Your home should tell the story of who you are, and be a collection of what you love. ~ Nate Berkus
I often use the phrase “my new best friend” when referencing a kindred spirit; a person with whom I am instantly connected; with whom I share a common bond. Such is the feeling I had about Shaye Elliott when simply reading the introduction to her new book, Seasons at the Farm. She writes, “We wanted to cultivate a beautiful space that inspires our minds to create.” Isn’t that basically what I’m aspiring to do with Patch405? I read on to learn that her homestead is in north-central Washington, probably two and a half hours east of Seattle. My family lived in Seattle for ten years, and it holds a very special place in my heart. Actually, I am pretty enamored with the whole state of Washington so I was anxious to continue reading.
What unfolds in Seasons at the Farm is a casual conversation with Shaye Elliott. Grab a cup of tea and settle in for a get-to-know-you session with your new best friend. She paints a vivid picture of the life her family is creating. And she’s not yet done. She notes, “A home that enriches and celebrates the soul is built slowly and intentionally.” She may never be done. For me, that’s part of the intrigue.
She walks you through each season of the year. She lets you know what she harvesting and eating. The seasonal commentary includes various recipes. She includes ways in which she has given her homestead a personal touch – from DIY seed markers to decorating tips. She supplements each section with simple family activities (her children are still young), as well as her thoughts on color palettes, fabrics, and textures. You are given an intimate peek at the various elements and approaches she uses to cultivate her home.
Elliot’s approach is refreshing because it is casual and friendly. She doesn’t feel the need to explain why she likes to grow poppies and peonies. Those are simply her preferences. She readily admits that she has had little success with corn but still grows a specific variety to use for fall decorations. She doesn’t feel the need to justify her decisions or qualify her reasoning. She does what she does because that is what allows her to create the space that will enable her family to flourish.
The result of this approach is a friendly conversation. No hint of ‘I know better than you.’ No strive for perfection. No need for comparisons.
I come away with a few new recipes to try, a serious desire to grow rhubarb, and a reminder to start researching bees. Most of all, I move forward with a renewed sense that I am on the right path. Cultivating my own little patch of happiness is a worthwhile endeavor. I’m already reaping the benefits, and know the best is yet to come.
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. All photos and quotes by Shaye Elliott and appear in her book Seasons at the Farm.)