Stories

A woman’s home is her castle …

… so how to decorate it if she’s a paper bag princess like me?

Decorating on a budget is a fun challenge. You don’t need to spend big bucks to make your home look pretty, feel welcoming, and function efficiently. For example:

Cover a homely or worn dining table with a colourful, boldly patterned tablecloth.


Brighten up a drab kitchen with accessories in your favourite colour.



Store your cooking and baking ingredients in clear glass containers.
This makes them easier to find…and look organized and attractive, too.

Pile up the couch with cushions and a soft snuggly throw. Add a good lamp and a shelf of your favourite books and voila, you have the perfect little reading nook.


Have prints made of your favourite photos, frame them in matching frames, and hang them up.

Some photos I took in Italy. I still haven’t decided where to hang them all.


Dress up the bathroom with a fabric shower curtain.
Hang it from a brushed-metal rod with funky rings.
The bathroom is also a good place to hang an interesting or whimsical piece of art. And since we all need to spend some time in there sitting and staring into space, keep a few good magazines in there, too.



Things I like to keep handy, in every room, if possible:
pens, paper, scissors, and sticky tape, arranged in pretty decorative trays.


Flowers I consider a necessary luxury. Buy whatever is in season from flower carts, or grow them yourself. Potted flowers – and plants – are inexpensive and last longer than the cut ones.



Shop, shop, shop for bargains. In Vancouver, check places like Chinatown, Army & Navy, Wonderbucks and Daiso. Don’t snub dollar stores – they are great for oven mitts, wooden spoons, plastic organizers, glass containers, picture frames, picture-hanging kits, drinking glasses….the list goes on and on.


Above all, try to keep everything tidy and clean. A few minutes of productive puttering in the morning and at night can make a big difference. You will be happy as a queen if you habitually wake up and come back to a neat, orderly, sweet-smelling home.

My grateful thanks to my grandmother and my mother whose decorating, organizing, and housekeeping savvy I hope I’ve managed to assimilate, at least in part!

By the way, if you have never read the The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch, I highly recommend that you do – no matter what your age might be. Read it to all the little girls you know. It’s a great antidote to the princess/diva culture that’s so prevalent these days, which can have so many unhealthy consequences, especially for young girls.

I don’t mean to say that we are not all special and unique – we are. But instead of expecting royal treatment all the time, demanding the fuflillment of our every whim, or using our specialness as an excuse for bad behaviour, we should try to be more like Munsch’s Princess: full of initiative, resourcefulness, common sense, and unbeatable aplomb in the face of difficulties – whether our castle has been burned down by a dragon, or whether we’re just trying to decorate it on a shoestring.


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