I've just meandered through a couple of blogs tonite and soaked up some inspiration. One about making hexies for quilting and how not to become 'undone' by the word quilt and another blog about threadbare and nearly departed tea towels that we can not ever seem to let rest in piece~so to speak. The third blog was a really nice story about the past when some of us of an age can remember being freshly in love and penniless...so as to enjoy our meager surroundings.
My memories come to life when I see the skeletons of my tea towels. I still put them into use although, now, they are unable to soak up any liquid to quench their once insatiable thirst. 'Those bare threads are the sinews of strong women in the kitchen.' But I still use them because they remind me of the long ago...the very long ago when I was first married and I adored being a housewife. We had very limited income..very limited. I sent away for a computerized (one of the first back in 1971) list of recipes for a month spending $10 a week for food to feed two to three people three balanced meals a day. It was from the Hunt's Tomato Sauce Company. I still make those recipes and they are delicious. No way could I buy all those ingredients for $10 a week in this day and age. I remember taking my grocery list and pad and pencil to the grocery store with me each week and I would round up the price of each item I placed in the cart so that I could make it just under $10 so that I could perhaps have a couple dollars left over to buy a magazine or a little basket. What excitement I would have hurriedly putting those groceries away so I could sit down and day dream into a new decorating magazine. It felt delightful like cheating on your diet with a cookie and hiding in the closet to eat it. I miss those feelings of really getting excited over very simple pleasures and making a little tiny efficiency apartment feel like a grand home.
I decorated with an old quilt as a table cloth and hung the baskets that I was able to squeak into the budget. Since we didn't have any furniture to speak of I painted the walls of the living room a beautiful deep ochre and the dining room nook a burnt rust color...those colors warmed up the apartment and made us feel like we had more furniture than we did. I laid beautiful scarves that I used to wear on my head over the lamp shades in the bedroom area. I hung pretty stationary box lids as art on the walls and sometimes painted my own very folk artsy portraits. I hung beads in the doorways and the windows (it was the '70's of course) and I put my pastas and flour and sugar in mayonnaise jars with hand painted lids. When I couldn't afford wallpaper I stenciled my hallway wall with a block print that my English best friend helped me make from spare wood we found and layered cardboard. We didn't follow any instructions from a book~ we just made it up...me being creative with nothingness and her being a former art teacher from Darlington. Those empty pocket days were a creative time for young homemakers.