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Change

Tea

Hi friends! It’s been a while! I’m sorry about that.

The truth is, we needed some time away from here to think and talk about blogging, what we want for this space, and the future of House of Humble.

Our commitment to blogging began to waver last year when we were going through a very difficult time. Though we have always tried to be authentic and honest here, we are actually very reserved people, which can make it difficult to strike the right balance between “blog life” and “real life”. It means so much to both of us that anyone would be interested in what goes on in our world, but when we began blogging we never imagined that one day we might have thousands of readers. We sometimes feel very vulnerable when we think about our pictures and stories floating around the internet available for anyone to see and read. Because of this, there are many aspects of our lives that we are not comfortable sharing. I know you all understand and respect those boundaries, but it can be quite limiting when you feel you can only be open about a sliver of what’s happening in your life. When there are other things weighing on your heart, it’s hard to find the motivation to talk about the “safe” stuff. That’s what happened late last year. There was a shadow hanging over us and coming here to blog about other things just felt hollow and weird.

We tried to continue blogging (somewhat sporadically) despite really just wanting to withdraw for a while. The flaw in that plan was that we needed a break from talking about ourselves and our little corner of the world while we waited for our hearts to heal, but we had painted ourselves into a corner. Our blog has always been about us and our journey. The problem with this is that if you only write about your life, there’s not much left to say when you go through a patch that you don’t fancy sharing. We were trying to post the same kinds of things we had always posted, but instead of feeling fun and natural, it started feeling forced and difficult. Rather than addressing the fact that something was a bit off and making changes to fix the situation, we pressed on (hoping we’d eventually fall back into our comfortable, happy blogging routine) but instead of things resolving themselves, blogging got harder. The discomfort in sharing snowballed. In hindsight it all sounds a bit melodramatic and silly, but I actually became quite exhausted by the thought of talking about myself, and it reached the point where having to write a post made me really anxious. This all boiled under the surface for months until finally, a few weeks ago, we hit a brick wall. I sat here at the computer staring at a blank screen with absolutely no inspiration or motivation to write and I realised something had to give. We decided we shouldn’t post again until we had figured out how to move forward.

Since then Reubs and I have done a lot of thinking about blogging. I’ve found myself questioning why we blog, what we want from blogging and how we should proceed. At times I’ve wondered if we should just let House of Humble go and give up blogging completely, but I’ve slowly come to realise that blogging in itself is not the problem, it’s how we’ve been going about blogging that has stopped working for us. I love blogging! I love this space, I love the sense of community and all the sources of inspiration in the blog world, and I love the bonds we’ve formed with all of you who read here. I studied journalism at uni and worked in publishing for a little while and for me, blogging is like the best bits of working as a journalist (writing about the things I’m passionate about, connecting with people, being able to express myself with words) without the worst bits (strict deadlines, having to write advertorials and stories I’m not interested in, being accountable to someone else’s vision). The problem is not blogging, the problem is that we’ve become stuck in a rut.

Though I follow many personal, journal-style blogs that I adore, I’m no longer sure that blogging solely about ourselves and our life is the best fit for Reubs and I. For a very long time our blog has been very much about us, and though I love sharing our story, it has started to feel a bit suffocating and repetitive. I believe wholeheartedly that everyone has a story and there is value in sharing it, but Reuben and I are just two regular people, living our regular (mostly uneventful) lives. Honestly, there is only so much we can say about it before we begin to bore ourselves and likely, bore you. I realise now that if I could have changed the topic and talked about stuff other than myself for a while, I probably never would have had my little crisis of blogging faith. We have loved sharing our journey to a simpler life but what we’d really like is to zoom out, look at the bigger picture and open House of Humble up, so that it is less about Reuben and I as individuals, and more about all of us on a journey to a different kind of life. Basically, we’d like to talk about people and things outside our little bubble and make this space more community minded. With this in mind, I’ve been working on some posts featuring other amazing people and glimpses into their own versions of a simpler life. I’ve got a bunch of ideas for other features and new kinds of posts too. We plan to continue sharing bits and pieces from our daily life and our thoughts on things, but we’d like to move away from our life being be the sole focus here. We hope to make the conversation at House of Humble less one-sided, share a broader range of posts (more often!) and create a real sense of community. We’d love this blog to become a place of inspiration, learning, sharing and togetherness.

I realise that change isn’t always popular and some of you might not like the gentle shift in the focus here, but at the end of the day we have to do what feels right for us. We’ve been blogging for three years now and I think it’s quite healthy and natural for us to want to make some changes at this point. The important thing is, the ethos and tone of House of Humble will remain the same. This blog will always be about the pursuit of a simpler, more mindful, more beautiful life, and our story will always be at the heart of it, but it’s time branch out a little bit. We’re really looking forward to the next chapter for House of Humble and I am feeling really excited about what lies ahead. I hope you will join us on this new leg of the journey. I believe the best is yet to come!

Thanks so much for bearing with us when we went quiet, for reading, and for being a part of House of Humble so far. Your support means so much to both Reubs and I. I hope all has been well in your world while we’ve been away. We’ve missed you guys!

Katie (and Reuben) x

PS In honour of the next chapter I’ve given the blog a bit of a cosmetic makeover. Fresh start, fresh look!

Comments { 58 }

The Time Will Pass Anyway

the time will pass anyway

Image Credit

Last week something quite remarkable happened. I made my 500th sale in my little Etsy store, just shy of a year from the day I opened it. Before I launched Dear Delilah I never would have dared to imagine I’d achieve that many sales in my first year so, as you can imagine, I’m thrilled! It might sound contrived but I rarely feel particularly proud of the things I do (because I tend to see what is yet to be done moreso than what I’ve already achieved) but I am quite proud of this. My only regret is that I didn’t start my business earlier.

I am a crazy perfectionist and (as I’ve spoken about before) I have a terrible fear of failure, so I procrastinated beginning my creative business adventure for years before I finally took the plunge. That’s right, years! For a long time I made excuses for why I couldn’t start and created reasons for why I would surely fail, until I eventually realised (as the beautiful print above says) you can either spend your time creating the life you want or spend it living the life you don’t want. The time will pass anyway.

ask yourself

Image Credit

I know now that the scariest part of making any major change or decision is the moment just before you start. Once you’re doing it, whatever it is, you just get on with things and make it work. It’s the anticipation and fear of the unknown that make making changes and taking risks so frightening. In order for anything to happen, at some point you just have to take the leap. There’s no point in prolonging that scary moment before you take action. A year from now you’ll wish you started today.

There are a few bits and pieces in my life right now that I have been procrastinating and hesitating on. Some small things, and some biggers ones, all of which are difficult to some degree. I am reminded now that the time will pass, whether I take action or not. Each step I take today gets me a foot closer to my dreams for tomorrow.

Today could be the beginning of anything you or I hope for. We just have to start.

Katie x

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Simple Living Our Own Way

Chooks

When Reubs and I were living in Sydney and began daydreaming of a “simpler life” we had hazy ideas of a veggie patch and keeping chickens and escaping the daily grind. In my fantasies I saw myself self-employed with a little creative business, growing and preparing all our own food, sewing our clothes and op-shopping for everything else we needed. Our cute little house in the country would be decorated with crochet blankets and vintage trinkets. We’d have a wood stove that I’d bake all of our bread in, and a pantry full of home grown and preserved food and homemade soap… It was a lovely, albeit romanticised and idealised, dream.

Homegrown and Homemade

A few years on we have achieved some of the things I dreamt of, but other things are a long way off and some will likely never come to fruition. Sometimes I feel disheartened by the fact we haven’t made all the changes we’d like, and often I feel like we aren’t doing enough. I’ve been reading blogs and books about simple living since the topic first piqued my interest in Sydney, and as much as they inspire me, sometimes they leave me feeling inadequate and overwhelmed. I think a lot of people entertaining the idea of simplifying probably feel that way at times. Like you have to embrace “the good life” completely and make all your own clothes, grow all of your own food, make all of your own cleaning products, knit all of your own dishcloths, make all of your own soap, raise chickens for eggs and a cow for milk and sheep for yarn for all the knitting you must do… Or else you aren’t doing it right. But I have come to realise simplifying is not all or nothing. You can embrace a simple life in a million different ways and it’s ok to take it slow. There is no magic formula for doing this right. There is just doing what is right for you right now, and making an effort to continue making things better for the future.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

At this point in time we are working on growing our own veggies. We have two chooks and plans for more. We have the house in the country and it is full of crochet blankets (though at this point it’s not particularly cute!) We have completely changed our spending habits, paid off our debts (aside from our mortgage) and started saving. We do buy lots of stuff from op-shops. I have started that small home business. We do prepare most of our meals from scratch. We have dabbled with cheese making, home brewing beer and making cleaning products, and though we still buy cheese, beer and cleaning products at this time, we plan to continue practicing those things and over time using less and less of the store bought stuff.

Reuben and Veggie Patch

I’m nowhere near mastering dressmaking, though I hope that one day that will change. I’m still a hopeless knitter and have come to accept that maybe knitting just isn’t for me, so I might have to relinquish that little part of the simple living dream. We haven’t yet had a go at preserving but I know eventually we will, maybe when our fruit trees are bigger and have started producing. Though I’d love to bake all our own bread, 99% of the time we still buy it from the bakery and I’d like that to change. I still buy all of my toiletries and cosmetics and probably always will. I doubt I will ever make soap because, truth be told, I’m just not all that keen on hard soap (it makes my skin dry and leaves soapy bits all over the shower!) I have been meaning to crochet dishcloths for about 2 years and still haven’t.

Butterfly Cakes

And all of that is ok! It doesn’t mean we aren’t doing simple living “right”, it means we are doing what we can and what works for us right now. I tend to be a very “all or nothing” kind of person and either give something 110% or give it up, but I have to remember choosing this lifestyle wasn’t about becoming a shining example of simple living. It was about escaping the cycle of accumulating material stuff for sake of keeping up with the Joneses. It was about living within our means and without debt. It was about having more time. It was about growing and cooking and creating things with our own hands. It was about living a more sustainable, slower, happier life and doing things that brought us joy. And we’re doing that! While our life is a million miles from my fantasy version, it’s also a million times closer to it than my more pessimistic side ever would have allowed me to imagine. Our life is so much simpler, more balanced and happier than it once was. It’s not perfect, but it’s a work in progress.

We’re just simple living our own way.

Katie x

Comments { 46 }

On Taking the Leap

Ford Territory

Lovebirds

Two very exciting things happened at our house in the last week. First of all, we picked up the lovely brand new Ford Territory that we won for a year in Voices of 2013! We still can’t quite believe we have been awarded such amazing things, just for doing what we love and sharing it here. It is such an incredible honour. We are so very, very privileged.

The second exciting thing was the love birds diorama I blogged about back in 2012 was featured in a magazine. Reubs and I have been lucky enough to pop up in a few publications since we began blogging, but this time feels particularly special. You see, my first job out of uni was working as an editorial assistant on three craft magazines and the main magazine I worked on was Homespun. The editor has changed since then and a couple of months ago the lovely people at Homespun got in touch with me about featuring my love birds, completely unaware that I used to work there! When I was working in publishing I never would have imagined that one day something I made would be featured in one of the magazines I worked on.

All of this got me thinking about the journey Reubs and I have taken over the last few years and the choices and events that have lead us to the happy position we are in today…

I used to think that I was incredibly unlucky. When I was younger, whenever things went wrong for me, I would throw my arms up into the air and swear I was cursed. And I honestly believed that I was. I now realise that I wasn’t particularly unlucky, I was just young and silly and making the wrong decisions. I was doing what others told me I should do instead of trusting my instincts, and I was making choices based on others’ expectations or what I imagined others would think of me, rather than listening to my own heart.

It was only when we began taking risks and doing the things we dreamt of, rather than things we thought we “should” do, that things started to change for Reubs and I. When we started this blog I was sure people would wonder what it was all about and why we would bother. When we packed in our stable jobs in Sydney with no idea what lay ahead of us in Victoria I knew people would think we were crazy. When I launched my little shop instead of looking for a “real job” I was certain people would think I needed to get my head out of the clouds and be realistic. When we decided to buy a rundown old house in a tiny, sleepy rural village I was convinced people would think we were mad. And some people probably did! But goodness, am I glad we did all those things anyway! Had we not started blogging, had we stayed in Sydney, had I not launched Dear Delilah and had we not bought our old house, we’d have missed out on so much happiness. I’m naturally a fairly cautious person so in the moment making all those decisions and changes was very scary, but in hindsight I can see that each time we listened to our hearts, great things followed. It is only since we began taking risks that we have started creeping closer and closer to living our dreams.

Of course, not every moment of the last couple of years has been sunshiney and happy. There have been times when I have questioned every decision we’ve ever made. There have been hard weeks, sad days, struggles and temper tantrums, and there will be more of those to come yet, but I know in my heart of hearts we have done the right thing in taking each and every risk. Even if all the chances we had taken had ended in disaster, I would rather know I’d given my dreams a go and failed, than spend the rest of my life wondering “what if?”

I always think it is interesting to hear what advice people would give their former selves if they could go back in time. If I could give Katie five years ago just one piece of advice, it would be to listen to her instincts, face her fears and chase her bliss. To stop worrying what everyone else thinks, let go of expectations and do what makes her happy.

You only live once. Take the leap!

If you could go back in time and give your former self just one piece of advice, what would it be? I’d so love it if you’d share!

Katie x

PS The winner of the mushroom kit giveaway, chosen by the random number generator, is Leanne. Leanne, we’ll be in touch shortly. Thanks so much to everyone who participated!!
PPS Sorry I didn’t get this up on Sunday! We were enjoying our Australia Day with friends.

Comments { 23 }

Summer Reflections

I’ve spoken before about the fact I tend to be very future orientated. I always have a list of plans, goals and dreams for the near and not-so-near future. I don’t dwell on the past much and, in some ways, I think that’s a good thing. Focusing on the future keeps me moving forward and means I don’t carry a lot of baggage. Like most people I’m nostalgic about my happy memories and hold them close to my heart, but I’m pretty good at letting go of life’s unpleasant and less important bits.

Daisy and Strawberries

All that said, in the past couple of weeks I have found myself looking back a bit more than usual. The season has changed and summer is here which, in our part of the world, means the end of the year is drawing near. The start of a new year is always a good time for a bit of reflection. Our recent bloggy win has also got me thinking on our blogging journey and all that has transpired since we started sharing here in May 2011.

I often feel that we aren’t making any progress. I look around our house and see all the work we haven’t done; the walls that need painting, the kitchen that needs replacing, the roof that needs retiling. I look at the baby fruit trees and think how long it will be before they are providing fruit and shade. I look at our tiny veggie garden and see the things that have been eaten by bugs or destroyed by frost and I think how much we have to learn. I look at my Etsy shop and think how far away some of my business goals seem. But when I focus of these little details I’m missing the bigger picture. I’m not seeing the forest for the trees.

Mango and Sandals

Just over two years ago we were living in an apartment in the city, dreaming of fresh food and more space. Today we live in a country town with a population of 500. We have a little veggie patch bursting with lovely rainbow chard, peas and herbs. We have two sweet hens who provide us with eggs. We have tiny fruit trees in the earth and strawberry plants reaching for the sun from hanging baskets swinging outside out front door.

Dear Delilah Packages and Peas

Just a little while ago we were worried we’d be trapped in jobs we found unsatisfying for the rest of our lives. Now Reuben has a job (in an area we never imagined he would) that he finds interesting and fulfilling. I am living my dream of running an Etsy shop and in recent weeks it has been so busy, I have hardly been able to keep up with it. Every day when I log in to check orders and respond to customer enquiries my heart is full to bursting point with happiness and gratitude.

Reubs and Sky

Just over a year ago we were renting (half convinced we’d never get out of the renting cycle) and we had a small amount of debt. Today we own our own home and we spend less on our mortgage than we ever did on rent. Though we earn far less than we did when we were living in Sydney, aside from our mortgage we are completely debt free, and we are working towards building some savings.

Christmas Bauble and Poppy

Not so long ago we were stressed and tired and lost. We were sick of our routine. We were worried about our future. We had vague imaginings of a different kind of life, but had no idea how we’d make them a reality. Things are so different now. The overwhelming worry and fear and tiredness is gone. Though (like everyone) we have struggles and bad days, for the most part we are content and thankful and hopeful.

When I take the time to pause and reflect on the last couple of years, rather than focusing entirely on the future, I can see how far we have actually come. We still have so much more we want to accomplish, and in the scheme of things we are only just beginning, but that’s ok. There will always be more to do. What matters is that we are on the right path. I am so proud of our progress and grateful for the changes in our world over the last little while. Our life is far from perfect, but I know it is exactly as it is meant to be right now.

Summer is here. All is well.

I hope all is well in your world too.

Katie x

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