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Archive for April, 2011

A boy and his fort.

Last week, with just two chairs, cushions and a blanket (which, of course, is all you really need), my husband made Keaton his very first living room fort. And as you can see, young Master Keats is pretty darn proud of it. He brought his prized musk ox stuffy in there (on its side, as you see) and all the pillows off the chairs and couch to make it just right in there. Usually a book or two, as well. Even though he’s only 19 months old, I think it’s still important for him to have his own little place to retreat to. And he seems pretty excited that it’s his very own fort.

I’ve always been interested in the landscape of childhood, and how as children we navigate the spaces around us – how as children we know our homes, classrooms, and neighbourhoods so well, including all the nooks and crannies (that alcove in the front room where you can hide during hide and seek, or the path that you’re convinced is enchanted in your local park). I’m interested in this so much so, in fact, that I based part of my MA thesis on it. And I’m a big believer in secret spaces for children – treehouses, forts, hidden gardens, favourite climbing trees, and the like. In Children’s Experience of Place, Roger Hart wrote that “[t]here may be a basic urge for each of us to surround ourselves with a known, and hence, safe space to which we can retreat in terms of danger or difficulty.”

Even if it’s just to have some autonomy from an adult’s world for a while in their own place, I think all children seek out their own special, secret spaces. When I was a kid my secret spaces were the cherry tree in our yard (one of the best climbing trees I’ve ever found) and my reading nook in my bedroom for which my mum had sewn two enormous pillows to recline on and read my beloved Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume books. In our old house there was a long closet in my bedroom (which we, of course, thought was pretty spooky) with a small, mysterious door on one wall of the long closet. I always imagined that behind the door there was a beautiful room that only I knew about. It had high ceilings and wallpaper that had big roses on it, and there was a huge chandelier hanging from the middle of the room. There were big couches and chairs made of plushy red velvet, and delicate little cakes on pretty plates covered in glass. It was my secret room. I never tried to open that door in the closet because I always wanted to keep the dream alive that the beautiful room was actually behind it.

But back to Keaton and his fort. He’s in there right now as I type this, flipping through the new bag of books we just brought home from the library. (Thomas the Take Engine ABC seems to be his favourite.)

I’m glad he’s so excited by his fort.

And usually, if you ask nicely, Keaton will allow you into his special space. Especially cool, fun grandpas.


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Okay, so needless to say I’ve been away for a while. A long while. More than six weeks, in fact.

While I’ve been away, and life has carried on, a few notable things have happened that I would like to share with you. In the last few weeks I’ve:

– Started another baby quilt, for my new nephew Kieren. In my last post I was still embroidering the patches. In the meantime I ordered a charm pack (oh, I do love a charm pack!) of Moda Hideaway fabric, which is covered in clocks and alpine-looking motifs, perfect for a little part-Swiss boy. The other night I put on Woody Allen’s Alice (oh William Hurt, my love for you has not waned) and sewed the whole quilt top together. So it’s almost done…

– Witnessed the birth of my aforementioned new nephew. A beautiful home birth. It was amazing, and transformative, and very moving. Keaton was totally freaked out by the whole thing and bawled all night, but that’s another story.

– Had some major thoughts about my creative process. When it comes to crafting, writing, or anything else in the creative realm, I am a binger. I’m not the type of person to sew a few stitches one day and a few the next, or write a page or two a day, slowly working toward my goal. That’s not me, even though I sometimes beat myself up for not working on my projects more consistently. Nope, I’m a work-on-something-for-many-hours-late-into-the-night-for-three-days-straight and then put it away for a while type of person. So, bingeing it is, if that’s the way I get sh*t done!

– Realized that I should probably tame my potty mouth in front of Keaton, now that he’s parroting everything I say.

– Gotten very stuck with both the creative writing projects I’ve been working on. But now slightly less stuck with one of them, which may in turn lead to some binge-writing. Fingers crossed.

– Been working with a web designer on a new website for my freelance copywriting/consulting business, Creative Cat Communications. It’s still under construction, but stay tuned for a link.

As I write this, a huge flash of lightning and a big clap of thunder boomed just outside my kitchen window. I think I shall go cuddle up under the covers with Josh and listen to the rain pouring down outside. Ahhhh.

Life is good.

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