Here's a little papercut/collage in white paper on cardboard: inspired by an afternoon walk in the cemetery. This magnolia tree is right in the centre, and especially beautiful, if not a little wind-ravaged at the moment. Nothing like a little late-night collage to lift the spirits.
I worked on a piece of embroidery a couple of nights ago while watching Extras (actually, I'm re-watching it. It's my favourite.) I was flicking through my sketchbook for inspiration and came upon this little deer. And that's what started growing on the linen in my embroidery hoop: his antlers and face and then a golden constellation of stars alongside him. (I sewed that linen into a bag for todays shop update.) The children are really into the idea of constellations at the moment. They know about the North Star and the Big Dipper. Sadly, that's about the extent of my knowledge too. I think i'm going to try playing this game with Arlo when he gets home from school.
I have a thing for vintage baby clothes. There's just something nice about them- especially the handmade ones. On the weekend, I went to a rummage sale and found all of these little beauties, tangled up with the usual suspects: old jeans and pilled cardigans. I brought them home, gave them a wash and a press, and will send them off to some new babies I know around the world. I especially love those flying-upside-down birds on the top with the big yellow lace collar. I'm pretty sure that one's homemade.
This week, I've been sewing lots of patches. It seems as though all of Arlo's trousers are wearing through these days- just in the knee-area. I think it's all that kneeling down at school and home, building lego masterpieces. Seriously, they seem to have no knees left after just a few weeks of wear- is this normal? Anyway, I'm pleased I've finally gotten around to doing this job, painstaking though it is.
Yesterday I was tagged by isoinpapu to write 5 things I like (or dislike) about being a mother. This is part of an 'Around the World in 80 Clicks' idea started at Her Bad Mother, here, where mothers write their answers, then tag five other women from their own country, or overseas. So, here are my answers:
1. I like it how being a mother awakens some kind of deep connection with other women- past, present and future mothers, even if we are actually very different in many other ways. I think that the shared experience of mothering can unite us with each other.
2. Even if being followed by someone small giving you a running commentary on everything that happens can be tiring, it's good to have this different perspective on the world. A world where a group of seagulls is in actual fact a seagull party and teddies require their own handbag with coins inside for spending on sweets is not a boring world.
3. I don't like the relentless task of feeding people. And this is something you can't escape when you are a mother. I am lazy about cooking, and to be honest, I find preparing meals to be terribly dull. Maybe it would be different if I could grow some of my own vegetables and fruit, I might like it more. In the school holidays, Tom usually takes over this task, so I am very lucky.
4. It's cool how you get glimpses back to your own childhood, when you have little ones around. Like, remembering the excitement of going somewhere at night, or going to pick someone up at the airport. I can read them stories that I loved, teach them songs and games, etc. But other times, when I watch them playing and talking with their friends, it's like a window to that amazing and somewhat outrageous world that is life as a child.
5. I like that being a mother allows me to go a bit crazy about Christmas, without it being frowned upon. I like the whole cake-making, present-shopping, chocolate-eating time of children's birthdays, too. No surprises, there.
Feel free to join in with this game, if you like! And happy weekend to you. x
So, I just finished reading the Margaret Atwood book i mentioned the other day- Cat's Eye. I found it compelling- the sort of book you hold and read while distractedly stirring the pasta sauce for dinner with the other hand. The book is about a painter, Elaine, who returns to her childhood home of Toronto for a retrospective exhibition of her work. The book is about her childhood memories, in particular, those surrounding a small group of girlfriends and how their relationship changed as they grew. I really liked the way the role of women - both Elaine's roles, and those of the women around her- are explored in the book. And how our ideas about femininity are always shifting and changing and depend so much on where we come from. I decided to take my rosette idea from last week and make a few more as gifts for friends. They're brooches made from small bits of felt, ribbon, lace and buttons: medals to celebrate all the amazing things that women do, and are.
I've been missing my friend back home from whom I used to buy handmade soap. Shop-bought stuff just isn't the same. And then it occured to me that I could buy it on etsy. My new soap just arrived this morning- from Amber. She so kindly sent me all these little extras- essential-oil-tealights and a little linen pouch with bath salts. Natural and lovely.
I turned that little fern-embroidery from the other day into a purse for today's shop update- and I am slowly making my way through my little linen pieces, hence these small needlebooks again. I'm not sure if I'm going to get through it all before we leave Norway- looks like it's a race against time, for me and my linen scraps.
Some other random stuff:
- My handmade baby shoes are now for sale at the lovely Craftsbury Kids shop, online. I went to check them out there, and then got carried away with looking at all the lovely things- I like these especially.
I told Keira that I would make her a new skirt if she was very brave for her first dental appointment, which was last week. She was, and so this little flowery skirt is what I made for her. The fabric is some vintage cotton. She chose the button: an old engraved one.
We talked at length about what it would be like when we got to the dental clinic- how she would have to lie on a chair which would move up and down, and maybe have to wear sunglasses. I suppose I was transferring some of my own fear of the dentist to her in way, by making more of it than I possibly should have.
But Keira appeared to thoroughly enjoy her appointment. She eagerly climbed onto the chair and opened her mouth wide before she was even asked to. And also, she kept it open, long after she needed to. I sat on the chair opposite her thinking, Please, let me never forget her like this.
Here are a few scenes from our weekend. It was a quiet, homely one with just the kids and I because Tom is away this week. For some reason this has meant I have been more lazy than usual (surely it should be the opposite?) and have spent a lot of time lying around, eating biscuits and reading. I think I am a bit obsessed with this book: Cat's Eye, by Margaret Atwood.
The little pottery bird whistles were a gift from Magda who I met up with in Poland. They are gorgeous, and she said they were for the children, but I'm afraid I'm being rather protective of them and keeping them on the mantlepiece for now. A little piece of Krakow in the living room. Thank you, Magda.
When I was a teenager and first starting to make my own clothes, I usually just 'altered' and adjusted existing clothes I had, or thrifted or stole from family members. Some of these creations were more successful than others- but I always had fun trying. I probably looked pretty shabby and semi-homeless for many years. Sorry, Mum. Recalling these good old days, I found a cashmere sweater in my cupboard this week that was in great condition, but had a big fold-over neck that I've never really enjoyed wearing. So I did a bit of chopping and folding and sewing, and voila- a soft grey cardigan. I also made the little rosette brooch to match- using some scraps of wool felt, velvet ribbon and a leftover button. A faux medal for something. I'm not sure what.