April 16, 2011
Please allow me to introduce you to a friend of mine. I've known her for roughly five years, and I admire her open and engaging personality; she is forthright, has a happy disposition, and best of all, speaks with one of those English accents that convinces you she could recite the entire works of Shakespeare and know what it all meant to boot.  Her name is Kirstie Allsopp, and while I don't know her personally, I've been enjoying her property shows on BBC Canada (or HGTV) wherein she helps people in the UK find the house of their dreams.  She is an interesting person - her father is an actual Lord, she's worked abroad, comes from impeccable political and design lineage... but what I find most fascinating about her is that she always wears a dress.  I've seen her hoist curbside finds onto the roof of her Land Rover in a dress and a pair of Wellingtons. Hair and makeup are always simple, though she wears fabulous shoes and has an astounding collection of coats. She is perfectly comfortable with herself, her shape, her appearance - something which I think many (if not most) women struggle with to some degree.

I write about her now because of a more recent series she hosted, called "Kirstie's Homemade Home" in which she renovates a long-abandoned home on the coast of Devon.  The show is not about floor plans and window placement, but rather encourages the viewer to take a more creative approach to home decoration.  Throughout the series (which runs to only five episodes) she features artisans and craftsmen within a 30 mile radius of her home - a luxury we in North America may not have.  She visits a basket weaver, an blacksmith, a glass blower, glass window artist, potter, spinner and weaver, candle maker, knitter, quilter, mosaic artist, seamstress, and a baker of exquisitely beautiful cakes. From each she learns how to make a small project for her home, and watches them in action as they practice their craft.  One remarkable story was the blacksmith: after taking up the trade, he discovered his family had been blacksmiths for 500 years, but it skipped a generation. He just knew it was the right thing for him to do.  Isn't that cool? It's in the blood.

Kirstie also makes use of a local auction, her neighbourhood weekly street market, second hand stores, and skips (what we call dumpsters). The end result was a simple, inviting, family-friendly home that any of us could have put together. It didn't cost the earth, wasn't fussy or precious or pretentious, and certainly looked up to the challenge of young children.

I found those five episodes to be inspiring and pleasing; something in my feminine spirit was nourished and encouraged. It was lovely to watch each of the artisans and craftsmen at work, to see the pleasure they got from the work of their hands.  And now Kirstie can look around her home and see the glass she blew herself, the pot she threw on the potters wheel, and all the other projects she worked on. They will provide more pleasure and satisfaction than similar items she could have purchased at the big box store.

I'm curious to know if any of you have access to such craftsmen in your area.  Do you enjoy crafting yourself? Do you have the results of your own handiwork in your home that you'd like to share pictures of with us here?


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What is a woman? What does it mean to be feminine? There is softness and hardness, compassion and ferocity. There is contentment and adventure, freedom and service. We're conundrums, especially to ourselves, but we all, in some way, possess beauty, creativity, intuition and love. We were made for love, and we are loved, cellulite and all. Here we aim to show every woman the richness and beauty of her own femininity and explore current issues relating to women in our world. We also wish to share our own experiences - exploring the joys and challenges of stay-at-home moms and single professionals and everyone in between. Welcome! So glad you're here!


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