Monday, 7 January 2013

Home-making inspiration - M.E.N.

Kroyer, Peder Severin (1851-1909) - 1881 The Hirshsprung Family
Kroyer, Peder Severin 1851-1909

You may be surprised to find this painting featuring in our home-making inspiration theme.

In our imaginations, we home-makers often view the cabbage roses and the chintz and the bone china, and the lace, as the only components required to create a lovely and relaxing home. It is true that we can enjoy and delight in these beautiful things. Our families and guests will love the cheerful, welcoming touches when they arrive from the 'not so cheerful and welcoming world' outside.

But I think that it is important to remember that members of the male sex are represented in many homes today!, and that we must take this into consideration when planning our home-making.

The painting above was a portrait of 'The Hirshsprung Family, and painted in 1881 by the Norwegian-Danish Artist. So how can we glean any Home-making inspiration for 2013 from it? 

I noticed two important things going on in the picture. The first is that the family were enjoying being together as a family. they were relaxing, content, and there is a sense that each feels secure within the family unit. It doesn't seem like the men are in a hurry to rush away and leave the home to the girls. I wonder if  Mrs Hirshsprung had nurtured the ritual of the family getting together each day on the pleasant balcony? Perhaps she provided small refreshments, newspapers and reading material, ready and waiting for them, knowing that they will tarry a while.

The other thing that struck me is that she and her husband are exuding a reassuring atmosphere to the scene. And yet, it is very subtle. Peace and security has been established by their presence. When the home-maker is present in the home, she can exude that peace simply by her presence .

I have often read accounts from children who talk about how they felt knowing that mother was in the house. It was so important to them, that she be there. We may feel that we are present at home, but are we like Mrs Hirshsprung, our focus truly on our home-making and carefully watching over our family? Are we listening to what they are saying, and conversing with them? (not with one eye on the computer)

The mother and daughter sit together at the table, with some kind of needlework. But all the while, Mrs Hirshsprung is quietly keeping a watchful eye on - and looks rather proud of - her young daughter's progress. Just as she had provided refreshments and newspapers beforehand, she had arranged that they have what they need for a happy mother, daughter creativity.

The outside area of their home has some tasteful greenery, giving a little privacy and sense of nature to the scene.

Some home-makers may feel unhappy that they do not have a lot of land or even a garden where they live. But I have come to think that this can be an advantage when creating our little oases for our families. A balcony or small garden is intimate and brings people together. If someone wants to read or sit quietly for a while, you can put a chair and cushion under a weeping willow, or beside a wood-panelled fence, which has honeysuckle or clematis climbing up it. Plants in pots can be moved around to ring the changes. A tent can be erected to make a good den to play in. As well as intimacy, small areas are easier to keep orderly, and a small balcony or yard can be swept clean in a minute, ready for tomorrow. 

The canny home-maker will ensure that the men in her household are not forgotten amongst the chintz 

I hope that this larger print is more easy on the eyes ladies. 


  1. I just loved reading your insights and I think they are spot-on!

    Thanks for making the print larger. Your normal font is usually just fine, but on the previous post it was tiny and I could hardly read it. I hope I didn't offend by mentioning it.

    Your blog is such a lovely and refreshing place to spend my time, thank you....

  2. The larger print is so much better :)
    I really loved the post, I am so sad to see the way some men out reated in their own homes. What ever happened to making a castle warm and comfy for him? But I can see a shift in the hearts of women everywhere that want to be back home. And to honor their men!
    Blessings, Roxy

  3. A lovely post-Thank you. I live in a log cabin with my husband-so I have the opposite problem-not as many feminine touches; I slip a few in here and there tho':)

  4. The larger print is SOOOO nice! Thank you!

    And thank you for showing a painting that does feature the men of our families! And yes, they all seem to be very comfortable at home - nobody antsy to go to a buddy's for a video game, or a sports feature, or to "hang out"...instead they are happy there as a family. So refreshing! I do love it when my husband tells me he would rather be here with me than going to a friend's to "hang out".....

    Kathleen in IL

  5. Mrs B, Roxy, Becky and Kathleen - I have been encouraged by your comments. Thank you so much