That aside, I am really enjoying my life, complete with it's challenges. I am meeting the most amazing people and feel so surrounded by loving kindnesses. All around me are incredible happenings. Friends are having personal breakthroughs, my kids are shining, my husband and I are on the same page all the time, we have finally found a great home church that has lovely people who genuinely love God (not just a facade) and new opportunities are opening to me. And all without the mad striving I have experienced over the last several years. Just gently, quietly and easily things are astir. I can see God's fingerprints all over my life. It's so reassuring.
I have even learned to love my own company. It's new to feel comfortable being alone at home with my wee babe. I can't believe how freaked out I was when I found out my third son was on his way. I know it's because my first children were born when I was up to my neck with historical personal issues, my relationship with my husband was still in it's infancy and I was scared of being a bad mother. I was cut off from any form of support system and what friends I did have didn't know where to or how to begin to help me, I was really complicated.
Yet here I am pottering around during the day and looking forward to the arrival home after school of my older boys and big honey after work. Smiling as I wait for that little Knuckles of mine to wake up and warmly greeting his sleepy face. The odd cup of tea and stitch-y day with friends, an outing to a thrift store if I'm able for a little look-see if I can find an old stash of lace or pearl buttons. It's a simple life, a far cry from the past few years where I have found myself wanting to move ahead yet frustrated on so many levels.
I can't wait to return to my quiet strolls along the beach looking for treasures washed up - little heart shaped stones, smooth sea glass, shards of pottery, tiny shells and of course, my wonderful and growing collection of sea buttons, that's right plastic buttons thrown ashore from who knows where.
I love this connection with the land, the ocean, the sky and nature. My love for raw materials in my artwork is testimony to this I think. It is when I feel closest to God on a personal level. Just me and my Creator, chilling and admiring His beautiful artwork. No religion or hype here. Just wonderful peaceful meanderings with the odd sigh from my little Knuckles as he snuggles in for more cuddles. The warm weather is coming to an end, but we will just bundle up and brave the elements for these chats with God. My prayer closet is my local beach. It's where I find my sanity when it occasionally goes astray.
I love living in on the outskirts of the city, here in our little beachside community. I love all the people and activity too. I always have but I am just also just as happy to quietly puddle along as my healing body and circumstances allows.
And I also love old things. I guess living with my grandparents as a kid has influenced me, and the more stuff I make, the more I am aware of how much nostalgia plays a part in my flavour too. Things like old vintage buttons or a piece of fabric that was like my curtains in my room. Or wall paper. Or a handknitted baby blanket. Or handstitched baby gown. Scones, jam and cream tea's. And making stuff of course. It's all about the craft. I am a craft-inspired artist. That is my bent and proud of it I am.
Due to my restricted movements I have been spending my free time checking out other creative blogs (and spending a ridiculous amount of time checking out Facebook, it's too random, and chat like - I still love blogging because it's ALL about the story). Anyway ... I love that I can go all over the world, meet lovely people, view inspiring lives, homes, women and craft - without leaving home.
When my first child was born, I felt my life had ended because I couldn't go anywhere or do anything. I felt so isolated. Now, however my inbox is full everyday with news from different artists from around the globe. To little old me down here at the bottom of the Earth. My life has become richer and exciting being part of this amazing community of people - many who are are accomplished from being simply being great mums, published authors, to famous artists. And when I disappear for awhile they are there gentle checking to make sure that all is right, sending me encouragement and inspirational thoughts, and reminding me that I matter. It's pretty heady stuff alright. My big global community.
I love Soulemama, Amanda is such an amazing and inspiring woman. She is like Martha Stewart but more authentic and real (meaning without a load of assistants backstage doing all the work for her). She confesses to mess in her house, baby crying and keeping her awake, and yet makes gorgeous handmade things for her kids and is able to inspire women all over the world with simple, crafty goodness. Go to the following link for an amazing look at her lovely studio space ... http://www.flickr.com/photos/22554961@N00/sets/72157600213470413/. In the right-hand corner is 'slideshow' option which is so helpful. I just watched it over and over and it just confirms to me that I want to live in a space that inspires me. Not just practical but a home that inspires me on to more creativity and life in abundance - in all aspects: spiritual, physical, psychological, emotional, relational - all that touchy-feel good stuff.
Here are some old and new finds in blog world. Take the time to head off and visit these lovely reads arouund the world. Check out their blogrolls and visit their recommendations. Go on. It costs nothing and can change your day as you see what these ladies have to share with us all. From free tutorials, to inspiring stories about everyday life, from studio tours (I love looking at other peoples art studios and art-y homes) to beautiful works of art like Nina's jewellery.SouleMama
Omg, I love this button tree. If you scroll down her page's right-hand column you will see a bunch of tutorials including this one. Seriously it's pretty labour intensive but I think it's gorgeous and if you want something lovely then it's worth the effort. Plus if you have a stash of buttons and are looking to alleviate some of that haul, this may just tickle your fancy. Every year at Xmas I make my own handmade ornaments, and I may just have a go, if I have nothing better to do for eight hours! I read her touching account of a destructive visit from relatives and it's impact on her son. My heart went out to her. We all have stuff we are dealing with, all of us. It is great that we can reach out and be connected with support and kindness even from strangers.
This photo made me laugh of a sewing machine that has been embellished completely with buttons and other ephemera. Whimsical and impractical. The author of this blog has created a lifestyle around her button collection. She has authored a book and is currently starring in a few blogs of other well known art/craftsters including Amanda Soule Blake.
OrnamentalOf course there are my other usual haunts too - India Flint (http://prophet-of-bloom.blogspot.com/) is bubbling over our friend Imbi's (http://imbistar.blogspot.com/) wonderful exhibition currently showing - go see her amazing work, it left me speechless and that never happens. Melissa at Tiny Happy (tiny happy) is busy stitching, homemaking and being her usual productive self. She is one of those people who can whip up a brand new dress for herself in an afternoon whilst caring for two lovely kids and noticing natures loveliness around her. Robyn takes me through her beloved Africa and on sightseeing trips of other artist's work while herself being a hoarder (in the good sense!) just like me creates the most amazing mixed media carvings. She is often observed working by a family of monkeys in a tree overhead.
Of course I would be remiss to not mention my favourite jeweller and dear friend Nina Bagley. She has injected a new stream of materials into her amazing jewellery. We are seeing lots of textiles including vintage laces, leather and stitch being used as well as her lovely trademark poetry, photographs and cast trinkets. I adore her work. And of course my favourites - vintage mother of pearl buttons. Her website is visual poetry, she has a gift with words and I adore adore adore her work. She is a key influence and mentor in my life. Every entry on her blog moves me - her honesty, her love for her sons, her home and treasures, her ability to take the seemingly ordinary and show us something extraordinary. I have learned to slow down and notice beauty in my everyday surroundings. This woman has imparted more gifts to me than she is probably aware of. It's all there, just click on 'Ornamental' to be transported to another world up Firefly Lane. These drawers are gorgeous overflowing with tiny treasures. Aptly todays post was titled: 'The Secondhand Shop' ... need I say anything more. I admit to wanting to meet her so much. Our connecting up last year here in New Zealand was rendered impossible with chronic morning sickness - mine not hers.
Meanwhile I sit here drinking tea, listening to the happy sounds of my family, enjoying the rest after a long day. I have so much to tell you, I don't know where to begin. Truly. And yet, I think I have said more than enough for today.
Thank you for all your kind wishes and prayers, gifts and emails, phone calls and for the women in my community who have rallied around our little family so generously, we thank you for the love you have shown us. Like I said, His fingerprints are all over this.