Are you inspired by lovely domestic pictures? Not so much pretty Pinterest pictures (though those can also do the trick), but photos of everyday items that just happen to be beautiful? If, like me, your heart flutters a bit at these photos, then you’re likely to be thrilled with A Well-Kept Home.
In it, you’ll find pictures of crisp linens, still-life-worthy produce, and worn shutters cracked to reveal a glimpse of sunlight. A bowl of soap being made, glasses being scrubbed, and silverware being polished show how the process of keeping a home can be filled with beauty.
The book is filled with good info, too. It’s not a step-by-step how to (do these things in order to keep home), but rather a collection of tips. In fact, the book is written in remembrance of the author’s grandmother, and one of my favorite parts of the book is the introduction, where she talks about her. “My childhood home belonged to a woman who found happiness in the simplest of tasks. . . She could sew, embroider and mend an old fabric found in a flea market, but she was also capable of stripping back and renovating an old wardrobe. Although refined and sophisticated, she favored simplicity and all things natural.”
The book is divided into these sections:
• For the Gastronome, which includes info on food preservation and cake-making
• Home Sweet Home, with tips on traditional paints (grandmother used to annually repaint the house with lime paint); light (like me, the author seems to favor sheer white curtains); perfumes and scents for the house; flowers and bouquets; furniture, wooden and parquet floors; sparkling tableware; and baskets and rugs
• The Linen Cupboard, which includes washing, drying, and ironing tips (with directions for removing stains, scenting clothes, and even making old-fashioned starch for ironing); directions for making traditional dyes; and cleaning and protecting clothes and accessories
• Beauty and Well-Being, with tips for health through plants (herbal remedies), refined toiletries (homemade soap, shampoo, and nail fortifier), and perfumes and lotions (I’ve always wanted to make rose water and plan to give her recipe a try.)
• Back to Nature, which offers info on roses and rosebushes, sowing and repotting (including preserving seeds), protecting plants, and gardener’s tools. There are directions for making a fortifying nettle tisane (rich in mineral salts), which I’ll try on some plants next year. And a tip for treating a rusty tool blade: Rub it with the cut side of an onion sprinkled in sugar. I’m going to try that too — and if it works, I’ll add it to our garden tools post!
A Well-Kept Home isn’t encyclopedic, but grandmothers aren’t, are they? Laura’s grandmother had plenty of domestic wisdom to pass along, and I’m so glad Laura decided to share it with us.
Please let us know if you’ve come across a book C2K readers might enjoy! We’re interested in homemaking, sustainable living, frugality, repairing and mending, and all manner of taking good care!
You might also enjoy:
Green Housekeeping — Recipes and Solutions for a Cleaner, More Sustainable Home by Christina Strutt