Friday, February 26, 2016

Where your eyes rest

One of the most immensely satisfying things about homesteading is the constant cycle of creation it offers. But the same can also be said of home remodeling, backyard landscaping, and other things which make where you live a better place. Except of course, that those projects generally require a significant outlay of cash, so they're done sparingly unless you're a lottery winner.

The thing that always amazes me is when I've completed some project -- from making bars of soap or a homemade pie all the way up to completing the back yard landscape or remodeling our kitchen is how much I look at what I've accomplished. Or rather, I realize how much I averted my gaze to something else back when it was un-lovely or not made by me.

I never realized, for instance, that before I remodeled my kitchen I not only avoided going in there as much as possible (if I had free time I would never find myself loitering in the kitchen, odd because I love to cook). Once it was completed, with colors more soothing to the eye and decor in harmony with the rest of the house, I found myself looking at it all the time...standing around in it...just letting my gaze fall on it when I was thinking about something else. It was a pleasing sight.

Before: #kitchensowhite

After: A lot easier on the eyes.

It's no different for small stuff. A beautiful crop of carrots will entice me outdoors to look at their green loveliness; I'll actually give myself time to sit among the raised beds and enjoy what's going on. Now that the backyard landscape is done I stare out the window a lot more than I used to. In summer, when the endless lawn that had been planted back there turned dry and ugly, I looked beyond the yard out to the mountains in the distance, subconsciously avoiding looking at the struggling grass. Now my focus is on the colors of the flagstone patio, or our large brick bed, or the salvia which is just starting to bloom. I still love our view, but now our close-up view is almost as good as our far-range one.

I guess it's human nature to rest our gaze on what is lovely and attractive, whether it's perfect bars of soap all in a row or something of architectural beauty. I believe we are hired wired for beauty -- to create it, gaze upon it, soak it in -- because even when we are not conscious of doing so, that is what we do. 

No matter where you live or whether you believe yourself to be a "creative" type of person, a part of you recognizes the lovely and the pleasing and responds to it. And with that being said, surely it makes sense that we would invest either money or sweat equity in making our surroundings, and all we see in our homes and yards as "gaze worthy" as possible. Just keeping America beautiful, right? So where do your eyes come to rest around your home and property when you're not paying attention?


  1. Haha on my so, so white kitchen :) my very favorite is in the summer when the farmers market is so good, I come home and arrange everything I've bought. It's unnecessary and even a little inefficient. But it's just so beautiful that I don't care! I think you're absolutely right, we can't help but be drawn to beauty. And I think it's wonderful that beauty is subjective. I find the older I get the more different my friends' tastes are from mine and I like that. Plus we don't have to fight over things when we're antiquing or at the flea market.

    1. PS- to the right of the sink, are those trivets or are you testing backsplashes? I think a tile backsplash is one of the hardest decisions to make. Ya know, in a design sense.

    2. Those are tiles I was testing for the backsplash. I did eventually (finally!) choose something and installed it myself. Very happy with it, so now I look at my backsplash, too! Regarding your white kitchen, I am sure its gorgeous. My old kitchen, with it's thickly-painted cabinets and 3 x 3 cheap tiles was no joy to behold. But in the right light, with the right tiles, cabinets and decor, a white kitchen can be stunning, light and lovely!

  2. I absolutely love your new kitchen and your landscaping!

    My gaze falls on the woods in our backyard. It is so beautiful no matter what time of year. And it's so enjoyable to watch the variety of wildlife that come to visit, especially around the bird feeder.

    1. I would love to be able to look at the woods. It must be very comforting and peaceful. For me, having no experience with that kind of dense growth, it might unnerve me a bit at night, though, having no experience with looking out my back door and not being able to see absolutely everything due to the sparse mediterranean landscape.