Draw the curtains, and suddenly you’re in Jones and Elsie’s magical little space. “The stories we tell all begin with ‘one day…’ and Jones now begins telling stories the same way. The theatre curtains are new to the playroom. Jones and Elsie can put on shows complete with spotlights and a rail to hang props.”
The cuckoo clock is more than just a beautiful, decorative piece. It’s a fun way for the kids to learn to tell the time. “They love it and run into the playroom from where ever they are in the house to see the cuckoo on the hour. A particular favorite for Elsie whose first words were Cuckoo!”
“We all love Oliver Jeffers. The first book I bought was ‘The Way Back Home’, when Jones was one. It’s the second in a series of books about a boy with a huge imagination and it reminded us so much of Jones. We have bought every book of his since.”
Elsie is especially fond of the little kitchen. After receiving high praise for her pretend pasta and salad meal, she’s now been promoted to sous chef, cooking real pancakes every Sunday morning.
The ‘Life is beautiful’ piece is there as a reminder to the children (and as Kathleen admits, for herself especially), to not get caught up in the daily stresses of life, but to take the time to play and enjoy it. “I feel so blessed to be able to spend these years at home with the kids. I want the kids to feel that too, to have a ‘slow life’ in these years before school.”
“The tiny monkey came to us in a treasure chest of hand me down toys from a friend. Jones named him Ben after one of Paul’s students who regularly has lessons at our house. Because of his size we can have lots of fun with him and make everything feel like you are in land of the giants.”
Kathleen’s favourite piece, the cushion both she and Jones made together.
A little trip down memory lane for all those Australian Gen Xers out there! “The Fat Cat cushion was originally Paul’s when he was a little boy. It was a bit worse for wear when his mum gave it to us a couple of years ago, so I pulled it apart and remade it. The denim patchwork background is made from Paul’s old jeans.”
Art and craft is a common pastime in the playroom.
“Before the kids get up, Paul or I set up the playroom where the toys come to life, something like the Yeti will be cooking pancakes or Ben the monkey will be caught in the middle of a gold heist. We call it ‘what’s happening in the playroom’ and we do it on most mornings.” Today… the Brontosaurus is munching on the yummy centre piece.
“The doll was a gift I had custom made for Elsie’s first Christmas and I refer to her as Bjork for obvious reasons. She was made by Melbourne artist Jenni Harley of ‘Cloth and Thread’.”
“The floor rug is a traditional American braided rug and was made by my very talented and clever mum. It is made from recycled and vintage fabrics, all pure wool which she collected for many years. It’s lovely and warm to sit on and never shows dirt, so is perfect for kids.”
“I remember how exciting it was to receive my own mail as kid and since Jones and Elsie receive some of their own mail throughout the year, I thought it would be a fun idea for them to have their own letterbox.”