works of the home


carving out calm

I have yet to occupy any one place that truly felt like the one. Of the ten places I have lived since moving out of my parents house at 18, I have always known, on the day I moved in, that I would also move out — even here, in my grandma's house, a place that Mark and I effusively call Home. But it does not stop us nesters from painting the walls and putting dishes in their rightful places. My mom and I once stayed up all night to wallpaper the kitchen of my first college apartment (and no, we did not ask the landlord). Possessing a certain amount of awareness that This (Place) Too Shall Pass has never hindered my willingness to find, or create, the Home in the house. And the method is simple: carve out a space that evokes calm.

It is in our calmest states that Mark and I are able to communicate well, parent genuinely, and pray uninterruptedly. I suspect the same will be true for our child. A calm home environment relaxes her faster than any lullaby, car ride, or bath. (While I have no proof, I believe she is most calmed in our bedroom, in part, because it's where she was born, and where our family spent nearly every hour for the first weeks of her life.) For us, calm looks like pale walls, natural materials—wood and wool, especially, and a soft place to land. I love a lot of pattern on the floors by way of rugs. For you, calm might be tangerine walls and a freshly mopped kitchen floor. Keep the lights dim, stack your books in every nook and cranny, keep four cups of water on your nightstand (once guilty, now reformed), play the music you want to hear. . . whatever calms you — truly calms you —, hone in on it, and work for it. Carve it out of nothing if you have to. A calmed spirit is an open spirit, and openness begets most good things.

I'd love to know, what does calm look like for you?

carving out calm
carving out calm
carving out calm
carving out calm

for the inquisitive:

+ Economical, simple crib.
+ Temperature regulating, have forever, washable wool blanket.
+ The story of the blue rug.

last time in Works of the Home: Line Drying 



hanging laundry

When I think about clothes drying on the line, two particular memories come to the forefront of my mind. The first, when as a small girl I would look out our kitchen door and see soaking wet pool towels strewn every whichaway on the line. The towels took days to dry because my siblings and I would drag them into the water with us, the reason unknowable. Bless our mom for schlepping our ten pound towels from the pool to the clothesline, summer after summer. (And while we're at it, bless every mom, everywhere.) My second memory is the first time I smelled the garments that had baked on a line under the hot Greek sun. Mark and I spent the summer after college living in Porto Rafti, Greece with his dad and Greek side of the family, and it was there that I fell in love with the art of line drying. And it is an art—just look at the socks on an Amish clothesline, or the number of garments deftly hanging from apartment windows in Europe.

When works of the home feel artful, they are less Chore and more Cheer. I might go so far as to claim line drying as my most restorative choice of summer, though it must contend against bread baking, ocean swimming, and peach eating. Instead of feeling worn down by the fast pace of the season, or melancholy knowing it will soon be time to make way for a new one, might we all sink a little deeper into restorative acts, however small. You know what your mind, body, and soul needs. If you need a bit of guidance, might I suggest line drying? Below are a handful of ways to do so (even if you inhabit a 100 square foot third floor apartment). Happy dog days, friends.

a handful of ways to go about line drying:

for indoor use —
+ This small floor rack is an economical option for drying just a few things.
+ Erin shared a great post about wall-mounted drying racks for tiny spaces.
+ We use one similar to this for kitchen towels, woolens, undergarments, and airing out denim.

for outdoor use —
+ This entire page is chock full of outdoor solutions to fit your situation. Most are USA made.
+ We installed this kit and dug a post to mount it onto, though it could easily go between two existing structures. (See ours in action with cloth diapers, with sheets, and with a smelly raincoat.)
+ You can tie a thin rope from one tree to another. Voila, a clothesline. We did this very thing outside Pink Cameron.

for if you are loyally devoted to your electric dryer* —
+ Ditch the dryer sheet.
+ The prettiest wool dryer balls I've laid my eyes on.
+ The uses for clothespins are truly endless. In a pinch I used one as a hair clip.

*It never helps to be a zealot, and I want to be transparent about our practices. We use our electric dryer roughly half the time in the summer, and 100% of the time in the winter, though I intend to change that this winter. We are actively working towards drying the majority of our things outside, but all in good time. And we have yet to figure out how to line dry Rosemary's prefold diapers without them feeling too stiff. If anyone has suggestions, please do share.

laundry line 2
back garden 2