This is a house around the corner -- I think of it as the extremely straight house, as opposed to our crooked one. It always looks so tidy and never more so than at Christmas time, when it has matching wreaths on every window and large floodlights to show it off at night. All the photos in the post were taken with the Hipstamatic for the iPhone, which I am loving.
A different Christmassy house in the neighbourhood, a different setting on the Hipstamatic.
Luke tells me he prefers "coloured lights and animals" to our bland white lights. This is down the street from us.
Another house in the 'hood, a really big one.
Luke and I and his orange monkey.
The two final shots are of our front door -- I can't tell you what Hipstamatic settings these are because by the end of the walk my fingers were freezing and I was just shaking the iPhone to randomly change them.
Swoon. There's only one book rest lamp left. Quick, go buy it for me for Christmas.
All available from my house party. There's something appealingly Christmassy about them but you could use them all year round, too.
Paper village pop up holiday cards.
Sweet shop pop up holiday cards.
They also have pop up Christmas trees, snowmen, skaters, stained glass ornaments, doves and more, most of them by paper artist Robert Sabuda, who incidentally offers instructions for making a variety of pop up cards on his site. The Christmas tree is supposed to be good for beginners.
Closest. I was trying to see if there was a miniature church service going on inside.
It's all Starry Night all the time around here lately.
So here it is, 3:50am and while Sylvie is sleeping like a dream, I'm wide awake. I fell asleep around 8:30pm and David snuck her out of the room so I wouldn't wake for her feeding in the middle of the night -- which of course meant he had to stay up long past his agreed-upon shift -- and I woke up, a bit confused and surprised, a little after 2:00am. I think that's the longest stretch of sleep I've had since she was born. He brought her back to bed around 2:40am, fast asleep, which meant I should have been able to sleep for another two, three, or even four hours. But I haven't been able to -- my mind's been racing.
My mind isn't the only busy one around here. Ever since Sylvie was born, Luke's been doing a lot of deep thinking. He came to me a couple of days ago with a perplexed look on his face.
"Mama?" he said. "Why doesn't Bella [our female cat] have a genie?"
I stared at him, in incomprehension.
"And why doesn't Theo [our male cat] have a penis?"
Suddenly understanding, I explained that they both have the appropriate boy and girl parts, it's just that they're rather hard to make out under all that fur. And then I held a pillow over my face so he wouldn't see me laughing like a seventh grader over "genie." Although we always use the proper names for body parts whenever discussing them -- hence the child's familiarity with the p-word -- I must say that "genie" is the best diminutive for the female parts I've ever heard, including Oprah's infamous "vajayjay."
In other news, on Monday night this little-known blog got 10,000 hits in ten minutes, when the television show Jon and Kate Plus Eight featured Crooked Houses, a company in Maine that makes custom playhouses (and t-shirts that I covet). They happened to do it on the episode in which they announced their divorce -- if you're not up on this, I guess you don't read the covers of the tabloids while waiting at the checkout stand in the grocery store -- and the ratings must have been through the roof. So if you're here looking for them, well, you're welcome to hang around but you really should go there. And you Crooked House Playhouse people, please do feel free to come install a playhouse for Luke and Sylvie, too. There are only two of them -- but sometimes, like at 3:50am, they can feel like eight.
There was a crooked man, and he went a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile,
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a crooked little house.
From The Glorious Mother Goose, a library book Luke picked out yesterday. Published in the 80s, it's got lots of nice vintage illustrations including this 1922 one by prolific children's illustrator L. Leslie Brooke. You can view a lot of his work at Project Gutenberg. My favourite is this undated one by Jennie Harbour, accompanying "See, saw, Margery Daw":
I can't find much about Jennie Harbour online, except that, in addition to illustrating nursery rhymes and fairy tales, she did a lot of postcards in the Art Deco period and that they command a good price among collectors.
Our house*, a hundred-year-old Queen Anne, looks tall and narrow from the front yet it’s surprisingly large and roomy in the rear. Its age shows – it lists a little to one side, as if it’s suffered the architectural equivalent of a mild stroke. And there’s an odd blank space on its face, something regrettable about the arrangement of the front door and the street-facing windows, that makes it look as if it’s got only one eye. (You know, if houses had faces and eyes.)
Unfortunately, we could only afford to re-shingle half the roof this year. And, ominously, the exterior paint-work is beginning to peel. Inside, we've managed to re-do only the wood floors on the first story. The ones upstairs are still covered in a distressing "dusty rose" carpet. This summer, David hurt his neck after we tore down the old wallpaper but before we were able to put up the new stuff.
The place suits us perfectly.
While I was mulling over the name of this blog, I googled the words, to find out what kind of company we'd be keeping. There are crooked houses for children, one for beer-drinkers and one for those who prefer to drink coffee or tea. (There's a secret passage to Windsor Castle in the basement of that one: "This is reputed to have been used both for the illicit meetings between King Charles and his mistress, Nell Gwynn, and for taking provisions to the castle kitchens." You know, whichever. "Hey Nell! If you're going that way anyway, could you take this tea? And this coffee? And this boar's head?") Check out these oddball structures as well.
This blog shares its name with not only the nursery rhyme but also a mystery novel by Agatha Christie and a Heinlein short story, in which an architect builds a house in the shape of a tesseract net and then gets trapped inside the thing. (Some days I know just how he must have felt.)
*The photograph at the top of this page is not our house. I took the picture of that beautiful wonky building in Paris, in the fashion district, in June. It's actually a kind of screen behind which, I assume, they were doing renovations on a similar, but much straighter, building.