of stories, homes, and true gifts

Everything in my house has a story. Just casting around a quick glance and I see our dining table chairs that I reupholstered with fabric from my friend Carole who loved cats and was also a nontraditional PhD student (I miss seeing her smile), some tealight holders that were a housewarming gift from Amy and that glow the warmest orange color, and the red oriental rug that culminated from a dumpster-diving adventure with my kids. Even the kitty who is napping on her cat tower by the window has a hand-me-down story.

It means so much to me to surround myself with these stories--much like the satisfaction that I get from the many bookcases that line our walls.

So when I read this quote on a favorite blog this morning, it resonated with me because of a very special gift that I received last night:

From Christopher Alexander's book, A Pattern Language:
"Decor" and the concept of "interior design" have spread so widely, that very often people forget their instinct for the things they really want to keep around them... It is...fascinating to come into a room which is the living expression of a person, or a group of people, so that you can see their lives, their histories, their inclinations, displayed in manifest form around the walls, in the furniture, on the shelves. Do not be tricked into believing that modern decor must be.. anything that current taste-makers claim. It is most beautiful when it comes straight from your life--the things you care for, the things that tell your story.

Yesterday John and CatGirl were up to some kind of mischievous project that they kept just out of my line of sight. What they did was take a handful of the colorful flower prints from my flickr page and mount them on a wire suspended from one end of the room to the other--creating a kind of floating line of photos above our bookshelves. Each of the pictures they carefully mounted on black cardstock. After explaining to me how the photos could be easily rotated and changed, John said:

"It's our way of bringing your garden to you."


Jessica said...

I'd love to see a photo of the project John and Catgirl completed.
It sounds lovely.
I'm headed to UT tomorrow for Sunstone and to visit my grandparents, whose backyard is a close likeness to the Garden of Eden (better, I think ;)
A few weeks ago I was up there and took many photos of flowers and I've been thinking about how to display them in a way that brings their garden to them, as they are getting too old to get out there as often as they used to.
Thanks for the post, it also made me feel better about the decorations in my home.

Uncouth said...

This story made me cry.

catbonny said...

I knew that's what they were doing when I saw what they were up to on my way out.

Your family rocks. How sweet.

minxlj said...

what a lovely idea!! I love it :-)

Joy! said...

Wow, this REALLY resonates with me, quote and post both. I wish I could have written this because it feels so true. Thank you so much of reminding us. I am seeing my surroundings with fresh eyes.