What parents enjoy about reading

When you buy a children’s book, you are investing in more than just images and words on paper with the potential to become a dust collector on your shelf. 

You’re investing in Learning
You’re investing in Connection
You’re investing in Sharing
You’re investing in Quiet Time
You’re investing in Interaction & Engagement
You’re investing in Stillness
You’re investing in a Love of Books and Reading
You’re investing in Imagination

When you invest in my children’s book, not only do you experience all of the above, 

You experience Playfulness
You experience Joy
You experience My Love, My Creation and My Love of Creation!

How do I know? That’s the intention and energy I bring to my creations. But instead of me blowing my own trumpet, I needed to know what other parents get from reading to their kids. I asked over 20 brilliant mums and 1 brilliant dad (so far) to share with me what they as got out of reading to their children. More specifically, I asked them ~ 

What’s in it for you when you read to your children?
&
What do you enjoy about doing it?

They shared some really cool, insightful and amazing reasons. I especially recall the ones I spoke with in person because of how their eyes lit up as they were lost in their memorable moments. Sparkly, sparkles.

Now, I know you’re generally supposed to build up the momentum to the announce the winner at the end, but this one is sooo good that I want to celebrate it first! (And I do end with a she-bang, anyway.) The most cited reason that parents read to their children is they do it for the love of Learning! Snaps and High 5 to that!   

One doctor BM (brilliant mum) shared ~ because of his dyslexia etc, he enjoys when he recognizes words and it makes him feel good.  I love seeing his reactions to whatever it is.

A dear BM sister observed ~ I got to see them learning the things I was reading to them and seeing their brains tick about the content.  

Learning. Yay!  Now, what else did they relay?  Ah, equally rated are SharingConnectionand Quiet Time as their rewards. Just feel the heart in these words … 

A creative BM relayed ~ It’s one of my favourite things to do with my daughter. I love cuddling with her while we read and sharing an adventure with her by using our imaginations.

A dear author/illustrator BM expressed ~ The love of a gentle moment in which my boy is actually sitting still. I feel a responsibility to instill a love of books and learning.  It’s a gift of time, hugs and a moment to pause and be present with him.

Super BM considered ~ it was a special time of connection and reconnection after parts of our day being separate. I enjoy it because we can be in the moment and I can make the story exciting.

The joyous BM remembered ~ Felt more connected and we had the same books nearly every night.  I loved seeing their reactions and eyes light up.  It was really important to read to them as special bonding time.

The token BD (brilliant dad) contributed ~ I liked how my daughter really listened and absorbed what we were reading.  I loved seeing her mind ticking over and her watching my animations out of the corner of her eye.

Are you getting a sense of the preciousness these BP’s (brilliant parents) experience each day? Yeah, truly! There’s still more!

Interactionand Engagementwere rated as their key benefits.

It’s a two way street this BM shared ~ I still sit and read with my boys, but now they read to me. I love hearing how they feel what they are reading, full of emotions.

We can all relate to this BM ~ Most of the time, I didn’t get immersed in the story I was reading, but more the time sitting, snuggling and being. 

This brainy BM reported ~ It was calm and allowed us to teach at a relaxed time of the day. I taught using phonics not abc per se. It allowed us together time and creative positive time rather than fitting it in to a busy afternoon. Enjoyed just being us and imagining together.

I felt like I was gifted a secret when I read this BM’s thoughts ~ As parents we enjoy reading to the girls, particularly as it is one on one. It’s a lovely moment from a long day of everyone’s busy day. One thing it opens up is discussions on different topics and vocabulary they haven’t used or heard of. It also varies as the older two girls are more independent readers now but love to tell me about what they are reading! The youngest can independently read stories through pictures. We love that as she’s using her imagination.

And this BM takes reading to a whole new level with ~ I like the feeling of being lost in a story together or that we are on an adventure together. We make references to the story when we’re not reading – ‘that’s just like Gregor when he xxx” or this park is how I imagine the one in xx. Or we retell the jokes. I also like when my son asks questions about a character’s motivation and we can talk about what we might have done in the same place. I like the way he shows me a completely new perspective on something in the story as well. I could talk about this for ages so you can tell I really enjoy reading with him. 

This BM was another phenomenal lover of stories and experiences through books. Over a coffee and surrounded by books, she shared stories about them all. We kind of summarised our discussions with ~ I loved reading with my children as it gave us a change of pace and it truly was quiet time; it created a loving environment; I loved my kids reactions to the story and being able to link it to every day life at home and people and places around the world.  I love it because it fosters curiosity and knowledge and it draws people in and brings them together.

This synchronistic BM offered ~ I love reading to my daughter. It’s our way of going on an adventure together while we explore new words and pictures.  I find G often reading books to herself, repeating the words she’s heard me say. She get’s quite upset if we don’t read every book in the pile before bed.  What I love most is watching how she interprets the pictures and points out their meaning to me.  Each night I see better language and more connection with the story. I love how reading provides stillness and presence to my day, plus it’s such an enjoyable way to cap off the day sharing these stories with my daughter.

This switched on BM articulated a forgotten reason of my own ~ I liked being able to revisit the books I loved as a kid and reading the books I liked especially as I’m reading them over and over again.

With guilty pleasure, this BM shared ~ I liked making funny voices and then changing character voices around to see if my boys noticed.

Didn’t I tell you they were insightful and amazing? I love knowing that there are people out there that value and experience all these joys on a regular basis.  

When you buy a book, you are gaining so much more than fairy tales and morals of the story.  You are investing in all of the above which itself is a kind of magic. What value can you put on that? You’re right, it’s priceless. 

So may I tempt you into investing in a treasured picture book to share with a treasured young one in your life? I celebrate your interest we can make an exchange through paypal, I invite you to click through.  And, I thank you.

And I thank these gems too! A special Shout Out to these brilliant mums and dad for sharing their precious reading moments with me. Thanks Wendy, Kristina, Chrissy, Caz, Amy, Amy, Andrea, Katy, Brenton, Prep Parent, Blonde Parent, (names are just labels right?) Dee, Susan, Julie, Jo, Philippa, JoJo, Susan, Ruth & Amanda! I could not have done this without you. And you truly touched my heart. Thank you.

★★★★★

Do you still wanna read some more and find out what the kids themselves get out of youreading to them? I’ve borrowed this article from a reputable source http://www.teachreadingearly.com/benefits-of-early-reading.php

Why write a book?

Fun, Quality Time & Memories … These are the 3 key reasons I decided to write (and illustrate) my own children’s book. 

As you can see, I’ve been sharing stories with my daughter since before she could walk or talk. Being a fan of words n stuff, I’ve always been analyzing how stories are crafted together and what makes one story more fun to read than another.  Especially when you’re reading it a thousand times over.  (Parents everywhere are collectively rolling their eyes recalling that one book.  The one they can read with their eyes closed. Sigh.)

But then you have the Fun stories – the incredulous ones where gingerbread men can talk and run, and red sheep, blue sheep, go the f*** to sleep sheep made you smirk.  They were quite okay to read over and over again. Enjoyable even.  Let’s have more of them! 

They say Fun = Joy. They say that Joy is one of the highest frequencies you can resonate at.  I like to make people smile.  Make them feel joy.  And especially kids because they’re so quick to laugh and have fun. It brightens my day!

The books that I found most Fun were the silly, rhyming ones … Dr Suess springs to mind as the king of this craft.  I discovered with the rhyming stories, I fell into a rhythm and melody in my reading. It became more fluid and free, like a sing-song read-along.  

So whilst you are singing along (and hitting occasional potholes) in my story, you’ll start noticing layers.  And then you’ll notice layers within those layers.  Yeah, sure, you think it’s a simple treasure hunt, children’s book. Ha!

The basis of 80% of my creations is colour!  I can’t explain why I have this compulsion other than I love rainbows.  They’re like magic in the sky.

My story follows the rainbow.  
Within the rainbow, I’ve built in numbers.
Within the numbers, I’ve built in fruit.
Within the fruit, I’ve built in shapes.
Within the shapes is where it becomes sacred geometry.

I believe if you are going to hang and have some Quality Time with your young one, it should be stimulating for you too!  Right? The layers within layers aren’t too confusing.  I’m a simple kinda complex girl.  If I can’t bring it back to basics, then it’s not gonna stick.

Sometimes as a parent, I can forget to build and make space for Fun, Quality Time to build Memories.  Life gets in the way.  Those times when I do make it a priority… well, my whole being smiles and life becomes sparkly again.  That’s the magic of books – they put you in a bubble and it’s nice and cosy in there.

My story is an original and vibrant wonderland for you and your precious little one to share together. You get to hang out, have Fun together, spend Quality Time together and form precious Memories together.  That’s my Why!  Since this is the youngest you (and they) will ever be, it’s the perfect time to keep that magical spark alive.  Go on an Earth Adventure and become immersed in another reality.

Remind me to write an article about why I went to the effort to make my book from fabric.  There is great Wisdom in the Weave.

In Joy!

Celebrating the colour at St Catherine’s

This post was originally published on my previous website of my visit on 21 April 2017…

Recently, I had the opportunity to share, read and perform my book, ‘A Stitching Story, Earth Adventure’to the Year 1 students at St Catherine’s Catholic Primary School.  What an adventure it was!  

It all started with, “Good Afternoon Aunty Kym and Peace Be With You.”  

From that moment, my heart swelled with gratitude and humility and I was abuzz with happiness.

But people tell me, ‘Kym, you’re too much about feelings, I’m a facts and figures kinda person. You can relate to me better with cold, hard details,’ so, let me throw a few of them your way …

100% of children gave me their undivided attention.  That’s 40 sets of five year old eyes staring up at me with mouths gaped. Unreal.

100% of children can remember the shapes, their colours, and the order they are in.

60% of children chose to draw in the activity after the reading.

40% of children undertook the writing component of the activity.

40% of children state the zig zag berries are their favourite part of the book.  Even though it is a fruit I have made up, one child has tried them before!

25% of children liked the lemons!

25% of children liked the characters – Sunshine Poppy and Lavendula.

1 child walked on my fabric book (!) but didn’t leave any footprint.  Lucky escape.

So, that’s all pretty cool direct feedback I received.  But I need to share a feeling side to this story.  I had a significant interaction that blows me away.

So there we all are, reflecting on the story, looking at the fabric pages, discovering how the shapes work (they get magnetized to my apron) and drawing our pictures or writing our words.  I get to walk around and answer questions, help draw hexagons and gather further insight into what works well with this age group.  

I come across this picture.  It’s kick arse wow.  This boy has gathered ALL of the elements of the story in his drawing.  The flowers are nutso!  I’m so impressed.  I ask if I can take a picture.  He agrees. I take a picture.

And now in true primary school style, we had a bit of ‘he said, she said’ business going on 😉 …

He said to the teacher, ‘Aunty Kym really liked my drawing and she took a photo of it!’  He felt very special and proud by this.

Mrs Johnston said to me, ‘Well, there you go, this child said ‘this’ to me and he neverengages in schoolwork or activities.  You got him.’

‘He said, she said,’ complete.

I am overcome with love that an innocent, simple interaction such as this, had such an impact. I love that these things occur as a result.  I think I’m starting to really LOVE what I do.  I believe I will do more … More visits and presentations and immersive experiences of this playful, colourful story.  

The next part I intend to share is some background and insight into A Stitching Story, Earth Adventure to highlight what is in it for you as a parent.  Why I actually wrote a children’s book for you!

If you are interested in following the evolution of my story, I’d love you to join me.  Choose your preferred platform and find me here. (link forthcoming)

Or, if you are within the metro Brisbane area and you’d like to interact with my story in your prep or year one classes … please, send me a message here.

It really scares me, and I love that!

A Stitching Story Premiere

This article originally appeared on my previous website, aunty kym.com from my visit on 29 March 2017 – a reflection of my first public reading…

I pretended I was a rock star as I strode through the school ground to my final destination. The make it or break it point of my career.  Palms sweaty, heart pumping, mind sharp and consciously recording all the surroundings in its present state, I was alert and calm.

This audience is more advanced than my material.  Will I be able to pique and keep their attention?  Will they be too cool? Will they find it boring?  Have I incorporated my presentation in a way that engages?  Am I going to get heckled by a 9 year old? Am I overthinking?

No wundah I had such fears at Nundah.  I was going to tell a story about the creation of my story and then I was going to tell my story to my daughter’s class.   Its ‘World First Premier’ so to speak.  

Gratefully, this was not new territory to speak and present in front of people.  It started when I was 19 and I call Adult Education & Training my ‘first love’. The adrenalin gives a certain buzz.

This time was vastly different – the age of my audience was much younger and the content so close to my heart.  I was sharing my soul. 

How did it end up? I’m still here to tell the tale and I was even asked for my autograph!  Twice.

The girl that did ask for my autograph got the opportunity to embody the main character by wearing the sparkly shapes that Sunshine Poppy finds on her journey.

It’s an immersive experience reading A Stitching Story, Earth Adventure.  It’s a simple and complex.  It’s bright and tactile.  It’s colourful and fresh.  And it captivates attention.  Phew.  

It didn’t break me. I reckon it will remake me.  

Naturally.  

The next test drive will further answer the question … Do kids really like my story? Let’s see if they do.


Put your feet up

Don’t you just feel the relief when you read that title? Put your feet up. Sit back. Relax. Give yourself a moment to stop and be – even if just for a minute. I don’t think we give ourselves permission to kick back enough. So I now give permission to you. You’ve earned it. Life can be so demanding of us. And now here I am demanding that you relax.

Coz I have another story. A re-creation one. And yes, like many others, this involves furniture I found on the side of the road. This time there were two little kid sized armchairs with two little foot stools. There were pretty cute all covered in stars. But the armchairs were beyond my effort (and skill level if I’m honest) so I just grabbed the little foot stools. It seems to be my way 😉

The first one was an easy cover – something purple for my daughter. I had some insanely expensive and not quite appropriate fabric I bought in Budapest left over and it seemed the best use of it to go around the sides. I also had some purple corduroy fabric which fit perfectly for the top. Check it out. It’s pretty cute huh?

Before & After

And then it was time to ruminate over what to do with my foot stool. Whilst the first choice was fun and keeping in theme with my rainbow preference, the glitter top made it quite impractical.

And so it was back to the fabric stash. Where are you strong, stylish woven one? Oh, there you are challenging me. Hey Kym, look at me being all brown and natural. You wanna turn left from your usual colour? I dare you.

So, it suckered me in and the spots and stripes complimented each other. And this fabric was Strong and made to last. So I got snipping and stitching. It looked something like this…

And I like it. Lots. My feet barely rest on it and I don’t think it really matters. I keep it close by and it comes in handy.

So yay. Another project complete!

In Divine Time

It was August 2016 when I found them on the side of the road. They were grungy, smelly and in some major need of Kymspiration. But just look at their beauty and potential…

FB_IMG_1554349543045

It would be the start of 2017 before they were stripped back to their raw state and here they would sit and wait. Oh so patiently they would sit and wait.

FB_IMG_1554349547609

Fabric was playing hide and seek with me. Would we dress them this way or that way? Even working for an upholsterer with metres and metres of fabric dancing under my eyes didn’t bring me the joy I was seeking. And then I discovered the forbidden corner and nothing could compare to the beauty of this print. How could the right side and the wrong side be so perfect? Ah!

FB_IMG_1554350044722

And then much to my surprise and delight, the cushion covers came together perfectly on the first go! It must’ve been all those years of practice finally paying off. Either that or I was in my genius flow and guided by love. Probably both. But as they started to come together, a new awareness formed …

FB_IMG_1554349562234

Yes they are living entities! And they are speaking. And they are telling me a story of how they will fulfil their purpose with me. We will work together.

At the beginning of 2019, chairmates.club formed. And here we are! My chairmates now grace my header, overseeing all that is contained within. I’m still piecing it all together, building upon the past and dreaming the future into each now moment. I’m so honoured to have you here.

May your body be seated comfortably and your mind be ready for some Kymspiration. Even I’m not sure where we will go but I know it will contain elements of the sacred, play and colour.

Join the journey if you please …

When things don’t go to plan

Do you find that when you create something? You plan for it to be a certain way and then suddenly a few road blocks greet you and you find yourself on another path completely different than the one you set out on? More often than not, this happens with my projects. I’ve learnt (for the most part) to go with it because it leads to such a pleasing place. This master craft worked exactly that way.

My confidence was high after completing the chairs for my daughters class and I had an inspired idea to fashion the black and white pieces of my old clothes which I had cut up and were ready to go. I originally planned to make a quilt but suddenly a new way forward became clear … I would make covers for my own chairs that had been sitting around for over a year, patiently waiting for me.

I was in communication with these pieces of fabric. We discussed how they should be joined together to best compliment each other and be soothing to my eyes. And just when I thought I was ready to start stitching, I saw this piece of furniture sitting on the side of the road.

Oh yeah baby, come to mama. You delicious foot stool are most welcome to my family and you have many others of your kind to hang with. Come play and let me dress you up in my love. You are what I didn’t know I needed.

So, as you see, I got my stitch on and transformed my old clothes and a would be piece of trash into something that just warms my heart and fills me with joy. It couldn’t have come together more perfectly if I tried.

So next time you are on a path that isn’t quite coming together in the most beautiful and natural way, I challenge you to stop and open yourself to the possibility that something better is coming in its place and then watch for the signs as you are led onto a new path. It may just turn out better than your original plan.

 

The nine gifts of Nundah in action

This article was originally published in the Nundah State School newsletter on 23 October 2018. It was a pivotal moment in the journey to birthing chairmans.club in that I surprised myself by being able to craft these covers together and have them fit perfectly Once making them, it gave me the confidence to put the finishing touches of my long-loved and long-awaited chairs which are now the focal point of my work here.

You never know what lovely thing you do for another will bring to you 😉 Please enjoy!

8 gftyd

Like all good gifts, it started out with a knowing. 5CR had some pre-loved chairs appear in their classroom and they looked well, let’s say a bit under the weather. Knowing they are creative beings, the fairy’s decided they just had to bring new life to these chairs for the bright students to enjoy.

The fairy’s were optimistic that they could find the perfect solution so they were collaborative in their approach.They visited a local business, 100m from the school who specialise in these matters – Opulent Soft Furnishings – and inquired if they had some lovely fabric to keep in with the cactus theme of the classroom. They did!

The fairy’s then collaborated with the teacher, Ms Rogers to ensure she was happy with the selection too. She was!

Next came the biggest challenge of them all – being self-managing and resilient to find ways to get the job done. The fairy’s worked away in the holidays and over weekends so as not to disrupt the local business. After all, they were kind enough to let them use their premises and sewing machines.

They unstitched, ironed, cut and re-stitched the materials making sure they could recycle as much of the original pieces they could. They are thrifty that way.

Sometimes they found it didn’t come together the first time so they were very resilient towards their work. This also allowed them to be reflective on where things didn’t work and how to improve on the task.

The fairy’s fancied they were a bit like the Elves and The Shoemaker working away in secret. They demonstrated how they were optimistic and self-managing as they wanted have the new chairs ready for when school returned.

And they did! But then, the fairy’s received a wonderful surprise in return…

As a kind and thoughtful way to articulate her gratitude, Ms Rogers wrote a touching thank you card saying she wanted to take the chairs home but she wouldn’t as they should be shown off to the world. So the fairy’s put their creative minds together to articulate their own words and show how the nine gifts of Nundah State School work in action not just within the school.

They also wanted to share if you were looking for your own custom made curtains, blinds, cushions or upholstery, Opulent Soft Furnishings (next door to Loose Ends) is the place to go. For them, it’s important that you love the place you live (and work).