Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 133: Lullabies and Box Spring Covers.

My Latest Snag: The Box Spring Cover.

The following ranks highly among the “random, very weird, possibly too eccentric things I like” category: a box spring cover. As you know, I take disproportionate pride in my bed. I mean, I spend half my life in it, and it’s maybe the one part of our entire petite apartment that is truly mine (well, and Mr. Magpie’s — but it is not a space where you’ll often find mini’s Little People, or crumbs from mini’s snacks, or a bottle cap. We usually keep it tidy and taut, just for us.) A reader not long ago wrote something along the lines of: “Life is not all about ironed sheets.” She meant it in a friendly context, i.e., “I enjoy your more serious writing — or its balance with the more frivolous,” but I saw in it a glimpse of what I must look like to many of you: a thoughtful, empathic woman, but one who is occasionally overfussy about unimportant things. I wrote earlier this week that, at the age of twelve, I “hadn’t the faintest idea where the stress accents belonged in the day-to-day living of my life,” and the reader’s comment made me wonder whether I still grapple with — to pursue the musical analogy — the articulation of notes. And so the comment yielded more self-reflection than it intended to warrant, but I landed not far from where I started in the sense that: yes, ironed sheets matter to me. My bed matters to me. Maybe more than it should — or maybe not. Mr. Magpie has a funny quirk when evaluating a new restaurant: if the bathrooms are filthy, he’s generally turned off. “If they can’t get the easy stuff right — keeping a small bathroom tidy — what’s going on where you can’t see, in the kitchen and larder?” It’s enough to make our stomachs turn. The same principle applies elsewhere. If I can’t get the small stuff right, the big stuff feels all out of wack, too.

And so you may or may not scoff at my latest obsession: a box spring cover. It had always lightly bothered me that when my bed was made, you could see, at the very head, where the duvet was folded back, a little bit of the unattractive box spring at the base. It wasn’t a big deal and I let it fall out of my mind. But I was thrilled to find a solution. I have no idea how or where I came across this, but it really does lend a more finished look to our bedroom. The bed now looks like an inviting, frosted seven layer cake and I can’t wait to crawl into it, my frivolity bedamned.

You’re Sooooo Popular: Pearl Earrings.

The most popular items on the blog this week:

+Stunning pearl earrings.

+Puffed sleeves, on sale. (More dramatic sleeves here.)

+My new favorite cardigan.

+A super chic dress at a great price.

+This dress is ready for a party. (Also: major Saloni vibes for less.)

+Fun and inexpensive Halloween decor. (<<Mini loved when we surprised her with these all over our dining room last year!)

+Fun fall dress for under $30.

+Adorable door knocker.

#Turbothot: Lullabies.

What do you sing to your babies at night? What did your parents sing to you?

My father often — rather curiously — sang me Johnny Cash’s “Ghost Riders in the Sky” at bedtime. I think about that strange choice often. I am confident he sang it simply because he liked it, and nothing more — but there was a rousing narrative and strong visual imagery and I’ve internalized it all and tied it back to my father in many complex ways.

And so I don’t think I’m being overprecious in saying that I often find myself musing over the two lullabies I sing to my children close to every night: “When You Wish Upon a Star” from Pinocchio and “Edelweiss” from The Sound of Music.

I am not convinced I agree with the ethic behind “When You Wish Upon a Star,” as I tend to subscribe more to the Edison quote:

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

In short: wishing is not enough. Wishing won’t get you where you need to go. Good things don’t happen to good people without good effort. And I think I’d rather instill in my children the notion that they should never grow a wishbone where a tailbone ought to be.

At the same time: they are children. I wish for them unbridled ambition and outsized dreams. One of the most beautiful gifts my parents gave me was the latitude to explore, to tinker, to pursue my interests without judgment. “You want to write? Great! Let’s sign you up for a writing class.” “You want to design clothes? Fantastic. Let’s buy you a sewing machine.” They were endlessly supportive, especially of our artistic ambitions.

And so I return to the song, whose lyrics and melody leave me inexplicably farklempt more often than not despite the frequency with which I sing it, and I think: “Maybe this is OK. Maybe it’s best to send them out into the world starry-eyed and wishful.”

What do you think?

Post-Scripts: My Next Thriller.

+Probably my next thriller read pick.

+We ate well and cheaply.

+Our new kitchen has enough space for one of these and mini would die over it. She loves cooking — probably because of how much time Mr. Magpie and I invested in it.

+Aflare, electric — musings on writing to you.

+Sweet Christmas gift for a new home-owner.

+Another really good sweatshirt from RM.

+Have spotted these shearling-lined Birks on several Manhattanites, usually with light-washed denim.

+Tell me more

+A fun oversized fleece puffer situation.

+This is elegant in the same way as the dress I wore to micro’s Baptism. Love.

+Love the cinched waist of this blazer.

+New York by night.

+Such a pretty little bag.

+Chic to-go coffee cups.

+Basically never met a highlighter I didn’t love.

20 Comments

  1. Childhood lullabies … how sweet! My mom sang “Edelweiss” to me as well (I’d always request it in my lispy toddler voice whenever I was seeking extra comfort from her) … and her other oft-repeated lullaby was “You Are My Sunshine”, although she would focus on the first verse, as the verse with “hung my head and cried” always made me burst into tears!! I was (and still am) a sensitive Sally.

    I adore that Everlane textured cotton cardigan … I missed out on the first round & it looks like it’s going to be restocked in December. But I did snag one of the alpaca cardigans and am really excited for it to arrive this week!

    Today I’m catching up on lots of Magpie posts from the past month … yay! xx

    1. So sweet, MK. And kind of funny you say that about “You are my sunshine” because my friend was just saying that whenever they play it at the baby music class she attends, she can’t help but cry!

      xx

  2. My mother sang us her own slightly Americanized version of the Gartan Mother’s lullaby every night. It’s lovely. To this day the first line immediately puts me at ease….oh a mother’s love! xx

  3. My parents sang me “Our House” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Still love the song!

    Oddly, I sing my kiddo songs that I remember from TV shows or movies growing up— the intro songs from Winnie the Pooh and Lambchops, among others. BaBa Blacksheep and Darling Clementine are also standbys. It’s amazing how my off-key voice can still a thrashing toddler.

    Also, agree that ironing sheets sounds delightful and you shouldn’t feel bad about it! Do you do it before stowing them away or only just before they go on the bed? (Dumb question?)

    1. Hi! I iron them before they go on the bed — otherwise, I am pretty sure they’d end up wrinkled and creased given how little space we have. When they come out of the wash, I do fold them nicely but then only iron once we’re ready to put them on the bed. Not a stupid question! My mom has it done the other way, but then they have a roomy, spacious linen closet…

      I laughed when you wrote “it’s amazing how my off-key voice can still a thrashing toddler.” So true for me as well. I have a horrific singing voice but mini doesn’t seem to mind. Ha!

  4. I play “Wildflowers” by Tom Petty for Elizabeth (my 13-month-old) every night, and its effect is right down soporific for her; it’s really and truly amazing to watch her flail about one moment and then snooze away the next. It also doesn’t hurt that it is a beautiful song inside and out. Every time I hear it out and about I tear up. I hope it is years before that part of our bedtime routine ends.

    And as for ironing sheets: I wish it were something I did regularly! My mom still irons the sheets for every bed in the house (and did when my siblings and I – all four of us – were young). Slipping into a bed at my parents’ house is what I imagine heaven feels like. She now has a Miele ironing… contraption? that is specifically designed for linens. Sometimes I bring my laundry to their house just to use it.

    1. OMG, your mom is my hero…! Both in terms of ironing all of the children’s sheets (I definitely do not do this for mini’s crib…once she has a big girl bed, though?! I suppose I will!) and in terms of owning that incredible Miele contraption, which I promptly googled and wishlisted. I need that at some point in my life…!

      Also, such a sweet song choice for your Elizabeth 🙂

      xx

  5. Ha! We just bought a box spring cover too – I agree, why didn’t we do it before? Such a little detail, but it looks so much nicer.

    And definitely get a learning tower! My little loves to hang out in it while we’re in the kitchen to help (“help”) me cook. Just a word of caution – the one you linked looks like the “ikea hack” version, which we made (adding the upper railing part to an ikea stool). It is great in smaller kitchens and great when kids are short. But if Mini is taller, it could potentially topple if she reaches for something far away, eek. And mine is tall enough that the upper railing is now at butt-height and sometimes she’ll forget and sit on it, which also makes me nervous. If you have the room, invest in one with a much larger base, especially as you’ll soon have two that will want to hang out in it. We still use ours daily; but I still have to watch her like a hawk so that she doesn’t accidentally make it fall over.

  6. Edelweiss, well that’s heaven! I may add to my repertoire. Our two are Tomorrow from “Annie” and Benny and the Jets (for Ben, and for musical balance). Looking forward to him kicking me out of his room for singing in 2 years . THERE IS A CASTLE ON A CLOUD AND YOU WILL LIKE IT.

    1. Edelweiss is so sweet. It’s a bit weird when I sing “bless my homeland forever” but we go with it. Ha. GREAT PICKS for B! xxx

  7. I love that you iron your sheets and take such care to live a quality life! You’ve inspired me to enjoy what’s real over what’s fast and to make every day a bit more charming.

  8. I don’t think of ironing sheets as being a sign of frivolity- quite the opposite in fact. I think of it as a sign of incredible fastidiousness. I have never ironed sheets (and know I will absolutely never iron sheets), but whatever brings you joy!

    My dad used to sing “Don’t Fence Me In” to my sister when she was young, but when he tried to sing to me I just put up a small hand and said “no Papa. No singing.” And that was the end of that! I just wanted to be left alone in the dark and quiet to sleep. Still do, in fact.

  9. I love and enjoy your over fussiness. Never change! You have a natural talent for creating simple luxuries that make things feel more special. Life is difficult and complicated. Having ironed sheets, fancy hand soap, and a well labeled pantry are small things that make a difference to bring happiness and restore peace. I appreciate all the ideas and finds you share to help achieve the same.

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