Slow and steady has marked the creation of our many homes. Hand-me-down furniture, thrift store finds (Goodwill Living!), or inherited treasure. Stories, history, nature. I prefer these over quick-fixes found in mass.
Here are a couple little inexpensive fixes in our home lately. Nothing revolutionary or outstanding. Just homey.
The charcoal grey, velvety, clearance-shelf curtains have hung at just the wrong length for about two years now. Dark home textiles are usually not my thing, but I really like the way these ground an otherwise tall and airy space. I have not, however, liked their length but was trying to avoid tacking on some other fabric to the bottom or reinstalling the curtain rod.
A solution came to mind the other day, no sewing required (thankfully, since I don't really sew). I bought a little pack of clip rings, then I went at the curtains with a pair of scissors and ripped out all the hems on both ends, leaving two big panels of flat cloth. The panels were simply clipped on to the bar, adding a few more inches. Voila. They brush the ground just as I had hoped.
This tiny powder room's cream walls were decorated in scuff marks, wooden stool knicks, and other questionable signs of a home filled with little boys. I could never quite get it to look clean. Last week the boys and I headed to the Lowes paint department and selected a small sample can in a gray/blue shade for $3.50. In two hours that sample covered the entirety of the bathroom and it made a huge difference. We all love it. (Paint color: Sherwin-Williams, Jagged Granite)
Art in the laundry room? Yes please! I still have just as many clothes to wash but it's lovely how tidying up a space and adding a piece of art can make it more enjoyable. (Also, I like to use wicker baskets collected from second-hand shops for laundry baskets. Again, a touch of beauty enhancing the mundane. It's the small things!)
My goal in "homemaking" isn't to create a magazine-worthy space, but a place of respite for my family - a retreat from a sometimes noisy world, a place of love, acceptance, and comfort.
Homemaking is not a vestige of a bygone era, but a vital and relevant honor, and it encompasses much more than cooking and cleaning. As long as there are people living, homemaking is relevant. I hope my children will hold wonderful memories when they are grown of our shared space, wherever it may be. I want our foster children to feel peace the moment they step in the door, as well as all the social workers and other professionals who are in and out connected to fostering. This is one part of my current work, and it is simply a way of extending the passions the Lord has put in my heart to love and serve my family.
On the subject of fostering and child-trafficking, my husband Kristian offered some great words on Love146's site a while back: Three Things I've Learned From Foster Care
I also really appreciated his thoughts in his message he gave at our church a few months ago: Costly Compassion
I type these words with our baby boy happily climbing all over my lap and the floor around me. He came to our home almost a year and a half ago from the foster care system and has officially been our son since last October. The gift of fostering and adoption is indescribable. If you ever feel the Lord is prompting you in that direction I wholeheartedly say, pursue it. Life is short and there are lots of hurting children out there in need of homes. I know fostering and adopting don't fit every family, but they do fit many. Please always feel free to contact me if you have questions about the process.
Books to kick off the year
I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed this book, as well as the wealth of simplifying and decluttering thoughts on Erin's website, Reading My Tea Leaves. For those who have read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I found Simple Matters to have just as many inspiring tips, but presented in a beautifully attainable way.
The tagline to Erin's book is "Living with less and ending up with more." I could not have anticipated how true this is!
Decluttering for me the past year has been life-changing. It seems I've added hours to my days by simply not having all the stuff to deal with. One towel for each child, one water bottle or sippy cup, one extra change of sheets for each bed, one small basket of house cleaners... you get the point.
And more importantly, it means teaching our kids that they don't need piles of stuff to make them happy. They can cherish a few quality items, and (ideally) be free from the bondage of stuff.
Our home is very much still a work in progress, but I'll never go back to my stuffed-closet ways!
Things We Couldn't Say, Diet Eman
You know I love a good WWII story. This true account did not disappoint. (Thank you MF for the rec!)
The Collected Home, Darryl Carter
I love taking time here and there to study what interior designers and architects have to say about creating a home that's aesthetically pleasing. Then I try to integrate their tips and tricks into my house of thrift store/garage sale finds.
Praying the Scriptures for Your Children, Jodie Berndt
This is what my Mom used to pray for us girls growing up, and it's such a gift to use it now as I pray for my boys. Priceless!
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.