Saturday, November 27, 2010

Seasons Change

I had already planned to change our new Seasonal display this weekend, and right on cue this was the snowy scene out of the kitchen window as I cooked up an indulgent full English breakfast this morning. We can claim the breakfast as medicinal since three out of four of us have had a truly awful cold the last couple of days, with number four making up for her lack of cold with teething pains. Thankfully we all seem to be on the mend, even if there is no sign of actual teeth yet.

I'd already broken out the glitter earlier in the week when P and I prepared a backdrop for the Winter display. I was originally looking for some dark blue card, but then I saw this dark indigo felt and thought 'Why not?'. We used cotton buds dipped in PVA glue to create the stars and moon, with glitter heaped on top, then the excess shaken off to settle over everything inside and outside the house, probably until next July. Cotton buds are great for controlling how much gloopy stuff- glue, paint etc- an enthusiastic toddler transfers from pot to artwork. With a bit of experience I've seen lovely pointellism (spelling?) effects using this method.

Since the glitter was already all over the place anyway, we did a bit of instant, post lunch/ pre nap art using pine cones, glue, two empty cream cheese tubs and yes more of the shiny stuff. Actually it's quite a good way of minimising the glue and glitter mess and has the added advantage of involving noise and surprise, always good as far as two-year-olds are concerned! Basically, put some PVA glue in one tub and some glitter in the other. Put the pine cone in the glue tub, put the lid on (firmly!) and give it a good shake and rattle. Open it up, carefully transfer into the glitter tub, repeat the process and 'Surprise!' a frosted pine cone!

We began with 'realistic' white frost but ran out of that colour so ended up with 'tasteful' purple as well.

Also featuring on our Winter display is the Steiner advent calendar we made at the toddler group we go to: an angel made of cleverly tied wool tops moves up 27 stars on the dark blue ribbon until Christmas day (27 because the first Sunday of Advent is not the first day of December). The angel has a slightly unfestive bulldog clip sewn to the back of her to enable the heavenly ascent...
The Season display is becoming one of my favourite things in the house. We do our best to light the candle from it each day at our evening meal, to help P to understand that it's a special time to sit together. We're developing the habit of finding things or making things to add to it as the weeks go past, and while I'm lucky enough to spend a reasonable amount of time outdoors and watching the year as it turns, this focal point helps to give me a heightened awareness of time ticking by, which in turn seems to remind me to take a longer view, rather than sweating the small stuff. Every home should have one!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Into the woods

Okay, I'll admit it, I have serious woodland envy issues! I love the idea of owning some woodland, learning to manage it, maybe heating the house using fuel we'd grown, maybe building a yurt on get the idea of what is definitely nothing more than a dream at the moment. Maybe the next best thing then, is to have some good friends whose family have bought some lovely woodland in a valley near us. Today we got to visit it for the first time and it was magical, from shuffling through the leaves to making music by banging sticks on logs, from being able to let the toddlers tootle off on their own adventures (nearly) out of sight, to eating lunch and drinking tea in the cosy little caravan they've moved there. I get the feeling we'll be back.
Meanwhile, I can't believe that it's been a week since I wrote anything here. It's not that I haven't been productive, but just that I seem to have lots of projects part way through and nothing to show for it just yet. In the case of a certain pirate jumper it's a case of rip it up and start again (ouch!). But hopefully soon I'll have some good stuff to show and tell, especially with a certain special season approaching!