Tag Archives: simplifying

The Holiday Card Dilema

30 Dec

In the past I got into the habit of hand creating my holiday cards.  It was a huge endeavour which included making over 50 cards and decorated envelopes.  I would try to think “assembly line” when coming up with my design.  When making these cards they would take over a room in the house, usually the kitchen and the kitchen table.  There would be glitter, paint, glue, rubber stamps and attachments all over the place.  This went on for many years.

Although I did enjoy this activity, each year the pressure was on to come up with another idea.  In addition, the pressure mounted when I found out people were saving my creations and displaying them year to year.

One year when suffering the worst of Lyme Disease as well as a move at the same time,  I decided I needed to simplify my life and my holiday season.  Something had to go.  Bye Bye went the card making.  Actually shortly later, bye bye went sending any holiday cards all together.  I just couldn’t do it anymore.  It took too much energy, and I just didn’t have it in me.

That was several years ago, and I still have not gotten back into the card making or the card sending.  Since we have been living simply and have removed ourselves from the mass consumerism, I have been making most of my Christmas presents.  What extra time and energy I have is put towards the present making which does not leave much time for card making.

This year we received very little cards from people.  It was such a contrast to years past that it was striking.  My mother informed me that it is because we don’t send cards anymore.  That concept really struck me as odd.  I can understand that thought from distant people (those people who your only contact is the annual holiday card) but from people in your life throughout the year, I found it odd.  I stopped sending cards because I was physically and financially incapable due to a chronic illness, not because I don’t appreciate these people in my life.  So to not receive a card from them just because I am not able to send one, seems petty (if in fact that is why the card number coming in is low).

I hope during the holiday season and throughout the year, we can all take a moment to remember and send some greetings to a friend or loved one who is going through a lot whether it be physical, emotional or financial.  Just let them know that you are thinking of them.  It will mean more than you know.

 

Trash Day

19 Oct

People in my neighborhood throw out the most amazing things!  I have seen leather sofa’s and sectionals in great condition just sitting on the side of the road.  If we weren’t renting and had a garage I would be hauling these home to sell them on-line.  It is so disturbing to think of these items sitting in a landfill because someone never thought to call a donation center for a pick up.  But sometimes I find things that people are getting rid of that we can actually use.

That was the case with the dining table I just found.  Although I hated the color, it was a solid sturdy table and would allow us to finally return the table we have been borrowing from my sister for all these years.

before

Somehow I managed to get this baby in the car all by myself!  I don’t know how I did it since it was really heavy, but I didn’t want to wait for my husband to get home from work since I feared it may be gone.

Out in the yard I sanded the top and primed it.  Then it got a coat of teal paint and I dry brushed brown over that.  I did not sand or paint the legs, all I did was dry brush the brown paint over the light tan legs.  The result was very pleasing.  It looks like dark wood grain and goes really nicely with the top.

after after set

Like I mentioned in my last post, here is where I struggle with two concepts that I love.  One concept I strive for is simplifying my life which means minimizing our stuff, purging and getting rid of things.  The other concept is reusing as much as we can and buying or finding used items to refurbish.  Over the years we have really gotten rid of so many things and are trying very hard to keep our possessions from taking over.  However we have also found many useful free items, like a coffee table, a leather office chair, an exercise bike, yard ornaments and baskets.  I guess this will be a life long struggle in finding balance.  Meanwhile I will enjoy the challenge  and creativity that a found treasure presents.

Schlumpy Shorts

21 Jul

At the beginning of the summer I bought a couple of shirts for work.  After that time I decided to go through the whole summer season without buying any new clothes.  I have had to resist the urge to go shopping for a couple of “cute tops” or another pair of pants.  I have had to tell myself “NO! You don’t NEED anything”.  “Live with what you have.”  “Others have much less.”

So I have had to try to be creative with the clothing I have.  The other day I was wearing one of my favorite pair of shorts.  They were purchased last year, they are soft and comfortable and made out of a cool fabric.  My husband informed me they look horrible on me!  They are too baggy and make me look schlumpy.  “But I don’t have many shorts, and I vowed not to buy anything new this season.”  His response was “go out and buy a pair of shorts!”.

Often during this summer season of not purchasing, I have thought, “if only I had started this project AFTER I had just made a major purchase of all high quality clothing”, aaahhhhh if only.  But no, I made this decision probably after already getting rid of a bunch of clothing I no longer wear or that didn’t make me feel good when I wear it.  I made this decision after already slowing down on purchases and re-wearing the same clothes for many years.

Now I have vowed to make those shorts work, and of course I have two pairs of them!  I am going to explore taking them in and sewing them.  I am not sure if this adds to simplifying my life since it requires getting out the old sewing machine, trying to fix the knee pedal, oiling the old girl, and trying to remember how to sew!  But at least I will be saving money, reusing something I already own, and not contributing to the over consumerism world we live in.

Any sewing tips would be appreciated!

Obstacles in the Desire For Simple

17 Jun

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My desire for simple has to fight against my artistic, creative personality and my love of animals and plants.  Let’s start with the artistic part of me: I have a lot of art supplies, I have a lot of interests, I tend to pick up an old hobby years later and need the old supplies again.  I like taking things and reusing them, so I tend to keep a lot of things like old buttons, scraps of paper and ribbon.  In my old house I had a room dedicated to art, it was a large room, too large. It allowed me to keep all my supplies in excess, although neatly organized in labeled bins.  Then the move happened…  Then another move…  I started to see that although all the supplies were “neatly organized” they weren’t neat or organized at all.  And I was carrying with me all kinds of things I was never going to use.  Old dried out paint, markers that didn’t write, three times the amount of crayons any adult could ever need, supplies for hobbies I was never going to take up again, samples of materials, all kinds of papers and instructions.  It was time to dive in and PURGE.  So I did.  I still have a room dedicated to creating, but now it houses a bit less supplies and they are all useful and pretty much organized.

Now for my love of decorative items.  I do not like blank walls.  I like surrounding myself with art work and having colorful images to look out and feel inspired by.  But even with that, I had too many framed pieces.  Too many things I was moving with me and carrying along in life.  So these needed a look at with fresh eyes and some purging.  Keeping in mind only keeping those items I absolutely love and bring me joy.

Regarding the items that stand around collecting dust, these were another story.  Many of these were collected on trips and excursions with my ex.  Well, they no longer held the nice memories they once had.  It was time to let go of many of them.  I continue to look at these items with a new set of eyes in my new life and I continue to weed them out and let them go.  When I bring something new into my life I think about am I going to be okay with dusting and taking care of this item?  Am I going to be okay with packing and moving this items?  Do I want to look at this item for many years to come?

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The animals and plants are a whole other situation!  I love my kitty and my dog.  But they come with all kinds of hair and messes.  Their food and water bowls need to be maintained.  They need to be brushed, and even when brushed  they regularly leave a never-ending trail of hair on the carpets and furniture.  The cat sneezes all over things (gross i know!) and we have to constantly clean up after her.  The dog rips up every thing; bits of rubber toys, strings from sock toys, stuffing and chewed up squeaker all lay all over the living room laughing at our attempts to live in an orderly home!

Recently we had company and did a bang up job cleaning the house.  I looked around and thought “I ALWAYS want to live here!”  But alas, that lasted a day and we were back to the pet hair and chewed up toys.  For me there really isn’t a solution to this since I love having pets, always have, always will.

So living simply for me is a process.  It’s a shift in thinking.  I evolve, I make mistakes; I allow the wrong things in at times and get rid of needed items by accident.  But I love that we are embracing a simpler lifestyle and really appreciating the things that matter most: people we love, nature, mother earth, serenity, simplicity, being all natural, and keeping a sense of humor through it all.