FROM PLANNING TO PAINTING
I started writing out everything that I felt made up a home: a safe and cozy place, a place where you can fully be yourself, a place to grow, a place of memories (good and bad), etc.
I ended up with a picture of two birds building a nest. I love symbolism in imagery and I picked blue birds because I found that they symbolize being happy in the present moment. It's crazy how hard this concept is! I keep wanting to move on to the next thing and I miss out on the present, sweet moment happening in front of me. My children are getting older before my eyes and I end up being consumed that we have old carpet on our floor. I focus on the imperfections of my home that I end up strolling the aisles of Target or Home Goods and forget that the best things in life aren't things. I am working on prioritizing what really matters.
I wanted the birds to build their nest out of something unordinary and I picked a quilt. I was actually inspired by my daughter who grabs a blanket in the morning and wraps herself in it at the kitchen table when eating breakfast. Quilts are a patchwork of fabric that tell stories just as the memories we build in our home. They are cozy and warm and made the perfect "imperfect" nest. I also chose a more muted color palette, almost "dirty". It was important that the quilt wasn't new and clean, "well loved" as a friend of mine put it, just like the house we chose to make our home.
I couldn't find a good quilt picture on the internet, so I took a quilt that Nora and Olsen's great grandmother made and created a make-shift nest. I then had Nora hold a corner up with her fingers like the bird would be doing with his beak. It ended up working out great and Nora enjoyed helping me out.
I made sure to add a few hidden details in the painting. You can seeing some words hidden in different places that share a few moments we have had. I asked Evan to name a memory from this house that stands out and he said, "Nora walking around the house in your shoes pretending to be mommy". I picked a memory of Olsen putting on his new backpack and refusing to take it off. It is the simple moments that stand out to me. Eating messy popsicles on the front porch in the summer after a haircut, painting with Nora on the floor, dancing in the living room while Evan plays the piano, Olsen pushing the chair up to the counter to help Daddy cook, all such sweet memories!
I also put in a few memories that I feel everyone with small children had experienced. In one part of the quilt is a patchwork sun. It represents the mornings when your children get in your bed and cuddle, laugh, and talk about their dreams. My daughter's voice is always so soft and precious right when she wakes up! It's a quiet time of the day before the busyness begins and the checklists start. It is so sweet and sacred. I also included a ruler to represent marking the heights of your children in a door frame or wall - a clear representation of the passage of time, so bittersweet. Above the eggs you can spot a paint brush hidden in the quilt pattern. I think we can all relate to painting and repainting the walls of our home as our tastes change or marks are made. This also represents the passage of time. Sleeping at Last points out how this also represents the passage of time in the lyrics:
With each year our color fades
Slowly our paint chips away
But we will find the strength and the nerve it takes
To repaint and repaint and repaint everyday
This painting was very therapeutic for me, and through the whole process, I worked through my unsettled feelings about the house. I gained new perspective about what really matters and what I should be grateful for. Life grows in the sacred place called home.