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...
THE MOON AND THE STARS
"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)
A LITTLE OF WHAT YOU FANCY DOES YOU GOOD
"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)
ON THE BUTTON
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)
THE WINNING COMBINATION
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
NOT LOST IN TRANSLATION
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,