Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Coffee Chatter



Well hello!  I had an unexpected  change of plans today and have taken full advantage of that change to get a few extras done around the house.  I've heard several confess that the new year is always a great time to declutter and organize their homes.  I'm no different.  There's something about a New Year, putting away all of the holiday decorations, that makes me want to declutter the drawers and closets and freshen up the house while keeping a cozy look for the cold days to come.

My plans changed today because it's raining.  Mama just didn't want to get out in the cold rain.  Tommorrow it is supposed to be clear and windy.  Mama said she could handle cold wind far better than she can take the cold rain.  I will confess here and now that as I went about my homekeeping early this morning, before Mama's call, I was dreading getting out in the rain myself.   Chance can walk through the raindrops and never get very wet, but honey, just let me go outdoors.  There's a drip, a drain, a puddle, or a dog more than willing to help me get soaked to the bone!  It happens every single time. 

So when Mama called, I wasn't sorry in the least to rearrange my day.  I knew just what I wanted to do, too.  This week my homekeeping plan is to deep clean the laundry/back entry/breakfast area.  The laundry is done and the back entry is looking fairly cleaned as well.  I'd planned to hang the pictures above that peg shelf back there but alas, I'm not as tall as I need to be even with the step stool.  And I'm one frame and one plate hanger short of what I need to take care of the arrangement I want to do.  While I plan to repaint the shelf, I've no desire to deal with paint today.  For me, painting is like sewing; if I'm not in the mood then I end up in a huge mess.  So I decided to move on to another task.

My decluttering this week has been to focus upon the file drawer, the one with all those files and a box of office supplies that seemed remarkably cluttered with more than supplies.  I worked on the files yesterday, all except the bank file, which needs LOTS of attention.  Today I pulled out that bank file and the office supply box.  The office supply box is now nearly empty except for three packs of 20 each ink pens.  Something tells me I really ought to donate a few of those to the kids, given I just tested a dozen or more I'd found in my desk this week and threw out only 2 that refused to write.

So the morning has gone on and now I'm ready for a break. 

As usual I was over at BH&G looking at a few photos.  I liked these especially:

 Of course, since I was cleaning the laundry area, I had to look up a few laundry rooms.  It was the copper sink that caught my eye in this photo more than the styling of the area.  What a beautiful laundry sink that would make!
 Next week or two I'll be focusing on the desk area of the kitchen, which is largely non-functional for us at present.  It's just a spot with the main CPU and a HUGE monitor and the wireless and broadband routers....How I'd love to have a real office space there, with a bookcase like this one for cookbooks and necessary things, where I could use my laptop, plan menus and shopping lists...Sigh.
 I thought this use of milk glass containers as desk organizers was genius.  I have a small collection of milk glass and am often tempted by new pieces but wouldn't buy them because I'd get so little use out of something that had to be stored.  Now I hear milk glass calling my name....
I thought this would be a clever thing to hang at my baking center to hold the loose recipe pages.  Ever since the  1970's when it was the rage to make rings and bracelets from old silver spoons and forks, I've loved to see pieces of flatware and silverware used in fresh ways.

An enamel plate hung on the wall and used as a magnetic holder...but the real thing I love is that dipper (or ladle) used as a holder for coins.  It's got me thinking that the old dipper from Granny's that we drank from as kids could be used in the laundry area to hold the change and such from pockets. (Granny believed it was a waste for children to run a glass of water so she set out a five gallon bucket of water and an aluminum dipper for us to drink from.  And yes, all 8 of us used that dipper and no, we didn't get ill.  Come to that, we did the same thing at the country church I grew up in, too, because there was no running water until the late 1970's.)

So I dreamed my way through a few pages this morning.  The days are very long it seems when Chance is gone off to work.  I don't mind being alone at all, but the first day back at work always finds me a bit at loose ends until I find my own pace once more. 

Other plans for this week: shopping with Mama, clearing out those VHS tapes we've not watched in the past ten years except for a very few much loved ones that I want to purchase DVDs of before donating the tapes.  And after that I'm about done with the major decluttering, which is the luxury of keeping abreast of the need to toss, donate and repurpose household items as they outlive their usefulness.

I've barely read a book through since our return from our retreat in October and am beginning to be a bit restive.  Chance says I go into book withdrawal and I roam the house like a lost spirit looking for a book to settle down with, lol.  Well, he's right!  I do just that and so at present I have sailed through all the magazines Mama gave me the past two weeks...Admittedly I find modern day magazines redundant.  What is published in one is generally the same content published that month in others right down to which star they are featuring.  Which is why I am determined that this year, after a two year hiatus, I shall pull out my old vintage magazines to read instead.

As well I've started five or more books at once.  Yes, really.  And I cannot settle down with just one of any of them.  I finished reading the section of recipes devoted to Winter in Edward Harris Heth's book.  I'm still reading Morning Foods, Tinkers which Kay gave me for Christmas  and The Blue Bedroom by Rosamunde Pilcher, Life with Father by Clarence Day, The FarmChicks Christmas, and a combination of biography/autobiography on Ingrid Bergman.  Now I shall share my true peculiarity with you...I cannot keep up with bookmarks in books though I do try and you'll likely find one in most every book I'm reading but never at the place where I last left off reading.  Instead I memorize the page number and even though I've so many books going at once I've only to pick up the book to know just where I start reading.

I had to go out in the rain this morning, because we were out of milk and bread both.  We'd planned to stop yesterday afternoon while out on an errand, but I said it could wait since I'd be out with Mama today and at that time I still had a little of bread and milk left.  I used the last of milk last night and Chance had only enough bread for a slice of toast this  morning.  So out I went to the local store this morning and yes, I found the drip and Maddie plopped her feet happily in the midst of my chest and then leaned hard against me when I shooed her away and I got dripped on another time trying to heft her away from me, lol. 

The grocery was very quiet, I think only myself and one other customer was in the store and perhaps two employees since it was early.  I walked down the meat counter and found short ribs had been marked down to a fair price and because they looked lean enough, I got two packages.  Bread was also marked down and so I bought three loaves because I knew I had room enough in the freezer for two and could put one in the bread box right away.  And all of the gallons of whole milk were just $1.99 as they expired yesterday, but milk being good for another 7 days I knew it would be no trouble to use it up prior to the real expiration date.  I did wish hard I had enough room in either freezer to store an extra gallon or two but knew I didn't and there was no use purchasing more than the single gallon.  I felt very blessed to find these items on sale just when I needed them and even more blessed when the whole total rang up for just over $10.

The trip into town, time in the grocery and then the ride back home again took less than 15 minutes.  I couldn't believe how little time had passed, but that is the luxury of a small town early morning grocery!  After 9am things pick up a bit downtown as everyone then goes out to check mail, stops by the diner to get a cup of coffee, goes by the drugstore and dollar store as well, doing their errands, but I missed all that traffic since I went into town just at 8am.

I'm thinking I'd like to  take up embroidery once more.  I've never learned to cross stitch and I have such a time seeing small print that I'm not in the least tempted to attempt it now.  But I used to do embroidery as a teen and I'd really like to settle down to it once more.  Of course, any kind of needlework makes me feel very much a homemaker for some reason.  Monday as I went to hang up the laundry we'd dried, I noticed the ribbing on the sleeve of a work shirt was torn at the seam and so I settled down to repair it right away.  I'd noticed a hole in another workshirt and I thought I might as well get Chance's shirts in good order before he began this week so I went over them carefully and found all three required some minor repair.  Then we dressed to go out Monday and I needed to sew a button my trousers...And today as I came in the door, I caught my raincoat and two buttons came off.  It's been a week of mending, thus far.  But I'm not complaining, not in the least.  As I said, I feel such a homemaker when I stop to mend.  There's something uniquely feminine about settling down with a piece of clothing and a needle and thread in hand somehow.  It reminds me of one of my favorite pictures, which I use as the masthead of A Woman at Home series.

Mama could sew, knit, crochet, cross stitch and did so with great skill...but she was not a teacher and had no patience for even allowing me to sit at her feet and attempt to mirror her movements.  She'd changed a bit about the time Kay came along and Kay did learn to crochet albeit she does so lefthanded, having mirrored Mama.  And she also taught Kay to cross stitch though I don't think she's done any needlework of that sort in years now.  My sewing and embroidery skills came from teaching myself to do those things.  I remember my very first sewing machine was a little battery operated affair with a real needle and thread.  I got it the year I was 7 for Christmas.  I could essentially sew a straight seam and that was about it and I think when the batteries died so did the desire to sew.

When I was 12, Mama paid for me to take lessons at the local fabric shop.  The woman who taught was really a poor teacher herself.  I recall that her hems were more often than not pinned up with safety pins and her blouses often had buttons missing and were pinned shut!lol  However, I did learn to sew well enough and I made very nearly all my own clothes from Eighth grade right up until graduation.  I was a very seamstress I think, because I recall a denim jacket I'd made that I swore years later was store bought.  I realized I'd made it myself when I looked for the label.

I've done only minor sewing since then, but  I do enjoy it when I settle down to it.  The biggest trouble for years now has been the lack of a sewing station where I could set up the machine and not have to move it two or three times a day.  I look forward to setting up that space in the guest room so that I can sew and craft to my heart's content and seldom have to move things to make way for meals or paperwork.

I suppose I should end here.  There's a chore or two remaining and I'd really love to get those VHS tapes cleared out while I'm in a decluttering mood.  Then I think, I shall grab up an armful of those vintage home making magazines and settle down for an afternoon reading.

1 comment:

Manuela@TPOH said...

It's amazing that you can remember the page #! My daughter uses tissues. So I find books all over the house with tissues stuck in them to mark her place. I like using some pretty bookmarks I made. I'm like you and read more than one book at a time.

I was alone at home one day this week when my husband was at work and my daughter was at school in Atlanta all day. This was the first time in 18 years that I'd been alone all day. I'm not sure I'll get used to. I did get a lot done but it was a little strange....and quiet.

Manuela