapes in the sculptures…but also notice the Calder kinetic piece hanging from the ceiling. Mobile art lifts Qi (ch’i= energy). Adding a mobile to a corner of your ceiling where energy seems dead is a good way to correct that and get some movement going in your environment. Can’t afford a Calder? Go to any museum store and find inexpensive paper mobile sculptures or create your own.

This ultra modern home has a very warm cozy feel to it. Bringing in the feng shui elements, softness in yin yang balance and use of fabric textures, and incorporating living plants throughout create that feel.

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Filed under ART, Design, Feng Shui, Interior Design