The Gentle Art of Home Making

me, age 5 years

When I was a little girl I had a day dream about how my life would be when I was a grown up. I would live in the country with my husband, lots of kids, dogs, horses and chickens. I would spend my days picking flowers and making things for my house (there was never any housework in my day dream). The sun would always shine and when it didn’t I would curl up with my family in front of the fire and toast crumpets…

… So, 40 years on and I’m pretty much living my dream – how lucky am I? OK, so I have never managed to persuade “Mr T” about the chickens and we didn’t have the six kids I wanted, but otherwise life is pretty much as I dreamt it would be.

I have been busy this week “spring cleaning”, discovering lost socks behind the tumble drier, chasing dust bunnies from under furniture and filling my home with flowers from the garden. It has been blissful!

I don’t think I’m that unusual for loving my house and being satisfied with my lot. I want for nothing, and although I may gaze longingly at the photos of things I can’t afford in “Lifestyle” magazines,  I’m realistic enough to know that some things will always be out of reach. Yes, I saved madly for the gorgeous Vanessa Arbuthnot fabric to make my kitchen curtains and yes, I’m a sucker for a bit of Cath Kidston (the kitscher the better)! But, the things that mean the most to me are the things we’ve made ourselves. The framed photos from family holidays, the window seat “Mr T” made to fit exactly in the space over the living room radiator – complete with drawers for bits ‘n’ bobs and the television – very 70’s! The home made curtains and cushion covers – complete with wonky seams – and yes there is at least one granny square crocheted cushion! The shelves are full of things “The Teen” made at primary school, her paintings are framed and hang on the walls, the jumper she wore for school yesterday was hand knitted and I wear a pendant she made for me last birthday.

I have spent the last couple of weeks feeling sorry for myself, feeling old and that life has been slipping by with any sense of achievement, it took a simple question from my neighbour’s little boy “What did you want to be when you grew up”? To make me realise my dreams did come true and my achievements are here in my home and my family. Our lives are not defined by the things designers and store buyers tell us are this season’s “must haves”, instead our life is what we’ve made it – quite literally, and you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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7 Comments

  1. You are not alone, we all feel sorry for ourself on odd days and we are all aloud a little self pity from time to time. I know what you mean about happy with your life, it makes you the person you are…LOVELY :)

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  2. hcsylvia

     /  June 15, 2011

    How wise you are….and how marvellous that you write these thoughts and make the rest of us realise we are not alone with our frustrations and that life generally IS good. Well done that girl!!

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  3. Tracey Todhunter

     /  June 15, 2011

    Thank you both for saying such nice things. There’s a lot to be said for simply being content, enjoy a lovely week ladies.
    Tx

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  4. ruth mason

     /  June 16, 2011

    What a lovely post. Poppy finds you very inspirational and can’t wait to have a making session with you. Last night before bed, she was busy sticking post it notes into a book of hers. When I enquired as to what she was up to, she told me that she was choosing things she would like to make ‘with Tracey Todhunter when she comes over for a making session. But Tracey can choose cos she will be the guest.’ Love it. xx

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  5. What a wonderful post. I totally agree with you that making things gives you some of the most important things in your home. If ‘underachieving’ means being a positive, creative woman who is full of enthusiasm and kindness. I do hope I can be like you. You are fab x

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  6. Ali

     /  June 18, 2011

    I have been cogitating over your words since I read them a few days ago Tracey, I love the way you write and what you write about….I didn’t want to dismiss the part about you feeling sorry for yourself…and I’m sure we all do it at some point…but I’m really glad you are able to appreciate all the positives about your caring, creative self; your fantastic family and your no doubt beautiful well loved, personalised and family orientated home. What’s got me thinking too though is whether I used to dream about how life would be in the future….I didn’t think of myself as at all crafty then, as to me being artistic meant you should be able to draw, paint, sew and knit……all of which I lack(ed) significant skills!! I’m gald that I have (in my old age ^^ !!!)however found some creative persuits with which I am comfortable!!
    Keep on being you and celebrating your achievements – one of which must be being a great friend…..
    That photo is amazing!!
    Lots of Love
    Ali xx

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  7. Tracey Todhunter

     /  June 19, 2011

    Oh my word, really not sure what to say in response to you all … except maybe … thank you. And, you lot inspire me more than you realise with your many talents and endless enthusiasm for making.
    Tracey x

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  • I’m Tracey Todhunter. I’m a freelance writer. specialising in green / ethical living – with a “sideline” in craft!

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  • A hook and a book! Bought myself this gorgeous hook from  @beyond_measure & met my crochet heroine Marie Wallin - a good Woolfest haul this year!
#woolfest #crochet #crochethook #worksouting Bought myself a new shawl pin from @textilegarden at Woolfest (shawl knitted in Eden Cottage Yarns Milburn 4 ply
#knitting #knittersofinstagram #shawls #neverenoughshawls #woolfest The gooseberries are plump and tart - perfect for gin! This is my favourite summer gin. Add a few elderflowers if you like. Freeze the gooseberries first so they release their flavour. 
#gooseberries #gin #girlgardener #eatwhatyougrow #ediblegarden #permaculture #countrywisdom #slowliving #summerinaglass #homesteading #greenliving #slowliving #slowfood Borage. I'll be freezing these flowers in ice cube trays for adding to summer Pimms & gin. 
The leaves make a fabulous "tea" to feed tomatoes (mix in a bucket of water with a handful of nettles), it doesn't smell as bad as comfrey feed and much cheaper / greener than the stuff you buy in garden centres!!
#girlgardener #edibleflowers #slowliving #foraging #permaculture #countrywisdom #mygardenrightnow Throwback . Taken on a visit to Chatsworth House in Derbyshire a couple of weeks ago. Can you read that  card? A valet to whiten your converse! Brought back memories of  whitening my Dunlop green flash in the 70's!!!
#chatsworth #converseallstars #conversetrainers Strange sky tonight.
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