A friend of mine who works in a bookshop gave the girls an audio book copy of Enid Blyton's The Faraway Tree, read by Kate Winslet. It took a little while for them to get into it, but they love to listen to it now, and it's been a pretty handy thing to have on the long car rides to Bundaberg. There are three books in the trilogy, and when you've spent 16 hours listening to the lot of them, you find you really want to do something more, or maybe that's just me?
Anyway, I've made a Faraway Tree. From cardboard. Glorious cardboard. We had a real growing collection under the house, and I knew it was time to use some after the last tidy up down there. Steve was pretty happy to see it getting used.
I feel I must look like a stalker when I say that I got the inspiration for this particular incarnation of the Faraway Tree from Ikatbag, who made one for her own girls here. But it really is a coincidence. And there was no point reinventing the tree, so to speak, given that there were already good basic guidelines to follow right?
Here it is, in it's tall cardboard glory. My cardboard supplies came from my parents, (thanks for getting those new outdoor chairs and the bunk bed for the kids!) and also a random box that I picked up somewhere. I was using it to segregate the children in the car when they start to get annoying. Let's hope I don't need it for that anymore...
This Faraway Tree has a working wash basket lift, that you move up and down by turning the dowel at the top. The children love this particular feature, especially Hugo. He was the first to really investigate it. I hid the turning mechanism by cutting a channel in the top of the tree for the dowel to lie in.
There is a hole at the top of the tree, with the ladder leading up to the land above the cloud. The girls love to pretend there are all sorts of lands there, just like in the book.
Here is Moonface's round tree room with the ladder just outside. The most exciting feature of Moonface's room is that in the middle it has the start of the Slipery Slip, which goes all the way down the tree to the bottom and is by far the fastest way of getting down again after you have climbed up.
You can see the slippery slip going down the middle of the tree in the photo below. It does go all the way down to the bottom. Hugo initially tried to put cars down it, but they didn't fit. Thankfully.
The tree also has little windows and doors that open and close for the people who live there, and also for visitors.
The little people who live in the tree at the moment are actually just peg dolls that I painted ages ago, (and the girls painted one each actually), that loosely look like Disney Princesses, but the girls have renamed to be tree characters without much fuss. That said, they have put a lot of other things in the tree, including the wooden Koalas (who blend in and are hiding in some of these photos), and all of their soft toys. Hugo has also housed some cars at various points.
One thing I do regret about this tree, is that I got so excited about making it as big as I could with the cardboard that I had, that I kind of made it too tall. Rachel (pictured with the tree below), can not see the land at the top of the tree unless she stands on tip toe, which makes it very hard for her to play there. Not that there will ever be a next time for this tree (I don't think), but if there was one, I'd make it shorter.
Since these photos, I've let the kids glue green "leaves" on (scrap paper, ripped up), to give it a bit more colour.