I’m not sure where I get this idea from, but here’s the seed: In Germany (really? I’ll have to check with my German friends) for Christmas, children get a new Ostheimer wooden animal every year. Which means that by the time they are 12, they have 12 of these beautiful toys.


Who guessed the Christmas wooden animals that Finn is going to get will be hand made by me?


Of course I’ll be making them myself!


Late in November, I asked Finn what animal he wants.

“A lion!” he shouted. Never mind that he already has two soft toy lions and two wheeled lions, one of which is wooden already. The heart wants what the heart wants, and this little heart wants another lion. My best guesstimation is that it is because lions chase away wolves. So there can’t be enough lions around.


I whittled Gift Lion from a piece of birch wood that a friend gave me from his garden. It’s a beautiful piece of wood, and I was a bit sad to chip away the bark … until I hit the first soft spot. It was so frustrating: most of the block is decently hard (a bit more than the wood I had made Tim from) and the rest actually crumbled under my knife. I ended up filling large pitted portions up with wood filler.


It wasn’t ready in time for Christmas, luckily Finn is only almost-3 so he didn’t mind (I hope). The wooden lion has been given a seat at the dinner table and has his own plate there. Finn has named him Gift Lion, and last night we had to pretend to bathe it like a tiny baby. He even got wrapped in a tiny blanket and rocked to sleep.


So in terms of its use – a toy for a little person – this lion is successful.

But in terms of “art” – not so much. I think I would have been more patient with it if it wasn’t for those … soft spots.

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