Truth, beauty and goodness - from the Archives

19 Jan 2010

mum's gift

The key to having a creative home is to have a productive home.
Make something every day.

Easy for her to say, I hear you mutter, but no doubt you are already doing it maybe you just need to look at the things you do through different eyes so that you can enjoy the creative process as well as the results.

Let's look at very utilitarian activities.

Sunny corner for morning tea and some knitting

Making the bed well and leaving the bedroom tidy and inviting takes very little time especially if it is done daily and each time you go into the room through the day it will feel peaceful and feed your spirit rather than jangling your nerves as just another mess to avoid.
Because the room is pleasant you might decide to pick a few flowers when you go out to hang the washing and pop them in a little vase beside your bed.
You might find that the room becomes a pleasant and needed retreat when the family get too loud, a nice place to take a few moments to read or write a letter or just sit.



Make the kitchen tidy.
There is no easier way to feel that you have begun something than to get the washing up done and the dishes put away.
Sloshing your hands around in the warm soapy water to magically turn mess and muck into clean shiny dishes.
Even when you are in a hurry the miracle still occurs and some how spurs you on to wipe down the benches, sweep the floor and restore calm and order to your busy kitchen.
The scene is set for making something delicious, for organising what you will create for dinner or to walk on to the next job knowing that when you need to use it the kitchen is ready.

Bathroom 1

The bathroom clean up.
All those shiny surfaces and mirrors make the bathroom sparkle.
All that dampness can make it a bit smelly so air the room, wipe down the damp surfaces, tidy the towels, a quick or slow shine of the mirror.
Wash your hands with that sweet smelling soap and give your hair a long delicious brush before you leave the room.


Walk through your home and do a straighten and tidy, plump up the cushions, open a window or two, stack up the books of the moment ready to be enjoyed later, take a look around and enjoy the look of your home.
This is the place that you and your family have created.
It's a working home, things are made here, ideas and friendships are formed and nurtured.
Make sure that form follows function, that chairs are placed so that people can be together and apart, that lighting is adequate for what your family does with their time.
Surround yourself with good books,interesting and appealing pictures, things that are nice to touch or smell, furnishings that offer the warmth and comfort of natural fibres.
Think how you want it to be and what you can make or repurpose to achieve the peaceful and creative space your family deserves.

vegetables and op shop bowls

Each meal you prepare is an opportunity to feed your creativity, not by being outlandish but by appreciating the inherent beauty of the food you are turning into a meal.
By taking the time to make sure the table is fresh and clean, setting the table to suit your family and creating a calm atmosphere so that people can concentrate on enjoying their family and their meal you can feed your creativity.



By taking the time to hang the washing out if possible when you can an catching a glimpse of it through the day you can appreciate not only the childlike entertainment of watching the washing flap around in the breeze but also enjoy the colours and contrasts of the clothing and linen hanging there.
You can have the satisfaction of an easy job well done, a job that in previous generations was an onerous task has become so simple.
Looking at the washing can also lead to thoughts of how to make your line prettier by making yourself clothes whose colours please the eye, notice the way different fabrics hang on the line - some like woven fabrics, fine cottons and linens hang so diifferently from knit fabrics that hang so sadly and heavily,denim which hangs and dries stiffly and looks so strong and unyielding.
Noticing the texture of ordinary life enriches your creativity.

the mauve wash

mosaic 1

The garden of course has endless possibilities to make your heart sing and even if it is a dreary time of year such as midwinter there is always some little corner , one little plant that is doing its best to be appealing.
A visit to the vegie garden or herb garden to find something to add to your meal can result in time lost in the rhythm and meditation of weeding or pruning, productive and creative.

sunny bathroom

Every area of the home life gives opportunity to feed our creative souls and produce or enhance the beauty we crave in our living space.
It's not so much walking around in a dream imagining how beautiful our lives can be but walking around with our eyes wide open and soaking up all that is there for us to see and be a part of.
Every bit of work you do with your hands is an amazing thing, movements and adjustments so complex that no other living creature can accomplish them.
The more you tap into the wonder of the ordinary the more your creative soul flourishes.
It's there for all of us, like any skill or talent, the more you use it and nurture it and treasure it the more it gives and grows and enriches your life.

Kate's quilt

Be aware of the possibilities of every moment, take a second every now and then to appreciate what a great job you have done, see how things can be, enjoy the beauty of the domestic and seek ways to bring more beauty to your day.
Seek truth, beauty and goodness in your world and the rewards will astound you.

all today's pictures are taken from my flickr archives

This is one of my favourite posts and one of the most popular with my readers.

Many new visitors have joined my blog since Christmas and I welcome you all. I thought you, my new and old friends, might enjoy reading, or re-reading, 'Truth , Beauty and Goodness'


53 Responses to “Truth, beauty and goodness - from the Archives”

  1. Yesterday I started reading Sorted by Lisanne Oliver. She was saying how to get the basic rights in the room, like being able to access windows, and a way to think of clutter, the analogy of being overweight. Then your post built on that I suppose. I love the last picture, love those silver lines.

  2. Hi Jenny,
    Do you have tulips in your garden already? Am I too late to plant mine? I do have one spring bulb open though. We call them eggs and bacon. I am sure that is not the real name.


  3. Hi Jules, the photos today are all old as I have flat batteries in my camera so , no, I don't have any tulips out yet and my other bulbs are just starting to develop flower heads apart from the snowdrops which have been flowering for weeks. Do you want to meet next week for that coffee?

  4. Dear Jenny;

    It is so simple really to walk thru the house and begin to clean the clutter, a little here and a little there really does make a difference. When you start seeing your house as a haven, created together with your family, you begin to appreciated it more.

    A very lovely post! I really enjoyed the photos, especially the last one of the pink and white quilt:)

    Have a blessed friday,


  5. Oh Jenny. This post blessed me so much. Would you like to adopt me? I'd have to bring dh, ds and dd, plus a "darling" dog, but still....

  6. Hi Jen,

    Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed this post. Thanks so much for sharing.


  7. Oh I so loved this post Jenny! What a feast of inspiration!

    Love, Tina :)

  8. I just want to stand up and yell: woohoo!!! after reading your post. It's wonderful, you are so good at writing things to make people feel better. I'm gonna look at it again whenever I feel my work around the house is boring and never-ending.
    And I've posted this in a comment before, but I do love that beautiful pink/yellow quilt in the last picture so much.

    Christine from the NL

  9. Can you share the story of the tan afghan that is on the back of the chair in the second picture? Did you make it? Is is knit? It doesn't look crochet. It is absolutely lovely!


  10. Hi Jen, a very lovely post...thanks so much for sharing.


  11. Good evening Jenny
    So enjoyed your words. I used to read Jewels gentle words of how she cared for her family, then I came across your blog, and you always show such joy in the everyday activities of caring for your family. The words I have read made me stop & think about making an extra effort to make our home welcoming for when everyone comes home from their busy day...such as lighting candles, turning on a lamp, having the table set, even though dinner has only been started. (as I too have just got home from work) Recently I have been thinking the next few years will be the final years of having our children living with us,as our 2 children are aged 20 & 22, so I feel that I want to make the family home as welcoming as it can be, so they will have pleasant memories of their home life.

  12. that is absolutely beautiful! Thanksyou for thoes words this morning!

  13. What a lovely, lovely post today, Jenny! Thank you so much! It is a real inspiration for me today. We have had workmen around the house for almost a full month now and it has become quite tiresome and I admit, I have been lax on my chores inside the house. I have been so overwhlemed with what's going on outside!
    For me, even just tidying up a table where everything seems to collect from the day can make me feel so good!
    Thanks again for the wonderful ideas and pictures!

  14. Beautiful post, Jenny. Thank you, I am going through a rough time at the moment and found it very helpful and uplifting.


  15. Dear Jenny,

    Beautiful, thought-provoking and timely entries today and yesterday. Thank you for the gift of your words and the heart you share with us.

    ~ Carole

  16. Jenny, this was just what I needed! I have been feeling very 'blah' about being home this week. I have felt extraordinarily unmotivated to do anything that needed doing and it has done me good to read this inspiring post.

    I needed a new perspective and I knew it ~ thanks for providing me with exactly what I needed.

  17. What a lovely posting. Confirms my belief that a little loving attention turns the home into a sanctuary.

  18. Jenny, a wonderful post filled with wisdom & simplicity. Thank you!

  19. What a beautiful blog! Its inspired me to give the bathroom a good clean and to make my bed with fresh sheets before making a cake :)

    I found your blog this morning and i wanted to say Hi, and I love your dolls! They are beautiful. I especially like the sweetheart doll called Caroline with her long blonde hair. shes lovely.
    Good luck with everything,
    sam xx

  20. You're such an inspiration! Thank you so much, it's what I needed the most.

    Thank you for sharing.

  21. Jenny,
    What a beautiful post that so spoke to my heart today. I absolutely love my home and my family - it is sweet to find others who feel the same.

  22. Amen!
    I enjoyed the simple yet profound photos you shared of your home. The speak of a loving place.


  23. Oh, this was lovely Jenny. These small considerations really do make a home.

  24. I love those tulips!...

    What an inspiring blog.
    Thank you. :)

  25. Thank you so much for the inspiration and encouragement! I need both today!

  26. Lovely thoughts. Thank you for sharing them. I think I'll print out the post and put it in my Home Notebook.

  27. Thank you for this post, Jenny. This is the way I want (and try!) to live. This afternoon I am a bit restless ... not knowing what to work on. I think the best place to start would be to make my almost clean kitchen ALL the way clean, my jumbled livingroom straight, and to hang my wet laundry in a nice row on the line to dry ... just like my Mama is always encouraging me to. Thank you for the beautiful reminder. I love coming here to read your posts and enjoy your pictures.

  28. Hi Jenny, I just dropped by to see your blog and was so elated by all you've posted. What a breath of fresh air you give and I even jumped over to your posts on quilts for I am a quilter as well. What beautiful applique you do(I don't applique, have tried though)but I love to hand quilt. Thanks for sharing your passions!

  29. looks like I have a new blog to post to my "favorites". Thanks for the encouragement that every thing we do in the home is being our creative selves, and the more we use it, the more naturally it comes. some of us really need to hear that, as we are not naturally domestically inclined. :)

    I like how you mentioned cleaning up the kitchen. I *just* posted on that in my blog today:

    I'll be back for sure! Blessings!

  30. Jenny, what a beautiful, inspiring post. Making the bed is one of my favorite morning activities!

  31. Wow.....I am blown away by your insightful words and the humble simplicity of your photos. It doesn't take much to see the incredible beauty going on within your sweet soul. Thank you for so generously sharing your thoughts. I think I am really going to enjoy reading your archives.

  32. Today is my birthday...and my gift to myself is to read some of your past posts. What a treat! I must comment and say that this post in particular is one of the BEST I have ever encouraging and inspiring, especially for us stay at home Moms with many little ones :) I love all of the photos of your home and yard. So, thank you for my birthday gift.

    Laura :)

  33. I really love visiting your blog. I get wonderful inspiration. This was especially nice to read as I embark on my "homeschool" journey with my pre-schooler. My husband, dear friend, and myself will be taking turns "homeschooling" her, and the thoughts on being tidy are just great!

  34. Jenny, this is one of my favourite of your posts- it also reminds me of the Fly Lady's "house blessing 'hour. It's amazing the difference a change in perspective can make.

  35. I've just read this post for the first time. I love it. So good about seeking truth, beauty and goodness in our day to day life. Truly inspirational.

  36. Beautifully expressed. My post about housework yesterday was a bit downbeat (that'll be the winter gloom) but I bought narcisssi and hyacinths and anemones today to cheer things up.

  37. What a lovely post. Sometimes it feels like life is so busy & it's so important to stop & appreciate the little things. I feel inspired to give my house a good cleaning!

  38. A beautiful, beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and lovely photos.

  39. Jenny - i'm glad you added one of my flickr pic as a favorite because this is how I find your blog, and I love it, both your writing & photos !!

  40. A beautiful post with some wonderful and comforting reminders of how to make our working homes a place of joyful inhabitation (this is my first time to your blog) :-)

  41. That was lovely, and very inspiring. Makes me want to go make something beautiful. Thank you, Jenny!

  42. Jenny, this post was a breath of fresh air. Just what I needed to hear. Lets hope I can get creative tomorrow and bring some peace to the chaos that is currently my home.
    I am going to re-read this throughout the week to keep me inspired.

  43. Hi Jenny,
    how nice to see that you love the colours and creativity and some special memories as much as I do. Perhaps you come along to my Blog, too. Greetings from Germany!

    Kind regards

  44. I love this post...I think it's how a lot of us feel but can't express half as well as you have. I've bookmarked it so I can come back to it and reread it when I need to.

  45. Thanks Jenny, I came back to this post today for a pick me up and it's worked a treat. Thankyou so much for your wisdom and the time you give to share it with us.

    cheers Kate

  46. I loved this post when I first read it and I still love it! :)

  47. I can see why this is a well loved and read post, it speaks to something so primal in us, and yet for many of us, simply taking that minute to get the energy moving can seem like the hardest thing, for once started it is like you say, there is a flow that sets in, and one thing takes the next. Creativity happens in this way as you also mention, and I absolutely love how you captured the essence of that.
    I do pay attention to the way I for example hang the clothes on the line, and yes even consider the clothes we wear or fabric we use by the way it flows and feel on the line...
    Lovely post, truly...

  48. This is the very first post of yours I've ever read...what a treat! It is absolutely inspiring, especially for me, who has spent the last month after a long move, trying to make our "new" old home into just what you are describing, a place that is functional, relaxing, inviting and comforting all at once. Thanks for the inspiration.

  49. I will never tire of this lovely post Jenny.

    cheers Kate


Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I don't always have time to reply but I do read every message you leave.