Monday, September 10, 2012

Between the (clean) sheets - by Kandy Shepherd




Can pegging sheets out on the clothesline be counted as a pleasure or a chore?  Yesterday, I came down on the side of pleasure.

The joy of sunshine-dried sheets!

 After a wet, cold winter in my particular part of “Down Under”, with the tumble dryer doing overtime, a glorious spring day presented a perfect opportunity to peg my washing out to dry naturally in the sun and blue sky. In no time at all, my sheets were crisp, fresh, and scented with fresh air and sunshine.

As I folded my clean sheets into my laundry basket, I remembered how much I missed my Australian clothesline—and Australian sunshine—when I lived in central London some years ago. I adored every second of living in England, but I didn’t like that my sheets always had to be dried in the tumble dryer or draped over radiators. Maybe that’s why I rejoice in this simple pleasure.

Toby just grazes around the laundry, helping me mow the grass

 You may think I sound like a fanatic housewife—far from the truth. I lean more to the slovenly end of the scale and frequently bemoan how much I hate housework. I would carry the dishwasher on my back if forced to evacuate my house. When I speculate (as one does) what I would do if I won the lottery, high on my wish list, along with the tropical island vacations, is a housekeeper.

 But I do get a kick from fresh, line-dried laundry. And when my spring garden blooms, I’ll drape my sheets over my lavender bushes so they smell even better!

How apt! I found this on Facebook


Laundry—and other forms of housework—are inescapable for many of us. Such mundane chores rarely make it onto the pages of the books I write. And yet, when I created a heroine cast away on a tropical island paradise alone with a gorgeous, sexy hero in The Castaway Bride , I couldn’t resist having her worry about how she would wash and dry her only garments—the torn remnants of her wedding gown and some lacy thong panties. Oh well, they say you reveal something of yourself in everything you write…



What about you? Is there an aspect of housework you love or loathe? An appliance you couldn't live without? I'd love to hear it!



Please leave a comment to be in the draw to win a Home Is Where the Bark Is tote bag (fabulous to keep clothes pegs in!) Be sure to leave your email address with your comment if you want to be in the draw.




Kandy Shepherd writes fun, feel-good fiction. Her books include The Castaway Bride, Something About Joe, Love is a Four-Legged Word and Home Is Where the Bark Is –reading one is a great way to escape the housework!




Visit Kandy at her website





49 comments:

  1. Hi, Kandy! I had to come visit because of the word "tote." I'm a huge handbag person and totes fit right in.

    My mom hung her laundry for a long time. I will throw towels over the breezeway gate and let the sun be absorbed. Adore the smell and the memories.

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    1. Hi Vicki, thanks for calling by (via Facebook? I know we are FB friends!)

      Yes, there's something nostalgic about hanging laundry, isn't there? As I peg away I sometimes think of my mother encouraging me to help by telling me it was good exercise for my arms. I wasn't convinced!

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  2. Hey there, Kandy!
    What a neat idea (having a tote bag like that)! Would love to "tote" it around!
    I am not a lover of dusting. I can handle vacuuming just fine (even when I pull the canister and it thumps me in the ankle - or when I run over the cord and wreck it), but dusting? Tedious stuff.
    If we ever won a lottery, a maid service would be high on my list of "wants" (although I wouldn't move from my 1050 sq ft house, as the more you have, the more you must clean/keep organized).

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    1. Hi Laney, so nice to see you here!

      I'm with you on the dust. It makes me sneeze. Consequently it doesn't get done as much as it should in my house. My husband does more than his share of the housework but he doesn't quite get dusting. Roll on that maid service!

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    2. Oops. That would be seytype at hotmail dot com.

      My husband is allergic to dust, but I still don't do it as often as I should. Thankfully, he is on an allergy medication that he only takes a couple of times a year now, and the dusting hasn't created the need for it. (Whew!)

      And, yes, it's nice to see you here too, Kandy!

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    3. I'm allergic to dust, too Laney (dust mites to be specific!) and it got me out of vacuuming for quite a few years, until we got a vacuum cleaner with a really good dust filter.

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  3. I hate housework but at the same time I love when my house is clean and my clothes ironed - everything feels so in order :) One of the things I really don't like doing is dusting, it just too tiresome.

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    1. I know what you mean, host. That feeling of satisfaction when the housework is all done somehow makes it worth it. However, at my house it doesn't last for long and we have to start all over again. Grrr!

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  4. Great post! I LOATHE ironing and will NEVER do it. And I confess, I much prefer my sheets tumble-dried :)

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    1. Hi Rachael, thanks for calling by. I'm reading your Mira release JILTED and really enjoying it. Sure beats doing the ironing! Your vote for tumble drying is noted!

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    2. I basically only iron when I'm putting patches on clothes. I use Downy Wrinkle Releaser spray on my wrinkled clothes (by spraying on a flat surface, pushing my hand up and down on the garment, and then pushing my hand side to side on the garment to release the wrinkles), but I heard that you can use fabric softener instead. Here's what I found on the Internet:

      "If you don’t have any Downy Wrinkle Releaser close by or would like to try a homemade alternative, here are some tips you can try for your clothes. These come in handy while traveling and you forgot to pack your iron.

      DIY Spray
      1 tsp fabric softener (liquid)
      1 cup water (distilled is best)
      Directions:
      Mix the water and the fabric softener together in a small spray bottle, one that has a fine mist spray nozzle. Use as you would with a commercial product, spray generously on clothing then tug and pull item to smooth. Hang or lay flat to dry (overnight).
      *Try a small spot first to make sure this solution won’t stain the fabric.

      Alternate Solution:
      Fill a fine nozzled spray bottle with plain water. Spray the clothing item generously then use a hair dryer to blow clothing dry (flatten, straighten clothing item while its drying).

      Try The Shower:
      Hang garment in the bathroom while you take a shower, the humidity will help pull out the creases. Use a hairdryer to dry smooth if necessary.

      Note: Fiber Content
      These techniques work best on poly/cottons or rayon blends. If it’s a 100% cotton clothing item that’s heavily creased, an iron will probably be needed."

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    3. Wow, that's some fantastic information Laney, thanks for sharing. A great help for we non-lovers of ironing! I've just googled Downy Wrinkle Releaser and it doesn't look like we have it in Australia, but can order it online.

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  5. I loathe cleaning the oven, it's a messy stinky job. And invariably right after you clean it something will bubble over in it again. I don't think I could do without my microwave, the last time mine went out I had to go right out and get another one. I use it more than the regular stove. I would love to have a housekeeper/cook, at least a couple of days a week.

    seriousreader at live dot com

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    1. Linda, I am so with you on cleaning the oven--such a loathsome job. And because it's so loathsome we leave doing it for too long. At the moment I think it's probably a fire hazard!
      My mother-in-law advises wiping down the oven after each and every use stops it ever getting to the ghastly stage-- I suspect she's right, maybe one day I'll try it and see.
      I also love my microwave, use it all the time not just for thawing things.

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    2. Hi, Linda.
      Totally agree re messy stinky job of cleaning the oven. Our new stove has the self-cleaning feature, but I have found that not only is it a complete waste of a LOT of hydro dollars, but it oftentimes makes the original stains worse! I no longer use that feature and usually hope that my minor spillovers magically disappear when "burnt off" during further oven usages.
      I too use my microwave for several things each and every day, and I would buy a new one right away too.

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    3. I've heard the self-cleaning ovens don't live up to the hype--useful to hear your experience!

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  6. Cleaning bathrooms are just about the worst job ever. If I could avoid that it would be great. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. I'm with you on that one, Traveler. Bathrooms are awful. One thing I love about staying in hotels on vacation is that I don't have to clean.

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  7. If you have Toby helping you out with mowing the grass, then we have an influx of goats and cows munching my mom's plants around our house. But because we're a bunch of nice people, we just shoo them away :D. Anyway, honestly I don't like to do the laundry (specially those time when my fingers would have some scratches from my ever loving cat)and as much as I hate washing our clothes, I absolutely love to cook!

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    1. Lori, I love the thought of your goats and cows in the garden. We have two miniature Dexter steers--our bully boys--and I wouldn't dare leave them in the garden. Toby just eats grass, though he has destroyed my lilac bush by scratching on it. Can't have Banjo our pony in the garden as he heads straight to the camellias.
      I'm with you, I hate housework but I love cooking.

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  8. i love doing housework but i dont like cooking :(

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    1. Eli, I wish some of your skill at housework could be transferred to me!

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  9. Most housecleaning is tedious and boring but I would love to dispense with mopping the floors, kitchen, bathrooms etc. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Oh, me too, Petite. Mopping is such a drag. And then having to wait for the floors to dry...

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  10. I hate laundry and doing dishes. I would die without my dishwasher! Lol! Thanks for sharing!



    evjochum AT aol DOT com

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    1. Doing the dishes is high on my housework hate list, Johanna. We have lived through several kitchen renovations and the dishwasher always has to stay connected, no matter what. It is the priority!

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  11. What a neat idea to drape the sheets over lavendar bushes to catch the scent!

    I also lean towards the slovely. The thing I hate most is vacuuming. Of course, I realize why it must be done, but I hate the noise.

    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

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    1. I love the lavender scented sheets, Lil, though I have to watch out for bees getting entangled in the sheets! Yep, I hate vacuuming too. Not so much for the noise but the sheer cumbersome-ness of it. I wonder if those robot-type vacuum cleaners that whiz around the floor by themselves really work?

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  12. I don't mind most housework, but I hate cleaning the bathroom. But it is true about the laundry. You get it all done, but with 2 small children I will always find socks or some clothing under his bed. My daughters room their is always something she finds after I get it done. Even the husband on his side of the bed I can always find a mysterious sock. Love your books, can't wait for a new one to come out.
    christinebails@yahoo.com

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    1. Yes, the never-ending odd socks saga--it plays at our house too, Christine. I loved that cartoon, the laundry really never ends.

      So glad you enjoy my books. Having just given up a very time and energy consuming "day job" I am writing, writing, writing to finish my next stories!

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  13. Cleaning bathrooms and mopping floors are
    not my favorite household tasks! I've had
    a microwave since my oldest went into high
    school in the late '70s. Will not be with-
    out one, I've cooked entire meals in mine.
    I even cooked a 12 pound turkey in my first
    (& largest) MW oven! Next appliance I will
    not be without is my slow cooker. I now
    have five of them, they are so good when
    cooking for a family gathering!

    Pat C./ p-cochran@juno.com

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    1. Pat, I'm also a microwave fan. I adore my slow cooker and use it all the time, even in summer. But you know, I never thought of having more than one. Of course, having multiple slow cookers going would really solve some entertaining problems. Thanks for the tip!

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  15. Kandy -

    Before I had children I used to love hanging clothes on a clothes line and it always brought back memories of my childhood and helping my Mom to the same.

    My outlook changed in 1974 when I can two children, a new born and a 1 1/2 years old ! We live in New England and didn't have a dryer so that meant in the dead of winter I still was hanging diapers outside!

    I still miss the smell of "clean linen" on our bed but think I'll stick to the dryer unless the power goes out!

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    1. Hanging out diapers in the middle of winter, Jeanne? Oh no! That must have been awful.

      There must have been days when they froze solid on the line. And with two under two that must have meant a lot of diapers. No wonder you want to stick to your dryer, I would too!

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  16. I enjoy doing laundry and mopping the floors. It's the clean, fresh scent that I love most about it.
    I don't like the process of gathering things and deciding what to keep, throw out, or give away.

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    1. Leni, I can so relate to that. I'm a bit of a hoarder and I find it really, really hard to decide what to keep "just in case" and what to throw away. I just did a big clean out of my study and had to get my husband to help me make the decisions.

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  17. Kandy, what a fun post! And you know what, laundry is something I get pleasure out of too (mind you, I'm not dealing with teenage boys, I think that would kill any of my pleasure!). But I love hanging out the washing on a nice day and I love how everything smells so clean and fresh when I pull it off the line. Like you, I've lived in England where laundry is awful. And trying to do laundry when you travel is a pain of the first water. Added to which I used a share laundry for years when I lived in Sydney so I still get a thrill out of the fact that my washing machine is MINE! Hmm, clearly I'm territorial! Love the photos!

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    1. Hi Anna, so nice to see you here.
      Your comment brought back some awful memories of shared laundries and shared hanging lines when I lived in apartments. It used to get quite aggressive and unpleasant at times. I don't know if you are a fan of THE BIG BANG THEORY but I love the scenes in the communal laundry with Penny and Sheldon.
      Like you, I am very, very glad to have my own washing machine!

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  18. Kandy, I'm with you on the joys of crisp sheets that smell of sunshine. Re. drying them on lavender - I used to know someone who's first task when she moved to a small country house (in Australia) was to plant a lavender and rosemary drying hedge for just that purpose. I found myself using that when my recent heroine was a housekeeper in a large country home. She did have a dryer as well!

    The chore I hate most? Cleaning tiles in the bathroom!

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  19. Annie, how divine to have a lavender and rosemary drying hedge-how clever of your friend. And how clever of you to incorporate it into one of your stories. I love details like that in books.

    I sometimes think when draping the sheets on the lavender (and I have rosemary as well) of all the other women over the years that must have done the same thing, especially in the days of no scented fabric conditioners and ironing sprays.

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  20. I hate to admit it, but I'm not a fan of the "great outdoors" laundry adventure. I remember having to bring the clothes in off the line as a kid & don't miss those days at all. The fact that I live in South Texas has a lot to do with it.I don't want to be hauling laundry in or out when it's 100+ degrees outside. The dryer is my FAVORITE appliance though...thanks to it, I don't have to iron near as often as I used to!!!

    The housework that I loathe most is sweeping/mopping. Our house has no carpeting (too many allergies in this family), so I find that it is the job that NEVER ends. Between the 4 of us & our 3 dogs, seems like the floor in a room is getting dirty as soon as I move on to the next. I am known for saying that if we ever win the lotto, I will hire someone just to sweep & mop the floors twice a day!

    harlan_michelle(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Hi Michelle, I agree whatever makes housework easier or more endurable, I'm all for it! I peg clothes on the line when conditions are ideal but when they're not, into the dryer they go.

      I have a mix of wooden and carpeted floors so I feel your pain on the sweeping/mopping front. I found a rubber broom that was developed for picking up hair cuttings off the floor of hairdressers and it's a great help with that interminable pet hair. Works better than any conventional broom. But it's all still work! Fingers crossed for that lotto win...

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  21. I hate housework!! I couldn't do without the dishwasher and microwave, along with the washer/dryer!! The book sounds really great and I love tote bags.

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

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    1. Thank heaven for modern appliances, Martha! They certainly make our lives easier, don't they?

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  22. I have a very dear American friend who came out on an expat posting to Australia. When she announced to her new Australian friends that she had bought a drier, she was greeted with "Why?". We inherited her barely used drier when she went home and she is one of the few people she knows in LA who dries her clothes outside in the sun!
    Now I have to confess that the now ageing drier is very useful to finish off the towels and sheets in winter but, Kandy, I have to agree. There is NOTHING like towels and sheets straight off the line and warm with the summer sun.

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    1. Hey Alison, so nice to see you here! I enjoyed your story of your friend hauling her drier half way round the world.

      I have to agree that while I love pegging out the sheets when the weather is good, I'm very glad of the drier when it is miserable!


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  23. Thank you everyone for your wonderful comments--I so enjoyed reading them and sharing our housework loves and loathes!

    The winner of the HOME IS WHERE THE BARK IS tote bag is Linda Henderson.

    Think I'll get some more tote bags made so I can offer one as a prize again!

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