I feel fizzy and buzzy today with the onset of Spring; it’s been a weekend of brilliant sunshine – and yes, chills; but sunshine nonetheless – and we’ve been flung into a happy frenzy of sorting and organising, relegating winter firmly to the loft as we coax the seasons into changing. The kitchen door has stood open for hours, with Harry racing in and out and the pleasure of taking cups of tea to just stand, faces to the sun, breathing in the Springtime.
It was time to give The Fir Lady a new set of clothes…
I dressed the mannequin in a roll of chicken wire and then draped a length of green fabric around to create a backdrop, and then simply walked around the garden, snipping stems and gathering fallen branches and the bark shed from an old tree. A few faux flowers and a bunch of twisted willow and pussy willow from the local garden centre completed her skirts.
I created a kind of corset by tucking lengths of bark into an elastic shoelace tied tightly round her waist, like this…
…and then covered it with feathers to disguise it a little. I tucked tiny nests and a couple of birds (leftover from Christmas!) into her dress, to create the illusion of a hedgerow, with all the business and new life to be found there. Also, so that when friends are propped up on our kitchen bar stools nursing a glass of wine there is always something new to see when you look closely at her.
Our Lady of the Springtime will be a work in process, whose skirts grow and fill as Spring unfolds; when our magnolia tree comes into bloom I will tuck a budding branch into the tableau, and as the apple and cherry blossoms wither they can be replenished with new cuttings. It’s here I offer thanks for a husband who cheerily tolerates the endless traipsing in and out of armfuls of flora and fauna, and the weary army of ants and other insects who labour a well-trodden path back out towards the garden, having found themselves unwittingly relocated.
For now she lives in the kitchen, where she looks almost as if she has glided in through the door one misty morning (you can see below in the un-cropped shot with the temporary backdrop). If Easter is as sunny and dry as we’re promised though, I think I’ll leave her outdoors for her final fling, so that she can mark the start of our annual egg-hunt and provide a decorative, watchful eye on proceedings..
If you want to have a go at making faux birds-nests, my original notes can be found here… they are also a beautiful (and simple!) way of gifting easter eggs – I’ve just used up some cardboard packaging I’d saved from from Ikea by painting it with some paint samples I had, fitting a simple hand-curled bunch of sisal into the bottom and adding some enticing, freshly-laid praline eggs in the nest; if you’re a crafty type, it’s definitely worth having a look at any leftover boxes you may have and seeing what could be given a simple makeover for Easter..
And now the light is fading and Sunday evening beckons; we have a couple of great films lined up and the wood burner stacked and ready to be lit; small pleasures are the best ones. Enjoy the last few hours of the weekend, and have a great week ahead.
p.s. cherry blossom from the garden adding a spark of colour to the family bathroom