I’ve often said that H has the best ideas. I think it might be the extra time he spends away from the family, clearly it focusses him on spending the time he does get in the very nicest way. Sunday morning we came back from church without any fixed plans until later that afternoon. The sun was shining but the wind was icy and funnelling down the hill in that way that blasts through all your woolly layers and goes digging for your bones so the playpark, wide open on top of the hill, was rather out of the question, and we’d done quite a lot of Duplo and Playdoh and noisy music the day before so we were at a bit of a loose end.
“How about the studio?” he said.
According to our estate agent our studio is a conservatory, popped onto the side of the house by the previous owners and used, or perhaps just marketed by them as a dining room. It’s been H’s studio since we moved in, and when Elma’s imminent arrival turned our third bedroom back into a nursery, it’s been mine too.
It’s rather rammed to the gunwhales with paint and pins at the moment, and probably will be for quite a while longer. It’s completely enthralling as far as our eldest daughter is concerned; she loves all the colours of H’s paint, she loves to pick through a pile of fabric and choose “this one for me?”, and I suspect there’s a certain appeal in hanging out with so many things that she’s not really supposed to touch. There’s every sort of artist material under the sun, H’s books, the higher layers of my fabric stash, bits of felt, paper crafting supplies, and at the moment a turquoise feather floating around on the floor. I would have found it Mecca as a child. Well actually, I still do.
I don’t take the girls in there by myself, we do our art at the dinner table and I nip in and out for anything that we need, so Kitty was hopping up and down with excitement. H wanted the table for his picture, so he took his canvas off the big easel and lowered it down as far as it could go; perfect Kitty height.
For an hour or so she painted every inch of her canvas in just about every colour she could find. H looked at his picture, picked up the paintbrush, put it down again to squeeze out a new colour for Kit, picked up the paintbrush, looked at his picture, contemplated adding a little paint, and then put it all down again in favour of mixing up more colours for the master at work. I love that she turned her Daddy into her studio assistant in a matter of minutes.
And Elma and I squeezed in as well; Elma in her high chair, well supplied with teddies and books but mostly entertained by watching her sister and pulling on the ends of some ribbons that I’d tied to the laundry rack next to her, and me, I got to sew. Two sleeves on a little blouse for Elma. It doesn’t sound like an awful lot but it wasn’t really about productivity so much as companionship.
We’ve all been a bit hither and thither recently so it felt like such a treat to just be there together, all happily occupied in our favourite things (well I’ll accept H may prefer actually painting, but he seemed pretty happy mixing up for Kitty). We talked and Elma babbled, about whether there should be more purple, about how sweet Elma will look in her new outfit, about which one is silver and which one is gold, about the fireworks for the evening, and how wonderful Christmas will be. Nothing of any great importance, but a moment to treasure for its very ordinariness, the tiny progress towards another finished sewing project, and a lovely colourful painting for Kitty to put on her wall.