Tuesday, July 21, 2020

A Quiet Life free pattern...

As I've been stitching and sewing this very gentle, very quiet and simple pattern my mind has had much time to ponder the significance of what Paul meant in writing those wonderful words -

"...and to make it your ambition to live a quiet life; you should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody." 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

In my last post I asked for your own thoughts on a quiet life and my heart was enriched by the responses as I was given (gifted) a small glimpse inside your unique day to day living and felt encouraged by many who shared similar thoughts to my own.

When I was a child and young adult, leisure time, social gatherings and the like were not common everyday things as they are now. Nana, being my example of a homemaker, taught me the importance of caring for home and family by being attentive to the responsibilities and blessings we had in our tiny one-bedroom flat and showing diligence to maintain a good life there by completing daily chores, planning and shopping for nourishing meals that used what was in season or on hand, and being mindful about unnecessary waste.

By today's standards her daily rhythm of sweeping the flat, mopping the kitchen, polishing the sink, hanging the washing (some of it hand washed), airing the bed, beating her small rugs with a broom outside (she did one rug a day so that all had a good beating once a week) and starting dinner early in the day before she stopped for our mid-morning cuppa was completely normal. Just as it was for most of the women in our neighbourhood.

I clearly remember her as a woman who worked hard and did not complain about it, for she'd been born during the first world war, raised a family during the great depression, and taken on me as a 3yo to raise when well into her 50's. 

I learned through her example the absolute bliss of a day well spent, the delight of relaxing after the final dishes were washed and dried at night, the satisfaction of watching a good western on the telly knowing the day's doings were complete and all she needed to do was perhaps brew a cup of tea when the ad was on or share a glass of beer with Pop.

It was indeed a quiet life, yet not solitary.
The friends she had would gather together every second Saturday afternoon in the Lady's Parlour at the local pub for a couple of hours while the husbands met in the Gentleman's Bar. 
This was their time to take off their aprons and dress up! Nana always taught me that a lady should wear lipstick and earrings when she was to be socialising and I think that's what all the ladies believed as well because my young eyes marvelled at these women I knew who normally wore simple house dresses and aprons (plus curlers in their hair after hair washing morning and scarves over the curlers when they headed off to the butcher or grocer) all bright and cheery with red or dark pink lips which left big 'kiss' stains on the rim of their shandy glasses.
So many hints and tips were shared back and forth, laughter and sorrows shared between each other, kindnesses offered and amidst it all was me, loved on by everyone present. That in itself was true kindness.

But then they would say their goodbyes and not see each other again for a couple of weeks unless for a passing hello and perhaps a short chat going to and from the grocer or butcher, or a wave and comment about the weather as the ladies came to their front doors to collect bottles of milk left before dawn by the milkman and saw each other from across the road or the front fence.

There were odd occasions when we made a visit to someone during the week, or someone came to us, but these times were rare and treated as very special.

Each woman took pride in her home, whether a tiny flat like ours or a two bedroom cottage (which to me was a mansion), and day to day went about her business not intruding in the lives of others...unless...
Unless there was a need.
In a time of need or sorrow or sickness, Nana and her friends would gather what was required plus a little extra, taking turns to offer their time and provisions to clean, cook and care for neighbours. 

And this is what I have been pondering as I stitched the little houses, appliqued the double hearts, sewed on my machine and hand quilted with white thread.

Growing up I saw what it meant to keep yourself busy at home, to show respect for another's privacy, to take time and not rush your chores because the true satisfaction comes from a task well done, and to be ready with a full and kind and generous heart when someone had a need.

I did not see gossip, nor busybody intrusions, and I never saw my grandparents dishonour each other.
We were very poor with regards to finance but we were very rich in the things that mattered.

Sadly, I have not followed so closely the example of my Nana through my adult life, the ways of the world nudging its foot further into my life than it should have been allowed...but the older I am, the easier it is becoming to slip into her example and see the great wealth of joy and gentleness and peace and quiet a life can offer when we fully appreciate what is right beneath our roof and within our walls - and who resides there with us.

The pattern above is my gift to you and I am hopeful as you stitch and sew that God will infuse your thoughts and fill your heart with a gentleness that brings you tremendous peace and delight.

Instructions for how I put the mini quilt together is included with the pattern, but you may choose to make this very differently...maybe a simple nine-patch display using the house blocks alone, or perhaps the hearts. 

I'm working on a single block at the moment for a very small little hanger and have simply added 'a quiet life' underneath and chosen to applique the door and change the flower petals to lazy daisy stitch. The wording for this is also included in your pattern.

Next time I'm going to chat about other ways of embracing a simpler, quieter life.
If you have thoughts to share, please do. I thoroughly enjoy reading your comments as do the many thousands of visitors to my blog each day - and I say that to encourage you because often we think we do not have a voice or anything interesting to share. But we do, all of us.

Bless you ever so much!


  1. Thank you for your gorgeous pattern. Your quiet life with Nana sounds just lovely

  2. Hello Jenny,
    I have really enjoyed your writings for a long time now. My grandmother was a great example to me also. Sadly when I was a teenager I had no understanding of what a wonderful homemaker she was. My grandparents moved to Australia from New Zealand when my mother was 9. They had very little but they worked very hard to bring up their 3 children in there new country. My grandfather built their own home after many years. He had a huge veggie garden and my grandmother would make their meals from what the garden was producing at that time. As a little girl I loved visiting them for sleep overs and enjoyed snuggling into the big bed which seemed so far from the floor to me. Two other things I remember were, the huge sun hat Nanny wore when ever she went outside to hang the washing or collect the veggies and sitting in front of the huge radiogram in the evening listen to the ABC News and the concert that would come on after the news.
    Now I’m an older woman I I think back on how she must have struggled all those years ago and what a resouful woman she was. I often wish she was still around so I could tell her how much I admired and loved her.
    Blessings Gail

  3. Jenny from your words I can tell that your Nana took pride and pleasure in creating a home that provided comfort and sanctuary for you and your Pop. In doing so she passed on a lasting and real generational blessing to you, which you have been able to pass on in your family. Your work and words continue to honour the love and care she gave to you, and so in that way her love and nurturing of you reaches out to bless us as well.

  4. As frail humans we seem not to appreciate what we have when we have it. Or to take it for granted. We all need gentle reminders so thank you for providing them in your posts.

  5. Thank you for the lovely pattern and the peaceful entle blog post.

  6. Your life with your Nana sounds lovely. So is your pattern. Thank you for sharing.

  7. This pattern is so lovely and I hope to make it as a gift to my daughter since I already have a cross-stitched verson of this verse on my wall. Living a quiet life, to me, has partly meant not being sucked into every activity available even though they might be very good activities. We've tried to pick and choose what would be best for the family as a whole as well as considering each member's bent or desires. Since so many sport activites are scheduled during family dinner times and church times, those were mostly out. Fortunately, we were able to do things like volleyball in our yard with friends on a regular basis, on our chosen schedule. Homemaking, including gardening and raising chickens, pigs, and beef helped keep a simple sustenance attitude at home as did making and doing for ourselves as much as possible.

  8. Your posts are always uplifting. I enjoy them very much.

  9. Jenny- This has so touched my heart and life today! Thank you for sharing this adorable heart felt pattern. I too have felt the need to live a more quiet life. We here in the Bay area of California have been living a very sheltered life since March. It is hard to be so isolated and yet there are many blessings too. I really am lucky I have the opportunity to start this little project as I just finished a big one! Yay! Thanks so much! K- lkw2x6-apq@yahoo.com

  10. Oh yes! I grew up with my mom living in a women's nursing home/widow's home...and life was so simple! Yes, stories! I love this so much I am posting it on my FB page.

  11. Hi Jenny,
    Thanks for writing such a wonderful post! and sharing!

  12. I look forward to your postings and ponder upon your thoughts that you share. Thank you for this pattern. I love the peaceful blue and white fabrics you've chosen for this sample.

  13. At least for me, this time of isolating at home is bring back a renewal of appreciation of my home. Once life is back to 'normal' again, I think I'll be staying home more and doing less socializing. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and the pattern. Happy stitching!

  14. I love the life you describe and can relate to it in parts. People gathered at our home when I was a little girl, my mother's friends sometimes, my older siblings' friends other times, and I played in the street with the other children on my block. I like my modern lifestyle, but I also think I'd probably be better off living more like my mother did. We had a two-bedroom square house, with bathroom, kitchen and living room. Who ever heard of a dining room? We ate in the kitchen! I feel the peace you feel as you describe the life. Remember that your knew your Nana in her 50s. Like the rest of us, modern life might have intruded more when she was younger. She was at a point where she had learned what was important, just as you have as you've grown more mature. Thank you for sharing these memories, these ideals, and this stitching with us. I appreciate your calm and gentle influence in my often less-calm life. Love you, Jenny!

  15. Enjoyed your post...always do. I would like a simpler life....

  16. Beautiful pattern! I always enjoying hearing about your life with your Nana. Thanks for sharing it.

  17. To reminisce down old paths that indulge recollections of past events makes us feel so much about the good days gone bye. Great story. I enjoyed your details. It was such a different day then. A different life style in so many ways. The thing I have learned is every generation changes a great deal. I see a mix of the way I did things with what my daughters do today. It evolves, more than I like to see. But think of the technology today and how much it has changed the world today. Who knows what will be in the next 20 years?
    I also think that God blesses people with new ideas, new inventions,big dreams, more than we can think or ask. Time moves on. Change is certain to happen.
    Be well, Jenny.

  18. Such a sweet pattern. Your are so generous to share it with us. I am so enjoying your posts on a quiet life. Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s in a small town in the States was so similar to your upbringing. There was a day for each type of chore in the house, a day to grocery shop and usually once a month a trip to Pittsburgh to shop at the department stores. Our life revolved around home, family and church.

  19. I's so interesting to see different lives. My mom was only a few years (less than 10) younger than your Nana, but your Nana was more like my Grannie who was born on 1898. They lived in a small town, where mom grew up.
    I grew up in the city. Neighbors socialized more than you describe, and we were taught to avoid the gossips. (Be polite, but not engage in much conversation.) I remember afternoon tea at one of two or three neighbors homes maybe every other week or so (more in summer, less in winter). Very informal tea time. Often we sat in our neighbor's basement while she completed her ironing. She was probably most like your Nana, following a very set routine. LOL My mom was never, in all her 93 years, a housewife. As she put it "I married a man, not a house." She kept things clean, but with 4 kids, tidy was not very common. And then, when her youngest (my little sister) went to school, it was necessary for her to go out to work.
    The priorities I learned were family and hard work. Though my dad probably would have preferred it, there was no difference between men's work and women's work. Fortunately for me, my husband share this equality of work and has always done more than his fair share of housework. Now that he's retired, he has taken over some of the chores I like to do. It works out well, as I'm my mother's daughter even thought I lean strongly towards the homely arts.

  20. Thanks for the beautiful pattern. Since I became an adult, it has always been my goal to live a quiet life. My prayer has always been that I would "beware the barrenness of a busy life." (Socrates)

  21. Lovely post Jenny and such a pretty design - thank you. xx

  22. I have a great admiration for the women of the past. They worked hard and did big sacrifices.
    Thank you for the nice pattern as always,
    Miriam from Italy

  23. I needed this today. I have been trying to quiet my heart, but life seems to just be too busy. When you mentioned your Nana, I fondly remembered my grandmothers too. My moms mother wad Grandma Campbell. She truly led a quiet life and ran her home much like your Nana. She taught me her love of quilting. My dads mom was Granny Ree. She was a quiet woman also to the point that she suffered in silence. She was a n u rose in the new born nursery. She went to work when she was widowed and still had young teens to provide for. My Great Granny was also a Duncan. She taught me simple cooking. She could take left over pie crust and make us grands the best and most delicate snacks. My own momma taught me so how to cook, clean, how to sew, how to be a ho N emaker when that wasn't a cool profession to be. Now you are called a Stay at home mom. And I was blessed to stay home with our children. My husband often worked 2 jobs just so I could be home.
    I am blessed. Each of these important women also had a personal relationship with God.
    To lead that quiet life I will start with Ps 46:10 - "Be still and know that I am God."

  24. Thank you for your beautiful new pattern. A simple life is what I crave so much...But sadly its not as simple as I had hoped it to be by now. With my stage 4 metastatic bone cancer it requires me to go to many doctor appointments and have constant tests especially here lately as they have discovered it has now metastasized to my thoracic spine also. I love the days I can stay home and get things done. My Mother stayed home when we were small. She cooked, canned, gardened and did alterations and sewed clothing for people. But after she divorced my father who was a alcoholic and Momma was a Christian and could no longer tolerate his ways as the more he drank the more abusive he became and he would be gone for days on end. SHe went to work in a sewing factory making minimum wage. We lived off of that until Mother remarried and then she continued to work. She married a farmer. I grew up with older ladies in his family sewing, quilting, cooking, canning, gardening and keeping house.I also grew up working in the fields until I was old enough to go to work in the sewing factory during the summer and I also babysat on weekends. My momma taught me to cook and bake. Momma and I would work on patchwork quilts . SHe would bring home scraps from work they would give away and or sell periodically from the sewing factory. Momma taught me to sew clothing also. I was gifted a well used sewing machine at age 10. I loved that machine...It opened up a whole new world for me. It was my escape...I spent hours on that thing sewing away. I married after high school was lucky to go to nursing school. Then worked as a Dermatology surgical nurse. Then had a son and a daughter 6 years later. I always sewed something for someone. I made all my daughters clothing and some of my sons. Made all my curtains and other things to....Those were some of the happiest days of my life. My husband was in the Navy . He was a career USN submarine sailor. He retired after his 20 years. Just a little backstory on me...

  25. Thank you so much for the beautiful pattern, Jenny! I so enjoy your posts. May God bless you and keep you wrapped in peace and love.

  26. Thank you for the pattern, but thank you even more for sharing a piece of you. This evening I was having a wonderful chat with my niece. She showed me pictures of jars of pickles she just made and talked about her garden and her toddler son. As she chatted, I was filled with pride that she was becoming the young lady that I had hoped and prayed she would become. She lost her father, my brother, 12 years ago right before she graduated high school, and I felt a sense of responsibility for her ever since.

  27. I never tire of hearing stories from your childhood or "Nana". Such sweet, sweet memories and lasting legacy. And such a sweet, beautiful design, in my favorite colors. Can't wait to get started on this beautiful design. I love the command that encourages us to make a simple life our ambition. Especially since we are looking to do exactly that with a new home in the near future. <3

  28. Very rich in the things that mattered.....oh my goodness yes. What a lovely reminder, Jenny. I have a bad tendency to rush through my days, ticking things off my "to do" list, and taking satisfaction in the "done" rather than the "doing". I do want to make this little quilt as a reminder to enjoy the doing - thanking God for the gift of my hands that are so capable of so much, giving me a home and a family to care for, and friends far and near to pray for. What a delight you are, what a gift you are.

  29. Thank you for sharing the lovely pattern, but most of all, thank you for always reminding us what is important in life. I always enjoy reading about your life and the way you share your faith.

  30. I so enjoy Your newsletters! You inspire me and remind me of the things we should be grateful for. I thank you for that! I truly enjoy reading about your Nana ( I also had a Nana) and your daily life but what really brings a smile to me soul is your little granddaughters! Cully Mae has the most infectious smile! And Rafaella is just as cute as can be! I enjoy reading about their day at your house and seeing their adorable smiles and expressions of excitement on their little faces!

    I enjoy your wonderful talent that you share with us, I’ve been a member for a very longtime because you inspire me.
    Last but not least, I wanted to congratulate you and Blossom on the upcoming arrival of a little boy this coming December. How exciting for all of you !
    Many blessings to you and yours Jenny


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