Monday, February 18, 2008

The Simple Clothesline

*Updated 'cause I celebrated too soon and need to correct the date: Chinese New Year celebrations culminate in the Festival of Lanterns on Feb. 21, the 15th day of the Lunar New Year. Here is our string of lanterns, lighting our way to a better year.

Credit: Dub Scroggin

Clothes hanging on a line are also evocative of a clean start. But my homeowner association is one of more than 300,000 across the U.S. with covenants prohibiting outdoor clotheslines. The reasoning is that they are an eyesore that lessens property values—contradicting today’s efforts to recycle and conserve.

According to Project Laundry
List, a national organization promoting clothesline use, there are more than 88 million dryers in the United States consuming 6 percent of the average U.S. household electrical use.

Credit: Dub Scroggin

Tucson is perfectly suited for drying clothes outside. Because of our abundant sunshine and low humidity, we can hang out our wet clothes and ten minutes later—poof—they’re dry and smell wonderfully fresh. Compare that to time spent in an electric or gas dryer.

When we moved here, my husband hung a clothesline for me between the posts on our back porch despite our homeowner association rules. Should we use natural sunlight or build nuclear energy power sources? My simple clothesline wins every time. And sunshine is free energy.

This weekend I realized I needed new clothespins. An article in the Winter 2008 issue of Somerset Life magazine about making clothespin paperclips inspired me to make mine pretty. But I want clothespins that can actually be used for their original purpose—to pin clothes to a line.

Credit: Dub Scroggin

Using a pack of wooden clothespins from Target, I took one apart and traced around it on pretty paper. After cutting out the paper strips, I painted YES glue on each clothespin section and attached the paper. To make them functional, each papered clothespin was then coated with polyurethane for weather-proofing.

Credit: Dub Scroggin

Yes, I could just use the clothespins as packaged. For me, though, it’s about celebrating life’s minute details—whether it’s hanging clothes to dry in the sun or hanging lanterns to light our way in the dark.

Credit: Dub Scroggin

The trick is to remember to treasure the details in life—and that includes Mother Earth.


memmu said...

I love that clothespeg decorating idea... they are just lovely!!!

Vonna said...

I think clotheslines look quaint and country...but that's what I'm all about....I do the same as you though...we string rope from our deck posts and I hang out quilts and bed clothes in the spring, summer and fall. But I only use the dryer for our under-garments, I have clothes lines in my basement for our clothes and I hang them indoors all year long! :)
The Chinese lantern pictures are adorable :)

Rosie's Whimsy said...

You are marvelous....celebrating all aspects of life...even clothepins. You are the best role model :-) Rosie

Carol said...

YES! To heck with those who think it's an eyesore, I say!
Besides being the right thing to do for the environment there's nothing better than crisp line-dried sheets on "clean sheet night". ahhhhh
I love your pretty clothes pins, leave it to you to make hanging clothes pretty.
I've done them with fabric before:
We have so much wind (and laundry!) that I lose many clothespins, I would hate to use pretty ones outside.

Kristi said...

I agree about hanging clothes. My mom and her mom hung clothes outside to dry. My grandma did so out of necessity, my mom out of habit. I will never forget how fresh and delicious the sheets and blankets smelled after hanging out in the sun. I must say, though, that I was embarrassed when my underwear was hung as I got older.

I have wanted to get a clothesline here. Our neighbor once told us what an eyesore they were (nice people otherwise) so I was pretty shy about putting one up, but now I really do want to despite what they think. Who cares if it clashes with their pool and hot tub! We don't have a homeowners association so... why not!?

a pink-bee said...

I have been wanting to know how to decorate clothespins thanks :)
So rare do you even see a clothes line anymore it makes me want to take a pic when I do see one :)
Have a happy day :)

calamity kim said...

I love clotheslines too! I have wanted one for years and string up my own in the backyard after I tea dye stuff- the neighbors already think I am crazy so what!! I like the way you jazzed your pins up- I remember my Grandmothers clothes pin bag with the embroidery on it and how the pins sounded when I carried it out to help her hang the wash. She had an old ringer in the basement that I was intrigued with too! I have 4 boxes of Japanese lanterns for my trip to Amanda's (of Pandoras Button Box)house on Friday and can't wait to string them up in her yard! I am taking the camera! Thank you for reminding me to celebrate the small stuff. I love you,Junie Moon!

Thimbleanna said...

Cute, cute clothespins Junie Moon! I LOVE clotheslines and sadly live in a neighborhood just like yours. And I don't have any porch posts to use either. The neighborhood is all about marketing to newcomers and I've been thinking maybe I could appeal to them and intimate that perhaps they're losing buyers with the move to everything green. So maybe they'd change their rule. I understand the hesitation, but modern clotheslines are beautiful!

Yummers! said...

You are so clever and creative with your blog posts. I just never know what to expect when I open your new post. But I always know that I'll enjoy what I'm about to read. You put so much thought in everything you do and say. Love the clothespins.

Applause to Junie Moon!!

Pat said...

Your lanterns are lovely, and I bet the light coming from them at night is so romantic. It is so wet here this time of the year I can't hang paper lanterns outside, so I burned some candles in red votive cups yesterday instead. Red is a lucky color in Chinese tradition.
The decorated clothspins are so pretty! I couldn't live without my clothesline. Nothing smells better than air dried laundry. :-)I have a clothsline in my basement also, but the outside windy air is always better.
Thanks for all the little everyday celebrations! So inspiring!

Jane said...

It's the pretty details that make chores less chorish! This is such a great idea. I use a drying rack to get around any clothesline rules.

Lilli said...

Good for you, June, for making the environment a priority. I was really heartened a couple years ago when I heard that our local government was encouraging residents to do whatever they could to create usable produce gardening space INCLUDING growing veggies in the front yard! Now that makes sense :)

kathi d said...

I LOVE hanging my clothes on the line. At my Irvine, CA house the rules are the same as yours, and I put up an umbrella clothesline in defiance of the rules. I say, let them sue me for daring to use solar energy to dry my clothes! I grew up in Phoenix so I know about your Tucson quick-dry times. I also remember when a dust storm was coming and we all had to run to get the clothes down QUICK!

Inspired Tokens said...

I love the smell of fresh hung laundry. And, it would be even more special using your clothes pins. I love your decorated clothes pins. I also love the Chinese lanterns!

Mary Isabella said...

This is my first visit to your wonderful blog. I like what you did with yhe clothespins...Mary


and for the extreme CLOTHESPINS fan...check out the Sculptural Installations on my web site They will be mentioned in next months Project Laundry List newsletter.

Storybook Woods said...

Oh just here that homeowner association does not let you put up clothes lines, makes want to go put up right now. That kind of stuff burns my biscuits xoxoxo Clarice-says the rebelous homeschool mother

Rosemary said...

I love wooden clothespins. I do use them for paperclips all the time.
Happy New Year again!

kim said...

I was part of a clothspin swap one year. I put teeny clothspins holding fabric on my clothespins!

Love the lanterns!!

Kari & Kijsa said...

You are invited to a SURPRISE BLOGGY BIRTHDAY PARTY for kari this Wednesday, Feb 20.
She is turning 40!!!

I would love for you to stop by the party on Wednesday to surprise (hopefully!) the birthday girl, enjoy a bite of cake, sprinkle a little of your magic birthday dust, and check out the party favor giveaway!


de vliegende koe said...

Wonderful post Junie! Celebrating everything in life, that’s what it’s about!
I wish we had Tucson wheather overhere! And not only to dry the wash on clotheslines!

elizabeth said...

i know I'm late on this "you make my day" bandwagon, (I'm new to blogging) but I truly lovew reading your blog. I couldn't agree more with every word of this post. Hanging laundry is theraputic. And it really is the littlest things that make a day bright. like pretty clothespins.

Sue said...

I'm a fan of clotheslines from way back. For me, it's more about memories from the past and memories being made. I'll steal your idea and make some pretty pins. Just one more simple pleasure that I'll enjoy every day!

Mrs. Staggs said...

I love those lanterns June! Thank you for telling me about the Moonraking Festival. I'd never heard of that before, and it does sound delightful!

I understand the way that you celebrate living by bringing beauty to all the little things that make up a day. You ar very special Junie Moon!

Anonymous said...

We have a clothesline but it isn't long enough to do much with. I aim to fix that this summer. Your clothespins are awesome and, of course, you. I bet there isn't a place in your home that isn't prettied up. I think about you each time I do the laundry and look at my boring machines. I aim to do a pretty top, just like you did!

Ali said...

How lovely and what beautiful beautiful beautiful photographs.

Can't wait for spring and the first outdoor drying day here.

Lynn said...

that is fantastic. Having a clothesline is high on my list of priorities for when I move (soon!)

Diane said...

Oh Junie, how I wish we could meet in person. My dear departed mother instilled in me a love for doing laundry and for the clothesline. When I went through all her things after she died, one thing I HAD to have was her clothesline bag and all the wooden clothes pins inside. I have all my own, but hers are special :)
I love what you do to things to pretty them up, including the clothes pins. Bless your detailed heart!

Alberta Postcards
Diane's Flickr photos

Jennifer said...

Beautiful! I can't believe they don't allow clothes lines! Ug. I wish I had room for clothes lines! Hang those sheets! To heck with them!