saying goodbye to the holidays…

Um, a little late…I know.

January clean-up. I always aspire to it, but ah, getting there. I’m certainly not a December-26th-Christmas-tree-out-the-door type of person. When I watch folks on the Web show off their beautifully tidy and trim post-holiday homes, I think longingly about what that might look like for me, for my house and my family. And maybe because it’s hard to imagine, it’s hard to get there.

And it brings up a larger question for me. What does it take to have a neat and tidy, uncluttered home? Part of it must be puttering. Putting things back where they belong. Maybe tinkering is a better word, fixing, throwing out, bringing in, keeping things in motion so that nothing gets too old, too lost, too stale.

In general, I don’t switch the furniture around all the time, as do my Mom, my brother and some one else I know. While I do love the results of a well-edited lifestyle, it feels like there’s a gap in my knowledge. A “how did they DO that?” as though I were watching someone walk across a tightrope balancing a glass of orange juice on their head. But with the New Year and all the talk of fresh corners, it’s not a bad time to start becoming that person.

So I gave it a shot. Well before my usual February 14th deadline, I took down the Christmas tree. With a little help from a friend. And I created a little reading corner where the tree used to be. We gave the Christmas stories a last read-through and put those away, too.

And you know what? It felt good. It felt easy and fine. Maybe I can do this, and be the arranger & editor I aspire to be.

Or maybe I need a bit more practice?

moving chronicles :: studio story

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So it started like this…I couldn’t see the forest for the trees (or the studio for the boxes of crafting supplies and yarn and fabric). Yikes! But after a month of puttering and pottering, it looks more like this, in my trademark messy-but-functional style:

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and this:

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and this:

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Pretty great! A room of my own, for crafting — incredible!

And this is where little girls hang out while Mama’s in her studio, in their book nook in the studio’s doorway:

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Tomorrow I’ll show off some good things that can happen when you’ve got a place all set up for creating things…

at least someone’s enjoying this…

Moving may seem like a chore to us grown-ups, but the magic of being a kid is that, well, you see magic that grown-ups can’t. Take packing, for example. For me, a series of excruciating decisions about what to keep, what to give away and where it all should go. But to the girls, such a golden opportunity! Drawing ‘labels’ on boxes –literally hours of fun.

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And yet several times a day, they climb into a box or wrap themselves in paper and say, “Don’t forget to pack your girls!” or “Pack us carefully, Mommy!” Then I realize what a two-way street this is, family life. The children help me see the joy in it all, the crazy funny moments wrapped in packing tape. I help them by just giving them love, love and more love; they need to hear that it will be alright — we’ll be together, taking care of each other, no matter where we live. 

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{“She is playing the harmonica”  — a label for the musical instruments’ box}

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{floorplan in progress}

As a mama, I’d like to think that I’m wrapping the kids in a protective layer of love, so that they can go anywhere, experience all kinds of things, and still feel strong and secure, ready to go, wherever they are.

Elevator magic

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Our girls have grown up in an elevator building, so it’s no surprise that the elevators inhabit their imagination. It turns out that princesses have special magic that can open elevator doors. Make a diamond shape with your fingers and then fling your arms wide, at just the right moment….

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and the elevator doors open and let you go on your merry, magical way!

loving yellow

loving yellow

There have been years of my life when if you’d asked me about colors I would have said yellow was my least favorite. How crazy is that? Yellow? I love yellow! Maybe it’s this dark-gray February-March border season full of inky gray skies, gray potholes, gray sidewalks and gray-green lake. 

Every day I look for yellow wherever I go and I add yellow to my house whenever I can, whether it’s a yellow tea cup or yellow tulips or the little yellow leaves in the tablecloth pattern. And when Nature adds a bit of yellow with some sunshine through the windows, well, then it feels like all is warm and right with the world.