So I say to Fiona, "This morning we're going to sew".
She toddles into the dining room, where I have an entire closet filled to bursting with our family's craft supplies. I pull out the felt, and some fat yarn, and my embroidery supplies. I don't have anything really interesting or fabulous I'm planning to sew during this time, but I want to block off specific time for she and I to work on "sewing" projects while Maeve is sleeping so that we can make this part of our life together.
For Fiona, I simply cut out a small rectangle of felt and offered her a large embroidery needle with some lightweight wool yarn on it. That gave her something nice and sturdy to pull through the felt that wouldn't unravel on her. I gave her a real needle that could easily push through the felt and showed her how the tip was sharp, and helped her to learn how to grab it without poking her fingers. She eagerly set to work "sewing" her little blue rectangle (work displayed above).
So now I was free to do some sewing of my own. I decided that something easy and mindless and eventually satisfying I could work on with her would be little labels for the many baskets in my mudroom. We have a very tiny mudroom with shelving up one wall that is stacked with baskets-- baskets of shoes, hats, mittens, sweaters, wallets, cellphones, and more. Most of the baskets are person-specific, but the people need to remember and know where their own baskets are, and as there are four of them and two of us, sometimes it's hard to keep track. I modeled these labels after the ones I've made for our laundry baskets upstairs. Just a simple rectangle of felt with blanket stitching around the edges and the name in the middle. If you've never done a blanket edging, it's very, very simple and puts a finished look on an otherwise completely plain piece of felt. I've photographed mid-stitch here so you can see how you simply come up through the edge from underneath and go back through your own stitch.
So I stitched around the edge, embroidered Liam's name in the center (using a stitch where you come up through the previous stitch to join the stitches) and that was that. The project was finished and so was Fiona. About eleven minutes had elapsed, but now I had something to show for my day.
As the day goes on my children will make more laundry for me to wash, dirty the dishes I've just put away from the dishwasher, drop crumbs on my freshly swept floor, and take out the toys I've just put away, but in the mudroom I'll hang this little project and know it was one, small, concrete task that wasn't undone only moments after I'd done it.
The life of a mother. There is so much that is incredibly fulfilling and satisfying about raising children, but I do find that the daily grind of tasks to keep four children going can sometimes seem incredibly unfulfilling and it can make a world of difference to try to do one creative thing each day that does not get undone. So even if it's only something tiny, it can make me smile.
Now, on to hang the little tag. Enjoy this Monday.