Monday, February 11, 2019

Week 5 Gentle Domesticity book study...

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?”

Setting Out

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 
Houseboat (1958)

Haven’t watched…

 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. 



Delight in Nature said...

Like you Jenny I have go to films and television box sets that suit my mood or season of the year.

Back in the 1980s a documentary series called The Victorian Kitchen Garden was first broadcast in the UK. In this series a dilapidated walled kitchen garden belonging to a large country estate was brought back to life using the methods employed in the early 1900s. This discussed the lives of the men that worked in the garden and the below stairs staff. They went on to make The Victorian Kitchen and Victorian Flower Garden. Following the success of these they made The World War II Garden and Kitchen. Such an insight into how people gardened and cooked particularly in a time of rationing.

I also love Little Women but the later version with Susan Saraden.

Poirot, all versions of Miss Marple, Larkrise to Candleford, Pride and Prejudice with Colin Fifth, Coming Home and The Shell Seekers (both adapted from the Rosamunde Pilcher books), Call the Midwife and Downton Abbey.

Martha MCH said...

My husband and I used to like watching Downton Abbey (we saw it on DVD's from the library). He started fast forwarding it thru the opening credits but I asked him to stop doing that because I loved the scenes of the lovely house, the dusting with the feather duster, ringing of the bell, etc... Throughout the series, I loved seeing the development of the technology like from ice chests to refrigerators, even the introduction of sunglasses. The drama, well... was drama but the show was a feast for elegance and also simpler times.

Beth said...

The June Allyson version of Little Women is my favourite too, although I have never liked anyone's portrayal of Beth. The Angel and the Bad Man with John Wayne is a good one for showing hospitality. Yours, Mine and Ours (the Dennis Quaid version) - getting things done (or not) by working together!

Magda said...

I have the whole series and have watched it regularly for years of the darling buds of May. Love the clothes, the interiors, exteriors, sounds and just the whole interaction of that family. I don't particularly love Coming home and the Shell Seekers as movies but that is because I love the books and the movies are not on par with those. I just can't see the actors/actresses that they chose and the differences between the book and the movie. Not for me.

Jenny of Elefantz said...

I forgot about Darling Buds of May! Love it...the farm, gardens, FOOD!

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Those Victorian and WW2 programs sound wonderful. I wish we'd had them over here in Australia.

Jenny of Elefantz said...

I agree, the opening scenes of Downton were beautiful.

Jenny of Elefantz said...

I did like Yours, Mine and Ours - watched it a couple of times with Blossom when it first came out. Will add that to my watch list for this week, thank you. I have that scene with her studio in disarray stuck in my mind... LOL!

diana said...

I love Mrs. Miniver and will be searching for Darling Buds of May. Many years ago there was a PBS show here called The Victory Garden and it was wonderful. Do you by chance follow Lavender and Leeks? I enjoy her blog. I would also like to thank the person that suggested Susan Branch's blog.

Debbie said...

I love Anne of Green Gables. Here in Canada, there is a more recent TV show called Anne with an E, but I haven't watched it yet, because to me, only Megan Follows can be Anne. There was also a TV show in the '90s called Road to Avonlea which was loosely based on some of Lucy Maud Montgromery's books/characters.

Jenny said...

I will definitely be watching tv/movies with a different focus after having read this book...& your blog. I recently started watching the Waltons from beginning to end. I've never watched it before because we could not get that channel when I was child. And I've found myself wanting to be more like Olivia with every episode! Especially in how patient she is with her family.

MelissaM. said...

One movie comes to mind...The Philadelphia Story. Who wouldn’t have a crush on both Cary Grant *and* James Stewart in this film? =^_^= And the scenes, the clothing, the way they moved and spoke, and the sweet part of the sweetness of the story...

It’s A Wonderful Life and Harvey...they are *genteel* movies, the way they spoke, and moved, and seemingly thought. And, of course, James Stewart. Such an affable, congenial gentleman! If I ever met a man like that, he’d capture my heart...

I love to watch snippets of movies from those eras just for the indoor decor, the architecture, and the clothing. =^_^=

Plus, I might add, after reading this book, I came to harbor an even warmer esteem for your personal type of embroidery design and fabric and color choices. Sweet roses are just about my favorite type of fabric...although some of those more electric colored cabbages and lotus leaves of the recent Kaffe Fassett fabrics *do* catch my eye enough that I’ve bought a few little pieces of it. =^_______^=

MelissaM. said...

The Main Theme of Downton Abbey is haunting, evocative, and very emotional. Composed by John Lunn and performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, it’s one I’ll never forget. I had to go look it up online to listen to it, yet again. I still get dewy eyed listening to it...

And the *costumes* are stupendous on that show!!!

africanaussie said...

What an inspiration you are Jenny, to get this weeks blog post up and running without a hitch, despite what you are going through. It is lovely just reading the comments and seeing what inspires everyone. I am linking my post.

Bubba and Nana said...

Return to Me I have to say is one of my favorites that has love just shining through the raw emotions that each character is going through. Don't want to give too much away if someone hasn't seen it. I could watch it over and over again and never tire. This movie also has a garden that is pretty special.

Thank you Jenny for your encouragement to this book review. Prayers continue for you and your family with I am sure a massive undertaking in your home to restore it and for your peace and quiet life to return. But through it all Christ has shone through you!

Joanne said...

Hi Jenny,
Thanks for posting!
Playtime ! love the opening image! I'll have to print that out and frame it...hang it in the hobby room, in the kitchen and in the garden!

PennyP said...

I love many of the films and TV series mentioned, especially Cranford. There are several BBC series which no one has mentioned - The Victorian Farm, Tudor Monastery Farm, Wartime Farm etc - three historians/ experts live life and work on the farm using appropriate tools, methods, recipes etc. Highly recommended. Also A House through Time - again a historian traces the history of a house and the inhabitants who lived there - it's not a grand country house but a more modest domestic dwelling. Also Back in Time for Dinner where a family with several children live, dress and eat in the appropriate period and the decor in the house and appliances used change as the years progress. The children's reactions are fascinating - they have to eat some dull and unappetising food but they soldier on! I love domestic history - I think it's much more interesting than politics. Oh - sudden thought - the film Miss Potter has lots of lovely domestic detail about Beatrix Potter and her houses.

Kim said...

I have really enjoyed Susan Branch's books, too.

Kim said...

Well, I just happily got a bunch of ideas from you all. Thanks! I'll also add a fun show that my daughters and I just discovered: Find It, Fix It, Flog It. It's about finding old "junk" in England's barns and sheds, repurposing or restoring them, and reselling them. It has inspired us with ideas for upcycling stuff.

Debby in Kansas, USA said...

Most of my favorites were mentioned already. So, how about some of my favorite scenes or images?
* Anne of GG when Diana is going to be married and proudly tells Anne how many doilies she's collected!
* All the kitchen scenes with the Walton women.
* Same with the scenes from Little House with the family around the fireplace and sitting around the table. So cozy.
Oh, a movie that hasn't been mentioned. It was a Hallmark Movie called The Magic of Ordinary Days. 1940s tale about a newlywed wife learning her way around the house. A little of everything.

I guess I'm a sucker for anyone wearing an apron or doing things by hand whether it be cooking, gardening, or creating.

Thanks, Jenny and I wish you a simple clean up from your horrible weather. I look forward to next week's study. For once, this is *homework* I thoroughly enjoy! I force myself to not look ahead, but only to savor each week's reading.

Allie-oops Designs said...

Great post and I'm enjoying the comments as well!! I'd give Houseboat a miss - my least favorite Cary Grant movie. Love all the rest of them though. And I adore the LOTR movies for the scenery of the Shire.

Su said...

I'm not a film watcher really, I don't even own a tv and get bored or annoyed with most film adaptations, but I do love books and reading. I loved the gentility of Cranford and the relationships between the women. I also really enjoyed the Annie Hawes books about two sisters buying a rundown cottage in Italy. I think though, that my favourite books are by Lillian Beckwith about life on a croft on the Isle of Skye in the 1950's, even without the humour it makes me yearn for a simpler, more meaningful life.

Lorrie said...

Lots of good suggestions to watch here. The Victorian Kitchen Garden episodes can be found on Youtube, hopefully in Australia. I'm in Canada and we can watch them. There's also The Edwardian Farm, and a Tudor era one. All very interesting.

knitster said...

I am a huge Doris Day fan, i have seen all of her movies and many way too many times to count. My post for this week.

Trina O'Quinn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trina O'Quinn said...

My favorite TV Shows were Musicals, Variety and Mystery. I did like Ozzie and Harriet. My favorite Movies were Musicals; The King and I etc. I believe that The King & I and Porgy and Bess had a great impact on me because My Dad took me on our outings and introduced me to Musicals. That is when singing became a passion for me. I hold Flower Drum Song and The Music Man deep in my Heart because my husband proposed to me in 1963 during the intermission between the two movies. I have always gone into what I watch as part of the movie and story not as an observer so I do not remember the gentle domesticity in any of them.😍

belra said...

En mi país tengo la oportunidad de ver de lunes a jueves un episodio de la serie británica "el padre Brown". Me encanta ver la relación de afecto y amistad entre las dos mujeres principales de la serie a pesar de sus inmensas diferencias. Y me da mucha envidia ver esos maravillosos juegos de té y los sabrosoos scoones de los que siempre presume la señora McCarthy.