Happier at Home
This project was inspired by the book Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin which I just finished. This is a follow-up to her book The Happiness Project, which I reviewed back in 2010. As with her first book, the author comes up with various resolutions based on her happiness research and tries them out. Some of her resolutions in this book include give gold stars, embrace good smells, and enter into the interests of others.
In one chapter, she talks about a resolution to "cultivate a shrine," meaning to turn areas of her New York apartment into ones of higher engagement, places to gather or stop and notice. She did this by gathering like things together, such as photos of her family in a single display or making areas (like her home office) more beautiful with paint and decluttering.
I'm not sure about her choice of the word "shrine" because for me that word has religious tones, but I do like her concept of designing areas of your house to highlight aspects of your life that are important to you. After reading about her experiences, I was inspired to re-visit my "shrine to jewelry."
A Shrine to Jewelry
Like many of you, I have more jewelry than I know what to do with. I have it in drawers and boxes and on many flat surfaces like dressers, tables, and desks. We all talk about "art jewelry" so why not display it on the wall like a painting?
I bought two of these shadow box frames from a big-box craft store a few years ago for jewelry. You can often find them on sale for 50% off, which makes them very affordable. (A large 12" x 16" size runs about $35 at full price.)
I like these shadow boxes because they keep everything dust-free. The doors are held closed by magnets. They swing open on the front, so it's possible to take pieces out and wear them.
When I first bought these frames, I originally had some of my magazine designs in there. Over the last few years, I've taken out some of the designs, so the cases looked picked over and neglected. I decided to put some of my book projects in there just to give them a fresher look. I used small sewing pins to attach the jewelry to the back board. I like the plain canvas background that came with the frames, but you could easily pin your own fabric or paper background inside to give the case a different look.
I found that most necklaces and earrings worked well. The Cognificient metal cuff didn't work not because of its size, but because the way it fits best in the case makes for the most boring, top-down view. Poet Laureate had delicate silk ribbon that I didn't want to poke pins in.
A friend suggested that I add labels with the project names next them. I haven't done that, but I can see that it would add a museum-like quality to the display.
I found this project immensely satisfying. It's a little embarrassing to admit, but all my projects from my Unexpected Findings book that came out in October had been sitting in a cardboard box in my closet, still in their original, carefully labeled boxes and bags that I used to submit them for photography and editing. It was great to resee the items I had made and really appreciate them at length, something that wasn't possible with the short book deadline. In addition to the published projects, I decided to include a project variation that had been cut, but that I'd really liked. That felt oddly empowering.
Of course, you don't need to have published a jewelry book to enjoy this project. It would be fun to do a new jewelry display each season or to focus on certain colors or themes for a display.
Do you have your jewelry on display or tucked away out of sight?