Thursday, 20 March 2014
I am a home-making enthusiast at the best of times- well, aside from heavy duty (that should truthfully say 'any kind of'') cleaning and the relentless tidying up of the never-ending messes familiar to every weary parent. I love pottering around when I have a spare few minutes, rearranging and creating little displays. Nothing fancy, usually just using objects collected on a beach walk grouped with a vase filled with some dried lavender or a random assortment of fresh flowers from the garden (even herbs or whatever seems to living and green) and a well-loved old edition of a favourite book unearthed from the op-shop.
Creating a sense of 'home' in the old-fashioned sense is hugely important to me. I am drawn to objects like handmade quilts and other family heirlooms and hand-me-downs, treasures collected from travels and items with provenance and meaning. I also gravitate towards being surrounded by lots of calming natural elements and textures like wood, wool, cotton, wicker, plants and any kind of greenery. Living in a flawless or fully kitted out showroom-esque home will never be an option, clearly because I'm just not tidy enough. But aside from that I suppose I'm not really motivated by the same hot new interiors trend or replica designer chair as a few million other people. There's no denying that I enjoy the odd trip to Ikea and we have a few great functional items purchased there over the years but the whole ready-to-purchase 'look' is not the holy grail of home as I see it.
I recently came across the concept of wabi-sabi, the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection, and it really struck a chord. Wabi-sabi is a way of being that champions the simple, slow and uncluttered and reveres authenticity above all else. In the home, wabi-sabi inspires a kind of warm minimalism that celebrates the human rather than the machine, things that resonate with the maker's touch, things with soul. It's not so much a decorating 'look' as a mind set. Over the past couple of weeks my nesting instinct has gone into overdrive though I am yet to get to the dusting of long-forgotten corners or any cleaning of the windows and I'm honestly not too concerned if this doesn't happen. This urge to nest has probably has a lot to do with being 33 weeks pregnant and it has nicely coincided with the changing of the seasons. Though we've been lucky enough to still be enjoying some beautiful late summer days, autumn has slowly started creeping in and I am ready for it now.
The sofa (I know I should say couch now we live in Australia but I'm still stubbornly holding onto sofa, trousers and felt-tip pens among other English expressions), has been draped in a cosy wool throw, toes are soon to be clad in soft thick knitted socks when lounging at home and I'm looking forward to cooking up warm soups and hearty casseroles and lighting some candles of an evening. I am tired; more exhausted than I remember being in my previous pregnancies and ready to slow down, settle in for the colder nights and prepare for the new little member of our family that we will be welcoming in not so many weeks now. A name too, we also need a name for her. It seems that by the time you reach the third child of the same gender, pinning down a name you both agree on is more challenging than ever before with all the firm, mutually-agreed favourites already being used up with the other two. Hopefully we can reach a decision soon and that my powers of persuasion will prevail!