Tuesday 31 March 2009

Trip To The Museum

Today we had our visit to the Horniman Museum, a great place full of wonderful things-musical instruments, sealife, masks, chickens, stuffed animals and skeletons. We were there mainly to see the aquarium, which the children loved. We had a spare ten minutes at one point so we went to see the stuffed animals which I was not at all sure they would be that interested in. They loved them! We saw a big bad wolf, a fox, skeletons and crocodiles. They loved relating the animals to stories they know. (Me too!) The jellyfish against their blue background were just dreamily beautiful.
There was a big tank of very pretty fish. I liked the variety and we had fun spotting different colours.
I like the accidental blurry effect of the next photo-like ghost fish!
This video is not from today. This weird dog like fish was in an aquarium we visited on Guernsey last Easter, long before blogging occurred to me! Isn't he strange? How can a fish look so much like a dog, and a particular breed of dog at that?!

Monday 30 March 2009

Ridiculously Labour Intensive Coffee Cake

I bought a Woman and Home, Feel Good Food magazine at the weekend, tempted by the delicious pastel cupcakes on the cover and the coffee cake recipe I found when leafing through.

I rushed home from work tonight to make the cake. It involved four separate processes-the mixture, the syrup to pour onto the baked cake, the butter icing and the glace icing. It took me ages! It is very moist and delicious though so it was worth it. I think the syrup is the secret. You are all invited round for a drink and a slice! I often choose this cake in tea shops and then have the dilemma of should I have tea or coffee to accompany it? Hmmm!
The cake in the magazine is below.
We have a school trip tomorrow and Wednesday, going to The Horniman Museum, mainly to see the aquarium. I can now not worry about whether I can get a cup of coffee as I can just have a slice of my cake at lunchtime!

Thursday 26 March 2009


This week's Illustration Friday prompt is Subtract-a term from maths-a subject I never felt good at when I was at school. Musing last night on 'subtract' I thought of colour theory and how it is always talked of in terms of adding colours together (for obvious reasons I know!)-mixing rather than separating (scientific processes) I thought it would be fun to think of it in the opposite way, subtracting colour rather than adding. We teach the operations of adding and subtracting as opposite and complementary. Colours that are opposite on the colour wheel are complementary. I like these kinds of moments where disciplines cross over, proving we learn in a cross curricular way and not in little compartments.
Maths +Science=Art
Creativity +Experimentation = Scientific Discovery or Art
Art +Maths = Escher and Mondrian (Have a look at Mondrimat -have a little Mondrian fun)
The list of equations could go on and on!
(Colour subtraction-exists-here is an explanation!)

Wednesday 25 March 2009


Just blossom-before it all blows away in the strong winds. Today we had bubbles, made kites and watched rain. We went wild in the wind and waited for a rainbow that didn't come. (''Have patience Sarah'' Shaquille told me as we waited!) More wind tomorrow the weather forecast informs me.

Tuesday 24 March 2009

Scraps, Samples and Spring

These little framed pictures are for birthday cards. They are in little papier mache frames which are only about three inches square. I haven't glued anything, just tucked little layers in. I used snippets of wallpaper samples got for free at the weekend. There are such lovely wallpapers out there! The little birds are from some facsimile Victorian scraps I have had for years and have finally started to use. They are from Mamelok Press.
Spring has sprung in the nursery garden. Though yesterday, a couple of hours after taking this photo, we had a hail storm! Today we went for a Rosie's Walk around the school and the weather held out for that! We jumped in the number pool, walked over the grassy hill and climbed through the fence and over the stile-a bit different to the book but we worked with what we had!

Sunday 22 March 2009

Art Journal

Sketch book versus art journal? I used to call it a sketch book and often felt guilty for not always sketching! Now I call it an art journal and do whatever I fancy. I plan, I revise, have fun, glue, paint, draw, occasionally I even rant! Here is a little selection of my current book. When I get to the end of this one I have an actual moleskin lined up which I am very excited about. A very quick sketch for Bottom, combined with a recently purchased casserole dish label-he has the air of a caped crusader I feel!
A plan for a doll that I am half way through and that is awaiting further inspiration.
The background to this page is a Beth Robinson doll. On top is my first aid revision.
Collage of shreddings.
Trying out my new Inktense pencils.
The progress on Bottom so far. I have no idea what I am doing really-just make it up as I go along! His little legs are from the beach on Sheppey and his body has been wrapped in plaster bandage. I am making him a little lined jacket which is very much trial and error as I have only the vaguest ideas about dress making!
Have a good week!

Thursday 19 March 2009

Happiness is a two day outdoor first aid course

This course was linked to the Forest School training. It was really well run and, surprisingly, very enjoyable and entertaining. I just hope I remember everything if I ever do become involved in an emergency. We were at the environmental centre again and had the chance to enact lots of different scenarios of outside accidents. I really liked the practical aspect as it induced feelings of panic as we were trying to remember more and more information and get it right to save the person's life. The panic feeling and the ability to control that and act is the most difficult part, so this way of learning was great. I seem to remember the last first aid course I did was not like this at all.
Anyway, some lovely sights I saw at the centre.. Twisty hazel and pretty blue flowers.
Pod the pig-likes a good scratch on the back and behind the ears.

Logan flowers(?I think) against the pines.

The very pretty goats. They are extremely inquisitive and every time I see them they try to eat my scarf, this time being no exception!
Wiggly catkin worms.
I just loved the colour of this.

These are the faces of Little Anne-the CPR practice model. The man who invented Little Anne lost his daughter Anne in a drowning accident because nobody knew what to do. I think that using the model really helps it to stick in your mind. I hope so.
The course was run by Mike Penny from the Widehorizons Trust and was an REC course.

Monday 16 March 2009

Shakespeare Dolls

Andy informs me that my Bottom looks like the donkey from Shrek. I quite like the donkey from Shrek so I don't mind. I had a problem with his eyes which are obviously not a sort that can be cooked. Other than that I am quite pleased with him so far. One of the other heads is destined to be Titania-she may be striking rather than pretty! Not sure about the other two yet-I was thinking Ariel and Prospero but I don't really know the Tempest so I will have to do some reading first! My knowledge of Shakespeare's works is as my iron ring from yesterday's post-rusty!

Sunday 15 March 2009

Circles I Found

We went for a walk on the river bank today. It was so sunny and warm. Everything we found was coated in fine silty mud. I can't help collecting things I find. I really must use some of them for something!
I didn't bring this home-I have to draw the line somewhere!

Saturday 14 March 2009


I have joined a group of doll artists called ADO-Art Dolls Only. I was invited by Janine who makes beautiful dolls-thanks Janine! The group was started by Nicole who makes great dolls, including some splendid monsters. I am excited to be there! I have taken some new photos today of existing dolls and have started a new one for a group challenge.
The Green Lady hiding amongst the hellebores.

Joseph the lopsided waxed clown.
A blue faced doll. I have not decided what I am going to do with this one yet.
Small bones-who is having a love affair with black gesso and a white gel pen.


Sunday 8 March 2009

Keys To Many Doors

In the key cupboard at school there are many keys, with boring little labels such as ICT cupboard and PE cupboard. Most of them are so boring they just have numbers and correspond to a list on the wall. The one I want at any given time is not in there.
In the last week or so the children in the nursery have been making keys from a toy called cleversticks . They use their keys for bikes(cars) and the play house. When I asked a child what his keys were for, imagining castles and bear's houses, he looked at me rather pityingly and said "the door" I asked what door? Again, the flash of pity(she doesn't know!) then, "at home"
Anyway, all the key making gave me the idea of getting some old keys from somewhere, and, naturally, Ebay obliged with a box of one hundred keys for a very reasonable price. Most of them have ended up at school, to be used for doors to the home and other, yet to be decided purposes, but a few were far too lovely to give away.
What can I do with them? I thought about it for a while, looking around our little flat. Then I remembered my conversation with the very pragmatic four year old and thought, no, I want my keys to be to places I wish I could go at any time, like Alice, through little mystery doors.
So, I made a fantasy key holder, to combat the boring real ones around me. I have been to four of the places in reality and would like to go to the others.
The little rusty key made me think of Neptune and the link to his palace is what came up when I googled it. I thought it was a reasonable alternative to the real thing!

Pitt Rivers Museum, Cambridge
3 Wishes-entitles the keyholder to three visits to places not yet dreamed of
Where would your magic key take you?

Saturday 7 March 2009

Illustration Friday - 'Intricate'

Go here to see the other entries.

Friday 6 March 2009

Spring Sunshine Spell



The names as a list reminded me of a spell. Perhaps they are and they brought the sunshine.

Evening and Morning

Yesterday evening as I was driving home there was a beautiful blazing red sunset. I went down to the river to take photos but it had gone down, leaving a glowing evening behind it. The catkins stood in front of the moon.
The trees stood out against the sky. The lights of the barrier twinkled in the background.
The Isle of Dogs rising up in the distance.

It was lovely by the river but I did get some very strange looks from a man in a UPS van. I gave him strange looks back but I don't think he noticed. Michael Jackson was on at the O2 so I was lucky to park.

Some morning sunshine in the kitchen.