Thursday, 29 September 2011

What is this life?

Good morning!I am rushing out to my studio, after hurrying to get two loads of washing in the machine while the sunshine lasts, after dashing down to drop N off at Pre-school and I just thought I'd share a quick 5 minutes with you - because sometimes life is too much of a rush!
After getting back in the car this morning, ready to race back home to the creative haven that waits patiently for me at the bottom of the garden, I looked out of the window and saw this.

It's not anything out of the ordinary, in fact, most of you probably pass by a similar scene every day. that's why I wanted to share it. Isn't it beautiful? The light at this time of year takes on a different quality; dreamlike and magical. It's like that lovely time as you drift off to sleep and all is right with the world after a long day. Creation seems to be sighing contentedly.

I know that for some of you, this is a hard time of year. The days are getting shorter and Summer seems to be drawing rapidly to a close. What sort of winter will we have to get through before we can again breath in the Spring air?
This little encounter with the beauty of Nature in all her simple finery reminded me this morning of one of our "growing up" poems, "What is this life, if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare?" Maybe if we take a moment, whenever we can, whenever our eye is drawn to something amazing and soak it up, we will gather a harvest that will see us through the winter.

By the way - this was my washing yesterday - I don't usually take photos of my laundry, but this charity shop cache warranted a photo I think. I was so pleases to find so many beautiful, embroidered tablecloths and tea towels. When I have ironed them too, I'll take a few more close ups of the wonderful stitching!

Monday, 26 September 2011


What a lovely thing it is to create something special for someone. Something that will make them smile.

This last week I have had the pleasure of creating two such things, one of which will hopefully have caused a a few giggles and added to the festivities of a 70th birthday party.

What a privilege to hand over a cake to someone, knowing that it will help create the memories that family will cherish for years to come. I hope you all enjoyed eating it as much as I did creating it for you. Happy Birthday!

My second opportunity to bless (and surely this is what life is for?) was for my lovely newest nephew on the occasion of his dedication.

Three years ago this coming January, my wonderful Dad went to be with his Creator. Some people travel through this life lightly, and dad did. He didn't leave us much that the rest of the world would count as valuable, but goodness me, he left us so rich.

His three children all have beautiful families now, and we each have one child who was born after he died. I have been realising a lot recently that there is comfort in the knowledge that although they may never have met this wonderful man, they will know him through the homes they live in, the way they are brought up gently, the creativity that oozes from every corner of their living spaces, the way problems are overcome, the things we say and do without knowing and the inheritance of our family history (and I don't mean the superficial "who married who", but the much deeper bonds of how we loved each other and built our memories together).

It was an absolute honour to present my brother's boy with our dedication present to him. I had a special time reading through my dad's letters to me - of which there are many, and picking out the words I wanted to give little J. He is welcome to use them too - they are big enough to share! These are words of comfort, encouragement and love from my Dad, embroidered into a cushion made with a remnant from one of his shirts. I hope that as J grows, he will understand these words more and more, in different ways and that they will comfort him and spur him on.
Maybe they will be a comfort to you too?

I've also been thinking about you - yes, I mean YOU.

We are all creative in some way, whether it be baking, fixing things, gardening, sewing, problem solving, encouraging words - whatever - no-one goes without the gift of creativity in this life. Whatever your gift is - why not think about using it to make some one's day? Sometimes we shy away from giving in this way because we think it's not what people want, or we're not quite good enough at doing it. Let me reassure you - the gift of creative thoughtfulness will always touch someone deeply, and perhaps the way you have gone beyond your comfort zone in giving it, will make it even more special to the recipient.

Go on - give the gift of creativity.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Fruitful seasons

It's been a productive few weeks.
For the first time in seven years, my lovely hubby and I went away on our own, courtesy of my brother and his wonderful wife and their beautiful Bath town house. We had a lovely time, mooching (great word!) about, getting up when we wanted to, going out of the house without having to dress 5 children for whatever weather the next few hours may contain, and basically eating lots!

One of our favourite pass times is good food - mostly cooking it together, but also on the rare occasion a restaurant. And we just had to visit Jamie's, didn't we!

I have to say, it was right up our street. Great food, lively and welcoming atmosphere, originality and creativity and best of all, the chance to watch the chefs working away in the kitchen and the hustle and bustle of the waiting staff preparing bread baskets and drinks. They seemed genuinely happy, and that's got to rub off on you when you're eating their food, hasn't it?! Having worked in restaurants, as a waitress and behind the scenes as a cooking the kitchens, I know that it doesn't have to be shouting and swearing to make it work. There just has to be good working relationship where everyone knows their role and a healthy amount of fun and laughter. That's what food's about - and I really think it tastes better when it's made with a giggle. And that's why I love cooking with my husand! Mmmmmmm....

One lovely treat was to be able to have an undisturbed hour to draw a thank you present for our hosts of their house. I hope they enjoy looking at it as much as I did that hour.

Since getting back, the house has been a flurry of clearing out and making ship shape. We both came back inspired to make our home work for us and our family as we grow into a new season of life. The children are growing quick (too quick!) and we packed the cot away for the fifth time. I have cleared a huge cupboard of years of "too precious to throw out, but not urgent enough to sort out" boxes of photos and memories and we have both filled the recycling bin with our University notes. I now have a Redeem Creations stockroom in said cupboard and very organised under bed boxes full of birthday cards, first drawings and hospital bracelets......sigh.

Time for a new season of fruitfulness.

The Little ones continue to make me smile and I reminded myself this week that one day I will miss finding random toys in my pan cupboard

and the sight of freshly washed soft toys drying.

One day soon I won't be searching frantically everywhere for teddy before bed,

sticking autumn leaves to bits of paper,

or sharing the wonder of colourful balloons in the last sunny days of the summer.

But I am excited about the days to come; helping my boys become young men and gradually finding little windows of time to create.

It's all good.