Saturday, July 26, 2008

Our Children's Sewing Kit Received with Thanks

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Look at what has arrived in the mail this week! It is our swap from the Children's Sewing Kit Swap we have been participating in. Isn't Ess lucky!!! Thankyou so much Mel and Bella.

She absolutely loves her sewing kit and considers herself very lucky. "I love my sewing kit," says Ess, "I will never forget this day". I am so glad she is grateful. She is not too expectant. Yes, she has eagerly anticipated receiving her parcel since she knew we were being involved in this, but her focus has not been so much on what she might be getting, rather on what we might be giving Bella, our swap partner, and what she might like. She spent much time sorting through buttons to find the ones she thought Bella would like. We have packed up Bella's bag today and the package should be sent off shortly.

This has been such a lovely swap. It has encouraged Ess to think beyond our family, to focus on another, to focus on someone in another part of our country and to give more and expect less.

As you enjoy your day today remember to express your gratitude in words and deed and in the living of your daily life. It is very enriching.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Owls and Mice

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese. ~Author Unknown

Look at these adorable little owls...

be they egg cosies, as the tutorial suggests,

or perhaps hand puppets or decoration on a library bag,

a gift for a friend, or anything else that comes to mind.

We have had lots of fun designing and creating them. Ess helps with the choice of fabrics etc. I think this is very much inspired by the particular fabric she wants to use to make her mice as she uses ALL the cutting out and stitching (thread) scraps to make her cute little mice. (Can you find them in the above two pictures creeping through the garden?) They are wonderful as she is totally independent in creating these mice, from design to completion and storytelling and play. I'm not sure if there is any cheese to be had though!

On to the next creative project...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Driven By Distraction

"To live exhilaratingly in and for the moment is deadly serious work, fun of the most exhausting sort." ~ Barbara Grizzuti Harrison

Do you find your children drive you round the bend? Or up the wall? Do you feel constantly distracted from whatever you are trying to achieve by their needs and demands and wants? Does their energetic, 'never-stopping' lifestyle drive you into the ground or does it serve to keep you on your toes? Are you driven to distraction or are you driven by distraction?

I was recently directed by a colleague to read an article in The Age entitled Driven by Distraction. Like her, it touched me also. At times when I have not had enough sleep, when my husband is away and when it feels everything has fallen onto my plate my delightful little morsels of energy cause me to feel beside myself, to feel "driven to distraction" as the saying goes. However they are what I have chosen to give my energy to, to place all my value in, to devote my entire life to. It is only due to my personal constraints, as mentioned above, that I lose my perspective.

In actual fact they are the ones who drive me to greater creativity through all the distractions they offer me on a day to day basis from sun-up till sun-down. Since having my children I have written many more valuable pieces of writing, written and sung more meaningful songs, sewn creatively useful items, cooked more nutritious food...the list goes on. They are the ones who have driven me to this, they and my wonderfully supportive Generous Gentleman. Yes, there are times when I feel I would benefit from introspective reflection, times of quiet and simply less noise and chatter in the house. Yet it is through the busyness of daily rituals and routine, which are surrounded by that halo of imagination I recently alluded to, that a creative daily life grows.

Today is unique in that my four year old chatterbox is out playing at her best friend's house for a few hours and my baby is asleep, or resting and playing quietly in her cot. I have taken time for reflective writing and left the house in a state of disarray. Not all days are this restful or opportunistic. Some days there is simply no impulse to write or create at all. Other days I try to carry a pen and paper around with me to jot down thoughts and ideas while we play together. Some days when Ess cannot think of what to do I get out my needle and thread, or fabric, scissors and ironing board and work on one of my meaningful projects. Soon Ess joins in with something which has inspired her such as sorting and exploring buttons. On yet other days I sit down at my keyboard and sing and play and watch Eee delighting in the merriment of my singing and Ess dancing and singing along. Oh the fun of singing that golden oldie song "K-K-K-Katie" and creating numerous new verses with new names and new rooms etc.

Most days I live to be in the moment with my girls. I want to be there for them enjoying whatever they are enjoying, creatively thinking of something new for them to enjoy. It is not always easy, not just to give them yourself but also when you do, they don't always take you and your ideas. So many times now my four year old has asked me what she can do only to discard my umpteen ideas which include playing with her things, as well as playing and learning and creating with me. These are hard times, yet growing for each of us. Ess needs to learn to manage herself and create a sense of how she can enjoy a wonderful day. I need to let go and allow her independence to grow, to allow her to feel how she feels, and let her "not do anything" until she finds something which will stimulate and satisfy her.

Distraction comes on so many levels - the interrupted thoughts while you are trying to prepare a meal and read and digest a recipe, the inability to stop and reflect to recompose yourself due to pressing needs of a little one, the cries of frustration from a little one when you are in the middle of attending to a pressing task of your own. All these distractions serve to cause us to reflect on what we truly value. While my life has slowed down tremendously in order to match where my children are at and allow them to take time to learn, to move, to think, I believe I am achieving a tremendous amount more. The value I place on their life, their sense of home, their sense of knowing who they are is incredibly important to me.

So am I driven by distraction or driven to distraction? Most of the time I am driven by it. Certainly this is my ambition, my aim and my desire. When perspective becomes cloudy I will attempt to recall this simple positive phrase and remind myself just how creative all the busyness of daily life can cause me to be. I will also continue to choose to live my simple life and ensure that busyness does not overtake me and my greatest ambitions.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Fun Felt Food

"Sugar & Spice & everything nice . . .
that’s what little girls are made of."

We have had some fabulous fun this week playing with our new felt food created from tutorials found on Day to Day. Afternoon tea parties for Ess and mum and all our friends. With only 3 orange slices to share we were very particular about who could come and how much each could eat. The chocolate raspberry ice creams were shared all round however. Delicious!! I am not sure who got to eat the eggs and tomato but all seemed to be quite satisfied at the end. We have since made a lemon slice to add to our collection which Eee is quite fond of. We hope it lasts so she can enjoy playing with it as she grows.

Childhood play...what could be more fun and innocent! It is so satisfying to watch your creations being enjoyed by little ones.

Eating is fun...yum, yum, yum, yum!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Dream Pillow Fancies

"Knowing that everything we do, no matter how simple, has a halo of imagination around it and can serve the soul enriches life and makes the things around us more precious, more worthy of our protection and care... In a life that is animated with ritual, there are no insignificant things." ~ Thomas Moore in "Care of the Soul"

I have recently finished my favourite Kindermusik Village unit with my baby entitled Dream Pillow. I love the variety of musical ensemble in this unit which encourages us to sing and play together using the musical concepts of ostinato (in Aiken Drum), round singing (with O How Lovely is the Evening - in which Eee accompanies us beautifully on the chime bar) and speech ensemble (with Wee Willie Winkie).

Aiken Drum is a favourite with many babies in the class enjoying playing the "in the moon" ostinato on a collection of drums. I personally enjoy singing the round in harmony with our Kindermusik Educator, Mr Geoff, and the alternate melody on the CD. Eee enjoys watching the drum playing as we move around the circle together. She is certainly an observant learner.

The energetic and enthralling dance, Tants Tants Yidelekh, is a sure favourite with everyone every time I have participated in Dream Pillow. It is like an aerobics session with lunges, deep knees bends and the grapevine but despite the energy required to dance this dance, it entices all. The babies absolutely adore it too. They get to be moved around in such a variety of positions and are stimulated very much visually as well as physically in Mum's arms. It has become a favourite at home for all of us - in particular when we hear a whingey little Eee. Picking her up and reviving us all by enjoying dancing the dance renews everyone, and positive energy flows again.

We have been taken by a few of the lullabies also. Eee always begins her nap as I sing Softly Softly music fills the air now, as well as a favourite lullaby such as O Hush thee my Dove.

A sure way to capture an active, engaged mine is with the songs Sarasponda and Listen Listen. The rhythm of Sarasponda and higher pitches of Listen Listen evoke a sense of wonder and delight. I sing both songs when exploring new sound sources and also when needing a distraction such as when a certain small baby is sick of being in the high chair during meal times.

Music is such a part of our everyday lives. It is the way we enjoy each other, distract each other and also the way we share creativity with one another. Kindermusik supports and encourages this and we love our creative girls being nurtured in our weekly lessons.

There are more favourites...

I must mention the gorgeous Maypole Dance to Gavotte in G by J.S. Bach.

It was also during Dream Pillow that Eee discovered how to massage herself. She has enjoyed a massage ever since she was newborn. She loves it in class as well as after her bath as a little nudie. One evening as I sang her massage song she spread her fingers and rubbed her own hands over her tummy to join in and help me massage her - so very cute. She continues to do this sporadically.

...Oh Watch the Stars...we sing this and watch the torch making stars on our ceiling with Ess every evening before bed.

All these musical activities serve to beautifully embellish the halo of imagination surrounding all our daily rituals. How dull life would be without them.

Now we look forward to all next term has to offer with the fun-filled activities of Zoom Buggy! If you are yet to participate in a class yourself you can get a free class preview voucher. Don't miss out!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

My Parting Gift

Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity.
~John Ruskin

Isn't this rose exquisite!!

The photos don't clearly show just how long the bud is. It just extends and extends. Such simple beauty. I absolutely love it. So when my beloved Generous Gentleman bought it for me from my favourite florist at the Central Markets I was delighted, as were many passers-by who saw me proudly sporting my gorgeous rose.

It is however a parting gift. We will be separated for around 10 weeks due to his work. Despite the fact you expect this in his work we have not experienced much of it since we have been together. I don't have years of experience becoming accumstomed to what it is like to be apart. We have been lucky, as he has enjoyed so much family time to date. However, for me now, with two little ones to care for and no one to share the load and "adult converse" with in the evening, I find it is exhausting work. I really feel for all single parents out there and those who have lost loved ones. At least I know my Generous Gentleman is coming home.

So, inspired by our friend Imogen's paperchain, we have made one to count-down the days to Daddy's return. Boy, look how long it is! You can't even see the end in this photo! It has been good for Ess to gain a concept of the length of time, and also to see the days written as dates. She has had to decipher which link comes next in the chain as they are all printed with a day and date. It has taken her about three days to make the chain so at least we have been able to shorten it by a number of days in one go. It won't be so easy from now on.

Slowly, slowly the days will pass... and we will attempt to fill them with fun!

All visitors welcome!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Sewing Projects

My mobile for precious little Eee is finished.

She enjoys reaching up for it and would much rather grab one to keep and hold, than simply watch at this stage. :) Nevertheless it is another soft touch in her room. Soft, rustic, personal!

Ess and I have another project on the go at the moment. Owls and mice!!

We are having lots of fun during the holidays creating these little numbers. I stumbled across these cute little owls among many other delightful creations on this lovely blog - Lucykate Crafts. Ess' mice aren't visible in this shot so you'll have to wait.

Our New Treasure

Lilypie Maternity tickers


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