You can learn an awful lot about life, and yourself, from a child.
On Tuesday I was blessed to babysit for Blossom and Ross so they could go out for their first meal 'alone' in a little over three years. Since before Cully May was born, actually.
Rafaella went down for her afternoon nap and this gave Cully May and I some one-on-one time together. We played hide and seek, shared lunch (the girls always like to share my lunch), made houses out of bright coloured felt triangles, twisted pipe cleaners into bunny ears (which she insisted I wear) and sang songs.
So much fun we had playing together and I got an excessive amount of cuddles which filled my happy-nana-heart to overflowing. Then we slowed a while, shared some strawberries and custard, and I asked "What would you like to do now?" Without skipping a beat Cully May's smile beamed wide and she answered "Nana, will you make me a superhero cape?" and handed me a bunch of pipe cleaners.
"Honey, I don't think we can make a superhero cape out of these."
"Yes you can, Nana!" she responded, her eyes sparkling and her voice full of confidence in my abilities. So I stopped for a bit and thought about it.
You know, we adults can tend to overthink problems, but that's something young children are free from. They're right there in the moment and when you let go of your own ideas and expectations of 'perfection' or 'the right way' and consider how simple their needs really are, simple solutions soon follow.
Like my calico grocery bag which goes everywhere with me - if you think like a child it is the most amazing superhero cape!
Those pipe cleaners Cully May felt needed to be part of the cape tied the handles together around her neck.
Around and around the room she ran, superhero cape swishing behind her. She was happy, I was content. Simple things bring joy.
Then she stopped in front of me and asked, "Nana, will you make me a mask?"
Aware now that I wasn't to raid Blossom's fabrics and set up her sewing machine whilst googling 'patterns for a superhero mask", I considered what we had in front of us on the table. More pipe cleaners and paper!
I'm telling you, the way to a little girl's heart is paved with a shopping bag, pipe cleaners, paper and simple imagination.
I mean, really, is this three year old happy or what?!
When Blossom and Ross came home their little girl insisted I make daddy a mask too, so I did, and they both played superheroes. Happy and content, this nana said her goodbyes and headed home, quite impressed with how a three year old reminded her to stop, consider, and think of simple solutions before trying anything more complex.
Wednesday I did a lot of housework including a thorough cleaning of my front loader washing machine (inspired by this post of Annabel's) before sketching and preparing new designs as part of a larger project in the future...
Later that day I removed the border from a very special old design from 2010 which had been displayed in a frame.
Here's the stitchery removed from the frame but still with the dull dark blue border.
I'd chosen the fabric you see behind it as my cushion print but the stitchery border now needed a brighter blue to match it...
So I found this lovely blue print in my stash and it looked as though it would really 'lift' the overall finish of what was to become a cushion.
A thin 3/4" border of the blue and then large floral borders all around transformed my "Little House Sampler" stitchery...
...into a beautiful new addition to our bedroom.
The cheery brightness of these fabrics has brought life again to a heart-felt design I've always loved but had grown tired of in it's old setting.
It's called the "Little House Sampler" in honour of the many years we homeschooled and the thousands and thousands of kilometres we've driven across Australia listening to all Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" books along the way. When I designed this we'd just completed our homeschool journey and both my 'young ones' were now adults and working their first jobs. It became my personal way of stitching a memory that spanned eleven wonderful years.
So to have it now on our bed is rather special.
I've decided to offer this stitchery pattern as a gift to all new Rewind Club members who join by September 4th.
Below is the cover with photos of all the patterns inside the next issue.
The other day my precious husband bought me a rose.
For years the only roses I received were the occasional bunches he'd buy to fill a vase on the table of each rental house, but now that we have our own home he thought it time we had a permanent rose.
It's called Shocking Blue and is in a very large pot outside the bedroom window where it gets a lot of sun but can be moved to safer ground should we find the next tropical wet season to be more than it can take.
After the January/February floods we're a little cautious.
Yesterday Blossom came by with Rafaella and Cully May and we had morning tea out back watching the cockatoos and rainbow lorikeets feasting on seeds from the feeder.
I bakes scones which were served with homemade strawberry jam and the little ones shared mugs of (very weak milky) tea with us. Rafaella is almost 18 months old now and I've nicknamed her Climbing Houdini because she appears and disappears and she climbs up, over and under everything. She's so quick and when you catch her that cheeky little smile you see in the photo below is paired with the cutest laugh. Love.
Cully May helped me pick cherry tomatoes which we'd then pass to Rafaella who would take them to Blossom who filled a bowl to take home. Teaching them about the garden and fresh food is a joy!
Too soon my little munchkins made their goodbyes, but I must admit to needing a rest later as time with them is always full on...in the very best possible way.
These past weeks I've thought a lot about contentment and the simple things in life which fill my heart. None of them were big things in themselves, just a number of small and simple joys and doings that satisfied my wife, mother, nana and domestic heart.
Things like baking scones, making jam, hanging the washing out to dry, brewing tea in a pot, picking tomatoes and fresh herbs for dinner, planting healing herbs under the lemon tree, preparing my husband's lunch box for work, taking freshly dried sheets off the line and airing the bed, sewing a special cushion, sharing deep thoughts with Blossom, buying fruit and vegetables at the market, preparing a simple pot of tea for my love when he comes home, making a superhero cape from a shopping bag, sitting out back to watch the sun set with the man I love beside me, praying for a friend, making a small gift, discovering an orphan tomato plant ripe with fruit in a hidden corner of the yard, listening to my son in law as he shared an idea I may try, choosing not to spend on things we don't need, letting gratitude well up from deep inside for all we've been blessed with...being still and knowing God.
I'm intentionally slowing my life because it's too precious a gift not to savour, and my prayer today is that you also embrace a slowing of days, of things, of doings, and give time to considering the blessings which have come your way.
May the Lord be your anchor in the storm, your guide in the darkness, your delight in the sunshine, and your hope in every new sunrise.