It's that time of year again... you know, kastanienmännchen-making time.
Yeah, that's what I said. I'm pretty sure this is a European thing (my two friends, one Czech and and one German, have a long history making these funny little things), but it's possible that it exists in America and that I am just really late for the bus.
The idea is to go out in the woods, collect all the chestnuts (and acorns, twigs, pine cones, leaves, and other embellishments) you can, then come home and assemble them into little people, animals, and anything else that could, with some imagination, be considered animate. Also on the list of supplies: matchsticks, toothpicks, little woodworking tools (for drilling holes), googly eyes, pipe cleaners, craft glue, and permanent markers.
Two pals did all of the chestnut harvesting, and a small group of us gathered this afternoon for crafting. And scones. With the children, of course... and completely, self-sacrificingly for them. That was the intention, anyway; what really ended up happening was the kids toddled around doing their own things, and we quickly evolved into a team of mad engineers. At one point, one of our critters had a matchstick cigarette hanging out of his mouth.
Having a kid means you can do this kind of thing without feeling weird about inviting people over to do silly things. Infinite perks, this job has.