Cliche or not, I’m going to say it: I love decorating. I love being in a space that is reflective of who I am. I love changing the look of a room. Matt does too, just through woodworking, not throw pillows. I don’t know if I’ve shared my new-found love for dutch things. It’s something I had spotted on other blogs I follow and I realized I have slowly been drawn to Pennsylvania dutch inspired decor. But it’s not just decor…I like ALL dutch things. Dutch pancakes, dutch braids, dutch doors, dutch apple pie, dutch ovens, dutch fabric, dutch colonial arcitechture…but not so much Dutch Bros. Coffee…only when I’m low on funds.
I’ve discovered why I love this look so much. Pennsylvania Dutch Country is an area in Southeastern Pennsylvania that by the time of the American revolution, housed a high percentage of Pennsylvania Dutch people. “Dutch” essentially referring to the German-speaking origins of some of the earliest immigrants to that area. Though these people came from a variety of countries and religious backgrounds.
These Dutch, as they were called, lived in rural areas being primarily agricultural. If you weren’t into farming, you were a small tradesmen (blacksmith, storekeeper, etc.). These people dreamed of owning their own plot of land. The industrial revolution however, brought technologies that couldn’t be adapted to this culture, mainly because of language barriers. So many of the Dutch could only obtain blue-collar positions in these companies.
BUT, back to the point. How on earth does this relate to decorating? These people, like many Americans at the time, lived simple hardworking lives on their farms. I can see them milking cows, collecting eggs, sowing seeds. Yet they created vibrant and colorful artwork and clothing, based on what we would see as not so colorful lives. To them it was colorful. It was their dream to own a farm and I’m sure they were so proud of their hard work. I can see them standing, looking over their field in the early morning, ready for another day of tending the Earth.
I connect with that idea. I want so badly to be a care-taker of this Earth. To use the resources God has given us in a way that’s appropriate. I want to treat our animals with respect. To literally dig my hands into the soil and praise God for the worms. To rejoice in my surroundings and remember, I am blessed! What does a pair of Gucci shoes have on homegrown lettuce or homemade bread? Nothing if you ask me. The shoes will bring me nothing but blisters and an inflated sense of self-importance.
All this to say, I realized when I look at Pennsylvania Dutch inspired decor, I see a representation of simple yet vibrant and proud people. I see all the countries that they represent and the complexities of their history. I see people who lived lives enjoying things attainable and realistic. Like pancakes and lettuce. I want to enjoy pancakes and lettuce. I hope in doing so I enjoy other things less, like new shoes. Unless they’re clogs of course :)