Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Gentle Domesticity book study - luxury pt 1...

Honest, I kind of cringed the first time I turned the page to begin this chapter because I didn't want to read about lifestyles of the rich and famous and fanciful opulence, know what I mean?

But then Jane begins writing in her wonderfully casual and engaging manner about how we need to look at the smallest indulgence in our lives as a true luxury...


"It helps to have a state of mind that can turn even the smallest indulgence into a luxury. This means looking positively at your life - considering not what you want to have, but what you can, or already, have." (page 178)


"Little luxuries are more conducive to sustained well-being and pleasure than big ones." (page 179)

I've mentioned this before but for those who are new to my blog or this study, let me share a little luxury which made a big difference to my husband and I during four very lean years when he was at university and we were homeschooling the two youngest children.

Our budget was tight and it was my responsibility to manage it well. Our belief was that all bills were paid first, groceries and clothing came last (Jesus told us not to worry about what we'd eat or wear and we lived that out), but the one small luxury we allowed ourselves each fortnight was a jar of the best instant coffee on the supermarket shelf. 
It was that one small thing which carried us through four years feeling as though we were millionaires. Silly, I know, but at the time it was a wonderful mental and emotional boost to offer 'good' coffee when guests dropped by. 

Today we have a great coffee maker which grinds the beans and makes us a cappuccino or long black at breakfast - a luxury we don't take for granted but choose to simply enjoy and thank God for the upgrade.

"The gentle arts offer such a wealth of little luxuries that it's not difficult to create a chain of small pleasures that link together to make a necklace of non-precious gems to adorn your life. Pretty buttons, trimmings, ribbons, lovely yarn, half a metre of beautiful fabric, a good novel or book of poetry, a few squares of chocolate, a box of French macaroons, are all strung on my personal necklace of luxuries." (page 179)


Jane and I could easily sit for hours over coffee and macaroons to discuss the bliss of buttons.
For the longest time searching out vintage buttons at op-shops has been one of my rituals, especially in small country towns where they seem to be in vast supply and for just a few cents.

"Has anyone else noticed that buttons are like sweets for grown-ups?" (page 180)

"And the great thing with buttons, unlike sweets, is that when you have indulged in a little button consumption you don't need to clean your teeth afterwards." (page 180)

"I tend to buy only three or six of any button I like and then keep them until the right moment presents itself. This way, I don't feel too extravagant, and I can bring out my buttons when I need a little cheering up, and admire them before putting them away again." (page 180)


Jane lists her four favourite luxuries, though she finds combining them to be not quite as simple.

1. chocolate and books
2. chocolate and knitting
3. wine and books
4. wine and knitting
5. books and knitting
6. chocolate and wine


Japanese craft books. 

"If you are new to their magical, eclectic world, Japanese craft books are unlike any craft books you have ever seen. For a start, you can't understand a word." (184)

For someone who spent much of her younger years reading dull, bossy and regulated craft books, Jane found Japanese craft books to be somewhat of a delightful revelation, and an experimental world of domestic creativity with their fresh and clever ideas, photography, and brilliantly imaginative details. 

"In many ways, the fact that you can't understand the often extensive and professionally laid out instructions is quite liberating. Instead of simply following the rules, you find yourself looking, perhaps for the first time, at the way something is made as you try to figure out the structure and the process from the drawings. There are a few measurements and numbers to help you out but, for the rest, you are on your own..." (page 184)

I used to pin Japanese craft photos on my Pinterest boards because even though I can't read Japanese or work them out, they truly are gorgeous and my heart wants to make many of them.
Recently I found a site that helps people like me to understand them, just in case you'd like to know...

JAPANESE SEWING PATTERNS - it's really very helpful!


Not impressed by those who pronounce chocolate as chocklit, Jane pondered a bit and decided to think out side of the box to what Choc-Lit could be and decided it could be construed as a reference to a whole category of literature; choc-lit, or books to be read whilst eating chocolate. 

For her, it's the domestic novels (many of which we discussed back in THIS book study post) which are the chocolate biscuit books, and the classics best to be read with a block of chocolate.

"I find that it is the classics that are best with chocolate. I suspect this is because I have to digest and savour them slowly (they are not always the easiest reads), and need to read them in bite-size chunks..." (page 187)

Next study post will be one week from today, August 27th, and we're reading through pages 188-197 to complete the Luxury chapter.

If you've missed any of the book study posts for The Gentle Art of Domesticity go here and I've listed the links for every one.

1. What would you read with chocolate?

2. What are the luxuries in your life?

3. Are you adventurous enough to sew from a foreign book you cannot read?

Have a wonderful week and may each day be a blessing in the making,


Beth said...

I tried origami from a Japanese book once - it didn't go so well! Although that may also be, in part, due to the fact that I really haven't done all that much origami in my life.

I'm not as much of a fan of chocolate these days as I used to be. I have gone a whole month without eating any (not this month though). I'm more likely to brew a nice cup of tea to have while reading. However I find that the tea goes cold too fast or you just need one more mouthful.

As for luxuries in my life - Daphne's Diary magazine (why, oh, why does it take so long to get to Australia - the next one is already released in the UK before I get my hands on the previous one); books; Kikki.K stationery; monthly pedicures.

Kay said...

I read everything with chocolate or cake, they go just as well with crime as they do a classic. My favourite luxuries would be fresh flowers, good chocolate, new cross stitch patterns by my favourite designers (Blackbird Designs), a new lipstick or perfume (these would usually be bought as Christmas or birthday presents), and very occasionally going out for afternoon tea. x

Lorrie said...

I read anything with chocolate, especially cozy mysteries. A square of dark chocolate and a cup of tea are the perfect pairing. Luxuries in my life include the aforementioned chocolate, good cheese, and a lovely skin cream for my face. When I go out to my garden and cut a bouquet of flowers, or pick a zucchini or tomato for a meal, I consider myself to be living a luxurious life.

Su said...

I'm not a fan of chocolate, so very rarely eat it.
My luxury is really good, looseleaf tea, brewed in a teapot. It's how I always drink it, but I appreciate every sip. I'm afraid I'm not willing to compromise on tea!
No, I'm not willing to sew from a book I can't understand, fabric is just too expensive to ruin.

Tammy said...

My luxurious these days is just being home with no appointments. A bar of really dark chocolate, a visit to my Moms. To get to sleep past 5:30 A.m. And a nice long shower, no phones ringing, Just a blessed cool day to working my garden and yards....and a thrift store trip.....I would say Joanns' but I can't afford to go there it but about once a year and usually it is to get embroidery thread and show husband everything I want...lol...like the entire store.... And its luxurious to just be with my husband riding down the back roads looking at the old tumbled down falling apart farm houses and sheds .....Wishing they could all be restored to their glory that I know they once were... I was willing about 10 years ago...I used to look at outfits online then try and recreate them for my daughter without patterns. But these days My head is barely screwed on straight..So no I couldn't attempt sewing foreign language patterns now. Have a blessed week Dear Jenny

Anorina @SameliasMum said...

Cadburys Old Gold 70% is my absolute favourite and luckily for me, no one else in the house likes it. I don't read with chocolate because I mainly read in bed before sleep. But in saying this, I do like to sit on the lounge and craft in the evenings with some chocolate close by.

Farm Quilter said...

I would read anything with chocolate, especially chocolate straight from the freezer (takes longer to eat and I savor eat bite).

Luxuries...clean hot and cold water on demand. A couple of weeks without water is traumatic and, while we treat that water as "no big deal", just that short time without it makes it a luxury. All my quilting notions, books, fabrics...definitely a luxury. Chocolate...I miss the English/Australian chocolates my Perth friends would bring when they visited the states.

If the pictures were good, I would happily make a quilt from a book written in a foreign language...the numbers would definitely need to be intelligible though!!

Carole @ From My Carolina Home said...

Love chocolate with everything, LOL!! This post reminds me of an old adage my grandmother often said "happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have."

Susan said...

Ha, ha, Jenny, I read *everything* with chocolate! But you know Americans say choclit or chocalit. =) I like it so much, I can't think of any activity that isn't enhanced by chocolate - and so is my waistline, but if the choice is be skinny or be chocolate, I know what I'm choosing. Luxuries - Chocolate and books top my list, too. No wine is needed here, nor knitting, but 3-4 times a year I treat myself to a Dunkin' Donuts Boston Creme donut - oh so yummmy! And chocolate frosted, too. =) Yes, I have a button jar, and I doubt many of them are truly antiques, but they are so wonderful to handle and sort and then toss back in the gallon container. I even use one now and then. Okay, really good cheap chocolate - the orange chocolate from Aldi - for $2 USD ($2.96 by my AUD converter!), you get 5 small bars in a package, and I always say I'll just eat half, but I have NO chocolate self control and eat the whole thing before the evening is finished. With my current book in hand. The only way to avoid that is not to buy it. I so enjoyed this post. I can remember times when we were financially strapped. My luxury then was to go to the fabric store ... and touch the fabric - no buying, just walking through the shop, touching. I came home feeling so calm and collected.

Sharon Aurora said...

I love what your grandma says. I think I'll borrow it.

Sharon Aurora said...

Chocolate is my favorite treat. I would read old classics while slowly savoring tiny bits of chocolate.

Sara en Marie said...

Oooh, I love little luxuries. Like my mother of pearl buttons and lace from the flea market. Or an After Eight dinner mint. A bouquet from the garden. I have a new Dahlia, "Grand Finale", this year, it is splendid! A scented candle. Flavigny sweets in pretty tins. Sitting on our porch with some tea, looking at the sunflowers in the back yard. Flower pots from the second hand store, in all colours, shapes and sizes. A little orchid, scented, that I got at a 50% discount last week. I had been eyeing it in the garden center, but found it a bit too expensive. A square of dark chocolate and a book. Writing in my diary with a fountain pen.

Kim H said...

I love dark chocolate and read mostly non-fiction or quilting books. Little luxuries that make an big impact on my day: I like pretty paper beverage napkins and pull one out every morning with my coffee/tea; spending mornings on my porch to drink my coffee/tea and read my bible - something I can only do on the weekends since it's too dark before I leave for work on weekdays. I was adventurous enough to buy a foreign pincushion kit but I've yet to make it.

KingsailK said...

Wow so LOVELY reading all these comments along with your posts Jenny!!,Buttons new and old,charity shops ,photos that tell a story ones I have taken ,fresh air being able towalk ,Sing and learning my piano and im proving.Praising my Saviour and getting the All clear from Breast cyst!