Meet Nicole, she’s a crochet designer, avid journaler and part time reading interventionist at a local public school. She shares with us her reflections on the stability and authenticity of simplistic style of living and how in the upheaval of recent times, living by simple means has become her anchor.
Take a peek into Nicole’s day to day life and check out her work
Etsy: Naturally Nora Crochet
Ravelry: Naturally Nora
Tell us who you are, what you do, and a little back ground info about yourself
Hello, fellow dress lovers! My name is Nicole and I am an intensely curious introvert, driven by the impulses of creativity and compassion, equal parts pragmatist and romantic, a crochet designer, and an elementary school reading teacher. You will also often find me writing about spirituality, slow living, and simplicity through the practice of home arts. I live and work in Southern California, where I was born and raised and am now raising my own three school aged children in partnership with my husband.
I have an equal passion for home arts as I do for language and literature. When something ignites my curiosity, I will often experience a powerful window of creative energy during which my hands and mind are rarely idle. Although my hands are in constant motion crocheting, sewing, knitting, bread baking, writing, or turning pages of a new library book, one of the foundational tenants by which I live is simplicity. My family and I have worked hard to cultivate simplicity as a daily rhythm, culling our commitments to those that nurture our creativity, expand our compassion, and deepen our community.
What’s a typical day in the life for you?
On the best of days, I am an early riser. I can rarely beat my little red headed nine year old out of bed, but she and I often begin our day together on the couch. She might have a fiction book open in her lap, and I might have tea and an open journal. Whether or not I am able to begin my day with journaling, it is a daily practice I rarely miss. My journaling practice includes a list of the days events, notes on the weather and moon phase, what I’m currently reading and listening to, morning pages, and a sort of loose scriptural study or lectio divina, which sometimes takes the form of poetic midrash. I will light a candle, open a window or head out to the tiny, heavily windowed room my husband built me (which I affectionately call my “solo-larium”), and have myself a right little moment. As the rest of my family joins us, breakfast is made and basic daily chores are done. I love a tidy, warm, and welcoming space, and keeping our possessions intentional and humble helps us stay on top of daily home maintenance.
A quick shower is followed by one of my favorite moments of the day: locking out the world and getting dressed. I enjoy the creative practice of tuning in to my mood and what my schedule requires of me to choose the day’s attire. Simple always wins in my wardrobe: I aim for a small collection of hard wearing, well designed clothes with the versatility of basic pieces combined with feminine, nostalgic appeal. My P&S dresses are a perfect fit.
In more typical times, the children would be to school soon, and my husband and I would be off to work, he at our church, and me as a reading interventionist at a local public elementary school, working with small groups of students to gain access to literacy skills. I’d return home at lunch from my part time gig and have an hour to myself, during which I’d answer e-mails or pattern queries, work on pattern writing and photography for my crochet design business, write a blog post, call my mama, or get outside and walk for a while. Women know well how to work an uninterrupted hour to the bone.
Once school pick ups are done, the afternoon becomes a mash up of home work assistance, dinner prep, lunch packing, dance class, library stops, and bedtime routines. Reading in the evening has become a treasured family tradition, slowing down what can sometimes feel like a mad dash to bedtime. Most evenings, we enjoy either a tired mama doing her best to give voice to the Pevensie children, or a few minutes snuggled in, each with our own book before lights out. My husband and I greatly value that first hour the kids are in bed, decompressing from the day’s hopes and challenges together. If I’m lucky enough to have the energy, I might have an hour to put a podcast in my ears and take over the kitchen table with a sewing project, pull out my current yarn related work, or spend some time on a writing project. Less energy may mean a little escapism in the form of “Parks and Rec” or “The Office”.
But, this, as I said, was in more typical times. I have the unique position of reflecting on a day in my life during a season that is anything but “typical”, and I feel privileged to be able to do so. For the last six months, this rhythm has been altered drastically. Now, I manage the remote learning day or other socially distanced summer activities with my children and fit in writing, sewing, crochet design work, or remote reading lesson content creation whenever and wherever I can. I rely heavily on the blessing of close, healthy family to graciously offer childcare to allow me an hour or two of introversion or productivity-yes, I realize how extraordinary privileged I am in this regard! Our days often begin frazzled, and by the time we reach the evening, our capacity has often been exhausted. If you are a human person reading this, you already know what I mean when I say this is not an easy time for anyone. It has also been a singular opportunity for reflection on what it means to live in authentic simplicity, a kind of focused paring of habit, schedule, consumption, and even speech. This has clarified my purpose and priorities in the midst of a world that often feels anxious and chaotic. Simplicity has become more than an aesthetic choice or an idyllic, picturesque lifestyle-it has become a life raft. I’m so grateful that this spirit continues to permeate each area of life, from how I spend my time, to what fills my home and my closet.