The ordinary arts

At the Hearthside Bed and Breakfast, Bar Harbor, Maine 2012

At the Hearthside Bed and Breakfast, Bar Harbor, Maine 2012

“The ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.”Thomas Moore

There are small details– inexpensive or free– that make our homes a more nurturing environment.  For me, some of the minimal efforts that have maximum impact include making the bed daily, keeping things tidied up, and adding touches of color with flowers, books, or other attractive items of personal significance.  What are some of the simple ways you can brighten your life by enhancing your home?


  1. Dea

    For me it’s books, coffee and candles. I like the visuals but it’s the smells that boost my mood up.

    • Sorry I’m just now getting to this comment; somehow it got caught in my spam filter. I LOVE the smell of coffee although I drink way more tea than coffee. I agree that there really is such a thing as “aromatherapy!” I love to go in the huge Yankee Candle store in Williamsburg, VA and just enjoy all the different scents. I find that smells can bring back the past more vividly than photos or even music. Thanks for visiting!

  2. Since my home is where ever God plants me, i travel very light. Yet, where ever i am i surround my self with my bible & non-fiction & fiction books (from mission resale stores & easy to return to same) and pic. of my GrammaRuth, Mama & children/grand&great. Reminding me do not walk alone & home is of the heart. Thank You, sweet Julie, praying for you & yours & the Nations in agape LOVE.

    • Hi Kate, hope your week is going well. Travelling light is a useful skill that can be learned and as you point out, we can create the feeling of home with only a few treasured possessions. Thanks so much for your prayers for us and for the world – much needed and greatly appreciated!

  3. I love to keep fresh flowers around. I haven’t made time for that little touch of late and I really need to. I shall stop at the grocery this weekend and do just that. Love you.

    • Amy, I’ve found that certain grocery stores are great places to buy flowers, especially the day after a holiday or some days at the end of the day, when they mark them down. Often the markdown flowers last just as long as the “fresh” ones. I read someplace that looking at live flowers has an anti-depressant effect. This study tested artificial flowers and found that the effect of looking at them wasn’t as powerful as with fresh flowers. I still like silk flowers too, though.

  4. Sheila

    Julia, once again, I read early and then read again much later and reply. I just so identify with creating comfort for our family and friends as you have described so perfectly. Just as our lives can become cluttered, the same happens to our home if we aren’t careful. Whether it’s decorated or designed or merely “DIY style” the most inviting homes reflect the people that live there. I so hope these days are getting easier,more restful, and that you find comfort just knowing so many care! Prayers cross the distance,Sheila

    • Thanks so much, Sheila. Don’t you just love visiting someone’s home and seeing how unique it is? Just as there are no two people alike, so our homes seem to have endless variety that comes from our personalities. The days have been a bit easier this week. I guess we are getting adjusted somewhat to the chemo routine but I think it’s mostly that the prayers and good wishes from others are holding us up. Thanks so much for visiting us here and keep those prayers coming!

  5. I so believe in that quote. I am a big nester, I love taking small but loved treasures and tucking them in a glass bowl. Shells from holidays, a card from a special friend, buttons from an old blouse. Even a rock I picked up from the ocean flower on a snorkel trip. Simple little things, but mean so much.

    • Hey that’s a great idea; I have a lot of little glass bowls (from candles mostly) and I sometimes use them for paper clips, rubber bands etc. But I keep them in a drawer. I think I’ll try putting some of my shells and buttons in them. My button tin is full anyway. I imagine your home is as beautiful as your blog! Thanks for the comment.

      • 🙂 Thank for your lovely reply Julia.


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