A little winter playscape for some sheep (and Little R).
My sister knit this beautiful mitten for Little R, realized it was not the right fit and didn’t make another. But the mitten is so gorgeous that I had to find a way to use it. I’ve been thinking about introducing some puppet play and suddenly thought the mitten would make cute puppet. A little face and a “drawstring” to suggest a hood were all it needed to come alive. Now all she needs is a name. I think I’ll ask the knitter to do the honours.
All thirteen of Little R’s farm animals (a Christmas Present from Granny) lovingly set-up for a late afternoon story time. “Ready guys?”
So, it’s January. And it’s cold. One can get a bit cabin feverish, especially when faced with the fact that it is January and there are several months of winter to go. I was thinking that maybe January could use a little help, so here is a list of things I am loving about this month.
Warm Eggs – Finding a warm egg on a bitterly cold day is one of life’s little pleasures. You should try it. It feels special and “everyday” at the same time. Our black hen Betsy refuses to lay in the nesting boxes, preferring to trek to the barn and lay in the hay. Even through a snow-storm. It can be a bit of a pain, as the barn door must be open for her, and she gets put out if that cat is in her way and the other night she stayed there till dark and I had to pick her up to return her to the henhouse with the others. But it is also endearing and Betsy is quite a character. I love heading to the barn to retrieve her egg.
Beatrix Potter: I’ve been reading her biography with a flashlight under the covers. Little R has been having wakeful late evenings and simply won’t sleep if I’m not in the room so I curl up with my book and make the most of it. I’m enjoying the book immensely and I find Miss Potter, as she often called herself, very inspiring.
Sketching Chickens: I told you I was inspired! I’ve recently picked up pencil and sketch pad after a break of….too many years, and am having a great time. Sketching both outside from life and from photos. Yesterday Little R and I had a sketching session, in which I drew chickens and she alternately “helped” and worked in her own book, all the while keeping up a narrative chatter.
Salsa and other Fruits of Summer Labour: There is never enough, of course. But really, isn’t it January the time to crack open those jars of salsa, enjoy some frozen berries or spread a little quince jelly? It certainly is.
Wood Heat: Full disclosure, I am not the one who does all the stacking, lugging and chopping of wood. I do make fires, and tend them, but this is nothing compared to the other work. Ah, but there is nothing like a fire in the winter. And since the act of keeping warm requires more from us I feel like the fire warms us even more, if you know what I mean.
Well, right now a lot of the songs we sing, or the songs Little R is singing, are Christmas songs. Jingle Bells, Silent Night and Angels We Have Heard On High are not going away any time soon. Perhaps that’s why I was pleased when I stumbled across a book of children’s songs at the library. It’s a collection of 40 songs, including written music, accompanied by beautiful artwork. We both love sitting down and turning through the pages, admiring the pictures and singing the songs. I realize there may not be that many who can read the music (though of course many of the songs are well-known) but for us it’s great, and it gives us a chance to add to the repertoire. In a way I can’t believe we didn’t think of it before and I’ll be on the lookout for other such books. I also like the idea that just as she sees us reading text and putting together that words on a page can become spoken words, she will begin to learn that notes are realized as music. What better thing to do on a chilly day than cozy up by the fire, or cluster round the piano, and have a little sing-song?
For Little R’s increasing interest in drawing, a new little set up. Her increasing interest in sewing and my sewing machine making my “studio” off-limits (unless she is sewing with me) and therefore her previous desk is no longer convenient.
I have plans and schemes for an overhaul of Little R’s various corners but meanwhile….(oh “meanwhile”, it’s always meanwhile, isn’t it?) I’m trying to make things appealing and inspiring, even in just the tiniest ways.
Just wanted to tell you about the rocking horse G and I made for Little R this Christmas. Well, G built it and I think he did an amazing job. He found a design online, but changed head to look more real and less like a cartoon. My part was the paint job, and hair. I looked at lots of rocking horses to get ideas for the face. I started with an eye, added the nose and then hummed and hawed a lot about a bridle. In the end I decided to add one, for a bit of colour, and I’m glad I did. The original design simply called for a painted mane, but we really wanted a “real” one made of wool. I used staples to attach both mane and tail in chunks. This wasn’t a technique I found anybody describing but it worked really well. When the mane lies on one side or other of the neck, it totally covers the staples.
It was lovely to work together on a project like this. A real joint effort, but with each of us having a part to play. We were right down to the line, too, staying up late to make sure we could get a coat of paint or finish on in time for it to dry in time for our next opportunity to work on it.
We were both really excited for Little R to see the rocking horse, and her reaction was most gratifying. We went a little “paparazzi” on the moment, with photos and video camera. Christmas night found us huddled round the video camera , replaying her reaction and grinning.
Dobbin is a very well-loved horse.
I woke up this morning with the desire to make a labyrinth in the snow. Not sure where it came from, but there it was. And so, after breakfast, and after stuffing Little R into her snow suit, we headed out to make one. I printed off a design to follow, which was helpful since most of the labyrinths I found marked out the walls, and when you are walking in the snow it is better to follow something that traces out the path to avoid confusion. Mine is a little wobbly but not too bad for a first attempt. Next time I will make the paths a little further apart, and maybe wide enough for a shovel.
As I looked for some designs online, I read what other people have written about walking labyrinths and something that kind of stuck with me was the idea of “walking with intention”. The phrase seems to conjure up images of a straight line to your destination, but in association with a windy labyrinth “intention” suddenly means something else entirely. I need to walk a few more labyrinths before I feel qualified to wax lyrical about them, but I feel intrigued.
Making the labyrinth this morning was one of those rare occasions when a whim strikes me and I fairly immediately carry it out. Doesn’t happen a lot, but it’s a nice way to start the New Year.
Happy New Year, lovely people. Head out into that fresh snow and walk with intention.