Category Archives: Family and Parenting

Preparing for the Passion

Easter is just a few weeks away. That was quick.

We don’t celebrate it big in our little family, but the memories of childhood make me feel that I would like to create that magic for my children too. I come from a Polish, Roman Catholic family, and though we did not continue going to weekly mass after I was about 11 or 12, we kept alive the Polish traditions and customs right into my siblings and my adulthood.

Some of my dearest childhood memories are of Easter time: taming my desire for something chosen during lent, days of preparing the feast for a large brunch after the fast, dying and decorating easter eggs and preparing easter baskets for blessing, dressing in the traditional costume posted to us by my babcia (grandmother) from Poland, the joyful Easter Sunday mass and blessing festival attended by family and friends,  sharing the egg before the feast and giving blessings to each other, celebrating with what family we had here in Australia and the friends who had become our family. These memories weave together a feeling of richness and depth, meaning and reverence, and it is something I find I miss in every-day adult life.

I do sense that now I have a little person to cherish and share with, some of these traditions will live on. Last year I was still too new to motherhood to be able to contemplate the preparations, this year I feel quite excited about getting together the basket for blessing and going to the Polish church with Miss K to experience the festival. I don’t expect to celebrate as large as we did when I was a child, but I am taking the first real steps towards a nourishing tradition for the Winters.

Hem of Easter dress for Miss K

Hem of Easter dress for Miss K

The last few days I have been getting Miss K’s costume ready. My auntie made her a dress out of an heirloom european pillowcase and I’ve been hand stitching a decorative border to it that my babcia in Poland gave me when she gifted me her treasury of lace and edgings from since she was young.

Hand stitching on heirloom decorative border lace

Hand stitching on heirloom decorative border lace

Traditionally, girls wear strings of spherical beads, red or in other colours. I decided to be a little different and make Miss K her own block and chain necklace to match the decorative border on the dress.

Block and chain necklace for Miss K

Block and chain necklace for Miss K

I’ve also started on a handmade Easter basket in which to put all the important things (mainly food) that need blessing. You can begin yours too by following my video tutorial on how to make coil baskets.

This is just the beginning of my preparations for the Easter celebration. A number of you have requested that I post a tutorial of how to dye easter eggs with onion skin the way I was taught as a child, I will gladly acquiesce to your request!

I will also post on what preparations are necessary for a great easter basket – a symbol of abundance and life, of plenty, of spring.

Of course here in Australia the seasons turn toward autumn, or the Nyoongar season of Djeran, the season of adulthood, which is the precursor to Makuru, the season of fertility in June and July. In this part of traditional Aboriginal Australia, fertility occurs in what is commonly called winter. This is because water is needed for fertility and summer has a way of drying and burning the landscape to a gold against a sky of relentless blue. We certainly do not have that sense of abandon and creation as one feels during a European Easter time, but as the heat subsides, green appears after autumn showers and with it the possibility of a mild and habitable landscape is once again here.

I hope you will join me during this last part of Passiontide. To explore the good and meaningful moments that busy hands can create. To remember what it is to be deep in the service of others, no matter what our belief; or as Leunig wrote:

“Let us live in such a way
That when we die
Our love will survive
And continue to grow.

Amen.”

 

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Colour and collage for a toddler

Drawing is a fairly new discovery for Miss K. At this present point in time she is not much interested in using walls, furniture or people as a canvas, although there are signs of this blossoming soon. I take full advantage of her partiality to paper. We have been making a family artwork recently and I wanted to share our creation thus far.

colour and collage

colour and collage

We have been using the Stockmar and Aretemis pencils, that I love so much. Ripping paper is fun and when I showed Miss K that using glue, these ripped pieces could be stuck onto the existing artwork, she enjoyed doing that very much.

Toddler colour and collage - Miss K pulling off a piece of collage to place it elsewhere

Toddler colour and collage – Miss K pulling off a piece of collage to place it elsewhere

It’s on a roll of paper that I hope will one day be completely covered in our efforts. It is so lovely to watch her discovering how to use the pencils.

A detail from Miss K and our joint colour and collage

A detail from Miss K and our joint colour and collage

Actually, it feels really good not to draw anything in particular. Miss K lets us know when we should draw and when she prefers to work alone. This reminds me of a post by Janet Lansbury in her blog post ‘Why Not Draw For a Child?‘. It’s all experimentation and we are all playing. I think Schiller would be pleased.

Miss K doesn’t seem at all phased or intimidated by what we are doing and in the end I feel she owns what is happening on the paper. Actually the artwork has been on the table for a few days and she comes back to it whenever she feels is right, beginning by asking me to open the pencil case.

Miss K placing down a collage piece. She also discovered that her toy car does not draw, although it makes rather satisfying sounds when used on paper.

Miss K placing down a collage piece. She also discovered that her toy car does not draw, although it makes rather satisfying sounds when used on paper.

Please post links to your family actives below to share with others. I’d love to get some more ideas too!