Monday, March 05, 2007

Hand work

Early this morning I was making a cup of tea and glanced over at the wire basket full of hand crocheted potholders I've accumulated over the years. I'm not sure exactly what my attraction to them is, but it is substantial. Maybe it's the different designs and the beautiful colors - some of them are incredibly intricate.

One of the things I love about handwork is that you can see people's creativity - even when following a pattern, and even when supplies were probably limited. I am very lucky to live in an area where lots of ladies still practice some of these crafts. However, it is fading, just like so many other things.

I have looked for some old patterns before, thinking maybe I would crochet some of these myself. But, I've never found the old patterns and I'm not sure I'd get motivated enough to do it anyway. The only thing I've found online that seems to be close is at It would be really wonderful to run across an old pattern book. If I got interested enough I could probably look at some of the ones I have and figure out the basics of how to make one. But there's somethign so charming about having ones that have stood the test of time and have that patina of age on them.

While I was in the kitchen this morning I smiled yet again at the lovely tea towels Julie gave me more than a year ago. I had mentioned how much I loved embroidered tea towels and she purchased these for me. There's a whole set of them, one for every day of the week. They're new, not antique ones, and I love them.

It was so sweet of Julie to remember that conversation, and buy these for me. I have used them at various times as decoration on the refrigerator door, but haven't used them for anything messy. I'm sure I will eventually, but I want to keep them nice looking as long as possible. The whole set is done in these nice colors and sweet designs.

I am going to make it a habit to put that day's towel on the fridge each day, so I can enjoy them all. I'm not sure why, but my mom always had a towel hanging on the fridge door, as did everyone else I knew when I was growing up. For whatever reason that custom has faded but I think I shall revive it in my own home - if for no reason other than to enjoy these.

I spent the work day huddled over the keyboard, which was all the more difficult today because it was a gorgeous outside. But I accomplished a number of things. I also got some a letter today saying that we are getting a grant for the MHA that I was a bit unsure about. So, I'm happy about that.

After work today I went to Carey Park for a long walk and to watch the sunset. It was a beautiful afternoon, warm and sunny.

Little Luxuries

I have had a rather relaxing day by my standards. I got some writing and some recording done, which is good.

I also made a trip to Goodwill, where for less than $9 I added to my teacup collection including some lovely hobnail milk glass cups.

 I also picked up a Denby china cup and saucer made in Portugal.It has a stamp on the bottom that reads Denby Fine China Portugal Tabletop Designs S.A. 1974 with a 32 added on it. I have no idea what any of that means, but I was enchanted with it.

I love this set, it's so sweet. The little flowers are so delicate.

 They had some more cups, but only one saucer. I don't care about having a matched set always, but one of the neatest bits of this is on the saucer - a little butterfly where the cup sits.

How can you not love that?

Of course, I had to try it out tonight so I'm having a cup of Constant Comment right this very minute. Why does tea taste better when you drink it from a beautiful cup?

I've been thinking a lot lately about the little luxuries I enjoy in daily life. I am convinced they're essential to mental well-being. Mine, fortuantely, are pretty simple.

1. I love good perfume - love it - one of my favorite parts of the day is deciding what perfume to wear each day. Yesterday it was Ombre Rose, today Ralph Lauren Hot, tomorrow who knows... maybe Obsession, a long time favorite. I have a large collection of scents and love them all.

2. I have nice soap at every sink in my house. The last year or so I've been devoted to Bath and Body, but it can change.

3. Bubble bath is an essential. I adore a nice long, luxurious bath. It's my favorite place to read, lounge and relax.

4. Nice sheets - the extra thread count is worth the extra money.

5. Fine stationery. Although it's largely lost on most people, I appreciate the feel of certain paper - for writing and reading. I don't think there has been a time in my life since I was in college when I've not had some Crane's in my home - even if my home was only a small apartment. Kate's Paperie in New York is a place where I can spend hours.

I am blessed to be able to indulge the luxuries I enjoy. There are so many "things" I appreciate - from antique linens to glassware to a wonderful cup of tea. They all make me feel settled into who I am.

I am finally getting my life organized enough that I have time for all the things I want to do. It has been a slow process, but I'm getting to the place where I can work in everything I want in a day.

Edit: Janice in England tells me that Denby is made in England and Portugal is the name of the pattern. Ah! I love the delicate little flowers - very sweet. Thanks, Janice.