Tag Archives: fitness

Creativity of different sorts

During the course of today, as I was sewing metre after metre of burgundy polycotton into costumes for the school theatrical production I was thinking about this blog entry and what to write.  I mulled over different thoughts that have drifted through my head in the last week but was feeling that I had no photos to share, and that this was going to start becoming the ‘photo-less boring blog’.  So I took some shots of the piles of burgundy polycotton and tried to think of ways to make them seem interesting.  And then I turned around and realised that what was happening in my house was far more interesting, both visually and creatively, so took some more photos and hey presto I know what I am going to share with you tonight!!  (Ooooh the suspense will kill you won’t it!)

In good news I appear to be fully recovered from the virus that had me floored this time last week.  I had two good days in the office and am back to full strength, so that is a huge improvement!   And to top things off in the feeling better stakes, the sun came out today!  I think I have mentioned before that I am really not coping with winter this year and I think it is because of the fog, the rain and the long grey days.  However today was a delight – sun and clear skies all day.  The children and their friends played outside for the first time in a long time – and did some great experimenting with vinegar and bicarb soda – including using it to inflate balloons – that shot around very quickly when released!  So much fun, discovery and laughter (and I am kicking myself for not getting photos!)  I was desperate to get outside and do a number of jobs that have been put on the back burner while the weather has been so dismal – repacking the camper trailer, raking the leaves, trimming the roses – you know, all the exciting things.  But those piles of burgundy polycotton were calling my name……

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Do you think I have mentioned them enough?  I have made 15 tunics (and perfected my technique beautifully if I may say so!) and even managed to adjust a pattern to make it larger (including upsizing the sleeve!!!) but it just doesn’t feel as satisfying as my normal crafting.  I think I ‘might’ be a fabric snob.  I am too used to sewing with lovely cotton, and delightful designs, and the 16 or so metres of the (now) dreaded burgundy got a bit much!  I am not quite finished yet – I need to ‘bling’ up four of the tunics for a particular group of students, and make capes for each of the tunics.  (I can’t remember if I explained that these are tunics for Trojans and the story they are telling is the Trojan Horse.)  Before I can start on cape construction I need to see what the Greek tunics that other people are making will cover when they are worn over the Trojan tunics.  Details, details, details!  I will be quite happy when they are all finished and I can return to my usual programming!

The more important things I want to share with you tonight?  The creativity that is happening all around me, even when I am moaning about that particular coloured fabric.  First of all the great backyard experimenting in the sun, and then the eldest chick (who is only 10) announced that she would cook dinner.  And she did!  She experimented earlier in the week in making a Jamaican chicken dish, and as it turned out so well, she repeated it again.  It is delicious!  Each time she has cooked the chicken to perfection!  She served it with rice and vegetables and her brother and sister cleared their plates!

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Using the stool to reach the microwave!

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Jamaican Jerk Chicken

(Imagine the dinner table discussion about what kind of jerks these chickens must have been!)

The bonus to her cooking was that I got to give my new workout program a go.  Now that I am healthy again, I finally made it to see my personal trainer for my first official session.  We agreed that I need a program I can do at home, that involves the kids, otherwise I will continue to not exercise.  So the middle chick ran the timer and she and the boy counted my ‘reps’ for each exercise.  The boy was hilarious and started yelling ‘encouragement’ in the style of a drill sergeant!  I say hilarious, but it could easily become dangerous!  I suspect my body will be complaining loudly tomorrow but for now I am feeling suitable virtuous.

The other creativity in my house was on public display at school on Thursday and Friday.  On Thursday the eldest chick had her annual piano recital.  Her teacher is delightful and ensures that all students, even the youngest and newest, get to play a piece that showcases their ability and makes them feel special.  This year the eldest chick emulated many senior students before her, and chose to play a piece from memory.  I was a little dubious about her decision, especially as her piano practise has dropped away recently.  However, she made me very proud with a lovely rendition of a classical piece called “Climbing”.

Late last week the middle chick and two of her friends auditioned to participate in the ‘performance assembly’ held at the end of each term.  On Friday students chosen from years 3 and 4 put on displays of martial arts, piano playing, drum playing (!!!), hip hop dancing, ballet, skipping, and singing.  The middle chick and her friends performed a piece that my chick had scripted, that was a news report, reporting on the state of their school.  It included lines such as ‘the level of cool in our school is 100%.  We are not too school for cool, or too cool for school.  We have nerds here too, but they are cool.”  They also went on to explain that the reason that their school is so great is due to the teachers and the principal.  Hmmmm….. a good way to score points in the good graces of said teachers and principal!  It was delightful, and they were all appropriately proud of themselves.

The added bonus of attending the assembly was that I was able to be there to see the boy presented with an award (that I didn’t have advance notice of).  He was so proud being up there on the stage and immediately presented me with his certificate (part of a peer growth program in the school called Making Jesus Real) before returning to sit with his class.  Much happiness all round.

Now that was worth waiting a few paragraphs for wasn’t it?  Far more interesting that the other topics I was considering (which may or may not have included mid-life crises, the gender issues in Australian politics, and/or internet dating.)  None of them in any way related to crafting!

On a final note I can report that it appears that my judgement as a parent, that I was beginning to question a couple of weeks ago, is still working.  (Phew!)  It doesn’t make our issues disappear, but it reassures me that I still have perspective on those issues.  I can also predict that there will be much of my own crafting to report soon, as the children are going to visit their grandparents for the holidays so I will have free time, and it is time to start making ‘stuff’ for the school fete craft stall.   Hmmmm……I can feel more lists coming on – some might even make it onto the blog.

May your week be delightfully creative in many different ways!

Its the little things

Half way through the week already? The long weekend means that while the week feels like it is just starting, it is half way over. Which, on a cold, wet day, when staying in bed with a good book, or curling up on the couch with a dvd and some crochet is more appealing than venturing out to school and work, is a good thing!

Tonight I am pondering the little things that can happen in a day to turn a frown into a smile. While my day was not a bad day (I didn’t have to leave work to address issues with any children – yay!) by the time I got home I was feeling a bit flat. Contemplating the ongoing juggle of trying to be a competent employee and leader while also being a supportive parent to a child with ‘issues,’ and the way this is perceived by my colleagues, had me overthinking my work-life balance once again. This is not a struggle special to me – so many parents face it on a day to day basis. Trying to be a good employee, and a good parent, when the two don’t always sit well together. Combine it with a healthy dose of judgement from the media, other parents, extended family, and so many of us feel that we can’t win, no matter which way we turn.

Of course, my life is actually quite good. I have a supportive work environment, where I can have flexible working arrangements, where my staff understand that sometimes when my phone rings I need to run out the door, where I am paid very well to do a job that I like. The ‘issues’ that my family face are not insurmountable. No one is terminally ill. My children are healthy, intelligent and loving. We have a warm home, good food, warm clothes and the ability to be safe. I have found a creative outlet that keeps me sane when the walls seem to be closing in. The fact that some of my colleagues don’t see it that way is really about them, not about me.

But my mind was working through all of this, and I was wondering whether I was kidding myself that I can keep making things, be respected professionally, keep my kids safe and supported, when one little thing came along to make me stop, celebrate a success and remember that, in fact, I don’t really care about my ‘image’, but I do care that I am succeeding in many ways in my life.

The little thing? I opened up the Etsy website, and there, on the front page, in a handpicked treasury of bright and lovely things, was one of my bags. Yes. One of MINE!! The kids were thrilled, I was excited, and the world stopped spinning out of control and returned to it’s normal axis.  (It was featured as part of a treasury that you can see here.)

I let go of all the overthinking, all the teasing the problem until a new angle could be found, and just smiled and got happy. Perspective is a wonderful thing!

And having a clear head means that I can celebrate my other small successes of the last few days, and that we had a lovely family evening because I was no longer flat.  At dinner we have a tradition of each of us reporting our ‘best thing’.  The artist-in-residence had us enthralled with the report of her drama class, the boy had a list of 16 ‘best things’ that had us all smiling, and the eldest chick waited patiently to tell us the news of her class’ work in preparing for their theatrical performance.  So lovely to just sit and enjoy our time together – no TV, no fighting, and no stress.

On a personal level, I  had my first appointment with a personal trainer yesterday in a new bid to start improving my fitness.  I was very upfront about the need for the children to attend the sessions with me, and I think (hope) it is going to work.  The amusing part was watching the boy, at 6, spending most of his time wanting to lift weights in front of the mirror.  It starts early!

My recent efforts in getting more organised about this blog have paid off too, with a few new followers (hi and welcome!) and realising that sometime this week I passed the 200 follower mark (combining facebook and the blog). Another sign that I am doing okay in my own small way!

On the crafting front I am making up a custom order for a colleague who wants a bag for weekend wear, and wanted a zip up pouch to go in it (at my suggestion). So, here is the pouch I made – without a pattern. Something small – but I am proud of it!

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And finally – I offered to crochet a beret beanie for a friend who dropped in the other day and was admiring the black one I made for the artist-in-residence. While the children were training at martial arts last night I sat and started a new hat. And, in a first, did not have to unpick it once! I have about three rows to go to finish it, but for now – looking a little like a purple sea creature – here is the beret.

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So, as the mid-week ‘hump’ goes, my week is alright.  As I fall towards the weekend my approach will be to continue putting one foot in front of the other, remembering that my family is more important than anything else in my world, and that I am one of the lucky ones.  I wish you a great second half of the week, and lots of things that you can celebrate as successes.