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.


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