Monday, 5 September 2011

Our summer, rubber-stamped

I'm not here to reflect about summer. School may start tomorrow, but it's also just another day. I don't want to go all End of An Era on you.

I do think it's important, though, for the Lattes to remember that summer brought something different; that experiences were had. I usually buy scrapbooks in the summer and, though the scrapbooks will probably never get looked at again, I like the process of sticking down memories, of marking the fact that something special has taken place.

Also, it gives me something to do with the masses of flyers and brochures for castles and gardens and other attractions that we always pick up and end up bringing home.

It's not, to be perfectly honest, a pretty process. The Lattes are not careful scrapbookers. Stickers are slapped on. Jaggedy lines are cut. Writing is minimal and rarely legible; the scrapbook usually stops abruptly after several pages.

Still. It's all about the process, isn't it?

Many of you will remember the legendary blogger known as Eurolush. Every day without her online is another day of mourning - for her stunning nature photographs, her sewing expertise, and her own particular brand of bonkers. When the time came for her to pack up and leave Germany, the Lattes received the most enormous and spectacular parcel - craft materials outgrown by Eurolush's daughter. There were alphabet stickers of all different colours; gorgeous picture stickers in little plastic packets. There were hundreds of pipe cleaners, and a whole boxful of rubber stamps, including a set of alphabet stamps with the 'e' missing. (To be fair, we were quite hysterical opening the parcel. We probably lost the 'e'.) Cutting and sticking in the Coffee House moved up a good few notches that day, let me tell you. But there were times that we really wanted to say something with an 'e' in it.

So when the Wooden Toy Shop emailed to ask if I fancied trying some of their toys, it wasn't hard to make a choice.

Now and then I'm offered toys to blog about, but more often than not I turn them down. This website struck a chord because some of their other stock brought back memories. The peg puzzle - the puzzle of choice for the disabled toddler with fine motor difficulties, to whom jigsaws are a ridiculous impossibility. The easy-access doll's house, which stood temptingly in the Child Development Centre through early physiotherapy sessions. This poppy-uppy thing. I'd searched far and wide for toys like these when Eldest was small, and here they all were in one place.

Even now, the wooden toy doesn't disappoint. Eldest might have long outgrown her peg puzzles, but now she wants to get her art things out and make posters. (Often these posters say: "No Entry! and "Go Away!" and are stuck to her bedroom door. You know. Whatever.) These stamp sets are great, and though they come with water-based ink it's easy to upgrade them with ink pads from the art shop, some embossing powder and a heat gun to help her achieve a more glimmery effect (which I have completely failed to capture, below).

(I was also sent a chalkboard eraser, just for me. A few years ago I thought it would be a great idea to paint a wall with blackboard paint. I was thinking along the lines of something like this when I did it, but what I actually got was a constant smudgy, scribbly mess. Beware the dreams that Blogland sells you, boys and girls.)

Anyway - back to the scrapbook. After the leaflets were snipped to pieces, we tried mind-mapping our holiday after getting Mind Maps for Kids - Max Your Concentration and Memory out of the library. I loved this process - of remembering things we had started to forget, of getting out the colouring crayons and talking over our summer. It made the thought of what was coming - the school uniforms, the packing of lunches, the loss of time - just that little bit more bearable.


  1. Mine? Probably watched another repeat of Top Gear on Dave. Sigh. I miss the wooden toy stage.

  2. oh rubber stamps, haven't done that for a while. mmmm last day today and it's WET, could be onto a winner x

  3. Boys just live for the here and now. I tried the scrapbooking thing... nope, no can't do.

    I'm a horder and love to keep memories in order. Since we got married 11 years ago I have made 25 big photo albums with various brochures and tickets etc.

    Bit anal I know.

  4. I keep boxes, mostly of unlabelled, undated objects that when they resurface trigger somehat indistinct memories.

  5. projectforty - do those boxes by any chance get stuffed in the loft? Are you me?

  6. *Stands tall, takes bow. Tries to remember where she put the "e".*

    Well done Latte girls! Your scrapbooking is adorable & awesome at the same time!

    With Love--eurolush aka "California's Palest Body."

  7. I have grand plans of pinning cinema tickets stubs to the wall in the loo (always aiming high, me...). I saw it once in a film and it looked cool. Of course, what actually happens is that they sit stuck to the bottom of my handbag with the melted chocolate raisins that scatter everywhere when I tip the box over in the cinema... C.x

  8. Our version of scrapbooking is The Summer Box-each summer we label a large ziplock baggy with the year and put all of our little souvenirs, etc. into it. Then the baggy goes into The Box. It's fun to pull out a particular year and see what we did, and it doesn't take up much room, but it's not nearly as lovely as an actual scrapbook!

  9. Oh Eurolush ... where are you ...
    I tried emailing her yesterday but got no response ...
    Miss her so much! She could strike you cords ... Eleanor's ... everyone's!

  10. I tried scrapbooking with mine this summer, but the books got hijacked for a 100 other purposes. Then my parents came camping with us for a bit, brought a scrapbook supply box, and my 3 disappeared into my parents' little caravan and didn't come out again until everything was used. And then there was a huge cheer (i'm not making this up) when my mum put some toilet roll tubes on the table. More sticking! More drawing! And extra: shouting in each other's ears!

    BTW, embossing powder and heat gun? That sounds like something from Harry Potter, but I guess it isn't. Like the effect!!

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