Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Spring cleaning must wait..............

Over the weekend, with the mini heatwave gone and just perfect weather, we decided we would not be lighting our almost nightly fire anymore until next Winter. This meant cleaning out the fireplace, hearth area etc. and getting the living room ready for a new season. We burn a lot of wood. William, our trusty sweep, will be paying us a visit this afternoon to clean and to make certain the chimney is safe for next Winter's toasty fires.

I've not done much in the way of re-decorating this past year - traveling has taken up a lot of my time and energy so the cottage has become a bit set in its ways. No matter, I like how most of the rooms look, and I love what I have collected from favorite places such as SuzAnna's Antiques right here in town, and of course my French and English bits and pieces gathered when traveling home to Europe.

To cover the gaping black hole of the fireplace, once the fire screen has been sent to the attic for Summer, I use a beautiful framed print. Purchased at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., many, many years ago, I framed it when working in an art and advertising studio......I did most of my own framing then which saved a bundle!

Other than a quick dust around after cleaning the hearth, the main Spring clean is now put on hold until after the pollen season. The past week has seen a yellowish-green dust settle over everything, outside and indoors. It's the price we pay for the beauty of bursting buds and blooming flowers.............along with constant sneezing and runny noses.

Sofa and chair slipcovers are calling out for a trip to the laundromat - I do the large bits there in the commercial machine - the smaller cushion covers I can do here at home. The dried roses should be replaced with fresh flowers or lighter twigs now. My 'memories of Africa' pillows, discovered at Pottery Barn, should be relegated to storage also. I have so loved them through the Winter - I need to hunt for the perfect simple florals......will do that soon.

My collection of ironstone tureens, bowls, jugs, plates and platters here, and more in the dining room, will all require hand washing after the pollen dissipates. Funnily enough I love doing that job! I take a half a day at the kitchen sink, enjoying the view into the garden, while gently washing and drying. The china then glows and sparkles. I like to daydream about where the really old pieces have lived in their former lives, knowing they were well-cared for having survived this long in some other home.

These two plates from the late 1800's are favorites - back stamp shows they are semi-porcelain, by Johnson Brothers, England, and the pattern in brown is Petunia.......however the flowers depicted also include, fuchsia, carnation, and others, perhaps forget-me-nots.

So, while the pollen creeps in, mellowing the surfaces and adding patina, doesn't that sound more romantic than dust............

.........here I am, a wee bit in limbo when it comes to cottage cleaning. Awaiting pollen-free days which are a couple of weeks or more away, hoping for showers to wash it away/damp it down. I took these photos hoping they would kick start the big clean, but I'll wait 'til the dust settles! Meanwhile, the garden continues to call my name.........so you know where I'm headed today, same place I've been for the past three days, but happy to say it was very worthwhile as it looks quite lovely out there. 


  1. Your living room looks very cozy with all your collections and keepsakes. It'll be a while before pollen season hits here and I will have the windows open to welcome the warm breezes and the pollen. Perhaps I shouldn't open the windows as hubby has terrible allergies in spring but, the fresh air is so nice after being stuffed up inside all winter. I hear the windchimes clanging in the breeze which means it's a warmer wind blowing but it's only 48 F. Better than 28!! Enjoy your garden time. Hugs, Pamela

  2. Mary, we've just ben through the "green on everything stage". A nice rain in last week washed away much of it and the air now feels clean. Still a bit falling to the ground, but not like it was. Like you, I've been busy in the garden. Feels so good to see it in its spring splendor. Still much to do. Then it's spring cleaning inside for me too. I take joy in washing the faience pieces as you do your ironstone. Everything just sparkles! Thanks for sharing the delightful images of your cottage. '-)

  3. Everything around here has a certain patina all the time. Ha! Spring cleaning is such a waste of time because within hours, the dust has settled again, no matter the time of year, no matter the season. Your cottage has a comfortable, lived in, lovely look. Enjoy the great outdoors! Tammy

  4. I much prefer 'winter cleaning' when you get your house ready for the cozy nights in. I have fallen in love with your beautiful lady. I have been looking for a similar one for years but they are never quite right. I hope you are able to enjoy your garden without the effects of hayfever! Take care. Chel x

  5. Love those two plates and all the special touches you have in the cottage.
    Happy gardening and I hope the pollen/dust goes away very soon. I also am looking at my house and thinking cleaning is in my future soon, but first a couple other projects to complete.

  6. I believe the pollen season in the US is especially bad this year - I'm always thankful it doesn't affect me. I don't know where you find the energy and inspiration to change your home for the seasons. Mine stays the same year after year apart from changing all my Brambly hedge china to the appropriate season - takes me about 10 minutes:)

  7. Lovely and unique decor. Cozy but elegant.


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