Hi, my name is Sarah Van Raden. I am the photo-stylist turned potter and shop-owner behind the company Notary Ceramics. Now that I now spend most of my days creating with clay, I find the seasons have taken on new meaning for me. As summer rolls into fall, I am on the lookout for gorgeous dried leaves to press into the clay, bits of sand and rock to add to our pieces and gorgeous fall colors to influence our autumn glaze palette. As our long Pacific Northwest winters melt into spring, I find myself creating large planters that I imagine filling with seed sprouts. I shape ikebana vases that will inevitably teem with cherry blossoms as soon as the trees pop those first pink petals. As we are on the precipice of spring and maybe being more homebound than we had planned this time of year, I thought it would be appropriate to give you my top five ways to refresh your home for spring. I hope that this gives you a little inspiration for creating a seasonal home for little cost.
5 Ways to Welcome Spring Into Your Home
1. Get out your favorite vases.
Dust those babies off, shine them up, and fill them with your favorite spring blooms. My favorite vases are ones that can fit a full bouquet or something that has the capability of an ikebana style arrangement. These are fun, whimsical, and very simple to create with just a few found stems or blooms. They can make quite a statement on your table as a little springy art installation.
You can also make a DIY solution to keep those fresh flowers alive as long as possible. Here’s how: Dissolve 3 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons white vinegar per quart (liter) of warm water. When you fill the vase, make sure water covers the cut stems by 3-4 inches (7-10 centimeters).
2. Forage outdoors.
I may have a pair of clippers in my purse, in the glove box of my car, and my top drawer at work. You never know when you are going to stumble across that perfect branch, a beautiful dried weed, or a patch of bright yellow daisies popping up in a field. I am known to dry these finds and use them in my home and shop all year long. I tell my daughters that it is never okay to snip something from someone’s yard, but that little strip of earth between the sidewalk and the road is fair game.
3. Create morning and evening rituals.
As the days start to get a bit longer and the light hangs around for us to enjoy the sunset, I find that creating a ritual around mornings and evenings helps with the transition into spring. For me, the rituals involve coffee in the morning and tea in the evening. I love to watch the steam boil from the kettle, fill my favorite teapot with loose leaf tea, watch as the leaves swirl around as the water fills the pot, and inhale the delicious smells.
As a ceramicist, I have an abundance of mugs at my fingertips, but I have just one favorite. It has an iron spot in the glaze, and a small chip at the bottom. I love the way it warms my hands when filled to the brim with my tea or my morning coffee. This ritual is also sacred time as it is usually when my children are still in bed in the morning, or right after I have put them to bed in the evening. The trick is not to rush this ritual and to truly enjoy every slow moment that each step requires. It is almost a meditation for me.
4. Spring cleaning.
While it is a bit of a cliche, I enjoy deep cleaning my home in the spring. I love to move the furniture away from the wall and get into all the nooks and crannies. It feels so good to shuffle the art around from one room to another, refreshing the walls and breathing new life into space.
Sometimes, reorganizing a dresser full of art supplies or a shelf packed with ceramics, makes the space feel inviting again. I want to encourage you to move your furniture around if space allows. My house is tiny, so my couch is pretty much stationary, but all the other pieces can move freely around it. Refreshing pillows and blankets with lighter materials is also a great way to lighten the space. Wool blankets get tucked away, and linen throws come out. Down comforters are still necessary with these cooler temps, but now they go into a linen duvet, and I replace the darker colors of winter with airy, light tones for spring. Lastly, I like to bring out my summer totes and hang them from the hooks of my peg rail. All the textures of spring, like woven baskets, lightweight linen market bags, and cotton string bags, each adds some much-needed airiness to our space.
5. Bring home a new plant.
Even an indoor plant will boost your spirits and bring a little joy into your home. While we wait for the trees to fill up with leaves, the lawns to grow fresh grass, and the gardens to team with flowers and veggies, it is easy to care for a new plant baby right in your home. Once the weather turns warmer, you can give that baby a treat and set it outside on your patio to bask in the sunlight that we have all been sorely missing.
I hope this little list inspires you to greet spring with a renewed perspective and breathe a little new light and life into a space you’ll likely be spending more time in than usual. I’d love to hear in the comments what you are doing to refresh your home for spring and social distancing!
Sarah Van Raden is the owner and potter behind Notary Ceramics. She is based in Portland, Oregon with her family.