Messy play for Matilda Mae – Butterfly Sun-catchers


I’m not sure how messy this was, but we definitely thought of Matilda Mae while making them! I like to think she’s in not only the rain but the sun shining on us and the first time I ever played the violin in her name, at a Classical Babies concert, a huge ray of sun shone through the stained-glass window of the church we were playing in, lighting up only my music stand and only for the movement that I dedicated to her, before disappearing for the rest of the concert at the last line of the piece. I felt that she was coming to say hello and I do associate her with sunshine still now. So stained-glass effect, beautiful, coloured sun-catcher butterflies just had Baby Tilda written all over them for me!

I saw this idea on pinterest yesterday and it’s not like me to actually do any of the things I pin so I feel pretty proud of myself! I’m also proud of myself because today is not going very well, parenting-wise and I need a break from my kids so bad! – just for a couple of hours – so brownie points to me for persevering with trying to turn a bad day good (if only to balance out the points I lost by shouting and drinking wine before 5pm…)

The idea itself is pretty simple but some of the steps are quite fiddly to execute, especially cutting out the holes in the template. I don’t know what I was thinking when I imagined Lucian would be joining in with this! We put Peppa Pig on for him to watch and he happily left us to it. So Gabs and I got on with it. To start I printed, onto the black card, the butterfly template from and drew around the outline in white pencil so Gabi could see well enough to cut it out himself (with his cute giraffe safety scissors which he loves!)

Apart from clipping the top off one of the wings and me doing the antennae for him I thought he did a great job. While I was cutting mine he got bored and drew around one of the other templates with the white pencil, also pretty neatly for a three year old.


Then he had to hand over to me to use the craft knife and the cutting board. This was the fiddly, slightly time-consuming bit. Gabs got bored and watched TV. I wasn’t amazing at this to start with (and figured it best to start with his so it merged better with his wobblier outline – it did look like a three year old did it to begin with!) but by the time I got to mine I’d got steadier.


The most fun part, from Gabs’ point of view was putting the glue on the template and sticking the strips of coloured tissue paper on in a rainbow-pattern. Then we had to wait patiently for the glue to dry which gave him time to get sent to bed for more naughtiness, whatever it was… there have been that many things today, I can’t remember.

After dinner, probably the best bit… we cut round the butterfly outline to get rid of the excess tissue paper and voilà: beautiful butterflies!! Gabs was delighted with them, especially once we strung them up to hang and twirl at the window and catch what little light there is today. Can’t wait to see them when the sun comes out, hopefully tomorrow!



Messy Play for Matilda Mae!

I was so pleased when Jennie announced her new Saturday linky:


It just fits so beautifully with what I feel the biggest impact of Matilda Mae’s little life has been for me. I wrote in Waltzes and Lullabies about how little Matilda’s love of ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ had brought lullabies and singing back into my and my son’s life within the first days after she passed but that really was the least of her little gifts to me and my family in terms of her legacy. The following Saturday, really struggling with a confusing but undeniable grieving stage for someone I never met and unable to even think about working, feeling that the only things which matter in life at all are my boys, I shut the laptop and took Gabs (3) and Luci (1) in the double buggy to Regents Park. We looked at the ducks, enjoyed the sunshine and each other’s company, played in the playground and had treats in the café and returned home feeling like a brand new perspective had been born and all my previous priorities were turned on their head. My instincts that this was not a passing phase are gradually proving true, as every Saturday since, come rain or shine has been My Boys’ Day. For those of you who have more traditional job roles and working hours, that one weekend day might not sound much, but for a freelance musician and small business owner, used to working random hours, most weekends and grabbing any chance to catch up on emails whenever the boys are occupied with anything else for more than two minutes together, it goes against all my instincts and habits.

And yet, it’s made me so much happier.

In fact, I’d say it’s given me a taste of what I’m missing all the other times when I stick them in front of a DVD to get work done or leave them with a babysitter to run or play a concert, or when they’re at nursery. It’s made me keener to spend even more time focusing only on them and to use my time with them more creatively.

So no working, no laptop, no cruising facebook on my phone, unless it’s to post a couple of photos of what we’re up to…

Of course I have Tilda and Jennie to thank for that! So since February our Saturdays already consisted of playgrounds, parks, soft-play, bubbles, painting and café-treats. Now, it will sometimes consist of some more creative, imaginative, messy stuff too… something a little outside the box!

[Haha… I just took a break from writing this to bath the boys and while I was putting his pjs on, Gabs said to me, “We should get some water balloons.” Sounds like someone else has plenty of messy play ideas of their own. Next week: water balloons it is!]

Now I must admit that this week we weren’t particularly creative or even that messy in our play. I’d been cleaning up vomit for the past two days as the boys had a sick-bug and wasn’t much in the mood for more cleaning and Lucian was still a bit poorly and not up for much playing. But I was thinking of Matilda Mae all day long and had selected some starry stickers and glittery paint with her in mind and some Peppa Pig stickers for Lucian who is currently obsessed. So I thought I would post about the not very messy, low-key art work we did in the afternoon. We chose Mozart’s original ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ Variations on piano followed by the Gigglebellies for our soundtrack, and of course Mummy had her glass of wine 🙂 Here’s how we got on:

Next week, water balloons!!!