Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Collage

To all of you who I do not get to see nearly enough and who I miss, Happy Christmas! And Happy 2012 one and all. Here's a taster of what Christmas is looking like in our neck of the woods....

Shhh, don't tell Dad...(a joke jar so he can store all the good ones).

Christmas blooms from the Bud Stop, a self indulgent treat.

Lots of pyjama-clad drawing, stamping and tape (oh the fun you can have with tape - and wooly hats.)

More of those snowmen in construction.

Cutting corners; the wallpaper's up but the decorator is a little behind schedule for Jack's present...

Very nearly finished...the much-wanted 'you-made-Oli-one-what-about-me?' dressing gown for Max.

Home made mince pies in my favourite Texan cake tin.

Dom's mulled wine (not shown, it was drunk too quickly, that's the drink, not me...)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Because Instagram is so much fun...

I'm probably the last to catch on to the Instagram app - the one which can make your phone photos have the grainy history of something circa 1970.  Someone asked for a photo of our clothespeg snowmen and that seemed like a good excuse to use it here - et voila. These were copied from others given to me by my Mum many years ago (not quite 1970). Dom's old shirts are getting so much milage (bunting, bags, hats, gift wrap...) and here they are again as scarves for our little gathering. I asked Max what the collective noun for a group of snowmen might be - maybe a 'frosting'?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A whole lot of making...

There are so many inspiring blogs from people making things.  I get my fixes mostly from here and here but of course those sites can lead you to all sorts of other great places. I'm annoyed I never really took this therapeutic activity very seriously.  My problem is that I like the challenge of making something once, and then I get bored if I have to make it again, so I can never produce very much of the same thing.  This Christmas has been pretty crafty though. The boys got totally overexcited about decorating the tree this weekend. I had to remind myself, 'this is Christmas' as I watched them teeter on the arm of a chair (even while I berated them) to try and put a decoration on the topmost branch.  'This is Christmas', making a wreath with Oli and Jack in the afternoon sunshine, compiling our annual most-listened-to music to share, the excitement about making pastry for the mince pies and listening to carols and Christmassy compositions. Christmas cannot be condensed into one day. It is the snowman decorations that Max and Oli are loving making, it is the unorthodox present for Jack that they are helping with (check back after the 25th to find out), it is the debate about religion that emerges when Max asks, 'is Jesus dead?', it is the den the boys built this morning by the nativity scene or in Max's words, 'near merry Jesus', it is the cake we have yet to decorate, it is the many nights when the sitting room is lit just by fire and fairy lights, it is all the making and decorating, the chat and love and fug.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A wreath

We have a new wreath! After many years of gathering greenery and twisting it into the semblance of a circle and then watching it quickly fade to brown in the late Californian sunshine on our south facing front door, I decided on a different approach.  A ball of yarn and some felt balls, which should survive the sunshine and since there's a porch, won't have to brave the rain. It is a hash-up of some fun wreaths I saw while idling online. Oli was the chief architect, picking out the wool and helping me with the balls.
Felt balls are funny little things; fairly pointless but still fun to make.  I'm reminded of an article by the talented Catherine Newman where she made some disparaging comments about felt balls, or perhaps the makers of felt balls - didn't they have anything better to do? (I can't for the life of me remember where I read the piece - possibly Brain Child - but you can read more of her stuff here.)  What then, am I doing, finding time to make felt balls? The fact is, it's a gentle innocuous activity at this time of year with a three year old. We made them in the sunshine with a bowl of soapy hot water. Jack, on the other hand, went off-script and tried several times to baptize himself, at one point even trying a reverse-tip-back technique - he is nothing if not determined! It kept us all entertained for a sunny half hour.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

When I grow up...

Several times now Max has asked me, 'What do you want to be when you are grown up?' I like the idea that I'm still young enough to keep growing. Without missing a beat, I tell him I want to be a writer.  As for those in this family who really are still growing... When Max was four he decided he wanted to be an airport baggage handler.  He was pretty adamant that this was about as exciting a career as he wanted.  A few months before, when we checked our bags in at the airport ready to fly, we hadn't factored in Max's emotional attachment to our luggage. He became a bundle of noisy wet tears amid the check-in kiosks as the bags were being taken off our hands for the journey.  As the queue backed up, under the glare of the strip lighting, kneeling on the cold polished floor, I found myself consoling a screaming child about the wonders of air travel and explaining that we would be reunited with our bags at our destination. Once this proved true, after much disbelief, he saw things in a different light. He fell in love with the 'escalator' mechanism that took bags out of sight, no doubt he loved the stickers slapped on our oversized luggage and of course the magic of a perforated air ticket. At arrivals, while his parents looked on wearily, he ran circles of excitement round the carousel that would finally dispense our bags.  However, 2011 sees a different dream; this time it's a musical one. The boy has always been very particular about what kind of music he listens to - now he wants to make his own. His band, he tells us will be called 'Rocks of Hundreds of Light'.  He even has the name of one of his songs. Last night he gave me the 3 beat rhythm - I actually recorded it, but I'll give you the gist here: Bew-nyew [3 beats of silence] Bew-nyew  [3 beats of silence] Bew-nyew  [3 beats of silence] Bew-Nyew  [3 beats of silence] Bew-nyew-nyew-nyew-nyew-nyew-nyew
One of us obviously needs to learn how to write music and I'm pretty sure it won't be me. Anyway, I'm looking forward to hearing the finished version.
Oli on the other hand definitely wants to be a teenager, the reason being that the Lego catalogue contains all sorts of fun things for teenagers to make but nothing for 3 year olds, who must still make do with Duplo.  He is almost astonished when I tell him that he will be a teenager one day. 'Will I? Really?' With regard to being a fully-fledged grown-up, he tells us he wants to be a dinosaur.