Sunday, 8 November 2009

Moments of mess, or the story of stuff

First of all I feel that I should issue a warning about this post - it contains pictures of some rather untidy nooks in my house, entirely disarranged and totally unedited, apart from my attempts to brighten up the pictures so that you can see through the gloom. I am writing in response to an initiative called Moments which comes from the wonderful blog A Commonplace Life, where the idea is to show more of real life on our blogs.

I discovered this via Sarah at Red Gingham and Floss at Troc Broc and Recoup', and felt that I should take up their challenge to show more of the messy bits of life. I started blogging with the aim of encouraging myself to look on the positive side of life and take joy in the everyday place which I find myself, and I haven't aimed to present a picture of perfection, but I have tried to concentrate on the beauty in mundane things. Of course, in the process, the mess gets edited out because I have been trying to look beyond the mess. So today the task is to see the beauty in a spontaneous vision of the places where I work and create - none artfully arranged, just pictured as they were when I wandered about the house with my camera.

But for those of you who have a sensitive disposition, I will start off by showing my side of the swap that I have just done with Sarah, who started me along this track (the messy pictures are for you, Sarah!). A little while ago she indicated on her blog that she rather admires the pretty tea towels she has seen on English blogs, the like of which she cannot obtain in New Zealand. So I offered to send a few bits of English prettiness down south.

 As we are both participants in the Dottie Angel Ultimate Challenge, charity shops were my first port of call and I found three tea towels good enough to send overseas, but I didn't want to disappoint Sarah with a bundle of old tat, and as my version of the Challenge allows for buying new craft supplies and also presents for others, where a suitable secondhand or handmade alternative is not available, then I felt I could buy some new ones (especially as Sarah is probably going to turn them into bags or presents herself).

And, what was more, these all came in pairs, and the twins I can use as my patent recyclable wrapping paper which I mentioned in this post.

And now, having softened you up with a little domestic pulchritude, I propose to present something a little less artful, in the way of domestic disorder.

As he plonked himself down on the sofa in the kitchen (yes, the holiday sofa is now in the kitchen - I need somewhere warm for my afternoon nap), a sofa heaped with a surplus of miscellaneous cushions, crochet granny blankets and my knitting bag made from an old skirt, my dear brother-in-law, Bob the Builder, this morning very amiably expressed the sentiment that perhaps we needed to build an extension. I did respond that I knew that the subtext to this comment was the fact that I have a lot of, shall we say, 'stuff', and that sometimes I dream of living in a minimalist white modern box of the sort that is his stock-in-trade - it would be so much more forgiving on the dusting front. But he knows me well enough to pronounce that minimalism is not really my style. He is right, of course: wellies and pinnies would be quite out of place in such a clean and tasteful setting.

And you have seen from my previous post that I have issues with crossing to the other side of the road when a charity shop looms into view. I did bite the bullet when we turned some rooms over to B&B: you can just imagine how much stuff had to be turned out (or maybe not if you are not of an acquisitive, what's that lying by the side of the road? sort of disposition) and I did hand over nearly a dozen bags to charity shops, rather than liberating them in the other direction, as is more usually the case.

 But then when my parents moved to a smaller house, I am afraid that I felt impelled to rehome not inconsiderable amounts of furniture and china, mainly because I knew it was all the sort of stuff that I would pay good money for if I saw it in a charity shop.

Some of my nearest and dearest now have a habit of handing me their charity shop bags to rifle through before they finally dispose of the treasures inside, or very kindly informing me if they have something to take to the tip, because I will probably save them the journey.

So I think that we have established that my house is ranged quite densely with domestic artefacts, but sometimes it does distress me slightly that these artefacts are not ranged as neatly as they might be.

I grew up in a very tidy house, my close female relatives have very clean and tidy houses, and I live so often in a state of disorder with dog hair lapping at my ankles; I do dream of living in a well-regulated household, but I become distracted by poetry and knitting and the exquisite potentiality of yarn and fabric, and when I wake up the disorder has multiplied exponentially. I am very grateful that I have a Head Chef otherwise I might well starve poetically, all the while knitting my fingers to the bone.

Which is why my pictures tend to be close-up, I think: this means that no extraneous mess need be visible and I am fascinated by the representative quality of domestic minutiae, probably because it sure beats doing the dusting.

But after these pictures of my workspace, I will leave you with this one thought for a Sunday afternoon: whose desk is the messiest of all (no, it's not mine!)?


Rubys mamma x said...

Hello lovely, maybe i will take some messy photos too! i could fill an album, mr p has left the shed keys at the yard today-of all days when i intended to fill it with crap, never mind, thanks for the migrane tip, i id wonder about my neck, and also my eyes as i really do need another test, must sort that out, Hope all is well with you xxxx

Michela said...

Pomona, don't worry, I still love very much your blog, even after seeing such a messy cottage! ;-)
Thank you for your honesty!

silverpebble said...

I saw this link over at Floss's blog and I thought it was a very refreshing idea. Thankyou for posting your 'as found' images. The pattern and colour around your home has made looking at them very enjoyable indeed. Who truly lives in a spotless perfectly tidy home? Not one of us.

niftyknits said...

nope - I see nothing whatsoever untidy in your pictures. Maybe my standards are lower!

blackbird said...

I love your 'messy' pics. I'm a firm believer that our raw materials- yarn, fabric, kitchen tools, books and china- should not be considered a mess. Untidy maybe but if you spent all of your time tidying- there would be no time left over to create. And enjoy.

VintageVicki said...

Ah reality posting is spreading! I saw Floss & Sarahs posts and have done a reality blog entry too.

Lets see who is the next one to be brave??

Lyn said...

Well how refreshing! I think I may photograph my messy house, no lets not say messy, let's say they are 'lived-in!'

The Garden Bell said...

What a great idea. I'm always trying to take pictures around my little messie piles. Your's don't look too bad. Right now, in the middle of a remodel. Mine just keep moving from room to room in one big pile. Heading right over to check this link out.


Cottage Garden said...

I agree with Blackbird but it's refreshing to see your 'as found' photos Pomona although I don't find them messy at all! I live in a period cottage too which however much I wanted it to be so, can never be minimalist in style, so I know exactly what you mean. You should see my work space - well actually you won't cos it's a disgrace!! My home photos are usually close-ups too!!

Jeanne x

Sarah said...

Your sofa made me laugh because it's so truthful. That's just what they look like most of the time. How many people get out of their chair and reposition the cushions?

Considering I said how difficult it would be to cut into the lovely tea towels you kindly send me, yesterday I managed to cut into two of them! Yes we have two lovely bags - for me. I'm so pleased with them and I think I deserve a couple of new bags after making so many for other people. One has to be able to promote ones wares. Good advertising I say.

I'll try and blog about them today. Thanks again. I have plans for the last tea towel as well.

Hen said...

Hi Pomona,
I think I may be about to be controversial! Firstly, your house is not messy anyway, just normal (and nice, homely, cosy etc). But might I just express my opinion and say I honestly enjoy your posts more when they are filled with pretty pictures of your surrounding gardens and countryside, your lovely dog and Princess Bunchy, the feasts the head chef whips up and the beautiful things you make and collect. I personally, (just me!) like to look at lovely pictures on blogs, just like I buy magazines because everything in them looks lovely and pretty. When I see a lovely home in a magazine or on a blog, I don't however assume that person or their home is perfect, neat, tidy and wonderful all of the time, just that on their own blog, they want to project those things. I do think it's ok to choose to show the positive, pretty things in your life if that's what you want to do. Surely, a person can have their blog how they like it? Did you enjoy writing your "messy" post as much as your normal posts? I delight in the beauty I see daily on people's blogs and find it very inspiring. I'm not going to be bowing to pressure to show you anyone my messy bits, but like everyone, of course they are there somewhere. Each to their own, of course!
Hen xxx
P.S. I always plump the cushions up when I get up off the sofa - sorry, I can't help it.

Florence and Mary said...

I'm looking around my room and want to take photos of the devastation I leave after the weekends now!!!

Although I have to say my mess doesn't look as good as yours!

Victoria xx

whoatemycrayons said...

How brave you are to show your home, and yet it looks completely charming and lovely, unlike the the Crayons household which consists of toys, toys and oh, look more toys...and some of them are not even mine!

pebbledash said...

I love that phrase 'dog hair lapping at my ankles' - I identify strongly!

Lalabibaby said...

There is a world of difference between a house and a home .... yours is definitely a home and you should have no worries. Clinical clean and white must be like living in a hospital waiting room ... x

Shirleyanne said...

Love your blog Pomona.
Not a messy house but a lived in home!
Finding my routine chores have slipped a bit since blogging, especially as I'm enjoying photography even more, but I'm not going to give this up.
Will have a blitz every now & again.

Take care

The Vintage Kitten said...

Your 'messy' bits look homely to me. Im afraid my messy bits look like a Tornado has hit (but I am decorating so thats a good enough excuse, but not sure if Im brave enough to show it LOL!) X

jordiegirl said...

There's more to life than being tidy.

My house is often messy to, bits and pieces lying here, there and everywhere. I'd rather have a lived in house than be living in a palace where all who visit are frightened to sit down and relax.

A house should be a home, not a show house.

Frances said...

If only you could see a tiny New York apartment that needs to serve many purposes. There is no where to put anything extra.

And yet, some of us have so many extra interest. We just give up and live in a land of piles, the terrain is made up of stacks of magazines and books, over-filled bookshelves, art and crafting equipment (and projects) vying for supremacy.

And we also have miniscule kitchens from which we must feed ourselves. Clothing is sometimes lucky enough to find space in a closet or two.

Well, I could go on, yet think that I have given you and idea of how much I identify with your photos of reality.

Best wishes.

Sarah said...

Tell me more about your sewing basket please. It looks exactly like something I would like to make for Christmas. Love the way it has a soft lid.

marigold jam said...

Gosh you have certainly touched a nerve there haven't you? Like you I have visions of living in a beautifully tidy home but it never materialised. When we moved here and finally had a kitchen large enough for a table and chairs as well as the dining table in our living room I really did think that perhaps I might be able to have a runner with an artfully placed bowl of fruit or flowers as shown on those TV makeover programmes on my dining table since all the "stuff" could be on the kitchen one couldn't it? Well no since the "stuff seems to have multiplied and now I have 2 tables both of wheich have to have sufficient space cleared when we want to sit down to eat! Life's like though.


jennyflower said...

I was lying in bed this morning wondering how much tidying I should do before the 22nd, I shall probably do a little bit- but not much! Thanks! xxxx said...

Oh Pomona! It still looks rather lovely, you have lovely mess! Suzie. xxx

Pipany said...

Well, I prefer looking at your real life Pomona than mine right now...sigh. It will get tackled eventually, but just now I think a little more log reading is in order! x

Carol said...

Hi Pomona, I like this post. I love to see all things nice and tidy too but nobody can really live like that all the time, can we? not with three dogs (you would not want to see the dog hair I wade through every morning to the hoover cupboard)a house full of boys and a hub that makes such a mess when DIYing. The good thing about this sort of post is it makes us more real as you say. So I too will have a go at this one, I have done a couple before it seemed bloggers loved the mess photos!
Anyway I looked and saw a lovley home on this post, full of nice homely things and not really that untidy!
I have a problem every morning....Make or tidy?

Gemma Mortlock said...

Hi Pomona
I have just stumbled upon your blog and your house is so cute!
Don't worry about the mess thats what makes it a home, i think it looks lovely, such pretty colours.
Great blog Pomona and great photo's. Ill definately be back
Take care

Around the hook said...

what lovely and cosy pictures! Nice fabrics!

Thanks a lot for your comment, very appreciated!

Take care!

Menopausal musing said...

Yours is pretty damned tidy by my appalling standards..... x

Simply H said...

It doesn't look that messy to me! It looks lived in, exactly as a home should! I am so glad the tshirt arrived Pomona, thank you so much for being my first ever Folksy sale! You have no idea how excited you made me!!! I hope it fits! x

Lola Nova said...

Looks perfectly respectable to me. I have been thinking about this very subject of late, even had a rather interesting conversation with a friend about our true selves vs. our blogger selves. I suppose I keep my blog looking tidy because I am forever trying to clean up the mess around me. I come from women who were/are relentlessly clean, which turned me into a bit of a neat freak. Since having a family, I have had to let go of some of my aesthetic sensibilities (obsessive tendencies). I think it has been good for me, though occasionally anxiety inducing. Thank you for sharing your 'real' and very creative spaces.

Those tea towels are lovely!


It all looks so comfy and homey

Carolyn x

louise said...

I think the secret is not to get distracted until after you've done the housework! I keep a tidy home, but I've got cluttered areas, solely due to lack of storage. Unless you have cupboards like Anthea Turner, you've already lost the battle. I only blog about positives, you wouldn't want to read about the rest ... and you may have noticed I take lots of close-ups too! x said...

Hello Pomona, I will root out that knitting pattern for the teacosy and try and get it to you! Suzie. xxx

Anonymous said...

Hi Pomona,

I think your house looks wonderfully cosy :-) This is the look I hope to acheive in my house when we move in Jan... Beleive me I am not a white box, dust free, see your face in the kitchen floor type lol

It will just be nice to not have so much "stuff" crammed into such a small space that life becomes treacherous when searching for anything that is not at the very top of the pile I am looking in! lol

Have a great week!

Rose X

Barbara said...

lots of life and living going on here.
I have friends who have gone for miminalist and I have to say it is far too clinical for me and more like a 'waiting room'. Would never tell them that though as they love it.

elizabethm said...

I find oddly that I can cope with my kind of mess (looks a bit like yours although perhaps with more paper piles) it is my husband's which bugs me. This is totally unfair as for both of us the mess mainly consists of things we are in the middle of or haven't yet quite got to but somehow a pile of material is more pleasing to my eye than a Stanley knife. He would not agree.

Suzy's Vintage Attic said...

Hello Pomona

I've read through a lot of the comments and found myself agreeing with Hen's comment. I too like to look at blogs to get ideas and inspiration and ideas. I do find every day life interesting too but love looking at photos that will inspire me in some way, it could be a flower, a room or a place.

I realise that not all the bloggers have immaculate houses and that most choose to show us the tidy side. My workroom is chaos at the moment because of all the work going on and I don't like it one little bit...Once it's all done I'll be happy to share it with others as they'll be far more inspired by it than if they see it now.

I think that probably most of us are in the same boat when it comes to running a house, a family and work. We will all have a pile of ironing or mess somewhere... My house is never as tidy as I'dlike it to be but on the other habd I like it to feel lived, comfortable and cosy. Too immaculate could make it feel a bit unreal somehow or just for show.

Take care
Isabelle x

Calico Kate said...

Oh wonderful a girl after my own heart (and many others I'm sure!). I am totally incapable of alking past a CS or a skip or anything/where there might be something interesting. I can't go to the beach without bringing half of it home with me!

Floss said...

Back again, on the subject of dashes and shift keys. Dashes - I don't even notice them!

But my sister the journalist and I (the English teacher) get a bit itchy about capital-free writing. Where is that red pen?

Forest View by Jayne-Marie said...

Hi Pomona,
Just called by your site to say hello. I have been neglecting my computer and blog for a few weeks but wanted to catch up on what everyone is up to. I've been busy preparing for xmas etc. It's nice to see you have a nomination for dorset cereals, well deserved. I will try and work out how to nominate (I think I did it once before!)
best wishes Jayne

. said...

I found you through Tabiboo and in a good hour I found you because I like your blog.
About the mess, I'm so happy to see it because I feel I'm not alone in that matter.

Cathy said...

Your pictures show your home to be very lived in and cosy. I would hate to live in a "Country Homes" type of house where every surface is denuded of bits and bobs. I enjoyed all your photos.

Kelly said...

You have very tidy messy bits!
I like to keep my house tidy because if I dont it would be a slippery slope!
There is nothing wrong with a 'lived in' house :)


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