Friday 28 November 2008


This week has been weird and busy-I might even say pressured-hence the title-this is how my brain feels! Good things have come out of it though. Ofsted was ok (my part of the school-the early years-didn't get observed as we were ok last time(last November)) The rest of the school has been judged as making 'satisfactory improvement' which in normal speak is fine. Thanks for wishing us well on here-I think it helped! This is Candace, my friend from the internet who I met tonight in real life. She is lovely and I was so pleased we managed to get together. I look forward to future meetings Candace!
This is a little glimpse of my yule swap.
These are my next two dolls-as I said before, I have no control-they come out as they come out!
The one with the red eyes was the result of me forgetting I had bought some eyes and so ripping it open to add them after having already stuffed it. The stuffing spilled out and I could not repair it properly. It looks like an old lady and I quite like that. Will paint it soon and see what happens.
A section of my paper doll swap with Inge on Les Petite Dolls
The delightful and colourful mess that me and the children make when we are colour mixing with powder paints. They love it. I love it. Boys who never normally paint love it!
The work of the amazing Britney in nursery-she does paper dolls and no one has ever told her how . I love watching her work-she uses materials really imaginatively-I would love to see what she is coming up with in 20 years time if this is what she can do now.
A picture from this great book. This is for Steven to have a glimpse of the interior of Gambardella's as mentioned previously.This is a cafe I have been to on City Road in London. I liked the picture as it reminded me of that Edward Hopper painting of the diner at night. My cafe-obviously.

Monday 24 November 2008

Aaaargh Ofsted!

Oh no! I was getting on nicely. I have done quite a lot of my reports, I did my other work at the weekend and was feeling quite proud of myself. I have started something called "Three Week Challenge" as part of mixed media with Suzi Blu and have done what I need to for that, and then-OFSTED! They rang school today and are coming for a one day monitoring visit on Thursday. (OFSTED are school inspectors) We were inspected last year but they come back for little visits. I am trying to remain calm though and so have looked for some calming, happy memory pictures and here they are! In the summer I visited 'The Folkestone Triennial with Andy and Louise, our friend who lives in Brighton. It is a new event and was really good. It was a boiling hot day and we had a good time. Happy memories will help me to stay calm(I hope!) I can't remember which artist did these but I like them.

Who are they?
Louise trying to find out. Andy trying to blend in.
Wish me luck! Wish our lovely new head teacher luck too! Will be back with results at the weekend! Have a good week.

Saturday 22 November 2008


Today was cold! It was sunny and beautiful though and I avoided working for the whole day until about 12 O'clock. We went to Deptford for breakfast in the trainy cafe in Deptford-very nice sausage sandwich with mustard and ketchup. Tasty Latte. One long table up the middle of the carriage with yellow and orangey rubbery plastic chandeliers all the way along. (better than I have made them sound!) The stools had black and white print and the plates had various black and white footwear on them. It was all lovely though nothing beats Gambardella's near where I live-will share that another time.
Trainy cafe-same picture as before I'm afraid-didn't take any today.
Nipped to Greenwich but didn't buy anything. Before I came home and buckled down to writing reports, I took a photo of one of my favourite views in Greenwich. I have not quite got it as I wanted to, as I see it from the middle of the road as I am driving and I couldn't stand there as there were cars coming. Also someone had their car boot up in my way!

I love the way the buildings are layered, and the beautiful shapes they make. I want to do a painting of this scene. Do you see the car boot-there was no one there-I don't know why it was up.

This little mural is in Deptford on side of the Deptford Arms.

We nipped down to the beach later on-can you see how cold it is?

Wednesday 19 November 2008

Pets of the Day

If cats aren't your thing then look away now! Come back on another day though! These are my cats Lily (on the left) and Tiger. In The London Paper they do a feature each day-you've guessed it-'Pet of the Day'. It is really sweet and always makes me smile. The owners make a short list of their pet's likes and dislikes.

Tiger likes: nailfiles, the bathroom, bubbles, treats, the fire, following me around like a little dog in the morning.
She dislikes: being told 'no', Lily getting any attention, the hoover.

Lily likes: plastic bags, mohair jumpers, treats, animal programmes.
She dislikes: the doorbell, change, rain.

They both like sitting around in the sun.
Lily likes this chair but doesn't like it when we make a noise. Plastic bags.
This is the tower of discontentment where Lily likes to sit. Tiger never gets up here and neither of them ever go in the sheepskin hole-as they don't appreciate the fact that the hole was half the cost and I could have just bought an ordinary post.

Lily loves the ironing board-it is warm and she thinks it is a making a fuss of her table.

They both love the computer but don't love it when I put youtube cat videos on. Tiger likes watching Suzi Blu videos.

This is Lily in her favourite spot in the summer. A flower pot with dead grass in it-it makes the perfect cushion.

Tiger enjoying an upside down cuddle!
Sometimes they still have a cosy moment like they did when they were kittens.
Neither of them like it when we play this song.

Monday 17 November 2008

Deptford Second Hand Market

This was my Saturday morning adventure-finding this market, which I was told about by Steven . It was an experience! The man in the top hat labelled 'The Boss' was standing at the top of the ladder overseeing proceedings and giving out helpful advice such as 'Ladies hold onto your purses, Saturday is pickpocket day!' The tables were covered with a collection of stuff that had just been tipped there after being transported from the damp shed it had been stored in-I swear I picked up something with half a dead slug on it! Everyone in this half of the market was either related to 'The Boss'-or deferred to him. Everything cost 'two quid'. As I find parting with my money extremely easy I did manage to find some small purchases-2 old cotton reels(wood), a Barbie, a Ken and an Action Man, two Aliens and a piece of fur (all for school), 4 old bits of watches-for dolls or something, a book called 'Souvenir of the Ballet' with a lovely fifties cover, and a collection of lovely amber coloured pieces of glass. The Russian man who sold them to me (for two quid) recommended their use in a fire place, whilst patting me on the arm and commenting on my proper English accent! I took three photos and then thought better of taking any more in case someone took offence. There was a certain edge that you just don't get at nice safe Greenwich market. I will be back!

I hope this picture enlarges-there is The Boss! It didn't enlarge so here is a slight close up.

Lovely legs for sale.

A gnome getting ready for Christmas.

This is a really great cafe in Deptford-so I have been told-I just took a photo-will go back and try it soon!

Saturday 15 November 2008

Yule Swap

I have started work on my Yule swap item for Laume's Studio. I wanted to make a doll and have been thinking about it for a little while. I want her to be wintry and sparkly and to have symbols from the festival of Yule which I could not separate in my mind from Christmas. Yule predates Christmas and has become mixed up with it for all sorts of reasons. Wikipedia is most informative on the subject.
It is not going to be a reindeer (again the Christmas confusion!) but a Yule Goat-Julbock in Swedish. She may also hold a little piggy to represent the ham tradition-again-see wikipedia!

Possible pretties for sparkle.

My messy desk!

Tuesday 11 November 2008

I'm so Bad!

Oh dear! Another impulse buy! (Well a few actually) Before I confess to my latest purchases I would like to show you an article I found in 'Artful Blogging' magazine. This magazine, which I discovered through one of my favourite blogs, is just beautiful. It is so inspiring and is one of the reasons I took the plunge and started blogging.
Anyway-the article in question is by Tiffany Kirchner-Dixon whose blog is called 'Shabbyscraps'She bought an antique dressform. She thought it was beautiful but her husband thought it was awful and morbid. The dressform-'Nadia' was in danger of being thrown on the fire. She issued a challenge on her blog for readers to share photos and stories of their own dress forms-'Show me your form' She had over 50 respondents! Her husband was won round and Nadia lives! I liked the article and the idea of the challenge as it shows lots of people who can't resist the old and worn and find these things so inspiring and full of life.
Here is my own version of a dress form which I made a few years ago after seeing this jewellery advert.
This is impulse buy number one. It is an old art school desk-which came with a stool too and is just great. It has lots of marks of use over the years and is a very versatile piece of furniture. It converts in two ways to two different types of drawing board and also has useful storage. I love it! It has replaced my little Ikea table as my main working area.It even came with a free painting that I didn't notice until I got home. Look at the lovely flowery bolts. Only £20! They had six of them. If I had a big house I would buy all of them and use them as a dining table.Then there was this-I can't work out if an adult being childlike made it or if a child made it but it made me smile. I think I will use it for story telling at school.Then I went in the old bottle shop above the market and bought loads of these clay pipe bowls-I thought they would make interesting flowers as part of my dolls or some other doll related use.

I wonder what impulse buys you have made recently?

Here, There and Everywhere

On Saturday my Dad, his wife Joan and her grand daughter Polly visited for a day out in London. I finally bought myself a new A-Z. It has no missing pages! It is not all bent and scruffy yet! I didn't really need it to get here-but I took it anyway for later. I wanted to share this photo as it made me laugh at just how bad it is-the way I have lined the tree up perfectly to obscure the building behind!
We visited the Natural History Museum because my Dad wanted to see the wildlife photographer of the year exhibition . I love this museum-I would love to live there so I could spend as much time as I liked looking at all the fantastic things they have. Not sure if I could cope with so many visitors coming round though.
The exhibition was very good. There were some excellent photos by young photographers, including one of the overall winners. Her photo was of a dramatic chase of a giraffe by a lion, with two rows of watching Oryx. My favourite one was of a fox, just leaping and about to pounce in a sea of green, in front of a dark wood. One of the most incredible photos was of a tree frog and a snake gripping onto each other's mouths, the frog with his hand around the snake's neck. The photographer took the picture, then watched them for three more hours-after which he went to bed! So we will never know what happened.
Polly wanted to see the creepy crawly room-lots of fun, but, well, a bit creepy! This was my favourite exhibit in there-a new version of incy wincy.
Incy Wincy Spider, didn't climb up the spout.
She fell into the sink, now she can't climb out.
If a thoughtful person were to set this spider free.
She would catch more household pests and eat them eagerly!

Next we got a cab to Harrods as Joan wanted a Harrods teddy bear. Harrods is quite weird-kind of old fashioned seeming. I can't remember when I last went there-I think it was when I was about 12. It was very busy and quite hard to move around in. There were ordinary things amongst the luxury goods-a tin of beans for 95p anyone? This is the watch I took a brief fancy to. I liked the unusual way the numbers went. I think I would ruin it at work though so I didn't bother to buy it.The little green things are not limes-no, they are limequats! Have you ever heard of them? They are the green version of kumquats and so probably taste equally weird and bitter.I liked the food hall with its beautiful tiles and its loving peacocks. Next we got the tube to Notting Hill and walked down to Portobello market. Dad bought a number of old wooden and brass edged rulers, one for measuring hats and one for measuring barrels.
It rained quite heavily and went very dark. I was trying to take photos of the pretty Notting Hill houses but trying to keep up with the rest of the group. This is the kind of result! I quite like the sparkly rain though. George Orwell lived here.
This is a great shop-full of pretty and interesting collections of things-handles for drawers, rings made of shells, little 1920s Japanese terracotta birds (see below), Indian wooden printing blocks and antique brass padlocks to name but a few. This was my one purchase from the antique dealers-old thimbles for £1 each-a bargain and a new form of percussion instrument. Not sure what they will become yet but I like them.

Little pretty birds...

My attempt at altering my photo-the birds in their little junky new home.
We rounded the day off with an impulse move. It was about 7pm, we were at Charing Cross and there were no trains. We were tired and hungry. I remembered this place-The Cafe in the Crypt under St Martins in the Fields next to Trafalgar Square. It's great-cosy, plays lovely classical music, serves good value, delicious food and wine! The perfect end (or nearly!) to the day.