Creative space creates space

One of the most indulgent things for me is time with a new magazine and a pot of tea. A few moments to sit, peruse and be inspired. I discovered ‘Flow’ magazine this week, and what a find! This magazine oozes inspiration, motivation and creativity. The articles in this particular issue focused around happiness, mindfulness and the wealth of time.

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I am in a stage in my life where I feel there is simply not enough time in the day for me to express and engage in the hurricane of creative ideas whirling through my mind. I go to bed every night feeling as though I missed an opportunity to learn something or try something new. I never imagined that this freedom of creative space I enjoy would cause me angst. But it does.

After reading some of the articles in Flow, I have been inspired to ponder on why I feel this way.  Does my creativity needs to be harnessed in order for me to regain the sense of playfulness that began this journey of simplicity, sustainability and creativity for me a number of years ago? I believe it does. So what does one do to regroup, and restore some balance with creative passions and the ordinary-ness of  everyday life (which is totally able to be EXTRA-ordinary too, when we live creatively!) ? Here is what I plan to do:

1.  Slow the thinking down for a bit

So many of my creative endeavours – those that have begun and those still in concept stages – are a labour of love, an active process of trial and error, planning and lots of mess making (which then needs to be cleaned up – agh!).  I strongly believe passive creativity has its place, and I aim to indulge in more of this to regain a sense of calm and fun in my creative pursuits. Passive creativity is still inherently creative, and still engages those creative parts of our brains, but with zero stress! Colouring in is my passive creative outlet of choice, and Johanna Basford is my artist of choice. What exquisite colouring books she has created, so that you and I can enjoy creativity any time, anywhere. Narrowing the creative decision making to colours as opposed to broader ideas, is a simple, yet effective way, to come back to the pure enjoyment and simplicity of creative endeavours. Just watch a child when they colour, and the calm and focus they have as they create a masterpiece. Now, you have a turn!

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2. Celebrate creativity with others

I have started hosting Crafternoon Tea and colouring parties at my house as a way to get together with friends, and to inspire and enable them to pursue creative pleasures in a way that is manageable for the stage of life we are at (children, school, sports etc).  Through setting aside pockets of time, the creator within gets a chance to be at the forefront.  Other things are set aside, and creativity reigns for an hour or two!  Hosting these get togethers has made me realise how much others crave creative outlets, and are sometimes just waiting for an opportunity to allow themselves to set aside responsibility, and nurture themselves.

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3.  Create for fun

When I have a period of time when I am not under the pump with orders for my Flair Enough business, I love to create things that are just for fun. Stationery is often my creation of choice when I get the urge to make.  I have been posting snail mail using my handmade stationery, as a therapeutic way for me to engage with people in a  simple and whimsical way. There is something magical about a handmade note in the letterbox, written for no particular reason other than to say “hi”. Snail mail is a lost art in many ways, and I want my children to see the value of handwriting, expressing oneself through the written word, and the joy of posting and receiving mail. What is your creative outlet of choice, just for fun?

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4.  Pots of tea

Tea is known to have relaxing properties, but a tea bag just doesn’t cut it, in my opinion. The ritual of pouring a pot of tea, drinking from a tea cup and saucer is good for the soul. When we drink a teabag infused cup of tea, there is often a sense of rush from the outset. But a teapot needs time – time to infuse, time to rest.  We need to do the same every now and then, so brewing a pot of tea serves as a reminder and a prompting to take some time to just BE.

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5.  Kids are creative beings – take a leaf out of their book

My children are incredibly creative, and sometimes their idea of fun is not mine. But usually, when I go along with their ideas, I get caught up in the flow and have a blast! Floor time with children is a wonderful way to foster theirs and our creativity.

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Making room for creativity, creates space in our minds. When we nurture creative thinking, we find our creative problem solving capabilities increase, we think outside of the box. Creative space creates space. But we need to create space for creative space to enjoy the benefits – and we also need to ensure that our creativity is harnessed well, rather than utterly chaotic to maximise the benefits of our creative pursuits.

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I am here, under this pile of books and papers…

I have been somewhat MIA. University studies are proving to be more consuming than I anticpated (!!). With family and work, I have felt that my creative side starving and losing energy. I am truly grieving this and know that I must continue to pursue the creative life, keep feeding it, so that it gains strength and momentum in my life once more, despite academia, work and the everyday things that simply must be done.

So today, even though I have papers that must be done and readings that are piling higher than the sky (well, almost) I decided to enjoy the creativity that was going on around me. Matt and the lads jumped onto www.allfortheboys.com and were captivated by the Spy Week activities. I, however, felt ripped off. Here they were, doing the fun things that I have always loved to set up for them, WITHOUT MY ASSISTANCE!

This is a good thing, right?

Hmmmm…

Anyway, I had a friend ask me what I was doing tonight. I said I couldn’t play because I had to study. Then I got the guilts. I felt like a bad friend. So I contacted her and made her banana bread. She is about to arrive any minute. You see, I get obsessed with things and I forget that life is made up of MANY wonderful things – I just lose sight of them sometimes. It is hard to see (and breathe) under a pile of books, papers and highlighter pens. I get fixated, I go over and over and over sentences trying to get them “just right”. But the words of my ever wise husband ring in my ears…”You do not have the luxury of perfectionism this time. Not with a family and a job and uni.” He is right. I can do my best, but I must remember that boundaries are a good thing, they actually help me to suceed in ALL areas, rather than sacrificing some to succeed in others. Like my creativity.

So, it is here that I am reminded again that getting top grades (which, by the way, I rather like!) is not the goal of my year. The goal is to be balanced, whilst finishing my degree. I can finish it, even without a long line of High Distinctions. Credits, or even a Pass (GASP!) will still get me to the goal.

And here I was thinking that my few years of slowing things down reprogrammed my driven nature. Let’s try this again, shall we?

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Photo story of my week

What a big week we have had!

Matt and I attended a marriage enrichment weekend last week. Beautiful!!! It was held at a gorgeous vineyard, filled with wonderful conversation and food- but most of all, uninterrupted time to laugh and be with my husband.

We have painted Asher’s feature wall using paint from the Tip Shop. Bargain.

I bought Matt a new lawn mower. His first new one ever! He won’t miss repairing the old one every time he had to use it.

It was Book Week at school for the lads. Isaac was Cole from Ninjago and Asher, the bear from “We’re going on a bear hunt.” Easy this year.

The sun broke through so Ash and I took to the beach!

We had birthday curry with our dear friend, Betsy. She is a true and delightful friend who is easy to celebrate.

The blossoms are budding on our fruit trees. Spring is on its way. Yay.

We said farewell to friends who have moved north. Ash and I went to do a few clean up jobs in their empty home. That was a bit sad. Reminding me of those dear friends who have, over the years said farewell and moved far away. One of these friends is on her way home next week though, so that’s exciting.

A great week. Now I’m ready for the next!! Hoping yours was blessed.

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A-Z of Gratitude Finale! X,Y & Z

X is for X marks the spot.  We have had our fair share of all things pirate in this house.  We can speak pirate with the best of them, and create the most elaborate pirate treasure maps, using tea bags to stain and burn the edges of the paper (I loved doing that when I was a child).  As I sit here this morning in the quiet while the lads are at school, I can’t help but think, this is my X. This family, this home that is filled with laughter, activity, mess, meltdowns – this is my treasure.  I don’t need to pursue some out there dream because I am dissatisfied. I am more than satisfied with my lot in life.  Yes, I have dreams and I always will. That is healthy. But I do not for one moment wish I had an X at another spot on another map.  I have found my spot. Right here, with my gorgeous family.

 

Y is for yesterday.  Yesterday was a great day for our family.  Relaxing, adventurous and peaceful.  It’s nice to reflect on our yesterdays, so we can digest and learn,appreciate and grow. Most of the time, we get caught up in the sheer speed of day-to-day life and we can’t even keep up with today, let alone reflect on yesterday!  But when we do, it is interesting to note what we did well, what made us happy, what we could have done better – in our parenting, our marriage, our work, our friendships, our projects.

 

Z is for Zany friends.  Comical, whimsical, out of the box friends are,  what treasures they are!  I am meeting one for lunch just after I log off here.  I love her bright red hair. Her amazing fashion sense. Her laugh. Her depth of understanding and empathy and her lack of want to please the entire universe.  Such friends refresh us and their perspective can realign us. Go and hug your zany friends, and if you don’t have any, be one or find one.

Zee end of zee A-Z of Gratitude!

Olympic Birthday Party

Our darling lad, Isaac is turning 7 this weekend. When you hold a screaming baby, people tell you, “It’s only a short phase. Before you know it they will be at school and playing soccer.”

How true are those words. The speed of rearing children is comparable only to Usain Bolt running the 100m sprint. Surely even HE couldn’t compete with how fast my beautiful son is growing up.

Our lads are old enough to appreciate the Olympics this time around, and Isaac thought it would be fun to have an Olympics birthday bash. We timed it so it was on the day that the games opened. The boys spent the morning watching the end of the Opening Ceremony while Matt and I did last minute preps before our guests arrived, clad in their country of choice.

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Asher donned the green and gold head band for Australia, Isaac was in the USA zone, as he is convinced he can “speak American.” Matt was all black for New Zealand, and I got on the Brazil bandwagon. All of our gear was purchased from one of our favourite op shops for a crazy bargain price.

The list of events for the day:

Cheezy Olympic Rings. All you need is some string and Cheezels. Then the competitors had to eat their cheezels as fast as they could. Yummy and fun!

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The Nerf shooting range was held under the carport due to the rain that was on and off. Some children had never used a Nerf gun and their expressions as they focused on the target was hilarious.Image

Lego Minifigure Diving was possibly the biggest hit amongst the kids. They had to drop their minifig from the top of the deck and attempt to land it in the bowl of water on the ground.

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Mighty Beanz Luge. We cut a pool noodle in half to create two racing channels. Then the beanz were let go to speed down the noodle.

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Shot Put using these cute mini marshmallow poppersmini marshmallow poppershttp://www.realsimple.com/work-life/entertainment/crafts-hobbies/make-a-mini-marshmallow-popper-00000000039219/

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Balloon volleyball using the couch as a net.

Archery using these bow and arrows

The birthday boy decided he would like hot dogs and cold rock party food. Cold Rock is an ice creamery that is insanely overpriced. It’s a big hit for kids as you choose your ice cream flavour, then your add ons. These are various chocolates and sweets that are then mushed into your icecream. We make our own at home and the boys love it. I used cupcake liners and gave each Olympian guest some ice cream or sorbet with some “add ons”.

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So another year of birthday parties for the lads is done. We do have Isaac’s cake to look forward to still, this Sunday. I shall post pics on the weekend. Happy Birthday, Isaac. You are loved.

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A-Z of Gratitude: T is for Tea

Tea is a simple, yet indulgent experience if we take the time to make a ritual of it. Boiling the kettle and jiggling a bag in a mug and splashing milk in is nothing special. Transform the usual, lazy way of making tea by using a tea pot and a quaint tea cup and you have a different experience altogether. One to be enjoyed alone with your own thoughts, a book or staring out at the view blankly. One to be enjoyed with friends and conversation.

I adore teapots and tea cups. My dear grandmother left me her beautiful Glade Green bone china tea set. I rarely used it until a year ago when I decided that it was crazy to hide such a beautiful thing away for fear of it being damaged. Such things are to be appreciated and enjoyed. When I drink from these with friends, they always comment on the experience. It’s noted that the tea experience is different when we make a ritual of it.

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Each of my teapots have been gifts. This one was a gift from my brother and sister in law.

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This cast iron beauty was a farewell gift from young people when I resigned from my youth work position last year.

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This miniature was a gift from my hubby and is perfect for solitude tea moments.

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Sharing a pot of tea with friends somehow makes for better company than mugs of sploshed together tea. The experience is rich and the conversation benefits from the small effort of brewing a pot and laying out the china.

There are always wonderful teapot and tea cup bargains at thrift stores. Mismatched tea cups are fun. If you don’t already have a pot and cups and saucers, why not spoil yourself, and those who will drink tea with you. Head to a charity shop and buy some fine china and go home to sit for a few moments, sipping your tea without hurry.

We could go on and on about the many types of tea we can enjoy together. My personal favorites are French Earl Grey, licorice, ginger, and rooibos. I always have fruit tea on hand to share with Asher. What fun he has when we brew tea. He feels very sophisticated!

I found these quotes on Pinterest to sum up my gratitude for tea time together with friends.

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I trust you will enjoy many pots of tea with your loved ones.

A-Z of Gratitude: H is for Holidays!

School holidays awaken feelings of dread for so many parents. Call me strange, but I dread the holidays coming to an end! We are fast approaching the end of three weeks of school holidays. I know I’m incredibly blessed to have Matt home for these holidays- people remind me of this all the time. Smart decision to marry a teacher;)

Apart from the odd sibling brutality, we have really enjoyed one another’s company. We are all bookworms, so if one of us has our head in a book, it’s a good indication that we want some time out. We have 57 library books out at the moment,  so there’s been quite a bit of “head in book” action.

Here’s a photo story of some of our holiday fun. We had a very simple, relaxed time. Lots of quality time together drawing, reading, creating and relishing the beautiful winter sunshine! The simple things win.

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