It is the oddest feeling to be sole cook and bottle washer. Sometimes it is sad, but mostly just odd… something to get used to, like new shoes. Whatever gets done is only what I have done myself. I wonder, as I tend and arrange, what my own style or way of doing this, is like. I honestly can’t remember after 30 plus years of making home with the help and talents of our children, what I do when I am on my own with it.
We had fun with home decor and management. The girls cooperated so well helping to make our home, as we envisioned. They cleaned and arranged and even initiated renovations with me. New floorings and wallpaper and trim went in upstairs in their bedrooms. Now they all are making their own houses into beautiful homes. They’re good at it. They’ve mastered the art.
Now I am learning to dream and home make on my own again. Amy came in last week one evening and commented, “Mom, how do you make your house feel so comfortably home like this?”
Of course, I’m feeling a little flattered, but on second thought, I look around and wonder what it is she is seeing, “But Amy, you are doing the same thing, your house is beautifully homey, too.” She says she learned it from me, and I say I learned it from all the women in my world: my mom, Elv’s mom, my sisters, and the girls.
Elv’s mom and dad moved fairly often in their lifetime. So one of her joys in life was to make the new place “home” as quickly as possible. I admired this a lot. No such thing as boxes sitting in corners waiting to be unpacked for her. Anything not unpacked or set up either got sent away to a different destination for give away or trash or it was stored neatly in the store room away from the living space.
She liked tidy surfaces and plenty of closets and chests of drawers for games, linens, toys, pantry, dishes, and tools. Organization was her strong point.
And she didn’t let undone projects bog her down. Either she pursued them to the end or she dispensed of them. She enjoyed home making, thus being a great example to us.
I have a few rules that work for us.
~ Keep it simple. Too many of anything is messy. Keep toys, tools, gadgets, and papers at a minimum. Wall art, shelf settings, and nick-knacks should be few and only what I really love.
~ This goes for dishes and kitchen tools, too. With a small kitchen all these years it is an easy decision to make. If we already have one, we really don’t need two.
~ Something in, means something out. This goes for furniture and dishes mostly.
~ To see an end table in a bench, a newly painted nightstand in an old ugly end table, a table in an old pile of boards, and wall covering in a pile of salvaged cedar.
~ Do without until I can afford one nice, quality one.
~ A poor, old room can be make wonderfully beautiful with a little vision and a lot of elbow grease. Scrubbing tools and pine cleaner and inexpensive wax can do wonders for an old hardwood floor. Besides it is so fun to find that warm wood. Even the scars and embedded stains add to the charm. It’s only the dirt we don’t want.
~ I’ve also rediscovered English oil to shine tired wood furniture and cabinets. This one is from my mom. She lately moved from a new house with lovely kitchen cabinets into an older home with used up, cheap, wood cabinets. She handed us girls the Old English and rags telling us to use it liberally and buff well. It made a huge difference in the appearance of those old cabinet doors. Yes, it was work but the result was reward enough.
~ To bravely let expensive trends pass by unnoticed. They’re quite fleeting anyway. Who knew that ceramic sinks and cook stoves would return to our kitchens after all that 70’s shag rug, olive colored drama. I am ever so glad for wood and white and practical.
~ To go ahead, hang up that funny looking tapestry that I like, above the piano, and enjoy it. To go with what I believe is pretty, because I may, in our own house.