I was lucky enough to be asked some time ago to join a mama’s craft collaborative. A bunch of wonderful, creative mamas making beautiful things to sell in a shop together was a dream come true- except that I hadn’t made anything at all in more than a year. I’d packed up my yarn and my fabric. I would pull out a pair of socks, or a hat, or a pair of pants I had made years ago for the boys and tell Flora “Mama made it!” and she would look at me funny- clearly wondering how on earth that was possible.
A few years ago when I was making things all the time, I would have jumped into such a venture with no reservation, but in the meantime I had decided that my creative energies were better spent with writing and creating resources and such.
We had also moved things around in our little home to allow the boys to have their own space, and in doing so, the craft nook I’d had for years became the office/homeschool supplies storage nook. I hadn’t really missed it. Or I didn’t know I’d missed it anyway.
So when I was asked to join this group I was torn. It was such a terrific opportunity, and I’ve known some of the mamas for many years and I knew they would be wonderful to work with. But I still wanted to be writing.
But the writing projects I’d been tackling kept fizzling out part way through, weighted down by all my agonizing and expectations. It was full of fits and starts, and self- doubt and deliberation. I wasn’t having much fun and I wasn’t getting very far.
But I started to remember that crafting for me, had just been pure fun. Though I wanted writing more, crafting was satisfying and creatively fulfilling. There was a clear beginning and end. I didn’t have a bunch of expectations and baggage around it.
I think I had forgotten- when I packed up my craft supplies and hauled them out to the back shed- just how much joy it brought me to make things with my own two hands.
So just a few days ago after talking out my angsty self-doubt-ish-ness about my writing projects with Perry, I sat down and thought it through, and realized I was trying too hard to separate out my creative worlds.
I want to make things. With words, with fabric, with paper, with thread- it doesn’t so much matter the medium. And one does not supersede the other. I can make any sort of thing I feel like making. There is no rule-book for the makers of things. And so I pulled the bins back out.
I got a little giddy there in my pile of fabric, sorting through to find the right prints for the little toddler bags. I had forgotten. Making stuff is good. Worrying about what it all means, and who I am as a creative person was holding me back, ironically, from being a creative person. I just needed to get to work.
So I am going to be part of this lovely group of women who make lovely things. We will have a little Etsy shop and we will sell the things we make. It is all rather exciting.
And our shop opens in just a few short days!
We have our grand opening on March 1st- and looking through the items that these talented mama’s have been making is pretty exciting. Please come by and check out our Etsy shop this Tuesday!
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(and in case you are wondering, yes, I am still writing. Or I will be, once I move the sewing machine off the office desk and find a spot for the fabric bins.)
I’ve been compiling a list in my journal of books that I want to read this year. It is mostly fiction, as fiction is one of the great loves of my post-kid lifetime that I have mostly let slip away, and I miss it a lot.
But making this list involved a great deal of careful curation. I read reviews and browsed book lists and took notes. I had my eye out for words like “poignant” and “life- affirming” and avoided words like “dark” or “tragic.” There are entire worlds inside those covers- and there are many that are not good places for me to visit.
As I’ve grown older and gotten to know myself better, I’ve come to accept that I will carry the stories and characters of the books I read, and the movies I watch, and the news stories I listen to, around with me long after the books have been hauled off to the thrift-store and the TV and radio turned off. I need to choose carefully.
I need books that reminds me of the beauty of the world, the strength of the human spirit. They can break my heart, they can force me to think of things in a new way, but they can’t invade my mind with terror or darkness. There has to be hope. There has to be beauty.
I know lots of people find February tough, but I it’s a month I don’t mind so much. Now March and April are a different story up here in the North, but February is alright. Winter hasn’t over-stayed its welcome quite yet. It still feels cozy to sit by the fire with a book, and there is often sun and good snow to play in. We sometimes get a little warm spell and the roads melt out and we get all hopeful for spring even if we know in our hearts it is still months away.
But then, perhaps I should not talk too soon. Most of these pictures were taken in January. But right now, I am at peace with the weather and the winter. Homeschooling is going really well. We are reading good books and spending time with friends. February, so far, is treating us very well.
I loved the idea of homeschool Morning Time when I first came across it a couple years ago. The idea is basically to build a habit of coming together in the morning to share books, poetry, drawing- anything that the whole family can enjoy while everyone is still gathered round the breakfast table.
I loved the sounds of it, and even tried a few versions last year, but my littlest one was not not a willing participant, and it was too difficult to keep it going. But recently I though I’d give it another go, and now that Flora is a little older (she’s 2.5 now,) and can be included, it is really working for us.
It has been pretty dreamy, actually. The kids are loving this time to gather together and I get a little giddy seeing how much we can get accomplished before we even get out of our PJs (if you follow me on Instagram, you know my kids hardly ever get out of their pjs- but I do. Most days anyway.)
I started out this parenting journey equipped with armloads of books. Good books. Books about developing strong connections with children and building positive attachments. Books about how to set up a gentle, warm, home environment. Books that each held some gem that I could take into my life with my kids. Books full of ideas I am grateful for.
But no matter how much I absorbed though books, or conversations with friends, or online forums or articles on attachment parenting and positive discipline, I still felt something was missing in our home. I loved the advice to build strong connections and to always give children empathy for their emotions.
I knew that the positive interactions should outweigh the negative, but I felt I was often drowning in all the things we had to discuss and work through and debate and negotiate, the nagging and the power struggles- especially with my one little fireball who gives me lots of fodder for this kind of engagement.
But a couple months ago I came across an idea that was new to me from a source that was also new (I sort of though I’d read it all by now!)