Thursday, November 4, 2010

structure gives way to freedom

Who doesn't want a comfy reading basket?
 Since Silas only likes to sleep when on me and I am limited to what I can do with a baby strapped to my torso, I have been doing a lot of reading up on Waldorf play areas, ways to implement ritual,routine, music and peace to our home and days.  I am not one to conform entirely to one belief, but I find myself taking from it what resonates with me and mixing it with whatever else feels right.

Small wooden dish holding treasures of the Newfoundland beaches
 I have been inspired to go through our tiny house with a fine tooth comb and purge.  I am a bit of a pack rat by nature and struggle with letting things go.  But one wonderful thing about having a small home with no garage or basement to hide our sins is that it forces you to be picky about what we allow in.  Every time I felt myself clinging to certain items I knew I didn't love I would remind myself of the rule that states if it isn't beautiful, loved or functional it needs to be released.  I also reminded myself that in order to make room for the beautiful, vintage items I love I had to let go of the items I didn't love. We now have empty drawers and shelves and the energy is less stagnant with every item released and room organized.

I have no idea where the Christmas Tree will be going in our tiny living room... 
  The play area was the most recent target.  I found that Poppy's play area was the only area left untouched by her at the end of the day.  The baskets were too deep.  There were too many toys.  Most of her books were on a bookshelf in another room.   So I purged and brought in another low bookshelf.  I kept the items made with love, wood, wool and other natural elements and stored away the few battery operated toys.

Some of my favourite things include the chalkboard and chalk ready to be used, the reading basket, the mini apron found in Gramma's house now hanging on the side of her play kitchen, the kitchen being another favourite item made by a friend of the family as an alternative to paying ridiculous shipping from American companies making similar items.  I love the way it glows in the light of a tiny lamp at night and am happy to report Poppy has played and rooted around here non-stop.  I can assure you it looks nothing like this after a couple of minutes, but when everything has its own basket or shelf, clean up is easy with a little tidy-up song.

Smooshy, but cozy and sweet
  Through a lot of self examining and thought, I have realized just how important order, structure and routine are to my own peace as well as that of my children.  I read somewhere that when a child would become unruly or angry in a Waldorf classroom the teacher would begin tiding the child's personal area {dishes, mat, toys, etc}and I couldn't help but think how nice it would be if someone would do that for me when I become "unruly".  I have often wondered at those who say children love order as Poppy's favourite thing to do is make a giant mess with everything out of its place including cushions, blankets, furniture, toys, blocks and books.  I keep putting things in their place to restore my own peace and hope it has a positive effect on Poppy too; however subtle.

 We are far from perfect or even avid Waldorf followers, but it has given me some relief as my dual personalities {Type A vs the Hippie}battle it out.  Routine and structure can not only coexist with creativity and freedom, but it is impossible {for me personally}to have one without the other.

All of her books are now organized and at her level for easy access

 In other news, I dug out a tiny tin of simple paints I found when we were cleaning out my Gramma's house after her passing. I seem to remember using this very tin of paints as a child at her kitchen table.  I have found I have my most creative ideas when I lay in bed late at night so I have been creeping down the stairs at night after my loves are alseep.

I love watercolours.  I would someday love to make something technical and beautiful with watercolours, but until then I will be happy with the primitive little creations I have been making late at night.  They are simple and completely inspired by prints found on Etsy, but the act of putting a loaded brush to paper is therapeutic and totally for me.

Here are a few I may put in frames and add to our walls...

Inspired by a print found on Etsy

My dream home {just need some more trees, some chickens and a garden}

Completely inspired by a print on Etsy.

Next project is to create an adult sized version of the reading basket;  a peaceful comfortable nest with soft light and beautiful things.

go gently & be wonderful


p.s. Please forgive my disjointed writing as I write between diaper changes, naps, hugs, playing, swaying, nursings, and the such.  Needless to say, I lose my train of thought frequently.


  1. What a beautiful post. I cannot believe you said (type A vs. the hippie) are your two personalities. That's how I feel! Except they leave each other bruised, I sometimes end up out of the equation altogether and don't know who I am or what I relate to!
    Your home is lovely and calm feeling. Your daughter is getting so big! What a doll.
    With all the writing and purging and organizing, I think you are not giving yourself enough credit for all you are doing! Kudos to you. I miss baby on belly but am glad for a bit more mobility. Love it while you got it, eh?

    I'm dreaming of your adult sized reading basket. That would be awesome.

  2. On the contrary, your post flowed wonderfully.
    I loved every word. I agreed wholeheartedly.

  3. I remember the days when Sam slept on top of either myself or my husband and it was only this way for the first three months. We took turns! Then my Daughter came along and she only wanted to held by me and only in the sling all snuggled tight. I prayed for the moment I was able to be without an appendage!
    You do everything with grace and honesty.
    Everything will pass.

  4. your home is beautiful. :) i also like some--SOME--of the Waldorf way.
    oh, and might i suggest a few tiny christmas tree's throughout the house instead of one big one?

  5. What a lovely homemaker and artist you are! As always, I am inspired. The reading basket wins, I love it so! I love seeing Poppy's toy collection too, sans Barbies and that stuff. Thanks to you and her for sharing!

  6. Just found your delightful blog from your Rythym of the Home article... wonderful, peaceful words. Plus, I love the etsy-inspired bird watercolor. Very sweet!

  7. I love that last painting!

    As for kids and messes, I've realized that small children just don't have the mental capacity or executive function skills to be able to keep things neat on their own; but that doesn't mean they don't enjoy and need order.

    Maybe its just how evolution built us; if our toys used to be sticks and leaves and rocks, of course it makes sense to drop them anywhere and leave everything lying around - there's always going to be another stick or leaf somewhere. Having personal possessions we need to keep in order is relatively recent in our evolutionary history.

  8. I love your posts. I seem to learn a bit about myself in them.

  9. I lurked on your old blog for awhile, and was delighted to find that you've started blogging again! I am in the hospital right now and your sweet, simple words were just the thing to brighten up my morning. Thanks!

  10. I thought I'd left a comment here, but I guess not! (Unless you have comment moderation on and just haven't approved it... then I will feel a bit stupid.)

    Anyway, I just wanted to say that I read your old blog on occasion, and I recently found your new one and have so enjoyed reading it. I'm in the hospital right now, and your sweet pictures and honest words have been a delightful way to pass the time!

  11. I appreciate your honesty about Waldorf education. I feel as you do. I take with me what I can from it and seldom feel guilty about throwing my own beliefs in the mix. I do believe in the beauty of handmade toys and that less is definitely more. You have made a very inviting home for your children and I thank you for sharing it. I look forward to reading more of your posts. :)

  12. I wish someone would clean up after me when I'm grumpy and out of sorts, too. that would explain about 80% of my explainable bad behavior. I read somewhere that the ebb and flow of mess and clean is important for children b/c of how it mimics the natural cycles of creation/destruction. Yes, for now it's mama cleaning up and babies making messes, but it sinks into them nonetheless.


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