Simplicity Unwrapped In The Laundry Room

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A couple of Tuesday’s ago I shared with you how I love the concept of Simplicity and I wrote about finding simplicity unwrapped in the Kitchen.  Then Last week I wrote about simplicity unwrapped in the dining room.  Today, I will once again, be joining Emily and others for Tuesday’s Unwrapped.

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Occasionally, I have a day that I love to putter around my house, even the laundry becomes a chore that brings contentment.  I love those days when making a home is peaceful rather than feeling like drudgery.

A few months ago my husband and his siblings had an estate to sort through.  It was an unassuming ranch house, but the lady who had lived there had managed to accumulate a lot of stuff.  The house had sold so all that stuff had to go somewhere.  Thus began the journey of sorting and selling.

Needless to say we accumulated a few lot of “new” things for our home.  Part of our stockpile was old linens.  Some of them in good shape, some not.  Most of them had gathered years of dust and needed laundering.  So, I found myself on an ordinary weekday (it may well have been a Tuesday) deciding that today was the day to take care of the linens.

I soaked, spot treated, washed on gentle cycle, some pieces by hand, then I hung them all up around my laundry room to dry.  Some of them came clean, a few had stubborn spots that wouldn’t budge.  A few I’ll still need to work on when I find a warm sunny day so I can use lemon juice and salt for the “rust” spots.

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On this day that I enjoyed puttering in my home, it even inspired me to organize my laundry room and make it more efficient.  Once the linens were dry, I found storage for them, knowing that I didn’t just want them to stay hidden.

Since then I have found ways to incorporate them into my decor.  A couple are over the backs of chairs, some on dresser tops.  I look at them and know that I have unwrapped not only the gift of bringing a little piece of the past into the present, but the gift of contentment while puttering around my house on an ordinary day.

What about you?  Have you unwrapped the gift of contented puttering lately?

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Puttering in grace,

Teresa

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Simplicity Unwrapped In The Dining Room

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Last Tuesday I shared with you how I love the concept of Simplicity and I wrote about finding simplicity unwrapped in the Kitchen.  I will be joining Emily and others for Tuesday’s Unwrapped.

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Today’s post centers around my little French Country Dining Room. That has been a thorn in my side for a while.  I had a dream.  A dream of simple grace. My grandmothers wooden table with the muslin table cloth my mother made for it in the seventies (with blue fringe around the bottom) and cane chairs painted white.  I would have a white large mirror (the one I found at Home Goods was gone when I went back) leaning against one wall and possibly a piece of white painted furniture for storage etc. The walls would be a shade of white and  the ceiling would be painted Martha Stewart enamelware blue. My accessories would be a combo of French Country and shabby chic.  It wasn’t all planned out because, of course, part of the journey of decorating is in the unknown – the part that happens over time.

Well, it happened. Over time.  The chaos, the misdirected decor and the clutter. I wish I had taken a picture this morning.  But, if I’m being totally honest, a part of me is glad (if you change the l and a around you get a totally different word. glad I caught that).  I am glad that you didn’t have to see the mess that had become of my little dining room.

Oh, I do have the enamelware blue ceiling and walls that are bleached muslin. I do have the dining table with the fringe on the bottom table cloth.  I do have the cane chairs painted white.  Ok, so only two of them made it under the paint brush. But, we were on track.  And then we moved out of our apartment (our other home) and had to squeeze a lot of stuff into one house. So, I had to add my dark bookshelves to the dining room and an extra chest of drawers and a bench.  And the look was a little more eclectic and not the simple grace of French Country and Shabby Chic that I had intended.

Then, we sorted through an estate of a family friend and acquired more junk lovely stuff. Then I helped my cousin go through some of my Aunt’s things and acquired a few family mementos.  My dining room became hoarder central (and my kitchen counters too, if I am going to be completely honest).  Seriously.  So, today in addition to doing some basic cleaning, I decided it was time to get the chaos under control. I thought it was time we unwrapped simplicity in the dining room.

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I found a home for everything (not all in the dining room), did some rearranging of accessories, pulled out a quilt of my grandmother’s to make a topper for the muslin table cloth and what I was left with was a little bit country and a little bit shabby (not so much French or Chic).  But I did unwrap a lovely gift. A gift that was more than simplicity.

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A gift that brought order, a gift that properly displayed  memories. A gift that brought balance because now I can walk through the room without worrying that my friends and family are going to report me to the hoarder police.

I also learned that simple order is more important than a specific decorating style.  I still have a dream, but in the meantime I am enjoying the simplicity of a gift unwrapped.

I will leave you with a few more pictures of my little shabby country dining room with it’s enamelware blue ceiling.  (Keep in mind that these pictures were taken after dark by a non-professional photo taker.)

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Drop-cloth curtains, blue ceiling, garden bench, grandmother’s quilt and another of her quilt tops on the chair.

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This quilt of my grandmother’s is all done by hand, at the time of her death my grandparents had been married for 73 years that was 10 years ago – I am guessing this quilt is probably 75- 83 years old. The enamel wash basin on the table has a light blue rim, I found it at an Antique shop. It is the center piece for now, subject to change when something better comes along. The linens on the back of the chairs were from the estate of a family friend.

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Unwrapping in grace,

Teresa

Simplicity Unwrapped In The Kitchen

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I love the concept of simplicity.  Chaos abounds in the world.  Mad dashing to and fro. Complicated living. Harried Spinning. Trying to wrap life up in beautiful packages with ribbons and bows. Unrealistic expectations. When it all starts to come undone, we crash in a huddle of despair wondering what went wrong.  If only.

If only we’d embrace the art of simplicity.   Stop the dashing and spinning. Find fulfillment in simple ordinary days. Will you join me in unwrapping simplicity? On Tuesdays in December, I will be joining Emily and others for Tuesday’s Unwrapped.  In keeping with my theme of unwrapping simplicity, I will be sharing how I embraced an aspect of simple living that helped make life easier or taught me a lesson.

Today’s gift of simplicity was dinner.  Preparing dinner is sometimes a complicated ordeal around here.  I get busy, then realize I’m hungry.  I feel too tired to cook and clean up, so it’s easy for just the two of us to go grab something.  Our pocketbook and waistlines say we need to stop this madness.  Or, I do cook, but so many pots and pans are involved and time invested that I feel like I’ve spent all day in the kitchen and I don’t even want to think about doing dishes.

Today, I was out with my father and skipped lunch, so I was very hungry when I came home.  I remembered two things that would make dinner easy.  One was a jar of Spicy Orange Marinade my husband had purchased on his last shopping trip without me, and the other was fresh chicken breast I had purchased yesterday. Two simple gifts that when combined could be heavenly.  I knew if I chopped the chicken breast it would cook up quicker than we could run out to get something and since it was using what I already had on hand, it would also spare our pocketbook.

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I seasoned the chicken with salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder and cooked until done, then I drained a can of carrots and added a half jar of the orange sauce and let it simmer.  In the meantime, I had a bag of frozen Trader Joe Rice that I microwaved, then added to the pot for a very tasty, one dish dinner that was fast and easy.  Simplicity at it’s best. It was tastier and healthier than most of our eating out choices in a small town. And, I only used one cutting board, one sauce pan, two bowls to eat from and a handful of utensils, so clean-up was no big deal.  It was just enough for two, and it was gone before I thought to take a picture.

This may not seem profound or unwrap worthy, but there you have it – a simple gift or two in the middle of an ordinary day that helped me see that I can embrace simplicity in my everyday life and let go of harried spinning. A gift that allowed me to feed my family a savory meal without a lot of time invested. A gift that didn’t involve take-out and as an added bonus makes my house smell wonderfully orangey.  But more than the food, it was a gift that helped me enjoy showing hospitality to my husband in the middle of an ordinary Tuesday. It was simplicity. Unwrapped.

Simplifying in grace,

Teresa