Provence – the colour as opposed to the place. I’ve been painting with it. And very much enjoying the result. It has transformed an ugly old chest of drawers into a piece of furniture I can really enjoy. I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (mainly because it says you don’t need to sand or prime before you paint) and after adding wax, I’m pleased with the result. The chest is for little K’s room which is painted a pale pink. I was inspired to combine the pink and blue by the bunting on her wall and this funny little owl.
Here’s the chest before I set to work. I’m sure it has been upcylced once before – but whoever did that stripped it, waxed and and changed the handles. I really did not like the dull wood. Warm blue – green? Much better.
As you can see, my pumpkin pie turned out rather well – delicious. My roasted pumpkin seeds are tasty – salty and nutty – but a bit chewy. My pumpkin soup did not work so well – it looks beautiful but tasted a bit odd. So odd, in fact, we didn’t eat it. Shame.
While I am recoiling in horror from halloween with its uncalled for obsession with all things ghostly, ghoully and gruesome, I am very grateful that this year I have discovered pumpkins. I’m falling in love with their beautiful colour, so lovely and aumtumnul; I love everything that we can do with them that match so well our needs at this time of year: providing us with warmth, colour, light and hot food. So for the first time I made two pumpkin lanterns. I made a pumpkin pie. I am ready to make pumpkin soup. I am about to roast pumpkin seeds. What more could a body ask for? (Really, I should have photos of all of these lovely things but my lovely R is away with the camera.)
Once upon a time, a little boy whose name began with D brought home a sunflower from nursery. His Granny helped him to plant it in a great big plant pot. It was much smaller than he was. (That was on the 21st of June). It grew and grew and grew and grew. Soon it was over the little boy’s head.
It kept growing all through summer until it was nearly autumn. It grew taller than his daddy. Finally, the flower came out. The little boy had to stand on his Daddy’s shoulders to see the petals. It was 234cm tall. The sunflower opened the same day the little boy’s Grandpa left to fly home to Cape Town. It was like a big yellow flag waving good bye.
Summer has definitely come to an end here this last week. I’ve got out my boots and a warm jumper. We’ve lit the first fire in the stove and reluctantly turned the heating on. In the garden the plums on our tree are finally ripening. Our apple trees are weighed down with fruit. Rowan berries are bright. A few leaves on every tree are yellow among the green. After such a good summer, I welcome autumn: I love the brilliant colours and mild days; the yellow fields, the bales stacked high; I even enjoy trying out my warm clothes for the first time in months. But still I feel a little heavy at the thought of seven months of cold, layers, dark mornings and short afternoons. I’d better enjoy this time between the seasons while I can.
I like to think that I will make my children a present for birthdays and Christmas. Last year, I made K two little mice from Martha Stewart. This year, I decided on felt lollipops, sweets and ice-cream. I drew round some ice-lolly moulds, cut out two pieces, sewed them together, stuck the ice-lolly sticks in and stuffed them. Ta da! Ice-cream cones were made from a semi-circle of felt sewed onto a piece of card-board to stiffen them then simply stuck together into a cone shape. Large pompoms make ice-cream. Sweets I simply made from two strips of felt glued and rolled up. (I could have sewn where I used glue but I was making this late at night before K’s birthday.)
We also bought Kirsten a cash register. So we were all set for a play shop. Beads wrapped in tissue paper, plasticine lollipops, bars of chocolate (wooden bricks wrapped in foil and paper wrappers) and some cupcakes we already had completed the stock. Buttons seem to make the best money. A bag for shopping and “What would you like from my shop today, Mrs Bey?” (That’s what my kids say when we’re playing shops.)
So little K’s birthday party happened last Saturday. I imagine that it involved everything that a little girl could want: wings, a treasure hunt, cake, pink heart biscuits (thank you, Sarah!), bubbles, friends and family and lots of butterflies. We even had a Tinkerbell cake, complete with glitter (thank you, Great!). The guests were sweet: lovely and enthusiastic about all the activities. The sun shone and our tent in the garden was pretty and warm (thank you for putting it up, the two Mr M’s – it was the canvas from our gazebo, draped over our washing line). I think the tent was an inspiration: it looked pretty and gave the girls a place to play. We did face-painting there (thank you, Hannah!) and butterfly tattoos (thank you, Han-Marie!). We even read a story there at the end of the morning.
The party started with decorating their wings with sparkly stickers and ribbons. Next, looking suitably pretty, it was out to the garden to hunt for butterflies (thank you granny) and marbles (they sparkled beautifully in the wet grass). We only played a three games: musical statues, sleeping butterflies and pass the parcel. As they opened the parcel, each girl got a packet of beads and some elastic to make a bracelet. We blew bubbles and played on the climbing frame. We ate the cake half way through. The party finished with sausages and sausage rolls and jelly. There were plenty of adults around to help (granny, grandpa, two uncles, two aunties, one great-granny and a couple of mums). I couldn’t help but notice that, unlike at my boys party last month, there were moments of complete quiet. The girls were busy sticking or making or eating or sleeping (yes, in our equivalent of sleeping lions). Ahhhhhhh… lovely.
I have just waved goodbye to both my little people as they set off with Granny and Grandpa to be walked to school and playgroup respectively. I came in and sat down here for five minutes and read Kate’s blog about her little boy’s first day at school and although I had planned to post something else entirely, I realised this is the time of year where mother’s everywhere are letting go and feeling the wrench. I remembered this beautiful poem, written by C.D. Lewis for his son when he was 7. Its funny, as at the moment, my boy does not go eddying away from me but charges off to chase his friends all around the play ground. These moments will come though. Read it and relate and be grateful for the power of poets.
Walking Away by Cecil Day Lewis
It is eighteen years ago, almost to the day –
A sunny day with leaves just turning,
The touch-lines new-ruled – since I watched you play
Your first game of football, then, like a satellite
Wrenched from its orbit, go drifting away
Behind a scatter of boys. I can see
You walking away from me towards the school
With the pathos of a half-fledged thing set free
Into a wilderness, the gait of one
Who finds no path where the path should be. Continue reading