HAPPY NEW YEAR GIRLFRIENDS!!! Inserting my New Year Song for you …. What are doing tonight? I’ll see you soon … I’ve been working hard on our book! Happy 2013 to us, one and all!!! XOXO
I thought, on this Christmas Eve, I would love to talk about Home and what it means to me. When I was thirty-three, I moved to Martha’s Vineyard from California, and bought my first house. ♥ Musica?
Having a little house of my own was something I had dreamed of since I was a child.
It was a very small house, which I wrote about and painted often, even in my first book, but it was perfect for me. I lived there alone with my three kitties for six years, learning what it was like to have seasons; I wrote my first three books at the dining room table in this house. I know just how Natalie Wood felt in Miracle on 34th Street. I almost saw Santa’s cane in the corner at Holly Oak when I went in the first time.
The house was in the woods; every day I would walk out the door and down the dirt road next to the house to the water, to the same pond Joe and I walk past every morning now; our walk takes us to the other shore of that same pond. Yes, the house had a name, Holly Oak, on a sign, nailed to a tree, and to me, it was a dream come true. I was so grateful, I really haven’t ever “wanted” anything since, because right then I knew, I had it all. Inside, “out of the wind and the rain’s way,” I could live my little life, plant my garden, feed the birds, make noodles and pie, read my books, raise my kitties to be fine strong young cats. I felt safe there because no one could take it from me. It was HOME. I still have dreams about this little house. ♥
Since then have fallen in love with all houses! And anything attached to them, like children, neighborhoods, porches, gardens, kitties, dogs, squirrels, birds, trees, fences, and I take pictures of them wherever I go. I like big houses, but I like the little ones better.
A house represents family stability, but they seem to me to be filled with mystery. I think of them almost as a person, especially the old ones, imbued with the character of lives lived within; I’m pretty sure everything I do in my house adds another layer of character. The newer ones, like my first little house, are like banks, and each holiday, each loving act, each cooking of a dinner, each creative thing done, even every sadness, is a contribution, so when the house is old, it will have character too. The feeding and care of a house is an important thing. Right now houses all over the country are being fed from the heart . . . with welcomes home!, crackling fires, music and colored lights, delicious smells coming from the kitchen, wrapping of gifts, families coming together, the light and excitement in the eyes of children . . . reminiscing about loved ones who are no longer there. That’s what a house is to me. ♥
I’m sure pictures of houses like this were seeds of inspiration to bring me to New England. This house speaks to me of love, comfort, safety, sturdiness, old quilts, corn pudding and pumpkin pie, tradition, surprises under the Christmas tree. Old movies were such an influence on me, the curtains and wallpaper in the movie Dear Ruth, the cottages in Love Letters, Mrs. Miniver’s wonderful house, Diane Keaton’s house in Something’s Got to Give — her farmhouse in Baby Boom. The way to sell me on a movie is to put a good house in it!
Look at the charm these people added to this plain little house. It has to be love.
I take pictures of houses wherever I go, even speeding along on the train, through the window of our “room with a view” when Joe and I travel across the country.
Another photo I took through the train window, of this little neighborhood of colorful houses. I see cup-a-sugar borrowing going on here. I keep waiting, when I show some of the pictures of the houses I love, for one of you to say, “Hey, that’s MY house!” I wouldn’t be a bit surprised! ♥
I took lots of photos of darling cottages in England . . . this one has become a restaurant — don’t you just love restaurants in old houses? New England has lots of them too.
I put a photo of this house, which is next door to Jane Austen’s house in England (because how could I NOT!), on my blog, and Mary, the woman who lives there, DID contact me to say hello and tell me how surprised she was to see her house (and the closeup of her little dog. “Basil,” who was sitting in the window!). The magic of the internet makes it such a small world.
Basil. English super dog.
There are two houses in this picture of our little cottage in California.
And this precious California house . . . I love festive people!
and of course, my own sweet home.
My love for home has branched out beyond actual houses or pictures of houses, to things that are like houses!
On top of my stove right now, I have two houses and a manger.
And this newest one, sent to me by the sweetest person, was added to the stove-top scene just yesterday!
And speaking of houses and home, I have shown you glimpses of my wood room before — it’s the smallest room in our house, a cozy room with wood walls, hence the name “wood room.” It’s where we read, write letters, knit, talk on the phone, watch TV; where I update my diary at night…
. . . but it’s a little hard to photograph, which is the reason I’ve never tried to show it to you . . . it’s so dark, and the flash brings too much glare . . . so forgive the color here. There’s something about this room you may not have noticed, but I’ve just given you two clues . . . do you see it yet?
OK, I’ll tell you . . . it’s just that all the pictures on the wall are of houses. Homey homes, paintings and prints I have either done myself or collected in antique stores.
There are also old photos of the “house of creativity” I was grateful to receive from the previous owners when we moved in. And when we go, we will leave these, with maybe a couple of our own.
So it’s clear, I’m house-crazy with love. There are more pictures, above the hutch and on the other side of the door, but it’s too dark to see them … there’s also a small wood box, shaped like a house, where the roof opens, that I brought with me when I moved to the island; there’s house-shaped candle in there too . . .
Not that I really need very much to make the wood room cozy after this person settles in. ♥
Because there is nothing that cozies up a house more than a sweet little petty pet of one’s own.
So, of course, when I make a gingerbread house, it’s not very big and it’s not just a house, it’s a home.
These are dreams from my diary written (in the bad handwriting) long ago; I was just making a note. Writing things down is a way to make them come true. ♥ A good way to start the new year.
And that dream, though not finished, is still in the process of coming true — so far, so good! So what would you think a person who was writing her first book in the firelight and Christmas-tree light inside this little house would decide to name it? It would have to be something about the home. And the kitchen, and the heart, and the connection between those things . . . of course! Heart of the Home! Why didn’t I think of that? Oh! I did!
You probably have everything you always wanted for Christmas right now, a little house of your own, out of the wind and the rain’s way. But just in case . . . I have this book, and it’s looking for a new home! So, if you don’t have my first book, or if you know someone you would like to give it to . . . leave a comment! There are lots of good recipes in there! After the first of the year, Vanna will draw a name, I will sign the book, and off it will go to the Heart of your Home. You can leave as many comments as you like, because Vanna knows to only count each address once. And I think I’ll come back every so often this week, and change the music, and give us a little musical tour.
And now? Me and Jack? We’re going to go cook up a storm. Love and Blessings to you and yours and a wish for Peace for every little house on Earth.♥
Sending furry high fives. xoxo