Im aware that I’ve arrived a bit late to the Pinterest Party. I arrive a bit late to most things if I’m honest. ‘Small children’ is the excuse I trot out in most cases, though a friend I’ve known for more than twenty years helpfully pointed out that it was no different LBK (Life Before Kids). Which is why, she explained, she carries a book….
But my excuse for not finding Pinterest until now is different. Like both Instagram and Twitter (of which I’m also an infrequent user) Pinterest feels a bit overwhelming. An infinite supply of information that my brain seems unwilling to process. And perhaps I’m also still asking the question “why“? They say a good invention provides a solution to a problem….but I’ve never found myself wishing that total strangers would offer me their observations in 140 characters or less multiple times a minute. Or that they would share with me on a regular basis artfully shot photos of their dinner. Or that they would show me their collection of magazine tear sheets via virtual pin boards. Hmmm….. hang on a minute. I’ve often bored others with physical moodboards so having an opportunity to check out other people’s online…..surely that has my name all over it?
With a bit more time on my hands of late (and by that really I mean time forced to be sat still….not really time) I decided to dip my toe into the ocean of images available and on doing so have, perhaps inevitably, become a bit obsessed. My activity on the site is certainly not causing a worldwide stir….I think I have two followers. Perhaps not even that many. But what I do love is the opportunity to gather inspiration from across the web and keep it all in one organised place.
Ideas for the garden are coming thick and fast. Not that the garden really needs any more ideas …..but what mum of two boys wouldn’t be tempted by the thought of a mini track for cars, a fully functioning mud pie kitchen or a tarpaulin water slide? The reality though is that we have no room for any of those things and more importantly, the novelty would likely be shortlived. Even the new sandpit, after a joyous first reaction, is now rarely used. Possibly something to do with the fact that the neighbours cats are currently using it much like a Portaloo so new sand has had to be ordered and a lid fashioned effectively but temporarily from garden trellis.
“I’ll make a hinged flip up lid for it and we can paint a seaside mural on the underside” S surprised me by announcing the other day.
“Ooo yes” I exclaimed. “Or what about blackboard paint?”
“I said. I’ll make a hinged lid and we can paint a seaside mural on it.”
I’ve never seen S paint a mural in his life so I’m imagining he means I will paint one. And clearly he’s rather wedded to the idea so a seaside mural it will be. However. Always a woman who likes her own way I may well paint it in coloured blackboard paints and claim it a creative compromise…..with boats and people and ice creams and shells all to be chalked in later by four year old fingers.
Another Pinterest idea I’ve fallen in love with, imagining it again as having a home in the sandpit, are these number stones. O is getting rather good at sums. “Do you know?” he will oft ask “what three and two make?” “No, I don’t think I do know” is along the lines of the required response allowing him the opportunity to triumphantly announce the answer having first worked it out using his little chipolata fingers. Therefore I figured if I used the stones for letters instead of numbers he could continue using them as objects in which to add and count as well as possibly beginning to learn to spell a few words. His own name he has down already but I started off with that, before adding ‘daddy’, ‘mummy’, ‘Baby A’, our surname and three of his friends names for good measure. Once he gets better at spelling I figured we can then use the letters to make other words and add new letters whenever we visit the beach. The stones are now awaiting a coat of exterior varnish before being added to the sandpit where our version of kiddie Countdown can commence.
With an Indian themed summer party planned, outdoor lighting has also featured on my wishlist and a quick romp around Pinterest offered these jam jar tea light holders as an economical solution. Pesto jars, jam jars and peanut butter jars have all been used and once again S proffered his creative opinion….
“You could get some glass paint and paint henna-style patterns on them”
Hmmmmm,” thought I. Glass paint has duly been ordered. Quite whether my artistic skills are up to it is another matter, but I’ll be sure to let you know.
A less successful garden idea tried this week were these hoop hideouts. S and I have been debating the merits of a playhouse for the best part of a year and have concluded, finally, that a wooden permanent structure is unlikely to be the way to go. As an alternative I whipped one of these up in seconds using a leftover sheer curtain panel and a hoop found under the spare bed. The result was disappointing…. the diameter of my hoop being too small to offer O the enveloping enclosure he wanted. And despite my attempts at weighting it down a little by fastening pebbles to its hem using elastic bands, it wafted around behind our picnic like the curtain it indeed was.
However, a trip to Godstone Farm offered food for thought. Two verticals and a horizontal plus a bundle of long branches provided O and his friend with a creative opportunity to build their own den before sitting smugly within it eating biscuits.
“What about this for the garden?” I emailed S.
But I’m not preturbed.
“I stay silent,” S explained (in the grooms speech) “until an idea is repeated. Only then do I consider it ‘on the table’ and feel I need to respond. Quite often I don’t hear about it again…….”
I think he’ll hear about this one again. Or indeed he might just come home to find it done. Perhaps on a slightly smaller scale. I think it might make use of the sorry spot in the shadow of our fruit trees where the grass dislikes growing and weeds are appearing in its place. What I might use as ground cover I don’t yet know. Bare soil as above? Wood chippings? Gravel? I continue to ponder….
Moving momentarily indoors my last creative project this week has been a Lego table. The idea was buried in a Pinterest post entitled something along the lines of ’30 Ikea Hacks Every Parent Should Know’ and required items already in my possession, namely two ‘Trofast’ storage units. The hack suggests fastening these together back to back to create a table, on top of which a Lego base board is stuck. The drawers beneath are then used to store the bricks. In our house modifications were needed. The back to back suggestion creates a humdinger of a table and proved too big sat as it was in the centre of the snug. So instead I left the units in their run along one wall and stuck, with double sided tape, a base board atop the last one. Simple as that. Compartments were then bought for brick organisation and the process of ordering our multicoloured bucketload into brick ‘styles’ commenced. Sooner than anticipated and helped along by S’s observation that the operation was an utter waste of time, I lost my Lego mojo and tipped the lot indescriminately into a tray. That, I decided, is as organised as our Lego is ever going to be.
And finally, inspired by the many images of gorgeous terraces I’d perused in search of pergola inspiration, I decided ours needed a bit of a clean up. The greenhouse has been put away for another, hopefully more successful, seed-raising year. The potted olive tree has been moved away from a honeysuckle I’d like to enjoy and couldn’t, hidden as it was behind the olive’s foliage.
The plastic trays and pots I hoard for my seed growing have been edited and a selection boxed and placed on S’s workbench in his newly organised shed in the hope that he’ll find an over-wintering spot for them. The terrace was swept ready for this weekends jet-wash, a potted lavender planted in the main bed in a bid to keep it hydrated longer and a final touch…..the wooden table made from a slice of trunk and a few branches, found years ago discarded on a pavement in Amsterdam, has been placed artfully on its side and nestled within a flowerbed.
“Did you see I put the table there as a sculpture?” I asked S, pointing from the window as the rain did it’s very important job of watering the garden.
“Ah. I did see it. Though what I didn’t know was that it is now a sculpture. Instead I thought ‘what on earth is that table doing in the flowerbed?’ But now I know……”
And off he went to consider his mural. Or forget all about the house completely and watch House of Cards. Yes. Probably the latter. I joined him on the sofa, tucking under his arm, content in the knowledge that there are still more great ideas only a Pin away…….