The Simple Joy of Puttering

Garden flower arrangement


Dear friends,

This morning I woke up grateful for the slower pace of a three-day weekend, and the sweet luxury of down time to do some small things around the house and garden.

Do you feel that way about unstructured time, too?

I love puttering — and isn’t it the most perfect, descriptive word?┬áSeptember is here, and although the days are still hot in Colorado I notice the changing morning light and the cooler evenings. Some of the leaves are starting to turn, and I no longer feel like the garden needs constant, daily tending.

I took a pleasant stroll around the yard to see what was blooming, and cut a few flowers and leaves and berries.


garden bouquet


They’re now in a little pitcher in the kitchen, shown above. Our artistic mom inspired my love of casual garden arrangements. Her dining table always has a pretty little bouquet or a flowering plant, even in winter.

My next project was a fun experiment. I love making home improvements with materials we already have on hand. The cushions on the patio chairs had faded in the sunshine, but they’re still in good shape so I decided to try and revive them.


Faded chair cushion
Homely patio chair cushion: BEFORE


I found some green acrylic paint in our paint collection, thinned it with a little water, and brushed it on in stripes freehand.


painting a chair cushion


The paint stripes perked those old cushions right up, and while time will tell whether the paint holds up it’s a good, free solution for now.


chair cushions


And then, because I’m feeling autumn-y, I baked a batch of chewy Molasses Ginger Cookies and updated the photos from the original blog post I wrote back in 2007.


Chewy molasses ginger cookies


After all that puttering, it was a treat to sit outside and enjoy the pretty sunset.


Colorado sunset


The evening sky was beautiful and sad at the same time. The setting sun appears orange because of the hazy smoke that has drifted here, and my heart aches for our friends in Montana and California who live in areas battling wildfires. Praying for rain and cooler temperatures.

How About You?

How did you spend your Labor Day weekend? Have you been puttering? I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to.

Here’s to making a little time to enjoy these precious days as fall approaches.


The signature for Eliza Cross

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of 15 books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

10 thoughts on “The Simple Joy of Puttering”

  1. Puttering is my #1 favorite thing in the whole world. I loved this article and even got some ideas for putter-friendly activities to try out this weekend. Thanks!

  2. I puttered in the yard, pulling weeds. Not rushing, just digging and pulling. The weather was beautiful, and I appreciated it even more so because I knew people in storm areas and recovering storm areas weren’t able to. Your painted chair cushions look GREAT!

    • Ohhh, isn’t it a luxury to do a job without feeling rushed? Here’s to more unhurried moments like you experienced when you were pulling weeds. Thanks for your kind words about the chair cushions, too. xo

  3. I love puttering. Often in my business and home I just keep pushing through a list of things to do. But, on the days when I have less energy and decide to take it easy by just puttering I seem to get a lot more done. And, feel more peaceful too.

    Labor Day weekend I painted my deck and read a great book. It was lovely.

    • You make such an interesting point, Linda. How is it that when we take it easy and focus on one thing we are able to do more? Thank you for a good reminder, and I’m SO impressed that you painted your deck AND read a good book over Labor Day weekend. xo

  4. My family has always called puttering “wallering”. Those days are wonderful! I think I might just have one of those days tomorrow. I have company coming in a few weeks and will need to start getting ready for that, so for this weekend I will putter and enjoy!

    • I’ve never heard the term “wallering,” but I love it! It’s so perfectly descriptive for immersing yourself in a task without rushing. Wishing you many pleasant hours wallering and all good things as you prepare for your company. xo

  5. What a lovely reminder for us all to do less and be more with puttering. This unstructured time of creating white space is not only good for our brains, it’s good for our bodies and souls! Thank you Eliza.

    • Diane, you always have such wise perspective and I love the idea of creating “white space” within ourselves. Thank you for sharing that concept, and I love your comment to “do less and be more,” too. xo


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