borrowed words.

    July 23, 2019

    long island sound | reading my tea leaves

    I see it as it looked one afternoon
    In August,-by a fresh soft breeze o’erblown.
    The swiftness of the tide, the light thereon,
    A far-off sail, white as a crescent moon.
    The shining waters with pale currents strewn,
    The quiet fishing-smacks, the Eastern cove,
    The semi-circle of its dark, green grove.
    The luminous grasses, and the merry sun
    In the grave sky; the sparkle far and wide,
    Laughter of unseen children, cheerful chirp
    Of crickets, and low lisp of rippling tide,
    Light summer clouds fantastical as sleep
    Changing unnoted while I gazed thereon.
    All these fair sounds and sights I made my own.

    Long Island Sound” by Emma Lazarus

    make your own: lavender cleaning spray.

    July 22, 2019

    lavender vinegar cleaning spray | reading my tea leaves

    If ever there is a time when a simple, kid-friendly cleaning solution is in order, it’s summertime. We’ve been dribbling peach and watermelon juice all over my parents’ back porch for weeks now. Silas’s stomach has been perpetually stained with streams of cherry juice that also leave inky splatters on floors and countertops and arm rests. With the help of bubble baths, we’ve mostly been able to get the children clean, and for just about everything else we’ve been using this simple lavender cleaning spray.

    Making your own cleaning spray can sound either twee or laborious. But in most cases, it’s not much more complicated than putting inexpensive household ingredients to good work. In this case, a few cents’ worth of plain white vinegar and a little more than a dollar’s worth of dried lavender flowers. The resulting spray is excellent for quick wipe downs of walls or floors or an other surface that small grandchildren have made sticky. The lavender itself is touted for its antibacterial properties and in this application, it has the added benefit of mitigating any strong odor from the white vinegar. (For bottle and sprayer, I used an old glass bottle with a one-inch screw top and snipped the bottom of the plastic tube off a spray nozzle my mom had saved from an old spray bottle.)

    lavender vinegar cleaning spray | reading my tea leaves


    + 1/2 cup dried lavender flowers

    + 1 cup white vinegar

    + 12-ounce mason jar with lid (if metal, consider using with parchment paper or cloth to avoid rust)

    + Water

    + A glass bottle with a one-inch screw top (eg.: small vinegar bottles, kombucha bottles, large condiment bottles, maple syrup bottles, etc.)

    + A plastic spray bottle nozzle (with the plastic tube snipped to fit in your bottle if need be)


    + Cover lavender flowers with vinegar and stir gently. You’ll see the color from the lavender almost immediately.

    + Cover the jar with parchment paper or lid and leave in a sunny spot to soak for three to five days.

    + Pour steeped vinegar through a small sieve or cheesecloth, straining the lavender flowers as your pour. (I used a small funnel and tiny sieve to pour my vinegar directly into a bottle with a one-inch top.)

    + Dilute the steeped vinegar in a ratio of approximately 1:2 vinegar to water.

    + Pour into a bottle, attach a spray nozzle (and hand it off to your kids to clean up their own mess!)

    lavender vinegar cleaning spray | reading my tea leaves
    Pour white vinegar over dried lavender flowers.
    lavender vinegar cleaning spray | reading my tea leaves
    Gently agitate the lavender.
    lavender vinegar cleaning spray | reading my tea leaves
    A light magenta color will come through almost immediately and the liquid will turn deep magenta after steeping for several days.
    lavender vinegar cleaning spray | reading my tea leaves
    Pour the vinegar through a sieve or cheesecloth to catch lavender flowers.
    lavender vinegar cleaning spray | reading my tea leaves
    Dilute your lavender-infused vinegar with fresh water.
    lavender vinegar cleaning spray | reading my tea leaves

    For the curious:

    + If you’re hoping to rid yourself of your paper towel habit once and for all, you can get a whole stack of cloth-alternatives for just $3.

    + I’ve mentioned before that I’m finding both kids are needing a little more coaxing into the bath lately and bubble baths have been doing the trick. We’ve been loving this Bubble Bath sent for us to try.

    + If you don’t have any bottles or sprayers in your own household stash, this is the perfect kind of thing to put in a request for on your local Buy Nothing Group. One person’s trash is another’s treasure!

    This post includes affiliate links. Reading My Tea Leaves might earn a small commission on the goods purchased through those links.

    my week in objects (mostly).

    July 19, 2019

    1. this queen anne’s lace.

    {never a weed to me.}

    2. this scrapbook.

    {and finally, simply, tucking what i could fit into it, ancient collages and all.}

    3. this tea set.

    {and two little kids who had more july hot chocolate than i’d thought possible.}

    4. this bookmark.

    {even if it hasn’t had the chance to move in a few days.}

    5. this seat.

    {yup, still into it.}

    other things:

    introducing a new classic.

    deadstock double front painters.



    the silencing machine.

    a quilt you can wear.

    vintage denim shorts.

    what the media gets wrong.

    a small needful fact.

    there’s no outrunning the kingdom, the power and the glory.

    lugging around the tool kits of servitude.

    This post includes affiliate links. Reading My Tea Leaves might earn a small commission on the goods purchased through those links

  • old chair, new seat.

    I made a new seat for an old chair this week. In a sweltering cobwebbed corner of my mom and dad’s attic, I found what I’d abandoned there years before: a small chair too…

    July 18, 2019 12 Comments
  • tidy cloth dish cloths from mightynest

    summertime fix.

    This post is sponsored by MightyNest, a company committed to sourcing sustainable products for healthy homes.  It’s summertime and we’re spending the month at my mom and dad’s house, which means two things: more stone…

    July 17, 2019 30 Comments
  • make your own: sand removing powder.

    This summer I’m packing a secret potion in my tote in the form of cornstarch. Not cornstarch and anything, just cornstarch plain and simple for getting sand out from between toes (and other bodily…

    July 15, 2019 9 Comments
  • my week in objects (mostly).

    1. this egg. {and the grubby little hand that collected it.} 2. this magic balm. {for this week alone helping dry heels and scraped knees and a blistered toe.} 3. this old fan. {and…

    July 12, 2019 6 Comments
  • life in a tiny apartment.

    Tip #185: Tackle To-Do Lists. The past forty-eight hours have been a flurry of kid-free activity in this tiny apartment. We’ve scrubbed and scoured, dismantled and reassembled, primed and painted, sorted out old and…

    July 10, 2019 15 Comments