on April 11, 2005
This is a real glimpse of another era, but one not so intangible as we might think....we can definitely enjoy it, too. Some of the sweetest things in life are the simplest pleasures, and a sniff of our bedsheets after drying in the sun, or drying off with a towel that did the same is a perfect example. Since our olfactory sense is the one most tied to memories, this book would be a great one for those new to housekeeping or new mothers. I can remember running through the sheets on my mother's clothesline, smelling my clean clothes as we brought them in and folded them. I do the same for my family when I have the time, and my 78 year-old mother recently expressed a desire to start hanging out her wash again. So since April 19th (yes, it's a Monday--traditional washday for years and years and years in our country) is National Hang Out Your Wash Day; I got the book for my mom and will pair it with a clothesline and clothespins. It's a wonderful little book, and even has a recipe for lye soap that we used to make as kids. It was pretty gross but those farm women were strong and even though I'll bet it took the skin right off their hands, they used it. We could learn a thing or two from them, I'm sure.
"The simple act of picking clean, wet clothes out of a wicker basket, shaking them out, and hanging them up makes me slow down, giving me time to compose the rest of my day."
Washing machines are great for convenience, but there is a magical quality to hand washing clothes with a delicious essential oil soap (orange or lavender) and hanging them outside to dry. Of course, this means you need a clothesline and a secluded back yard.
As a child we used a soap called Sunlight and washed clothes in a ring washer. I know, I'm too young to know about ring washers, but in Africa that is what we used and we even had a sink with a washboard type surface.
The spinning umbrella clothesline was behind the house with a mountain right behind where animals could easily find their way down to our house. Often while putting up clothes, I'd walk up the steps and scare a baboon who would screech at me for interrupting the stealing of fruit. I'm not sure who scared who more, but clothes definitely ended up thrown about the garden as I ran one way and the baboon ran the other.
Memories of running outside to quickly take down the clothes in the afternoon is also a fun memory. As the rain would start to soak the clothes and sheets, we'd frantically be pulling them off the line, then hanging them inside to dry overnight.
With memories of hanging out clothes on a line, this book becomes even more meaningful. If you have a penchant for lavender ironing water and verbena soap, this will also be a delight.
This unique book has recipes for making your own soap with herbs, describes the variety of clotheslines, shows pictures of many different clothespin bags and explains how to wash linens. How do you make a new clothesline last longer? Why use a naturally scented softener?
Throughout this informative and very practical guide there are also moments of inspiration for designing your own laundry room. The storage of linens with small herbal sachets is followed by recipes and creative ideas. A special section shows how clotheslines found their way into art. Urban clotheslines and country clotheslines are included. Remember clothespin toys? They have pictures of those too.
"I know this sounds funny, but I think of hanging clothes as an almost religious experience." ~Betsy Bennett, artist (Sheets to the Wind II painting)
Now and then I just wish I could take my laundry down to the river and wash it on stones. I have strange notions, but mostly they appeal to my outdoor nature. By washing our clothes inside, we miss out on the feeling of the sun on our skin and the sound of clothes whipping about in the wind. While at my mother's house one day I found two clothespins and decided to keep them. My mother and grandmother always had clotheslines and I remember many happy hours as a child running through the sheets warmed by the sun.
~The Rebecca Review
on May 15, 2004
I guess I hadn't thought about it till I read this book, but the simple act of doing the laundry can generate an almost Zen like satisfaction. We wash our clothes almost every week, and it seems like a chore... or is it? Take a walk back in time and even through today and look at the way we do wash and how. This book brought back the smells I remember of my Mother over the enamelled steel tub rinsing and scrubbing. Me and my sisters had endless fun running between the sheets and clothes hung from the seemingly endless lines of drying laundry in our back yard playing hide and go seek. For any of you who remember when simple pleasures were derived from simple tasks, and satisfaction from a job well done wasn't pushing a button on a TV remote you ought to give this a read.
on October 20, 2003
The photographs are wonderfuland capture the spirit of the clothesline. Every so often I return to it's pages to be inspired. It takes ordinary laundry and makes it an art form--mainly forgotten. It includes laundry tips as well as laundry collectibles. Once you try line drying or some of the other tips you'll be hooked!
on May 14, 2004
Really wonderful. I love from the heart writing. There truly is something about the way the books feel. It flows together, it was magical and captivating. I would recommend this book to anyone esp. those who remember a simpler time of your mothers washing and the easy, carefree joy of fresh smelling linen. Endless fun to share with your son or daughter, and the pictures jump from the page. Looking forward to more from this author.
on May 15, 2004
I like books full of nostalgia and simpler ideas. Like the other reviewers I found it a good walk through memory lane. We never had a clothesline since we grew up in the city, but I remember seeing them on movies and the like. Its definitly a piece of Americana. I picked this up mainly because of the stress of the current war on terrorism, I needed something simple and nice. This made me feel some more trust and confidence in our values and the core of what is America. I really needed a break from all the crud books coming out on politics from former hippies trying to make a buck (sorry Mr. Bob Woodward). I like knowing that at our heart America is the home of the free, brave, and simple folks doing normal things. Thanks for an easy, stress free, good book.
on November 14, 2010
I enjoy this book . . . very nostalgic and reminds me of my childhood and the way we did laundry. And I've gone back to many of the same practices.
Great book!!! Thanks!
I thought it was my own secret obsession. My God, how I love laundry. Until recently, I lived with a clothesline out in the yard. Now, I use a commercial washer and dryer, and it's nowhere near as much fun!
However, I do sometimes wash some things by hand, lovingly hanging them up inside the house. What is it about the smell of clothes drying on the line that refreshes the spirit so very well? It takes me back to being a young child reaching up to hang out the towels on the line, all the while relishing the sunshine smell and nature all around me.
This book just takes you back to another place and time, and those wonderful nostalgic feelings that laundry brings about. The pictures are wonderful! This is a book to cherish.
If you are looking for a little item for the "Wishing Well" at a bridal shower, this is an awesome present. But first, be sure to get one for yourself! Thank you, Andrea VanSteenhouse, Irene Rawlings, David Foxhoven and Jason McConathy for this trip down a fragrant and sunny memory lane!
on December 2, 2009
Although it is nice to have a dryer...Hanging out clothes is so much more calming and the clothes smell soooo nice and clean.This book captures when our world was a little calmer and even though times were hard ..the depression..ww2 and so on the clothesline was friendlier..you usually knew how many were in the family..boy girl ..single ..married ..and so on..and visiting with the neighbor..The book was wonderful and I would recommend it to any one of any age..as a old memory or making a new one..
on December 14, 2014
yes a great book, honoring the old fashioned clothesline. Some of us still use them and wouldn't have it any other way! Loved the book!!!