Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Decorating Woes

I think of my friend, Dawn, as the Bruce Lee decorator. "Take that! And that! And that! Hiii-Yaw!" Fabric, flowers, paint colors and pictures fall into perfect order at her command.

Me? Notsomuch. My decorating abilities are more like the duel between Merlin and Mad Madam Mim. "Take that! I mean that! OH! That's not what I mean!"

Our one-income budget does not allow for this weakness. I must choose between school books and floral arrangements. My home is comfortable and cozy but you would not be awestruck if you were to walk through the front door. What we lack in beauty we make up for in serenity. This I can attain with music, candles, organization and a structured schedule. It is much easier on the wallet. Oil lamps and the fireplace in the winter make up for the lack of pictures on the walls. The smell of fresh bread and homemade soup might distract your attention from my kitchen table.

We found a large oak table in the newspaper and bought it from a woman who used it solely for company. It was in mint condition. Now it is home to academic discussions, arguements and laughter. We cover it with school books, spilled milk, playdough and science experiments. Dirt and sand have rubbed away the finish. Little hands have carved shapes and letters in the wood with scissors, knives and pencils. The table will not catch your attention because of its beauty. You will notice it for its scars. It wears the badges of serving a productive, creative young family.

When I read Better Homes and Gardens I pull out the Swedish and Shaker pages. I dream of a house with light colored fabric and paints and floor coverings. My children do not aspire to live in this type of home. My children LOVE dirt. They make tiny bricks out of mud and build fairy houses. They carry bucket loads of glop to form a bridge across a small puddle. The glop and clay inevitably makes its way through the door. So I must choose. Showplace or creativity? Pride or peace? Two incomes and the luxuries that come with that choice or one and the once in a lifetime chance to leave a lasting imprint on my impressionable young?

Today, I again set aside the longing for the perfect house. I meet my muddy children at the door with a bucket of soapy water and a washcloth. I still wish for a little of Decorator Dawn's abilities even if it may be years before I can put those skills to use.


Meg said...

My mom has a cream colored sofa...I wonder if I will ever have one of those? It is beautiful...but what about grandchildren and their juice cups? Nope, I think I will stick with dark colors...don't want any future grandchildren (I mean waaaaay in the future...my kids are only 2, 7 and 9)to stay away because I have pretty furniture =) I love your remarks on the side of your blog...did the worm experiment work? Do you school year round? I enjoyed your blog. Meg

The Small Scribbler said...


I would reply to all of your questions in an e-mail but I could not find an address to respond to.

We do homeschool year round. The kids do better with structure. The house doesn't fill up with neighbor children until after school hours. I am a more relaxed teacher because if we don't get to something today we'll get to it tomorrow or the next day. I can take days off for unplanned things that come up.

The worm experiment is still in process. It has been so dry here that the worms are DEEP in the ground. We are getting a good amount of rain as I type so maybe they will work their way to the surface later today. I promise I will post the results.

I still think of the article by Joni Erickson Tada that you posted on your blog. I paraphrased it for my husband. We were so encouraged by it.

Glad you stopped by. It's nice to meet you.


Refresh My Soul Blog said...

Love it Kate! My philosophy as well! We are in the middle of a butterfly experiment currently! The hungry, fat catapillars tightly wound themselves into a cacoon that I still cannot believe they fit into! It must be some sort of supportive wear perhaps I could learn from them! ANyway, we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the butterflies probably around Sunday. Fun times! We will see. Hey I just broke down and bought Alpha phonics and the Children's Story BIble-I will let you knwo what I think when we get into it!
Love you!

Stephanie (Ocean Mommy) said...


I agree. I would rather have the stained carpet, the scratches on the table, puzzle and game pieces in the sofa cushions.. To me, that is a home not just a house!

I love seeing the kids thanks for sharing the pictures with us!


Rachel Anne said...

OH YEAH! I love this post! I think my own quest for creating sanctuary started with realizing that it wasn't going to be STUFF that would make our home wonderful. I, too, long for nicer things at times, but living "abundantly" on a small income has made us dig deeper for what makes life special.

Being able to enjoy the mess of creativity is a real gift. And your kids look absolutely, perfectly engaged in what they are doing. How awesome.

Thanks so much for your sweet, sweet email. I will treasure it.