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March 16, 2011


Dear Jane,
I am one of those readers of your blog who never comment. Selfish ones who just lap up all your goodness and the joy that your writing gives, but never give you anything back.
I am pregnant and going through a miserable day. Work has been tough, colleagues difficult, and I have a toddler to pick up from nursery who is going through what I can only describe as hopefully the worst of the terrible two's phase. To sum it up, it has been a rubbish day.
Only till just now. Till the time I decided to see what you had posted. Your beautiful, inspiring writing gives so much comfort, such hope, I find myself smiling, my troubles forgotten in the warmth of your writing. I'm sorry that you are feeling like you are at some sort of a crossroad with the blog. But really, you have given so much joy and beauty out to the world, you do what your heart tells you. Because I hope you can feel as happy and contented as your posts make me.
PS: I am starting my first quilt this week - have bought all your books and love each one of them!

And then you go and write something like that that brings tears to my eyes because its those years I'm dreading... when my little girls are teenagers and leave home... what a wrench and no wonder you have lots to ponder.
PS. My cousin is having similar problems with uni as one of yours - its heartbreaking...

I love your response. Though you say you are at a loss for words, once again, your writing is primo. Yes, it's nice to see that real experience is winning out over virtual, isn't it? And hopefully some of us who have dragged our heels on hopping on the bandwagon for every technological "advance" (social "networking" media I'm referring to you) will soon find ourselves on the cutting edge, and still skilled enough to hold a face to face conversation.

Thanks for another lovely photo of goodies. Off to get a real hug from my kiddies.

Aw - we love you Jane!

I think a retirement in London sounds great. My Mum and Dad won't move now - they want to make the most of their Freedom Pass! x

I'd be delighted to read about your new life of bright lights and bookshops - and the gentle art of
being not quite as domestic as you used to be? Especially if you still share the occasional cake!

My daughter got her place at uni last year. I cried for a week and was glad she was away at a music festival and couldn't see me.
We couldn't get any decent accommodation so she decided to defer for a year. I have loved the extra time (still dreading the end of summer this year)and she has worked hard to do lots of travel.
We are going to set up a private family blog so we can share all the silly things we see and do in a day... in addition to phone calls!

I would miss you if you stopped blogging, but I would understand if you feel like you need to start enjoying life in the tangible.

I see blogging as a way to share with the world (and family and friends that live so, so far away) about projects/recipes/travels I'm working on.

I try to be selective in what I decide to document because I don't want to be so caught up in trying to document and share everything that I actually miss the memories. That also keeps me from feeling like I'm putting too much of myself out there, but still being real on the blog without being fake.

That's the only tips or encouragement I can offer. :(

Best of luck to Tom and Alice! Waiting is the hardest part.

I don't often comment, but I'm here, every time you post. I take The Gentle Art of Domesticity to bed with me every evening. I read a bit, look at the photos, and think of what I want to do that you've inspired. I'm eagerly awaiting your knitting book. You stretch my thinking, my color sense, I'm a better knitter, a better sewist because of the visits I make to this blog.

I would be very sad if you weren't here, but I also know that life evolves and usually that means you do what's right for you and not what's right for everyone else. (I mean "you" in the global sense of the word)

Hmm...can your entire BLOG be put into a book? :)

Another delurker here to say: You inspire me. I love your sense of color and approach to the world. It is refreshing and peaceful and I would miss it if it were gone.

But I am "consuming" your work - I don't even tell you how much I love your blog and appreciate your thoughts.

You are producing it - and if that is leaving you less than fulfilled - Go! Leave! Take care of yourself. I only wish the best for you.

I understand wanting to move somewhere more central as we get older. I went to a funeral today and it made me realise that I would like to live somewhere more central with more things to do when my son leaves home. There isn't much of a community here and I don't really intend on spending my days in solitude. I realise I will need more out of life.

Take my mother's frequent advice. When in doubt sit still, do nothing for a while the go and do something completely different and the solution will come to you. Most of all do what suits you and no-one else!

Very, very interesting that some young people are appreciating real connection with other humans. Thank God things seem to come 'round again!

I have never commented, though I enjoy your blog a great deal. Selfishly, of course your readers (like me!) would like you to carry on. Your lovely photos are inspiring and are always a highlight of my day. But having one child about to enter high school (in the US), I understand the urge to do something different as other big changes are occurring. Good luck.

I forgot to mention yesterday that there's so much I learn from your blog about art and books. I love your unique perspective in those areas and of course, your incredible sense of style and color.

I'm going to London (and other parts of the UK and Paris (!)) this summer for the first time. I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. It's a long trip from the west coast of the US, but your posts are one reason I am so delighted to be able to visit.

My Son is in the same position as one of your Children- I wonder if they are the same Universities? How was your day I ask- fine! Then I know no response has come through. I am the one trawling the Student Room for an indication of whether it is rejection or offer day. So hard.

I am an academic, having a terrrible time with my university's admission service. I'd advise for you to contact the department in question - both the administrator and head of department (info on uni website). It could be that the system has been centralised and they are unaware of the delay. I'm sure they will move things on quickly once they know. I know I have!
But if it is the university of Scotland's capital, they are famous for doing this. The same happened to me when I applied 16 years ago.

Dear Jane,
Thank goodness you were not gone too long. I check your blog everyday and am always inspired.

Your thoughts reminded me of my grandmother's saying; "to thine own self be true, for then you can be false to no one." Unrelated, but she also said, "Oh what a wicked web we weave when first we practice to deceive."

You have made me remember my dear grandmother (thank you) and have also made me reflect on the nature of this means of virtual communication. I much prefer the actual, but without the blogosphere, I would not have "met" you.

Carry on!

Just want to wish you all good luck!

I've been (sadly and grumpily) off line for a few weeks and missed the forum and missed your posts. I am a huge fan of the link that your books and blog bring your ideas to my home. I am so happy to read ideas from other parts of the world, and from those whose lives are different or the same (University auditions this month, sigh). If it is not too much to continue, I wish for myself that you would.

I would miss you.

I entered this blogging world because I discovered the quilters in the small town we now live in to be very close and personal with themselves, but not welcoming. I was lonely, my quilting friends lived an hour away and no amount of phone calls helped with show and tell or gave me the help I needed if I had a problem.
The blogging community was the exact opposite of the people in this town, they were the link to the quilt world I needed and the most helpful and welcoming I could ever ask for. I wish I could be face-to-face with the people I've met in blogland.
I suppose I'm too old to understand the young people who are connected so tightly to their devises and facebooks and I do not wish to share every segment of my life with the world. I do not dwell in this blog world. I drop by for a visit and for just awhile, and comment only occasionally. I would miss all of them if they went away. Including you.

Quite frankly, I think you should share the cupcakes! (I'm still hoping for a mother-daughter baking book)
PS No matter what life and this blog brings you...don't lose your sense of humor. :)

My children fight over the quilt I made , inspired entirely by your blog and book. I have another one on the go, and when I find the time to do a bit,it's a moment of calm concentration that I desire and cherish. I have never met you, but we are the same age, we have both had different phases in our lives, our children are the same age and going through the same steps in their lives, you started in the wine world, I'm there now, and you have given me the confidence to enjoy the simple things I love, but which were almost taboo for educated professional women. If you don't want to blog, just don't, but I for one will miss you ! and I hope that I will meet you one day.

I've been rather quiet here for a while,sorry about that. I just want to thank you for sharing what you do - lovely inspiration, beautiful colours, good reads and all - you have certainly given me lots of food for thought and inspiration over the years. Best of luck whatever you decide to do.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for that place at university - it must be difficult when your sibling has got a place and you have to wait in suspense. I hope it all works out for the best.

I always enjoy your words and photos Jane, and hope keep blogging!

It's very interesting that you said retire to central London, because I've been following the Spitalfields Life Blog and an older lady said she'd never live anywhere else what would she do in the county.

But I know an American friend of mine who spent three years as a child in Thorpeness, would give everything to retire to the Seaside there.

My son's English teacher challenged them to voluntarily give up their cell phones for two weeks and he did. He does not have facebook and I do not have a cell phone. Can't abide not ever being on your own with a bit of peace.

Lil Bit Brit

Dear Jane,

Every time I see on my blog reader that there's a new post from you I save it for last, because I know there will be something there that makes me smile. Your projects inspire me. I now order books from Persephone because I saw them here, I adore looking at your photographs of flowers and baked goods, and your photographs of architecture make me pay more attention to design in my surroundings. I sometimes look at something and find myself wondering "what would Jane say about that". I buy your books because I know they will be lovely and bring me joy. And I am very happy that I found your blog.

That said, your blog is just that - yours. Anyone who doesn't understand that is a twit.

So thank you for many many lovely reads. I hope they go on, but its your blog and your life and you get to decide.

I used to know someone who'd retired to London, they lived in a gorgeous modern flat in the barbican and took up playing musical instruments in their 60s as it was something they'd always wanted to do -so inspiring.

There was a book on radio 4 a while back about a family who ditched modern technology for a period to see what happened, wish I could remember the name, anyway the teenage kids loved it. We should all turn the computer and phone off now and then!

we should blog to add to our lives, not live more in order to have more to blog about!!!

YOU know what you need and should do. Good luck with everything!

Dear Jane,

You have to follow your heart, be true to yourself but you should know that I read all of your posts, have bought two of your books.

You inspire me. I appreciate your intelligence and your integrity. Most of all, I appreciate your talent and your generosity.


Hi Jane,
Phew! The responsibility of it all. Thank you, as always, for your lovely blog, which I'm rubbish at commenting on but always read. It never fails to lift me. It's entirely up to you what comes next...but rest assured, your wonderful books will remain well thumbed and ever present - the comfort of paper certainly outlasts anything that might appear on a flicking screen. And 'facetime', well, even better.

My husband will retire in .... oh, 15 years or so... and we are already having the "town house or country house" debate. I say be in the city (not only bright lights but airports so the family can come and visit, hospitals nearby in case of life's slings and arrows...) and holiday in the country.
I tried to describe to someone today what your first book was "about"... um, lemon cake and Cary Grant and knitting, sounds crazy, but it works for me!

Once my children had actually left for college I LOVED it. I dreaded it daily the prior summer, probably cried every day, at least a little. Those years went so quickly and we proudly watched them graduate and then receive graduate degrees. In the past eighteen months both have married and I now have the FOUR children I always hoped for. It just keeps getting better and better! I promise.

All I can tell you is that I enjoy your writing and photographs and always am pleased when there is something new to look at. Thanks.

And yeah! on the retiring to central London - definitely on my short list along with Venice in the fall and Paris in the spring.

Re. your comment about retirement in Central London, friends of ours did that. I thought they were mad and couldn't understand it yet everytime we went to visit them we had a wonderful time. It's vibrant, exciting. They have had about 6 years of fantastic city living, they are in W1. They see do visit everything and have had a fantastic time. It's a great idea.

Hi Jane, My older son's due to go to University this autumn too, it feels like a real roller-coaster for both of us and I'm keeping very quiet in the back seat hoping it's all going to be wonderful for him. I do live in Central London...so I can recommend life here without hesitation , it keeps you young and very awake! So
we can have a coffee anytime when you arrive. I'm going to do a PhD , well that's the plan, challenge some grey cells and start maybe the last third of my life with an adventure too.

I will be sad if this light goes out and we loose this wonderful place of inspiration, normality, joy, excitement, delight, motivation and the things that make up daily life.

Bless you whatever you decided Jane - you are/will have been a joy to anticipate each day in blogland.

I have all your books.


I know what you mean about dreading the day your children leave for university. I felt the same, but when it actually happened,we found a whole new set of experiences.there were new places to explore in their university towns,new flatmates to meet,some of them just briefly,others came to visit in vacations.With one,we got to re-explore the place where we met,as she went to the same university as us.We have very happy memories of that time. It is a while ago now and things have moved on again. We now have three grandchidren...but now I'm moving much too fast! - enjoy each moment as it comes.

Jane, yours was the blog which most inspired me to begin my own. I was so thrilled when you mentioned me recently, as I said to Charlotte, it was like getting an Oscar.
Your last couple of posts have been very thought-provoking. Why we blog, what we choose to reveal and conceal about ourselves, who we blog for, are questions to which I have no clear-cut answers. What I do know is that I will always read what you write and come away feeling uplifted.

As a mum of 3 now grown up boys (though last one still at uni)what you lose in terms of everyday contact is balanced by the pleasure of knowing that you have given them a good childhood with a strong family. And you will watch them make their way in the world as fantastic individuals who you will be immensely proud of. It's not the same, it's a different phase of life but it brings it's own pleasures!

Hold on to that blogging voice. When children leave the nest, it doesn't mean that parents stop worrying... or wanting to offer and advice. Blogging helps.. it really helps. Besides, you've got to keep your writing voice in tune!

Getting past Empty Nest Syndrome won't be easy for someone so invested in her role as nurturer-in-chief and it doesn't help that Mother Nature starts playing games with the hormones about the same time. It takes awhile to recalibrate.

Congratulations on your blog longevity. Keep it up, however you want. I think you're wise to go for London instead of the seaside home. We bought a house on the beach, only to find that we preferred to be in the city, near libraries, parks, theaters.

Oh yes... even after they grow up, you'll still worry about them- you just don't get to tell them what they should do. Blog on!

I get that, it's funny feeling your public persona is fixed whilst privately change is constant.
Hoping you continue to write somewhere whatever you decide

Perhaps a question is, if you didn't do the blog anymore, what would you lose and how would you feel without it? Where would you put the things you put here?

People who have something to say frequently attract disagreement, so I think you should wear it as a badge of honor. Easy to say, when a single offhand snark will send me into a frenzy of self-doubting phone calls with my co-bloggette! But I really believe it to be true. (Hmmm, I highly recommend acquiring a co-bloggette, if only to have someone to say, "screw it!")

xoxoxoox Kay

Or rather not lost for words - quite a few I would say. In all honesty you come across as rather spoilt. Where is any recognition of all your lovely readers giving you votes of confidence in droves? Or is that just your right that doesn’t warrant barely a mention? You lump them all together with a couple negative views - no one would ever know from your post that the vast majority of people had endorsed you. Poor poor you! Your glass is very definitely half empty!
You discredit the very means that you are using to make contact with people and the people using it to make contact with you. It's called biting the hand that feeds you. You have made your name through your blog. Yet you don't want to end up as 'an aged Bridget Jones figure with only my computer for company'. That is disrespectful to some of your readers.

Of course people should have right of your reply to your blog! You want us to read it don't you - I think it obvious that you do. I don't accept this is my blog stuff - you invite us to read it (how do we know we don't like it until we do?) Well then, it is a partnership and we have right of reply. Abuse no, difference of opinion though is fine surely?

Jane, what beautiful cupcakes. In spite of frustration, still you are sharing joy. Thank you.

Well, I LIKE your blog, and your books. So maybe I am biased, but I say - do what your heart and mind tell you to do. They haven't really led you wrong yet. Loved what you wrote too about the kids and your changing family. I really did.

I love your blog as well as "The Gentle Art of Domesticity". Even though I do not quilt, or knit, or even bake terribly often (it's more difficult than I care for in a tiny student kitchen), your blog allows me to enjoy them all the same. Like many others, I've been a blog lurker up until today, and I completely understand if you decide that this blog isn't what is best for you anymore. All the same, I hope that we can convince you to stay. We love this space dearly.

I feel, Suki, that Jane is quite appreciative of her readers, and that she does welcome differences of opinion when it comes to concepts and ideas. I'm sure that if someone said something like "oh, well, I think quilts should be complex and time-consuming to make" she would respectfully disagree and perhaps start a discussion. But, I don't see why she or anyone has to accept another person criticizing their choices in life, or feelings about events, or what they write about, which is the type of so-called difference of opinion that some people seem to have here. I have friends who just moved away to Australia, and while their decision has had a negative effect on me (our children were close, I relied on them for support, etc.) I would never berate them for making it. That is not what friends do. I know Jane is not my friend, but I read her blog (and the few other blogs I read) in a friendly spirit of kind heartedness, which is different from how I read newspaper columns or novels. The blogs I read seem more like places for community sharing and support, where, like in a real neighborhood or workplace, it is not acceptable to criticize someone's personal choices or call them names.

I've never commented before, but I've been reading your blog for months and feel that now is the time to speak up.
Last spring, so nearly a year ago now, I discovered your book "The Gentle Art or Domesticity" and it changed my life. Through that book you opened up an entire world to me about which I had been entirely in the dark. Your book was everything that I had always liked and always been searching for in one way or another but hadn't realized what it was, didn't have a name for it.
I'm nearly twenty and am at a crossroads in life myself, and I can absolutely relate to University troubles (I had plenty of my own) and offer as much encouragement as I can. It will work out smoothly in the end. It will, really!
Again, I just wanted to thank you so, so much for what you have given me, although you did not know you gave it, and to encourage you to take care of yourself. I hope that we, your readers, can give something back to you just as you give so much to us.
Thank you for your encouragement, for exposing me to the wide and wonderful world of domestic arts, and for helping me to see the beauty in everyday life and in everyday things.

You are very much appreciated.

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