Friday 30 April 2010

Where The Wild Things Are

Wild cat grass.
Wild pink cloud. Wild photoshop.
Wild Maurice Sendak art.
This is the story box I am making for the Wild things story ,which we are reading soon. I need to find a small boat, a boy and a monster to put in it. I had fun sticking it all together tonight with the hot glue gun. I don't know what I did without one!

Tuesday 27 April 2010

Paper Giveaway

I realise that I have rambled on for nearly 400 posts. When I first started I had no idea what blogging would be like, I just wanted to do it. Now I know what it is like, I am so glad I did. I have enjoyed getting to know so many friendly and creative bloggers, and getting to visit so many more. It seems that every week I find another blog to add to my list. It is like all my other collections-ever growing but it all fits in somehow. To celebrate reaching 400, I am having a little giveaway. I have been printing mad since my course last week, and so have made an envelope full of little paper surprises, in the form of printed gift tags and small cards. The mushroom below is printed onto my favourite paper of the moment.

If you are interested in receiving a little package of printed goods, then please leave a comment on this post in the next week. I will draw a name next Tuesday. Thanks! I have also been playing with photo shop-this is the strange looking results of that, on a picture of another lino cut. I printed the lino in black ink onto lots of different types of paper, including doilies which worked well, magazine pages and maps. She was inspired by an amazing and quite creepy video called 'Numb', I saw on this lovely blog. The video is so good, and I just loved the puppet girls. I want to make a doll of one but a lino cut was quicker. I just love the smell of lino which is an added bonus. I thought I preferred the rubber but this lino is so soft and lovely to use.

Sunday 25 April 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday

Shadowy lino cut.
Tiny purple pansies that survived the year
and have emerged from the shadows behind the wooden lady.
Beautiful Lily sitting on the wooden hair, casting a shadow on the bricks.
That cat knows how to pose!
Spotty leaves of a weed that is all over the garden.
Shadows on a drawing I did at school this week whilst talking to Lucien. He asked me what I was drawing and I explained it was the flats over the road. The caption at the bottom is Lucien's.
For more shadow shots from around the world, visit HeyHarriet here.

Saturday 24 April 2010

Goodbye Tree

We had a man come round to give us a quote at ten thirty and two hours later the tree was gone. We were dithering about whether to have it removed or just lopped but removal seemed the best thing. It was far too big for our garden really and was also a bit diseased. But looking at it gone, and remembering its beauty when full of yellowy green leaves, I feel really sad. I did love it. We are not very decisive as a rule and it all happened too quickly to really think too much about-though we have been kind of pondering for a while. It did make our 86 year old neighbour Joe very happy, which is good, and it does actually make the garden look much bigger. The men who did the job tried to get us to let them remove all the ivy, do the fence and the shed roof all today. We resisted their pressure sales technique and will continue to do so. The ivy is home to the birds. The tree had one nest but I think it was empty.

Friday 23 April 2010

Report Eve

I have to start reports tomorrow. It is the most time consuming and tedious part of my job. If I had to do a few it would be fine, as I actually quite enjoy writing this kind of thing. I like to make them really personal, with little examples and quotes from the child. I think that is what I would like if I was a parent. I normally have to do about 20 at this time of year, which take me quite some time. This year, due to changes in the intake of children in the year, I have to do 40! I cannot spend as much time on each as I normally do because of the doubling in numbers, but I am not sure if I can write them in any other way. I shall see. At least if I start tomorrow I will feel better! I have been pottering this evening and doing boring old tasks such as washing, in between reading blogs and playing with Cassie. I have also been making journal pages using things I did last night at a great class I went to with Clare. We went to The Make Lounge in Islington, to a class on making your own rubber stamps.
We were taught by Louise, who is a printmaker and book artist. Here is her blog. She was lovely, and squeezed a lot into one evening. I loved using the carveable rubber-so much easier than lino! We had the time to make two or three stamps, to mount them and to try them out. I learnt a number of interesting things-my favourites being how to transfer my design onto the rubber, how to clean your inked stamps-babywipes! and how to use them in interesting ways, using part of your image, or using masks. The whole experience was very relaxing and pleasant. Wine, tea, coffee and snacks were available, and there is a lovely shop where you can buy the materials you have used. I was very excited to be able to buy some of the rubber, as I have not seen it anywhere else yet (though I have seen it online) Lovely examples of it being used here, and here.
This is a snapshot of how my desk looks tonight-glass of wine included-it has been a long week!
I made a face, a tulip and a tree.
Below are a couple of things from today. It has been beautiful weather this week and the insects are out in full force in the nursery garden. Today we had a lot of hover flies-fascinating little beings that remind me of aliens, the way they hover just in front of you as if they are observing our ways. I think I have successfully explained to about two children what they are and what hover means. Only 83 to go then! No-they are not wasps, no, they are not bees, no, they do not sting. Please stop screaming, they are not going to hurt you. etc, etc.
We also found a dead bee, which led to a good speculative discussion on the cause of death, as well as a sharing of opinions on bees-like, dislike, scared or not. Demi told me that she does not like bees, but adults do. When I asked her why she replied "Because they are big" (adults and bees)
This one obliged me by posing on a bright green leaf.
This is Halimah's amazing drawing of one of the centipedes we found yesterday.
Blackbirds on the tree. There are now tiny buds on it. It is a bit of an unruly tree which our neighbour is always asking us to have trimmed. We are having a tree person round for a quote tomorrow. I hope it is not too pricey. The blackbirds are from yesterday. I was waiting until they had gone to let Lily out. Today Cassie had her second exciting excursion into the garden. I saw a green parrot fly over while we were out there. You always hear them first. They have a very distinctive squeaky squawk.

Wednesday 21 April 2010

Trees, Bugs, Beaches and Tulips

I see the tree, the tree sees me.
Oh so many little creatures curled up under this log.
They all disappeared after about five minutes.
Today we imagined days out at the beach, and adventures in boats.
I wish I did!
Lovely charcoal packaging-I went searching for this in my box of mark making materials (that is how organised my art stuff is!) and found it. I am reading a brilliant book at the moment, which I will talk about at another time, and one of the stories in it was of the manufacturer of this charcoal, P.H.Coates.
The surprise for a friend-a little painting on an old postcard, for my friend Chinmoyee. She has these Indian postcards, with little figures painted on the written side, which I really liked, and which gave me the idea for my flower postcards. She likes Auriculas, so that is what I painted. I got the postcards the other day in Rochester, and they are quite good London scenes, but I was looking for the handwriting on the back.
This is the one I painted for myself-I love tulips and they are so lovely in the garden at the moment.
The planes are back now which is good I suppose, but I didn't miss them flying overhead. We have four teachers and one of the nursery nurses stuck abroad. One in Canada, three in Spain and Sarah-who I work with in the nursery-in Thailand. She has been told that her flight will not be until at least May 2nd! That means she will have been out there for a month. I hope she is enjoying the extra time at least!

Monday 19 April 2010

Back To Work Recipe For Success

Alleviate back to work stress and strain with paint. Watch a kitten and a big cat have a pretend(ish) fight over a shower curtain. Play with photoshop for a while. Watch a lovely old film. Plan a small surprise for a friend. Eat some naughty Indian sweeties. Read a small book on storage and feel as if you are actually quite good at it. Put a doll on a settee of just the right size for her, and try to make it look as if she is reading her book. Shout at the news and silly tv programmes for a bit. Make a list of things to be done. Add to the list. Do some of the things and feel good ticking them off. Go to bed earlier than normal rather than spending an inordinate amount of time uploading photos to your blog. This is my personalised list of things that have helped with the matter of going back to work today after two lovely weeks off.
Now I am going to do the last one.

Sunday 18 April 2010

Photoshop Experiments

Original photo. With green and purple levels adjusted.
As above with a grungey layer.
Two photos overlayed with a ttv layer.
Two photos overlayed-dolly ghosts!
With text and ttv layer. ttv-through the viewfinder-we were provided with an image like a grainy old camera viewfinder. 'Life is...' is from a set of text provided, and small is typed.

Saturday 17 April 2010

Shadows, Craft and Ash

This is the result of my first two lessons in photoshop elements from Kim Klassen , in a great class she is doing. I heard about the class through Christina , and am so glad I did, as it is just what I wanted. Already the mysteries of photoshop are slightly clearer. This is two shadow shots put together in one image, through the magic of layering and changing opacity. I love the effect! For more shadow shots visit HeyHarriet here.
Today was the second craft day with Clare and Cleo-at my house this time. Cleo is making a very sweet 3D picture which will incorporate three of these little felt mice and a tiny book she is going to make. It is a present for her friends' baby. She batiked the fabric for the dress yesterday.
Mummy mouse and Baby mouse.
I continued with my quilting.
Clare did this lovely bird painting and a few journal pages. She works fast! She brought her little journal from Berlin to show us-have a look here..
The batik before being cut up.
The blue sky is to illustrate the lack of aeroplanes as the volcano continues to send its ash our way. I have been amazed this week by the fact that every news report I have heard, apart from one this morning, has not even mentioned the actual people of Iceland and how it may be affecting them. I know the fact that we have no planes flying is big news, but to not even mention it seems so completely egocentric.
This is the volcanic ash on my car this morning-can you see the glittery effect?