Thursday, July 28, 2016

Modern Day Mulberry Bush

Throw-back Thursday from a previous July.  I used to be part of a William Morris Project.  Each week I would tackle a project meant to make my home an expression of what I considered beautiful or useful.

My oldest daughter embroidered a set of dishtowels for me.  There is a towel for each day of the week featuring a graphic for the housekeeping task that was traditionally assigned to that day.

The images are from the 1940s and include a housewife doing what was considered women's work at the time.  A child of the 1960s, I have always been more spontaneous than the old Mulberry Bush song would allow.  My spontaneity is rarely confused with efficiency, however, so over time I have taken a second glance at the wisdom of routine.

I decided to take a look at the lyrics of the children's song Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush to see what else I might be able to adapt to my modern day use.  Below the lyrics are italicized and my thoughts of how I might tweak the original task to fit today's lifestyle are written beneath each stanza.

Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush (Traditional)
This is the way we wash our clothes, wash our clothes, wash our clothes.
This is the way we wash our clothes so early Monday morning.

The washing, folding and putting away can pretty much fill an entire day, especially in the summer when using the outdoor clothes line.  Even so, confining the work to Monday freed up an incredible amount of time during the rest of the week.

This is the way we iron our clothes, iron our clothes, iron our clothes.
This is the way we iron our clothes so early Tuesday morning.

Yes, Tuesday will be a good day for ironing.  It shouldn''t take all day, however. So, I can fit in a grocery and dairy run.

 This is the way we scrub the floor, scrub the floor, scrub the floor.  This is the way we scrub the floor, so early Wednesday morning.

I will use Wednesdays for housecleaning.

This is the way we mend our clothes, mend our clothes, mend our clothes.  This is the way we mend our clothes so early Thursday morning.

Can't mend clothes all day.  Can use this day to mend relationships through communications, mend things in need of repair around the house, take the car to the shop and do general upkeep inside and out.

This is the way we sweep the floor, sweep the floor, sweep the floor.  This is the way we sweep the floor so early Friday morning.

Fridays are a good day to make a "clean sweep" of the house putting away things that have collected as clutter during the week and going through the mountains of paper that come into a home. A literal sweeping of the floors is also a very good idea.

This is the way we bake our bread, bake our bread, bake our bread.  This is the way we bake our bread so early Saturday morning.

Saturday is a good day for baking, menu planning, cleaning the frig and all things food related.

This is the way we get dressed up, get dressed up, get dressed up.  This is the way we get dressed up so early Sunday morning.

We have always used our Sundays for church and family.  Still, I need to do a better job of saving Sunday as "a day of rest".  Relaxing mind and body renews the soul and helps ready you to "go round the mulberry bush" all over again next week.

Here we go round the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush.  Here we go round the mulberry bush so early in the morning.

When I wrote this piece four summers ago, I was pretty good about maintaining this schedule each week.  Then I changed jobs, my routine was disrupted and I fell out of synch with my daily plan.  I remember how productive I felt having a predictable routine though and I am anxious to get back into some of these habits.


  1. Those dish towels are SO neat!! I didn't realize how many verses there were to that rhyme, and I agree with you, I feel so much more productive when I follow a schedule. I hate it when it gets thrown for a loop...especially because of a pesky old JOB. ;)

  2. Yeah, work. Who needs it?! Oh, that's right. 99% of us!
    My daughter does such precise and lovely embroidery. The towels are treasures to me.

  3. OMG, I love, love those towels! I am so envious of people who have that talent! You sound like you have a really clean house!

    1. LOL! It was cleaner during the phase when I kept this routine. Lately....not so much!

  4. Love the towels! I have similar ones from my great grandmother's treasure trove. Your idea of the "Mulberry Bush" goes perfectly with this song. So ironic... my mother used to sing this song to us kids growing up. Her routine followed much the same. Monday was strictly wash days! As children, we were always involved in daily chores and I have adopted the same routine, although my ironing is done in the dryer! Another song we sang on Saturday was "Saturday is a special day, it's the day we get ready for Sunday". Then, truly, the Sabbath did become a day of rest and worship. I sang those same songs to my children. They are cherished and beloved with a great underlying message. I love your posts. They are always so enlightening. Thank you!

    1. Our lives run on such parallel tracks, Carol.
      I wonder---did your great grandmother make her set of towels? They really are treasures, aren't they?

  5. Oh, I love everything in this post! Those towels are wonderful. I am feeling guilty about the embroidery gift I started for my mother last fall and never finished. Maybe if it was as wonderful as those towels, I would have?

    And as the school year approaches, I'm appreciating thinking about housekeeping in the way you've explored here. I struggle to get it all done and stay healthy during the school year. You've given me some things I need to ponder before we head back into another year.

    1. I loved your project! In fact I recently read an article in a magazine that reminded me of how you enhanced the pattern in the fabric with your stitchery and it made me wonder if you had finished those.


Penny for your thoughts.