Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Hidden Art of Homemaking at Easter

'There is no specific kind of house you must live in to be 'spiritual' - only the house the Lord has chosen for you, and the house with you in it. But whether it be a palace or a tree house, beauty is important, and this very simple form of producing beauty is really one of the most universally possible expressions of 'Hidden Art.' - from the ' The Hidden Art of Homemaking' by Edith Schaeffer 1914-2013 RIP

This Easter one of my favourite authors and homemaking mentor Edith Schaeffer went to be with the Lord. Her book 'The Hidden Art of Homemaking' forever changed my outlook on what I used to consider just everyday and even mundane domestic duties like cleaning, cooking and setting the table. She helped me realize that homemaking is indeed a hidden art and that you don't need to be affluent or a professional artist/designer/flower arranger to bring beauty into your home and life. I have entitled this post the Hidden Art of Homemaking at Easter as a tribute to Edith Schaeffer and to show you how I chose to express 'hidden art' by setting a beautiful table for our family's Easter Sunday dinner as we celebrated Jesus - alive, risen from the dead. Hallelujah!

An artist begins with a blank canvas. My canvas was a trestle table (I used 2) - those fold up plastic ones you buy at hardware stores. They are pretty ugly but are transformed with a covering. I used two cream crocheted vintage tablecloths that I purchased from an elderly lady. I appreciate the fact that someone spent hours at home creating these, that they would have been used for family dinners back in the 1950's/60's and are being used again.

The vintage china I used is from a dinner set I purchased recently. I knew it would be perfect for our Easter table. The silver cutlery was another recent find - at a market stall. I paid just $20 for a 12 piece setting that even came with a soup ladle and serving fork and spoon!

The crystal wine glasses were a garage sale find - just $2 each. I'm always buying up bud vases at garage sales. They are usually only a couple of dollars and are perfect for popping flowers into. No flower arranging skills needed. Just snip the stalks and pop into the vessel - you could use small jam jars or bottles if you don't have bud vases. I wanted to use purple flowers on my table after being inspired by some pictures from a post from mammka my newest follower, all the way from Hungary! Purple is the colour of Easter - thank you Mammka for reminding me of this! My younger children loved helping to pick the sprigs of purple salvia from the kitchen garden.

See how lovely they look going down the table!

I used another garage sale vase to hold camellias. It is the wrong season here for daffodils and tulips that are the usual centrepieces on Easter tables. These camellias are scented and grow near to my kitchen door. The shrub is covered in blooms at the moment.

My husband had to remind me not to become distracted by 'prettying the table' and forget about the food! The Easter lamb nearly didn't happen. Our oven has been out of action for weeks after the multi-function switch malfunctioned. Thankfully, we were able to borrow a tabletop turbo oven from a friend and it cooked our lamb to perfection! We used our pizza oven to cook the potato and kumara and our guests brought the colourful platters of salad. I set one platter out on one of my upturned vintage crates. Gotta love pinterest! Old crates that would have been firewood just a few years ago are transforming homes and tables! And I discovered tea towels fit them perfectly. I found my 'Faith' tea towel in a newsagents shop!

I also bought the one monogrammed with something that is dear to my heart and used it as a tray cloth. These tea towels were very inexpensive. I used vintage milk jugs to hold bunches of mint picked fresh from the garden. Lamb and mint are the perfect partners. Every garden/home needs a pot of mint.

And what would a Easter party be without a dessert table and chocolate! We don't make the Easter bunny the focus of our Easter but as rabbits are one of God's creatures and generally regarded a symbol of new life alongside eggs, I'm not concerned about using one here and there to decorate my table. And if someone was to ask my children if the Easter bunny had visited their house I'm sure they would have responded in the same way my daughter did one year with childlike amazement to someone who asked if santa was coming to see her. 'Don't you know? Christmas is all about Jesus! And even in the presence of chocolate, rabbits and eggs, Easter for my children is all about Jesus too!

Another market stall find - vintage scales in mint green hold a plate of gingerbread.

One of my cake stand creations hold sweet teatime treats - all purchased, as without my oven I could not bake in advance. My daughter and her friend managed to cook a chocolate mocha pudding for dessert in the pizza oven. We served it in vintage sundae dishes topped with vanilla ice cream and tiny, pastel chocolate eggs. For dessert we had to retreat inside as the showers became heavier but even the rain did not dampen spirits on this most spiritual of days.


 We attended an Easter production at church on Good Friday, an outreach picnic lunch on Saturday and on Sunday we came together as a family and gathered around the table that you see in these photos. We talked, we laughed, we enjoyed good food and good company at home in the beautiful setting that God has given us where we make our home and live meaningful lives. Was this any less spiritual than attending a church service? It was more than just a family dinner - you see the Lord was present and we had gathered in His name to remember His sacrifice at Calvary and to celebrate His resurrection. It was a celebration I felt deserved a beautiful table and I took delight in decorating it.

 My girls wanted to dress in special dresses and wear flowers in their hair. I'm sure Edith Schaeffer would have approved of our efforts to bring beauty and creativity into our Easter family gathering and it is with her words in regard to family gatherings around meal tables that I close.

'The 'conservation' of family life does not consist of sticking a rose in the middle of a table; it is a deeper thing than that. .... And in this need to get back to 'gracious living', to real communication among people living together, it seems to me one place to start could be the meal-time moments, and the careful preparation of the background for conversations at that time.'
                                                                                                  Edith Schaeffer 1914-2013 RIP.


Joolz said...

It all looks positively beautiful. Simple but so elegant, I bet you had a fantatic time.


Pam said...

This is so lovely. Your table is very, very beautiful. I love the purple flowers, and agree about the color; also on all you have said about Easter. It was so well said. Easter is all about Jesus and His Resurrection. That is our approach too. I have also felt the tug of war of bunnies and eggs... they are not symbols of the resurrection, but they are symbols of God's creation and His springtime; thus new life. So we do not emphasize them in the way that the world does, but they are His none the less, and so we enjoy them without the emphasis.

I think if we explored each other's bookshelves, we would find ourselves right at home. I have the book "The Hidden Art of Homemaking" by Edith Schaeffer, and it has also been one of my favorites. I did not realize she passed away this Easter. My goodness, she was almost 100 years old. Wow. What a precious Day to go and be with the Lord.

Your pictures will be a wonderful addition to your website... if you use them. They are a lovely display of your dishes, and release that feeling of gracious living that is truly a part of who you are.

Love and Blessings,

Camille said...

Beautiful my friend...the words and the photos. What a blessing you are to your family. May the LORD indeed be the focus and the reason for all we do in our homes. HE is Risen...indeed! HE alone is worthy of all our praise.

Much Love,

Beloved's Redheaded Bride said...

Edith Schaffer is one of my favorite people too! She has some great wisdom that is fun to quote often.

Your tables, flowers and food all look fabulous. I am sure everyone appreciated those little touches of love! '

So, glad you had a wonderful Holiday! - Carmen

living from glory to glory said...

Dear Ann, I was saddened to hear of her passing. I also loved and read this book. I must try to order myself one, as I always borrowed a copy from the library.
Your table setting was perfect, elegant yet not over done with just such beauty. Your family will have many sweet memories.
I enjoyed the statement about what kind of home we may live in. My desire is to have a home drawn to His Heart. I am still trying to condense my list of (What I don't do) to leave a comment from your last post... LOL
Blessings Always, Roxy

Unknown said...

It all looks lovely! I really like your dessert table!
Our Easter was very low key this year as we were having a big party on the Monday to celebrate our two oldest boys birthdays.

Amber said...

I just found your blog through Pam's (Where Your Treasure Is) blog. I love your table setting! Like Pam's I think it is simple and attainable yet very beautiful and quaint! Not intimidating or too flouffy! Love it!

Amber said...

By the way, I love your blog. It's very inspiring! I'm a new follower!

Intentional Living Homestead said...

Just came across your blog. Beautiful. Will be back soon. You have a gorgeous family.


wattle_girl said...

Oh, Ann, how wonderful to find someone who has been as inspired by Mrs Schaeffer as I have been. I was saddened by her passing because she had been such an integral part of my life since I became a Christian over 30 years ago. Your table and celebration are certainly beautiful, and a lovely tribute in a very gentle way. Blessed be, Julie

Shane Pollard said...

Dear Ann
Would you believe I wrote a very long comment and my computer shut down!!! I had it on my knee and didn't realise the cord had come out - the battery kept it going for half an hour!!!

I love your tribute post to Edith Schaeffer, I'm imagining her looking down from Heaven with a sweet smile on her face - she would be so proud of you Ann!

What an honour to be a guest at your Easter table.
You have created a beautiful setting with everything you've collected.
Those two exquisite crochet table cloths came to you with memories of another family's celebrations, probably much like yours on Easter Sunday.
I especially love the linen with the crochet squares, piecing that is a work of art.

I love your use of the old crate - so perfect with the 'Faith' teatowel - now that was made for you!! The family one is special too, I haven't seen them here.

The bush setting in the background is an inspiring reminder of God’s artistic hand.

You know I’ve never understood what bunnies have to do with Easter either. I’m sure it began as a commercial ploy.
To me lambs would have been a better interpretation of the Lamb of God and new life.

Thank you for your visits Ann, I love seeing you pop into my blog from time to time.
I’m in the throws of planning another trip to see my three granddaughters!

Much love and hugs
Shane ♥

Amelia said...

Oh I have that book by Edith Schaffer, it's such a good book! I know Edith will be sorely missed by those who appreciated her soft wisdom. My daughters also enjoy her book.

I really like your taste, and the old retro scale is absolutely wonderful! I need to find one of those and do the same...Just love it.

Glad to see you're doing well. : )

Blessings! ~Amelia


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