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While We Wait...

Spring is finally here! The pandemic may still be going strong but it hasn’t stopped the flowers from blooming or the birds from returning.

Before life came back I was collecting dried plants from around the neighbourhood on our daily walks to nowhere. It was a nice activity for a dark winter day and it helped our moods to find the beauty in an otherwise abysmal environment. Finding a perfectly intact dried hydrangea really took the attention away from all the littered masks, rubber gloves, and dog poop that was the aesthetic of winter 2021 in Toronto. We brought snips and paper bags to collect our findings, and when we returned home we’d make little arrangements.

I loved how these looked but they were missing something. At first, I wanted to dry more flowers but buying a bouquet didn’t feel essential enough to warrant a trip out and I’m also leery about the environmentally questionable origins of many cut flowers.

As I was perusing Pinterest for inspiration over my morning coffee I was struck by the beauty of paper flowers and I thought: aha, finally a use for the discarded tissue paper I have been hoarding. We have a ton that my husband salvaged from his now-closed office, so I was pretty much set. As I’ve written previously, my craft style is ecologically centered — I want to create out of discarded materials — so even though paper flowers can be achieved beautifully using special crepe papers and ribbons, I avoid buying new as much as possible; if I can’t make it with something I have, I don’t bother.

My recycling bin is usually the first place I look for materials and after my initial tissue paper flower success I hit the jackpot of floral crafts with paper bag palm leaves! I loved how these turned out and with all the curbside shopping going on I’m going to guess I’m not the only one with a collection of paper bags lying around.

Here are some of my creations and if you want to make a faux palm leaf it’s as easy as the fans you made in preschool.

Crafts have been a huge part of how I’ve coped this past year but movement and music are also what keeps me from completely losing my mind. Daily exercise is a must and music fills our home at all times but it wasn’t until I watched a YouTube video of William & Polly, a local band with a special connection to Mirvish, that I realised how much I missed live music! I found myself in tears! Sure, I may be emotionally unstable after the year we’ve had, and perhaps generally, but I think I was moved by the missed connection of live performance.

Shortly after watching the video Denise, aka Polly, emailed the staff offering to host a Groove class via Zoom. She described it as a healing dance party. I was sold. Who doesn’t need that?

When it started I had my daughter (7) with me but as the music started my son (3), to my surprise, left the coveted iPad to join us! He had never really danced before so this was a very sweet moment and as the three of us danced around our living room I really did feel a sense of healing, a moment of connectivity through music that I had been sorely missing.

I asked Denise to tell us more about her pandemic story and how she’s used movement and music to get through it but also how she’s used it to connect with other people at a time when connections are so difficult to find.