A Handmade Life
Our recent spell of shockingly glacial temperatures saw us snuggling down in our beloved burrow, and quite happy to be doing so. It is precisely in times such these are we ever so grateful for a nest that not only shelters us from the less than salubrious climate stalking the environs just outside our bolted door but nurtures and comforts us as well. As the sun took flight and the temperature plummeted to record levels I reached for extra quilts on the closet shelf and as I spread them out atop the down comforter I paused to run my fingers along their tiny stitches. We use these quilts every winter and I often forget that I actually made them myself.
Not long after The Songwriter and I married, I became besotted with the idea of “creating” a home for us both. No mere residence; much more than a simple house; I saw our cottage as an integral part of our lives together, a brick and stone representation of our personalities, our interests, our individuality, and our love. Like Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant before us, we set about weaving our souls into the fabric of our home and now, many years later, we live in a highly personal pastiche in which we feel both understood and charmed. There is a lot of us in these rooms. I knitted the pillows that sit on the tartan chairs by the window. The Songwriter made the front porch gate... a lovely addition to the face of our house, but crafted chiefly to contain Edward and Apple on sunny days when they like to sit out front and watch the world go by. A friend has painted furniture here, paintings, even murals on some of the ceilings. He recently painted our interior doors with scenes from our travels. Like I said, a highly personal place.
I credit the love that I have for my home for teaching me the value of a handmade life. For there is such a joy to be found in the creation of beautiful things, whether it be needlepointed pillows, knitted slippers, an apple pie with the first new apples of autumn, or handmade Christmas cards; joy that cannot be matched by the wares offered up in the toniest store. This joy is given freely to the creator of such things, and when one surrounds oneself with these handmade creations, one feels a delight unmatched.
Over the holidays I paid warm visits to the homes of several good friends and so enjoyed seeing their personalities reflected in their homes even as mine own is reflected in mine; their paintings hanging on the walls, their framed photography on the mantels, their handmade holiday decorations on the trees. Though our styles are sometimes wildly different, I always feel thoroughly comfortable in surroundings so personally created. In an age such as ours, when so much technology threatens to depersonalize the culture, it is reassuring to know that we can close our front doors and create the world of our dreams right inside our own homes. A handmade life is attainable for each of us and I highly recommend it.
And as you can see.... Edward loves to nap amongst the quilts just as much as we do.