The Gentle Art of Domesticity
Does a book have a better title?
Gentle Art . . . it invites you in, out of curiosity. After all, what are "Gentle Arts"? The cover does give it away some, but I've opened a book based on its cover before and have ended up returning it to the shelf, uninterested.
It just begs you to sound it out and say it . . .
over and over.
I just like that word !!
I first heard about this book on Jenny of Elefantz, probably several years ago now. Anyone who follows Jenny knows she loves all things domestic. She was making the "magic apron" from another book at the same time. Who wouldn't want a book with a "magic apron".
I bought that book, too :)
I made the "magic apron" :)
I stitched custom pockets using one of Jenny's designs.
I was curious about the title, even thought I haven't read the book yet.
I've gone through it, the pictures are lovely as the cover clearly confirms.
Jenny is hostessing a study of the book. It looks like we'll be reading a chapter a week. This is week one and we read the introduction.
Growing up, I thought of "domestics" as maids in the old movies for people who had "breeding" and more money than they'd ever be able to spend.
Obviously, I was wrong. This book is going to help me with that silly notion.
Jenny asked some questions that we could answer in her comments or write a blog post. I chose the post because I'm not on here as often as I would like these days and I knew my answers would be long.
1. What crafts or creative domestic activities did you pursue when you were young?
My mom was always doing something.
Baking, Cooking, Sewing, Knitting, Gardening, Cleaning.
Honestly, to this day, I don't know how she got everything done because I can't !!
I never thought of these things as domestic activities. They were just things that needed to be done and mom always did them. If she was ever unhappy about her lot in life - I never knew it.
Mom was born and grew up in Germany. As a young teenager, she lived away from home. She was a Nanny/Governess, she worked in a hospital, she worked in a restaurant. She learned all the domestic arts young. She knew how to sew, knit, crochet, embroider, bake, etc.
She had dreams of opening her own bakery once. She used to make beautiful cakes. Her meals were to die for. She made everyone feel special, and still does.
I tell you all this about Mom, because I am my mother's daughter. Whatever Mom was doing, I wanted to do too. She's much more talented than I am and has a lot more patience.
I have a basic knowledge of the yarn arts - I can cast on and off for knitting, but can't really make anything.
I can make granny squares in crochet and have made numerous baby afghans.
I learned and did quite a few counted cross stitch projects. And for many years, that's all I did and enjoyed it immensely. These days, it just takes too long and my eye sight isn't what it was back in the day.
I used to love gardening, but it takes a lot of work and these days I would rather sit at my sewing machine.
I learned to sew garments in high school, but would rather make quilts today. Annually, I will make a whole slew of pajama pants for the great nephews and great niece.
2. Have you continued you?
Yes, in some fashion.
3. Is there one or more that fell by the wayside but which you'd like to try again?
Yes, there are some that fell by the wayside, but no, I don't really want to go back and do them again. I still do the things I love, they've just evolved into a different phase.
I've given upon ever being a knitter, I crochet occasionally still.
I did counted cross stitch for a long time, but I don't really want to do it any more because it requires a lot of time and I really do enjoy embroidery more.
Garment sewing has become quilting.
I think the one I struggle the most with is gardening. I love having a vegetable garden and flower beds. It's the time thing again. Flower beds require a lot of TLC and weeding. I HATE WEEDING !!!
It's a love/hate relationship. To get the thing you love, you must do the thing you hate. So I go back and forth with myself every season trying to decide what to do and how to handle it.
4. What inspired you in our study this week?
I've come to the realization that I'm a domestic and I love it :)
I love being a stay at home mom . . .
I love cooking, baking, cleaning, doing the laundry . . .
I love embroidery, quilting and reading . . .
I love taking care of my family !!!
And as much as I do all these things for them, I'm doing them for me, too.
I know this has been an extremely long post. Just a few more things.
Invitation is open, join us for this journey through these pages. Book purchase is not required. You can borrow it from the library, purchase it from any number of websites used if you decide you want your own copy. This week we'll be reading Chapter 1 - Inspiration. Won't you join us?
Jenny has generously offered a stitchery for a book mark. It will stitch up very quickly.
If you head over to her blog, you can download it for free.
Wishing you a day filled with things that keep and make you happy.
Whoever has ears, let them hear.
Matthew 11:15 NIVUK
What an inspiring post! My mom worked full time and did none of these things. My grandmother lived with us and did all the cooking and baking. I loved baking with my grandmother. She is the one who taught me to knit, but only garter stitch and it was fun to sit with her and knit. I miss her greatly. Now, I am a stay at home mom and couldn't love it more. Taking care of my family brings me so much joy.
I am loving doing the book together, it certainly brings back happy memories doesn't it? Domesticity must be a code word for me - I love all thing domestic.
Hi Edi I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post,I too have just ordered the book and can't wait for it to come,thankyou for sharing your story,hope you have a lovely week xx
Your apron is beautiful. I'm glad you shared!
How fun that you follow Jenny too!!! I don't do embroidery, but I love looking at what others create that way. Now, about your garden...have you considered growing it NOT in the ground?? At home on the farm, my garden is huge...and a pain to weed and care for, so I'm looking at some other ways to grow vegetables, like these: https://preparednessmama.com/gutter-garden/
Not much weeding, dogs won't dig in them, easy to harvest!
The apron pockets are a stroke of genius and beauty!
Such a lovely post. Your mother certainly had amazing experiences and she must have loved that you liked doing what she did. Our crafts tend to change as we get older for various reasons but there is always something that takes our fancy. I too, did counted crosstitch for decades but as soon as I discovered embroidery I was hooked. It was so much quicker. I used to knit a lot but find crocheting much quicker too. Nice to "meet" you.
Now that's a perfect Bible quote for this post! Thanks for not quoting Proverbs 31. It always makes me feel like a slug! LOL Your mother is so sweet. I really enjoy her company.
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