Monday, 26 January 2015

Winter's Morning, Run to the Shore

On the days when our hands freeze as we write
When our breath floats out and hovers in the air
Like so many gulls suspended in flight
Let us run to the beach.

When huddling by the fire is no longer fun
And itchy arms long to stretch their wings
In the soft and low slung winter sun
Let us run to the sea.

Don't say we should be doing something else
Like reading or writing or 'rithmatic.
Let the dishes pile up on table, in sink,
Let the work wait, come quick,
Let us run to the shore
And plunge our toes into the soft sand.
Let us race right up to the surf
Stare it down, feel how grand
It is. And run from it laughing.

There is only today, here and now.
Yesterday is long gone and tomorrow
Is just a dream not yet invented.

Winter Reading : Our favourite Winter Books

Reading is a favourite passtime in the Winter. Rainy or cold days encourage nesting beside the fire or under the covers and we love to grab a stack of books and work our way through them. Here are some of our favourites from our Winter box.

Owl Moon (Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr)We have read this many many times and I never stop feeling the wonder and awe that this simple story of bird watching inspires. I wish I could be the little girl, I wish I could be the dad, after reading this I wish I lived in a snowy paradise. Lovely.

Eventually The sharp angles and drab colours are vanquished entirely ...

Snow (Uri Shulevitz)This book artfully captures the wonder of snow for children and their will to believe. 'It's only a snowflake' says the grandfather. 'No snow' insists the radio, the television, but the boy sees more and 'Snowflakes don't listen to radio, snowflakes don't watch television'... The town and its inhabitants are transformed in this magical story.

Winter" - part of a series of illustrated board books about the ... 
 Winter (Gerda Muller)A delightful board book with no words just wintry pictures of children enjoying the season.
Lundi - Anne Herbauts

Lundi (Anne Herbauts) I love this Belgian author's poetic style and imagination. All her books and exquisitely illustrated and some of the most beautiful we own with their mix of collage, water colour and printing> The world they inhabit is marvellously 'farfelu' a French word for crazy, strange. Lundi is in French and has a fair bit of text. If you don't read French try Petite Météoroligies which has no text just delightful little windows to open or De Quelle Colour est le Vent


The Big Snow (Berta and Elmer Hader) We love books about animals and this is no exception. The line drawings and watercolour paintings are very realistic and pretty and we all love hearing about how the different birds and animals prepare for winter. When the Big Snow finally comes the little old couple's actions are heart warming and inspiring.


Sunday, 25 January 2015

Winter in Brittany

Winter in Brittany is steam rising from the valley on days when the dew freezes on the grass. It's condensation on the windows and freezing cold hands when you type and write. It's endless cups of tea and hovering in front of the fire and knitting away at anything that might keep us all a little warmer. 

This being first and foremost a holiday house it has always suited the family to have a special electricity contract which means most of the year our electricity is a little less expensive per kwh than the cheapest hours of a peak time/ off peak time kind of contract. The downside is that 22 days of the year it switches to EJP. The letters of doom which means electricity is 5 times the price per kwh and we need to reduce consumption as far as is realistically possible. It's actually quite a fun challenge. Practically speaking the electric radiators are set to anti-gel (normally the setting for when we're not here) and we are cooking in bulk at the weekends (no EJP then) so as to only need to reheat on the electric hobs and not use the oven. Lights are going on only when really needed and we're using the teapot and it's pretty tea cosy a lot more than we normally do. Needless to say first person up gets a roaring fire going and we all stay pretty close to it throughout the day to keep warm. 

It's not all bad though. Having practically all our meals cooked on Sunday frees up loads of time for doing other things the rest of the week. Like birdwatching and medieval castle making (more on this later I hope), excellent cowgirl style bootie knitting and fun crafting. The need to be closer to the fire and the natural light has led us to a living room reorganisation we're all delighted with and then there's always the beach. This time it was Gavres with its sea wall providing perfect protection from the wind and making it lovely and warm with the right woollens, coats and snow boots - I hate cold feet, in my case they inevitable precede sore throats and colds. 

Look out for a poem inspired by all this any day soon...

Friday, 16 January 2015

Apple Print Bags

At last. After being unrealistic about how much free time I would really get around Christmas and away from home, I am finally back and determined to fulfil one of my New Year's intentions - to blog once a week. At least. 

So here's a beginning, photos of the finished apple bags that lay under the tree on Christmas morning for the kids to unwrap and delight in their finishedness and they were really pleased. I am so happy about where this simple bit of printing took us. From the banners that they just don't want me to take down because they make our living room look so homey to these lovely, unique and functional bags it's been a really fulfilling process. So here they are in order, Maya's (she really enjoyed pressing down hard with the apples, Lotta's and Noah's apple bags.

While I wasn't blooging ahem, we had a lovely time in England enjoying the quiet peacefulness of rural Leicestershire. FYI Lotta's hat is the Pointy Elf Hat from More Last Minute Knitted Gifts (ravelry) knitted by me and her sister, her gloves I knitted years ago for another child and all I remember is they're doubled to be really warm. Oh and because everyone always asks, the coat is from the lovely people at IE one of my favourite boutiques in Paris (ie). And Noah's beautiful green cardigan which goes so well with his car boot sale skinny jeans was made with love by his grandma, originally for his big cousin Isobel but getting a lot of wear from him now - it's like a hug from grandma he says happily everytime he puts it on. Now isn't that an incentive to keep knitting and making things yourself if ever you heard one!