The Secret Beauty of Mistakes

A few months ago I got on a plane bound for England. I was taking my little Australian children back ‘home’ to meet a new baby cousin and to spend some time with my family.  I decided that I would take some knitting projects on the flight and get a (very) early start on some Christmas presents as a way to make the epically long flight go faster.  I did get plenty of knitting done, both on the plane and in the days afterwards, but because of the tiredness and the jet lag I made a couple of mistakes. Not terrible ones. But the sort that once spotted can’t be un-seen.  I could have gone back and fixed them but I decided not to and not only because I didn't want to have to face unravelling a lot of work, It was because the mistakes said something. They spoke to me of the circumstances surrounding their occurrence.  They said ‘Oh, hey, remember that time you flew to England to meet your new niece and you were exhausted but you couldn’t sleep on the plane because you were too excited to see your family again and you couldn’t stop thinking about how lovely it would be to spend some time with them…?’ And I realised that I didn’t want to erase that.

So I left them there and I wrote a little letter to go with the gift.  I wrote about how it wasn’t perfect, and how there were mistakes. But I also wrote about how I was feeling as I made it, about my tiredness and my excitement and about how there was love and anticipation knitted into every stitch. I wrote of how I hoped that the recipient too would treasure those mistakes as a reminder of the time that I flew halfway across the world with two small children in tow, just because I loved them so.

Paying it forward

Acrylic painted rope bowl.

Acrylic painted rope bowl.

I’ve been busy making recently (too busy making to blog anything apparently!) and it’s been all about sharing the love around here at the moment.  

I’ve been working on some gifts for a pay it forward initiative.  I agreed to do this months and months ago with the idea that the 5 people who volunteered would get a gift from me in return for paying it forward to 5 others.  It was really interesting to see who responded to my message, some were dear family members, some close friends, others I haven’t seen since high school.  

The agreement was that I would send them something over the next year, when inspiration struck and I found something that I thought they would like. It’s taken me the better part of the year to get around to sending out gifts, but I had resolved that I wanted to send handmade gifts and I also struggled to decide exactly what would make a nice gift for some of the people I was supposed to be sending to. I have occasionally felt a little guilty for taking so long to get around to doing it, but mostly, unexpectedly, I have enjoyed taking my time over this. I’ve found myself thinking about my recipients a lot over the last 9 months, wondering about their lives, their challenges and what I can do or send that will make them smile.  I wonder if they have sensed it at all.  

Open wide zippered pouch - free pattern from Noodlehead

Open wide zippered pouch - free pattern from Noodlehead

The most unexpected thing has been how much I have enjoyed the whole process. It has been fun creating these things and wrapping them up - Imagining the surprise when the parcels arrive and hoping that they will brighten someone's day.  I can’t help thinking that I may have gained more from this experience than the people to whom I am sending gifts, although I hope they will disagree!

Painted Rope Bowl

I’m going to try to keep on paying it forward, to think about ways I can incorporate random (or not so random) acts of kindness into my everyday, I’m totally hooked on feeling like one of santa’s elves!  Do you have any ways that you like to pay it forward or favourite random acts of kindness?


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The First Day of School

I feel like this day has been coming for such a long time and yet I can’t believe that it’s here already.  We are so ready for it and yet so completely unprepared.  I feel a little like we are standing on the edge, ready to tip into a new world. It’s exciting and exhilarating and terrifying.  We have no idea of the joys and the challenges that we are going to face over the next few years.  The only thing I’m sure of is that it won’t be the ones that we expect.

Looking at this little girl, looking so grown up and so proud in her school uniform I am filled with wonder.  Where did my baby girl go?  How is it possible that this lovely little lady is the same newborn that I cradled in my arms? Wasn’t that just yesterday?

I can hardly take it all in, there are too many emotions, pride, joy, excitement, anxiety, love, grief.  The grief might be overwhelming if it weren’t for the love.  Why does no-one tell you this about mothering?  That it is a series of tiny bereavements. At the same time as we are celebrating new milestones and achievements we are mourning the loss of a newborn / baby / toddler who was here the other day and never will be again.    

It is impossible to express what I feel for this sweet girl, this amazing little person who is so full of contradictions.  Sometimes fierce and sometimes fragile, often kind and often self centred, so brave and yet so shy.  This little girl who is at once so familiar and so unknown.  Sometimes, watching her, I am reminded so strongly of the little girl that I used to be, that I’m not sure where I end and she begins.  

I wish I could stay by her side, but I know she’s going to be just fine so I’ll kiss her on the cheek, tell her that I love her and leave her to find her own way. 

The sky is echoing my heart this morning.


The sky is echoing my heart this morning.  Which is odd because it’s Monday morning, it’s zero degrees and I’m cycling to work.  All the indications are that I should be feeling depressed, despondent at the very least.  But actually I can’t keep the smile off my face.  I had such a beautiful weekend.  I didn’t step foot out of my house and garden once, but so many of my very favourite people came to us.  The kiddies played beautifully, and drove us crazy, and made us laugh. We sat in our beautiful new, unfinished, light-filled kitchen and drank tea and talked, made plans and sat in companionable silence.  We cooked delicious meals from unlikely ingredients and shared them with wine and laughter.

We’ve probably never been so much in debt as we are right now, but I’ve also never felt richer.  Thank you so much to all the lovely people in my life who make ordinary days feel so special.


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Blogging for Introverts

One of the things I noticed while I was home, catching up with old friends, exchanging news and sharing our hopes and dreams, was how I felt when the conversation inevitably turned to this little website of mine.  The sad truth is that I felt rather embarrassed about it.

When friends tell me that they've read my blog I have absolutely no idea what to say to them - I tend to just squirm uncomfortably in my seat.  What I want to say is that I'm immensely gratified that they've taken an interest and that they are being so kind and supportive; but I simply can't get past the terrifying realisation that they've effectively read my diary.  I feel so exposed.  

So why am I doing this? What keeps me writing despite these feelings?  Why on earth would an introvert choose to write a blog?!

Well, surprisingly for me, I find writing rather liberating.  I love having the chance to share my thoughts - something I'm usually quite shy about doing in person.  I also find that taking the time to sit down and figure out exactly what I do think about something is strangely relaxing.  Blogging gives me a chance to be alone with my thoughts, to reflect on the things around me and make sense of them and I find it energising and reassuring - it's almost like a form of meditation.

I like the connections that this blog can bring - connections with people who have the same interests as me, people who I never would have met in real life.  I love being able to skip over all the small talk and get straight to the things that matter.  I even like that moment of sheer terror that I always experience right after I hit 'publish' and I especially like reading comments and hearing other peoples opinions on the things I've been thinking about. 

The more I think about it the more I think that blogging is perfect for Introverts; It's a way of connecting with people while simultaneously spending time alone; It's a perfect chance to reflect and it gives us an opportunity to think before we speak (or write in this case).  

Of course, reflecting too much can definitely be a bad thing - there are certainly times when I look around and see all those talented people out there - wonderful designers, talented sewers and compelling writers- and wonder what on earth I am doing and why I believed, even for a minute that anyone would care what I have to say. But then I remember what a wonderful, kind and supportive sewing community we have in this online world and I stop worrying, because really it doesn't matter; I'm doing what I love and I'm doing it for me and if other people get some pleasure from it too then that's just an added bonus.  

Incidentally, I had a lot of fun one evening while I was away, taking personality tests with my family (for ourselves and for each other - with hilarious results!) on the 16 Personalities website.  If you haven't done it yet then take a look, we thought it was pretty accurate and I think I even learned a few things about myself.  I came out as INFJ incidentally - just like one of my heroes; JK Rowling - I always knew we would be friends! ;)

What about you? Would you consider yourself to be an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How do you think it helps / hinders you in what you do?

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