Material Girl

As we get to the finish line on our house…. it’s remodeled, upgraded and repaired as much as we are willing to do – we can finally downsize, kick-back and relax!  I won’t have to keep 4 bathrooms clean. Someone else can rake leaves, sweep acorns off of the porch (over and over and over again) and maintain the lawns, pool and gardens. I think I always wanted to “want to garden.”  But the truth is, I only work at it so things will look pretty. 

Where was I going with this?  Oh, yes. Downsizing. Cleaning closets.  And the box of fabrics that I have been dragging around for at least 20 years!

I really love fabric. I grew up hanging around my father’s interior design store, where they also did upholstery on site. My father and I shared a love of the exotic and the modern. Downstairs was the upholstery shop, and there were racks of textiles and exquisite fabrics. It was the 60’s and I loved to sew vests with long fringe from the embroidered fabrics, or tapestries, that he’d bring home for me to wear with my bell bottoms. It was long ago…

Material GirlCleaning out the linen closet today, I looked at my box full of patterns and pages torn from magazines as inspiration, and large swaths of batik fabrics from Indonesia. Two pieces are gifts from an ex-lover who proposed marriage (safely knowing I didn’t want to be married) before moving to Jakarta. He sent me these beautiful pieces, then broke up with me long-distance, via telephone. The fabrics definitely turned out to be the better end of the deal! 

The floral on the bottom is a traditional print worn by the royal family in Indonesia. It was brought to me by Grace, a much-loved client, who has since passed away.  With the fashion trend now being exotic fabrics, I think the time may be right to sit down and sew again.  I won’t have the gardening, or as much house-keeping to do, so I will have time to sew some sexy Palazzo pants (pictured) and  bias-cut skirts. I dream of sheer, floaty tunics and a maxi-dress.

I’m just hoping that sewing doesn’t end up like gardening…something I want to want to do!

XO Donna

…next to godliness

Some days when I sit down, I’m not sure what I am going to write, but I show up and I am always inspired, divinely or otherwise…

Today, inspiration struck as I was reading Daniell LaPorte’s blog. Don’t know her?  She’s a Fire Starter!  Check her out here:  In a list she posted, this one caught my eye, “For me, clutter-free living is up there with rainbows, front-row seats, and answered prayers.”  She took the words right out of my mouth!  

My father was an interior designer, and as such he valued order, functionality and sensuality. I am his daughter. My mother had been raised, very frugally, on a farm. She always said,  “It doesn’t cost anything but a bar of soap to be clean.”  Well, that, and a little elbow grease!  I am my mother’s daughter, too.  Unfortunately, they both judged people who didn’t share their ideas. The idea they conveyed to us children, was that slovenly people were bad. good! 004

“All places where women are excluded tend toward barbarism: but the moment she is introduced, there come in with her courtesy, cleanliness, sobriety and order. “    Harriet Beecher Stowe

Harriet hadn’t met any of my girlfriends from when I first lived alone;  they loved a great party just as much as the next barbarian!

And this created cognitive dissonance for me – I loved these friends. They were well-educated, philosophical, generous, intelligent people. And, a few were slobs. I had been taught that this was bad…but, they weren’t bad!  It finally occured to me that my parents were out-and-out WRONG!

Cleanliness becomes more important when godliness is unlikely.”  P.J. O’Rourke

Maybe that’s why I’ve become even neater as time has gone by…I’ve missed my chance at sainthood!   Our contractor was just here doing a spot-check since we are having work done (…more work done) on our house in order to finally sell it…and as he left he complimented us on how clean the house was. (Mostly we give him credit for all of the beautiful work that makes the place such a retreat!)   Standing 6′ 6″ tall, he even noticed that the top of the fridge was clean, and commented on it.  He’s a real straight-shooter that way!  I knew that someday, somehow, for some reason, cleaning the top of the refrigerator (where I can’t see) would pay off!  

My late mother-in-law, whom I loved dearly, had a sign in her kitchen that read, “This house is clean enough to be healthy, and messy enough to be happy!”   And that’s the bottom line…do whatever makes you happy.  Happiness is always sexy!