Saturday, February 5, 2011


Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. - William Morris

I came across this recently in a magazine and before you ask yourself why I’m looking to a cigarette company or Hollywood talent agency for a philosophy of living google William Morris. He’s a famous British designer and poet and you really ought to read more.

Now that we’re clear on provenance here’s the reason I’m going to embrace his philosophy this year (aside from the crass fact that I no longer get a paycheck). Events at the holidays revealed a previously undetected flaw in my personality. Our story begins in Utah where it is virtually impossible to live without getting at least partially sucked into the ‘crafting’ movement (it is the birthplace of scrapbooking as a verb after all). My outlet was Christmas- namely because I could go to the after Christmas sales at various stores like JoAnn Fabrics and get an entire roll of red satin wire edged ribbon for $1.50. And fake greens for banisters and mantels and ceramic Mr & Mrs. Snowman napkin holders you could paint to match your napkins. Everything was on sale and for $30 I could walk out with a trunk filled with lights, ribbons, candles, fabric, bells, and all other manner of holiday gew gaws. All of which would apparently remain packed in the plastic monster tote from the time I bought it until being unearthed after living in Portland for 2 ½ years.

It would be lovely if the moral of this story was that I decorated our house inside and out to the joy of all around us (except my husband who will only go so far as to buy the tree the day before Christmas and begin the campaign to take it down the day after) but if that were the case I wouldn’t need William Morris telling me to appreciate what I have now would I? (try and keep up)

What I have done is take Mr. Morris’ words to heart and refrain from buying anymore things I think I love or can use until I look carefully at what I already own. Result one: I found an entire box of tapers (including the shiny green ones I needed for Christmas but could not find) and in them were these lovely lightly scented ones with their own sterling silver holders. So simple and yet I was happy the moment I saw them again. God bless Molten Brown for making some of the most beautifully scented products in the world.

Result two: we are making a concerted effort to hang all the pictures etc. we own. The first to go up was this whimsical piece from an artist in Buffalo that was a wedding present from a dear friend. We hung it on the wall right outside our bedroom because it has an almost talismanic feel (in a sweet not creepy way). Everyone is tucked snugly in and all is well in the world- but it’s still a little quirky outside.

I hope Mr. Morris would approve because I feel better already.

1 comment:

MultipleMum said...

I had no idea 'scrapbooking' was born in Utah! (That made me laugh out loud!). Good ol' Mr Morris would be proud methinks. Thanks for Rewinding x

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