Cath raised an interesting point in her comment on yesterday's post. If we love books, which come in assorted shapes sizes and colours, but we also love a calm and serene environment how do we create this?
For ideas on book storage click here
- gorgeous rooms filled with books, but not one of these is restful to the eye.
We've made one of our bedrooms into a study, and all our books are in there, covering two walls. Two desks, a comfy chair and a lamp - this is my ideal arrangement. See here
, and here.
Of course I sometimes take a small stack into the cosier sitting room, and there are always a few beside the bed.... A dining room or a guest room might also double as a library.
You could organise them according to colour! This is the header photograph from the Danish blog Style Files
but I do like my books organised by subject..
If it is not possible to have a separate room you might have some of your bookshelves with doors - sliding doors, to hide a television, or books, take up less space; or blinds, or a Japanese paper screen, or ceiling mounted curtains - but solutions would have to be thought through carefully to balance accessibility with visual impact.
Lovely challenge, isn't it!
PS If you liked the Worst Ice Skater Ever video on Saturday's post, you may have missed at the end of the video it says 'click here for a longer performance' - I think it's worth watching. About 8 minutes. Clever, and funny.
I bought a new lamp. Quite unlike my usual style, which is plain and simple, this lamp is quite elaborate, and black and gold! I think I get away with it in this simple wooden house because, apart from a black and gold framed print, everything else is plain and simple, and to my eye, the contrast is attractive.
It is a question I think of proportion - if the room held equal amounts of plain things and elaborate things it would just look a muddle, but a lot of one and a very little of the other makes a point of interest....I also like a room of all new things with just one or two antique things, or a room full of antiques with a modern classic piece for contrast, or a room decorated in neutral colours with one primary colour. You get the idea....
for a fun quiz to help you define, and perhaps refine, your style.
Couldn't resist illustrating yesterday's quote with my own jug, sitting on the table shouting 'Spring!'
The line comes from Doris Lessing's The Pit.
Today's closing lines are Scottish, and sad, from the author of a famous trilogy:
But she still sat on as one by one the lights went out and the rain came, beating the stones about her, and falling all that night while she still sat there, presently feeling no longer the touch of the rain or hearing the sound of the lapwings going by.
The risk with printing endings is that they can be a bit of a 'spoiler' I realise. Sorry!
The triumphant ending of yesterday's novel Grace Notes by Bernard Maclaverty won't, I hope, spoil this lovely novel for you if you have not read it before. The author makes you experience the world through the mind and the ears of a young composer....I reread this one every now and then.
I've not read this one, and don't remember how I came to find the opening lines:
A final sprig of flowering cherry among the white lilac and yellow jonquils, in a fat white jug...she stuck this in judiciously, filling in a peetern that needed just so much attention. Shouting 'Spring!' the jug sat on a small table in the middle of the room.
This rusty candle ring which I hang above the table on special occasions is a favourite thing.
Birch twigs now, and tiny flower shapes made of card,
glittery bits and gypsophila for Christmas 2012,
twinkling stars Christmas 2009, and at other times I use just ivy or some wild flowers, (though I've not photographed these, yet).
Did you like yesterday's closing line? An unusual way to end a novel, isn't it! It is A S Byatt's The Virgin in The Garden.
I've got my camera back, and my husband - they've both been abroad. This was my Valentine's 'card' for him on his return....The paper hearts are made with a clever little punch, glued onto birch branches with PVA. Fun to do..
Quote for today! These are the last lines of a novel which won The Scotsman Scottish book of The Year in 1998 (I think):
Randel came back and pointed to various sections of the orchestra, and they stood. He looked down into the audience and beckoned Catherine with a high wave to the podium. Bravo. She rose.
I love the luxury of a hot bath by candlelight. A favourite experience, as I've mentioned before is listening to the owls hoot in the forest as I soak!
Our bathroom is quite tiny. Fitted simply, white tiles and wooden walls and floor - it cost very little. I made the gingham curtains 12 years ago, the shower curtain is plain white, and towels - nice, if old and well washed - are warmed by the radiator below. A pale grey, linen-lined basket holds the clutter, hidden under more fresh towels and a Tumbletwist cotton mat is on the floor.
The decorative things on the windowledge and the wall sconce cost a few pounds. (In summer I always have small glasses of wild flowers at the window) and I use a rose glycerine soap from Crabtree and Evelyn so it always smells gorgeous.
The fact, hard to believe, that I didn't live in a house with a bath until I was 22, may account for the feeling I have that such a simple bathroom is luxurious!
Over the next few days I thought I'd post simple images of home in winter. One of the things that makes home cosy for me is using candles and lamps every evening - it makes me feel comfortable and very relaxed. I like several pools of soft light in a room....do you?
On Monday morning when I drew back the curtains....
It was the kind of snow that bends the branches of the birch trees to the ground,
and is perfect for making snow lanterns.
But the wind kept blowing out the candles,
So I tried some battery LED lights (not as nice as the candle though....What do you think?)
On Tuesday there was a partial thaw and great strips of snow descended from the corrugated roof!
It also looked nice from the side, curving out from the porch roof....(see the new header photograph too).
By Wednesday it had all fallen onto the steps. It looks fluffy, but it was frozen solid.
S'no nice (sorry!) trying to clear it when it is this solid - it took an age!
I hope your snow, if you have it, is the fun and beautiful kind and not the dangerous and inconvenient kind!
Passing the bedroom door this morning I glanced in and was struck by the dramatic arrangement of light and shadows which a shaft of watery wintry sunshine was creating..just had to stop what I was doing and fetch the camera....
Something familiar and taken for granted can be transformed into something that momentarily stops you in your tracks.
Magic. Makes you look with new eyes.
There are not many bunches of shop bought flowers..
that don't look better with a bunch of birch twigs added.
The taller the better!
Mind where you position the candles..
Now is a good time to collect big bunches from under the trees in gardens and parks or countryside and put them in a dry shed or cupboard for a few weeks. Then you can spray them white or silver to decorate the house for, whisper it, Christmas.
(Today I stocked up on flour, sugar, icing sugar and toasted flaked almonds in anticipation of that same event....)