The pleasure of a perfectly starched and ironed napkin. Or sliding in to a bed with freshly ironed or mangled bedsheets scented with a lavender linen spray. I don´t know many things better than the latter. When we find ourselves in situations like these the things that can give us pleasure are just so important. Little things. Yours may not be ironing or folding kitchen towels just the way you like. Yours may be something completely different. But if your happiness is found in polishing your old silvers, or de pilling your cashmere sweaters and folding them back in the closet just so, adding your little heart shaped cedar wood blocks in between, or indeed ironing then you may find this post is to your liking.
I had a lovely conversation about ironing with my friend´s on our weekly Wednesday coffee. It ended up on a discussion about lavender linen spray and I did indeed try my hands on making my own instead of ordering a bottle online ( which you can also do, for instance here). I looked for recipes on Pinterest and as I had all I needed for it on hand I thought why not make my own. It´s just as good as the ready made one.
Lavender linen spray
1/4 cup which hazel ( taikapähkinä/ hamamelis virginiana) or rubbing alcohol or vodka
30-40 drops essential lavender oil
3/4 cup ( distilled) water
Mix all the ingredients together in a spray bottle. Use when ironing or spray as a scent on your pillows or even in your linen closet. I like to spray some on our sheet when I change them and then put the duvet on top. When you open the bed up at night you get a waft of lovely lavender scent. Just don´t use so much so that you bed is wet when you go there at night.
Another thing I have been making myself for a while now is starch. My friend´s housekeeper gave us a recipe for it and it works so well. If you want very very stiff results you can dip clean napkins in starchy water and then iron when they are still a bit wet. But I just use the spray ( the more generous you are with it the stiffer the result).
Home made starch
1 tbls cornstarch ( or if you only have potato starch you can also use that)
1 cup ( distilled) water
Mix it in a spray bottle and spray on your linen or shirt or what ever you need to stiffen up, then iron. Mix it up every now and then, your solution is white instead of clear but does not colour your linen.
I use boiled and slightly cooled water for the sprays ( instead of distilled, the tab water in Finland should be very clean). You can also try these out and make the recipes to your own liking. I don´t think there is an exact science to this. I make mine in used bottles ( these are from The Laundress) for recycling reasons but you can also buy a simple spray bottle.
I hope these give you some little bits of joy in your daily life. I love ironing. I make myself a cup of coffee or tea and watch a show or a happy movie or listen to some music. If you are on lookout for a fun playlist for your background then try Nancy Meyers´Movie Goodness on Spotify. I make it a good moment for myself instead of a chore. One of my friends also had a point. If you let your ironing pile grow too high and you get a feeling it will take you forever to get through it then it becomes a chore you feel you´ll never get through. Ironing 6 napkins and 4 shirts is different to ironing for 4-6 hours. She takes 10-20 minutes daily to iron. You can also think what needs to be ironed and what you can get away without when you fold it nicely right out of the drying rack like t-shirts and such. Almost everything looks better when ironed ( like jeans that you can also just fold and they still look just fine) but some things you can´t even iron like fabrics with plenty of stretch in them ( leggings, sports clothes etc.). It´s also good to decide what is your limit. If you don´t enjoy it, just iron your basics like button down shirts, table cloths etc. If you don´t iron your bedlinen I suggest you try even just to iron the pillowcases. Nothing feels as divine as putting your head on that lavender scented fresh pillow at night.
Have a good day!