Thursday 31 March 2011

Drawings on tv

Slide show done on photobucket-more free fun!

Having published this post I see that the slide show is taking a long time to load. This may be its downside. If you click on the view all images you can view it.

Pelham puppet skeleton Doll sized rocking horse Decanters on top of the kitchen cupboards

Wednesday 30 March 2011

Lily sleeping on the bed with me yesterday. I love the way she puts her little arm (leg-but the arm one!) over her face.
I feel a bit miserable this week. I have not been to school-feeling ill-and this is the week that ofsted have turned up so I missed it. Although I am not complaining about missing it-that would not be true -I do feel guilty as I have missed the added stress that everyone else has had to cope with. Anyway, Foundation Stage got 'good' like a great big relief bringing tick. The rest of the school will have their judgement tomorrow. What a horrible thing ofsted is. The actual inspectors are usually pretty nice, but the ridiculous build up to it (which in many ways has been going on for the whole year in my school-the disadvantage of not having much notice anymore) puts such a strain on people and takes their energy away from what is important.

Good things to cheer myself up-the Amaryllis I got for Christmas-finally planted a few weeks ago and now flowering. They are so impressive. The petals are so velvety. I keep taking photos of it but none of them quite capture how it looks. Have a look at these beautiful drawings of Amaryllis on this post, and this and this by Laura Frankstone

I am continuing to draw since finishing the Danny Gregory book and have been enjoying that.

I have also learned a new technique from another book I have-about Nature Journals by L.K Ludwig. It is making photo transfers with water-a bit hit and miss but when it works it gives great results. I have not taken any photos as it all seems too much effort but will do soon!

Off to have another sleep now I think.

Saturday 26 March 2011

March For The Alternative 26th March 2011

The demonstration had an estimated 250,000 people on it. There were people from many different trades unions and community groups. We marched over Waterloo Bridge, down one side of the river, back over the next bridge, back up the river and down to Westminster, then down Whitehall. My friend and I left the March at Trafalgar Square as it was already 4 o'clock and by the time we had got to Hyde Park where the march finished, the speeches would have been over and we would have then had to make our way back to Covent Garden where we were going out. So we dipped out and headed off for some food. I am glad I went though as it is a worthwhile thing to be protesting against-the cuts the government are making to public sector services will have the most impact on those people with the least.

The atmosphere of the march was cheerful and peaceful from all that I saw. There was some music from various sound systems, people with random instruments, and a little pipe band (I don't know who they were but they sounded good!) People were friendly and conversing with strangers. I was offered a Socialist Worker magazine by a very polite and smiling young man and when I said no thank you he continued to smile. So, it is galling that a small minority of people choose to use violence for their own ends and that the media choose to focus on that. There is always this element of violence at these big demos and it is always said to be Anarchists. I have been reading a long and fascinating wikipedia article on Anarchism this morning as my knowledge is patchy. I can't say whether these modern day violent protesters are Anarchists or not, or whether they believe that what they are doing will make a difference to society. I do feel that there might well be those who just like a fight. Anarchism seems to be such a diverse movement with many ways of being, and violent protest is one. There was one part of the article that summed up how I feel about the way the media coverage just likes to focus on the violence though. It is in the part about contemporary Anarchism.

"Around the turn of the 21st century, anarchism grew in popularity and influence as part of the anti-war, anti-capitalist, and anti-globalisation movements.[103] Anarchists became known for their involvement in protests against the meetings of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Group of Eight, and the World Economic Forum. Some anarchist factions at these protests engaged in rioting, property destruction, and violent confrontations with police, and the confrontations were selectively portrayed in mainstream media coverage as violent riots. These actions were precipitated by ad hoc, leaderless, anonymous cadres known as black blocs; other organisational tactics pioneered in this time include security culture, affinity groups and the use of decentralised technologies such as the internet. A significant event of this period was the confrontations at WTO conference in Seattle in 1999."

The last few photos are the window of The Salisbury on St. Martin's lane where we went to celebrate my friend Clare's birthday. When we left and walked down to Charing Cross we saw one of the fires the papers talked about. We also saw a cyclist fall off their bike and two police officers rush to help him get up. The helicopters were hovering over us all night.

Happy birthday to Claire Birch if you are reading. Your card sat in my bag all day so has been on the demo-but I forgot to post it! Louise and Paul were on the march and we saw them in the pub too!

Friday 25 March 2011


The pleasure of making a muddy handprint on a tree should not be underestimated. Lovely creamy, gritty mud. It came from underneath a clump of violets that I transported from our garden to school, and planted with the children yesterday. Where I had watered them the night before, the mud left in the bottom was just the right consistencey for fun. E. in my class is autistic. He absolutely loves Forest School and was having his usual good time walking up and down with two sticks, and glancing from time to time at me and L., his TA. I thought he might like the mud so I showed him my hands, and the bucket. He looked in the bucket then made a face as if to say 'no way!' However, five minutes later he went over to the bucket which I had left on the grass and crouched over it. After a while he put his hands in and found he loves mud too!
Other mark making has been going on in my garden. I went out for my usual look tonight and when I was coming in I noticed this funny little mark on one of the (dirty) garden chairs. I wonder if this creature enjoyed wriggling through the dirt making this pattern.

I also found this honeysuckle bud. I like the way the outer leaves make a square, and the way the red and green blend together. The honeysuckle is the star of the garden at the moment-the only truly healthy looking large plant we have-after all the changes that have gone on and are still going on.
Another sunset found me tonight. This is what I saw when I got out of the car at about6.15 tonight. This doesn't quite convey how huge it looked!
I am off on a demonstration tomorrow in central London. It is to protest at cuts to education and public services, and things such as pensions for public service workers, which are planned by the coalition government. I have not been on a demonstration since the eighties. I can't remember what I packed in my bag to take in those days-apart from money, cigarettes and a book. There was not bottled water then. I don't often get bottled water as I don't approve, but I have to admit it is useful on this occasion! Mobile phones, ipods and digital cameras are all new and all adding to the weight of my bag! I have my A-Z in case I get lost, and lots of snacks in case we get kettled! Hopefully it won't come to that. The only thing they have not invented for me which would come in handy would be a mobile loo!
I was kettled in the eighties-not for too long thankfully but I was with a girl who did wet herself as the Police would not let us out. Not nice! It was not called kettling then though.

This post is called 'stuff' as when I was trying to think of a title (I always find that hard) I remembered Jack's remark from this week. We have been looking at heavy and light things and I was passing round a closed box of feathers and an open one of bricks to compare. I asked the children to guess what was in the box. Jack said 'stuff'. He couldn't be wrong!

Tuesday 22 March 2011


We have been using watercolours again at work, and I have had a pot of lovely purple chrysanthemums on the table as inspiration, and while none of the children are painting the shapes of the flowers, lots of them have chosen to use or mix the colours they see, and are calling their paintings flowers. Today I put oval shaped pieces of paper on the table and we were all happily experimenting. At one point, a bit bored of the flowers, I painted a face with big eyelashed eyes and red lips. I put a shape at the top which is the brain, with 'Think!' written in it because Helena had started her face by painting the brain! Helena started to add to my picture-painting the nose, the cheeks, some orange eyeshadow. Then she got another oval and painted two skinny legs, then stuck these to the bottom. I love how she turned out and think she would make a good poster to remind the children to think! Danny Gregory is an inspiration. I just finished reading 'The Creative Licence' which I rushed through in a few days and want to read again a bit more slowly. It is a book which makes me just want to get on and draw! I have this weird impression of myself that I do draw-and I do-but it is sporadic. Since starting the book I have done one drawing a day at least-some small, some bigger, some awful(!) and a couple I actually quite like. But-the product is not the point in Gregory's world-the process is-and he has so many ideas just to get the process started.

In the book there are a few great passages relating to focus. Here are a couple.
"Focus. Spend less time on success and more on art. The more you work, the better your art, the more likely things are going to happen."
"Keeping a journal is a way to focus your life, to extract what is meaningful about each day."
Thanks Leenie for putting me onto this book!
A couple of fun things below!

Back to the Future by Irina Werning-great photos of people as they were then and as they are now, but looking as they did then.
Women with books posts by Sofia Barao of etre who you want to be. A series of posts sharing paintings by a variety of artists of women with books.

Chasing the Sunset

As I left work I saw it-behind the staffroom lighting up the clouds and sending out those rays like angels in paintings.
So I drove the wrong way, up the hill, then saw it down this street and had to go on a circuit around a fallen tree on the common to take this picture.

Then I turned off of the main road home, down past the reclaimed tyre place to little streets near the river. I kept getting glimpses like this one. My initials are in this picture.

This road was full of big potholes and without realising I landed in one to take this picture.

The Thames barrier faced the sun. I love this structure-so beautiful for such a utilitarian thing.

Worth the chase.

''I envy people who can just look at a sunset.
I wonder how you can shoot it.
There is nothing more grotesque to me than a vacation.''
Dustin Hoffman
I was looking for a romantic quote to go with the sunset but found this instead which seemed more fitting considering I chased it in a car to get a shot!

Sunday 20 March 2011

Miss Felicity Haversham

This is Miss Felicity Haversham, visiting me as part of the Travelling Dolls Project. She is here for a ball, before setting off on the next part of her journey to Hungary. She has not visited London for many years so is quite excited to be here. She has been shopping for silks and lace, and of course music for the ball. She was made by Trace McCartney, also known as Jasmoon Butterfly. She has a beautiful journal which I shall add to during her visit. I was quite nervous about adding anything to Trace's work, and thought for quite some time before starting. I have now given her some lovely shiny hair and added to her face. She was asleep and now she has woken up.
Felicity has a heart in a beautiful bird cage and has yet to explain what this means. I am sure she will in time. All she has told me is that she loves music and loves to dance, but often in her dreams rather than in reality. 'In the world of dreams, she is a frequent flier' (From this song by Take That-what a great line!) "Take Who? said Felicity, as they are a bit after her time. I shall introduce her via YouTube.

Shadow Shot Sunday

We had lunch at this pub yesterday with my Mum, brother and his girlfriend. It is such a sweet higgledy piggledy building with so many roofs. It was a beautiful sunny day yesterday, so perfect for shadows. We went to my brother's house next, to see his progress on the kitchen and his finished workshop. The kitchen is from a friend of his-the units and he has managed to fit them into his space. The worktop is made my him-sandwiching plywood and not plywood(I don't know the name) together in sheets to get that stripey effect.
In the garden the rusty bells jester was smiling in the sun.

In the workshop the half finished hand was casting a more gentle shadow.

For more shadows from around he world, visit HeyHarriet here.

Friday 18 March 2011

Red Noses and Garish Flowers

Today is Comic Relief in the UK. It is a massive fund raising event started in 1985 by Richard Curtis to raise money to provide famine relief in Ethiopia. It has been going ever since, raising millions every year to help people here and abroad. Red Nose Day is the more popular name, and there are red noses galore around today. I have watched most of the evening and it has done what it always does-sadden me so much that children are still starving and dying from fully preventable disease. Let alone the other problems that they highlight and help people with. What they are asking for is simple, money to help and I feel lucky that I can help in that way.

At school we raised money through paying to dress in red, having a cake sale, and making money boxes with the children to collect money at home if they can. I wore a teashirt with William Shakespeare sporting a red nose. Tragi-comedian that he was. I asked the children if they knew who this was. 'Mr Tumble' called a couple of kids very confidently.

Mr Tumble


I read about a brilliant idea for raising money over at Rebecca's blog-where for every comment made, the blogger donates a certain amount, This was raising money for Japan. It was called de-lurker fund raising. I really don't imagine I have many lurkers, but if you are a lurker then please reveal yourself. If you are not a lurker please leave a comment anyway! For every comment on this post between now and next Friday I will donate £1 to the Red Cross for Japan, and £1 to Comic Relief.
I found Sophie Munn's blog via a blog ramble tonight and I can't remember how I got there.
This post is so interesting and I then read lots more.

This is unrelated to anything but it has got red in it. It is our newly planted bedding plants-we were an afterthought, as Dennis, our premises manager, had ordered too many! I think ofsted will definitely be impressed, and probably not want to look at any data at all once they have been dazzled by these! (ofsted are at the school up the road this week and panic in the upper echelons is palpable! Being at the school up the road does not necessarily mean it is our turn next. If it is I will laugh at the laziness of ofsted inspectors, or maybe just be impressed at their ergonomical thinking) I am too tired to care so I don't! I did the pointless and time consuming job, plus some others so there!

Thursday 17 March 2011

Thursday in Focus

Thursdays start with me banging wooden stakes into the grass to tie a blue rope around, to make the barrier to Forest School. Although I wish I had a ready made fence, the actual hitting of the stakes is quite a good stress buster. I just think of the most annoying thing from work that week and hit away. This week has had its share of annoying things but in comparison to more serious matters in the world they are unimportant.
My word for the year is 'focus'. It is the first time I have picked one and I am not sure if it is for me. I do think of it quite a lot, but only in a 'why did I bother?' way. I don't think I have changed my behaviour, or approach to how I do things. I was quite focussed before on what needed to be done and I still am. This week I was presented with a massive task to complete which didn't exist last week (relating to assessment surprise surprise). I got a bit stressed, then decided to follow my own plan and complete what I had decided to do, and not what someone else had suddenly wanted at short notice. So I did that last night, and I think I will still have time to do the other work. Maybe that could be it-to focus on what I need to do and say 'no', or 'wait' occasionally. Here are some of the things focussed on today! B. with his feather.

Sunlight through reeds.

This lake is near my latest supermarket discovery Morrison's. Behind the lake is the Thames. There are lots of birds. Today there were some cute little black and white ducks.

Not sure what this is but it is so pretty.

As I was walking back to the car I looked down and saw this poor little ladybird.