beauty meets utility

23 February 2015 § 1 Comment

broom + bags #beautymeetsutility

Not long after the new year,
Kyrie of The Little Snail and I were chatting
about how worn out our household essentials were
becoming after a decade or so of marriage.
And how, when you are young and setting up house
you don’t think of the longevity of the basics,
but after using the ugliest plastic things for a long time
you realize that William Morris was right,
that you should

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful,
or believe to be beautiful.”

We decided that a goal for 2015 would be to
replace our worn out items, or those we no longer use,
with things we find to be more beautiful.
As we bring lovelier goods into our home,
those old things had to be removed.
Not an exercise in mindless buying,
a mindful exercise to decide what we want in our homes long term.

This weekend I picked up an Italian wooden broom at TJMaxx,
to replace the old nasty plastic one that I never liked.
Also, thanks to the generosity of a perfect stranger,
I have two new canvas bags for groceries,
replacing those strange but ubiquitous polypropelene ones.

Won’t you join Kyrie and I in this little endeavor?
We’ll be using #beautymeetsutility to chronicle our journey.


around our house

1 January 2015 Comments Off on around our house

around the house (4)around the house (3)around the house (2)around the house (1)

A post from this summer that was never published. Oddly enough, I have been thinking about house decorating again, so it seems appropriate to publish today.

I love to see the corners of other people’s homes,
their art,
the way the set up vignettes,
the furniture they choose,
the calm or busyness of their decorating habits.

Here are some of my favorite spots around our house.

All of our wall hangings are personal to us –
photos I’ve taken on our vacations,
paintings loved ones have done,
a Celtic knot from a long ago trip to Wales.
Recently I picked up a medium gold frame at the thrift store,
and am hunting for the perfect thing to put in it.
So many beautiful pieces of art out there,
I wish there was unlimited budget for it!
Right now some photos that were already on the wall are
centered inside it,
reminding me of Picture, Picture,
soon I hope to find something that speaks to me.

A recently rearranged living room,
and new drapes have breathed new life into our living space.
Everything feels more open and properly placed.

Favorite bits of our place. Share yours!
I love to see them.


1 January 2015 § 2 Comments

hutch decorated for Christmas (c)2015

unrelated photo of a few Christmas decorations


It’s been a long while since I have posted here.
So much has happened for our little family,
nothing we had imagined 2014 would be.
The last five days I have been dealing with illness
and recovery,
thinking about the year to come –
ways to make this year far better than the last.

We made a list last night at dinner –

Our Hopes and Goals for 2015 ::
~ Respect and good behavior at home and at the grandparents (the boys came up with this on their own!)
~ Whistle train Millie, and train to retrieve (family goal)
~ Do more birding and surpass our record bird count (family)
~ Go on more hikes (family)
~ Camp (family)
~ Create food and flower gardens (mama)
~ And tend to them properly (mama again, I am not a great gardener and want to change this!)
~ Backpacking trip (papa and A – both a cub scout requirement and fun for them)
~ More spiritual study at home (family, but W especially requested it – in 7 year old terms. ha!)
~ Record our activities and memories in a tangible way (mama. Not sure whether that means more presence here and printing more photos, or just more print. Though I do hope to write here more often. It really is a nice record to have.)
~ Merge beauty and utility in our house more. Clearing out the things we do not use, and replacing the solely utilitarian items with ones we like to look at. (This is a goal with a friend!)
~ Travel, both our large trips planned and unplanned weekend getaways. 

Do you have any goals for 2015?

birthday gifts…part two

10 July 2014 § 2 Comments

geranium dress (1) geranium dress (3)geranium dress (2)


Another fun birthday last week,
One little niece turning two,
needed a (second) geranium dress.

Deep navy blue shirting from Joann’s,
some navy piping,
vintage fabric lined the bodice  –
from the never ending grandmother’s stash –
as well as vintage heart shank buttons.

Geranium is a dress that never fails,
this one will be perfect with a couple items
she already has –
a little peter pan collar onesie 
and navy t-strap shoes,
purchased ages ago from ebay!
Or on its own as a sundress.

Classic toddler clothes at their best.

birthday gifts…part one

9 July 2014 § 2 Comments

puzzle ball (2) puzzle ball (1)puzzle ball (3) puzzle ball (4)


So many birthdays clustered in one week,
two of the sweetest girls growing older.
One of our favorite littles turned one!

A puzzle ball seemed the perfect gift
for this inquisitive girl.
I used the instructions from
Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts,
as well as this tutorial online
because, oddly enough, the book had the
entire ball sewn together into one piece –
which makes it not very puzzling.

Vintage rose fabric, and some cotton couture.

This may be one of my favorite baby gifts ever,
so simple and sweet.


29 June 2014 Comments Off on sunday

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Sunday afternoons are delightfully lazy.

Today we stopped at the park for a bit of tennis
and a snacky picnic –
strawberries from yesterday’s farmers market,
little cheeses, delicious rice and multigrain crackers,
with sparkling lemonade, and some tiny jams.

A long bit of lying about on the grass.
Savoring the slightly cooler breeze
during these hot humid days.

Then home for dinner
(more veg from the market!)
and bed.

Summer Sunday at its best.

new old pillows

23 June 2014 Comments Off on new old pillows

new pillows | respitenew pillows | respite new pillows | respitenew pillows | respitenew pillows | respite
We love to have many cushions on the sofa,
(perfect for lounging)
but ours had become
flat and worn.
There’s not much to do on a rainy damp day,
so we turned the tv to Wimbledon,
I pulled out some vintage fabric
that had been squirreled away –
grey upholstery velvet and yellow floral –
and sewed a few squares.
One little boy was happy to fill them with stuffing,
then I closed them with quick blind hand stitching.

Millie, Her Royal Highness approves.

Such an easy way to change the look of things,
Now to find the perfect lamp for beside the sofa,
and keep my eyes open for the dream rug.