As she threaded first a red bead and then a white I sipped a hot cup of tea. Shoulders were lowered and a calm fell about us. With the sun still too hot outside for our delicate skin and babies on the prowl for entertainment we pull out glue, glitter, paper and twine and create together. By keeping the activities fairly simple we have carved out a slice of quiet each day that soothes during this whirling time of year. Spending time on simple creative ventures and stepping away from the tinsel clad mayhem has helped to affirm what Christmas really means to me.
Sadly this time of the year has become less about the giving and more about the hyper organisation, the styling and the fanfare. I am doing my very best to rebel against the perfectly laid table and refuse to let Christmas become a competition. Gift giving for friends and relatives has been down sized in an attempt to return to a time when one thoughtfully chosen (or made) gift was not only deemed enough but was accepted with excitement and grace. And simple offerings of home made jams, shortbreads and bath salts in higgledy piggledly baskets will be handed out with love and a good dose of Christmas cheer.
Perhaps it's an avoidance technique, turning my back on the "to do" lists around me but I'm choosing a quieter, simpler Christmas this year. We are in our small way creating "peace on earth" at home. Our daily creating time has evolved as a result of this simplifying and it has become a way to celebrate this wonderful season and bask in each others' company. Our home is revered and conversations flow from Santa letters, to giving and ultimately gratitude. And amidst all the chaos that can engulf us at this time of the year I certainly am grateful for the reason to sit, sip tea and create with my babies.
We made our candy canes with pieces of florist wire and small beads. A pair of pliers helped to twist the ends keeping the beads in place. We found the perfect hanging place for them here.
I can almost see the spark of a great idea ignite within her. Mid play she'll pause, cock her head to the side and then in a flash, leap up in search of the perfect bit or bob. Hers are ideas of creativity, colour and generosity with little to no thought of practicality. And that's exactly how it should be on this stage of her journey. She designs elaborate garments and props for play and never once considers that they are simply unachievable with the tools and materials she has. Her abandon for commonsense is both beautiful and enviable and I often wonder what we as adults could achieve it we were not burdened with the thought of "Will it work?"
I feel my role at this stage is not to stifle this ferocious and awe inspiring imagination with design rules and regulations but to gently guide. I aim to sew tiny seeds of reasoning as we juggle the translation i.e making what's in her hands look the same as what's in her head. There is always talk of safety and I often use the phrase, "sometimes people who sew like to do it this way". Makeshift patterns are explored to hone in on an idea but more often than not her mind coupled with the medium she is working with leap off on a completely different tangent and something new and wonderful results. When all else fails she reaches for the sticky tape and all is well. I am simply amazed by her tenacity.
I watch her create with her hands, bring her wispy ideas down from the clouds and mould them in the now. The joy as she snips the final threads on a new creation is palpable and it reminds me to fill my hands with needle and thread again soon. I foresee us working together on grand projects some time in the near future and rejoice at the thought. Perhaps a little sewing machine of her very own may be a fitting gift for her 5th birthday.
The air was thick and heavy. All about was an eerie haze as the clouds asembled for a coming storm. Inside the little man slept, he would later wake to the sound of rain with damp hair and sleepy creases on his cheek. From our overflowing basket we sorted our finds. Crispy leaves of rust and magenta, spotted feathers, old man's whiskers and fading blooms - our day's adventures had provided well. And while the sky heaved with impending rain we wove nature's treasures. Over and under, over and under.
It is a place we have visited every year since our first babe was small. With each new year we see subtle change. The landscape has surrendered to the elements and moulded into gentle new curves. Trees may have fallen, new ones taking root in their ancestors' compost. Livestock may have been moved to greener pastures and new friends may have come to join the menagerie. Old ones may have passed from this world. It is ever evolving and such a metaphor for life.
And with each visit our little family has changed. With swollen belly and a toddler in tow we explored this meandering space for the first time. Wisps of nature were fossicked and gum boots sloshed about in icy creeks. The there were four of us bundled up in handmadewoollens as we to-ed and fro-ed in the wilderness. This time fires were made, fruits were harvested and simple play nourished us all.
It is a gentle holiday. One of lulling about on picnic blankets watching farmyard friends graze. Of quiet reflection and dreaming for the times ahead. With no touristy sight seeing to lure us, nor quirky cafes to sample we sit and we watch; we still ourselves. We teeter on the edge of boredom and it is in this rare space that comes the deepest relaxation and energising contemplation. Plans for the future percolate under vast limbed trees and slowly unveil as we sip cup after cup of tea. We wonder what our family will look like next year when we visit.
Each year we pack lightly and head to Wattle Gully Farm for adventure and soul nourishment.
Little things that make our world. Things I want to capture, tuck away and peek at another day....and smile.
The most delicious eggs from a generous soul. Fairy stepping stones. Piles of pastel hued nighties almost ready for my little shop. Mr. Elephant keeping guard. Eating an avocado every day. Coveting a rustic veggie patch.