Hello! I’m so happy to be here with you wonderful Local Milk readers! My name is Lindy, and I’m a Pacific Northwest native and mother to twin toddler girls. I’m also a seamstress and a potter that loves sharing all my creative endeavors on my blog and Instagram. I’m also the owner of a winsome and intentional home goods store called Thimble & Cloth but have taken a break for a season to nurture my home and family.
I’m here today to talk to you about my favorite topic, HOME, and what creating an intentional home looks like with kids who live, learn and love here as well.
A little background for context: my husband and I purchased this 1912 home 5 years ago in complete disarray. A “fixer-upper” is a total understatement. We took on the project on looking past holes in the walls that were patched with duct tape and saw incredible potential, dream-like potential. My heart was all in instantly. The natural light, the staircase, the coffered ceilings… they all stole my heart. But we weren’t just dreamers.
My husband grew up working on his dad’s construction crew, and he was equipped with the know-how and the resources to make it happen—like access to a dump trailer, a tractor, and all the tools it takes to get the job done. So, with both dreams, tools, and know-how, we embarked on quite the journey. A 5 year one, in fact, doing all the renovations on our own. All said and done there isn’t a single inch of this home that we haven’t poured our time and talent into. Our collaborative effort produced a treasured family home, one that my 2-year-old prays in gratitude for every night, “I happy here.”
We say he built us a house, and I built us a home.
The art of making a home is very purposeful to me. The elements I bring together are intentional, both traditional touches and modern. But overall, it feels warm. I think the main goal is an environment where meaningful work is nurtured; raising children, making a meal to share together, sewing, crafting, singing, teaching, playing. It all comes together.
To illustrate this further and bring real-life context to it, I’d love to share some tips with things that we’ve done that you can too, that foster that kind of environment.
1. Make Things With Your Hands
To us, this is the secret ingredient to a thoughtful home. A hot meal on the table, framing and displaying a finger painting, the homemade play-dough at the activity station, my girls running around in the dresses I sewed for them, etc. But this too includes personal touches like family photos, even things passed down, with the essence of love just right there in it when you catch sight. And thrifted and vintage pieces really make a space when used intentionally in the mix of old and new.
I am a potter and my girls and I go out to the studio to make dishes wheel-thrown by little hands with all their imperfections. We display them all about and I’ll tell you when I catch sight of a small vignette of wobbly cups, that brings me much more joy than the custom sofa that sits in our living room.
2. A Place for Everything
When you build and organize your home to accommodate all that you do, everything and every activity has its place. I think this is especially important as the toddler years prove to be a struggle in keeping a tidy home. We got creative and turned the room-length closets into mini rooms themselves. Using one as my craft and sewing room and another as a separate playroom for the girls. We have spaces to sleep, spaces to play, spaces to create and spaces to work. And within those rooms, there’s plenty of ways for the girls to practice self sufficiency (like dishes at child height to help themselves to a drink or a snack) and also plenty of opportunity to clean up (baskets at a low level for toys, a step ladder at the kitchen sink to wash hands or dish towels in a bottom drawer to clean up spills).
3. Share Activities & Responsibilities
We nurture children’s innate desire to learn and do for themselves. With that in mind, we didn’t spend too much time baby proofing, instead we spent a lot of time educating them. Although we don’t keep sharp objects and all the other obvious things in reach, we felt it much easier and beneficial to teach them how to drink out of “normal” glasses than clean those sippy cup lids. The same approach applies with how to use the stairs, as well as how to handle fragile things and special objects with care, etc.
4. Limit (but enjoy!) Distracting Toys
For the gifted toys or the loud, obnoxious ones that you feel distract from the sanctuary of your space, we put those outside in the covered garage space to spread out on the patio on a warm day and make all the mess in the world. In the winter, we rotate them through the house if necessary. Last winter there was a plastic roller coaster toy in my dining room for a couple of months and the year before a slide in the living room. That’s ok! Those sweet kids live here too, and this home is all the warmer because of it.
5. Give Your Home Time to Evolve Naturally
I think one important thing to note is that creating an intentional family home comes in time as you grow and learn here together. Be organic with the process. Let pieces come in, let others go, and do away with things that don’t serve you. I remember I used to design based on aesthetics only, one time placing a lamp in the corner of a room without access to an outlet because it looked good. Every time I walked past that lamp it felt forced and inauthentic, like an imposter in the space. Mostly it was a distraction to the overall goal. Now our home is pieced together like a beloved quilt, taking time and each square placed with meaning. With every finger painting, wheel-thrown dish, hand-built piece of furniture, piece of clothing sewn, and bowl of homemade soup we share, this house we built becomes more and more our home.