Sunday, July 26, 2020

Back to basics- how to make your own life

From time to time I go back to the inspirational books which ground me in this Simple Life, and in re-reading them am reminded that what we are doing here is counter-cultural. We are resisting the tide of consumerism and busyness, and instead we are Making our Own Lives.That is why the Simple Life is different to each of us -we have our own likes, circumstances, and -let's face it- our own families to negotiate with. One person's artisan sour dough is another person's nightmare! One person's delightful bush camping holiday is another person's cold and drafty tent. 

The books which I have been re-reading this month were written about 50 years apart! 

First published in 1937, ORCHIDS ON YOUR BUDGET gives advice on all manner of subjects, from entertaining and creating the perfect capsule wardrobe to relinquishing the family estate. Lest you worry about how to put the advice into practice, each chapter concludes with a case study providing examples of women who heeded - and those lamentable souls who ignored - Marjorie's wise words.
I love this book because the tone is so sassy. Marjorie has no time for prolonging your misery about a lack of money by sulking. Instead she gives us plenty of ideas for being creative and having fun on whatever funds we have.

The other book was written The Art of Frugal Hedonism: A Guide to Spending Less While Enjoying Everything More was published in 2016 and written by Annie Raser-Rowland with Adam Grubb. I love this review: 
“The Art of Frugal Hedonism is like having a small firecracker in your pocket for performing guerrilla actions on everyday life that just might upend everything and put it back together in a different, cheaper, and much more interesting way. The writing is buoyant and often verges on hilarious.”
~ Kirsten Bradley, Milkwood

Making our Own Lives is a creative and absorbing past-time around here. For example, this week we took the opportunity of an errand to a place on the east of our city, to travel a short way up the scarp to a national park, again looking for the waterfalls and rivers that are quite ephemeral in our climate. It was a bit cloudy and drizzly when we were at the top of the scarp, but the sun came out as we walked, and we had a lovely time. We found some gorgeous wildflowers in bloom. We try to really be present in this moment during such times: what does it smell like, what colours are we seeing, what can we feel? We loved this little extra luxury of a walk in the hills, where we are away from our normal routine. Of course, we know that just going for a walk in the bush would not seem like a lot of fun to some people, or even very counter-cultural to others, but for us, we are trying to take every opportunity to make ordinary life special, and fun, and this was one of the ways we did it this week. 

One of the things that Annie and Adam's book (above) encourages us to do, is to follow our interests and seek inspiration -often from finding time to read and dream.  I got this book from the library "Foraged Home" by Oliver Maclennan as a new source of inspiration. I love changing things around in my home -creating little table top or shelf displays or groups of objects arranged in ways that please me. They might be composed of something I found in an op shop, or something I picked up in my walks, or just some things here at home that I have never put together before in quite that way. 

DH makes things in his shed, and is always on the look out for a new project. This writing desk was gifted to him by someone, and he is working on ideas to turn it into a dressing table by adding drawers underneath it.

I am still working on my garden themed quilt -I have just about got the straight quilting done, and it will be time this week to do some free motion quilting in the panels before the binding goes on. I love working in my garden and constantly try to improve what I grow and what we eat from it. At the moment we have gorgeous snow peas to harvest. 

We both are involved in community activities -both serving as committee members - and we find it part of our giving something back to the community. This week we also took part in a protest at a local hospital, to complain about the heartless treatment of asylum seekers and refugees. I also spoke at a public meeting about it and later will deliver some much needed food supplies to a local organisation which is feeding people who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and because they are asylum seekers.

How do you find the business of making your own life going? Do you have particular books which you find inspirational? 


Elle said...

My all time favorite books on simplifying life are:
1. Your Money or Your Life- Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robbins
2. Simply Living Guide-Janet Luhrs

I read Janet's book every year for about 12 years. I gifted it to a young woman on my staff who was interested in simple living in her 20s! What a great headstart on life :-)

I retired 1 year ago after 39 years of serving patients in local operating rooms. I have enjoyed this year of no demands. I quilt a great deal and donate them to needs in our community. I grow much of our food on our small city property-front yard and back. I intend to learn better skills to increase production and aim for 80% of our food-filling our freezer for the winter months as our growing season is 6 months at best!

earthmotherwithin said...

Elle, I have read Your Money or Your Life, and it is great, isn't it? The other one you mentioned I haven't read, but will look out for it.

Nil @ The Little House by the Lake said...

The three books that really inspired me are
1. Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin
2. The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach
3. The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn

The first two books taught me the importance of saving and investing, and I read them just after I started my career. And the third book helped me by showing me all sorts of frugal ways to live. :)

earthmotherwithin said...

H Nil! I love the Tightwad Gazette! It does stand re-reading too.

TheAwakenedSoul said...

Those books sound excellent. I love your photos of nature. I am busy with my writing work, which keeps me busy and productive.

sustainablemum said...

I haven't heard of any of these books but they all sound like inspirational reads. I am not sure that I have actually read a book about simplifying my life now that you ask that, or if I have they were not memorable enough that I would go back to them.

I would have to say that my parents were my 'teachers', my book for learning. They recycled, reused and repurposed things in the 70s when I was growing up. They didn't have a lot of money so there default was to make it or grow it themselves rather than going out and buying things. skills that they had learnt from their parents who were also influential on me growing up.

earthmotherwithin said...

I would have loved to have such role models, SustainableMum, but my parents were not great money managers. My Mother In Law, however, was a woman who could keep chickens, preserve fruit and make her own clothes. I am sorry that I didn't appreciate her skills until it was too late to ask her for advice.