Tuesday, December 27, 2011


  *Planning to open sometime on Saturday, January 14th, and you will receive an email to let you know if you are signed up below.

Soon we will begin this journey together.*


 
"As I watch the stars of evening, and in the morning open my window toward the east, I shall observe the Ceremonial of quietness of heart, of simplicity, and poise of spirit, that I may keep my soul and the souls of others free from entanglements in the machinery of the day."
 - Ceremonials of Common Days, Abbie Graham, 1923     

Last year, as I began making plans for uncluttering my home and my habits and days and as I pictured, say, clearing out my pantry...making the choices of what to keep, what might be missing, how to make it all work better and more simply and beautifully and how doing so would affect my cooking and our health and just the daily pleasure of life...I could suddenly see it all in blog form-the steps, layer by layer, that would add up to an orderly and nourishing pantry in posts and sun-lit photographs and conversations.  And I realized from all my online time and real-life time with women, that many of us are looking for this clarifying of our everydays...to make them more "just right" in the Goldilocks sense...to pare down, unclutter, and do what is necessary to find the "quietness of heart" that I imagine Abbie Graham (in the quote above) would have had as she looked out that eastern window of a morning. I also realized that all that I used to share with my papery creations-the peaceful beauty, the celebration of the seasons and banner days, the nourishment to be found in books and poetry, the particulars of homemaking and staying connected with others and the earth...could be poured into a soulful, private online place...with the seeking of simplicity at the heart of it all.

So why not take this journey together? I will share what I have learned through the years about living more simply and ecologically, share the writings and other gleanings that are inspiring me now, honor the high days and holy days, delve into everything that touches on living more in rhythm with simplicity and beauty, with the earth, with all the "gentle powers" (as Rosamunde Pilcher put it)...homemaking, gardening, cookery, reading, music,organizing and tending.


I want to present, for a small cost each month ($7), an approach to simplicity, task by task, in gentle real-time...weaving it into our days in a modest way, not as some huge project that overwhelms what we really want our days to be about. There will be plenty of inspiration-visual and written, but with an focus on the actual doing of what it takes to make our domestic lives more harmonious...woven in and amongst all the seasonal, cosy, literary beauty.



Why "Wisteria and Sunshine"? I chose the name from the words in Enchanted April. Have you seen the movie, or read the delightful book? In both, an ad in a London newspaper which reads... "To Those who Appreciate Wistaria and Sunshine. Small medieval Italian Castle on the shores of the Mediterranean to be let furnished for the month of April. Necessary servants remain" and which brings four women together and together they find ways to let go of what no longer serves them and to open to understanding and wisdom and other good things. I also chose the name because it makes me happy just to hear and read those words. It is my hope that this Wisteria & Sunshine will also bring women together, out of glare of the wider Web...a calm and encouraging place to refresh and inspirit. And tho' I won't be able to give you the castle or the servants or the Mediterranean Sea lapping at the rocks below your flower-entwined window, you will find:


 -something beautiful and/or useful to read or see everyday



 -a focus each month on an area of Life or Home to tend 
(January and February's focus will be our desks, and in the W&S way, we will work on bringing a few, small areas of planning and paper-tending and daily rhythms to clarity this month and then add to those as the months unfold)


-"rooms" to explore with lists of movies and books and resources for a thoughtful life inspired by literature and nature and living more in tune with the seasons and holidays. I will always be adding to these rooms, tho' they may be a bit spare at first. Lots of vintage flavor from the words and images in my old books and magazines, gathering the still useful and lovely from their pages...balanced with photographs from my very real life...


-small projects to add layers of handmade beauty and meaning to corners of your home, using what you already have and lovelies gathered in nature...


-recipes and ways to approach home-keeping that are gentle on the earth and your pocket-book...


-occasional printables (in my Small Meadow Press style) to help on the path to simplicity... those I have found over the years that contribute to life flowing more smoothly and not add to the clutter that so easily enters our lives...


-seasonal and holiday greetings, observations and celebrations from the obscure (St. Distaff's Day) to the dear and familiar (Christmas, for instance, the keeping of which will receive much loving attention here next year in the hopes of making it ever more peaceful and less hectic)...


-a community of kindred spirits which you may join in with as much or as little as you like through comments and profiles (including my offer to create a personal avatar for the first thirty members)...


"The heroine enjoys her life by rearranging
it according to her needs...she knows that right here is where things happen, not somewhere else...
that the world for her is a place where things are engendered and brought to life." 

-Henry Miller



Since my very first tiny home and garden as a young woman on her own, some thirty years ago, I have been paying attention to what makes a soulful home. And later on, as a mother of young children, to what makes an orderly, happy home. And more recently, to what makes a serene and supportive home....always dreaming and doing and often falling short of my vision, but learning and rearranging and adapting, as a true Heroine does with her life. Just a few years ago I wrote this:

"My home will have grown from a charming, half-decorated, partly-cared for home to a well-tended, uncluttered expression of who I really am. It will have only those things I find useful and/or beautiful in it (dear William Morris!) and I will have found a rhythm for tending it that leaves me time to create the still-lifes and celebrations of the seasons that are much more what I am about than the constant moving around of piles that I spend my days with now.

In a corner of my beautiful bedroom, where the dressing table now stands neglected, will be a small assortment of lovely products to tend my fifty-year old self with care and pleasure, a candle to light for so many good reasons, and a journal or calendar where I spend time each evening recording my days..."

I am glad to realize that I have come a long way towards my goals and, of course, have a long way to go...creating Wild Simplicity and Deep Domesticity is a journey, not a destination (as they say). If you would like to walk with me along this path, please sign up below (underneath the comments) to receive word when Wisteria and Sunshine opens for membership (sometime in early January!)....





P.S. Some people who are more in the know than I about Facebook, have convinced me that it is a favorite way of communicating for many and that a Facebook page for Wisteria & Sunshine would be a good thing. So I've created one that will be simple for me to update and here is the link in case you are interested. 

27 comments:

J. Chapman said...

Oh, so wonderful an idea! I am so excited about it Lesley!

Dori said...

I am so happy! Blessings! : )

Wendy said...

A lovely reason to check the computer every day....just talking about you with some friends from HEAV who wondred why you haven't been at the convention for the past couple of years...you are missed....
from Wendy

Anonymous said...

Dear, dear Leslie! I simply love this idea!! Please let me know when I may sign up...I will be awaiting the word!
Kathy Lorenzini

Daniele @ Domestic Serenity said...

This all rings so true with my heart -- and intention for life and even my own blog this upcoming year. cannot wait to hear more. grace.

Rudy said...

I could use some help on de-cluttering and simplfying!

Rudy said...

(PS this is not RUDY, it's my dog blog ID but I'm using it for the time being)

Sandy (Rudy's mom)

Lesley Austin said...

Dear Kathy,
I've emailed you, but will also just point you to the box at the bottom of this page, should you revisit the comments. I so appreciate your lovely words!


And Sandy, I'm glad you wrote a second time...I was having a hard time believing that Rudy really wanted to join in : ), tho' come to think of it, dogs do live a very simple life, don't they? He could teach us some things, I am sure.

Lissa said...

This post gave me all kinds of goosebumps. I've worked hard on simplifying and unstuffifying this past year, but with six kids in a small house (and a perilous book-buying habit), progress comes slow. I can't wait until you're up and running. Wild Simplicity is a thrilling rally cry!

Carolyne said...

Yes! I'm thrilled that you've taken this project on with such enthusiasm.
I so identify with the words: "the constant moving around of piles that I spend my days with now".
Since being in the middle of 'The Great Re-organization" for over a year now, I recognize my weakness and would so love some sisterly prodding. Caring for elderly parents 300 miles away (for several months away at a time this past year), has begun to unravel my Great Intentions.
Anxious to join the Journey....
{{hugs}}~Carolyne

Susan said...

Wonderful idea. I can't wait to see it in fruition.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lesley,
From a conversation with you several years ago and your hints on your blog, this is so what I was hoping you were doing. (Though it sounds even better!). Can't wait as it seems so perfect for the changes I want to make, and the changes that are being forced on me this year. Wishes for all the best this holiday season and into the New Year.
Gwyn

Bonnie said...

Oh yes indeed Lesley. Can't wait for it to start. Already felt PEACE come through your words.

Thanks, Bonnie

Salina said...

I'm so excited about his and so becoming a member as well.;)

sf said...

Me too. All of the above.
xxo

Christiane said...

I will join in too !
Kind regards from France

Anonymous said...

Thanks, thanks and ever thanks! This all sounds delightful!
~~Carol~~

Salina said...

I tweeted this, posted it to my fan page on FB, and +1'd you. Hope you get lots of followers.:)

Sea Angels said...

I should also like to set out upon this journey,this amazing adventure....... to share, and discover, to honour our earth, our home, our lives, with the love and care they deserve
Lynn xx

Anonymous said...

love your gentle writings. i've read all the old Bowers and wish there were more. hopefully this will feed my heart in that area. can't wait!
joanna in ca.

CorinneLouise said...

I will be following youfrom France as well on your journey since it is one of my wish for the coming year, to simplify and lift up the loads of material things in our life.
Christiane, where are you in France ? I am close to Aix and Manosque in the south east.

kkkkaty said...

Lesley, I would also like to be a part of this group of women; at this point in time I am particularly in need of a guide. If any of your creative talents and simpler ways, as is shown in all your blogs, rubs off on me, the better it will be.

Karen Edmisten said...

I am, quite simply, simply excited to read this. :) Looking forward ....

Lynn said...

Yippee, you're underway! Congratulations, dear friend. I am thrilled (but not surprised) to see so many people expressing eagerness to join you! xoxo

maryanne said...

lovely..

Salina said...

Get better soon Dear Lesley.:)

CorinneLouise said...

Hope you get well soon Lesley.