Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Cultivation of Beauty

Around the beginning of the year, I read Jill Savage's Professionalizing Motherhood. In this book she quoted Holly Schurter on the difference between housekeeping and homemaking:

Cultivate the skills, not only of housekeeping, but of making a home for your family. As you know already, they are not always exactly the same.

Housekeeping consists of the laundry, the dishes, the toilets, and floors that need to be scrubbed, but homemaking is something else. The difference between housekeeping and homemaking is the difference between a barren field and a lovely fragrant garden.

Homemaking is the deliberate cultivation of beauty and productivity in family relationships. Homemaking is about helping your family feel loved and comforted. Homemaking is about celebrating each other, and about caring for each other, as well as for your friends and extended families and even the occasional stranger. Anyone can keep a house. Not everyone bothers to make a home.

Hmmm. I'm not so sure about that statement that anyone can keep a house; Holly obviously hasn't seen my kitchen floor. I am getting slowly but surely better in the housekeeping department, probably just a little too slowly to suit my husband's (or 90% of the population's)taste!

Now, this homemaking thing--those words strike right at my heart. This area is the one in which I always thought I would excel, especially the part about the "deliberate cultivation of beauty." I remember looking through issues of Victoria magazine as a teenager and cutting out pictures of rooms I loved. Surely I would be adept at creating a beautiful and comfortable home for my family.

Lately, ten years into my marriage with two children under the age of five, I haven't felt up to homemaking either, especially the decorating of our new home. For about a year now, we have been living with just the bare minimum of our furniture so that we could stage the house we're trying to sell. God has been definitely teaching me something about contentment during this past year. Philippians 4:11 has been my touchstone verse during this time, but I am not so content that I won't be happy to have these rooms filled again with our things.

Don't you just love that Boring Beige? I am so excited that within a month or so I will be able to put our stamp on this house and provide real comfort in our home.

In preparing for the imminent return of our furniture, I have been doing serious research in interior decorating, and I'm sharing that research with you! I have compiled my favorite home decorating blogs; the authors of these blogs definitely know a little something about the cultivation of beauty. I hesitate to do this because it may cause you to spend way too much time in blogland, but these blogs are just too good to miss. Here we go!

  • Nesting Place: Thoughts on Feathering My Nest: I absolutely love the Nester's sense of style. She uses a lot of buffalo checks and toile, two of my favorite types of fabric. She is all about decorating on a budget, which also fits my circumstances, especially right now. Her window "mistreatments" are not to be missed. I also love her motto: "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful!"
  • Southern Hospitality: Rhoda had her own decorating business and generously shares her tips and great rooms on her blog. Just look at her gorgeous laundry room! Maybe I could get more towels folded and more ironing done if my laundry room looked like that! Rhoda also loves thrifting and going to tag sales, and you could often see her latest finds on her blog.
  • A Soft Place to Land: I love where Kimba explains how she got the name for her blog in her "About Me" section. She has articulated what I'd like to create for my family. Also, check out this bench she refashioned. It's too cute!
  • Dana Moore Designs: Dana is a professional decorator and shares her fabulous designs and ideas on her blog. Look at this guest house she designed. Gorgeous!
  • The Handmade Housewife: Hayley has post after post filled with her cute projects. Check out these adorable pillow shams she made from place mats!
  • New Every Morning: New Every Morning is a kindred spirit; she has latched on to The Nester's philosophy, too! And just look at what she did with this old door in her laundry room (I love the fleur-de-lis hooks below it, too!) and how she tied it into a spiritual insight!
  • Pure Wells: Kathryn is my sister and has just made her debut into the blog world. I am putting her in this list because if she ever posts any pictures of her house, you would think that she does interior design for a living. Even if she doesn't post pics, you will be blessed by her posts!

Enjoy, and let me know if I've missed any great inspiration blogs!


Anonymous said...

I will definitely be looking forward to seeing the progress of you decorating. I too have empty rooms, and am looking forward to doing some decorating. We bought a home that needs updates, so we have to do the "contruction" part before we get to the decorating. It's been a slow process, and just recently we took about a 5 month break because we were getting burnt out on this overwhelming feat. We are slowly getting back into the groove of finishing some projects. Then we'll move on to the next big thing. I just have to remind myself to be patient because this is probably going to take a LONG time to get everything the way we want it!

Robert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I rather like empty spaces. It gives me room for contemplation. In your case, you have time to hand pick your treasured possessions. Fill them with things you love! Most importantly, fill them with the love of the hearts that reside within.

That, my friend, turns beige into beautiful and bland into a banquet for the eyes.

Sorry I don't get here more often. My week's been a blur. Maybe once school starts...


Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Hi, Celly, thanks for the mention. You have a very uplifting blog & I appreciate that you got inspiration from me! I think we can all live with pretty surroundings & it doesn't have to cost a fortune.


Holly said...

Hi, Celly,

I'm not so sure my kitchen floor is in good shape right now, either!

It sounds as if you focus on making your family comfortable and loved. Clean floors are part of that, but just a small part, and a family that feels comfortable and loved either overlooks not-quite-perfect floors -- or they pitch in to help!

Thanks for the mention! and good luck with the decorating,

Holly Schurter