I’ve got a thing for owls that started long before owls got to be quite so trendy. Real owls keep cropping up at every critical juncture in my life. They appear on rooftops, on chimneys, and high up in an ancient oak at the park on the end of my street. When I lived in Brisbane, a whole family of Tawny Frogmouth owls lived for months in a tree on my walking route and I saw them daily. Eventually they flew away – one by one. I watched for them for months afterwards to no avail and then I flew away too – back to Canada.
In my new neighbourhood a large barred owl keeps making an appearance. One night when I was out running it swooped down from the crest of a roof and flew directly over my head – mere feet above me – so close I could feel the whoosh of air with its almost silent wing beat. Sometimes months pass before it reappears. For several nights last winter it sat in a tall tree on the river edge – calling patiently to an owl who answered from the distance but never appeared.
At the end of this past summer I went canoeing in Killarney Provincial Park in Northern Ontario. I spent the night before the trip alone in a waterside cabin on the Spanish River where I listened first to the haunting lullaby of loons on the river and then as the loons went silent – an owl, very close by, started hooting and called until I finally fell asleep – some time well into the middle of the night. I didn’t want that incredibly beautiful night to end.
For the past couple of years, I’ve made these felt owls and hung them on a twig tree. Originally I made them for Christmas but when the holidays ended I just couldn’t pack them up. So I left them out and made various seasonal owls throughout the year – red ones for Valentine’s day, purple ones for Easter, orange and black ones for Hallowe’en. And as fast as I make them – I give them away. This year I’m making serious black owls.
When my daughter texted me from Quebec City the other day – she asked me what I was doing. “Owling,” I replied – I’m a one-word texter because I’m really bad at it. “I wish I was owling,” she answered. I had a million other things I should have been doing but somehow the owls had taken precedence over everything – even deadlines.
So here, in case you love owls as much as I do, is my recipe for owls. Happy owling!
buttons for eyes
Cut two owls as per pattern below. Dimensions are roughly 2 1/2 inches across by 3 1/4 inches tall. Using a large needle and embroidery floss, stitch the eyes onto one of the owl pieces, and then add the beak and feathers. Blanket stitch the two pieces of felt together – until you have about an inch left un-stitched – then stuff lightly and continue stitching. Using the same embroidery floss, make a loop for the top.