Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Handmade Life


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.


17 comments:

  1. Hand made quilts are beautiful and you can feel the love in them.

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  2. -about weaving our souls into the fabric of our home- Yes...so lovely !!

    happy Monday dearest..x

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  3. Handmade with love is always a most welcome accent to any home is it not?

    Blessings

    Jeanne♥

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  4. I have made a few quilts Pamela and they too come out in profusion in the really cold weather. Edward looks adorable snuggled up in those.

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  5. Even in our campervan and the chalet in the woods where we are currently, we are able to make a 'home' with our handmade pillows, bunting and books. A moving home, but always a home :-)

    Beautiful post, Pamela x

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  6. I always feel like I am entering a fairy tale when I read your wonderful posts. Love this one! You are one talented lady!

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  7. I always felt likewise, Pamela. I look around me and see the shades, curtains, and throw pillows I sewed, the large bookcase to which my husband spent weeks applying a crackle finish, and the stenciled border of Florentine scrolls I painted in the dining room. After 26 years we have certainly left our stamp on this house. Now we are preparing to put it on the market and move to our mountain cabin. Reading real estate marketing tips, they would have you remove all individual personality to stage your house for showing. I'm not sure I agree. Seems like it would take away all warmth and most of the charm and leave you with dull blandness. They say the buyer needs to picture their own things in the home. With my experience, I find the majority just can't visualize like that. I do believe in clearing clutter and making it visually uncrowded, but I'm not convinced about the wholesale vanilla box treatment. I'll let someone else paint over my leafy scroll border. What do you think?

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  8. P.S. And I forgot to mention the wall size mural of a large oak tree populated with gnomes, birds, and flying squirrels that my brother-in-law painted for my son's childhood bedroom. (We had pet rescued flying squirrels.) We left it through the teenage years, and I'm not painting over it for the sake of a potential buyer. And, besides, if they have a child, they may find it charming.

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  9. I love handmade quilts. How wonderful that you made so many. I have just started knitting and feel so good when I am doing it. Can't wait to make a blanket!
    xx Sunday

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  10. Mr. H could not agree with you more Pamela..and me too. A home should reflect the personalities of those who live in it. Crazy as that may be for some, no matter the case, it is always a pleasure to walk through those doors. Coming out is another matter...so much intrigue, so many questions. I love homes like that...I have a feeling yours would invite one to linger...

    Cherished always...

    xx

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  11. I simply love a handmade life. It sits at the core of my soul. Our home reflects both my husband's taste and mine, which are similar and sometimes different. And it makes for an interesting mix. Family and friends remark that they feel comfortable in our home. Their comments make us smile.

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  12. Your quilts are STUNNING for a newly married young thing!EDWARD looks absolutely DEEEVIIINE amongst it all…………..HE IS A GORGEOUS creature!

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  13. I love the handmade lifestyle. Your home sounds wonderful. I love looking around my house, as well, and seeing everything my husband and I have made. I would be so sad in a cookie cutter house!
    p.s. Pamela, would you please condsider crediting your pictures? They are so beautiful. I've been searching for the owl in the previous post but can't find it!

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  14. Hi Pamela!!!

    Your home sounds so nice and warm and inviting!!!

    Here in Vancouver, BC we really don't get a winter such as back East this year. We've had 2 days of snow and then it's gone!!! I worry about the animals that are out roaming because their owners didn't want them around. I look around my home with 3 rescued cats, rescued 2 birds and my little girl Sasha...My dog and I'm grateful that they are not out there in the cold!!!

    I'm very thankful for just having a warm bed and my little space on it to curl up to my Mr. and not to disturb my furkids who want to be there as well!!!! Just like Edward, my pets love our bed!!

    Have a great weekend!!!

    Pam
    xox

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