Thursday, April 30, 2009

Rainy Day Projects

Today I woke up to the sound of rain and thoughts of making chicken noodle soup. From the first hours, today was a day that seemed to want to take its time, and in accordance, meant for us to take our time. What better day to begin a project: something a bit meticulous and time-consuming, out of materials soft-to-the-touch, for the purpose of being used on other slow, rainy days?

Some of my favorite memories revolve around the one rainy day that seemed to befall my family every summer on our vacation to one of Kentucky's lakes. The usual outdoor activities put on hold, my grandmother would round up my willing sisters and cousins and we would play Scrabble, tucked safely beneath a covered outdoor patio. As we tried to best one another on the game board, the rain fell just feet away, strong and steady, most times not letting up until late in the day. Until this moment, I had never stopped to think about what a gift that rain was, driving us all in from the damp to the warmth that was my grandmother.

Audrey is not quite ready for Scrabble. But she does seem primed to be introduced to her letters. Lately, she has learned what constitutes an identical match. We don't own the game Memory (another favorite from childhood), but I think Audrey could master its concept. So today, armed with a ridiculous pile of felt, a needle threaded with some embroidery floss, and a rainy day, I got to work making our own Memory game of sorts.

I found a font I liked on the computer, typed the alphabet, increased the size to 150% and printed the letters out. After cutting them out, I used them as pattern pieces to cut the letters out of my felt. Then, I cut out squares, a dark gray square for the back of each game piece (shown below) and varied colored squares to be used for the fronts. Of course, each piece has to be made twice. I embroidered the letters onto the fronts before pairing them with a back and stitching them up the sides. (I realize that we'll end up with 52 pieces, which may seem like a bit much for a 2-year-old, but I figure we can use them a few pieces at a time, concentrating on just the letters we want to focus on that week). Due to nature of the project (all hand work) and the interruptions for tickle fights, cuddling on the couch, and making and eating chicken noodle soup, I finished just one game piece. This seemed like such a simple task when it first occurred to me. I suppose I should be a little discouraged. But as I type, hearing the dog snore under the table near my feet, it seems like - well, that sort of day.

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