I have to tell you that when I began reading this new chapter on "Patterns" my mind immediately thought of the patterns I regularly write after completing a new design, or the patterns found in fabric, in nature or those drawn by textile artists.
But Jane begins this chapter by drawing our minds to the rhythms and rituals - 'the patterns' - of every day domestic life.
"Domesticity requires a measure of patterning and order, structure and routine, for it to function smoothly. Unless we are happy to live in squalor, we accept that we must do certain things to maintain a pleasant domestic environment: cook, clean, wash, tidy, vacuum, shop, decorate, renew and so on..." (page 90)
Jane welcomes the internal rhythms and routines of life within the home, and I find much we agree on.
Reflecting on her thoughts in the opening of this chapter my personal 'patterns', routines and rituals were suddenly made clear and I thought I'd share some of them because I receive many emails asking "how do you achieve so much in your day/week?".
Let me first begin by saying that I genuinely do have a form of OCD and have all my life required order (visual and mental), daily routines, lists and structure. I'm the person who must play by the rules, the one who complains when others horse around during a game of scrabble/monopoly/cards (which always drove my husband and son crazy), the one who crosses off her list throughout the day and then makes a new list for tomorrow of all the things she missed today, the one who is diligent to put all things in their place because all things have a place.
Now there are many challenges and quirks to my brain's way of coping with life but it seems that in the big scheme of domestic life, having these idiosyncrasies helps enormously when you're running a household and a home-based business.
Monday to Friday my morning pattern never alters. I'm up by 6am, pour a glass of water, read my Bible and generally 'wake up'.
At 6.30 I begin the rituals of making my husband's lunch for work and preparing two refreshing drinks for him to take along (one ginger and one kombucha); cutting up fruit for our breakfast bowls and gathering the cereal and milk; portioning our vitamins; filling the cappuccino machine with water and coffee beans before making coffee; and then serving breakfast out on the back patio at 7am.
Whilst waiting for my husband to join me I top up the bird feeder and watch as anywhere from one to five cockatoos come down near us to share the first meal of our day.
Once my husband leaves for work things run to a simple pattern of doing the dishes, make the bed, shower and dress, put the washing on, check emails, write a list of need-to-dos for the day and so on.
Having a daily rhythm all week might seem suffocating to some of you, but for me it's fresh air and allows me to avoid that sense of overwhelm which can come about when life tips my schedule over or too many people need more of me than there is to go around.
Other peculiarities which help my day stay on track is something as simple as a regular 1 pm lunch break so that I remember to stop and take time to rest.
This invariably consists of a curried egg sandwich, grapes and cup of black tea. Having the same lunch every day would not bode well for my husband but I like not having to think about it...
Patterns also flow into certain days of the week - Wash the dog on Monday, change the sheets on Tuesday and Saturday (we live in the tropics), do the groceries on Thursday, vacuum and mop the house on Friday...nearly everything has a routine attached to it so that chores don't pile up.
By having these domestic living patterns in place time is freed to spend with Blossom and the girls each week and my business work can be attended to as needed. My husband also appreciates the ebb and flow of daily life here at home as this gives him peace of mind and marries well with his own rhythms and habits.
"The patterns of daily, domestic life can be found mirrored in the gentle arts. All require repeated physical actions and an acceptance that doing things yourself is not always quick and easy. But they also have huge potential for satisfaction, self expression and freedom." (page 90)
WHEN ITS HIP TO BE SQUARE
Jane loves quilts made from squares.
When she enlisted the help of her son Tom for the Blue Breeze Quilt he was rather skeptical of her fabric choices - all blue with many touches of yellow or lime green.
"The joy of squares, the one I see in the start of this quilt, is that their simplicity and formality can be exploited to bring together seemingly disparate and chaotic patterns into a pleasing whole." (page 92)
"Patterns with squares appeal enormously. Squares are neat and tidy, each one has exactly the same restrictions of size, angles ands space, yet they have huge potential for the exploration of pattern." (page 92)
Later that day, after baking and icing fairy cake buns for Tom...
"....I realised I was mimicking not only the square pattern of the quilt but also the quilt colours." (page 92)
"I'm still bewildered by gestation patterns...why, for example, does it take me nearly 365 days from the idea, the conception, of a pair of cabled socks to actually knitting them?" (page 94)
Jane also recalled how it took her five years to gestate her first quilt, the pattern purchased in 1999 and yet the quilt not made until 2004.
"The reason for these unpredictable patterns is that I like to turn ideas over in my mind before starting something new. When I was thinking of my first ripple blanket I thought about crochet, bought a book about crochet, tried to teach myself crochet, cried over my inability to crochet, went to a crochet workshop, bought a crochet pattern book, thought a little more about crochet, and then finally went and bought some wool." (page 94)
Everything that makes up a gentle domestic life - the baking, sewing, knitting, crochet, reading, organising, gardening and other pursuits - has a unique organic rhythm and pattern, though you may not have really noticed this in the past.
Over the next week let's observe ourselves to reveal the everyday patterns we follow.
Next week we shall be reading from pages 96-100
* Is your life patterned with rhythms, routines, rituals? If so, what stands out as those which rarely change.
* If you have struggled with disorder or dare I say it, chaos, in your home, has anything shared today given you a light bulb moment? What was it?
* Perhaps you're someone who can wing-it in your domestic life. Are there still patterns within?
* When it comes to the art of making or learning something different are you a gestator or do you jump right in?
Leave your responses in the comments below so we can all glean and grow from the knowledge and stories shared one to another.
My giveaway winner this month is April Dawn. Congratulations! I've emailed you and can't wait to post your prize.
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.
God bless you all so very much!