Moving is exciting. A fresh start, and new space, a chance to redecorate, a whole new space of your own. Well, I just moved! I am now the proud renter of a quirky, sunny, spacious one bedroom apartment. I’ve been in for 3 days now, and my flat and I are slowly but surely warming up to one another. Little by little, I am letting my guard down, getting past that first date stage and allowing myself to fully open myself up to this quaint new space.

‘Well, I guess that’s not a dealbreaker’, I say to all the new creaks and and sounds. I can deal with this new water pressure. Ooooo my last apartment didn’t have this fancy stove or retro built in dresser. I think I could get used to this place. When moving, I think one of the most challenging parts is making this new house a home. I loved my old apartment because I had figured out how to cozy it up, and make it jussssssst right for what I want in a home. What if the new place doesn’t feel as snug and cushy as the old place? What if the kitchen and I just don’t get along? What if Finn doesn’t like it?  How am I going to make this place feel cozy?  To clear up these questions, I decided to give a step by step of how to make a new house a home.

Step 1: Burn some wild sage in your new, still empty space.

IMG_1678My sweet, sweet sister Holly bought me some sage incense smudging wands for my new place. Burning sage goes back to Native American rituals, and is intended for cleansing, and clearing out energy. It is a spiritual process and is used as a path for re-defenition and purification. Huh, I’ll try it out. I lit the end of the wand and let it smolder. Then, I walked with the incense to every room and let the smoke fill all the nooks and crannies and I mentally set an intention for my new home. Lots of love, joy, comfort, safety, memories, you know, the good stuff. This process also helps clear out any of the energy from prior tenants. Who knows what kind of life they led? I don’t want to move forward in this new abode dragging around any bad juju that they may have left behind. I’m not super into all that, but why take chances, right? Right. Sage burned: check.

Step 2: Make sure your little fwiends like it too.

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Finley is my baby, and a huge part of what makes my house a home. All of the places I have lived would feel very different if I didn’t see his fur all over it, or hear his nails click clacking down the hallways behind me. He is such a comfort and source of joy for me, and if he doesn’t feel comfortable in his new place, I cannot be happy. SO! I make sure to lay out all his blankies around the house, give him lots of treats for being a good boy and not barking incessantly at the new sound of the dog upstairs. When I am leaving the house, I take him with me. I want to give him time to feel out the house slowly. If I leave him in this new space without me for too long, he gets anxious and panicky. It’s important to remember that the animals are going through a big change in a move too, and paying attention to their creature comforts is equally as important as our own!

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Step 3: Add some texture and twinkle lights

To me, twinkle lights, {or Christmas lights} are as charming as charming can be. They bring so much warmth and enjoyment to any space. When I was a little girl, my mom put Christmas lights around the perimeter of our room for the holidays, and my sister and I loved them so much that we kept them up year round. This is a phase that I figured I would grow out of, but 20 years later, here I am, putting up twinkle lights in every place I’ve ever lived in. Usually, I string the lights around the perimeter of my living room, just like mom did so many years ago. But since I haven’t gotten to that part of setting everything up yet, I just strung some on the shelf I put up today.

IMG_1726I’m sure everything on that shelf will be arranged and rearranged 10 times over before I am perfectly happy with it. But see how nice the glow from the lights is? It just warms up the room so much! A little golden glow, as I figure out how I want to set everything up. Texture is important too. Hang curtains before anything else. Lay out your favorite quilt on the couch. Hang your aprons from hooks. Put a cute dish towel through the oven handle. Roll out that smooshy rug that feels so good under your feet. Anything that brings out that feeling of ‘home’ and comfort before it actually looks like a home and feels comfortable.

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Step 4: Get into the kitchen! 

They say the kitchen is the heart of the home. This is the room where friends and family gather, where wonderful aromas come from, and where delicious food is cooked for loved ones. So why not get well acquainted with the area, right? Introduce yourself to the warm stove and thank it in advance for not burning any future recipes that you ask it to bake. Now be very nice in this initial meeting. After all, it IS your first date. Make a great impression by baking something that’ll really impress it. For me, that meant a cheesecake that I was making for my family for Easter the next day. First, get the mood right. Put on some pleasant music that is perfect for baking. Next, turn on your oven for the first time. Also, learn your lesson when you look over 5 minutes later and see that the plastic pepper grinder sitting on top of the stove is now completely melted. When the oven is on, the stovetop gets VERY hot. Lesson: learned.

See? We’re getting very well acquainted, this kitchen and I. Set out all ingredients for cheesecake, and get cookin’.

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Make a graham cracker pie crust, and press into a springform pan.

Mix four 8oz packages of cream cheese with 1 cup of sugar and 4 eggs and mix on low speed until all ingredients are combined.

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Pour filling into the springform pan and bake at 325* for 55 minutes or until center is almost set.

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Allow cake to cool before removing the rim. Refrigerate overnight. Then, decorate with strawberries or any fruit that is in season.

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Then, bring the cheesecake to a gathering with loved ones and explain that this is the first thing you cooked in your new oven, in your new kitchen, in your new home, in the place that you have spent all your energy on making homey over the past couple days. They’ll love hearing that. They will, I tell you!

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Step 5: Toast to your humble abode. 

Now, after burning that sage, making Finley feel safe and loved, hanging your curtains, putting up twinkle lights AND baking an entire cheesecake, you are most surely exhausted! So what do you do? You slip into your flannel pajamas, cuddle up under your favorite quilt, pour yourself a glass of wine, and toast to the sanctuary that this new place in going to become.

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Now go ahead, drink your wine, keep yourself cozy and enjoy your new house home. Happy homemaking!

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