Our study is a day early this week but I'm sure you don't mind.
This week we're reading from pages 34-43 .
Jane begins this section by sharing how motherhood inspired her to ‘drop the rules’ and be inspired by her brood’s freedom to create. Young children naturally create without boundaries and following their lead she discovered a world of delightful interludes.
“Instead of approaching creativity with a set of known guidelines, I understood from the children that it was possible to be less structured and ‘correct’, and that this have-a-go attitude is often far more pleasurable…” (page 34)
Following her children’s example, one afternoon after baking a batch of fairy buns Jane scattered a pile of fabrics across her floor, got down among them and ‘played’ until she felt visually refreshed and vitalised, having now decided on a pleasing combination for a snowball quilt. This left her wondering “why don’t I do this sort of thing every day?”
This section was me on a plate, or perhaps a book shelf.
Setting out is when you love order; placing like things together; and carefully planned storage, shelving, shapes or colours. That sort of thing makes my heart sing!
Also like Jane, for the longest time I believed myself to be freestyle, organic and spontaneous in my gentle arts – until I had an epiphany. Truth is I love setting out, rules and order, and that's okay.
Jane explains it very well…
"I had to face the fact that I am really a jobbing draughtswoman who likes lines, rows and the arrangements to be found in greengrocers, allotments, sweet shops and haberdasheries….(and) this was totally fine – as long as it was fine with me….free form is fantastic, but not when one’s setting out gene must be appeased.” (page 36)
Play On Words
Back to the children and their unbridled creativity, this time with words. Jane’s children would make up their own words. Example – during cooking one day her daughter Alice coined the verb ‘to spatulate’ as the technical term for wielding a spatula. Another of Alice’s addition to the English language was the ‘itchling’ which was middle ground between a pinch and smattering of any ingredient.
My children often made up their own words and even now as adults we use them because over time they simply blended into the family’s everyday speech. Must admit, husbands which come on the scene to partner our daughters spend the first few years with dumbfound faces whilst listening to our conversations. I shan’t share them with you as they ‘ours’ and some are also our ‘safe’ words should anyone be in danger and need confirmation a message or messenger is really from mum or dad.
Visions of Domesticity
Just as when we studied Jane’s art and book selections for glimpses of domestic life, in this section she expands on her movie favourites. Many of them are quite old and she admits to having a deep crush on Cary Grant so “Houseboat” (1958) is high on her ‘unmissables’.
Unlike many of her book titles, I wasn’t as enamoured with all the movies she chose. In 2016 I watched most of them and came away with disappointment as well as pleasure, but as we are all so very different you may enjoy them all.
I enjoyed watching these again...
Little Women (1949), the version with Elizabeth Taylor and June Allyson.
Sense and Sensibility (1995) with Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman. (my favourite version too)
The Sound of Music (1965) with Julie Andrews –simply a classic and any woman who can clothe all those children from curtains is domestic hearted through and through.
Not my favourites but they are Jane’s…
Brief Encounter (1945)
Young at Heart (1954)
I Capture the Castle (2003) – I found this a bit dark
Amelie (2001) (French film)
Brodeuses (2004) (French film)
Stockholm, not Stockpot
In this mini-chapter Jane details a weekend trip to Stockholm and explains why she believes her character is more Swedish than English, regardless of having no Swedish ancestry.
She found the city to abound with the things she herself loves…
“Stockholm is beautiful, calm, friendly, egalitarian and stylish. The bread is good, the cakes are better, the cafes are excellent, public transport works, there are knitters galore and sewing is still something many women do. The only thing I’d bring for a longer stay is teabags, for Stockholm is a coffee drinker’s paradise.” (page 42)
Jane’s time in Stockholm surrounded by gardens and natural beauty inspired her ‘Swedish Allotment’ quilt in which she used fabrics with bright vegetables, fruits, flowers and plants, in keeping with the theme.
Next week we shall be studying pages 44-51
This week I’d love for you to share in the comments below the domestic themed movies or shows which have touched your heart over the years, the ones you go back to or have taken inspiration from.
It may be an entire movie or a television series, but perhaps it's one special episode or scene - what was it that made such an impression on you?
I'll start with a few of mine.
Some of my favourites are The Waltons. Little House on the Prairie, and Lark Rise to Candelford, but there's also a number of Poirot and Miss Marple (Geraldine McKewan) episodes which make me want to brew a pot of tea, spread cream onto jam laden scones or slice into triangles a simple fish paste sandwich and eat it with a napkin and dainty fingers. Miss Marple's garden and house scenes in Murder at the Vicarage always make me smile too.
Well, I love the homeliness of the Hobbit Shire scenes in Lord of the Rings;
the taking of a run-down Tuscan villa and turning it into a home in Under the Tuscan Sun;
the beauty of an old French vineyard and home which also needs a makeover in A Good Year;
Cranford for the people and relationships in a tiny English village;
Julie and Julia for the beauty of post war France and the delicious food;
How To Make an American Quilt for the life long relationships between women of all ages, their various domestic lives and the quilt making of course;
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the many different human qualities and efforts that must be put into recreating your life in a strange country during one's twilight years;
Mrs Miniver for sheer love, courage, endurance and laughter during ww2 England;
My Family and Other Animals because this is a true-story based movie about a hilariously dysfunctional family in pre-WW2 Corfu which my own family watch over and over. It also holds the most quotes used by Mr E, Blossom and I to this day.
Not every movie is brimming with goodness and modesty, I admit, but I choose to focus on the things that lift my heart and draw it closer to loving this wonderful occupation of a gentle domestic life.
Life is messy and filled with imperfect people, challenges and unforeseen upsets, but it's also abundant with good hearts, caring folk, simple ways, diligence, hope, laughter, courage and perseverance under trial, and that is what draws me to certain movies or old television shows - people living their lives in a variety of unique domestic ways and stirring me to be a happier and more competent homemaker.
Every week in the Tuesday book study post I'm encouraging readers and lovers of the gentle domestic life who have a current blog and have blogged about Living the Gentle Domestic Life this year to link their relevant weekly book study post for others to come by, visit their blogs and be inspired.
Please do not link to the same post on your blog each week. Your posts should be new and relevant to the current week's study.
NOTE: If your link is advertising or not a true reflection of the heart for living a gentle domestic life it will be deleted.
May your gentle domestic heart be enriched and satisfied this week, bubbling over with joy and enthusiasm to fill your home.