Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Domestic Engineer

I have been struggling for awhile to define what it is I "do" for people who ask that insufferable question upon first meeting: "So what do you do?" Now don't get me wrong I ask that question myself to those I first meet, it makes for an easy ice breaker, so I get why they ask it. The hard part is when you don't have a job (by choice) AND you don't have children.

My first initial responses to this question were, "I'm a housewife." But that felt wrong, what am I married to my house? I certainly hope not! Then I fell upon saying "homemaker." I actually really like this one because that is what I do. Every day I am blessed with making a house into a home. One that I can share and love with my hard-working husband. But sometimes "homemaker" feels dowdy especially in certain company. You know the ones where the women hold high powered jobs, or in a room full of stuffy men. In those situations you want to sound intelligent and hard-working. For those times I am going to cry out proudly, "domestic engineer!" Maybe that will leave them scratching their heads for a minute.

I finished this lovely book just this morning. Jane Brocket details her life of domesticity in short little essays categorized in sections such as "Comfort", "Luxury", "Nature", and "Patterns." This book is a bight colored mengaerie of everything domestic (minus the cleaning part. I'm guessing she's leaving that for Martha Stewart.) I am more of a soft blues, purples, and greens kind of girl so Brocket's hot pink and lime green cupcakes were a little much for me. However, the "Villandry Quilt" and the "Teenage Quilt" she highlights in the book were very beautiful and more to my palette.  Brocket's education and work experience in wine and Victorian art and literature enhance this book greatly.

Brocket shares not only the crafting life of quilting, crochet, knitting, and cake decorating but an array of fine art and literature that exemplify the joys of domestic life. This book introduced me to such beautiful paintings as Chatterboxes by Thomas Kennington and The Felixstowe to Ipswich Coach by Russell Sidney Reeve.

It was like taking an art history seminar curated to the homemaker! Brocket shares a wealth of resources on quilting, needlework, baking, etc. that I found to be especially helpful. I checked out Erika Knight's Simple Crochet from the library on her recommendation and am loving it.

She also introduced me to the crinoline ladies! I am in love with these lovelies and can't wait to get my hands on a pattern to embroider one myself. These are some amazing examples of crinoline ladies shared in Brocket's book.

Hopefully soon I can share some of the domestic engineering I've been up to recently. Don't worry I won't be showing any pictures of the sparkling clean toliet or anything! (Although it does look pretty nice.) There has been a lot of piecing going on for a sample quilt I am making for my quilting class, along with some stamp making, and a little crochet. Yep I've been kept busy at the old office!