Thursday, March 03, 2005

Beauty in the Home

I was visiting an antique store and observing with interest some of the detailed home furnishings and housewares. A baking pan, such as a pie plate, was so beautiful, that even without a pie in it, would be a pleasure to look at sitting out on the counter. Inside the plate was painted a bouquet of flowers.

Teacups not only had designs on the outside, but, as you drank the tea, scenes of cottages or roses appeared. Kitchen and bath towels bore embroidery depicting various chores being done cheerfully--i.e. Monday showed a little girl dressed in a pinafore hanging up laundry, and Tuesday showed a girl baking, etc.

The bath towels had bits of satin sewn on the edges. I would have thought these were used only for show, but the appearance of thin areas, holes and stains, showed that they were well used and loved.

Aprons were not plain, either, for many of them were crocheted and had a rich, lacy look. My friend and I were talking about this and comparing the amount a beauty that a woman at home used to work with, to the things that have been used in the past few decades that are so plain.

In comparison, also, the nature of women in former time seems to have been more optimistic. We both had read many true accounts of women overcoming, cheerfully, hard times. We discussed doing a type of case study by putting women in a house for a week that was extraordinarily utilitarian, and other women in a house that was decorated with cheerful colors and details on the things they used, and then comparing their attitudes and moods. We don't have to really do that, though, as all we have to do is observe ourselves in the same situations.

Those of us who have worked in various institution-type businesses know that there is a big difference between the office and home, when it comes to beauty and comfort, and that it effects our moods a great deal. The soft details of the home satisfy a great longing of the soul for things that are beautiful. When we see beauty every day, it feeds our minds with something positive. On the other hand, if the mind is fed only ugly dullness day after day, it can cause much depression.

If a fresh bouquet of flowers will make a woman's day, then I say, go for it. As I've gotten older, I've been trying to simplify my housekeeping by not going so much to yard sales and buying things I like that I'll just have to put somewhere, clean, dust, etc., so a bouquet of fresh flowers just meets my needs. It satisfies my desire to go shopping, gives immense pleasure to those around me, and beautifies the home.


Hausfrau Cheri said...

My husband I are blessed to have many such beautiful, practical things in our home. People gave us some of the loveliest things for our wedding, some we had asked for (practical, plastic plates and bowls with a flower bouquet border, sheets with a suble damask pattern in them) and many (even a pie plate with apples decorating the bottom!) that friends and family just gave to us.

One of the most recent additions I needed was aprons. I took the time to find two on eBay that are at least 30 years old, and have the prettiest German style embroidery and design. They are a true pleasure to wear (when I'm not too pregnant, anyway! Now I wear DH's lighthouse decorated one) and make me feel like a 'real' home maker like my grandmother. They also cost less than $10 total, so they were easy on the budget too.

I think with my nature I would always seek out things of beauty, but it is undeniable that there is a certain pride in having attractive things to carry out everyday tasks.

Laura Lane said...

Dear Mrs. Sherman,
As I grow older, 55 this month, I am finally coming into my own as a homemaker. I had such poor examples growing up, and I suffered from many physical problems and depression when I was younger that I never really got a routine that worked well for me. I remember as a young girl embroidering and crocheting for my future home, for my hope chest. That was so long ago.
Listening to your videos over the last four or five months has helped me to create more of a routine. I have finally moved with my family to what we hope will be my husband and I's forever home. It's not fancy, but it will suit our needs well when we become empty nesters.
Thank you for writing and pouring into our lives.
Please visit me at Harvest Lane
Laura Lane
Carthage, Missouri