Thursday, April 09, 2009

Bringing Serenity to the Home

Camelia Rose Tea Room by Susan Rios, painting available here

Making the home a place of refuge and peace can be a special challenge at times. If you have a busy family and people are absorbed in their different interests, the house will not always be as orderly as you would like it to be. Over the years, I have observed some home makers who seemed to be able to control some of this chaos, and so, I will list some of the peculiar habits they had, which helped them get the serenity they needed at home.

*Make your entry way a priority in neatness and cleanliness. This puts you in the mood to enjoy your home.

*Never make a "dry-run" anywhere in the house. This means always have something to take to another are, and pick up things as you go along. It saves energy. You will not need a cleaning day if you clean-as-you-go.

*When you come in from any kind of trip outside the home, take a moment to put away your coat and purse, unpack your shopping items, make a cup of tea, and go through the house briefly to pick up things and put them away.

*Before bedtime, do a pick-up all around the house, as well. Though this is not deep cleaning, it clears clutter and creates a feeling of serenity.

*In the morning, before you begin your routine, go through the house again and deposit things where they belong.

*When seated, move your eyes around your room and mentally check things that need to be righted.

*Protect your home life from quarrels and criticism. Practice thinking on the bright side of everything.

*Plan a simple Afternoon Tea and invite someone to share it with. There are so many stimulating ideas you can get from having company, and the recipient appreciates it, too. Getting ready for a visit can really give your housekeeping and decorating a boost. It makes you think more about how things look. You can always come in the front door and imagine yourself being the visitor, seeing the lovely table setting, and feeling the atmosphere you have created.

*Use indirect lighting (side lamps, string of lights, candles) rather than overhead lighting. It makes the light less harsh.

*Tune in to some soothing music that you like. Whatever work you are doing will go faster without pressure.

*Put out a different color table cloth and protect it with clear plastic. If you do not have a table cloth, just use a few yards of fabric, and cover that with clear plastic. Add a centerpiece that co-ordinates with the color of fabric. Centerpieces can be anything from sea shells to florals to candles to decorative birdcages and birdbaths. Just look around and see what you have and you may be surprised what you can create.

*Collect some decorative things you do not want anymore, line a wicker basket with a pretty cloth, and create a gift for someone else.

*Deliberately spend one hour a day resting, or being still, laying back, going through favorite books, or reading stories you love.

*Set up a writing area with pretty papers, envelopes, pens, and address book, and catch up on correspondence. Instead of feeling pressured, enjoy it, in an artistic way. Here is a template to print out on cardstock. Cut it out and use it to trace around on nicer paper. The dotted lines are the fold lines. It is a letter and an envelope in one. You may have to cut your copy a little to make it fold right, as mine is just drawn freehand, by folding. I am not sure how to print out this template. You might try highlighting it and pasting it to another document. It is on a regular piece of typing paper, if you want to know the size. I will try to get it to print from the blog page when I get time today.
Write your message and use a few stickers to brighten up the letter. Fold the side flaps inside and put a line of white glue or use a glue-stick.

Seal the back with another sticker. These come from the Dollar Tree.


Katherine said...

These are so beautiful! I must try them, perhaps today.I do have a letter to write.Thank you so much for always posting your arts and crafts!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this lovely article and all the others like it in this blog.

I come here often for inspiration and encouragement, not to mention the excellent advice on pratical matters. Over time, I have absorbed many lessons.

Today, I was feeling rather discouraged. I have a chronic illness that requires lifelong treatment and leaves me looking and feeling tired and run down. Also, I have not been happy with my home and like many others these days, I am unable to move due to financial considerations so I was getting a very negative attitude towards homemaking and life in general. I was going down a negative path this morning, not wanting to do a thing but go out like yesterday, when I remembered the advice I have read here. I applied many of the lessons I read here and turned the day around completely. My children will be coming home this afternoon to a happy, nicely dressed mother, homemade brownies for a snack, clean laundry, dishes done and a much cleaner home than they left. Tonight, I will make them a nice, healthy dinner.

If you had seen me and our home this morning, you'd be amazed at what I have been able to accomplish today thanks to your lessons and shared wisdom. The simple act of showering and getting fixed up today even though I was feeling bad and not going anywhere made a huge difference. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your wisdom.

Lydia said...

If you are unable to save the pattern to your files and then print it, just email me and I can send it to you from my files. I do believe that scanning sometimes warps the lines of drawings, so it didn't match up precisely when I was folding one of the envelopes. Just trim with scissors where needed.

Anonymous said...

It is sweet to know that I am not the only one who feels this way.
I do have a cleaning day but b/c we pick up and keep things tiddy I don't need to do this every week and it doesn't take long at all.

I enjoy this part of my life. I take great pride in my home and love seeing it comfortable. Things run so smoothly. Not that it is perfect but if we are in a rush for something the clean up is quickly done when we get back.

Mary said...

This is such a pretty blog. Good work, Lydia!

Diane Shiffer said...

i love the list of "good habits".. many of these we already do, but several others were new ideas to me! i love this kind of sharing♥

Nancy at said...

This blog post is such a blessing to me. Actually, all your posts are. Your blog is like a beautiful novel to sit, read, and feel inspired.
Have a Happy Easter.

Emily (UK) said...

Lady Lydia,
I have never commented before, but I have been reading your blog for months.You have such great ideas that are wonderful for young housewives like me who have not been brought up learning homemaking.Thank you for all the time and effort you put into your blog- it is much appreciated!
Blessings, Emily
P.S I have just bought your book from lulu, can't wait to read it!!

June Fuentes @ A Wise Woman Builds Her Home said...

What an important post! So many woman think they are helpless if their homes are in a state of chaos and that is just not the case. We definitely can successfully strive to bring beautifully sweet serenity to the home by mastering the skills and arts of peace, joy and organization.

Many blessings...

Lydia said...

Anonymous: It is discouraging not to feel well when you care so much about your home. Household help is one of the most needed things today, but it is the thing that people avoid when they rae thinking of careers. A young girl could be busy all day and make quite a bit of money just helping homemakers with extra jobs. We used to earn a lot of money that way and bought all of our clothes and had spending money. It is too bad we can't find this kind of help, today. I think the important thing is to keep your mind in a happy mood and think on things that are great.

BarbaraLee--you expressed it exactly--it is enormously fulfilling to keep your own house the way you like it.

Persuaded--there must be a lot more ideas out there for things to do to get the mind in the mood to keep house. One thing that helps is knowing others out there have little techniques that improve their homes.

Nancy--love your blog and your baskets--you hand weave them? That is so interesting!

Emily, it is just a tiny book, which I call a "twinkie" or sweet that you can enjoy for a moment and not have to put a book mark in it for later. It is very motivating. Please let me know what it was like. I haven't even received my own copy yet!

June: Yes, I think the important thing is that you like your home and want to be there. In order to want to be there you have create an atmosphere you like.

Sandy W said...

I keep setting up areas like this and then fill them with other correspondence. This has inspired me to set up an older desk up (a gift from my Dad) and maybe I'll get back to creative corresponding!

Thank you for another beautiful post...

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous ideas Lydia! You are a fountain of knowledge when it comes the creating a beautiful home. It feels quite soothing just reading some of your ideas (if that makes sense :-))

Love Melina xx

Anonymous said...

Hi~~I just wanted to drop in and let you know that your blog is a blessin'!☺

Lydia said...

Tammy, your blog is beautiful. May I add you to my links?

Frank said...

The title alone is great: bringing serenity to the home is important. Today, people are more concerned with where the flat screen TV will fit and blank, white-painted walls than about making a house look like a home. They're definitely not the same! Electronics take up too much of our time & space.

I write for a site that also embraces traditional values and am a dad-to-be. I grew up in a relatively traditional house and value the things I see here on your blog, so please visit and comment if you would, I'd be intrested in the thoughts of you & your readers!

Tracy said...

Lydia, my 8 year old daughter wants to make her own envelopes, so your stencil will be perfect! Thank you for sharing!