Thursday, March 27, 2008

Living a Beautiful Life

When I was first married, I read the book Living A Beautiful Life
Day of Your Life by Alexandra Stoddard, interior decorator.
The author believes that "by paying careful attention to the simple
details of daily tasks and to our immediate surroundings can we live
vitally and beautifully all the days of our lives." The book made a
huge impression on me as a new bride, wanting to make our
home beautiful. I must have read it half a dozen times!
Some of her ideas were a quite over the top, I must admit, like
putting a vase of flowers inside the refrigerator to give yourself
a bright surprise when you open the door!...or placing
perfumed plastic discs inside the telephone receiver so
you can enjoy the fragrance as you talk on the phone! (really!?)
But she did have many very practical ideas that I find myself
using even 25 years later. Why not make sure the daily rituals
we do are the most pleasing, beautiful experiences that they can
be? Why not use your good china for an occassional week night
supper? Why not slip your plastic lotion pump into an antique cup?
And why can't you add a fresh lemon slice to your tea when it's
just for you? Even today, I have been known to be teased by my
friends when I comment on "how pretty that red onion looks in
our salads" or rearrange the things on their coffee table
(after being asked, of course!) to be more pleasing to the eye.
So go ahead an use that soap that you got for a gift
that is "too pretty to use". Find a beautiful mug to enjoy
for your morning coffee. Burn the scented candles that
you have in your house. Put a fresh flower on your desk.
And keep your eye open for all the beautiful things around you.


  1. Sigh... yes, I love harmony and lovely things about me. It can be a both to find the time, but I love to rearrange things at home or in my office to their best advantage, or find ways to make things pleasing to my eye. My indulgence is fresh flowers of some sort (not having a garden). There's nothing like coming in from a long day at work and maybe it's grey and rainy outside, and there's a big vase of white daisies on my coffee table. The other thing I do is keep my bedroom serene. That's my ultimate haven from everything, so no matter how everything else may have gone to pot (frequently), when I enter my bedroom, the bed is made and the room is uncluttered. Sigh... I want to return there right now!

    I can see by your pictures that - with your own sense of taste - you make your home very lovely.

  2. I feel the same way. Beauty is vital...I feel a bit depressed if not surrounded with things I love. I have started to invest in fresh flowers, too. They add such beauty and happiness to everyday life!

    Glad to see that you still have that beautiful old mug after all these years! :)

  3. That book had quite an impact on me, too! I still get it out for a *refresher* every once in a while. I really enjoy Alexander Stoddard's books!
    Thanks for the get-well wishes, I do seem to feel better today. Unfortunately, my little girl is sick this morning. Hopefully, we'll all be better in a day or so though.

  4. BP ~ I love the bedroom idea...a serene room can do wonders for you!

  5. Willowmanor ~ yes, that mug is one of my favorite things ~maybe because of the story behind you buying it for me for Christmas one year. :) And, come to think of it, the sugar shaker came from you, too! My what wonderful taste you have! ;)

  6. Lora ~ I think my copy of the book actually went in a garage sale years ago. Since I read it so many times, I felt like I had it memorized! ha! I can tell by your site that you love beautiful things, too!

  7. I'm going to look for this book. So much of what I'm trying to learn and express right now is how to fully delight in the 10,000 tiny beautiful things that surround me each day. It's rather sad to think about how many lovely little pieces of beauty we miss...

  8. Modgirl ~ I'm sure you could find it at the library. Stoddard has written quite a few and home, decorating and noticing the little things. Fun!

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  10. Note to My Five Men: I deleted my post because I noticed a few spelling errors! Now, having corrected them, here it is again:

    Little touches of beauty go a long way to enhancing one's state of mind, and one's day. It can be something as simple as lighting a log fire on a chilly grey morning, to cheer the household. Or serving plain cut up apple slices on a beautiful piece of china. One of the things I enjoy doing is, when I need to mail a cheque, I use my typewriter. The cheque looks so much neater typewritten. Same goes for notes to my child's teacher, I type the note, and I type the teacher's name on the envelope--centred and underlined. At work, I drink my coffee out of a pretty Jemima Puddleduck mug, and keep my paperclips not in a boring plastic container, but a Japanese tea cup. And instead of using the paper envelopes of sugar that my office provides, I keep a china sugar bowl with lid on my desk and keep my sugar in that.

    I've so enjoyed perusing your blog and your photos, and sharing these glimpses into your life. As a mother, I know that there is nothing stronger than a mother's love; I enjoy reading your posts on family life.

    I'll be back to visit again.

    Lavinia Ladyslipper

  11. Lavinia ~ Thank you so much for visiting my blog! Sounds like you have the 'living a beautiful life' theory down pat! I will come and visit your blog!


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