My mother's world was not one of silver and crystal and fine china. Although I know my grandmother and aunt were of southern gentility. Mother eloped at age fifteen... ever the one who marched to the beat of a different drum. Which I both loved and regretted about her. What my mother may have lacked in homemaking skills was far outdone with her ability to love her children.
I suppose there was, in my DNA, that enjoyment of the lovely which came from a previous generation... along with an inherited love of Celtic and Bluegrass music. Having been born the "ours" in a "yours, mine, and ours" family and when both parents were already in their forties, most of those who came before me were already gone by the time I cared to know them... but there were the wistful memories of my mother as she shared a little here and there.
I say this only as a foundation that I didn't grow up with formal Sunday dinners, tea time, or to be honest.... evening meals together. I think it was the inspiration of the old Victoria magazines, read as a young mother, which inspired me to a love of beautiful tablescapes, tea time, gleaning silver, and enhanced my already passion for old books. I owned my wedding china, which came out for the Holidays but otherwise thought such beauty was beyond my everyday life.
I had this idea that if one was not born to the manor... one could not enjoy such as a middle class Midwestern American maker of the home. But I had forgotten the magic (Narnia magic, of course) which comes from reading those things which we are attracted to whether lovely literature or beautiful magazines or powerful Christian biography.
What I read became a part of me and inspired me towards the life I desired... Godly desires as opposed to greed and coveting... just the knowing what else was there in this world and how I could incorporate the Traditions and Beauty of others into my own sphere of influence.
Travel can have that influence on a person, as well as living in an area where one was not raised. I was inspired by the years we lived in a community filled with Beauty, where Stephanie was raised among cobblestone streets and windmills and fairy tale parks and boardwalks by the lake and the cute children's bookstore and lovely little places to stop for a snack or meal. Where one ate from delft china and was surrounded by flowers after the time of the long winter.
I began to understand that the need for Beauty and Loveliness within me was part of the maturing into the woman God had made me all along. No more or less than my love of old books led me to great men and women of the Faith. There came a time... gradually and not one specific day... in which I realized the desire for that which is Lovely could become a part of my love of thrifting.
My teapot collection began with a gift from my daughter, the first fine china teacup and saucer was a thank you gift from a person I had befriended at a former church, my first silver teapot was found dusty and tarnished (and cheap) in the corner of an antique mall, beautiful vintage linens were often a dime or a quarter apiece at garage sales as well as a lovely "old" apron here and there.
Just as when one begins to collect any item (such as china or teacups), one's eyes rest upon them when perusing over tables at a thrift shop... one begins to decorate their home in such a way to make their heart sing and a warm and cozy place for their family (which is why we must always... as collectors and thrift store aficionados... be careful of clutter).
I truly believe what we find Beautiful is as individual as the way God created each person so that their fingerprints are unique among the billions of people alive and having already passed on. I remember visiting a very expensive home where we took part in a Bible study and thinking I could never be comfortable there but my hostess loved her home. At the same time, I love visiting my sister's apartment as we share a passion for primitive country but I'm not into Victorian as she is... but I can admire the Beauty she creates.
I once made a list (in my scrapbook journal) of those things in a home that makes me happy. Among the list were pretty tea things, dutch lace curtains, green plants, geraniums, roses, daisies, herbs, beautiful artwork, family photos, homemade objects, silver (which is jewelry for the house), flowers, bookshelves filled with lovely books, vintage kitchen items,etc. and I have spent years decorating by puttering and tweaking and finding precious items at little cost.
My tastes have changed through the years but I'd say not so much in a completely different way of decorating my home but more a layer upon layer... tweaking by adding and taking away a little here and little there... as I have grown older.
Our home is our canvas and we are but artists here on this fallen of planets... hopefully making our abode a little bit of heaven on earth... never perfectly, of course. Everything we do here is but a shadow of that Perfection which is to come and of that Home which is being built by He who knows us best and loves of most. I can hardly wait to see that House.
So... as you can see my ponderings continue to be on Home and Tradition and once in awhile on Life Is What You Make It and Holidays and Family and Old Books. I hope to put thoughts from
Picture: Season of Peace; allposters.com