I came across a book some of you might have heard of already: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of decluttering and organising by Marie Kondo.
I believe we don't find things by coincidence -even though it was introduced by dear friendsI like to think book did actually find me. Maybe simply because for me the right time has come to declutter my closets and most importantly my life.

I have the soul of a collector and as such I am not very good at disposing of my things. Making decisions purely based on objects' functional value is not easy for me. Nevertheless I want to live in a place where I don't feel suffocated by things anymore.

Marie Kondo's book has taught me that I should only keep what truly makes me happy, happy now not happy yesterday. Some things can still be meaningful after years, but other things fulfilled their purpose already so they must be send off.

Well, I decided to give it a go and follow the Konmari method. 

   1. start by discarding

   2. do everything thoroughly, completely and in one go

   3. only afterwords you can start organising your things and give each item its proper space

Kondo suggests to procede following a specific order when deciding what to keep and what to send off -items should be grouped in categories. First clothes, then books and so on.
This way by the time we get to the most difficult category -the sentimental items- we have developed better judgement skills in understanding what we really need.

This is what I have been doing in the past 5 days. I started with the content of my wardrobe. Layed out all together in one go my clothes in front of me, touched each of them one by one and asked myself if I really need it, why I like it if I still do, why I do not use it anymore if I don't.
And slowly, unbelievably, not always smoothly ... it happened. Well, there are various reason why we do keep more things that we need. It's important to understand those reasons in order to let the unnecessary go. Thank the thing we discard for what they did for us and let them peacefully go.

Ok, I have just started. The road seems a long long one -the process can last as long as 6 months sometimes Kondo says- but I am determined to complete it.
Will this change me? I think it already has, a little. In facts we do not only declutter our belongings, but our life as well. The big lesson I am learning here, I suppose, is to get rid of the past in order to embrace the future.
After all, can we all think of anything better than being surrounded just by the things we love, the things we really need and that still spark joy? 

If you are not particularly attached to things, probably you posses the right amount of clothes, objects and maybe this book is not for you. If you, like me, are a little lazy, like to collect things, feel the objects you collected over the years are part of yourself and have a piece of your soul... well, this book is for you, believe me!
I definitely recommend it. It contains also practical advice on how to fold things (oh soooo clever believe me!), how to divide them and organise them in your home.

If you have read it I'd like to know what you think. Did it work for you? Was it inspiring?
Or maybe I inspired someone by sharing my experience here? Let me know.




Now that Primary school started, what happened the week seems so far away, nevertheless it was a special week.

My 6 years old child joined a summer camp for young kids organised by mamBO -Bologna's Museum of Modern Arts. 
Starting from its title Verde, molto verde, verdissimo, this course program did immediately appeal to me: activities were centred around the idea of letting children experiencing nature in relation to art. A great combination, if you ask me.

At first my boy was a little daunted. I do not know why, but I could see it from the expression of his face as he walked around looking at the blackboards alined on a side and a table full and art material ready to be used. 
All new experiences can be a little scary at first but I thought this one could be a good transition to the huge life change awaiting: the first day of elementary school.

It turned out it was fun, after all.
Also, meeting new kids, making new friends, getting to know new teachers was a good preparation for Primary School.

The children discovered the work of various artists, searched for labyrinths in old gardens in a wonderful location such as Villa delle Rose, that is part of Mambo museum actually.
Totally immersed in nature and guided by a group of professionals from the Educational Department, they produced a variety of artefacts as well. All activities were organised for the children to play together, be engaged in projects with direct participation and be creative. At the end of the week, Erik took home some interesting things.

This cute little drake for instance was born from a workshop on camouflage and now is hanging in Erik's room.

Working with scraps of green papers and collage, the children produced each a personal place mat. I believe they actually used them for lunch. Layed all together on a table they looked extraordinary, don't you think?

From the beautiful illustrated book Linnea in Monet's Garden kids got to learn about the wonderful world of Monet and made each a personal version of his garden. Using colours on paper and object found in the park.
I love my boy's bridge on top of a circular garden full of flowers. Absolutely lovely work by the other kids as well I think. Always interesting to see all different interpretations based on the same subject.

Everything they did was very beautifully exhibited for us to see at the end of the week,
the work done in the park was truly impressive.
A beautiful tree assembled using simple white paper was laid on the ground, where che children could glue coloured leaves made by themselves and interesting thoughts about nature they prepared beforehand. 
In the background stood a circle of blackboards with paintings they did en plain air after talking about Monet, his painting and the Impressionism.

This was Erik's first attempt at painting with a real painter palet, observing things from reality. This is the tree he painted. It's now proudly hanging on the living room walls at home. 

Overall I really recommend this course organised by the Mambo's Educational Department.
Children started each day by relaxing in the park, observing nature and play. Sometimes illustrated stories were suggestions for personal and creative elaborations. Other times just observing while wandering in the park did the trick.
If you have children, try to have a look at your local museum to see if they organise things like that or even a day workshop to be involved in art in a fun way. Good for both adults and kids.
If you live near Bologna, check out Mambo's site

The course included:
Sensible Explorations - workshop dedicated to Canadian conceptual artist Keri Smith author of several books and apps about creativity.
Camouflage -workshop finalised to the creation of personal stories using as a starting point the idea of mimetic in nature
Natural Shelters -activity ispired by the work of Mario Mertz and his primordial shelters
Artist Gardens -dedicated to Claude Monet
En Plein Air -activity dedicated to Impressionism.

Well done everyone.




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Firstly I'd like to mention something very special: Judith and Igor -the two super bloggers who initiated this series- won the Innovation Award at Meet the Blogger in Amsterdam. I think it is very well deserved for their wonderful idea, the hard (and fun as they say!) work. Great to see our community grow and that it is so much appreciated by both bloggers and professionals.
So well done Judith and Igor!
So glad to have joined you since the beginning, so proud to be part of it.

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Back to this month topic: plants & flowers. I love flowers as much as I love plants. They have their way to lift my spirit, so to say. In a grey rainy day like today (hey, welcome autumn!) I definitely love to look at them. The flower shop had beautiful closed pink lilies, and some lovely pink flowers I don't know the name of. Someone can help, maybe? You'll see them on pictures later on.
I thought they would mix well with the leaves of my beloved Tradescantia Zebrina, with such a great wonderful purple colour in the back and my pink Orchid, now in bloom.

This Orchid is quite common, I bought 2 of them a long time ago and one has bloomed again and again each year ever since. The other one has beautiful green leaves I like anyway. I am really happy with them, and beside a little constant moisture and keeping their vase facing sunlight always in the same way, I must say they did not need much in return. Bliss.

I started by adding just a lily next to my Orchids, and the Tradescantia's cuttings. Then a palm leave in a sake bottle joined the composition. I like compositions with different vases, simply put next to each other.
This is the place in the house where I usually have my flowers, just next to the reading chair. An issue of flow magazine is proudly in the picture, it's one of my favorite reads in the magazines world.

Finally I added the rest of the flowers in my favourite oversize vase by Hella Jongerius. I love this vase that you can actually customise by stitching as I did here.  The scent lelies spread around is sometimes overwhelming, nevertheless I love it.

Well, this is all for this month. Hope you enjoy flowers in your home too. Follow other many members of our green community on www.urbanjunglebloggers.com to see more flowers and plants around the world -if you like- or even better join us altogether.

See you next time for a new edition.

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Judith and Igor initiated the series UrbanJungle Bloggers I am very happy to join every time I can. Everyone ca join us, or simply follow our growing community on FacebookUrban Jungle Bloggers Pinterest board or on www.urbanjunglebloggers.com.

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