Saturday, August 27, 2022

Contented and unrushed homemaking...

In  Australia we welcome Spring on the first day of September, so this past week I invested my days working through our home to give it a good and thorough Spring clean. 

I have a regular rhythm of daily cleaning, plus there's another regular rhythm which brings me great satisfaction, and that is to deep clean a specific room every month.  But the spring clean is a bit different, for it is when I make a plan for every room, roll up my sleeves, put on my prettiest apron, and prepare to scrub and wash and redecorate with simple loving touches for a solid week. Some lovely music, or a nice audio book in the background adds to the 'romance' of a spring clean! 

Giving my full attention to the home this week has kept me from sharing the next chapter of our Emilie Barnes book study, but we, as homemakers, must always stay close to our priorities and not stray or be distracted by the things which can wait - which assures me you understand. :-)

There were so many little things that were accomplished, things a visitor or my husband would never notice, and I do think they more than anything else brought me the greater sense of delight. 

Things like taking all forty-five indoor plants outside for a good shower and soak to remove the dust of these winter months...

...or descaling the electric kettle with vinegar and water; then there was the cleaning out of kitchen drawers and laying beautiful liners inside, and the windows and screens scrubbed before hanging a handmade curtain across the window (a long-overdue plan which exceeded my hopes).

Having those 'handmaidens' to help every day really made the work easier. We are incredibly blessed in this day and age to have appliances such as vacuum cleaners, steam mops, washing machines...and I have heard people say "back in the old days they worked hard without those things so we should too", but growing up in a home where Nana had to boil the water in a large copper and carry it bucket by bucket to the outdoor bathtub so we could bathe, let me assure you she would have jumped at the chance to have the 'handmaidens' which grace my home today. 

This week I moved all the furniture away from the walls, one side of the room at a time, scrubbed those skirting birds (baseboards) and window sills, washed curtains, re-potted plants, shook rugs, vacuumed and mopped.  This photo was yesterday as the living room was the final room I tackled because until Thursday afternoon we had a queen size mattress still in the middle of everything, waiting to be sold. 

Praise God, when the mattress went to its new home, I couldn't wait to pull apart the office/living/dining room! Next week the old cream air-conditioner will be removed and a brand new one will be installed. Ever since the 2019 floods we've not been able to stop this old air conditioner from growing mould rapidly between the professional cleaning twice a year, so when hubby's tax return arrived in our bank account we chose not to pay it off the mortgage but to purchase a new air conditioner. The one we're getting cleans itself every forty hours, and is way more energy efficient too.

A couple of months ago I bought some non-adhesive wipe-clean rolls of drawer/shelf liner and I think they have been my second best decor investment this year (sewing the kitchen curtains took first place).

The rolls are 10 feet x 12 inches, and I bought four because I had plenty of use for them, beginning in the sewing room. The built in shelving is very old and would take more work than we have time for to sand them down and paint, but just lining each shelf has made a world of difference. 

I also used this to line my kitchen drawers - it's amazing how quickly 40 feet of liner can be used up, but I have another roll with a simple red and white vine design which I'll use for the white bookcase in the kitchen which holds my bulk food containers. 

The walk in pantry is incredible now, so beautifully displayed, full and labelled in such a way that my husband can easily read the jars and tubs. His eyesight has declined quickly over the past few years, so the hand painted italic writing previously on all my jars was difficult for him to read easily in such a small space as a walk in pantry, but once removed and then replaced by printed labels, he's having no trouble at all. I bought a Dymo LetraTag from Amazon and it's brilliant for this job.

There's still a number of cosmetic jobs to be done, a bag of unnecessary items to be dropped at the op-shop, and an inevitable mess to clean after the air conditioner installation next week, but right now I'm very content with the fruit of my labours this past week - both inside and out (I gave the back porch a jolly good clean too).

I did not rush, I went at my own pace and took regular breaks to have a snack and drink, and also to rest my knee (which is still giving me trouble). Apart from a short visit to Blossom's on Monday morning, and a quick grocery shop after lunch yesterday, I've not gone anywhere in the past week...and that's the key to achieving tasks at home and being totally at peace with them, working at a slower pace and appreciating the joy of caring for your sanctuary. When you remove the 'going here and there' from your life, you don't fall behind or feel rushed (usually)...your day is remarkably lovely, quite satisfying, and a real source of contentment. 

Naturally there are days when we must venture out, or attend to unplanned urgencies, but generally, the choice to be pottering at home and tending your nest, blesses you and your loved ones. I also find it gives me so much time to talk with God, pray for those in need, sing as I tend the garden, and listen to books on audio while I bake, cook, pickle and ferment.

I also find there's more time to consider what meals to prepare for myself when hubby is at work. I make sure he always has a healthy and tasty lunch, but its also important to take the time to nourish my own body each day. Whether it's a brown rice and vegetable nourish bowl, a whole-wheat egg and greens sandwich with a smoothie, or pesto and salad on toast...taking the time for self care is vitally important. 

I hope you're taking time to tend your nest and delight in the work of your hands; tending to your health by making time to create simple nourishing meals; and most importantly tending to your heart by spending time in the Word and in prayer with our God.

Next week I have some recipes for you, plus a new pattern release. Here's a peek...

Bless your precious hearts, and may the new month which will soon be upon us, inspire you to wipe the slate clean, forgive past hurts, refresh your thoughts, and bring you JOY. 



julieQ said...

OH how sweet that you have time to do all that....good for you! Unfortunately working outside the home does not afford a lot of us the luxury of unhurried cleaning and organizing. A worthy goal!! Looks great!

Lin said...

Such a lovely feeling to have a clean home knowing you have got into those usually forgotten corners! Nothing nicer than a shower of rain to wash off your houseplants, they are always so much better for it. xx

Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
The curtain hanging above the kitchen sink infront of big windows looks great !
Job well done and completed from the wish/ to do list !
I was admiring this photo of your kitchen when Peter walked by and asked " Where is this? It's the same kitchen sink, tap and dish rack washing up method as we have ! ".
I like where and the way you hang your oven mitts ! The metal ring ! I'll have to copy that :) We have a magnetic strip with knives as well :)
I lined a kitchen drawer with antislip mat and that seems to be helpig those things from sliding to the back.
Almost September ! Looking forward to new patterns and stitcheries :)
Thanks for an inspiring weekend blog post !
hugs, take care,

CathieJ said...

Sadly I haven't given my home a good deep clean in a few years. Now that I am retired I need to tackle each room and the basement. The basement is going to be the worst as it has become a catch-all for items we just don't know what to do with as well as all of my crafts. You have inspired me to get started.

terricheney said...

How lovely! I'd completely forgotten there was such a thing as drawer lining paper and I am going to have to get some. I am ready to tackle fall cleaning and sprucing up here and you're just the inspiration I needed! Thank you.

Julie said...

Another wonderful post dear Jennifer. Gosh 45 house plants ... they must take some tending to! I must count mine ... I think I have about half that amount. Your new curtain looks so pretty there. I usually hold off my spring cleaning a bit longer until we have finished with fires as they can be such messy things. Its cold here until October usually. I am working outside alot as spring is just around the corner & I am behind on many things. Enjoy your weekend dear Jen. xx

Jacqueline said...

I sew enjoy your posts. May blessings in abundance be yours.

Anonymous said...

Oh what a lovely post! It’s been much too long since I’ve read one of your blog posts. You always inspire me to be more grateful for my retired life while filling out with purpose. I fear I don’t fill my days with as much purpose as I could but reading your words help to refocus my daily routine. Having my husband retired is a good thing but unfortunately he often gets me sidetracked with his projects now that he’s home. I kept my focus on the home much better when he was still working and I had the day to myself at home. Lol. However, our freedom to come and go as we please makes it all worth the small inconveniences. Having someone who loves me and wants to spend time with me after 50 yrs has to be a point of gratitude.
As always, Jennie, continue your blogging and keeping is focused on what is important! God has graced you with a gift of giving encouragement and purpose to so many!
Love you, Jane

Mary-Lou said...

Dear Jennifer, thank you! I recently changed our study around! I agree nothing like taking time and pleasure at home in one's own house. I love my wee garden, picking flowers, displacing them in vases and taki g photos I them. I have recently started knitting wee floral brooches, while listening to the radio. And I love listening to God's word onu tube. Recently I listened to a lovely sermon byR. T KENDall. Please pray for Daphne who is I hosp. Thank you XxML

Createology said...

I am looking forward to our Fall season. It is beginning very warm with 107F-109F every day. We have been gone so much this summer it just feels good to be home. I definitely need to do a lot of deep cleaning. Right now I am taking care of hubby who is having massive back pain once again. While he naps (his meds allow sleep) I spend time watercoloring which brings me great happiness and calms my anxious spirit. Thank you sweet Jennifer for being a true homemaker which inspires me. Blessings…

Tammy said...

Dearest Jennifer. I am so happy you were able to get the mattress sold and out of the house. I know that was a great big sigh of relief. I loved your post today. I have very similar shelf liner with the florals. I and my daughter and son caught Covid week before last. My daughter brought it home from school. Husband was traveling with work and came home with Covid also. so we are all still coughing constantly. I can't wait to be able to get my home deep cleaned again. I am looking very forward to fall arriving.

Love Always,
Tammy lyons

Anonymous said...

Hi Jennifer, its always so refreshing to read your blog. May I ask what brand of shelf lining you used, thanks.


Jenny of Elefantz said...

Hi Denise :-) The floral shelf lining is The Pioneer Woman. The red and white one is by Smart Design (both purchased from Amazon).

Anonymous said...

Good day!! Today is September 18th. Stumbled upon this blog after finding your tutorial on a tea cosy.
I must say I absolutely loved reading this blog. And I am very impressed with you. I wish I could do all that you have done the first week of yiur spring. But, find it very difficult with working outside of the home.
Because of reading this blog I have a smile on my face and just may complete sewing my kitchen curtain/valance. Hopefully some evening after work.
Take care. Bev C