All Lovely Things by Lea Redmond


All Lovely Things by Lea Redmond

Spring Cleaning time! Well, it will be here soon maybe….I have been so freaking busy, I am not sure that I will ever get to spring cleaning. I want to every year, as soon as I hear the frogs croaking, I get all thrilled for spring.  And then Bam! it’s July!

Recently the peeps at Penguin Random House offered to send me the book All Lovely Things – A Field Journal For The Objects That Define Us by Lea Redmond from their Perigee division. Normally I just don’t have time for books if they aren’t related more directly to my fiber obsession, but this one seemed different, so I said yes.


And part of the reason that I said yes was because Lea talks in the beginning about the “things” around us. And like it or not, those objects around us, define who we are to a degree.  As Spring Cleaning comes around and we toss things or donate things or sell things in garage sales or on Craigslist or re-purpose things, I like how she talks about recording them in this journal and take the time to think about our lives; where we have been, where we are, and where we are going.   And the little promo flyer on the book talked about how we can get “to know ourselves better through the objects that are the inanimate companions to our lives.”

The basic concept on the “journal” part of it, which is Most of the book,  centers around two page spreads of blank “boxes” for you to fill in with sketches or photos, or what have you….basically to reflect on who you are…who those you love are, and then people you admire as well. It’s a very “Gestalt“y way to analyze and think about your life I think.  (and after I read the definition of Gestalt psychology, I realized that I think of it in the greater that than sum of all things, not other than the sum of all things… just so you know what I was thinking…if you even care! 🙂 )

So anyway…Back to the book. it doesn’t have to be just about you either. It can be about family, friends, historic people that have meaning in your life.

Lea, the author of this book, gave numerous sample sections, Emily Dickinson and Henry David Thoreau, pictured below, to give you an idea of what the journal is intended to do for you.



I apologize for the lighting in some of these shots. The below is the actual light. I didn’t really work the filters as much as I should have on the above shots.

I think the real appeal that this book had for me is in the fact that we are headed to the phase of downsizing our household. The boys have moved out and may be coming back for short stays, but the fact is they will be going further and further away. And Mimi isn’t far behind them.  That and we have started working on actually budgeting in real way and we are realizing that we don’t really NEED all of this stuff. This isn’t an easy process by any means. I am a packrat by nature and everything seems very sentimental to me.

For my first sketch in this field book I started with this plate. It is not a family piece. We picked it up at a garage sale somewhere. But it is my favorite plate of this size.  And it’s developing a crack. So I know I won’t be able to keep it forever. So that is why I chose to start with it as my first sketch.  I have no idea how it “defines” me, but I love it and I want to remember it for a very long time.


And a closer look at my sketches and the actual plate:


Another cool thing that you can do with it, is have friends and family take a section too… I plan on having at least two of my kids do their own pages. Don’t think the oldest will want to do this.  There are lots of prompts, but then there are lots of blank sections too. So many cool things that you could do with this book.

So that’s it…A fun little book to use and record some of those things you may be tossing out or donating this year so you can keep a little bit of them behind for old times sake. Call it a scrapbook, a memory book, a visual diary….whatever, I think I will be enjoying this for a very long time!

And the Penguin peeps have generously offered to share a copy for a giveaway here at the Blue Nickel this week. So please leave a comment on this post about something that defines you…..something that would be the very last thing you would be getting rid of as you spring clean this year and into the future…and it can’t be fabric or your phone!!   🙂

I will give you until April 2nd then I will draw a name sometime that day and the Penguin peeps will send you your very own copy.

I can’t wait to hear what you have to say (New readers, please remember that this blog is set up to have every comment approved before it is posted, so if you don’t see your comment right away, don’t fret, it just means that I haven’t gotten around to approving it yet).


  • As someone who used to move frequently, I always keep a tally, in my mind, of how the household contents would disperse……what I would throw away, sell, pack and keep. I have a vase and a quilt made by a friend that have weathered many moves and always make a space feel mine.

    March 28, 2015 at 7:53 pm
  • Kris vanden Bosch


    I would love a copy! Hope I win it!

    March 28, 2015 at 7:59 pm
  • I guess I would have to say my very old 12″ pink teddy bear. It’s name is pinky he is 45 years old, wore out a bit, and getting frail. I was shuffled around a lot as a child and if it didn’t fit in a suitcase it was left behind. He was small enough that I never had to leave him. He even went to Navy Boot Camp with me and lived in a drawer. As an adult I have owned two homes, I don’t move if I can avoid it. I am a pack rat and I think it may be a result of my childhood. Downsizing sounds like a good idea.

    March 28, 2015 at 8:38 pm
  • Mary


    What a timely post. I’m trying to go through each part of my apt. and clean and clear out stuff so I can have more space so my eyes can find emptiness to rest. Something that immediately came to mind was my Steiff animals. I have fewer than ten but they brought me much joy when I received each one as a child. I even took a couple with me when I visited a great nephew a couple years ago. These will stay and will be given to a family member later on. I think the book is a wonderful idea.

    March 28, 2015 at 10:03 pm
  • Evie H


    What a great concept! It seems so much more personal than just written words. Problem for me would be that I can’t draw very well! =) Maybe I’ll cut out little pictures out of magazines and such. Thanks for the giveaway!

    March 28, 2015 at 10:17 pm
  • Karen in Breezy Point


    My sock monkeys–love them!!

    March 29, 2015 at 9:00 am
  • What a great post! I have always thought about things in terms of how they define us and what they mean to me. Favorite things may have spawned a collecting habit, but it was always for the love of the item, never about accumulation.

    Without a doubt, my favorite and most meaningful Thing is the red and white paperweight that used to sit on my grandfather’s desk. I have loved it for as far back as I can remember. I can still see it sitting on his leather blotter, holding down papers written in his early 20th century-styled Hungarian handwriting. When he passed (I was a young married), his desk and paperweight went to my mom. When she passed ten years ago, the paperweight came to me.

    Grandpa’s paperweight has pride of place in my paperweight collection on shelves in the living room. It brings back so many memories, it may as well be a crystal ball! Oh wait, it is.

    March 29, 2015 at 12:00 pm
  • Patty


    I too have been “sorting” thru things trying to get rid of the excess possessions I have. The first thing that came to mind was an antique quilt I have from a great-great-grandmother, probably made in 1890. But the one thing that defines me is my mother’s ring with the birthstones of my children. I wear it every day along with a ring from my mother.

    March 29, 2015 at 2:48 pm
  • Kris vanden Bosch


    Forgot to post what defines me… I would have to say the knicknacks I’ve gotten from my grandma. A hand-painted teacup and saucer that her sister painted for her from the 60’s. Also, a tiny red cuckoo clock she had hanging in her kitchen that she bought in Leavenworth. And I have about five crocheted afghans that she either gave to me or that I inherited. She was such a big part of my childhood that these things just remind me of her. I could never part with them!

    March 29, 2015 at 5:39 pm
  • I spent many years living a mostly transient lifestyle. Now that I finally put down roots many of the things that I thought I “had to keep”or I had to have it one day, are not so much anymore. Which is funny because I live in a huge ancient farmhouse.

    March 30, 2015 at 6:26 am
  • Judy


    What a great book to keep track of things that may have meaning in your life for a time but you no longer need or use and can let them go. As I have gotten older I find that I don’t have too many things that I need to keep. Probably the one thing that I will never let go of is a knitted afghan that a friend made for me for one of my birthdays and which took her hours and hours to make because it had lots of hand stitching after the knitting to make a flower design on top of it.

    March 31, 2015 at 4:35 pm
  • This books seems to give me permission to say bye to the STUFF that I must toss. What a great way to make my life easier with less.

    April 3, 2015 at 7:58 am

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