Can someone go back in time and tell fifteen-year old Samantha that twelve years later her favorite outdoor chore would be sweeping the sidewalk? The shock of that news might have helped me appreciate the countless hours I worked in the tiny, sweltering dish pit of my uncle’s restaurant. It was work that was broken up by one of two other tasks: sweeping the mayflies off the outdoor tables, or sweeping the parking lot. I could not conceive why a person would sweep the ground outside. Now look at me: chomping at the bit to take my hand broom and tidy the cement. Our house boasts a weathered, glorious sandstone step at both doors. Beyond the simple pleasure of imagining my mom as a child sitting on these very steps, they can get, as the name suggests, quite sandy. With Autumn comes sand and twigs and leaves, oh my! Talk about a small-town broom-loving bumpkin’s dreamscape. So, yeah, things are pretty exciting around here.
Fortunately for you, this blog is intended for slightly more interesting subject matter than How To Sweep The Ground. And more than the big impact of a front door wreath, I want to mention the small thrill of trimming your windowsills. I don’t need to tell you I love flowers. They make an ordinary moment feel bountiful. But it doesn’t end there. Adding a small something to a windowsill or a front door—something discovered or once living outdoors—is a lovely, tiny way to enliven your day. We Ohioans are unbelievably blessed with natural bounty, from the trees to the agricultural capacity to the Great Lake just north of us. If you take three steps outside, you can find something. Here are a few easy suggestions for your consideration next time you’re brooming your sandstone step and thinking, gee, that window could use something.
A few ways to bring natural whimsy to your windowsills . . .
+ Flowers. (It bears repeating.)
Did you know wildflowers grow wild? And that certain weeds are lovely? Put a few in a cup. Or, a sprig of herbs tied into a bundle and hung upside down to dry in a sunny window.
+ Shells and stones.
Collecting pretty rocks is not just for children. There is a way to keep them from ending up underfoot, and it’s called a lidded jar. I have many little collections, and they all live on a shelf in empty honey jars. I suspect a jar of beach glass in a windowsill would help you feel abundant. Scanned the beach and only found three pieces? Great, you’ve started a collection.
+ The humble acorn or pinecone.
Three of anything is a collection, and collections help to imbue meaning into a Thing. A handful of acorns in a small bowl, or three pinecones, can offer a bit of levity to an otherwise serious adult life. They are fun. And when you tire of them, toss them to the wind!
+ Beeswax your leaves.
Are the maple trees brilliantly colored where you are? Well, gather a handful. Warm some beeswax if you have it. (If you do not, you can acquire beeswax pellets for less than $10 online). Dip the leaves in the melted beeswax, shake off any excess, and lay on a piece of parchment paper to dry. Tie a string around the stems for a gorgeous garland that will last for months. (P.S. This is a perfect project to try with kids.) (P.P.S. If at all possible, dedicate a pot to beeswax + other crafting projects so you don’t have to worry about cleaning it out. Goodwill is waiting and ready to sell you a 50 cent pot.)
On another note . . .
I’ve been voraciously knitting for the cold season and the holidays, like a squirrel tucking away nuts, except the nuts are wool. I am excited to share more, especially a post about the beauty of the time-honored Christmas stocking (+ why you should love them, too). There’ll be a roundup of baby + child woolen bloomers/pants you might consider gifting this year. (I’ve tested them all.) I have half a mind to do a few gift guides in the coming weeks — roundups of thoughtful products, books, children’s toys, etc. that I stand behind. This blog isn’t much for comments, but if you are a long time reader or new and intrigued, would you be so kind as to comment if gift guides would be of interest to you?