If you have ever read anything by Sarah Ban Breathnach, or Alexandra Stoddard, or have visited www.brocantehome.typepad.com, you will be familiar with the idea of ‘puttery treats; or doing little simple buy gorgeous things to make your life that bit more scrumptious.
In my own mind, I think of it as ‘brocante-ing’ something. And just now, maybe because it is February, maybe because I have just read Alexandra Stoddard’s ‘Living a Beautiful Life’ again, or maybe just because, I have been doing a lot of Brocante-ing. My most recent brocante-ing adventure has been with my desk at work.
If you had sat at my desk a day or two ago, I am afraid you would have been rather shocked. Working in a library means piles of books that want attention, and papers, and notes, and, well, stuff. And while being a natural hoarder is wonderful when I am at home cooking or crafting, at work it is not conducive to feeling orderly at all.
But if you were to be able to come and visit me today, you would be happy to sit at my desk. The wood has been polished (a little ritual I intend to repeat each evening, as it will have to be uncluttered if I want to polish it) and smells nice. There is a lot of bare wood now, and at the back of my desk, working left to right, first is my in-tray, which is no longer impersonating the leaning tower of Pisa; then a box of lavender tissues, which not only have sprigs of lavender printed on them but are lavender scented as well! Then you come to my pen pot, which is no longer crammed with bits of this, tubes of that, but is full of lovely sharp pencils. Now you come to my ‘comfort box’ in which is my mug, peach tea bags, peppermint teabags and decaffeinated teabags, along with a tube of discs of dark Swiss chocolate. I have slipped a black-and-white picture of Carl and me in the front of the box, so I see us smiling together every time I have a cup of tea! At the end of my desk, as far right as you can go is a collection of folders to hold all my paperwork, and in front of that is a vase of glorious pink tulips. I have flowers on my desk! It is so lovely to have a splash of colour in the room. When they fade, I am going to have daffodils, just like at home. Finally, in front of those is a small pile of books library books that I have chosen for me- at the moment, ‘Hip to Stitch’ ‘Romantic Weddings’ ‘Wedding Inspirations’ (you see the theme, non?) and lastly ‘The Little Lady Agency’ which is a lovely fiction book that belongs to me, and I am re-reading for fun.
Something I have started doing when I buy books, is to note in them my name, and the date I have bought them. If I can find a review of them in a paper or online, I like to print that out, and stick it in too. If I re-read something, I note that date too. I would really like to design my own bookplates, but I think that is a project for another day…
It seems to me that where we work makes up such a big part of the day that it is a shame not to prettify and personalise it as far as you can. I would rather someone was told that my desk is ‘the one with vase of flowers’ than ‘the one all piled up with stuff’!
We open tomorrow. I am feeling quite nervous…wish us luck! But at least I know that I have my pretty desk to retreat to now, and when I go home, my freshly Brocanted bed- which is a story for another day!