This listography is inspired by the lovely Lex of Mother Porridge's post on What Makes Your House a Home. I thought forever about this, I have to say it was hard. Maybe it's because we have moved house five times in five years... maybe it's because each one of those houses has been completely different from each other. Maybe because I looked around at material possessions and wondered what, if any, of this would I save if my house caught fire. Here is what I came up with after a lot of thought...
1. Books - I once had a notorious book collection. It spanned shelves and bookcases and piles scattered here and there. I blame the parents, my dad has shelves in his toilet (alledgedly the only place he gets any peace!). I scaled down my collection when I moved to London, and adopted the William Morris motto 'beautiful or useful' as one of our family mantras. I cannot imagine a house without reading which is why I have four units full of books and Vin has always had more books than toys or clothes even.
2. Food - Before I had Little Vin I never cooked. I rarely ate but I certainly never cooked. I would heat up stuff or mix things together but cooking and a love of food evaded me. Just after Vinnie was born his godmother presented me with a book of handwritten recipes and told me to her, that family meant food. Somehow in all the emotions or the hormones of bringing up a child this sentiment has filtered into my heart, cooking meals turns me into an 'Ahh Bisto' style mama and at least once a week I can be found in the kitchen baking something lovely.
3. Art - When D and I moved into our first home, a well-meaning older relative bought us a piece of wall-art. Around four feet tall and wide, comprising of steel bars welded in a grid shape with other assorted metal shapes welded to that. Needless to say it did not grace our walls. No, I don't mean art in a pretentious way, just something beautiful, a snapshot of emotion or an outpouring of an expression. I'm lying again, all my walls and doors are covered with finger painted masterpieces and googly-eye collages. I love kids artwork, we make time every day to do something creative and not a Monet or a MoMA masterpiece could bring me more joy than a multicoloured scrawl and the insistence that it is in fact 'a dinosaur mama' (well duh).
4. Half-finished projects - Yes, I am a serial procrastinator. In fact, I blog just so I have to finish things sometimes. Next to my bed is a notebook filled with scribbles for the book I plan to write with several recipes torn from magazines tucked inside the cover. In the drawer underneath that is eighteen rows of the blanket I was knitting. In my kiddo's bedroom is a plastic tub full of random craft supplies and a sketch of how I envisage his 'art centre' would maybe look if I stopped daydreaming. In the living room where I am sitting now, I have another notebook full of ideas for Christmas presents and another full of ideas of toys and activities for the kiddos, sorted by category and theme. There is also three tubes of glow in the dark paint and a tub of cinnamon sitting on my kitchen worktop for the two batches of homemade playdough I may or may not get around to mixing up and a bowl of butter, neatly cubed, awaiting it's fate in a lemon and poppyseed cake I don't know if I want to eat enough to stand up and bake it.
5. Tradition - I run the risk of sounding ultra-twee here, but I am a sucker for tradition. I think it's one of those things I inherited (along with stretch marks and sleepless nights) when I had a kiddo. I want every holiday and special occassion to be filled with tradition, hunting for easter-eggs, making Christmas cards, decorating pumpkins, birthday parties filled with balloons. I also like the little family traditions we are aquiring... like a special brunch, family-time and a roast dinner on a Sunday and impromptu family movie night.
Looking back over this list, aside from the realisation that motherhood has exacerbated my old-fashioned streak, I can't help but smile. What makes my house a home is family, food, creativity, children and learning