make-believe: puzzles etc.

May 18, 2020
indoor afternoon | reading my tea leaves

Our indoor reality right now includes a lot of keeping small humans from mauling each other, making and cleaning up meals at an astonishing rate, and trying to find a quiet corner in 500 square feet to work from unbothered. (Today’s post comes to you courtesy of crouching on the stairs to the roof.) It’s pretty hard even on the best days. Still, there’s something cathartic and calming about dreaming of the lovelier parts of spending so much time indoors. Imagine self-isolating with a full-sized sofa? A beautiful new puzzle? Childhood favorites spinning on the record player while strains of birdsong come in through the open windows? I can almost imagine away the skirmishes and mounting to-do lists.

A full-sized sofa for lounging.

A pair of indigo shorts and tank for being cool and comfy.

A cotton sweater in case of a cool breeze.

A quilted puzzle for whiling away the hours.

A maple record player for spinning tunes.

The very best weeknight serving bowl filled up with chips. (Psst: now available for pre-order!)

A bright botanical tipple.

A book bag for stashing favorites sofa-side.



In an effort to ground this make-believing in something a bit more down to earth, here are a few very real things to do:

Share your check: Make the Road New York‘s Emergency Response Fund calls on folks who can afford to, to share their stimulus checks with workers excluded from the Federal Stimulus Package. Learn more the need and the response in Make The Road’s Excluded in the Epicenter report.

Pay someone’s rent: Our friends at The Conscious Kid have raised $95,608 for #RentRelief and they’re giving it all away, $200 at a time, to families who are suffering. No questions asked. Let’s get them to $100,000.

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

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  • Reply Jennifer May 18, 2020 at 4:10 pm

    My sister just gifted that puzzle to my parents and they report it is very challenging. So many all black pieces!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE May 18, 2020 at 4:12 pm

      Ooh! Even better!

  • Reply hannah May 18, 2020 at 7:25 pm

    I am trying to learn how to sew to satiate my desire for nice-linen-things-I-can’t-afford and that short and tank set looks very much like one I’m working on! For others interested: the pattern for the shorts if free from Purl Soho. It’s the City Gym Shorts pattern: and the tank is from Wiksten and is straightforward but includes lots skill building, like french seams and a curved hem. It’s $10 and available as a PDF download here:

  • Reply Marisa May 18, 2020 at 9:23 pm

    Ooooh! So nice to see Beaton Linen featured here. Her pieces are beautiful and so well made and I get compliments every time I wear one. Well worth the investment! Also, I feel your pain re trying to carve out space to work. I took a work call in our car the other day (parked outside our house), just to get a quiet place to be….

  • Reply Lee May 19, 2020 at 11:57 am

    The tank and shorts make me really excited to fit into “regular” clothes again post-pregnancy and postpartum!

    And I’m with you on dreams of a full-size couch. We have a small midcentury sofa that is really cute and great for small spaces, but isn’t “nap sized.” We’ve thought of getting a bigger couch, but are also contemplating eventually moving our bed into the living room (one bedroom apartment life with kid on the way) so it doesn’t seem worth it right now.

  • Reply Tracey May 19, 2020 at 3:10 pm

    Erin I’m curious what are your plans for your living situation? This pandemic obviously has everyone feeling cramped and crazy….but you with three small kids in a one bedroom apt!!! Where do you think you will move??? Have you seen the group on facebook called Into the Unknown? There are close to 3000 brooklyn families discussing a mass exodus from NYC for greener pastures. Especially considering that school won’t be starting in the fall either….god help us!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE May 19, 2020 at 3:31 pm

      I have no idea what we might end up doing!

  • Reply April May 20, 2020 at 8:09 pm

    I hope you might entertain a comment off topic. How do you put preschoolers and a baby to bed in a small space? We have a 4 year old and 8 month old and live in small space. It’s hard to get the baby down and entertain the preschooler quietly with separate bedtimes. I would love to see a post on any tips you have for this or other small space parenting dilemmas!

    • Reply Celine May 28, 2020 at 8:45 pm

      I second this!!


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