I have not posted for a couple of weeks. Okay, 4 weeks. But this ties in to some things I have learned over the holiday season.
Be in the moment. I haven’t posted because I have been doing the things that mattered to me at the time. We make Christmas presents, and that task fell to me this year. I made 17 wine bags for friends and family. I not only made the wine bags, each holding four wine bottle in a funky round-bottomed design I created, but I made them with scrap material I had leftover from previous projects, each memory a gem that I got to relive; a vest I made about ten years ago, the whale patterned cloth I used to make a frame for a photo one year for my husband, the race car flame print for the cloth napkins my son brought to school for years. And I found quotes about wine, wrote them with fabric paint on an old pillowcase, and sewed them onto the bags – quotes selected for the people the bags went to. I also made the wine bags a bit bigger for those families that don’t often indulge in wine, but maybe enjoy sodas and juices. I made ornaments (about 85) and presents for my husband and son. On top of all this, I moved into a new office at work, made 12 loaves of Swedish coffee bread, hosted an inter-agency forum on greening government, decorated the house and did the normal every day stuff. So the blog fell to the side.
And I enjoyed the holiday, without stressing out. Which is okay. More than okay. It’s okay to let daily, weekly or monthly activities slide when important moments demand your attention. And it’s okay to play catch up later. It’s not okay to wail and moan about it. Be in the moment. The zen of making things actually gave me license to ponder…I solved a few personal glitches in the time I was “thinking my own thoughts.”
It’s ok to brag about the handmade gifts you received, but sharing all your Christmas gifts on FB or Instagram is too much; It’s a bit 9-year old, no offense. I used to call my best friend to come over to show her all my cool new stuff, and then we’d go to her house and see her cool new stuff, which took comparatively little time (13 brothers and sisters). Though, I must say, I had more fun at her house.
So here I briefly brag. I am so pleased with the necklaces and earnings my son made for me, because he experimented, did some science stuff, got creative, and figured out how to make classy beads and patterns, and gave me wonderful handmade jewelry. I cherish the effort and focus and love behind this. There is often love behind store-bought items, don’t get me wrong, but listing all those items or posting photos tends to come across as total consumerism and the joy of receiving, instead of the joy of giving. Focus on the joy in giving when you can.
Take time to play. We received some board games, and have to make sure we make time to play over our holiday respite. We can spend great time together over dinners and we do a Dutch tradition called gourmet, where we sit together and make our own mini servings of meats and cheeses, pancakes, veggies, etc. on a Swiss raclette set. But what’s even more fun is learning a new game together and playing it, even when the game is really different and even frustrating. It’s a challenge, and a joy to conquer. It’s fun to play something new and then, if it is too odd, even more fun to then fall back on an old favorite, like Trans America, or Settlers, or Uno.
Projects always take longer. Yeah, we all know this, until we plan our own project. The we forget and schedule three days for what will take five, no matter how you slice it. It’s okay. So the framing and rocking take a day, the waterproofing another, then the tile a third and the grout yet another…at least each step does not take the whole day (okay, maybe the actual tiling does), so you can enjoy each day on its own merits. Try not to lose the whole vacation.
Again, be in the moment. Enjoy the tasks and projects, play a game, have some food, and enjoy your homemade presents, and be…with people and with your own thoughts.
Thanks for missing me. Talk with you next week, with a bit more catch-up.