Monday, 14 November 2016

Mr Skellie Bones

Halloween has come and gone, once again, and I still haven't posted about Mr Skellie Bones. So here goes...

It all began when our son, then aged 6, attended a friend's birthday party that included a dark and scary 'Ghost House' for the children to explore. The clever parents and granny had closed off a couple of rooms in their house, made them very dark and decorated them with very scary bits and bobs. In the bedroom they created a scary person sleeping in the bed by stuffing some kids clothing and adding a hat. For months after the party my son begged me to please make him a life sized skeleton pillow that he could put in his bed to scare his friends.

I eventually agreed. I'd make the skeleton pillow.

I started by pasting together some news print paper and drawing my son's outline. (he wanted it life size after all) It took me a long time to figure out just how I was going to go about it. I started drawing the skull and bones onto the paper, changing and simplifying the design as I went along. I decided to make the basic pillow out of a sturdy black cotton fabric, and then to cut the skeleton out of white felt which I glued on. (I probably should have sewn these on, but it really was taking a lot longer to make than I thought it would.) I managed to finish it in time for his 7th birthday. He was very excited and happy to finally receive his skeleton friend.

Mr Skellie Bones has been a member of our family for a couple of years now. He is the 'other brother' to our 3 children. He enjoys going on outings, building Lego, and playing dress up. The other day he even won his first medal. Apparently he was awarded this medal for being 'Totally AWESOME!' He's a well loved skeleton.

Here is the making of Mr Skellie Bones, in pictures.

My son's drawing of a skeleton.

Planning and simplifying the skeleton design.

The finished pattern.
The finished pattern.
Cutting the skull, teeth and bones out of white felt.
Each piece was numbered so that I knew where it had to go.
This took a lot of time, concentration and a huge amount of patience.
Final construction. Gluing, sewing and stuffing.
Introducing... Mr Skellie Bones 

A very happy boy on his 7th birthday.

The kids and Skellie having a "sleepover".

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Greg Heffley - World Book Day

This year our son, who is in Grade 3, chose to dress up as "Greg Heffley" to celebrate World Book Day at school.
Gregory "Greg" Heffley is the hero/antihero protagonist of the realistic fiction book series Diary of a Wimpy Kid created by American cartoonist Jeff Kinney.

It was an easy and fairly quick dress up costume to put together. He wore a white vest, his old (now too small for him) black tracksuit trousers, white socks, white trainers and a mask. I made the mask using a sturdy piece of white card. I copied the face from one of the illustrations in the book. I drew it in pencil first and then coloured it in using a black permanent marker. I had some transparent elastic (that I usually use for making beaded necklaces) that I threaded through small holes I'd made using a needle, and tied it to hold the mask in place.

It was his idea to make a "side fitting" mask which turned out to be very effective and much more practical than a front fitting mask would have been. A front fitting mask would have required eye holes and may have spoiled the face a bit.



He looked super cute, don't you think?

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Making Easter Magic

Well, I say "Easter Magic" because I feel like I managed to pull a... um... rabbit, out of a hat!

It was the morning of the twins' preschool Easter market and I hadn't made any clever Easter themed crafts, or baked any yummy Easter treats for them to take along to sell. Eeeek!!

I had to make a plan, and quickly!

After dropping the girls at school, and with only an hour (and a bit) to spare before I had to return with my wares, I headed for the nearest supermarket. I was thinking that I could maybe buy some Easter chocolates or sweeties to sell.
I walked into the shop and was greeted by a display of Hot Cross Buns. Some with raisins, some with chocolate chips. It gave me an idea!! I hurried home.

Hot cross buns. Some with raisins, some with chocolate chips.

I rolled them flat in an attempt to make them go further. It worked.

Using a rabbit shaped cookie cutter, I cut out as many as I could.
Sometimes including the 'join'.
Hot Cross Bunnies!
If I'd had more time, I would have added a thin layer of white glacé icing
and perhaps a Jelly tot tail.
Maybe next time.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Mother Earth

I find that working with clay in my Astar class is always so enjoyable. Pressing my hands and fingers into the clay, working freely and intuitively often with eyes closed, can be very therapeutic and grounding.
We work with a big lump of clay that is air dried and never fired in a kiln, so there is no need to make your sculpture hollow or to worry too much about air bubbles. A variety of natural and found objects can be added to your sculpture and pushed into the clay. The focus, as always, is on the process and not on what the final piece will look like or how long it will last. Some sculptures, if cared for correctly, can last for years.

This sculpture is the result of me combining a portrait, with aspects of an animal oracle card that I pulled from a deck of Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson.
I pulled "The Turtle: Mother Earth". When I selected the card it was in reverse (upside down) which is important to note when reading the meaning of the card. I have included the card meaning further down in this post. 

I included a small shell on her forehead with a spiral.

 I added texture, inspired by the turtle's shell, by repeatedly pushing a piece of dried coral into the clay.

She was looking good. I was pleased.
After taking a couple of pics, it was time to remove her from the board I'd been working on.
But her head was heavy and I hadn't realised that, once she was 'unstuck' from the board, she would fall onto her chin! My heart sank. 
And then I had the idea of including a rock onto her back.

 I found the perfect rock in the plant pot outside my door. The textures of the rock worked well with the textures (inspired by the turtle shell) I'd created using a piece of dried coral. The colours went well with the colour of the clay and the grey wool I'd used for her hair.
Saved. Phew!

After our closing meditation and reflection, we were asked to write a Haiku poem about our piece.
(Where is my friend Leif when you need him. He enjoys writing Haiku poems ... lol)
Well, there's a first time for everything. I gave it a shot (not very successfully).

I am Mother Earth
The source of Ancient Wisdom.
Always Protected.


Source: Sams, Jamie and Carson, David. Medicine Cards (Santa Fe: Bear and Company, 1988).
Medicine Cards: Turtle: 10: Mother Earth
In Native American teachings, Turtle is the oldest symbol for planet Earth. It is the personification of goddess energy, and the eternal Mother from which our lives evolve. We are born of the womb of Earth, and to her soil our bodies will return. In honouring the Earth, we are asked by Turtle to be mindful of the cycle of give and take, to give back to the Mother as she has given to us.
Turtle has a shell which is similar to the protection that Earth has employed for centuries as her body has been defiled. Mother Earth's protection has come in the form of Earth changes, new plant growth, the creation of new land masses by volcanoes, and climate alterations. Like Turtle, you also have shields that protect you from hurt, envy, jealousy, and the unconsciousness of others. Turtle teaches you, through its habit patterns, how to use protection. If you are bothered by the actions or words of others, it is time to go inside yourself and honour your feelings. If you are attacked, it is time to give a warning snap.
If you have chosen the Turtle symbol, you are being asked to honour the creative source within you, to be grounded to the Earth, and to observe your situation with motherly compassion. Use the water and earth energies, which represent Turtle's two homes, to flow harmoniously with your situation and to place your feet firmly on the ground in a power stance.
Turtle is a fine teacher of the art of grounding. You may even by able to overcome some of your "space cadet" tendencies if you align with Turtle medicine. In learning to ground, you are placing focus on your thoughts and actions and slowing to a pace that assures completion.
Turtle warns of dangers of "pushing the river," as evidenced by the plodding pace it keeps. The corn that is harvested before its time is not yet full. However, if it is given the chance to develop at its own rate, in its own season, its sweetness will be shared by all.
Turtle buries its thoughts, like eggs, in the sand, and allows the sun to hatch the little ones. This teaches you to develop your ideas before bringing them out in the light.
Look at the old fable of the tortoise and the hare, and decide for yourself whether or not you would like to align with Turtle. Bigger, stronger, and faster are not always the best ways to get to a goal. When you arrive, you may be asked where you have been and you may not be able to remember. In that case, arriving prematurely can make you feel very immature.
If you draw the Turtle card, it augurs a time of connecting with the power of Earth and the Mother-Goddess within. 
This is a reminder of the ally you have in Mother Earth.
It does not matter what situation you have created: ask her for assistance and abundance will follow.

Medicine Cards: Turtle: Contrary: (card pulled in reverse)
Pulling the Turtle card in the reverse means that Mother Earth is calling you to reconnect in some way. If you have become flippant and forgotten to place waste in its proper place instead of throwing it out the car window, she is calling. If you have felt alone in your time of need, she is calling. If you have been struggling financially or have little to eat, or if you have desired a child and see no pregnancy in the near future, she is your medicine - use it. You are not alone... ever. You are a child of Earth. All acts of pleasure, joy, and abundance are given by the Mother of the creative force. Use her energy to aid you, and you will be healed enough to share this energy with others.
The idea of a Turtle helplessly trying to right itself after it has been flipped upside down can also symbolise contrary Turtle. You are not a victim, and you are not helpless, no matter how much it may seem like this is the case in your present situation. To right the ill-dignified Turtle, you need only list the things you are grateful for, and from that grateful place in your heart, look for the abundance of alternatives that Mother Earth gives.
In Native American mythology, Turtle represented the Earth, the mother from whose substance the bodies of all creatures living on Earth were formed, and the nurturing Force that provides an opportunity for the human spirit to evolve.
As a power animal, Turtle teaches the need for protection. Although you should find expression for the creative sources within, and allow your thoughts to reach up to "heavenly" things, it is essential to stay well grounded and to be connected to the power of the Earth. In other words, you must keep your feet on the ground of practicality.
Turtle also stresses the need to keep the physical body in balance, and to remember that this is the vehicle through which we experience life on Earth.
Turtle teaches the wisdom of aligning yourself with the cyclic flow of life, and demonstrates that the fastest way is not necessarily the best, for it takes time for ideas to develop properly.
Turtle indicates Earth harmony, and draws you to all that is whole and good and abundant. Make haste slowly.
Connect to Earth Mother. Ask for her blessings. Fertility and manifestation will follow.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Share a Coke and a Smile... Toy Story

As some of you probably already know, I LOVE it when synchronicity and weird coincidences happen in my life.
This is one of those crazy times that I just had to share...

I was painting some characters from the movie Toy Story onto a board to make a Head-in-the-hole Photo Booth for a school market day.
In the movie, the characters, Jessie, Buzz Lightyear and Sheriff Woody, are toys that belong to a little boy called Andy Davis.

I very rarely drink fizzy drinks, but on that particular afternoon I really felt like some Coca Cola. (and crisps, and chocolate)

When I got home from the shop and took the can of Coke out of the bag, I had to laugh.  See what it says on the can!!?

Share a Coke and a Smile... ANDY!!!

How weird is THAT!!?

Painting Jessie, Buzz and Woody characters to make a Head-in-the-hole Photo Booth.

Share a Coke and a Smile... ANDY.
Setting up the Toy Stall for a school market day fundraiser.
The inside of the Toy Stall was painted to look like Andy's room from the movie Toy Story.
The completed Head-in-a-hole Photo Booth.
Jessie, Buzz Lightyear and Woody.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Tintin and Snowy - for World Book Day

World Book Day is celebrated annually in over 100 countries around the world. It's a celebration of Reading. A celebration of books, authors and illustrators aimed to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading.

Many schools celebrate by having a dress-up day, where children go to school dressed as their favourite book character.

Today our son, who is in Grade 2, went to school dressed as one of his all time favourite characters...
accompanied by his loyal companion, Snowy.

Tintin and Snowy off to school for World Book Day.

Tintin and Snowy
(A hair gel and acrylic paint experiment. I hope it washes out easily !! :) )
Tintin and Snowy off to school for World Book Day.
And... you know how much I Love coincidences and synchronicity...
After dropping our son (aka Tintin) off for school,
my husband (who is a photographer) arrived at his location for today's shoot and was met by these gorgeous sculptures.
Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock
Captain Haddock, Tintin and Snowy.
Painted wooden sculptures.
Great snakes! and Blistering Barnacles!
Now get off the computer and go and read a Book!
(Tintin is a character from The Adventures of Tintin by HergĂ©)

A long silence

I can't actually believe that it's been 8 MONTHS since my last blog post.
Where did the time go!?

It has been a challenging few months with much sadness.
My father passed away a few weeks ago after a long and difficult illness.
We were very close and I will miss him terribly. My heart will never be whole again.
I take comfort in the fact that he is no longer suffering physically, and will hold all the special memories we have together close to my heart.

A special moment captured... first game of Chess with his beloved Papa.

A deep love shared between a grandson and his 'Papa'.
 My husband took this very beautiful and moving photograph of my dad with our son a few weeks before he passed. You can feel the love...
Comforting words in this poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye

   A Thousand Winds

    Do not stand at my grave and weep.
    I am not there. I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow.
    I am the diamond glints on snow.
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    When you awaken in the morning’s hush
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circled flight.
    I am the soft stars that shine at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry;
    I am not there. I did not die.

Rest in Peace Dad.
You will be with me always.