Perhaps it comes from being the youngest of five children, the innate need to gobble up goodness before there is none left. As an adult, though, I've made a conscious effort to savor, to leave some behind, whether it's my favorite frozen yogurt or a box of maple sugar candy. This discipline is important to me for many reasons: I don't want to be greedy, on any level; I want to truly feel safe in the abundance around me; I want to feel that those urges for control are being used in a healthy manner. And when something is really fabu, the urge to make it last and last and last trumps the desire to have it all now, now, now.
Reading Jane Brocket's book The Gentle Art of Domesticity challenged my restraint, but I made it last as long as possible. What a true delight this collection of essays and fantastic photos is! I have long admired Jane's blog, and pre-ordered the book when it came available. Surprise, surprise when there was a box from Amazon waiting for me, and the dear, sweet cover met my eyes as I opened that box. I wanted to read it from cover to cover immediately, but instead, I read a few essays a night. As I neared the end of the book, which includes topics such as travel, color, texture, and so many more, I saved the essays for evenings when I needed a boost. It's a civilizing feeling to make a cup of tea and curl up with a dog on each side, Jane's smart prose at the ready. She's captured everything about domestic life that I believe is important, all those skills and tasks that my mom's generation did away with gleefully in order to have more free time. I, like Jane and so many others, feel there is tremendous value in baking from scratch, in hand-quilting a blanket, in knitting socks for my beloved. We don't have to do these things, but we long for them, and Jane does an excellent job in explaining just what they mean to her, and as all good books speak to universal themes, to me, and probably to you as well. She's included recipes (I ordered Golden Syrup as she assures the reader that there is no American substitute, and I plan to bake the treats she shares), and the only flaw I found with the book was the lack of knitting patterns; I would love to have seen them included. There is a fantastic resources section, and I'm planning a NYC trip just to visit some of the shops she mentions. I've ordered a second copy as a Christmas gift for one of my friends, and I know she will get just as much pleasure from it as I have. There's no reason to be greedy here...plenty of books to go around!
I wanted to share these pictures that Dave took of the weaving I sent him in our swap. I am astounded at how beautiful he made my humble length of cloth look, and I'm frothing at the mouth to see what he makes from the cloth. Between him, Jane Brocket, and Scout, I'm feeling a deep need to upgrade my camera and start to take photography seriously. I think it would be interesting to see how photography affects my writing, and I'm longing for my blog to have such pretty photos, too. My super pricey wish list (occupied to date by a floor loom) is growing. What's on your wish list?