Thursday, September 13

A House Isn't Necessarily a Home

I have never been one for decorating my kitchen. I also was never one who saw any benefit to having a tablecloth. I mean, I've got kids, you know! Do you know what those things do to a tablecloth?

Then I started reading Regina Doman's blog. And I started reading other blogs of homemakers. And I realized that beautifying my domicile would make it less of a house and more of a home. And so, mid-summer, I bought a table cloth. It was earthy tones - with pale blues and lilacs and greens and cream and tan and white - and I liked it. It felt pretty and it felt special to sit at the table with it, even if we were just doing schoolwork on it.

A couple of days ago, I realized that fall is coming. We finally got a couple of cold fronts that are bringing about temperatures that are far more normal for Virginia than we'd had over the last month. I decided that Soccer Dad would buy me flowers, and I picked up a nice, big bouquet at Sam's to put on the table. That was actually the time I realized that I needed a cold-weather tablecloth. The beautiful oranges, brilliant reds, and deep yellows really clashed with my lilacs and light blues and pale greens. (In a word: ick!) So I went off in search of a new tablecloth for the kitchen.

Before I went to the table cloth aisle at Wally World, I went down the kitchen rugs section first. Jen turned me on to another blog (as if I need that!) that focuses on being a homemaker. There, they talked of beautifying your home and having a nice rug to stand on in the kitchen. I'd been thinking of getting a comfort mat for in front of the sink, where I seem to stand a good deal of the time, but this rug was on clearance and just jumped out at me. I had already decided to get a tablecloth with reds and tans to carry me through 'til Spring, and since the colors are right on this rug and it has coffee on it, I tossed it into the shopping cart.

Next was the matter of the tablecloth. I still don't want a cloth one because I'd wind up washing it constantly. My girls try, but even at nearly-nine and six they make a mess at the table. So I have been opting for a vinyl tablecloth so I can wipe up spills easily. But when I looked at the choices for Fall, they seemed...yucky. I was either stuck with turkeys and leaves (strictly Fall and/or Thanksgiving) or grapes or some other "not-really-me" pattern. I toyed shortly (very shortly) with the idea of getting a real cloth one, but between the price and the thought of doing more laundry, I wasn't sold on it. I sighed as I picked up a plain tan tablecloth and put it in the cart. Then I turned back down the aisle and noticed that there were brilliant red runners. Hmmmm...

You have got to know that even a year ago, I'd have told you that a runner on the table was silly. What's it for, I'd probably ask you. But I looked at it and realized that I knew what it was for now. It's for making your plain tan vinyl tablecloth look prettier and to tie in with the snazzy, new throw rug near the sink! Yeah, baby! I looked at all the red ones (I was somehow determined to go with red), contemplated just buying material, realized that I would not get it done before Spring and even if I did it would not look that great and would probably be a crookedy squiggle going down the table, and settled on a nice inexpensive one that put the entire table cloth bill under $15.

Then I looked at the candles. I can't explain why I am into them lately. (Maybe it's the Catholic coming out in me more and more.) But I noticed these really cute candles that looked like little tins of something. Knowing that I could probably find a tin somewhere and make one, but still wondering if I'd actually do it, I decided to pick up a small one for the table. I actually do intend to refill it, even if it doesn't smell like vanilla honey the next time. But it was just really pretty, and I wanted one more thing to put on the table.

All told, I might have spent more than I could have if I had searched for things second-hand, etc. But I didn't do too badly, I hope. It was under $30 for the candle, rug, tablecloth, and runner. The flowers, I think, run under $10 at Sam's, but the size of the bouquet! The vase was one I already had from a time Soccer Dad sent me flowers while he was on the road.

I'm really excited about doing small things to make the house more beautiful. I really am feeling happier and happier about creating a home for my family to relax in and feel cozy in. I have gone to some houses - very nice ones - that aren't really homes. They are merely houses. They are decorated, to be sure, but they have a certain coldness to them. Even if they are decorated with items found on trips taken by the homeowners, sometimes you get a feeling. It doesn't feel homey. It's not a place to come in and kick off your shoes (though they might ask you to take off your shoes, but that's different, isn't it?); sometimes, it's not a place where children are welcomed. I don't want my house to be that way. I want it to be a home. I want it to be usuable. I want everything to be family-friendly. And when you walk in, I want it to feel like that to you, too, even if you've never been here before. I guess it's all about the atmosphere.


Anonymous said...

You certainly got me thinking!

Mrs. L said...

Hi:) I found you through Catholic Mom in Hawaii. I think your table looks beautiful! It has inspired me to do some changes around my home now that fall is on it's way. Thanks!

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