Roots & Sky by Christie Purifoy. I am not sure I can adequately talk about this book. It’s been like the deepest, sweetest-smelling breath to me this month. In fact, I’m still not quite done reading it because I am going sloooooowly, trying to savor every single page. I discovered Christie via an episode of Tsh Oxenreider’s podcast, The Simple Show (you can find that episode here), and by the end of the episode, I was like, I have to read her book. Mainly, Roots & Sky is about what Tsh Oxenreider refers to as “placemaking,” or finding yourself at home. Putting down roots. It follows a year in the life of Christie and her family after they move into their Pennsylvania farmhouse, Maplehurst. Maybe it appeals to me so deeply because I still live in a rented house and owning land, being able to put down that kind of roots, feels far off and ethereal. Maybe it’s the way she documents the passage of time by capturing the passage of the seasons, the rhythms of the church calendar, and her own deep-seated longings. It’s a beautiful book; so beautiful, in fact, that I haven’t been able to bring myself to underline a single word or dog-ear even one page in it.
Beeswax Soap. A month or so ago, I was suffering from dry skin, and remembering my mom saying that beeswax soap was really soothing to her own dry skin, I pulled out the couple of bars of my cousin’s homemade beeswax soap I had stashed away in the linen closet. I began using it daily, even on my face. It’s become my favorite cleanser, hands-down. In fact, I ordered a year’s supply of it, which got here last week. You can get all-natural beeswax soap at places like Whole Foods or your local co-op market or health food store, but I highly recommend this soap from BeeDazzled. It’s made from all-natural Michigan beeswax from my cousin Sharon’s own bees (she also makes honey, which you can get here, and has a winery near Traverse City, see here). My favorite soap is the honey almond.
Tea Collection. I fell in love with Tea Collection‘s unique prints–some botanical, some Japanese-inspired, some with more of a Moroccan flair–and deliciously soft fabrics last spring. I ordered the girls a few summer dresses, and L lived in hers for months, sometimes wearing them multiple times in one week. They wash and wear incredibly well, maintaining their softness, size, and shape after countless launderings. I just ordered the girls’ holiday dresses for our upcoming family photos from Tea, and I can’t wait for them to arrive. (P.S. They’re having a Friends & Family Sale right now, so hop over there and see what I’m talking about!)
A Daily Laundry Habit. It seems like the greatest apologies from moms on the web have to do with laundry. Dirty, clean but unfolded, piled in baskets, covering beds, you name it. Laundry is anathema. Who wants to spend the whole weekend manning the washer and dryer, not to mention dealing with endless folding? To avoid this, every night before bed I compile a load from the various hampers around the house and toss it in. In the morning I move it to the dryer, and sometime during the day I fold it and deliver everyone’s clean items to their rooms (or, in H’s case, her drawers). If I stick to this habit, the laundry is never cause for tears or shame. And I never hear the panicked words, “Mom! I don’t have any clean underwear!” on a school morning.
Smitten Kitchen’s Pumpkin Bread. I’ve been making pumpkin bread using the same recipe since 2008. But when Deb Perelman posts an “upgrade” to something that doesn’t seem like it should need any upgrading, I sit up and take notice. This version of the quintessential autumn quick bread is likely to be my new standby, the main reason being the cinnamon-and-sugar crust atop its craggy peak. Make it this weekend. (Image: Deb Perelman, smittenkitchen.com).
Cookie Cutter Garland. L wanted to make something to decorate the house for fall, so after wracking my brain for a little while (I wasn’t going anywhere near Pinterest, for fear of getting bogged down in the idea pit), I pulled out a pack of construction paper and our pumpkin and leaf cookie cutters. I traced the cutters with a pencil and cut out the shapes. L colored them with marker (just some strategically placed art nouveau-style scribbles), and then we strung them on some kitchen twine. I love the playful look, and I have a feeling we’ll be doing something similar with the Christmas cookie cutters in December.
Well, friends, that’s it from me this month. I hope you’re having a wonderful autumn. What are you loving right now? Leave a comment and tell me your current favorite books, music, shortcuts, recipes, projects–whatever is helping you do life better, with more joy and peace.