The other day felt very indulgent. In the early afternoon while the children were still at school, I sat on the sofa, put on an episode of Sherlock, and got out my crochet. For an hour and a half I sat in blissful peace and quiet, undisturbed, ignoring my e-mails and the housework, and worked on my granny square blanket.
Of course this would be the time that the window cleaners chose to show up, and when I handed over their money I had to hold myself back from making sure that they knew this was a one-off and normally I occupy myself with far more worthwhile pursuits while the children are out! But with all my new found time during the day I'm getting on well with my blanket!
I'm enjoying it, because I have found it very difficult over the last few years to get any crafting done with the children around. Of course you can craft in the evenings, and from when they were tiny we've attempted to enforce an early bedtime that leaves us with free evenings. But crafting is a solitary occupation, and although my husband and I very much enjoy watching television and films together in the evenings, he is insistent that we have the lights turned off to fully appreciate his cinematic set up, and it isn't possible to crochet or cross stitch at the same time.
I also find it difficult to craft in the evenings because of the lack of natural daylight, not to mention that until very recently my childrens' erratic sleep patterns have meant that I've been pretty much exhausted come their bedtime.
But I've still managed to get quite a bit of crafting done over the last few years though with small children around, so I thought I'd share some of the ways that I've managed it.
Firstly, I've found it important to choose a craft that can easily be picked up and put down, and where it doesn't matter if you are interrupted. Cross stitch is perfect for this and it's probably why I've never really got on with knitting, I just can't concentrate for that long on a pattern. Cross stitch can be easily tucked away, and if you do leave it out it's difficult for anyone to mess it up, unlike knitting where pulling out a needle causes all sorts of problems. Crochet is also working quite well for me so far, as I can see where I'm up to and pick it up again if I'm interrupted mid row.
Secondly, I try to find crafts that I can do at the same time as the children are occupied with their own crafting. Hama beads are perfect for this, and recently I've discovered the wonderful world of adult colouring books. I've tried out a few different ones and I'm currently working my way through a fantastic new magazine - Simply Colour Magazine - which I've been sent to review. Every issue features over 25 illustrations to colour, divided into three themed chapters.
Each issue costs £3.99, which I think is very good value for a magazine, and there is an excellent range of illustrations. In this edition my favourite section is titled 'Bon Voyage!' and includes drawings based on cities around the world which would look lovely framed. I also like that the pictures are on one side only, so you don't need to worry about pen leaking through the pages, and the pages have a nice, smooth texture.
Thirdly, multi tasking is very important. I enjoy having something to do while I'm watching television by myself when Ram is away, and I also find I can fit in a few minutes of crafting time while the children are in the bath, while they are reading to me, and while I'm waiting to be sure that they are asleep in the evening.
Finally, I think it's important to make time for your crafting, or whatever hobby that you have. Let the children see you working on it, even if you can only squeeze in a few minutes a day, perhaps while they are busy playing or watching television themselves. Then they will see that it is something that is important to you, and will hopefully encourage them to think about spending time on their own hobbies when they are a bit older. If I have a project on the go I sometimes try to get on with it instead of just picking up my phone or just staring into space, and it's surprising how the odd little minutes can add up. This is why it's important to me to find a craft that you can pick up and put down easily!
If you are looking to buy a gift for a crafty Mum or Dad you might like my gift guide with some ideas for crafts and crafty pursuits that fit in well around the family! You can see it here - Gift Guide for Crafty Mums.
I received a copy of Simply Colour Magazine to review.