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….. Making pretty things
….. Simple living
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Three children (17, 15, 12)*** Two parents *** one dog *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That’s us!

We’ve been blogging since January 2010, about everyday happenings that bring us joy.

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advent calendar

A mouse with no name.

needlefelted mouse in walnuts head on

I made a mouse. Using wool from a sheep and a very sharp needle. I made a mouse. The idea has been playing dodgems in my head for a week. Every now and again bumping into my conscienceness, so believe me, I am thrilled to finally have it made.

needlefelted mouse head

It is all part of a new idea for counting down to Christmas. We have our advent truck, which each day a drawer is opened to reveal a tiny Fimo nativity character. Slowly the scene builds up, until the whole story can be told. My children love this family festive tradition.

We also have the tradition of each of the children making an advent calendar for each other. This too has been a treasured family event, but…..you could hear that coming couldn’t you?……as they grow, this is not catching their enthusiasm as much as it used to. This year we need to rest the tradition. Maybe next year, we’ll try again.

needlefelted mouse quilt

In the meantime, I would like something to replace it. This is where the mouse scuttles in. I am going to make a garland and a festive story. Each day, on the breakfast table, there will be a new page of the tiny book and a handcrafted object to go with it. The page, I hope will be read, and the object will be hung on the garland.

needlefelted mouse head and walnut

Fortunately, I have quite a number of crafting skills I can pull on. One day it might be knitted, another sewn and maybe the next origami. I could paint. I could make a paper cut, or even a bees wax model. Each day will be different.

needlefelted mouse head close2

The first one, to open the story, is a needlefelted mouse, asleep, or not so asleep,  in a walnut half shell. I like to imagine that he, or she, ate the nut one cold winter night and went to sleep with a lovely, full tummy. Maybe Mother Mouse frugally tucked away tiny scraps of fabric to make the precious, patchwork quilt.

needlefelted mouse in walnuts

And under the quilt, inside the walnut shell, is a bell. I’m hoping it will gently tinkle as the children hang this little mouse up on the garland.

The big question now is, what do I call this little mouse? The hero of my story. What do you think? Any ideas?


Linking up for the first time to Thinly Spread’s Festive Friday.

More than a countdown

Ever since my eldest two could wield a pair of scissors safely, the children have spent the last weekend of November making advent calendars for each other.

It usually starts with names being pulled out of hats to decide who’s calendar each of them will make.  This year the two older girls wanted to make one for each other. Not a problem, I made one for youngest son, who had no interest in joining in. Despite my bribery attempts. Far more fun, running around, pretending to be a “rhino plane”, although he did do a little of the painting.

Apart from it being a fun crafting activity for the children, the reason I introduced the activity in the first place, was to encourage them to think about what someone else might like. They also experience the joy of making something for someone else that they love. Does it work? Yes, the girls were inseparable this weekend and played without a single argument, joining their brother in.

As we sat round the table, cutting up last year’s Christmas cards, we chatted about the best parts of the celebrations. Decorating the house was high on the list, along with all the preparation running up to the big day. Receiving presents was big, but the memory of previous years family activities were talked about the most.

The craft activity takes a while, with breaks in between:

  1. Wait around while supervising adult remembers where she put the old Christmas cards
  2. Choose and cut up said cards, without your sister seeing which ones you have chosen. (slip interesting Christmas cards in her general direction in the hope she will use them)
  3. Wait around while supervising adult finds large enough paper to take all the cut out images.
  4. Paint front of advent calendar.
  5. Wait around while supervising adult finds glitter.
  6. Wait for calendar to dry
  7. Mark up calendar to show where the windows will go. (edited: mark up the front sheet, on the painted picture)
  8. Wait around while supervising adult cuts out windows with very sharp knife.
  9. Stick on pictures
  10. Number windows
  11. Wait around for 1st December.

The boiler at school broke down, so no school today. It gave the girls a chance to do the final glueing and labelling.

They are ready to go now. Each of the girls is excited about giving their calendar to their sister. Can I bottle this up and save it for one of those hard parenting days.

(aside: I encourage them to use glitter for this project. Usually other way round. As a child, I always had those advent calendars with no chocolate, lots of glitter and pictures depicting the Christmas story. Not sure if you can get them anymore. )


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