Sunday, May 12, 2019
Sunday Afternoon Tea - Stalking Beauty Part Deux
One of the items on my To Do list this week was to sort out the enormous stack of stuff sitting in the In-basket on my desk. Much of it was junk mail but amidst the throw-away papers were those which were important and needed to be filed.
While filing them, I came across another file I had set up a couple years ago that held favorite decorating articles. At the time, I had pulled them from numerous hanging folders in our large file cabinet to have these articles close to my desk. They were favorites from the many articles and magazine photos I saved through the decades.
Some... okay, a lot of them... were from the 1980s and 90s. I think that is only because that was the season of life when I was forming my own decorating preferences. There are so many articles and photos of houses, rooms, gardens, etc. because many designers along the way recommended cutting out photos and articles when we saw something we like in a magazine.
One was not to ponder why they caught our eye but just to file them away. When there was enough collected, they would show a pattern of those things we are attracted to, that which makes our heart sing. Whenever I look through these files, I realize that I have been stalking Beauty for a very long time. It is a good habit to enjoy.
If you were to come over for coffee in the morning or tea in the afternoon, I would let you peek into those decorating files as a show and tell of what I'm talking about. They would reflect the colors I find both peaceful and energizing, period furniture and accessories that keep appearing, and full articles would tell stories of people who know how to make a home warm and cozy.
They have taught me that I prefer a combination of English Country, Early American, and Primitive American rooms. You would not find an all white room in any of the pictures, nor would you find any obviously plastic decorations (maybe on the deck!), modern furniture, or empty walls.
They are especially helpful in being a mirror for what accessories I enjoy. For instance, many of the magazine photos had lots of plants in the room. I have loved plants for so long that when I told the florist what I wanted in my wedding bouquet, it was yellow roses and lots of greenery. So my home has a combination of real plants and very well made "fake plants" in the rooms.
It would be so much fun to enjoy sipping coffee or tea together, nibbling on cake (for if I knew you were coming, I would definitely bake a cake), and chatting about likes and dislikes when it comes to the decoration of houses. Honestly, I think at least 75% of of the messages my daughter and I talk about on Instagram has to do with the subject. Which is, I expect, why she has a degree in Interior Design.
I reread a few chapters of The Hidden Art of Homemaking when I had it out to share with you last week. It reminded me that God not only understands our need for Beauty in our homes, it was His idea in the first place. It only becomes a problem when we make it a problem by never being satisfied with what we have been given in this life and always comparing our homes to others.
I still search the magazine photos for ideas, borrowing from other people's good taste to find what would work in my home... especially accessories that I can look for while thrifting. I still learn important lessons about Beauty from other people.
Another way I have come to learn special ways to make a room beautiful is when I visit other houses and notice what they have done in their homes. Not in any way to be envious of another home but to gain ideas from what another maker of the home has done to create Beauty that I hadn't considered before.
For instance, I once went to a meeting at the home of a woman I didn't know very well. As soon as I walked through the doors, I knew I would like her. Just from the warm and cozy way her house was decorated. As was my habit, I looked around to get an idea why her family room looked so inviting and I realized it was her use of one large piece of artwork over the sofa.
I had stayed away from such large artwork before and you can guess that the next time I saw a print I loved and that was in my budget, it came home with me. One of the prints is in my living room between the two large bookshelves even today and has been moved a few times since the original purchase.
I have shared before about another house I still remember after lots of years have gone by (I won't say just how many). I was nineteen and engaged to my husband when he invited me to meet one of his favorite families while visiting his hometown. He had told me the mother was well known for the banners she created for churches.
However, what filled my heart with joy in that home was how there were multiple creative projects in process, many on the large dining table. This was an entire family who worked with their hands to create. I think that was the first time I encountered "creative clutter".
There was so much joy in that family, no wonder my husband had become friends with them. I knew then that this was a woman of faith who would be an influence to me as a homemaker, even though I would never meet her again. I'm sure she had no idea of the affect her homemaking had on this bride-to-be.
Just because I have all the furniture I need (some of it inherited from our parents) and my husband says there is no space left on any wall (and his point is?)... I still enjoy the process of making my home a canvas for my favorite form of art. No longer am I searching for the right sofa but usually some small accessory or kitchen item. I have a mental list of items to watch for when walking through a thrift store or antique mall... like a large Pyrex bowl similar to a smaller bowl I own.
As you can tell, the entire concept of stalking Beauty is dear to my heart and there are so many ways we can search out Beauty and bring it inside. Sometimes it is a bouquet of daffodils, it doesn't have to be an antique Hoosier cabinet... the one piece of furniture I would make room for these days!
Enjoy the search... we are never too young nor too old to be blessed by the Beauty around us... or to bless others as we welcome them into our homes.
Mentioned in this Blog Post
The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer... here.
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Image: Brambley Hedge