A Secret Decorating Ingredient :: It’s Awful

This weekend I finally found something that I had wanted for a very long time.

I wanted a sailfish. I felt dumb even admitting it here a few times.  Why in the world did I want a sailfish on my wall?  I remember a fish {was it a sailfish?} on my grandparent’s wall growing up and I’ve always been drawn to the taxidermied fish on the wall in cheap seafood restaurants. But, I could never explain why I wanted one.

It just so happened that that very same day, I found something else I had long wanted.  Some mounted antlers. Another thing I couldn’t explain.  The whitewashed antlers both pretend and real are somewhat trendy right now but, I wanted the real thing.  I’ll tell you more about how I found them in another post.  Right now I’m talking about the why.

Saturday morning my husband and I were upstairs. We heard the boys shouting, “The tree is falling down!”.  I remember wondering what tree I have in my house that could fall down and if they were building something with my bonsai tree.  Then we heard the groan.

This majestic old tree made our rental house feel like home.

We did most of our photo shoot with Amber under the canopy of the tree.

It had rained steady but not too heavy for 24 hours.

And the tree just leaned.

He’s been growing next to the creek for a hundred years?  And the roots just gave way.  And I found myself mourning a tree and then feeling bad because there are mothers losing children and I am morning a backyard tree. In a house we don’t even own.

Later that day I was reading and came across this quote on Ann’s blog

What kinds of articles are most likely to be emailed by users of the New York Times website? Researchers did a six-month study of the most-emailed list and discovered that, more than utility or surprisingness or feel-good factors (which were all helpful for an article’s prospects), it was a sense of awe that made a given article most likely to be shared.

And I thought about Awe.  And awe reminded me of the tree that isn’t mine but I liked to pretend it was.  And I looked up at my fish and realized it was full of awe and when I walked into the sitting room, those antlers stuck out all unbalanced but perfectly placed and I remember we told the hunter who harvested those elk that the antlers were awesome.  He told us that elk antlers are the fastest growing bones on the planet.

Suddenly I realized why I decorated with a rock at Christmas.

I connected the dots of why my landlocked house feels right filled with starfish and sea biscuits and sea fans every month of the year. My fascination with nests and eggs and feathers makes more sense now.  I love to incorporate things in my home that give me a sense of awe. And for me those things are items made by my favorite Designer.

Maybe for you something totally different invokes a feeling of awe.  But it’s worth thinking about, do you have anything truly awful in your home?


  1. Oh, my! I LOVE this post!! I can relate…not only in decorating, but also in photography. I’m drawn to things in nature as my muse!
    THANK YOU so much for writing this!

  2. YOU are awfully glorious, beautiful Nester girl!

    I am sad you lost your beautiful tree, too.

    I love your encouragement to fill our homes with what gives our family awe. That’s also why I love decorating with nature…from rocks to branches to plants. I also love to decorate just a little with teapots. They remind me of tea parties I used to have with my sweet Grandma…a truly awe inspiring woman and gift in my life.

    Beautiful post, Nester!

  3. Hi there! I couldn’t find an e-mail address, so I am leaving a comment here to let you know that I gave you a Stylish Blogger Award today. I know you have probably received it a million times over, but your blog is my absolute personal favorite in Blogland, so I gave it anyway! If you get a chance, you’ll find my post at http://mydecoratingaddiction.blogspot.com/2011/02/stylish-blogging-my-way.html

    All the best,

  4. Beautiful! I’ve been reading your blog for months now but never commented. You’re my favorite blogger on (in)courage because my heart has always been in the home. One of the most freeing things about you is your “It doesn’t have to be perfect . . . ” philosophy. I too have lost a much-loved home (to mold) and my sister and I are starting over in an efficiency (which we call our nest!) Among the rescued things from our home was our late brother’s art with which we started our business. For months I’ve been trying to create the “perfect” entry wall, thinking I needed to cram in more of his watercolors. As I read this today I realized that what is missing is not more of his beautiful art, but the “Home Sweet Home” plaque he made as a child with a board and a nail (seen on our website under “Remembering Kerwin” ) Though not beautiful, at least to others, it’s one of our most prized possessions – shame on me for not hanging it sooner.

    I think you once said that you don’t consider yourself a writer, but are just passionate about your subject. That, in my opinion, is what makes the best writers – and you are one! Thank you for encouraging us all with your gifts.


  5. Thank you. Awe and The Greatest Designer. I wish I could give you a hug.
    Shannon {aka}|design

  6. clicking on your ‘designer’ link at the end brought chills to my body and tears to my eyes… thank you for the simple, profound, simply profound way you tweaked my vision today!

  7. I rarely comment but just had too. Love love this post. Of course-your favorite designer- the Maker of all good things. Thanks for sharing Nester. I wish we were IRL friends.

  8. This was ten kinds of awesome to read :) I miss you and I miss your tree.

  9. Kindred spirits I’d say! I feel for your loss of the tree… I get all choked up when I have to toss the Christmas poinsettias away, even when there is nothing left but a stem and a memory.
    Love your blog!

  10. I love this post. Just had to share. ; )

  11. Great connection of the dots. I’m going to think about what goes into my home more if it has that ‘awe’ factor or not. Oh and I was at the nest files and LOVED the ‘Put a Bird’ on it clip. I can’t stop laughing about it!

  12. LOVE it!!!!


  13. Aww..those antlers are gorgeous and so is that sailfish. Glad your little adventure turned out successful. That is so fun.

  14. Great post! Gives you something to think about!

  15. so funny, while growing up my dad was a hunter/fisher, we had both on our wall, a sailfish and antlers and deer heads. i hated it and now think it is soooo funny that is a trend in decorating, i’ll tell my dad he’s in!!
    i also would mourn that tree, trees aren’t what they used to be, big and beautiful!! so sad.

  16. So, so sad for your tree. : (

    I love this post. I think you nailed it. I’m looking around my house and it’s lots of nature stuff, favorite photos, and a few mementos. I never thought about why but you’re completely right. You need to name your sailfish. : )

  17. Well put. I like all of the natural, awe inspiring things in my home too. I love plants, pets, people I love, found objects, and books to be around all the time!

  18. “items made by my favorite Designer.” i get the sailfish now.

  19. oh I would feel sad about losing such a beutiful tree too, my granma has a huge oak in front of her house and I would be devasted if it fell over too.

  20. Andrea Nurse says

    OK, I know you don’t need yet ANOTHER animal to put in the mix, but you HAVE to see this elephant head. I mean really? A wooden ELEPHANT HEAD??? LOL. Me thinks you could work it into your guest bath or something equally fun…

  21. Brooke greene says

    Love love this!

  22. Good for you for going with the unique sailfish. Putting up something you like, regardless of what other people think, makes a house a home. The sailfish is gorgeous.

  23. I have mixed feeling about taxidermy around our home. My husband is a big hunter and he has a collection of antlers and deer mounts…his two most prized ones hanging in our living room. When we purchased our new home I had to just keep reminding myself that it’s not just my house, but his house too and I always want it to be filled with things he loves and things that I love. If he can put up with all of my crazy patterns and bright colors, I can put up with a deer mount here and there. And that sailfish is a beauty!

  24. Love this post. Love you. We have the same favorite Designer:)

    xoxo Dee

  25. Thank you for this post. I think you hit the “nail on the head” with respect to why it’s so gratifying to
    decorate with things from the natural world. I appreciate your effort to contemplate this desire to surround ourselves with certain natural items. I’ve never really been able to figure out why I too like to bring shapely branches, and nests, rocks and shells into my home and place them about. I really think it is because they are awe- inspiring in their design. I thank you too for giving credit for these incredibly interesting natural elements to our Great Creator.

  26. I don’t think I’ve ever commented before, but I have been fascinated by your blog for several months now, and this post was truly Awesome!! We know we are alive when we can feel awe in what the great Designer had created…and just for us!! Thank you for that great reminder and your inspiring thoughts!!

  27. I see that there is a common phrase on your comments…”I Love this post!”. I hate to be repetitive, but it was the knee jerk reaction I had after I finished the last line. I really do LOVE THIS POST!

  28. We TOTALLY want a sailfish. That desire seems completely natural to me!

  29. I also am in awe of that Designer’s works!

  30. I d isagree with 75% of ones opinions. And who appointed you judges?

  31. Can you please share with me where you got the sailfish? Thank you!@

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