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3 ways to grow your decorating skills this summer


Summer. A change of pace. Sun-kissed faces, vacation, being outside, bbq-ing on the back patio, staying up late, and DECORATING? I know. Call me crazy, but for me, summer is inspiring. And guess what? There’s homework. But it’s the really, REALLY fun kind. And only if you want to. Sound good? Who’s still on board?

Oh good! You’re still here. What if there were 3 easy ways to grow your decorating skills this summer? Fun fact: studies show that we learn better when we’re having fun…and if you already ENJOY decorating, trust me. This will be fun.

Here’s my theory. When we allow our minds to shift into neutral (vacation, a hike, or just by putting our phones away for awhile!), we unlock something pretty special. A clear head! Hitting the reset button once in awhile is just the ticket for creativity. This leads me to the first step:

First Way to grow your decorating skills this summer. Step away from the crazy.

I know. You thought the first tip was going to be a shopping trip to HomeGoods, right? 😉 That comes later. The first step is all about a break. Is that revolutionary or WHAT? It doesn’t have to be a week’s vacation in Hawaii (but MAHALO if you’re offering, haha). It could be something as simple as a walk around your neighborhood. A drive in the country. A pedicure. Just take a minute, set down your phone, disconnect, and HANG LOOSE. Do we even know how to do that any more?

I had lunch with a dear friend today, and we were talking about how “being busy” has become a badge of honor in our culture. What is that getting us? More stress? More anxiety? It definitely doesn’t encourage creativity.

Every summer we vacation at our favorite place in Central Oregon. Some time away with our family to ride bikes, hike, enjoy the great outdoors, and relax. Over the years I’ve noticed something peculiar when we arrive home. A BOOST of creativity. A crazy increase in ideas, the ability to see things from a new and different perspective, and a fresh wind in my sails. Coincidence? Nope.


Last weekend we headed to a local lake and floated around on our old raft for a few hours. No phones, no email, no work. On the way home, same thing. Inspiration struck. New ideas. New dreams. Fresh perspective.

Sooooo? What can you do to step away? Make it easy, make it fun…but don’t take your phone. Ok, you can take your phone (for safety) but keep it in your back pocket. Promise?

Second Way to grow your decorating skills this summer. Research.

Don’t let that word scare you. It’s going to be SO. STINKING. ENJOYABLE. You’ve got this. Ready? I want you to shop. Ok, husbands…calm down. Don’t actually SHOP, just LOOK (but if you find something so-super-cute-you-can-hardly-stand-it, you better buy it). What I mean by that is…find out where your fun local vintage sales are happening this summer. (Google it. Go ahead, I’ll wait) If you happen to be an Oregonian like me, I’ve got a few ideas for you below.

When you go to the sale (or a favorite antique shop, etc.), this is what you must do. NOTICE. The people who put these sales together are amazing. They will not only have great stuff, but their styling/decorating skills are on-point. NOTICE how they put their displays together. What looks so good about it? What makes it a pretty combination of items? What colors are they using? NOTICE! Ask if you can take a picture of their display so you have a reference when you get home. Now go to the next booth/vendor and do the same…is this a great classroom or WHAT? See? Are you having fun? I am! Let’s go get a soft pretzel and a Diet Coke.


Here’s a little peak at the items we had at our last pop-up shop…come see us at the next one! Saturday, August 20, 10am-noon at Garden Gallery Iron Works in Hubbard, Oregon. 🙂

If you’re local (Oregon), here’s a list of some fun upcoming sales!

Barnstormer’s Vintage Fair, Aug. 5 & 6, Jackson County Fairgrounds, Central Point, Oregon

Molly Mo’s Antique Faire, Aug 12 & 13, Union Hill Grange, 15755 Grange Rd. SE, Sublimity, Oregon

Junk Refunk Street Market 2016, Sat. Aug. 20, 10am-5pm, downtown Canby, Oregon

Yellow Prairie Interiors/Signs of Serendipity Pop-Up Shop, Sat. Aug. 20, 10am-noon, at Garden Gallery Iron Works, 2967 Industrial Ave, Hubbard, Oregon

Third Way to grow your decorating skills this summer. Practice makes perfect. (Ok, no it doesn’t. Nobody’s perfect. But you get the picture.)

If I never go to the gym, but expect to have rockin’ abs, I’m expecting a little much, don’t you think? (Side note: I will never have rockin’ abs and I’m ok with that. Pass the donuts.) What I’m saying is, you have to USE a muscle to build it/strengthen it. So here you go…tough love time. I’m taking off your training wheels. But it’s ok. You can do it! This is where the rubber meets the road. Ready? Go decorate something.

Are you still reading this? You’re supposed to be clearing off your mantel right now…and getting ready to re-decorate! Go! Roll up your sleeves and go!

This homework. I’m telling you…this is gonna be ONE FUN SUMMER. Pick an afternoon when the kids are napping, you’re fresh off a caffeinated beverage, and you’ve recently had a few minutes of down time (see # 1). Now do it. If it isn’t AMAZING, who cares? No one will know except you! And this is PRACTICE! Remember that stuff about exercising the muscle? Ya, me either…all I can think about is that donut. But your mantel. Ya, it’s gonna be fun!

EXTRA CREDIT: Ok, you over-achievers…if you’re up for a major challenge, I’ve got a great one for you. And it’s fun. And rewarding. And challenging.

Clear. Out. Your. Living. Room.

All of it. Take the stuff off the walls, pull the sofa out of the room, throw the pillows/baskets/blankets/legos/stray cherrios into the hall. You might want to vacuum while it’s all cleared out, and then….imagine you just moved in. Fresh perspective. If you HATE something, don’t allow it back into the space. Or maybe you’ll see your end table in a new way…what if you paint it? Freshen it up a bit? Maybe a new area rug would breathe some new life into the area? What about a new arrangement of furniture? Oooooh, this is gonna be fun! But only if you want extra credit. 🙂

Well? What do you think? Will you be attending Yellow Prairie Summer School this year? 😉 I can’t wait to see what you do!

  • July 9, 2016 - 11:43 pm

    Teresa H. Fields - I just found your blog.This article was s9 encouraging! Thanks for your timely words.ReplyCancel

  • July 10, 2016 - 1:17 am

    Debbi B. - Count on me to attend summer school. I have learned so much from you already. Luv your home, your family, and your hair!!ReplyCancel

  • July 10, 2016 - 1:38 am

    Gee - Hmmm. You have given me much to think on and ponder. ✋ my hands up. I’ll be attending Yellow Prairie Summer School with you .
    Pretty excited really…
    Happy weekend.
    Hugs, GeeReplyCancel

  • July 10, 2016 - 6:35 pm

    Lynnette bass - You are hilarious and inspiring! Your energy is evident in your words! I will paint my 80s oak dining room chairs, table, and hutch this summer! Also, I will paint my early 90s pine bedroom armoir, dresser, headboard, and side tables! Whew! I have the green light from the hubs…. He loves the new bright look! Now I don’t have to do it in secret and hope that he likes it! ?ReplyCancel

  • July 12, 2016 - 7:59 am

    Helen Woods - Its winter here in Australia , so I’ll be attending your summer school in spirit 🙂 . At the moment I’m trying to make my home as cosy as possible, l love the idea of giving my home a mini make over for each season especially because l don’t need to spend a fortune to do so, sometimes its as simple as moving things from one room to another ( and pinching ideas from very clever bloggers) . Love your work HelenReplyCancel

  • July 12, 2016 - 6:55 pm

    Ashley - Where is that neutral print rug from in the family room?ReplyCancel

    • July 12, 2016 - 7:04 pm

      yellowprairieint - Hi Ashley! The rug is from Ethan Allen.?ReplyCancel

  • July 20, 2016 - 4:18 am

    Kim - Loved this! Thanks so much for the tips and inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • September 2, 2016 - 1:39 pm

    Kim S. - Where did you purchase the counter chairs? Love them!ReplyCancel

    • September 3, 2016 - 8:25 pm

      yellowprairieint - Hi Kim! The counter stools are from Pier 1. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • September 14, 2016 - 2:08 am

    Marni - Can I just say, I LOVE YOUR HOUSE!! I’m currently searching for a floorplan in order to build and from what I see in these pictures, this is what I want! Do you happen to have a post that shows the floorplan of the whole place?ReplyCancel

  • October 20, 2016 - 11:19 pm

    Susie - You are such an inspiration! Every single picture I see and am drawn to, seems to be yours!
    I do have a question – where oh where do I find the number pillow? I NEED a number 6 – LOL.

    I just saw you have a summer school – I’m going to need to attend that since I’m kind of local up in Washington. Are you going to have anymore pop up shops leading up to the holidays?ReplyCancel

    • October 21, 2016 - 12:29 am

      yellowprairieint - Hi Susie! Oh, thank you! You made my day. 🙂 The number pillow is from So Vintage Chic. She is on Etsy and also Instagram.
      We won’t be doing any more pop-ups before the holidays…but stay tuned for some next year! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • November 26, 2016 - 3:35 pm

    Krystal - I just found your instagram/blog and I am so in love with your style!! I keep seeing these gorgeous images of your fireplace mantel… is this a custom piece? I would love to find something similar! Thank you!!ReplyCancel

    • November 28, 2016 - 12:33 am

      yellowprairieint - Thank you Krystal! Yes, the mantel was custom made by our finish carpenter…I just showed him an inspiration pic from Pinterest!😊ReplyCancel