House Magic

The house is making the soft breathing sounds very old houses make at night. -Gladys Taber

Photo courtesy of: Frank Martinez

Can happiness be in a home’s DNA? How can we find ways to steep these piles of nails and boards with deep contentment? How can we as mothers make our homes into havens for our families and ourselves to return to after being steeped in the negativity of the culture of today?

Below: Fireplaces and family dinners- two ways to enjoy your home.


Its so easy to point fingers and tell others what is wrong. What is harder, and more important is to create, have a purpose, have a mission to make things better. You can’t change much of what goes on in the world, you can change what is behind your door. Instead of being anti- be for something, something good. You can be the change your children want to see. You can change what you have control of.


For most of us this means our home. If you are starting off like I did laughing because your house (and subsequently your day-to-day) is a wreck and stressed to the breaking point then start here: Once you have things a little better under control and can think beyond the messes and clutter then come back (you DO NOT have to ever have a perfect or even close to perfect home to fill it with love).

Pets compliment a house. They give a love that is felt, much like you do when you take care of your family.

When a day passes it is no longer there. What remains of it? Nothing more than a story. If stories weren’t told or books weren’t written, man would live like the beasts, only for the day. The whole world, all human life is one long story.”
-Isaac Bashevis Singer

Now let’s talk about a home’s story. This is a wonderful way to channel your energies and make your house really shine. Our homes tell stories about us and about who we are. Whether you agree with that or not it is true and the perception is real. Take delight in this though. Here is your chance to show others (close to you or strangers) who you are and who your family is.


Decide what kind of story your house will tell. Mine has many facets to it. It doesn’t have to be one-sided just like it doesn’t have to be decorated all the same. At first I didn’t have a story or a reason. I just bought what I liked and arranged it pleasingly. My taste became my story, but it still didn’t tie together. There wasn’t magic.

It helps to find a muse, or an artist, someone you can look up to to get inspiration from.

Then I began looking for my story. I found it in a dream. I had been searching and searching, but I couldn’t seem to really find a thread that tied my story together. I loved toys, old things, kitchen things, tea, Britcoms, Victorians, British stuff, Beatrix Potter, scary stuff, books, and school. Then a couple of things happened. I read a lot of the lesser-known Beatrix Potter books, I read Susan Branch’s blog about her store she ran for a few years and I read her book “A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside.” I knew I loved English stuff but it still didn’t come together.


Not much time later I had a lucid dream. I don’t have these very often. Probably because I can only sleep in on Saturdays and they typically happen to me in the morning. Anyway they are really fun to have as I can either control what happens, I can really explore in the dream, or I am privy to a complete story full of emotions. Anyway this dream was about me owning a little shoppe. It was called Ginger & Pickles (just like the Beatrix Potter book) and I saw the sign outside as plain as day and I walked in with the bell ringing behind me. It was my shoppe and everything in it was what I liked and I looked at how it was decorated and laid out and saw things for the first time and things that I already knew about. There was tea brewing and scones warm on a tray. There was a sofa, and sections for every part of the house, the kitchen, library, nursery, etc.

The “famous” journal entry done right after my dream. These ideas would go on to influence and create many more.

When I woke I immediately started drawing it in my journal. What it looked like, the decorations, how it was laid out and what it sold. I became obsessed with this little shoppe and how one day, when I was retired I would own a place just like it and spend the day there. Then I became sad, because, for me retirement was decades away and I knew the little shoppe dreams would fade long before I could make them real.

This was my first attempt to capture the magic. I copied this idea from Susan Branch who put her Beatrix Potter people by her plants in her kitchen window-sill.
Life’s path…what will it look like?

I prayed about it. What do I do Lord? The answer came to me later- swiftly and suddenly. Why wait? Why even have a shoppe? Why not just live like that?   OH.   Duh!

A Ginger & Pickles House? Yes!

So my little dream shoppe became the thread of magic that binds my story together and it’s helped me make all the decisions about my home and what it looks like. It has also inspired me to live every part of my life with some magic in it. Before, things happened to me and I went along. Now I happen to things and plan for magic!

A little “Shoppe” magic in the kitchen.
Stove love.

Below is my porch with fairy lights and rugs, my mantle with ocean-colored pottery, and my Dartura (moonflower) in the back garden.


When I can’t think of any magic I would like I just remember my little dream shoppe and it guides me to it. And it has been a wonderful thing for my house, a way to help me edit and appreciate, to focus and explore. It led me to re-think a lot of spaces that weren’t working, such as my studio, and completely revamp them- even (horrors!) getting rid of furniture. Below is my studio after moving out a queen-sized bed, a table, a nightstand, and an old TV armoire. Breathing space, ahhh.


Your house needs you and your family. It’s purpose is to be a protector, a haven for you, let it be one and infuse it with magic, even if you don’t live there for very long. Put happiness into the fibers of the wood and stone and leave traces of contentment for the next generation. Below- one of the great ways to sow happiness is to practice traditions and rituals of kindness and peace. Tea is one of my favorite ways to do this.


It’s a long life for them, our houses, and its made to be even longer if no one cares for them. Houses were built for people. Perhaps that is why people are usually right when they predict which houses are empty. I don’t know how, but you just know. Make sure your house exudes love and not desolateness. If you need inspiration the whole world of blogging and pintrest is here. Seek and ye shall find. Ask and it shall be given to you. Knock and the door will be answered.

With house magic to you from Kansas Street,


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