Mar 1, 2015
There’s been much ado about Fiona’s room. It was a laborious process to finish the painting and the curtains and to finally load in the room. Mostly the drama is based on the fact that it’s hard to work on her room when she’s in the house. Ironic but true. And since she’s pretty much been sitting on my head since she was born, and I have a blog and a house and another kid to run, this hasn’t always been prioritized.
When I did however prioritize Eamon’s room remodel before she was born, that worked out really well. So little by little, I’ve made progress on her room. To celebrate Fiona’s Second birthday this coming Thursday, March, 5th, I’m doing a week’s worth of Fiona’s room posts. Five days in a row including all the cute little projects in between, culminating in a total room reveal.
Should we start by remembering what it looked like prior to the two-year remodel? The first coat of pink paint went on September of 2013. Check out the beginning of the remodel in the Fiona’s Womb Room post.
It went from the yellow and green combo (yes, but it was way better than the dark blue woodwork that was there when we moved in) to…
… the wonderful Toasted Oat color I belabored over.
Then there was the issue of the curtains. Sigh. I had my knickers in a not about the sewing. I watched helplessly as my baby slept nap after nap in a room with bald windows because I couldn’t face my sewing machine. But I changed that story because I hated retelling it. In the post Fiona’s Room Redesign Take Two last November, I finally conquered the sewing phobia and my machine. Turns out I needed to read some directions. It’s a funny read.
So starting tomorrow, I’ll be posting daily to reveal her room bit by bit. Because it’s time to move on and celebrate Fiona’s birthday!!
Feb 27, 2015
Although my gun-ho house improvement days were replaced by kid raising days, my housekeeping efforts are a source of self-esteem for me. I am definitely House Proud. The term ‘House Proud’ was first used in 1849. Definitions include, “proud of your house because you spend time and effort cleaning or improving it”and “always keeping your house clean and tidy” or “Proud of one’s house, it’s furnishings, or its upkeep”.
Yet despite its necessity, and unless it’s undertaken by Martha Stewart and/or makes you money, the tradition of keeping a house has often been disrespected as something unworthy. And those carrying out the task, aka homemakers like me, have been dishonored and devalued in their efforts. Maybe not to our faces but it’s one of those undercurrent kinda things.
Back in November, I read a brilliantly funny article by Renegade Mothering dot com’s Janelle Hanchett entitled Twelve Easy Steps to Doing Creative Work While Parenting about how to actually get writing done while you have kids. She said you need to just write. Damn the laundry, damn the dishes, and damn the healthy dinners that smack of the effort of being made from scratch. Prioritize your writing, or whatever creative endeavor you practice, and you’ll pull ahead. You’ll be successful at that task which prioritizing the housework displaces.
Let me mention, she teaches an online writing workshop called Write Anyway and charges $300 a head while I do not. It all makes complete sense. We only have so much time in the day. Maybe we need permission to be rebels. But as much as I’d love to say screw the housekeeping, my house-pride will not let me leave stuff on stairs or dishes in the sink for long. That makes me feel chaotic and I can’t concentrate on writing anyway in those circumstances.
As both a semi clean-freak and a creative, I know the importance of a devotion to both. Sometimes I feel the need for clean and sometimes for art. I used to believe I couldn’t have both. I was really just scared of beginning and thought at least housework could be accomplished. But no daily creativity meant all practical mule work all the time.
Now I live in the middle. I need both realms working in tangent to make my life happier. I honor my roll to keep my house and contain the chaos of my family’s world by putting food in their bellies and clean clothes on their backs and to pretend my floors are mostly clean. Because in that clarity, I believe my greater creativity and brilliance can happen.
My fellow blogger and friend Jane who pens That Curious Love of Green, talks about doing what you both need and love to do in her piece 6 Things That Will Stop You Living The Life You Want and What To Do About It . Austin Kleon talks about getting up early to create in Something Small Every Day. In both of these pieces, I feel the permissive soul of the human spirit saying fit it all together and make it work. Work around yourself, prioritize, schedule, and if you get to do it then, Great. If not, reschedule and try again.
I feel it may come down to the idea of permission. I used to use cleaning as a way to distract myself from my creative work because I didn’t really have permission to be creative anyway. Creativity was impractical. But now I know that however impractical creativity is, it is still necessary to the survival of spirit. And so prioritize and permit it I must.
So my trick to getting it all done? I keep writing out my goals. With even an idea for dinner, I’ve almost got a meal planned. And that brain time saved can now be used for something else. Laundry can happen every day unless it can’t. I mix my colors, yes I do. Do each thing when you think of it if possible. I’m getting that greasy shelf wiped off before I write it down thus leaving my list more open. Finally, Jane suggests doing something in the earlier part of the day that’s just for you because those chores can and will always be fit in somehow but your creative endeavors may not. Faith in your delegating abilities and devotion to your passions will balance you.
How do you balance practical and creative work? They are not mutually exclusive. For me, they coexist for a reason.
Feb 25, 2015
In the first week of January, following the lead of the incredibly hard-working and inspirational Kim Werker, I declared this my Year Of Making. And I have taken pictures and documented my every day process this year.
The idea was that I prioritize my creativity daily. I felt I’d not been doing this well in the past. And I quickly noticed that I do create daily even if it’s not what you think of as traditional creativity. Like mothering and feeding and writing.
Kim encouraged us to just go ahead and take any lousy picture we had the opportunity to take so we can document our progress. But if you know me, I’m incapable of taking a completely bad picture. Here’s the pictorial proof of my year of making thus far.
From the top left corner across, cards for faraway friends continue, Coffee date at Rise Up Coffee in Easton, Maryland and the pink curtain rods for Fiona’s room makeover ( reveal soon). Second row from left, My new goals board, sleeping Fiona, and another card for a faraway friend. And the bottom row from the left, one more paper feather card for a faraway friend, the remains of a waffle breakfast, and my Brazilian ham, sweet potato, and black bean soup. If you follow me on Instagram , a few of these pictures will be familiar to you.
There are many benefits to choosing to create a daily practice for yourself. The habit keeps you present and the cumulative effects plus actually seeing yourself show up are all so very worth it. I feel we’re so mindless so much of the time and like I mind so many other people so often. If I’m going to choose to mind, why not also have it be about myself. (Or I could concede to just losing my mind but that doesn’t sound like nearly enough fun.)
Expect more random Year of Making collages.
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