Friday, November 10, 2017

Familiar comforts...

Many years ago a dear friend introduced me to the most wonderful book.
We were house sitting for her family so I had a week to immerse myself within those pages and the seed planted in the soil of my creative heart back then has never stopped growing and bearing fruit. 

The book was Jane Brocket's "The Gentle Art of Domesticity" and though it didn't expound on the virtues of living a domestic life (something I added to my life and blog in 2013) it does embrace the domestic 'arts' of baking, painting, reading, knitting, crochet, quilting, embroidery and other such pursuits. I quickly bought a copy for myself and over the next few years gifted more copies to some dear homemaker friends whom I thought would also find it inspiring.   

This past week has been personally challenging for me in a number of areas and I felt the need to take moments of rest and refreshment for an hour or two each day, time to separate myself from the many 'must dos' that never seem to disappear, and the 'need tos' that keep tapping on my diary door. 
So each afternoon with a cup of tea by my side, I settled down to re-read "The Gentle Art of Domesticity"...

Tea and this book are a marriage of serene bliss during times of weariness.

I find myself copying some of Mrs Brocket's quotes, the ones that lift my soul, onto paper and slipping them inside my journal for further contemplation another day, especially the ones which I could have spoken myself, so personally true they are to my life and experiences.

My bible in the morning and this book each afternoon...they've carried me through the week, gently nourishing my fragile heart and filling my thoughts with joy and hope and inspiration for each new day ahead. 

I love her conversational wit in describing the simplest things - like icing a cake, filling a vase with flowers, or spreading fabric across the floor to plan a quilt.  She makes me laugh quite a bit, but then I'll be captured in a thought and sit gazing out the window for ten minutes allowing my mind to travel where it wants, personal inspirations revealing themselves as I do.

The book could be called a springboard I suppose...because it has a tendency to be a starting point from where I launch my thoughts and let them fly free to land where they may, often times creating a new approach to my domestic endeavours. 

I wonder if we all have a book like this, one we gather close when something comforting, familiar and cheerful is required? A book we can get wonderfully lost in, which has the ability to bring a smile to our cheeks, reassure us that all is well, and give us inspiration to try something new or practice things we'd like to improve in. 

Do you have a special book like that?
I'd love to know what it is. 

Something else I've found relaxing this week has been the making of those coasters and finishing a design from last year as a cover for my sewing cushion.

I like all my designs but there's a few which I like more than others so after they've been stitched I store them in a special box where they wait to be made into a project when the time is right. 

 "The Flower Thieves" is one such stitchery.

I use cushions to rest my hands on as I embroider (I don't use a hoop) and one is rectangular and one is square. I have two covers for the rectangular cushion but only one for the square so it's been on my to-do list to make another for quite a while. 

The stitchery block was trimmed and simple borders added before the addition of some hand quilting around the applique sections and machine quilting in the green border. 

The back has a zipper closure and I finished the cushion with quilt binding around the outside edges.

I love how this cushion turned out, but I think it's just too pretty to be hiding under my hands as I stitch.
Perhaps I'll pop it on our bed.
And make a different cover for my sewing cushion. 

Some things don't turn out the way you expect and other things turn out better than you'd hoped. 
I think that's rather lovely as it keeps us creating, and creating is a gift we should cherish and use.

I pray you have a lovely weekend, that you find a book to inspire your dreams and a project that's in need of your wonderfully creative touch.
(and a relaxing cuppa while you're at it)



LMM said...

Your blog post spoke volumes to me today. The Bible is my inspirational turn to book along with some prayers that sustain me through the day. I have some Grandma saying booklets that my daughter-in-law gave me, and I find I often turn to these when I want a lift. This has been a very difficult week for me also, and the start of many more to come. My own diary notes about the progression of the disease we are facing keep me grounded, and make me realise that I have to try to prayerfully alter the way I approach issues that arise each and every day. I am changing, but slowly, it is good to read about the change you are making to yourself through what you do and say and how you act. We can change, but it is often difficult. Blessings to you Jennifer in your journey may you continue to find your inspiration, so that you can continue to inspire me and others. Thanks for everything.

Little Penpen said...

Such a pretty pillow! And I noticed your cup of tea on the 'too pretty to use' coaster. Be careful not to spill any! ha ha Yesterday was my day of gentle domesticity. I cleaned house, cooked a pot of pinto beans slowly on the stove, tried a new recipe for crispy southern cornbread (that was delicious) , and made a dessert to go along with our dinner. It was wonderful to slow down, enjoy the process, and I could tell my husband and daddy were blessed as we enjoyed something different last night.

Suzan said...

Lately I have been trying to declutter the house. The truth it is hugely cluttered. We hired someone to help but she exhausts me. A heap of stuff is pulled out and she gives me homework to do for the next week. We are still on mum's stuff and it is horrible as mum likes to hang on to stuff. She goes through the get rid of pile and brings a lot back in.

This afternoon I decide some stitching was in order. I managed to proceed as far as removing the stitching from scrap bag. That's it.

I used to read Emily Barnes' books but I didn't find them useful for me. Then I tried flylady. The fling bogies were useless in our household but I do try hard to keep the kitchen clean. Flylady used to insist that eventually people would catch on. My lot are stubborn.

Tonight I did have some me time. It was opening night for a show my middle child is in. She is having a very tough time as a teacher of late and it was a breath of fresh air to see her tired from the performance and glowing with happiness. She had been showered with gifts too which was very lovely indeed. So I will hold on to this happy memory instead of grizzling. The weekend is ahead and I am going to squeeze some crafting in.

Robin in New Jersey said...

Beautiful post,Jenny. I have been struggling with fatigue on a daily basis that keeps me from doing anything besides basic chores and going to work. My Bible is always beside me and gets read every morning. I read here for inspiration as well as your FB group. Ann Voskamp's writing is on my daily reading list also. Hopefully today I can start stitching your tree pattern. You are a blessing!

Lin said...

I am sorry you have had a difficult week Jenny and send prayers and hugs for you. I love your cushion cover and yes, it could be too pretty to hide under your hands but then don't you deserve to have something so pretty as a work aid? Have a lovely weekend. xx

Winifred said...

I agree with Lin, I think you deserve something pretty to look at as you sew. Things like that are so comforting.
My tea cups are similar to yours, I love blue & white crockery but the sad thing is I hate tea so never use them! I'm not very English am I! I'm a coffe girl & have been since I was little.
Sorry you've had a difficult week, hope things improve for you. God bless.

Anonymous said...

You are always in my prayers, and so is your family.

I guess I have such a book, but it's nothing like yours. It's a series, and it's science fiction. I can always lose myself between the pages and imagine how life might be lived in another time on another planet far away. It refreshes me ... and then, of course, the scriptures. I absolutely have fallen in love with that pillow you made. Yes, it needs display! It is simply a perfect balance of whimsy and charm.

"Some things don't turn out the way you expect and other things turn out better than you'd hoped." Not just creativity. That's all of life, isn't it? And I'm always surprised when it's better than I hoped, though I'm not a pessimist, either. Thank you for a wonderful post. I hope your weekend is calm and restoring. Whatever you are doing, I hope you love doing it and want to repeat the experience. =) Hugs for you, Miss Jenny.

Brenda said...

Hello Dearest Jenny; I have missed many posts this week, due to my Father being in the hospital. My heart is filled with both hope and sorrow, the Specialists are doing everything they can but keep going in different directions each day when the prior days attempt did not make any difference. So my mind and heart are also so stressed out I have to struggle with myself to find the energy to go forth and be strong. I find that through the Bible every day and prayers I am continually saying.

I do not have any books like you have spoken of. I sure did gain a lot of strength in reading your post this morning! I have written down the title of your book and will begin looking for it, it sounds like a wonderful pick me up. Your lovely pillow rests, they are so special, I think whatever you decide will be fine. I will include you in my prayers also Jenny. Thank you for everything you shared today in your post. Have a wonderful day!

Ondrea said...

What a beautiful book. I even love the cover. It is lovely when one is inspired from a book that you can pick up any time to refresh and lift your soul. I loooove your idea of using a stitching cushion. I have noticed that my hands are not cooperating with my stitching these days and my stitches aren't as neat as they were , so a cushion would probably help. Another gentle, beautiful post. Thankyou. Angel Hugs.

La Comtesse said...

Hi Jenny,
your blog fascinates me.
I just started making patchwork and I'm very passionate, even looking at your wonderful work.
Hugs ... from Italy ...