Sunday Thoughts ~ “Wakened Hands”

“Old houses, I thought, do not belong to people ever, not really, people belong to them.” ~ Gladys Taber

Good Sunday morning, sweet friends.  I hope this finds you well and that the first week of February was kind to you. 

You may be wondering about the above photo of our home still dressed in Christmas attire.  The photo is a rather good one for a cold December/January day. We even have a blue sky, which is a rare winter sight in these West Virginia Hills.  At the time the photo was taken, I was not ready to say goodbye to Christmas.  However, this post is not about the weather or what our home is wearing.  It is about something I came upon in my collection of lovely things that offered me additional thoughts and wonder of the things I love and treasure.  And therefore, food for my ‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ “Wakened Hands.”

“Things men have made with wakened hands, and put soft life into are awake through years with transferred touch, and go on glowing for long years.

And for this reason, some old things are lovely warm still with the life of  forgotten men who made them.” ~ D. H. Lawrence

When I read these words, I was brought to tears, as I immediately thought of our dear old home.  Look closely at the photo of our home and notice the roof.  The roof is original to the home, built in 1939, and is made of clay tiles ~ handmade.  Now, there have been repairs over the years before us, which some actually did more harm than good.  You see, you can’t walk on clay tiles or you will crack them.    

A few years after we were settled in our home and after a bad storm, Mike thought he heard dripping sounds in the attic.  So up to the attic he goes and his thoughts were correct. We had a leak.

We have the very good fortune of having an excellent young contractor in our area.  He appeared quickly after a call from Mike.  They discussed the situation and after checking the roof, inside and out, our contractor’s thoughts were not to replace the roof, provided Mike could locate the tiles.  He also knew how to replace the tiles without walking on the roof.

Fortunately, in the attic of the garage, there was a box of unused tiles from when the house was built with a company name stamped on the tiles.  And so, Mike began his internet search.  Much to his surprise, he discovered the company was still in business and owned by the family who began making the tiles in Rome, Italy nearly four hundred years ago.  When the family immigrated to America they first settled in Chicago.  Then in 1902 opened their business in New Lexington, Ohio, where they remain today.  Their location in Ohio was a plus with regard to the cost of shipping as New Lexington is about a three-hour drive from us. 

After much discussion with one of the owners of the company, he asked Mike to send him one of the tiles currently on the roof.  After receiving this tile they created a sample tile and sent it to us for approval of the color.  The match was nearly perfect.  The tiles were handmade to match, in size and color, of our original tiles.  We were set to order. Five hundred tiles were ordered, enough for current and future repairs.  They arrived at our door in West Virginia via a flatbed trailer. “Some say the antique syndrome surfaced to offset the newness of the land, the homes, and the settlers.  Some say the interest was initiated by a desire to return to the roots of yesterday.  I contend the entire movement to acquire antiques was born out of sheer respect of things that lasted longer than fifteen minutes.” ~ Erma Bombeck

I do not remember not being drawn to beautiful things made by hand.  I suppose that is because I have had a needle and thread in my hands since it was safe for me to hold a needle.  I believe the love and appreciation of handwork and craftsmanship go hand-in-hand with the love of old and treasured things.  For instance, the needlework, pictured above, was stitched with love for me by my dear friend, Janet.  She created this lovely piece, which hangs over our front door after we gave our home a name.  Should you be interested in the story of naming our home, visit here.

Of all the many lovely pieces that my sweet friend has created for me, I would have to say these two are my favorites.  Or perhaps it is as Mike says, “My favorite is the one I am enjoying at the moment.” 

I like to think Isabel Conant would be proud her words were beautifully stitched and hang in the foyer of our old home.

“Beauty reminds humans that we have needs beyond function and practicality.” ~ unknown

Another reason I am drawn to old things is the stories.  I look at a lovely old quilt or beautiful china teacups and I can hear their stories.  This beautiful old quilt was stitched by Mike’s grandmother and kept numerous family members warm throughout the years.  She has been gone for many years, however, her quilts have remained “glowing for long years.” 

I rather imagine these teacups and saucers attended many a fireside chat as well as tea parties.  Oh, the stories and secrets they could tell.  The three on the center shelf (with butterflies) are part of a set my mom received as a gift when she was the West Virginia State Garden Club, President.  She loved pretty teacups and said, “Tea always tasted better when served in a pretty cup.”  These are just a few of my collection of too many.

“A precious, mouldering pleasure ‘t is, to meet an antique book, In just the dress his century wore; A privilege I think.” ~ Emily Dickinson

In closing, to me, Emily Dickinson was right when she said, “It is a privilege to meet an antique book.”  Antique books do speak to me and certainly, take me under their spell.  They most always contain marvelous information and are also usually beautifully written, not to mention how pretty what they are wearing may be.  I do adore these lovely gems and if you have never ventured down the old book trail, you might want to take a little stroll.  But a warning, it can be a bit consuming.
Dear friends, I thank you so much for your visit.   And, perhaps you will think of Lawrence’s words the next time you come across something of age which tugs at your heart.  Remember, there is always a reason it speaks to you.  Whether it may be an old home or a book, it is asking for your attention.  And, I believe it is also asking you to pause a moment and remember the “wakened hands” who with such care and pride in their work, created magnificent beauty.  

 

 

Wishing you and yours a lovely and peaceful day.

And . . .

May your week ahead be full of sweet surprises.  Stay well!

 

“We may talk of saving antique linens, species, or languages; but whatever we are intent on saving, when a restoration succeeds, we rescue ourselves.”  ~ Howard Mansfield

 

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

 

 

 

Images:  Michael S. Lambiotte and tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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22 Comments on "Sunday Thoughts ~ “Wakened Hands”"

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Dewena
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Sandra, you are a woman after my own heart with this post. I adore your home’s exterior! I wanted to know what style it was so am happy you linked to the other post. French Georgian! Now I want to know more about this particular style of Georgian. I have an old big black book on my bed table about Georgian style and will look at it tonight and see if there’s anything in it about that. Your background on your special roof is fascinating as we’ve had a family roofing business for many decades. We’ve never been called upon… Read more »
bonnie morgan
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Beautiful post, Sandra! Your shelves with teacups melted my heart. Pinned! I adore teacups and how sweet you shared that the butterfly ones were given to your mother when she was the state garden club president! That is a special story! Sadly our Garden Club has not met in a year and I fear it will not resume.
Please share more of your home. You have lovely things and I love their stories. The roof tile story is amazing.

Penny Carlson
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Your home is beautiful! I love old things as well. The quality of most old things is so much better than new ones. I miss antiquing. When covid is over that is one of the first things I am going to do.

Pam Richardson
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Good morning, Sandra. I love this post because I love old things especially those with a memory attached. Your home is so beautiful and stately, each photo captured my heart. The teacup and saucers, the needlework, and that glorious quilt are all so beautiful. A special thank you to Michael for the lovely photos and for you sharing your lovely thoughts. Have a wonderful Sunday ♥️

Sandra
Guest

Good morning, dear Pam. Thank you so much for your kind comments. Old things, especially ones with memories attached are the best. I will be sure to thank Mike for the photos, they wouldn’t be here without him. Wishing you and your lovely family a wonderful day and week ahead.❤

jeanie
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I am so in love with this post. Thank you for a peek into your lovely home and to things that you treasure. I loved the story of your tiles and couldn’t help but think that those who built your home would be so pleased that you have maintained its integrity and legacy with your care. I think you must have posted how you named your home before I discovered you so I will be checking that out too. The words on the sampler and your beautiful sign display both love of friends and depth of friendship as well as… Read more »
Shannon@Belle Bleu Interiors
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Shannon@Belle Bleu Interiors

Sandra, you have such a gorgeous home! I love an old house and adore a tiled roof. I so enjoyed reading about the history of yours. In Tulsa, there are several Italian Renaissance homes built during the oil boom with tiled roofs. I have always admired them. We are kindred spirits in our love of antiques. The quilt you have is most beautiful, and you have such a pretty teacup collection. I hope you have a most lovely week ahead, dear friend!

Louise Stronach
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In this world where too often objects are only temporary and when used they are given away, it is always a pleasure to see collections of items such as china and “stitches in time” being enjoyed and passed down from generation to generation so that everyone has an chance to see how life was lived. You have some beautiful antiques Sandra. I personally enjoy every velvety soft page with faded inscriptions of old books I have collected over the years and I’m always curious about the giver and the receiver ~ it’s wonderful that your home is filled with some… Read more »
dolores
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My dear friend, you cannot imagine what I have enjoyed with your post. I can’t say that I like one thing more than the other because everything you show and explain is pure art, pure beauty … I love antiques for several reasons: for their beauty and because they are the reflection of another era, of other people who have loved their things very much. Your words are full of love and that makes it more meritorious because it is not possible to transmit love if you do not love, neither people nor things. I forgot to tell you that… Read more »
Maristella
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WOW! What wonderful post,a favorite! Amazing house,gorgeous quilt and stunning teacups!How many treasures!

Myrna
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Sandra, I think you touched many hearts with this post. I had no idea anyone in WV had tile roofs. They are very common in FL. In the 1970s they built a development in Central Florida with tile roofs, but apparently didn’t know what they were doing. First storm, they leaked because there was no sub roof. With the immigration of Cuban and Mexicans construction workers, the problem was fixed. I love china and glass and try to save as many as I can. So disheartening when kids don’t want grandma’s old stuff and donate it to GoodWill, only to… Read more »
Lorrie
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Sandra, this post is lovely and resonates so well with the way I think. I love the story of your tile roof. How wonderful to have a contractor who understood the value of replacing the tiles rather than replacing the roof. I love things with stories – furniture from loved ones, hand-stitched linens, teacups sipped from through the years. Such things connect us as human beings.

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