Tag Archives: balance

Finding time

The week has flown by!  I am convinced that it is the shorter daylight hours that make things fly past so quickly – or it could be our busy timetable.  It has just occurred to me that with the children’s winter sports activities there are only two days a week where I have no commitment involving delivering a child to some activity or another.  This could explain a lot!  I am trying to be disciplined about using my time efficiently to fit around the timetable, otherwise my little bits of ‘me’ time, those precious moments when I get to make things, will disappear completely.  I didn’t do too badly this week, although housework and making the children eat vegetables everyday may have been the sacrifices….

In a roundup of the week I have finished my first ‘giveaway’ on my facebook page, with a lovely winner from a farm in Western Australia the recipient of the art folder.  I have made 10 pencil rolls and listed them in my Etsy shop (my first new listing in quite a while!), made an art folder as a gift for a special little boy who turned 5 this week, crocheted a beret for the artist-in-residence (so fitting!) and prepared to make some more art folders.  So with a bit of juggling,  ‘crafting’ didn’t miss out this week!

          OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The artist-in-residence’s chosen photo of her new black beret!

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A Star Wars art folder for “Cha Cha”. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I also created with sugar this week, for my team at work.  Part of it was a promise to bring in my Thermomix and show them how it works, and part was an excuse to have a bit of a break for the team, talking about things that aren’t related to our jobs.  I made vanilla bean icecream and chocolate supreme icecream in advance, along with salted caramel fudge and coconut ice.  Then I took the Thermomix in and made warm chocolate custard, fruity dream (which is like soft-serve icecream but made completely from frozen fruit whipped with an eggwhite), and an orange sorbet on the day.  Sugar, sugar, sugar!  My kids were happy as they got some of the leftovers!     I was happy as I was ‘making stuff’, and those of my team who were able to attend were happy as they had sweet treats to sample.  Next time I am needing to do some ‘creating’ I will have to remember this trick – I might do a savoury sample for them next time.

On Saturday night I went out to dinner with friends at a lovely, trendy local restaurant.  I have had to admit that I have become a bit of a recluse over the last year or so.  I don’t go to the movies, rarely go out to dinner, never have an after-work drink, and rarely invite friends over for a meal.  I am not complaining – this is how life is at the moment – but it was nice to get out with adults, nice food, wine, conversation and enjoy their company.  I really should try to do it more often…….

I am sitting here contemplating the week in front of me and wondering if I will get the time to make some of the things that I want to make….  I hope so!  My head is buzzing with ideas – I just need more time (as always!).  Short of giving up sleep altogether, or quitting my job (which would have some fairly dire consequences like losing the house and not being able to feed the children) I think I have to find a way to be content with the small pockets of time I can find and savour them.  I suspect this is another one of life’s lessons – appreciating what I have and enjoying the moment instead of looking for the next moment.  Hmmmmm…..although I have improved in my ability to do this over the last few years, I am probably about due a reminder on this lesson!

I hope that you too are able to remember  to simply enjoy the moment this week.

Working out what works

Life is busy, and happy and full in the nest at the moment – even the quiet moments are things to be enjoyed.  Which is just as well, as the year feels like it is rushing past very quickly!!    We had a patch like this last year, where everything worked, and life was good, and it went for a few months!  I have learnt to enjoy these moments – sometimes they will be just a day or so, but they are little drops of peace that make the hard times easier.

My beautiful mother left us this morning to fly home to spend some time with Dad and in her normal life.  If all goes well at home she will return to us in about 11 days to look after the children while I travel to Byron Bay for Bluesfest (yes it is completely self-indulgent on my part).  Having her in the house for the last couple of weeks has provided that lift that we all needed – she has introduced a new routine for the kids with unpacking their school bags, and putting their own clothes away that sounds simple, but has made a big difference already to the smoother running of the house!

After we dropped her at the airport this morning we negotiated our way through traffic much quicker than I expected, so had enough time to ride our bikes to school and work.  I had already been to work earlier so was dressed in the black dress, heels and necklace – so stuck leggings underneath and off we went – mother duck and three little ducklings all in a row.  It was great!  The kids enjoyed it, and I was at work quicker than I would have been in the car!  The ride home was also good – although slightly warmer (not as good in a black long-sleeved work dress……) so we all had to lie on the floorboards to cool down!  Simple things.

Stopping to reflect on why we are happier is important (as is acknowledging that we aren’t necessarily unhappier normally – this just appears to be a sweet patch of life).  I have reintroduced our screen time rules – no screens between 9am and 5pm.  Despite the non-stop requests for the rules to be changed, it is working.  The children have boundaries, and have to work to find things to fill in the gaps.  All rules are flexible and this afternoon we have negotiated that they can watch some TV a bit earlier because they have ridden their bikes, and are going to martial arts classes tonight.  But overall, sticking to the rules seems to lift everyone’s behaviour and mood – including mine!

They have also all been exercising more – riding their bikes, walking the dog, bouncing on the trampoline – and all at their own request.  Once again, as life rushes along, it is the simple things of exercise, good food, and reduced time on screens that make the difference – exactly what happened last year when we had our ‘good patch’.  I am taking lots of mental notes as I write this and work through it in my mind.  There are little lightbulbs popping all over the place!

On the same vein, I have started participation in a mentoring program through my work.  I flew to Sydney for the day yesterday to participate the launch and to spend time with my mentor (who kindly also flew to Sydney despite the inconvenience it caused her).  I think that I am going to get a lot out of the program and the relationship, and have already paused to think about the importance of striking a balance with exercise.  A few things she said had me thinking about my approach to my fitness.  I tend to put it way down the list of what it is important.  I will find something new like running, or going to the gym, and enjoy it and stick at it for about 6 months.  Then as life gets complex it starts to be the first thing to get dropped – as if things for me aren’t as important as everyone else’s needs.  Hmmmmm.  So my personal goal for the next few weeks is to work out how I can prioritise time for myself to work on fitness back into the equation.  Bike riding is a good start.  Next will be how to find time for gym sessions a few times a week.  That one will take some thinking and planning, so stand by!

The other thing that I need to continue to work on is making time for my crafting  – because it does mean so much to me.  I have been slow and steady this week – I made an art folder for a friend to give her daughter for her birthday, and made a rainbow cape for my niece’s birthday.  I finished it in time to pack it in mum’s suitcase last night – and forgot to photograph it!  So I will have to ask my sister to send me a photo of the birthday girl wearing it instead!  I am itching to start some pillowcases for another friend so might try to get them started this afternoon/evening.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Having used this as a chance to work through what is working for us right now, I am off to play a game with my kids and then do some sewing.  I hope that your week is working for you!

Lessons learnt

I am laughing at myself right now. In my last post I was apologising a bit for sewing things that weren’t on my February “To Do” list – but in fact everything that I sewed WAS on the list! I was looking at the list written on a scrap of paper at home, and not the one I publicly shared! So in fact I am doing really well at addressing my list right now!!

I also answered my own question of ‘to-crochet-or-not-to-crochet’ on the pillowcases I made – if I had to ask, then the answer was ‘no’. My wise friend Jo pointed out that there is something about bunting and crochet that doesn’t work – neither of us know why but we both agree on that point! So I listed them in my shop today, after taking photos in the lovely sun – and a friend snapped them up straight away! So I might need to make some more.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Finally I am laughing at myself for forgetting the very simple rule – people read blogs. So some of my staff knew why I was at work having a chat, before I had told them in person, and one of the lovely teachers at my children’s school, who also loves fabric, was very tempted to call me after I announced that I should get stuff done, if only the school didn’t ring….. Good lessons to learn with no damage done and much laughter.

I have been sitting and admiring my delicious stash of fabric a bit, and was inspired to make this up during the week. Again, it has been snapped up, so I will make more using this lovely blue paisley.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As I gear up to return to the office on Monday I am trying very hard to maintain my carefully won balance and not feel that I have to frantically sew to get things done before Monday – and it is working. Last night I had a lovely evening with a friend, some great Asian takeaway, and decadent ice-cream. When the power went out due to a storm we just turned on a torch and kept giggling and sharing. No sewing to be seen!

I had a list of things to be done this weekend – including three presents for my children to give to their friends at parties they are attending. In my mind I was planning to sew each gift, but this morning I sensibly went shopping and bought small gifts. The artist in residence was attending her best friend’s birthday party and I was disappointed that I hadn’t been able to make something for this little person who has a special place in our life – but we fixed that when we realised that a bird softie that my daughter had been making would make a perfect gift to accompany the purchased gift. So a very special handmade gift was delivered instead.

Having found some time to attend to other things (like housework) I then sat down and whipped up two simple pencil rolls (making up my own pattern) for the party that the boy is attending tomorrow (for two classmates), to accompany the small gifts I bought. I am quite happy with them and think that I will make some more for the shop.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I also unpicked and altered a gift for my friend who has a special birthday tomorrow – and am now much happier with it. Taking time to do it right instead of just ‘okay’ feels good.

The return to work is a little daunting because, since my last post, it has been confirmed that I will take on a new role, beginning on Monday. I have also discussed my wish to work different hours, subject to finalising my before-school care arrangements, and they are supported. So the idea of a new position, which involves leading a service delivery area (something I haven’t done before) is exciting but also challenging. The idea of starting work early each day and then finishing at 3 in order to collect the children from school in person is wonderful, but I am apprehensive about finding the balance at work. All in all, I am sure that once I am there and have moved into my new office and remembered all my passwords etc I will be fine – but the anticipation of new things does have me thinking about work a bit more than normal!

Of course while I was in the office I managed to talk to one of my colleagues about a bag that she wanted…..and then came home and made it. Although it fits the description of what she asked for I am not happy with it yet, so think that it might be the next thing to be unpicked and re-shaped – the flap isn’t sitting quite where I want it to and the bag is a bit deeper than I think it should be. Back to the drawing board!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA      OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Finally, an amusing sight while the kids and I stopped to find a geocache on our way home this evening. To find it we had to pass an administration office, and in the window, on the side of a tissue box, was this sticker, that the children loved!

geocaching

I am not sure if you can read the sticker, but apart from making it clear that this is a geocaching friendly environment, the small print says “Where else can you use billion dollar satellites to find plastic containers in the bush?”

I hope that any lessons that you have learnt this week are positive!
(My other lesson is to post more regularly so that my posts aren’t this long!!)