Wednesday, August 19, 2020

The Life-Changing Magic Of The Orange Gingham Dish Towels

"Life should be chic, glamorous, and colorful, and so should your home." 

"Beautiful, playful art shows people the second that they come into your house that they're in the presence of a provocative funster."

-Jonathan Adler

It all began with the orange checked dish towels

Looking for a gift, I was browsing around the Crate & Barrel website when I stumbled upon these dish towels. 

Immediately, I was obsessed. 

Night after night, all week long, I went back to look at those towels, wondering if I still loved them as much as I had the night before. 

I did.

And I began to seriously consider buying them. 

But wait, I told myself. You don't buy orange dish towers. You buy white and black and grey dish towels. 

Hmm, that's true. But I used to buy orange dish towels. What has happened to me?

And it all came rushing back.

* * * * *

Seventeen years ago, I realized my mother had the early signs of dementia.
Eight years ago, I got involved in her daily care.
Four years ago, my mom died. 

Pick out any one of the countless events during those years that pulled us both deeper into the darkness that is Lewy Body Dementia, and I can draw a line to a corresponding change in my home.

I stripped the colors out of my rooms and left black, white, and shades of grey.
I pulled much of my art down off the walls and minimized what was on display.
I put away most everything that did not serve a useful function. 
I needed my home to be almost bare and tediously tidy. 

And it's been taking me a long time to work my way out of that dark place.

Wow, this is heavy stuff. Isn't this supposed to be a story about chic, glamorous, and colorful home decor and orange gingham dish towels?

Yes, hang on, I'm getting to that. 

* * * * *

In just the past few months, I've felt something stirring in me.

No, not an absence of grief. Losing your mom is not something from which one will ever fully recover.

But ever since I found those orange gingham dish towels, I've noticed the small and quiet awakenings of some things I have not felt in a long time.

A lightness of being. 

I realized that I'm ready to lighten the mood of my surroundings too. 

So I bought the orange gingham dish towels. They bring me a really ridiculous amount of joy. 

And they have inspired me to slowly and deliberately invite a few more things into my house, and I'm hoping they too will inject 

some color, 
some whimsy, 
some fun. 

Here's what I've done so far:

^ In my living room, which had been completely overrun by plants and neutral colors, a few new throw pillows from Society6 bring in splashes of orange, yellow, and green, and a vaguely sixties' retro vibe. Between the colors and the graphics, the pillows make me feel very connected to childhood me, and that is a lovely comfort.

^ The coveted orange gingham dish towels have been granted a place of honor on my kitchen counter. I don't even use them; I just smile to see them folded neat and clean, each and every time I walk into the room. 

On the shelves are two orange bowls and a bright blue flowered plate, both of which I picked up at a thrift store years ago, and had stashed in the back of my overflow dish cupboard. To be honest, I'd forgotten completely about them until I got the dish towels, and then my brain connected the orange dots. They've all become great friends.

^ As part of my use it or lose it adventure, I came across this orange painting stashed in the garage. It used to hang horizontally in my bedroom, back when my bedroom was colorful, but somehow when I looked at it now, my brain saw it in a vertical presentation and I knew that this long and narrow space would be a perfect new home. 

I tossed a new giant gold throw pillow on the couch in front of it, and felt intense pleasure. The coordinating candles on the side table were just a lucky find in my candle stash, and I took them as confirmation that this color story was meant to be. 

* * * * *

I didn't plan for orange to be the new coming-out color of my reinvigorated home. But I think it's more than a happy coincidence that this is the color I'm drawn to. Orange speaks to me 

of confidence
of sunshine
of fun.

Thanks to the magic of the gingham dish towels, orange is the color that is bringing out the provocative funster in me, and I am relieved to have her back. 

* * * * *

More stories about my reinvigorated home:

The Life-Changing Magic Of The Orange Gingham Dish Towels

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