My happy memories of beautiful things my Nan and Mum made for my babies and the hand made gifts of knitting and sewing from my Nan's friends. All these years later I still appreciate them so much.
A week ago I was at the farm and as always every time Mum sits down she picks up her knitting. My parents are farmers and have not slowed down. They both work harder than most people in their twenties!
When Mum sits down she is still going! Mum makes knitted rugs, hats, jumpers, all kinds of things for everyone she ever hears of having a baby, for the Nuns to give to anyone in need, for the premie babies in hospitals, for cancer patients... for anyone.
Recently she gave knitting to a mens shelter in the city. Well, a funny thing happened. She was watching TV and it had a story on this mens shelter. A man was being interviewed and he was saying how the shelter had given him help and he had turned his life around. He was wearing one of mum's hats! She recognised it straight away! That was lovely, there it was!
Hospitals often need hats so tiny for really premature babies. There are so many needs.
Mum has a simple philosophy and Nan was the same. If you are sitting down you might as well be doing something useful. It calms you. It helps people. It makes you happy.
And it works!
Mum says "some people do nothing you know" as if shocked by this. Mum and both my Nans' come from a belief that everyone can do something to be helping someone else. it doesn't have to be huge, it might be making a pie or minding a baby or sharing spare eggs but they were always helping someone.
When Nan's neighbours arrived in Australia traumatised from escaping war Nan took it upon herself to teach them English and show them the ropes! And best friends were established!
(these are cotton hand towels)
For Mum one of the main things is knitting for others. Our own gifts of helping could be anything but I think we all have certain gifts that we can use to help. Nana B, hers was cooking. She always said "an ounce of help is better than a pound of sympathy".
The day I took these photos Mum was sorry her supplies were "depleted" as she has just send away heaps of stuff and was starting again. So this is "all" there was. Yet it was mountains!
What is your gift of helping? Just listening to someone who needs someone to talk to is an act of charity, especially when maybe you really don't have time but you do it anyway. Or you check back later to see how they are. The ways are endless and most of us do many things a day without even counting them as kindnesses, it's just how we are.
But we don't know what it might mean to someone.
And like in the movie Pollyanna there is nothing that cheers us up like helping someone else. It's a miracle worker.
"She works with her hands with delight" turns out to be as good for ourselves as it is for others.
In Mum's cupboard she has baby layettes that her Great Gran made and Chloe and Lucy both wore them. And my Great Gran made a set of lemon hens and chickens. I played with these and adored them and Mum still has those. I feel their love and presence in these beautiful things they left being for us. What treasures!
There is just something that says love about handmade things.