A Slow Star and Some Big Magic

This week I have a single star to share with my fellow Slow Sunday Stitchers:

Hexagon star number 29

I have also done a little cross stitch this week, which you can see here.

And I have been busy reading this rather wonderful book:

big magic

Elizabeth Gilbert talks about creativity and fear, and giving oneself permission to be creative. I like that. Sometimes I struggle with the “yes, but what’s it for?” nature of questioning (both from others and from my Inner Critic!) as well as wondering if I shouldn’t spend my time being more – well- useful! As a result of reading the book, I have discovered there is an accompanying podcast, and I have enjoyed listening to the first of these, especially as it enabled me to come across this quote from A S Byatt:

I think of my writing simply in terms of pleasure. It’s the most important thing in my life: making things. Much as I love my husband and children, I love them only because I am the person who makes things. I am – who I am – is the person who has the project of making a thing. And because that person does that all the time, that person is able to love all those other people

I don’t know about you, but as a mother (and probably doubly as a home educating mother) I struggle with the guilt that comes from the thought that I am not giving 100% of my attention to my kids; that doing things (quilting, cross stiching, drawing) that are for myself is somehow taking away from them. This podcast and book has helped me see that it is because I take time to myself, to do the things I feel driven to do, that I am able to give my kids the attention and love and care they need. Gilbert states in her podcast that “if you model martyrdom your kids will grow up to be martyrs”. I don’t want my kids to be martyrs. I won’t them to be creative and joyful, and that’s what I want to model to them!

Wow, I have gone off on a tangent from stitching today, haven’t I?!

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31 thoughts on “A Slow Star and Some Big Magic

  1. katechiconi says:

    You are giving your children an important message: that personal enrichment through acts of creativity is also very important, perhaps more so than drilling facts into their heads. You are a more whole and rounded individual than you would be if you starved yourself of those creative outlets. As I’ve said numerous times before: we create because we can, and because we must. Keep it up!

    • vivjm says:

      Thank you! I agree that we need creativity to be more well rounded people – not just academic learning. My youngest has decided this week he wants to learn how to beatbox and has been avidly practicing & watching tutorial videos on technique. I hope that by continuing to model learning and not denigrating creative pursuits, he will continue to find joy in creating. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Some deep and enriching thoughts there. Creativity nurtures my soul and I know I couldn’t give that nurture back unless I was receiving it myself. Wonderfully thought -provoking.

  3. CathieJ says:

    What a pretty fabric combination in that block. I agree with the message in that book. I too always struggled with that guilt, but I knew that my creative side had to be nourished. Neither of my adult children are crafters, but they nurture their musical and athletic sides. I hope they continue when they are parents. Keep it up. You are doing your best.

  4. Kate says:

    Beautiful block. I’m really envious of your corners, they are perfect.

    I learned from watching my own Mother struggle to meet my Dad’s expectations of her, that if you can’t have creative things in your life that you love, it’s a lot harder to be a good mother. Our creative outlets make us happier with ourselves and it’s easier to be happier with others. Though I don’t think we ever loose the guilt over spending time on ourselves. But maybe that’s what helps us work so hard to maintain the balance between time invested in ourselves that spent invested in our family.

    • vivjm says:

      Thank you re the corners! I try my best πŸ™‚ And have found with basting diamonds that I actually need to pin the templates onto the fabric, which I never did with hexagons. Maybe that’s the key?
      I am sure you are right about never losing the guilt as parents but it’s good to try and keep a balance, and to feel encouraged that creative pursuits are not a waste of time if they are what allows us to give love.

  5. Gail says:

    We always taught our daughter to try to keep some balance in her life..work hard at school but also do something that she enjoys. For her, it is curling. She participated in competitive curling all through public and high school and continued to curl through university. She is now working full time and she is still curling! If I don’t take some time to sew each week, my stress level goes through the roof…my husband has always been encouraging in this regard. pretty star, BTW.

    • vivjm says:

      Oh yes, we definitely all need some “play” time! You are lucky to have an encouraging husband. My other half is also encouraging – I think it helps that he enjoys his own creative pursuit of making music, so he “gets” it!

  6. daneesey says:

    Your block is beautiful! I love the color combination of this one, too! Good message that you’re sharing from the book. πŸ™‚

  7. annjrippin says:

    Do you mind if I reblog this? I think it would make a good discussion for my blog.


    Dr Ann Rippin Reader in Management Department of Management School of Economics Finance and Accounting Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

    +44 (0)117 33 17938

    Chair of SCOS, Standing Conference on Organizational Symbolism

  8. Thanks for lighting up our day with your star block, and your thoughts πŸ™‚
    I am definitely going to listen to some of the podcasts… thanks for the links!

  9. papercottonink says:

    Great review – I haven’t had the time to read the book, but now that I know about the podcast, I will certainly make time for it …and BEAUTIFUL quilting.

  10. Kaja says:

    Great post and fantastic quote – I’m so glad you veered ‘off topic’. And your star is beautiful. I’m past guilt, most of the time. As long as my kids get fed…

    • vivjm says:

      Thanks Kaja – I do worry a bit about going off topic that I might bore people!! My kids always get fed – maybe sometimes it’s a bit over cooked, or later than planned, when I’m in the middle of a new project πŸ™‚

  11. Deb says:

    I completely agree with that book! I think it is important for kids to see the parents take time for themselves and do things they enjoy. It shows that ‘you’ as an individual is important and you should take time to do things you enjoy for you. It makes you a much happier person which makes you a much better Mother, Father, spouse, etc. Great post and such a cute little block.

  12. Maureen says:

    Love the yellow and pink star. I’ve heard great things about this book. Didn’t know there was a podcast. I’ll have to check it out. I agree – our creative sides are part of who we are and its good for our families to know that. But I also know the guilt of not having enough hours in the day to all we want for our children!

  13. tubakk says:

    This star is brightening up tha dark days, they are beautiful. I wonder how you’re going to join them in the end.

  14. Kay says:

    I always thought my mother was more interesting and fun than my friends mums precisely because she did make things – and taught me too. The other mums were too wrapped up in housework, which my mum said was the sign of a boring person! Her mum was a master tailor, we both sew and my oldest son does too. Now his oldest son of 7 wants to join in – keep creating and pass it on!

    • vivjm says:

      Oh yes, my mother too! Growing up, she was always making things, and also learning things – a great role model. Although I do remember one year (when I was a bit of a stroppy teenager!) she went to an Open University summer school where she made a radio – I can remember saying to her “can’t you just make cakes like other people’s mums?”!! As an adult, and a mother, I can now appreciate how awesome she was and still is!

  15. Ben Naga says:

    Nic post. I have passes it on to a friend.

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