Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sometimes you just need simple pleasures...

At the very core of my being I am a simple hearted girl.
My dream, if I could have it, would be to own a small hobby farm outside of a country town. With a cow, chickens, and a duck looking on, I would have a swinging seat on the verandah, grow my own vegetables, and use as much recycled fabric/items as possible to add that gentle 'you are home' signature to everything I made.
A large tree with a swing would stand to the left of the verandah and my children and grandchildren would be laughing and playing amid the animals and birds each day until the sun shut its weary eyes and the darkness of night fell upon us. I would read to them the wonderful old classics once more - books that for many of their childhood years kept them entranced for hours each day as I brought the words to life with my dramatic characterisations while they huddled on the couch munching cheese, crackers and grapes.
I love that dream. 
To live simply, to me, is to let go of the constant desire for 'more', to forgo the pursuit of 'things', and to enjoy - to relish - being home, being content, caring for loved ones, and making use of what you already have. It is to sit in the quiet and love where you are, to climb into bed each night and have no guilt or regrets. 
Lately we have had a lot to manage with health and emotional issues in our family. As we experienced the highs and the lows we gathered loved ones closer and were reminded once more just how precious every moment is, how blessed we are to wake each day and still have each other's love and respect. Simple love, but perfect. 
I bought this pre-loved doily for just 50c at an op-shop a few months back because it made me think about my dream. It has been sitting amongst my fabrics all this time waiting for inspiration on how I can use it.
 The sentiment cross-stitched on the front encapsulates how I feel about my family - a home is not a house, but a place where your loved ones gather around you and want to stay.
In contrast to simplicity, part of the whirlwind of designing is that I constantly see new fabric ranges, and imagine what I would make with them. This used to be exciting, but lately my feelings have changed. 
I see that a habit formed, a habit that I now want to break, a habit of buying more fabric than I could possibly use in my lifetime. Oh yes, the fabrics are beautiful! They inspire me to create. But, I am one person, and all those designs I have sketched? Most will never see a needle and thread. So why the big stash?? Why all those dollars spent on fabrics - it could have been used to reduce our debt, pay for a family holiday, or increase our giving. It might even have brought that dream of mine closer to being reality. Mmm....I'm really exposing my flaws today, aren't I?
The dilemma I have found myself in has a solution, though. 
Stop buying fabric and all of those little pretties and trinkets that come home from the store with me. Stop buying more craft magazines that get flicked through then pile up by the side of the bookcase until I have to take a week to go through them, cutting out patterns that I want to make but rarely ever do. Stop buying.
Live SIMPLY with what I already have in my home.
It can be that simple for me.

So today, with a scan of my fabric cupboard, I chose a lovely piece I had bought over two years ago that reminded me of my grandmother and home, and it felt 'just right' (to quote Goldilocks!) to work with my doily...
I dug through my vintage button jar and found three successful applicants... secure the back of my simple cushion.
I even made it simply - no wadding, no quilting, just a simple oversized cotton cushion cover that I really love because it speaks of my dream and reminds me what is most important.
Now to hold onto my dream and live more simply in all things. 
Thanks for listening to my heart today,

"Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply.Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God"

Ronal Reagan


  1. Your cushion looks lovely Jenny. I really must start going to op shops and look for lovely things like your doily.

  2. Love your cushion, but appreciate your sentiment of living simply even more - it is a conclusion I also reached a few days ago (after buying more stuff) - I am on holidays, adn as my luggage gets heavier to carry, I wondered how I was going to use everything. I decided to buy no more fabric if possible, to use what I have, and to enjoy all my lovely things - no keeping for good or special occasions.

  3. Very pretty cushion Jenny. We are looking for a new home at the moment as we have sold ours. Can't wait to be settled and put down some roots.

  4. Your cushion is lovely and will be a great feature to remind you of your dream.... We do make our lives complicated sometimes don't we? I cut right down to nothing when we immigrated and I am again having to cut down.... I don't think I'm doing very well!

  5. Beautiful use of your lovely doiley.


  6. A lovely way to use your doilly and help you focus on your dream. We reduced our possessions greatly when we moved to Spain and I haven't bought fabrics for 3 years, just using my stash. We enjoy our very beautiful finca and fantastic scenery and like you, feel that home is a lovely place to be. Keep dreaming your dream and one day it will happen

  7. Living simply is sometimes hard to do, when it comes to wonderful fabrics and great looking projects in magazines....
    Just do your best Jen, and get that scrapbook out and stitch up all those ideas of yours, using only your stash, then sell them and get your money back!
    You won't need to but bananas for awhile, and hopefully not mangoes either!

  8. I hope your dreams will come true some day, you have very nice dreams.

  9. That was a nice post Jen, I understand where you are coming the cushion....

  10. I think we can all learn a lesson from your sentiments. But all too soon we are captivated by something new - and with the Brisbane Craft Show coming up I fear that wil happen to me!!

  11. OMG your beautiful words have made me cry - Your heart speaks the words that are also dear to my heart sweetie. I just love the cushion and I am sure that each time you sit with it or look at it that it will remind you of what is important in your life. Well done dear friend XXX

  12. Jenny, we should swap homes for a week. I grumble about things here at times but I think I'm living something like your dream and I have a better appreciation of it now. If I could find a cheap way to send you a pail of cow's milk, a dozen chook and duck eggs and some home grown oranges I'd do it.
    I adore the doily cushion. It is lovely.

  13. I love your cushion Jenny it is so sweet and your story reminds me of times at my grannies place she had all the things that you want. OH if life was only that simple these days.
    Hugs Mary.

  14. Thank you for those words today, we're as a family is going through a rough spot, my husband is to lose his job and we want to hold on and not loose ourselves in selfpitty. We must live simpler as the Lord wants us to be happy, but not happy in get stuck in worldly things.

  15. What a lovely post - - the warm, fuzzy kind :)
    I live in Spain (like Chrissie, but don´t know where she is) where there are virtually no fabric or crafty shops, but unfortunately for my bank balance - there is the internet. I should take heed of your post aand use my stash up. Love the cushion :)

  16. Your cushion is very sweet and so are you. I set about simplifying my life a year or so ago and have not regretted it at all. If I get the urge to shop, I visit the Op Shop and see what I can recycle.

  17. I agree so much with your sentiments about living simply. You delightful new cushion will be a constant reminder to keep to your ideals.

  18. What a lovely cushion! I too struggle with the fabric issue. All the new lines coming out are so beautiful, and I really want some of them, but I can't afford to buy them. And I don't really need them. So I just keep using up what I have whenever I can. Shopping can be fun, but using the fabric I already have feels so much better! :0)

  19. Your post today really touched me. It has also long been my dream to live a simple life style...exactly as you described it, animals and all. However, I too have the problem of buying way to many quilting books/magazines and fabric! Money that could be put to use reducing debt as you mentioned. Trying to do better, but it's such a difficult habit to break! Thank you for reminding me of what's truly important. Hope your dreams come true!

  20. Your post has put into words some of my own recent thoughts. Sounds like a lot of us are on the same wavelink. I, too, have quite a stash, and my weakness is the magazines, as DH reminds me quite often. . I,too, recently decided to use up my stash before heading for the fabric shop. I have taken to saving buttons and zippers out of worn out things headed for the rag bag.
    Don't give up on that dream, Jenny, one day you will look around you and realize you are living that dream and didn't even notice it happening.
    The cushion is beautiful and the doily. It reminds me of a cross stitch my Mom had done and I hadn't seen it completed until I was going through her things after she had passed away. My son is a picture framer and one day asked if I had any needleworks that he could practice framing on, and I gave him 3 of my own and the one of Mum's. I didn't tell him she had done it. Months later he surprised me with one of the needleworks framed, and it was the one my Mum had done. He was surprised, and I think very pleased, too. She was like a second Mum to him. The verse is "Make new friends, but keep the old, the new are silver, the old are gold." She was always my best friend. I keep it hanging where I can see it.
    She was great at making beautiful things out of things she already had, just as you have talked about today. Keep inspiring us, Jenny.

  21. So lovely to read how we all aspire to get back to basics .Your cover is very sweet --cottonreel

  22. this post was very timely and the pillow is perfect. I have started cleaning out/re-organizing my sewing room in hopes of recycling some of the fabric and magazines that are stacked up. I just found the top of a table that I haven't seen in a couple of years! The back of my car has two boxes of fabric that is going to Goodwill so others can use it. I am starting to feel a bit freer just with this start.

  23. Beautiful post Jen, and so very true. I have learnt this lesson well over the past few years, and yet I am the happiest I have ever probably been in my life! :-)

    Your cushion is beautiful. Speaking of cushions ... my Mum admired the one you made on my bed when they were visiting (the camel one). It is soon to take pride of place in my living room on the new chairs I ordered today. I got given a secondhand sofa by dear friends who are leaving town at the end of the year - so I decided to treat us to 2 new little tub chairs to go with it. The kids helped me choose them. I am going to put your camel cushion as pride of place on a tub chair in the lounge room. Special memories always of a special friend.

    Love and hugs,
    Fee :-)

  24. I wanted to move to the country 40 years ago and have a horse and even a dog and my own veggies. But to-day 75 years old I think living in a city is more comfortable. I can just cross one street to get food and take a bus down-town for shopping.
    You see I had a dream and that´s really something good I think. To-day I love my life.
    Your pillow is just a sweetie.
    Hugs from Louise D

  25. Hi Jenny, it was lovely to read about your dreams, I think we are all guilty of buying too much, wanting too much and probably having too much, I always wanted to live like 'The Waltons' ( did you have that show in Australia) but like all human beings I want things too but, I am changing the things I want are far simpler, I don't crave lots of money or a better car, I just want my family to be healthy and happy and for Tony and me to love each other till the day we die. I love your cushion Love Jillx

  26. Jenny, thanks for sharing such an inspirational thought. I, too, have been having the same feelings and am trying to live more simply and give more generously. I believe my Lord will bless such an attitude. Thanks again.

  27. What a wonderful piece of stitchery and you put it to such a lovely use. I think we all succumb to the more, more of what takes our fancy. I have resisted fabric purchases for a while now. While standing in line with some fat quarters recently, I thought to myself that I really have those colours at home and should use them up first. They stayed in the store - and my husband was surprised.

  28. Jenny, You touched my heart today as that is a dream I would also love to have , the only part I would add is a horse in the field , yes that would make it all perfect for me .I think your cushion is just perfect , I love that you made it simply and the fabric choice is perfect !!!

  29. Jenny, you have taken words right out of my own mind and mouth. I've so many told myself "no more" and wanted to pursue the creativity to be mined from using what's on hand or repurposed, but, for most of us, the hunt is as much fun as the creating so surely there is a healthy balance somewhere in between. Your cushion and your spirit are both beautiful ! Dare to dream and keep on stitchin. You are a blessing and inspiration to others through your work and your words.

  30. Lovely cushion....I wonder who stitched that little beauty and what their life was like. I love the simplicity idea also and am trying to also live that I did as a child some 50 years ago! Hugs to Australia.

  31. Love your dream I hope one day it will happen for you
    Fabulous cushion

  32. More and more families are converting to simpler lives and spreading their experiences to others.

    I love what you did with the doily.

  33. It seams that we have been thinking almoast the same due to shopping and having all those things! I think I´ll have to live for about 200 years just to have a chance to use up my stash of fabrics and yarn! Think of all the things my family could have bought instead!
    That camper that we wish to have!
    It´s in my studio...
    Take care.

  34. Jen, thank you for expressing these thoughts straight from your heart. Many of us need a reality check of what is important in our lives.
    Enjoy your new little cushion and keep dreaming.

  35. Jenny i want to join your dream, it sounds lovely and i am sure many others share your ideals. The cushion also reminded me of my nan who died many years ago, so thankyou.

  36. Lovely cushion, Jenny. Each time you look at it, fluff it up, sit back against it you'll have that calm feeling about your choices. We all arrive at the place where our priorities change and take one more step in our never ends.

  37. (((((((Jenny-girl)))))))) What a wise, lovely, heart-felt post. This is my dream live simply, content with my lot, content with where the Lord has placed me. I think it's part of being human to want more, but I'm trying to make sure my wanting more is geared toward something worthwhile - to know and serve Him better, to serve my family as He wants me to, to create with what I have or can recycle.

    I love your cushion sweet girl, because I think it speaks to the longing in all hearts. I think it's a perfect reminder of your dream.

  38. We all buy to much for our hobbies, snce moving to crete I have had to use up lots of my crafty bits, and have enjoyed every minute, makes me relise you do not have to keep buying to enjoy. Lovely posting

  39. I Hear You Loud & Clear...I think we all feel like that from time to time..I stopped the fabric obsession a while back & only Indulge on Occassions..even though I don't have a large stash compared to others...looking at that doiley I think...I wonder who stitched old were they..are they a local...are they still living..such a mystery our little doiley...I'm sure who ever once owned HER She would be Very Proud of where She has ended up..Gorgeous Fabric & Buttons to add to Her Beauty...Well Done on Giving Her a New Home & for Sharing your Feelings....
    sending Big Hugs.

  40. I can very much identify with these sentiments Jenny. It's hard to compromise the dream for stability. Love the simplicity of the cushion - it's calming and inspiring!

  41. I read this and thought OMG have you been inside my head or was the same little birdy whispering in our ears.
    I made the same decision this week to stop buying more fabric and use up some of the stash I have built up. My mum gave me half her craft room the other joke I have a car load of fabrics, trims, wool etc and I'm running out of room to put it all so thought NO more buying fabric till I've used up most of what I have! I could never use it all and some of the fabrics I have had for MANY years


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