Sunday, April 3, 2011

Reading I'm loving.

I am currently catching up with Lisa at Almost Famous, loving her Tough Love on spring cleaning. She's doing a whole series on how to Hate Cleaning Less. She's up to Part III now and full of great inspiration to not be such a housekeeping baby.

I read this post a few weeks ago and it's been on my mind ever since. Jordan and her family just moved to France and are loving the fresh, quality, seasonal food and the way of food shopping daily at the market that is available and normal to them now. I've been putting a lot of thought into the sources of our food lately and I'm feeling quite envious of this being the food norm there!

I picked up a random old book at the library, The Secret of Victorian Houses: Authentic and Inspiring Interiors and What They Reveal, which I thought might offer some insight into historical moulding styling. (Yes, we're to moulding now! I may actually have finished pictures of the kids rooms for you someday!) Instead, it is full of hilarious and semi-disturbing insight into what the Victorian era created. Listen. Er, read on.
"The Parlor: A New Role for Women -
To confirm their status as the new gentry, office workers' wives cultivated the interests and manners of the gentlewomen of earlier generations. These families [the new middle class] had just climbed the slippery slope of social class in one generation. If the woman of the house had to work, the family clearly had not arrived. Instead, the women of the family must cultivate a profound and pure ignorance of how to support themselves. They must learn "not to have a head for figures." They must never do anything that could be remotely interpreted as useful... What is the result of confining half of the population to their houses with all the necessities of life easily provided for by the new industrial America? The high Victorian parlor. Imagine a woman spending all of her productive years in her parlor and in other people's parlors. She is taught that her role is to bring beauty to the home through the nobility of such eighteenth-century crafts as hand needlework. She is forbidden to read serious books or write for fear of taxing her childlike mind. The result would be an explosion of decorative crafts cluttering up every room in the house, especially the parlor."
So interesting how everything, every social construct we so often live by, is more often than not purely invented to serve some random purpose. Manners, gender roles, skills, interests, whole genres of craft, invented to prove your class. Makes me feel a little better about not having much time to do the sewing and art that I would like. It's because I'm busy being useful!

Oh, and a This Old House Bathroom Upgrades book sits on my nightstand, waiting for me to crack it open, tantilizing with beautiful pictures making the most utilitarian room of the house gorgeous. We decided to go for the new big bathroom build instead of renovating the current small one! Let the bathroom planning begin!

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