scenes from a birthday weekend

:: Saturday dawned early – there were last minute birthday gifts to paint (which then had their finishing touches embroidered on at 2am the following morning/night!) – good thing teenagers sleep late.

:: doors were re-hung by she who is the most adept at wielding the screwdriver, glass was polished and polished and polished and polished until we gave up and bought Windex (oh my, this sure does work!) and Lotte was given a moving time bath and carefully stacked in her new home.

:: a very late birthday present (only found on Friday afternoon, side up on the nature strip of Dandenong Road – 4 lanes of traffic either way) was discovered, claimed by the daughter as the perfect addition for under the window in her new room, stripped, and DRIED after it was inadvertently left in a freak shower of rain (whilst I drove the daughter and friends to the movies – oh how I cursed every rain drop and every car on the way home to my drenched chair).

:: the loveliest of birthday breakfasts – cloth wrapped, home made presents, hydrangeas from the garden, the birthday wreath reminding me that fifteen years have passed since that first love filled birthday morning, poffertjes with melted butter and icing sugar … and Julian, straight off the plane and into the candlelit kitchen just in time.

:: whilst the papa-daughter team raced Mario Karts, the birthday dinner was prepared to the accompaniment of button making, button pulling and general upholstery – what everyone’s kitchen looks like on a birthday afternoon.

:: and now, the day after the birthday, the daughter is at school, the husband is at work, the dog is at my feet, and I am left to bang the last pieces into place (don’t you love my high-tech upholstery gadgets – a wee antique silver salt spoon used to locate the screw holes for the arms) before getting stuck into teachers’ gifts (patchwork for the most-loved and peppermint bark for the little-bit-loved) and party decorations.

Sooooo looking forward to Christmas preparations – they will be so relaxing after all of this :-)


“today we must do something very special, for it will be a glorious day!’

Doesn’t Snufkin have the loveliest approach to living :-)

Oh we do so love the Moomins here at Bootville.  We’ve been hanging out in Moominvalley since Abby was a little girl with first the novels, then the story cd (read by the lovely Hugh Laurie), then the very kind and generous Anne of Finland sent us our own Moomin mugs and towel and fabric and music!  The day that box arrived was like Christmas!  Then the hardcovered Moomin comics – they are true beauties.

Surprisingly enough, Abby has never got into the animation – either the stop motion one (I think it’s Polish) or the drawn one.  We’ve watched a few minutes here and there but I don’t know – maybe it loses a bit of its mysterious magic when human voices are added to Moomin folk.  Mind you – I’ve just looked at photos of the wee puppets they used for the stop motion and oh they are so gorgeous.  Maybe we need to give it another go.  You can check it out here and see what you think :-)

Over the last couple of weeks there has been a huge revival of Moomin here.  I don’t know what brought it back to the fore of Abby’s imagination, but first the novels went off to school to be read from aloud at lunchtime and shared out to the friends – only one of whom had previously encountered Moominvalley.   Drawing ensued – lots and lots of drawing.  I’m told even Emma – who is not a drawer – has decided to hone her skill – practicing on Moomin and the Snork Maiden.  Even the teachers are getting into it – the English extension teacher is ordering them for her children.

But guess what happened on Tuesday eve!  Abby had come home from school and after doing her homework, cooked dinner.  Julian came home from work and helped.  I came home from babysitting and we all sat down to a lovely roast chicken and salad.  Then we cleaned up.  Then Julian and I plonked ourselves on the sofa  – and just as we were pondering what to do for the evening – or if indeed we had the energy for anything – Abby flew into the room, most distressed.  She’d left Volumes 1 and 4 of the hardbacked Moomin comics on top of the Myki (wretched ticketing system) machine at the school train station – oh dear.  Naturally, she and I headed off straight away to see if they were still there – and on the way we had that conversation that mothers and children who have lost things have.  “It’s not the end of the world.  It was a simple mistake – everybody leaves things somewhere at some stage in their lives.  We can replace them.  You never know they might still be there (4 hours later).  Maybe someone from school noticed them and thought ha!  I’ve seen Abby Boot with these books and will hand them in to lost property tomorrow.”  I stopped at the bottom of the station and Abby pelted up the ramp – moments later – she was back – with the books.  They were still there, neatly pushed to the back corner of the Myki machine.

Truly – I thought they would be.  If I saw that, I would think, oh dear, some poor soul has left their lovely books here – I’ll push them to the back and hopefully they’ll come and get them.  And I think that’s how most folk around here think – we’ve seen stuffed toys tied to lamp posts and wee shoes and mittens and beanies placed neatly on fences with big pebbles weighting them down.  Abby was over the moon. (I was relieved – oh the tears and guilt that I could foresee!)

Last weekend – it was stitchy Moomin.  On Friday (a pupil free day) Abby and I set off to Winterwoods nice and early for supplies – lots of felt and fleece and fresh felting needles.  Then to the oppies for a lampshade.  Then home to set our fingers to stitching.

Abby made a beautiful Snufkin – he has dear little trousers and a smock, a marvel of a hat with a leather hat band and a wee feather, a back pack with straps for carrying his bedroll, needlefelted boots and a knitted scarf.  Oh, I have adored watching Abby’s creations grow over the last few years.  They are becoming ever more detailed and complex as her skills become both finer and deeper.  She also whipped up a Moomin but declared him a little dull because he has no clothes – poor Moomin :-)

She’s drawn the patterns for the Snork Maiden, the Snork brother, the Hemulen and Little My.  As for me – I’m working on an applique for a cushion I started many suns ago on Mum’s back verandah.  But upon pulling it out of the heap on Friday, I discovered there were elements I no longer liked.  So the top two thirds of the tree were pulled off as were the yo-yo flowers.

On went a deep and long hedge of berries at the foot of the mountains – lingonberries or cloud berries?  The tree grew once more, this time in felt not fabric and I’m adding long wavy streamers of fern stitch and the trunk has been covered in cable stitch.  And given Moomin was glancing up into the tree, a bird has been added – a rather cheeky looking fellow who’s probably teasing Moomin.  New flowers have grown – felt of course, with embroidery – laisy daisy stitch for the stamen and a simple cross for the petals – still to decide what to do with their stems.  And there’s now the Hobgoblin’s hat waiting for Moomin under the tree.  I might have mentioned this before – I ADORE making pictures with felt and embroidery and I tell you, the moment this post is finished and published, I’ll be back on the sofa – washing up be danged – plying that needle some more.

The lampshade – we found a marvellous oblong one – like a tallish round one that had been flattened.  It’s for Abby’s desk lamp in her bedroom – with a Moomin scene stitched onto of course.

And we have supplies for a Moomin house – in felt.  We have wonderfully thick, thick blue felt for the walls – with a bottle of stiffy to be painted on for extra oomph – brown felt for the roof – which Abby is embroidering to look like shingles – and a wee bag of uniformly shaped pebbles for its stonework foundation.  Hopefully this weekend will see it begin – three stories with windows cut out, and little porches for the front and back doors.   Abby wants to set it all up on the seasons table – we will have a dear little Moominvalley for Christmas!

I do so love creating with my girl – and I especially love that we’re such good friends with the Moomins again.  Bliss!  As for you, dear reader, if you’ve not visited Moominvalley you simply must!  They are wonderful tales – with that marvellously strange, slightly dark Scandinavian edge.  Good for little ones and their grown ups.