Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Marching into Spring

Hi All!  As I blog-hop about, I am ever so aware that everyone, everywhere is so done with Winter!  And psychologically I am too, but climatologically – not so much.  We had the 3rd snowiest February on record, and my yard is still quite covered with white.  Which actually helps when you are taking photos indoors on a partly cloudy day.  So, I know my little Snowpeople salt-and-pepper set won’t meet much enthusiasm.  They are from a dinnerware line I treated myself with this January.  With the after-Christmas sales, the prices were quite reasonable on the Pfaltzgraff website (and they gave me 15% off for signing up for e-mails, most of which I just delete without reading).  The line is called Evergreen Ernie, and features pastel blues and greens and snowflake motifs without anything Christmas-y, which is perfect for the several weeks of snowy weather which prevails in my area.
But wait, Mr. Cottontail wants to make his presence known!
Lest we forget Easter’s impending arrival later this month!
And BTW, the lovely lacey doilies (which in my mind resemble snowflakes, but not so much that they aren’t suitable for year-round use), are made by tatting.  I have done a little tatting and find it fascinating, but never anything large, just edging and one time, a bookmark shaped like a cross to use with a Bible.
I want to share with you a book I have read nearly cover-to-cover.  Over the years when I have frequented homemaking/housekeeping blogs, I have seen references to this book: Home Comforts:  The Art & Science of Keeping House, and I would think, in passing, “Maybe I should see if they have it at the library/bookstore/Goodwill…”.  One day last summer, I picked it up at the GW Outlet for a quarter!  It is worth sooooo much more.  I won’t do a review of it here.  I’ll just say that it was hugely inspiring for me and endlessly informative.    Cheryl Mendelson holds a similar philosophy to mine, and I so appreciate her eloquence in putting it into words.  (That sounds a little overstated, to say that I have an actual philosophy when it comes to homekeeping, I should just say that it is important to me, I don’t do it well, and I am helpless to resist the drive to improve.)  This has been a consistent interest, and in my earlier mothering years when I had my children in a daycare, and I was working very hard and long hours, I was suppressing my desire to be in my home, and discounting the importance of the home environment in the life of the family. 030513-04Can you see the  title of the first chapter, under “BEGINNINGS”?  It is: “My Secret Life”.  She tells her story of being in academia, and then a corporate law practice, but maintaining a strong interest in the ancient and dying art of domestic management.  I immediately identified with her.
Even in this day of rampant social connectivity, I would venture to say that few, if any of my former professional contacts, either colleagues or acquaintances are aware of the side of my life I share in my blog.  Even now, when women have so many opportunities and choices, it seems like professional life and domestic life are mutually exclusive.  At least in this place, at this time. 
One of my favorite things is to read vintage home-ec books, cookbooks, etc.  Anything instructing the housewife of an earlier time how to do the things that need to be done around the house.  It helps me to set my standards and implement the practices to attain them.
One practice that I think is very quaint, but also time-tested, is to have certain tasks for certain days of the week, and I am vaguely following the pattern for the week, trying to establish new routines, to make certain tasks automatic.  For instance, yesterday, (Monday), I tried to get all my laundry done.  I didn’t get it all, but I can say I got most of it done, and I‘m finishing up today.  It is very unusual for me on a Tuesday morning to have most of what I have laundered, actually folded and put away.  Today, I have my ironing board set up….030513-07
and I will likely get all the clothing that needs it ironed and hung in the proper closets.  I know not everyone feels this way, but I love to iron.  I love the smell, the feel, and the satisfaction of straightening out wrinkles and the feel of having the smooth cloth under my hand.  For years, I have simply put my husbands shirts on the hangers however they came out, and often they looked “good enough”, and if they didn’t, he was on his own to pass the iron over them in the morning. 
When I was a little girl, around 7 or 8 years old, I showed an interest in ironing, and my mother taught me on my father’s white cotton handkerchiefs, and her linen dish towels.  Later, I graduated to my father’s white shirts that he wore with his suits to work.  I got paid a nickel apiece, and I was very proud when my mother told my father who had placed all the crisp white shirts in his closet.  In those days, we didn’t have a clothes dryer, and used a clothesline.  Nothing beats the smell of clean clothes from a clothesline.
I will not likely get to the table linens this week.  But that to me is the beauty of the system.  If you don’t finish everything this week, you have a protected time next week to hack away at it again.  I want to get to where we are using cloth napkins most of the time, and significantly decrease our paper napkin waste.030513-05
A peek at some of my collection.DSCN2020This is the one on top.  Another 25 cent purchase from GW Outlet!  It’s a hit-or-miss way to shop, I often find treasures.  More from this one another time.
Come on Spring!  We need warmer days to melt the snow away, and give my bulbs a chance.


Lorrie said...

These are great books. I find so much useful advice from old cookbooks that often hold tips on how to remove stains naturally, or clean something without chemicals.

I always do laundry and clean my house on Fridays, unless I'm working, then it's Saturdays. That includes vacuuming and dusting, along with cleaning the bathrooms. If the house needs a touch up other days, fine, but if not, I know that once a week everything will be spiffy.

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Your book favorites are some of my favorites! I too do laundry on Mondays. :)