Sunday, February 8, 2009

Ideas to Make your Book of Days an Heirloom

Ideas for your Book for Days...

In the past, people often kept books that described their gardens, their farm work, or their household life. For the purpose of this course, we are keeping a homemaking notebook, in which we record homemaking information, what we are learning, and our joys and struggles in learning to be a better manager of our homes. Be sure to include even your frustrations or sorrows -- or at least pray about them -- for life on earth is a mixture of happy and sad, and we all need outlets where we can express both emotions.

We are also keeping a Book of Days, which is more a record of the joys of managing our Home. It is, as we've talked about, the kind of book you can flip through when you need some inspiration or when you wonder if what you are doing is making a difference in life. It is a record of thankfulness to help us stay thankful in our everyday lives. You may want to record some of your frustrations or sorrows here, too, but do it once you have passed through them. Look back and record what lessons you learned, who or what helped you, etc.

Here are some ideas to make this book special:

1) Include dried and pressed flowers from your own yard or garden. Make a note of when they were blooming, what type of flower they are, and any little happy note you'd like to record with it.
2) Record milestones in your marriage and in the lives of your children. Jot down cute things your children say or something loving that your dear hubby does for you.
3) Include little snippets of fabrics from quilts you are making, dresses you are sewing, or from some other project. Record what you were doing and why. Include a photograph of the finished project.
4) Jot down the steps involved in a new skill that you have learned -- such as crochet. Take a photo of your first accomplishment in this new area.
5) Take photos of your favorite places in your home -- the places where you feel most happy and restful.
6) Write down a new recipe you tried that you and your family loved. Jot down who was at the table when you ate it, what was going on in your household at the time, etc. Focus on the positive.
7) When you learn something new from a home keeper whom you admire, write that down in your book.
8) Take photos to illustrate your favorite quotes and scriptures and put those in your book, along with the quote or verse.
9) Journal about the seasons. Notice when the days begin to lengthen or shorten, when the trees begin to bud, when the leaves begin to turn, the sounds of birds, the colors of the sky, etc.
Press fall leaves and spring buds for your book.
10) Keep a list of what you served when company came to dinner, who came, something lovely from that time together, etc. (The main idea is to remember a special time with friends. This has a practical benefit, as well. I unwittingly served the same meal to out of town company for three of their visits. These visits were stretched out over long periods of time, and I didn't think about it until the guest remarked about it. If you have a record of what you served to whom, you can refer back to it and choose something that is appropriate for your guests.)
11) Keep a record of the sounds in your home -- wind chimes outside, favorite music playing, the sounds of pets, and most of all, the sounds of your children playing.
12) Describe your family traditions and how they got started.
13) Write down beautiful memories of your parents and when you were growing up.
14) Keep a list of things for which you are grateful. A long time ago, when I was sitting in a doctor's office, I read an article by a woman who had been taught by her mother to think of 50 things each day -- fifty! -- for which she was grateful. That habit stood her in good stead as an adult. When she was in a battle with cancer, being thankful came so naturally to her that she was able to see so many blessings, even in her trial. For example, she was thankful for supportive friends. Though I'm sure she suffered during her bout with cancer, her habit of gratitude took much of the distress and fear away.
15) Get your children to suggest things for which they are thankful and record those, too. Ask your husband what his favorite memories of your life together are and jot those down in your book.
16) Once you've come through a hard or frustrating time, record what got you through it and how you overcame it. Keep a record of your perseverance so that you can look back and say, "If I got through that, I can get through this, too.
17) Attack some little memento or heirloom you have, such as an antique broach.
18) Spray a page with your favorite scent or slip in one of those perfumed cards that come out of magazines.
19) Write a poem -- You can do it!
20) Ask older people what they remember from their home life or how they came through the Depression and World War II, and write those memories down.
21) Write your thoughts about words like the following: Love, family, children, joy, garden, scent, smell, taste, sound, heaven, flower, cooking, kitchen, spring, summer, fall, winter, simplicity, peace, hope, faith.
22) Write down an inventory of sentimental or valuable objects in your home. Give some history about them. Take photos. (You might want to devote a whole book to this for insurance reasons and so that your children and grandchildren and so forth will know the history behind things that are sentimental to you.)
23) Draw garden plans. Put in the times and dates you plant things. Record when they sprout, bloom, bear fruit, etc.
24) Include paint chips, samples of fabric, etc. for a redecorating project.
25) Take notes about some favorite subject related to homemaking -- gardening, fabrics, sewing, antique linens, painting, music, etc. Make sure it's something you're really passionate about.

Well, you get the idea. As we've said, you can make this as fancy or as simple as you desire. Later on, your children may view this book as an heirloom. It may inspire them, just as it will inspire you.

P.S. The Victorians kept locks of hair to remember people by. They made jewelry out of them and pressed them in books. I imagine that if a Victorian mother were keeping a journal like this, she might include one of her baby's curls. My father has an old atlas that was written during the Civil War. Inside, I found a clip of someone's hair. (I also found a newspaper clipping about Lincoln's assassination.) I have no idea whose hair it was, except that it must have been some ancestor's of mine as it was about the same color as mine -- albeit a bit faded. When I found the lock of hair, I was fascinated and curious about who it came from, but also a little squeamish to be holding a lock of hair form someone long gone. So, the question of the day is, what do you think? Is keeping a lock of someone's hair a sweet memento or not?

Also, what are your creative ideas for keeping a Homemaker's Book of Days



topaztook said...

Since I have the trimmings from my daughter's first haircut saved in an envelope, I'd have to come down on the "sweet" side for saving hair. :)

Ivy in the Kitchen said...

What a good idea! I wish my grandparents had done something like this. It's kinda hard to get all the information second-hand from my mother. I'm going to bookmark this post and start keeping one of these whenever I get engaged.

-Ms. H.

Seraphim said...

I'm growing quite fond of my book of days! I intend to fill it with all sorts of things, and you have some lovely ideas there to help me along. I decorated the cover, and I was going to post a picture - but I didn't in the end; somehow it feels very personal, something between just me and, in the end, my family - that might seem a little odd but I can't explain it any better than that :)

Elizabeth said...

Hi Topaztook:

Oh, that is sweet to have a lock from your daughter's first haircut.

Hi Ivy:

You can start keeping one now, as you are making a home as a single!
I do wish I had more information like this from my grandparents, as well.

Hi Seraphim:

I'm glad you're fond of your book of days. I understand about it being personal.