I am like a hobbit in that I am very attached to my space, and hold in very high regard all the comforts of home. Hobbits, like myself, also have an aversion to disturbances. They are set in their ways, appreciate and honor the familiar, avoid conflict in general, and strive for peace, above all else, within themselves and their external world. Finally, like a hobbit, I also view the preparation and consumption of food as a sacred act; and think it quite important to live one’s life by the cycles of nature, regarding the plant and animal world around us with the utmost respect, love, and devotion—this final point about nature may be wandering more into fairy (rather than hobbit) territory, a topic of which I will save for another post entirely.
This is an image of a fairy, illustrated by Brian Froud, and has nothing (or very little) to do with hobbits. But any opportunity for me to post an image of a fairy, I grab. Incidentally, this particular precious being is tattooed to my flesh, so I am kind of partial to her.
I have lived in the same junior studio apartment—“junior” just implies that I do not have a dishwasher in my unit—for the last six years. This is the first space I have ever had that was explicitly my own, and this is the longest place I have ever lived, not counting growing up in my family home. But since I have lived here, I have not made a ton of changes to my space; not because I like everything about my current habitat, but because like a hobbit, change disturbs me greatly. Continuity reassures me, and the illusion of permanence and stability—I say illusion because only a fool believes anything in life is actually permanent and/or fundamentally stable—gives me a feeling of safety within my abode. I am not saying this is necessarily a healthy way to be, but this is the way I tend to live.
At some point, I should probably delve deeper into the health of my First / Root Chakra.
“As the chakra of grounding, the first chakra governs your inner sense of security and place in this world. An overactive root chakra can trigger extreme feelings of insecurity. In an effort to rekindle the security you once felt within the core of your being, you now cling to outside influences to compensate or fill the void.” – quote obtained here
Hobbits are very attached to their homes. Who wouldn’t be, if they lived in a place like this?! Hobbit House, New Zealand, image credit unknown
Several nights ago, I could not sleep. I felt wound up and had a lot of restless and creative energy flowing through me. From my bed, I was staring at the loveseat planted across my room (my studio is so small that the loveseat is only about two feet away from my bed), and admitted to myself after all of these years, that I very much hate its existence. I bought this loveseat when I first moved in because it fit the price and it fit the limited space I had to fill. But the slipcover choices were limited, so I chose bright red as the lesser of several other evils. The style is very “not me,” with a cold, modern, architectural feel; AND, it has never felt comfortable for me to sit on, so I never sit on it.
Ikea Klippan Loveseat with red slipcover
Since there was not much I could do about this loveseat in the middle of the night, I got out of bed and instead starting rearranging, rehanging, and taking down some of the artwork (mostly my own artwork) hanging on my walls. As I began this task, I realized two things:
- Anxiety arose within me as I began to make even the smallest changes to my sacred space.
- I felt lighter and freer at the thought of letting go of old things that were not working in my space, changing things that I did not like, and being open to bringing in new things that were much more “me.”
The next day I resolved to take out a moderate but substantial (these terms are all relative) sum of money from my savings (something I rarely do, since I am quite frugal and rather conservative in my spending habits). Also, if and when I do spend “fun” money, it is usually on beauty products, clothing, or some kind of travel that involves spending time with loved ones. I almost never spend money on my living space. So, this was a big deal for me, but I felt quite certain that I wanted to do this. It seemed like something that I needed to do for my mental health, growth, and happiness.
I decided that I wanted to change my space in two ways:
- I wanted to take down some artwork that I was either tired of looking at, or that I never really liked; as well as to frame and hang some of my quality artwork that has been wasting away for years in a dank corner.
- I NEEDED to eliminate the red devil couch and redesign this spot to make it more usable, more comfortable, inviting, and much more “me.”
All within the budget of $1,000, this prudent goddess was able to:
- ($465) Purchase a new comfy chair and ottoman from Ikea
- I visited Ikea several times before I made a decision and came across this final particular chair, almost accidentally. The price was perfect and it was more comfortable than any of the other chairs I had originally considered purchasing
- ($440) Frame four pieces of artwork
- I used an existing frame and changed out an old piece of artwork for a new one, saving me lots of money
- I took advantage of a sale going on at Michael’s frame shop
- I selected a lower priced, but still attractive frame for each piece
- ($49) Purchase a throw rug to add some eclectic style and to contain and frame this magical new spot
- I got this throw rug from my twin sister’s favorite place to bargain shop: Ollie’s Bargain Outlet
- ($31) Purchase a pillow to top off the hobbit, animal-loving theme
- I found lots of fun throw pillows to choose from at Society6
- ($30) Purchase a furry, fuzzy, cream-colored animal throw from Ikea to warm up the space and to add some comforting snuggly energy
- ($27) Purchase two sets of paper globe string lights to hang above the space
- For these I went to Walmart
TOTAL = $1,042
I did not initially set out to create a hobbit space for myself. But as I took my time, every step of the way, thinking through my purchases, and following my heart / intuition, it started to evolve into a space of magic and whimsy—a theme quite befitting of this goddess on a very deep and core level. The artwork that I have hanging above this space is one of my works on paper, illustrating twin wolves and a rainbow. Combine this with the enchanting globe lights hung overhead, the precious fawn throw pillow, the scrap of softened wool sheepskin, the old fashioned faux oriental rug, and—placed next to the larger framed wolves piece—a miniature arrangement of several other random and diminutively-sized pieces of artwork, this space has now become my beloved HOBBIT NOOK.
HOBBIT NOOK complete!
Below are detailed, close-up images of each piece of the nook…
Wolves, mixed media on paper, 2008 © Libby Saylor
Little Deer, by Amy Hamilton, Society6
My own version of a self-portrait, DAGUERREOTYPE-style
A porcelain dish that I purchased at a gallery several years ago for $10. It was part of an exhibition of student artwork at the Main Line Art Center
This one-of-a-kind, breath-taking beauty is just a teeny painting on a scrap of paper and was in the gift shop as part of the exhibition, “Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism, 1910-1950” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the winter of 2016. I’m not going to lie, this was not all that affordable—perhaps around $200—but I put it on my credit card and have never looked back. #worthit
“Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps because I am afraid, and he gives me courage.” -J.R.R. Tolkien