Yesterday I showed you the cover of our 2013 family Christmas card.
Today I'd like to share just a few of the outtakes (Because when you're dressing a chicken up and taking pictures of it there are a lot of outtakes. And because we think they're funny and why not have a bit of a chuckle on this, the last day of the year).
Here I am holding a fully costumed Pepper down while Emory gets the camera settings ready (she shoots in full manual mode).
Once she gave me the signal, I let go and she immediately began shooting in rapid. There's one split second where the chicken stands still, but then –
Pepper begins frantically trying to remove whatever that thing is on her head by shaking as hard as she can.
She is really not impressed with us.
We did attempt the photo shoot with some of the other chickens. Kiwi just shook her head like crazy and wouldn't even let us put the hat on at all. Yoko Ono was a champ at wearing the hat, but refused to put her head up for the camera. George managed to wear the hat upside down, like some sort of Christmas decoration for her wattles. And Matilda refused to let us even catch her (there was no way she was going to subject herself to that humiliation).
Oh, the adventures! I'm curious to see what Emory comes up with for next year's card.
Apparently Emory is not the only one to craft things for her horses! This impressive popsicle stick barn was given to her by an older girl at the riding stables who had made it years ago and has now outgrown it (oh, I hope that doesn't come too soon – the outgrowing of her toy horses). Emory's added her own creations to the existing barn and is happy to report that the horses – Jiminy Cricket, Northern Dancer, and Theodore – are enjoying their new stables very much!
Emory has been showing a lot of interest in photography lately so we decided to do a little bit every day for her "school". Unfortunately there are no classes available in town for an eleven year old who wants to learn how to use the camera so I've just been teaching her what I know (which is really not a lot when it comes down to it). Here, she's learning about aperture. When I learned about aperture I found it really confusing (the lower the f-stop number, the more light it lets in, the less of your photo is in focus – what?) but she got it right away and when I sent her off into the yard to experiment she came back with these. I love them!
What do you do when you really do not like all those stray bits of hair in your face but those plastic headbands with the little teeth in them really hurt your head? Well, you just knit one during the night when your mom thinks you're sleeping (and when you show it to her in the morning she'll be so amazed by your creativity and inventiveness that she couldn't possibly be upset with you for not going to bed)!
The ingenuity of this girl of ours amazes me pretty much every day. She's knit herself a headband!
Yesterday Emory came up to me and showed me this hat and scarf that she'd made as a Christmas gift for her four-year old cousin's doll. Really? I had no idea. Apparently, in the evenings while she was listening to her story on CD, she was also knitting. Oh, be still my heart!
The scarf/cowl is made using leftover sock yarn. Knit straight, with a little button hole on one end.
The hat (I love how pointy it is on the top – like a little gnome hat!) was knit in the round using some anonymous wool, who's label is long gone, from her stash. Now that I think of it, she did come to me one day asking for a reminder on how to make decreases at the top of a hat. Hmm...
Both of her creations are modelled here by Willie but will make their way over to warm up their true owner on Christmas Day. These last three pictures were taken by Emory, in order to update her Ravelry page.
We're busy writing and addressing and stamping and sending out our Christmas cards this week.
Emory's original design – a cut paper chicken, sort of Ezra Jack Keats style (this is really a lovely artist to look at for those children that love to save every scrap of 'interesting' looking paper!) on a watercolour background. The 'snow' is made by sprinkling salt on the wet paint and brushing it off once it dries.
(in the case that a card doesn't make it to your house – "We wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!")
As I walk about the house and see Emory's works in progress spread across both couches,
in her bedroom,
and in the studio (goodness me, I'm not sure I even want to know what's going on here),
I'm trying really hard to remember these words of wisdom, "one person's mess is another one's work in progress".
And if I'm being totally honest, it does remind me of someone else I know who has a million and one project ideas floating around in her head and would like to start them all at once. (Who? Me?)
Emory has always been the kind of kid that makes things from objects found in the recycling bin. Ever since she could talk we'd hear, "Are you going to throw that out? I can use that!" Even today there's evidence in just about every room of this house of something she's made or is currently making out of bits and pieces gathered from here, there, and everywhere. Emory's focus of late has been on outfitting her toy horses with all the necessities.
This plastic tray was saved from the recycle bin at someone else's house (that's right, we now have other people's garbage in our home)! These are stalls and it may be hard to see in the picture, but Emory's sewn hooks and eyes onto the trays to make the removable chains that hook across the stalls. Do you see what's lining the bottom of the stalls?
Why yes, it's pencil crayon shavings.
These tiny measuring cups are for storing feed.
And when you cover one of them with duct tape, it becomes a barrel for a western rider.
The 'hay' is raffia ribbon that a gift had once been wrapped in.
She made these jumps by painting scrap pieces of wood and the flowers underneath from origami paper glued to cardboard.
An old cardboard box has been turned into a wash stall (the 'hoses' are yarn wrapped around paper clips).
And then there's the manure – brown yarn tied in knots.
Yesterday Emory found the glue gun and some popsicle sticks in the bottom of the craft box and goodness me, has this ever opened up a whole new world! Cross country jumps and saddle stands were the first things to materialize.
When her work is done she heads out to the front garden and there she sits in the autumn sunshine with a mug of warm milk, a whole herd of horses, and just about everything they could ever need.