Life as I know It

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San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Homemade Handmade Happiness

A stack of old quilts are on stand-by for winter guests

Dear Friends,

Gentle rains are falling on my thirsty garden, and I can hear the trees and seedlings humming contentedly. I feel so happy when Mother Nature gives a deep, healthy drink to the earth.

Can you see the tiny buds of this happy plum tree?

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all the electronic gadgets in your life? I sure do, and when I am feeling this, I step back, switch off the computer, build a fire, make soup, garden, draw, or do other handwork. I also take pains to surround myself with one-of-a-kind, handmade, homemade things. Lately, I've vowed to always purchase handmade, recycled, repurposed, and antique products whenever possible.

Picking up a pencil and brush makes me feel connected to my world. I never feel better than when I am making something, whether it is food, a garden, or a book.

I found this in England, and it is unsigned. I wish I could locate the artist.

My Quaker grandmother Abigail Baker of Chester County, Pennsylvania, made this in 1852...

...and her mother Mary Ann Mitchell made this in the 1820s.


A hand-me-down chair reupholstered (what was I thinking doing white?) and draped with one of my favorite quilts, a 1920's sampler made into a pillow, and a flower basket pillow made and embroidered by artist Julie Whitmore.

I don't know, but I think that my childhood was greatly influenced by friends who had an old house with wing chairs. This is an old wing chair, reupholstered and draped with a soft and cozy handwoven throw by artist Stephanie Arehart of Cambria, California.

A covered faience vegetable dish by artist Julie Whitmore. Most of my favorite pottery was broken during the 2003 earthquake, which rocked our old cottage in Cambria. Somehow (luckily) this survived.

Faretheewell and good-night!



P.S. Congratulations to Lili of Fearless Nesting (Maine blog) who is the winner of the wonderful gardening book The Complete Kitchen Garden by my friend Ellen Ecker Ogden. Lili, I know you'll get lots of ideas and use from this book. We will ship it out next week. Lili will also receive an extra surprise since she is a charter member of the Grimy Hands Girls' Club. Hurrah!

P.P.S. Visit my Lowe's blog "All Gardens Begin with Dreams" and please leave a comment.


Pondside said...

Lovely quilts, lovely images. Sometimes the day just calls for wrapping oneself in a quilt, book and tea cup at hand. It's been like that here lately - too cold and wet for the garden.

Lori ann said...

dear sharon,
i'm glad you received rain, it passed us by, with only a little sprinkle. we're still hoping for more, maybe even this weekend.
how lucky to have those samplers made by family, such treasures.
and julie's work, exquisite. (i have a couple small pieces in my post right now too).
and how i love your little birds paintings. i need to step back from all electronics at least for part of the day too and nature always comforts and gives peace. lucky we live in such a beautiful part of the world!
xxx lori

Linda Boothe said...

Sharon, thank you for sharing some of the lovely handmade treasures in your home. I especially loved seeing the heirloom needlework from your grandmother and great grandmother. What special gifts to have. I have a patchwork quilt that my great grandmother made that I treasure and I love looking at all the fun fabrics she chose to make it with. I also strive to fill our home and lives with handmade and pre-loved things.
We enjoyed the gentle rain today so much. Did you happen to see the beautiful rainbow that appeared around 5 in the northeast? The girls gasped and clapped their hands in delight because they had never seen one with such vivid colors.

Christie Jones Ray said...

Oh, how wonderfully cozy are your quilts....I nestled into my big comfy chair with a newly found old quilt, and watched Sense and Sensibility while it rained here, as well. I wound a ball of yarn to finish the lace trim on a knitted shawl for my mother, doing laundry and a bit of ironing here and there. And took a break from the 21st century (so to speak:)
But it was wonderful to get back and be able to post on my blog, after figuring out some technical difficulties...grrrrr....
anyhow...I would be thrilled if you came by for a visit:)
I enjoy your books that have come in the mail, and am so excited to set out our first vegetable garden this spring, with the help of our 5 year old grandson!
Blessings, friend,

Mozart's Girl said...

Dearest Sharon...happy March to you! I returned home from Australia yesterday & so enjoyed this visit to your beautiful blog. The colours, the softness of the light...such a tranquil & calming post. Just what i needed after the unnatural jostle & 10 hour time jump of my journey. Sending much love xoxo Rachel ps I've always adored parents have one from 1798 that hangs over their bed...a constant source of wonder x

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

What lovely handmade pieces you have in your collection. I love collecting them and creating them too.

Have a wonderful weekend Sharon.


Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Love the idea of re purposing and using old things. We have many antiques and they make a home feel so warm and inviting.

Love the framed handiwork & alphabet you have from the 1800's. My brain has gone dead and I can't think of what they are called (cross stitch?), but it does have a specific name in the antique world. Anyway, that was what ladies of the day did instead of surf the web and blog (smile). I often wonder what they would think of their us now.

Unknown said...

I’m very jealous of your hand me downs. How sweet they are.

Lucky you!
And those quilts. What a beautiful job.


Vee said...

Lovely things you've shared with us today. You certainly have your share of being the keeper of family treasures. What wonderful samplers! Art work, embroidery, quilts, lovely wing back chairs...all speak of gentility I think, which is a rare thing in today's world.

Congrats to your winner and now I'm off to read your article about gardening and dreams...funny odd coincidence since I've been bitten by a teeny-tiny garden dream myself.

Vee said...

I tried to leave a comment, but things are not working so well this morning. I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't go through.

Anonymous said...

what a lovely post, so many treasures, the quilts and the samplers, wow to have those family treasures is amazing, I love to see the buds on the trees it gives me hope.We are still in the depths of winter.I hope you are well and enjoy your spring , looks wonderful!

Lili said...

I'm so excited Sharon!! What a lovely way to start off my morning (and a new month for that matter)! I can imagine how comforting it is to have so many handmade treasures surround you, especially the very special ones from your Grandmothers. The way you described unplugging from our electronic world was also very comforting. I just know I'm going to love that book, the title alone is just so inspiring! Thank you so much! xoxo ~Lili

Pat said...

I feasted on all your vintage quilts - a treat for my quilting soul. Noticed the unusual setting of the double wedding ring too. cannot imagine a house without quilts - or a precious furry companion (s) or green growing things. Electronics are nice but you can't cozy up to them. (as I type away on my iPhone:o)

Robin Larkspur said...

Congrats to my friend Lili for winning the lovely giveaway. Enjoyed so much seeing all the quilts and handmades. Your philosophy of stepping away from Gadgets would serve us all well. It is refreshing to see this homage to the simple things in life.

Maggie said...

There have been many days during the last two months when I have sat before a log fire reading, musing and sipping tea.
But, this new month of March has brought me a sunny day, crocus and daffodils flowers nodding on the breeze in my garden and itchy fingers just waiting to get grimy!
Congrats to Lili.

Susan said...

What a lovely, nurturing home you have created. We have so much in common with keeping the past part of our future and remembering who we have become.
Much love, XOXO

Farm Girl said...

It is so nice to check in and see my favorite Gardiner and get new inspiration. Your quilts are gorgeous as well as the red work.
It is so nice to dream dreams of the garden when the rains are gently falling.
I hope all is well.

The Goo Girl : ) said...

Homemade happiness, I loved this blog. Thank you for sharing your precious treasures with us all, so pretty and pleasing to the eye.

The swelling buds on the plum tree is a lovely image to start my day with Sharon, thank you! The garden is sweetly rain-soaked and ready for my attention, and I am dreaming of Spring :)

Julie Marie said...

Hi Sharon... what a lovely post!... I too am so anxious for Spring... I am not a winter person!... your samplers are so beautiful, and what precious memories they must hold... and I love your stack of quilts... I must get mine out now, (I do not have nearly as many as you do), and stack them where I can enjoy them too... xoxo Julie Marie

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Love, love all your warm words.

Thanks for the sweet visits.


the REAL girl said...

Hi Sharon,

You know....I just LOVE white furniture, but I always think...."I won't allow people to sit if I have it," so I don't have it....but I do admire it.

It's very wonderful white is, especially draped with a quilt...


libbyquilter said...

what a lovely post~!!~totally enjoyed it~!


Donna said...

You are right...handmade things are treasures that we never outgrow. I love my grandmother-mother's quilts and even more so now that they are gone.
And like you, I am never happier than with a pen in my hand or making something too. When finished, they are my babies.
Thank you for the tour of your lovely things!

Bonnie K said...

I so love the quilts! They are so beautiful. The chair is also great. I hope your home is happy and healthy.

Sonia said...

You have such lovely vintage the memories you share and the coziness of your charming place! The quilts are just gorgeous!
Miss Bloomers

Little Bird said...

My gratitude to you, dear Sharon, for this gracious reminder that it is ok - wonderful even - to slow down and appreciate beautiful works from the past. We adopted a new puppy last weekend, so I have the feeling everything in our home will soon show signs of...age! Including us!

Unknown said...

Your little respites look so fresh, cozy and inviting all at the same time! So lovely Sharon. I love surrounding myself with things that are once- loved, up cycled and hand made. Your quilts are beautiful. Special Art pieces really add to a homemade life as well. I've got a new stack of books from the library... still too wet to get the new cut flower garden in.. A day of cooking, cleaning and reading for me!
Thanks for the peak into your cozy world!
lots of love!

Jorgelina said...

Lovely quilts.
Great post.

Gigi said...

What a lovely post. You're surrounded with so much beauty and sweet meaningful treasures in your charming home.

jerilanders said...

Sharon, I love it all, the soft, worn quilts, the heirloom samplers, OH! that cupboard with the fox is wonderful, what a treasure. I think much of my love for OLDE also came from my childhood, spending time in the Victorian home of my mothers best friend. She had a little herb garden outside her kitchen door, and African violets growing in little clay pots in the windowsills.
Your little bird paintings are so charming .

steph said...

Lori ann sent me! I expected some gardening....and found a kindred spirit. Homemade--handmade--family treasures--quilts! Lovely post. Beautiful pictures. So glad I found you. (I give toad cottages to all my new grandma friends!! )

Angela said...

I love your quilts. My family have a few quilts my great grandmother made and we cherish them. Thanks for sharing.

Nan said...

Oh, I have Long Life, too, but haven't sat down with it yet. Lovely things you have.

Casa Mariposa said...

I have a beautiful embroidery piece made for my Nana that I've framed. It's true art to me. :o) I've tried to leave a comment on your Lowe's blog but kept getting an error message.

Comfrey Cottages said...

congratulations Lili! Gorgeous handmade goodies, Sharon! Adore that fox! big hugs xxx

Donna said...

Sharon, your home is so cozy and inviting. I love all the homemade touches. How very special. I also loved your previous post and seeing your hummers. It will be another 6 weeks or so before they show up here in New England, but I'll be ready for them when they arrive!
Have a wonderful weekend!

Sandy, Sisters of Season said...

Hi Sharon, Such pretty quilts and the needlework pieces are so special to you I'm sure. I myself love to cross stitch . . . but I realize it's that time to get some new glasses, getting tough to see in detail. Thanks for the sweet visit and come again soon. Blessings, Sandy:O)

Elizabeth and Gary said...

Hi Sharon,
I adore all your handmade happiness!!! every piece makes my heart sing. How amazing that you have your family hand stitching. They look beautifully preserved, I love them all! My goodness 1820 really, that is so exciting to have. The sweet tiny birds you are painting are so delightful! The handwoven throw is lovely and it looks so soft and warm.
I loved your post so much..
Have a sweet day, Elizabeth

Susan said...

Hello Sharon, I have just found your blog. Sometimes I just have to believe in karma. Like you I was introduced to gardening by my wonderful Quaker grandfather and his sisters.

Secondly I recently recommended your book "Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots" to a friend with young children. I'll be a regular visitor from now on.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your sweet words and e-mails. No, I am not ill, just scurrying to finish new additions my editor has requested for my bird book.

I'll post soon and will have a wonderful drawing.

All joys to you,


Vicki Boster said...

Hi Sharon- it's lovely to step into your world and see some of the things that you treasure- items that help to keep you connected with your history. I have pieces that I treasure just as you do- like a partially knitted sweater that my Mother started put never finished. It's still on the needles- row counter and all.

Your quilts and pillows-- pictures and pottery- are all so lovely. Your home is a beautiful solace.

Congrats to my sweet friend Lili for winning your contest!

Ps- I hope both you and Jeff are well into being on the mend--


Hi Sharon, I love your quilts and those relics from your grandmothers are wonderful. Such a precious legacy you've been given. I love your bird drawings. Take care and enjoy the rain.

Flowers said...

Your paintings are lovely. I have not picked up a pencil and a brush in such a long time and i do miss it. I really must make time for it.