violin rack

Get out that instrument, the one you’ve not played in a while. The one you want to play more often, for family and friends, or just for yourself, in the corner. Find a spot, somewhere in the room, an appealing sort of spot, and rack it up, set it out. Hang that instrument up, then grab it whenever it strikes you to play a couple of notes.


We made sure to nail this violin rack straight into a stud, so it wouldn’t crash back down again. Now it is perfectly safe, and my guitar is soon to follow suit. All my life I’ve kept it safely in its case. Oh, it seems a small step, to open a guitar case – but I can tell you, in a busy life, it is a small step too far. One risks keeping it safely in the case and never out. When I look back, I love the times I gave myself permission to play music (once I stopped arguing with parental voices that I really did not want to practice! Oh, how easy that now seems!) and how much richer my life feels when I do, now. Anything to make that effortless! What’s more, other folks seem to pick up the harmonica or the penny whistle, and pick out a melody, when they are so tantalisingly, gorgeously in reach. This open musical storage is a good idea, I think.

(With thanks to our dear violin teacher, Andrea Siradze, for encouraging us in this and all other musical action.)

painted cupboard

There’s a cupboard in the cottage bathroom that has been bothering me for a long time. In theory I really like cupboards with some colour inside. While I have a beloved red lamp and many red linens in the kitchen, I found this particular shade quite shocking each time I opened the cupboard. It seemed there wasn’t much point putting things away in an organised manner, since it still looked dreadful to me because of the colour.

I can’t even show you, it is so glaring. You can picture it, yes?

I prefer pale, desaturated shades in the house for the most part. I do love the colourful cupboard that we keep our art materials in, and I love using bright patterns in the bunting and quilting for the children’s room. My stash of fabric and yarn bring a lot of colour into my studio. But this dark red had to go.

cupboard © elisa rathje 2011

Several coats of white later, I feel much better. Such a relief.

cupboard © elisa rathje 2011

Now it’s a pleasure to put things away, and I edited our things while I was at it, so there’s really not very much to organise. I can see what’s there and it all has a home. Much brighter. It’s a pleasure to open that painted cupboard now.

log pile

While I may not have gotten to very many tasks today, the most satisfying of them all was stacking a cord of firewood. I like the work. It feels good to toss solid things and hear their clocking sound, and it is gratifying to see objects fall into order. A log pile is basic, it is organised and accessible, and done well enough, the air dries the wood.


The cold winter can go on now, we’re ready. I’m quite content just thinking of that stack of logs, knowing it is sitting there in its place.