The world has gone mad– yet again. I am feeling like one weary mama. But I have been busy painting it out, and I am eager to share that with you; My Madonna of Hope, that you may have seen on FB or Instagram. I am in the process of doing some prints of her, and will have those ASAP. But first….I feel the need….
For GOOD THINGS
I am struggling with keeping my heart open (or heartbeat from rattling in my ears screaming ‘what is wrong with us?!??!’) and so I am trying my best to keep balance with uplifting media as I try to digest current events. And no one does that better than the Brits. I’ve decided after getting frequent questions about what Im reading and watching lately, that I will share here with you all from time to time the things I’m enjoying— my Good Things Collection. Because if we can soothe ourselves, we can take on the world with dignity, respect and empathy. If we are just a twitching ball of outraged nerves, we just continue the terrible cycle of blame and suspicion.
So— GOOD THINGS::
There are some GREAT magazines out there with British charm— The new issue of Victoria Magazine is all about Britain (with photo spreads of amazing landscape and spectacular desserts that will have you scheming up your own celebration for the Queen’s Sapphire Jubilee. There’s even a story about the 200 year anniversary of Jane Austen’s death and a tour of her home at Chawton.
There is also a special “English Cottage” edition put out by Victoria this summer that has been a fun, dreamy read with lots of beautiful homes full of charm.
And I can never resist picking up British Country Living (as in our American magazine, but 5,000 times better and more interesting…not just a bunch of rich people from New York buying up all the farm houses in Vermont and then painting everything white!) They always have amazing interviews with artists and crafters, are more connected to the land (and you know, living in the country!) and really great quality articles. The photo below is a large spread about a woman who is living off the land in a gorgeous rural landscape and harvests her own dye material, which she uses to dye her own yarn that she spins, knits and weaves with (sorry, that was the sound of my heart exploding in joy)
And if I find myself with the rare blessing of having the tv all to myself and I want to curl up with some knitting and quality television– I set my sights across the pond! I just subscribed to Britbox, which is television streaming offered through a joint effort of the BBC and iTV(they are the ones who showed Downton Abbey) and I am just dipping my toe into their catalog, but am really excited. They even have British Soap Operas :O
My favorite show to stream is the mystery series featuring my favorite priest, Father Brown. He lives in a picturesque village in 1950s Britain and is loosely based on a character created by GK Chesterton. Even though murder is usually the order of the day, things always get tied up and resolved within the half hour 😉 these days, I’ll take that kind of resolution where ever I can get it! The cast is fantastic and the stories always interesting. You are never quite sure ‘who dunnit.’
I also love the show (now on netflix) called “Escape to the Country” which is essentially a ‘looking for a house to buy show’ but really well done (oh Brits, you are so good at this stuff!) A variety of hosts take a family through a particular area of the UK to look for that perfect country home; often hundreds of years old, perhaps thatched, but always amazing and chock full of history. You learn a little bit about all the various areas of the country, their unique specialties and bits about their culture. You dont even care that more often than not, you have no idea if the family even bought a house in the area (usually they give a tepid, “oh yes….we might ring to have a second look at the place!”) but you DONT EVEN CARE. Lol, if you’re like me, you’re just happy to have been along to peek into inglenooks and ancient halls without having to pay an admission fee!
However, my current British obsession is this A-MAZING book by Ruth Hogan called “The Keeper of Lost Things.”
I picked it up at the library because I remembered seeing the cover in my friend Patricia’s library stack (thanks, friend!) and was immediately captivated.
It is, granted, a little hard to explain. So I will put the Amazon description here: