I missed sharing a Notebook: Files post last month, so if you'll forgive me I'll plan two for April so we can get back on track.
If you've missed January and February's Notebook: files, or you're wondering what in the world they are all about, why don't you brew a nice cuppa, cut yourself a deliciously decent slice of cake, and have a catch up read here and here.
This month I've chosen to browse the pages of Notebook: magazine's January 2008 issue. The cover is my favourite blue and the word 'nourish' is one I hold dear this year, so it simply had to be dusted off, smoothed over, and re-read from start to finish.
After careful elimination (because this old and no-longer-in-print magazine overflows with goodness) I've decided to share a few things with you from the monthly Calendar section which offered pages of wonderful ideas to enrich our lives and some excellent project suggestions which I intend making use of.
In fact it had so many good ideas that I needed to take notes.
First off I should explain something...
The home we are renting at the moment is, as of March, the place of our longest residence since marrying in 1991. We've been here exactly 2 years and 8 months, and I do believe we may stay a while more before packing up and relocating.
However, I could be wrong and we may be crossing a new threshold as soon as August, BUT, for the first time in many years I have decided to live in the moment and follow through on some projects I've wanted to do for ages, but not begun due to my "why start a new project when we will probably move soon" mentality.
So therein lies the reason behind today's Notebook: files blog post.
I had began reading this issue during our short holiday in Cairns over my birthday weekend, and when the last page was turned and the magazine lay spent on the motel's balcony table, all I could think of was how eagerly I desired to be home and 'play' within my house.
I had a bevy of things needing to be done, like:
Sorting through all my old folders and tossing what's no longer needed or useful and re-housing the rest in pristine white folders along one lovely shelf, a shelf that could be decorated with a pretty blue floral liner...
Purchasing herbs to display and grow inside the house.
It's so hot here in the tropics most of the year that many of my herbs simply wither and die regardless of the water we give them, but we do have the perfect sunny spot near the living room to grow them inside! The air inside, thanks to air conditioning, is a constant 24-27C which should be quite suitable.
I think a burst of green edible foliage would be life giving to the room - not to mention the delight of having fresh herbs at my fingertips to cook with.
Purchasing cane baskets, shoe boxes, and new hangers to organise the shelving in our walk-in-robe.
Our bedroom has a good size walk-in-robe but there are no drawers, just hanging space and open shelving which means all our clothes (and undies!) are on display all the time.
We also use the top shelf as general storage for items around the home not regularly needed, so that too needs better organisation and visual appeal.
Another wardrobe that requires attention is in the study. Originally a second bedroom, Mr E and I have always used it as a shared office, and I store all our linen inside, along with many of my pattern samples. I shudder when I open the doors now as it's jammed to the hilt, so deciding on a wiser use of the cupboard's space is very important.
Simplifying in the kitchen.
The food I mean. I've been experimenting over the past month with meal planning and have discovered that Mr E's favourite dinners are the ones which require the least fuss, minimal ingredients and freshest produce.
Perhaps I've watched too many seasons of Masterchef and have forgotten that they cook for a living, whilst I make food as a necessary family requirement and only occasionally for pure delight?
(I design and stitch for a living, so if you wonder how I get so many patterns completed each month, there's a lesson in here somewhere)
I saw this recipe for old fashioned coconut macaroons and remembered how much my children loved them for after school snacks; so very simple, so quick to bake, only a handful of ingredients.
A cheerful (or pretty) noticeboard!
I'm a note maker, a list writer. Pieces of paper are all over the place with ideas, shopping lists, appointments, sketches and more. On a weekly basis I remove a wad of these lists from the bottom of my bag, beside my laptop, and off the fridge - but if I looked further afield I'd find even more in notebooks, folders, between pages of books and magazines, even in the car.
Having one place, one creative and beautiful place, to pin all my lists and notes would be brilliant.
We have three already, because I jolly well love them even when they're not holding a door open. Two are made from extra special vintage style Australian tea towels, simply sewn and filled with sand. The third was an applique design made as a commission for a craft magazine back in 2010. Wherever we go, they come too. Standing responsibly by their respective doors they tell me I am home, no matter where the house.
But I'd like some more, have for ages, yet I never remember to make them. Until the one in Notebook: jiggled my little grey cells. And it's a pyramid shape too! Must make one, but with prettier fabric.
Turning the pages of the old magazine, I wrote and wrote. My list grew longer with each page turned until the Calender section of the magazine was exhausted. Fortunately I haven't thrown that list away and when I make my noticeboard it can live there until all my 'want to dos' are 'been and done'.
You know, it wasn't the particular Notebook: projects in that January 2008 issue themselves that I wanted to replicate, but the ideas which sprang from them in my own imagination. The visual promptings which flowed from the daily Calendar pages helped me to define what was most needed in my home - whether this house or another in the future - needs which I could produce or source to help in my journey to live a Gentle Domestic Life.
None of them are particularly difficult to achieve, taking time more than expense as I have almost everything I need already on hand. For me it's really about re-adjusting my personal perception in actually "living" each day where I am and not wasting concerns on where I might be next year.
It's about making a start and following through to completion.
It's about homemaking, and the joy it gives me.
I'll leave you with one of the marvellous and thought provoking quotes scattered through Notebook: pages...
Indeed it is.
Bless you always,