Tuesday 30 March 2010

Fish, Flowers, Felines

Tin Fish from Rye.
Imagined flowers-after looking at a book of Chinese watercolour techniques.
Handmade Easter card from my Mum.
Yellow ochre cover of
"A Treasury of Kittens"
which I noticed on the shelves last night.

Monday 29 March 2010

A Walk In The Woods

We are doing home visits for the children due to start in September. So we get to look around the local area a bit. I have found one really good potential Forest School site, and one other piece of woodland on Plumstead Common which has a sign saying it is a nature reserve. I dragged my colleague Linda up and down muddy hills-we were quite adventurous! There were birds singing, it was damp and fresh and really very pleasant! This tree is so gnarled and old-and looks like it could come alive at any minute and walk away! Like an Ent from Lord of the Rings.
Beautiful blossom. Not sure what-is it hawthorn? Is that May? Oh I really need to improve my woodland knowledge. Talking of that-I had a woodpecker in my garden on Friday-I was really excited!
This path is much steeper than it looks! And the mud was slippery. Great fun!
Un-woods related, but cute! Lily is fascinated with this dolls house, and often peers in the windows. Maybe she knows something I don't! I found her sitting on it this morning looking very pleased with herself.

Sunday 28 March 2010


Today would have been Renee's birthday. Her sister Jacqui, has written lovely words about Renee. Also KJ has made a lovely blog of memories and stories about Renee, by her many friends, called Renee's Book of Love.

Saturday 27 March 2010

Trip To Rye

Today I visited Rye with Chinmoyee. We both enjoy a good hunt around the second hand shops, and I also wanted to do a longer journey in the car. The car is lovely! It is like driving on air. It can overtake up hills!
In this curved wooden building on the left, was the strangest collection of things. It was a shop-I think, but was arranged like a gallery. It had huge skulls, a horse model for portraits-which was a frame like a school gym horse, with a strange wooden head attached. It had huge aluminium lights. A stack of aluminium chairs and a green wooden door with a heart cut out. There were four American tourists having an obscure conversation and ignoring my presence. (I wanted to get past!) There were little number cards on some things and little sold signs on others. The skinny ex-model looking type who told me off for taking photos-she rushed over to tell me-obviously did not take me and my friend seriously as potential buyers. I did force a smile out of her as we left-politeness always wins! It was great and fascinating and mysterious.
After visiting here we then proceeded to visit more normal antique shops, where a number of items were purchased by both of us. We had a great self-justifying conversation on the way home, along the lines of how neither of us needs anything we bought, but we just like it. Don't put me on Question Time ever, is all I can say! I have also just got (though ordered ages ago), the Sibella Court book 'etc.' I started to read it last night and a quote early on struck me, because I agreed with it so strongly. She says 'I see in still life'. Yes! I do too! Hurray for people who collect stuff and then write about it for me to enjoy!
The photo I sneaked before being told off.
Pretty glassware in one of the other shops.
Cooking with jazz looks fun.
Who will buy this felt monkey if I don't? Nobody. So I had to. He is sitting behind me at the moment in his little fez, looking very pleased with himself and his new situation. He is very solidly stuffed. (Interesting to you only if you make dolls or stuffed toys I would think!)
This photo is in a brilliant shop containing mainly kitchen things-kitchenalia-that word is a bit ridiculous I always think. It is a very well organised shop, run by a very friendly lady. I cannot resist things in there. I bought a beautiful tapestried bag and a tin of concentric oval biscuit cutters. It is a hugely satisfying object. (well objects) Heavy, metal, slightly rusty, geometric, movable, mathematical. The list of its lovable qualities could go on and on.
Oh yes-and a trivet! I remember this kind from chemistry experiments at school.

Dollies in Soil Explained

Thursday 25 March 2010

Junk Modelling

Catfood box becomes deluxe Gnome chair, with the help of paint, double sided sticky tape and CD pen. Knitted blanket is extra but the gnome I have made this for has waited for quite a while, so I thought he deserved a bit of comfort. I promised Barney that I would make him a red chair, but it took me until now to do so. I think he is quite happy with himself, and will cheer me on as I work tomorrow. I am working at home as I have time off in lieu. I have two large folders of assessment awaiting which I am quite behind on. I will see how much I get done before giving in to the temptation of going out for a little drive!
The talented Paula, who made Barney, has an interesting series going on at her blog at the moment, where people are sewing things from children's books. It is really good! Lilly and Cassie being companiable earlier this evening.
William arrived safely at his destination a little while ago. He took ages and I was getting quite worried, but he made it! He is in today's post too in Dione's creative space.

Wednesday 24 March 2010

Winding Tales From a Tired Mind

I was going to go to bed early tonight as a sore throat has arrived this afternoon and I thought I could do with an early night. Then other things intervened-playing with the kitten, eating delicious prawns and rice, colouring in my snakey drawing and then having a revelation about names. I have a tall thin sketch book-from my Mum for Christmas, and began using it the other day with my list of hang words. It cries out for long or thin things, and snakes came to mind. I find snakes beautiful-maybe because my Chinese star sign is the snake-or maybe just because they are beautiful! I have a small collection of silver snakes-earrings, a pendant and two rings. They lend themselves well to jewellery design. I was going to do lots of long straight snakes but then I looked in a source book for snake ideas and saw so many tempting coiled ones.
I started to colour the drawing last night and kitten helped me.
Names are still bugging us and we were talking about them tonight when Andy suddenly said Cassiopeia. I remembered that the people I got her from had called her Cassie but I had not liked that (surprise, surprise!) and so we have had the two weeks of indecision. Andy called Cassie, and she looked. Maybe she recognises it! I looked up Cassandra as I could not remember the story. Then I looked up Cassiopeia as I was a bit shaky on that too. Neither story is particularly happy-but I loved the part about snakes and her ears, and hearing the future! And I have been drawing snakes! I got her kind of by chance, so maybe her name should have elements of coincidence or fate in too. I also love the part about understanding the language of animals! Also I think cats have such a dramatic streak that classic tales from mythology might be a suitable source.
In Greek mythology, Cassandra (Greek: Κασσάνδρα, "she who entangles men",[1] also known as Alexandra[2]) was the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy. Her beauty caused Apollo to grant her the gift of prophecy. In an alternative version, she spent a night at Apollo's temple, at which time the temple snakes licked her ears clean so that she was able to hear the future. This is a recurring theme in Greek mythology, though sometimes it brings an ability to understand the language of animals rather than an ability to know the future.[3] However, when she did not return his love, Apollo placed a curse on her so that no one would ever believe her predictions. She is a figure both of the epic tradition and of tragedy, where her combination of deep understanding and powerlessness exemplify the tragic condition
Next I googled 'Cassie' and one of the popular culture references was this title. Again, most appropriate as she is crazy!
Lastly, a snippet from the tale of Cassiopeia-the kitten is upside down for quite a bit of the time too!
'Since Poseidon thought that Cassiopeia should not escape punishment, he placed her in the heavens in such a position that, as she circles the celestial pole in her throne, she is upside-down half the time.' (Cassiopeia)
I hope I have made sense here-it all makes sense to me! I am usually pretty indecisive but I think I am beating even my own records here! I will let you know in a week if Cassie sticks!
Terrible flash photography which I have failed to edit

The title of the drawing is inspired by that ridiculous film 'Snakes on a Plane'! I also like the name 'Snake Plisken' from another film-a much better one-'Escape From New York' I love that film!

Tuesday 23 March 2010

Things I love about my job...

That it is perfectly legitimate for me to be outside, at 7.30 in the morning, digging holes to bury Barbies in. (Inspired by this story) Admiring my handiwork with a hammer and some blue rope. Each tuesday I have to arrive at work extra early to prepare for Forest School. I have to do a 'safety sweep' of the area we use-for all sorts of possible dangers. Today's dangerous find was a small patch of nettles, so it could have been worse. After the safety sweep I have to hammer my stakes in (I made the stakes on my training days) and then add the blue rope to make the boundary. Then I rush back inside to prepare the hot chocolate-opening 15 small packets of milk and heating them up for ages in the microwave. I have got it all down to a quick routine now. Finding beautiful new things in Forest School. This was growing on one of the base camp logs.
Spending time playing Tug-of-war using a full sized rope, out in the fresh Spring air, while other people may be stuck in dull offices, or any number of places that are not such fun! The rope was borrowed from a local secondary school by Cleo for sports relief, and the nursery children really wanted a go! I really want to buy one now as they had such a great time and there is so much they can get from it learning wise! I had a quick look and they do not look that expensive really.
Being able to leave early enough, occassionally, to get home in time to have a look in the garden. Lots of new developments-the violets are bigger, the forsythia has lots of buds, the daffodils have opened, the pond is full of spawn, and the guttering desperately needs replacing on the shed.
Happening to overhear that small kittens are available. This is her(Kitty?)-who is currently trying to destroy a box of glasses my Mum gave us-clinging onto my pajama top earlier. Tiger and Lily came from school too. They were strays, and were found in the neighbouring (then derelict) building, by some children from the school. They were rescued by two of the teachers and brought to the staff room. Tiger boldly walked around saying hello to everyone, while Lily wisely hid under a chair!

Monday 22 March 2010

Cute Kitten and Hangover Art

Another cute shot of the kitten. Each day with her here is a little journey of discovery. Tonight I have discovered that looks are deceptive! She viciously attacked my foot and I could not get her off! She did this on a number of occasions. It was during her mad half hour-you know that kittens have these? I was playing with her but it wasn't enough! She was like a little thing posessed! Then she ran over the computer and did something weird to the screen whereby there was no longer a toolbar at the top. If it had not been for one of the questions on University Challenge tonight, I would not have known how to sort that out. The question was about the F11 key-which I found out makes a full screen. I pressed it and hey presto my toolbar was back! Serendipity. Also, although Tabitha is a nice name, it has not rolled off the tongue this weekend so I feel it is not the right one! I just call her Kitten all the time. When I was talking to a colleague at work about this she suggested Kitty. So I am trying out this. Candace, if you are reading-is that why Kitty Boy is called that-because nothing seemed right? How do you people with kids do it?!
On to hangover art-a new art movement containing art created when suffering from a terrible headache, conversation flashbacks and underlying feelings of nausea, all brought on by yourself, with nobody else to blame. I was contemplating my sorry state, when it suddenly occurred to me how many phrases contain the word hang. What a useful little word it is! If I had been feeling more healthy, I might have managed to pictorially represent the words. This only occured to me at the photograph stage.
The second piece of HA is this. I was sorrowfully looking through a Sunday paper fashion magazine (our neighbour who has a shop donates us a load of magazines each week-I am never short of collage material!) when I came across this image. All the beautiful and serious(miserable) looking young models immediately got on my nerves due to my fragile state. So I decided to chop up a few circles, and cover up their annoying bonces with circular ones of my own. I much prefer them, and their slight weirdness really cheered me up!
I also like the Y-3 obscure label at the bottom-what it represents I have no idea and I think I will leave it like that in my head!
This last picture is not strictly HA, but was lying around nearby so got photographed too. I am not sure what I am goning to do next but I am thinking of lots of little rainbow coloured circles to contrast with the grey. I painted a little tiny kitten on her shoulder. Looking at the photo it looks as if she might be in some kind of an ice cave. Why she is there, I am not sure, but at least she has a companion!

Sunday 21 March 2010

Bye Little Car and Other Bits and Pieces

Here is Antony, about to drive away in my little Nissan Micra. His car, which I now own, is the black one on the left. I had a terrible hangover this morning (birthday drinks for my friend Clare last night), so was later than I intended setting off to my Mum's house to do the swap. Then, having arrived safely I was recovering before having some lunch, when I swore out loud, inadvertently, because I had left the log book, my cheque book etc in the hall at home-it was all ready to go, but I forgot to pick it up! So, about an hour and a half later, I drove my car back to London, followed by my brother and we did the exchange here! We had a drive around tonight in the new car, and I am getting the feel of it, but driving very slowly while I do so. It is slightly wider and slightly longer than the micra so I want to get to work early tomorrow to secure a parking space requiring no skills to get into!
I kept my little bear keyring. He is so old his stuffing is coming out.
I love this wrapping paper I bought for Clare's present-I have a piece left and might frame it.
Tulips from a lovely shop just up the road from here. It has beautiful flowers, plants, candles, soaps, flower lights, little hand made things, and does beautiful seasonal displays. It smells gorgeous too and has great cards and wrapping paper(see above) It is called Passion Flower-so if you are in the area of Blackheath Standard ever-go and visit!
Tulips displayed in lovely dark green charity shop vase, on the free trunk in the hall! I have never had somewhere to put flowers in the hall before-how exciting!
The painting is from Greenwich market-years ago. It is of a courtyard somewhere hot-I love the mysterious feel to it and the chipped and battered edges. It is on a piece of hardboard. As I think about it, I have quite a number of (bargain) original works of art, bought over the years, mainly in Greenwich. I shall do a post one day on them.
The thing next to the girl is some kind of dog, but looks odd. An odd dog.
Here is a 2 second snippet of my car leaving home today! Hope your weekends were good and
your week is even better!

Friday 19 March 2010

Tabitha Tabby and how to look strange in a carpark

Either I didn't like Andy's suggestions of a name for the kitten, or he didn't like mine, and despite all the lovely suggestions, none of them seemed quite right. Then tonight, Andy suddenly suggested Tabitha-Tabby for short-which seemed just right! So now we have Tiger, Lily and Tabitha. She has been so funny tonight-rushing up under the crochet blanket on the settee, looking madly through the holes as she attacks my knee, and attacking Andy's toes. She is so hungry all the time too-eating her food, the other two's food and trying to eat mine! She looks so demure here though!

These are sentimental photos from inside my car, on the last day it will take me to work. I am buying my brother's car and am going to get it on Sunday. He is having mine-so at least it will still be in the family. He is doing up his house, and didn't want to ruin his not very old car, so was selling it. He has givien me a good deal, so although I will miss mine, it was too good to miss! I shouldn't be so sentimental about a car I suppose, but it is my first one as I only learned to drive about six years ago. Bye bye little Nissan Micra.
View from the window, looking at 'the house' at work. It used to be the caretaker's house in the old days when they were still called caretakers. Now it is a storage facility and extra office/classroom space.