Sunday, 19 January 2014

The art of making a home . . .

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 I've been embroidering pillow cases lately and quite enjoying it.  I sit here in the evening as the light from the television flits back and forth across the room as the pictures change . . . the flames from the electric fire flickering up and down the walls . . . and feel very content as I ply my needle and thread in and out of the cotton fabric.   Every so often I hold what I am embroidering away from me so I can get a really good look at it . . . and I am pleased.  I  do so enjoy the quiet gentle arts . . . mending, embroidery, hand sewing etc.  They make me very happy . . . right into my bones. 

My mother taught me how to embroider.  She always embroidered and our home was filled with dresser scarves, doilies, tea towels and pillow cases she had plied her arts upon.  I have a few of her pieces and do so treasure them with all of my heart.   When I was about 8 or 9 she gave me a piece of cotton and stamped something upon it with a hot iron and one of those old embroidery transfers and then gave me a needle and some threads and sat me down and taught me to embroider.  It was very simple at first, and so not very hard to catch on to.  I fell in love. 

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In my younger adult years I did a lot of crewel embroidery, none of which still exists except in the anals of my mind.  I did tons of pillow covers and wall hangings . . . I also did a really pretty Swedish Huck embroidery runner in navy and white, which disappeared on one of our moves.   It always really surprised me when things disappeared like that from our moving boxes . . . they were sealed, so how did it happen?   I will never know . . . but, I do like to think that they live on in someone else's home and are as loved as they were when they were with me.

In later years I really got into counted cross stitch embroidery.  I did lots of samplers and pictures, Christmas ornaments, bookmarks, etc.   I just adore taking a blank piece of fabric and decorating it with needle and thread.  I have not done any counted cross stitch in a number of years gone since . . . it drive my eyes wonky . . . trying to find all right the holes you know.  Old eyes don't take well to them.  I also have a problem reading small print these days.  I keep saying I need to buy a magnifying glass, and then . . . I forget all about doing so until the next time I need a magnifying glass and then I tell myself all over again . . .  I need to buy one.  Sigh . . .

Is anyone else like that?   Forgetful?   When I get all forgetful I get worried about alzheimers and such . . .  

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I used to have several sets of flour sack tea towels I had embroidered  for the days of the week.  I don't know what ever happened to them.  I should do another set I think.  One day soon perhaps.  When I am done with embroidering pillow slips.   

At school we did home economics.  One term was cooking.   One term was machine sewing.   One term was homemaking.   I like to think that I loved them all in equal measures, but in all honesty I do think I enjoyed the homemaking one just a tiny bit more than the others.   It was there I learned to do hand sewing and mending, darning . . . how to wash dishes properly, how to do smocking how to sweep a floor, dusting, etc.  I did not find any of it boring in the least.  I could hardly wait to grow up and have a home of my own to care for.

I was just thinking about how my mother taught me to embroider and knit, and my sister taught me how to crochet . . . my thoughts made me smile.  This act of teaching next generations is a legacy we women have and share . . . handing down the skill of the gentler arts . . . mending, cleaning, cooking . . .  homemaking . . .

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I have always enjoyed making a home most of all.  I am a natural nester.  I like that.   If someone was to ask me what my career was I would have to say . . . Nester.

It is what makes and keeps me most content.

A thought to carry with you through today . . .  

"The grand essentials of 
happiness are:  
Something to do,
something to love,
something to give,
and . . .
something to hope for. 
~Allan Chalmers


Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . a delicious Coconut and Orange Crumble.

May you have a blessed and wonderful sabbath day.

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