Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Making A Family Home

I peek over the table edge with the shining eyes full of youthful curiosity and amazement. Glimpses of pale patterned skirts and umbrellas against a heavily stitched backdrop of pink alternately catch my flickering vision as I rise and fall upon tippy toed feet. My eyes focus on the studied movement of my grandmother’s loose skinned, soft deft hands as they pushed a needle down through soft cotton then forced back upward creating discreet patterns of tiny white stitches. I still cherish the small quilt my grandmother so lovingly conceptualized and pieced together for me. It now adorns my eldest daughter’s bed and she is wrapped in my grandmother’s love when she warms herself within its folds.

Shannon Honeybloom believes we must channel our grandmothers, and the happiness which can be gained from the simple pleasures of living a life unencumbered by commercialism and technology, when making a house a home. This urge to cultivate, nurture and enrich her children’s home life and development culminated into a beautiful book, Making a Family Home. Honeybloom’s mindset:

“My grandmother imbued her household with love, simplicity, and joy. In putting together my own home, I asked myself: What makes a space sheltering, harmonious, and healthy? What kinds of materials can be used to help the development of my children? So I wrote this book to share my discoveries.”

I remember my grandmother’s love through memories of baking cookies, doing dishes in a cotton print apron modeled after her own. I remember my grandfather’s love through the memory of a wooden puzzle cube I used to take apart and desperately attempt to piece together but inevitably took to grandpa for the thousandth time to observe with amazement its solution. My mother taught me to embroider, my aunt taught me to knit and all this holds a special place in my heart as well as in my development. It is this happiness from simplicity which I yearn to pass on to my children but it has become harder in recent years. With the onslaught of technology it is difficult to tear children away from television, computers and handheld games. I refuse to let these electronics rule my home, preventing my children from developing skills and finding happiness in imagination, physical activity, the simple tasks of homemaking, and old-school practices.

Honeybloom a former educator and a mother of three like myself has captured the essence of creating and providing a cozy and enriching family home room-by-room, element-by-element. Admittedly, I lingered page by page over the captivating photographs of her charm filled house, envious of her endearing home. I realized as I read however that I had similarly set up my family’s home but could add further to my commitment to placing greater emphasis on the elements I truly value and wish to honour.

I believe we have forgotten the value of traditional living and old-school homemaking and Honeybloom brought this back with stunning observance to details easily dismissed in this fast-paced world of information overload and commercialism. It becomes as simple as relegating technology to the back burner, including natural materials and simple toys to your household, adding wooden steps to a tree, baking or knitting with your child. Including your children in the daily household tasks do not have to become chores but rather enjoyable family experiences which may form special and lasting memories. Perhaps a world of plastic toys and computer chips is not the way of the future…at least perhaps it shouldn’t be!

Follow Shannon Honeybloom's journey to Making a Family Home and perhaps find yourself nesting, re-learning, and teaching the simple pleasures of life. Phenix & Phenix and Northern Mama is giving away a copy of Making A Family Home to one Northern Mama reader.
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54 comments:

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  6. You have inspired me to search more on this topic! I grew up in a home like you describe and now I live near the city where life is too busy for everyone to slow down. I do try. I miss my slow, childhood life and the comforts of home. I share this with my children, often. Does Shannon have a blog? I would love to see your pictures as well.

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  13. Thank you for your beautifully written and thoughtfully expressed review. My grandmother also made me a quilt, which I treasure too. Warmly, Shannon Honeybloom

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