Tuesday, September 30

Creative Challenge - Day 30

What a day. Last day of our creative challenge and second of five mornings of swimming. Alexander is doing a school holiday swimming program which is intensive 5 day program, and will do weekly lessons in the lead up to summer. He really enjoys it, but already I feel its a drag. By the time I get everyone dressed and ensure we have all the gear, we are rushing out the door. Then the pool. It is set up just for swimming lessons, not as a public pool and as such there are steps everywhere and no real viewers area. Fine if it just a parent watching a half hour lesson. Not so much fun to drag twins along, and keep them away from the water which is less than a meter away! I have a couple of trips to and from the car to get prams and kids up the eight steps into the pool, but at least once we are in they are contained.

Enough of a whinge - theres another three days to go yet! Maybe soon it too will become a habbit - much like our creative challenge has. Today, after a visit to the library for some inspiration, he studiously stood by the window creativing colours - mixing and experimenting and enjoying himself. Hopefully while our challenge is over, we should keep this up?

Monday, September 29

Creative Day 29

As we near the end of our creative challenge I am surprised at our progress. The other day I was doing the countdown - but then today it has started to happen somewhat naturally. First Alexander was happy to help on a christmas project - I am planning to make up kits for these christmas tree pens - what do you think? Alexander was happy to help for a while, and then on his request he did some painting. As we have been doing artistic things regularly his interest has increased which is great (and really was the purpose of the challenge) He chose two colours and had a great time mixing them to make different shades of purple.

Sunday, September 28

Creative Challenge Day 28

I know two posts in one day - but we have been busy. Since our drive from the beach we have been talking about these large artworks which were on the Eastlink tollway. I actually really like the giant bird, and the green blobs are pretty interesting too. Tragically I didn't realise the 'hotel' was art until I was looking for these images. I had seen this vacant hotel in the middle of nowhere! It looks normal size, not like it does here, but just skinny and I wondered (stupidly) why you would build such a small building here! Anyway, we were talking about large scale art and sculpture, and decided we shoud do some ourselves.
Rubbish from one of the big squirrels jobs was lying around at home (it is now off to the tip in our new trailer - thanks so much Jim) but we started to build with it. It is a basic house of cards design but worked really well and was effective.
Then we tried to go a bit higher - but then the inevitable happened!

Sunday Funday Returns!

Its seems to have been ages since we have really done serious family fun on our Sunday, but with the weather warming up, we were out to enjoy the day. We went out to Dorset Arboretum in FTG and it was great. The park area is enclosed with different skill levels in the wooden play area. Then there is a lovely garden and path around a lake. We took the bikes and my parents and had a lovely morning.

Saturday, September 27

Creative Day 27 - Slime

Grand final day and all was quiet on the home front. I actually got a visit to spotlight and some cape sewing done. The boys were still recovering from our trip, but when the five o'clock funnies hit (with dinner nowhere in sight) some inspiration hit, and I made slime.

Yes, really - it was so easy and not really as messy as you think. It is simply cornflour (I added some green food colouring for effect) and water. The trick is not to add too much water. Last time I made it really runny, but this time, when it looked like a brick and I couldn't move the spoon around, i stuck my hand in, and low and behold there was slime. All the kids had a play and it cleans up pretty easily too.

Friday, September 26

Creative Day 26 - Sandman

We had a couple of days away from home- some may call this a holiday, but anyone with kids knows that it is far from that. Kirsty and I went to Rye with our respective kids sans husbands during the school holidays. Eloise and Alexander played well, but got on each others nerves by the third day, as it was pretty intense. The twins too were intense. They are not keen of the old portacot - they never have been, but it is always worse when you are worrying about disturbing other peoples sleep. They quickly learnt how to climb out and spent most of the night in bed with me "sleeping"! Our respite was walking to and along the beach and sandcastles. You can always keep kids interested in building one with the promise of jumping on it!

So, after this break, I was certifiably exhausted. I don't know how single mothers do it - a big shout out to any because it is hard work. I was happy to be home - to know what the kids may break or hide, and not to have to worry about their cries - and to know that their dad was their waiting, and happy to help. Our homecoming was celebrated by a great firework show - no really, it was. We ventured outside to investigate the bangs only to be greeted with the sky lighting up in a really professional show. We don't know what it was for, but we appreciated it nonetheless.

Thursday, September 25

Creative Day 25

Fabric texta bag decoration by the big kids and a bit of crayon drawing by the little ones. (they do have other tops, these just seem to be my favorites at the moment!!)

Wednesday, September 24

Creative Day 24

We went to the zoo today. It is a funny place. The kids seem to enjoy it and we focussed a lot on the patterns that we could see- the zebra stripes, the tiger stripes, the spots on the giraffe - even the rings in the wooden logs around the place. The last place we stopped was the gorillas.
They were sitting in their area - which is all set up to look and 'feel' natural. The zoo is currently undergoing upgrades to increase the natural-ness of the animals habitat and the elephant and orangatang exhibits are great, but back to the gorillas.
We first stopped at the top and could just see one but they were fairly far away, so we wandered around a little further to a lower section that was glass, on their ground level. There was a gorilla there - looking very pensive. There were two other people in this area so it was quiet and we were simply observing. He was looking at us and we were looking at him, and we were all still. Then he started to move - pose in fact, reclining on one elbow, which got a great reaction from us, looking, pointing, taking photos. This spurred him on more, with him sticking his tongue out- the crowd started to grow as did the noise of appreciation. Then another gorilla came racing down and banging on the windows - to gain our attention or surprise us, not sure but both were true. Then this gorilla proceeded to steal the show. This is my issue. On one hand it is great to have a place where you can go and learn, see the animals etc etc, but on the other hand, there is no chance to see them as they would be in the wild- basically because it is not the wild and those animals couldn't go to the wild. Alexander and I talked about it on the way to the beach - imagine if your loungeroom windows were a viewing deck for other people, or even gorillas. Would you act differently for them?

Tuesday, September 23

Creative Day 23 - Christmas

We are starting our planning for Christmas and I am working on a possible kit that I will talk about as it progresses, but in prepartation for that, we went on an outing today to a great shop in Boronia called Theos Discount Craft. We only went to the shop but they open the warehouse for sales quite regularly. There is a heap of stuff and if you need anything in bulk it is great - beads, felt, ribbon and lace and heaps of other bits and bobs. Well worth a look and we had fun there.

Sunday, September 21

Creative Day 21- Fabric Painting

I have been doing a bit of fabric painting lately and I thought I would give you a bit of a tutorial on how I do it. The R above is for a cape for a present that will be revealed later. However here is how I did it.
Step 1 - Draw the image you wish paint onto some contact. Draw it on the front side so you don't need to flip your image.
Step 2- With a craft knife, cut along the areas where you will need to paint- ensure you save all of the pieces.
Step 3- The piece of stencil which is you border, remove the backing and stick it down in position.
I had decided to paint the yellow first, so I put in also stuck the R down as this was going to be red.
Step 4- Paint first colour and set aside to dry.
Step 5- Once dry, stick the remaining pieces over the areas that you have painted. In this case, I stuck down the star pieces over the yellow.

Step 6- Remove stencil for second colour. As you can see, I have now removed the R and covered all the yellow.

Step 7 - Paint second colour and set aside to dry.
When I am using the contact film, I leave it on until the stencil dries. Once it is all dry all the contact can be removed. For the image above, I drew the outline with a permanent texta. I don't know the brand of the fabric paint I use because its not on the labels - however I got it from a school supply catalog, however any fabric paint and sponge roller will do the job.

Hope this helps you - Nic

Saturday, September 20

Creative Day 20 - At Kinder

No photos today becuase we were just too busy. Our third kinder working bee, and these are always busy days...getting supplies and arranging everything takes a bit of time, but I am always happy to wander at Bunnings!! Alexander had a great time, mulching the garden, and generally playing at kinder. Only one more to go!!

Friday, September 19

Creative Challenge - Day 19 Outcomes

Finally finished the neckbands on the tops for the boys. Luckily they are still too big so they will fit well next year!
Oh - Claire did leave today, and she was very touched with the gift. (the other parents were a bit miffed as they didn't know it was her last day - finally our little boy is giving us information from kinder!!)

Thursday, September 18

Creative Day 18- creating a monster!

I think I have created a monster. A very sweet and thoughtful monster, but a monster nonetheless. Why? We were wandering Chadstone for an outing (its cheap if you don't buy anything) and Alexander suddenly was very worried. Claire has left he blurted out. After some discussion on the alarm, he explained that Claire was a student teacher completing her rounds at kinder, and was due to finish - he was worried she had left already. I explained that she wouldn't just finish without saying goodbye - but this wasn't his issue. "We have to give her a present!" he protested. Okay, so this was the issue. Lucky I found this out at Chaddy, what do you want to get her. Oh no mum - we have to MAKE her something.
At home, (after a quick call to the kinder teacher to confirm the information) I decided on a kinder recovery pack with a simple rectangular heat pack for relieving her stress, and some hand and foot lotions that were in the present cupboard. Alexander helped sew and stuff the heat pack and he drew the 'thanks' card himself. I used calico for the inner pocket of the heat pack and sewed six even pockets to it which were filled with linseed and lavender oil. This means it is not to thick or heavy but still does a good job. Then I made a pretty outer cover which is sewn over it without the sections showing. It all came up pretty well really.

Wednesday, September 17

Creative Day 17 - Construction 2

Sometimes boys will be boys - and mine are obsessed with building and food and if you can combine the two you have their undivided attention. So, I have been stockpiling toilet roles for a while now, and as a result of a movie night last night (Mamma Mia) there were some left over maltesers - however not very many!

So we built this marble run, and with the lack of marbles in our house used the maltesers which was much more fun. We looked at angles to increase the speed and you only got to eat them if they came all the way through - so there were no gaps either.

I haven't spoken much about the runnings of the house for a while during this creative time, but tonight Alexander was so sweet and caring I have to share it. We were having dinner - sans the big squirrel tonight and we were talking about where he was. He is supporting his sister, who is currently prostesting against the local council who want to push through a motion for a multilane freeway to be built through her home in the country. We discussed protesting, and your right to have a say, but the people that make the decisions may not always agree with you. I was amazed at how much he was understanding. He then went on to say that he didn't want a freeway to go though the farm - it would be too noisy down there. A true fact. We talked that they may have to move, and the sweetest little look came over his face as he suggested he could continue to sleep in the boys room, and his Aunt could have his room, and his uncle (who often stays over for work) could continue to sleep in the lounge. How thoughtful to give up his room, but what a giggle that they have to sleep in separate places!

Tuesday, September 16

Creative Challenge - Day 16 Construction

We weren't so visibly creative today but we were upskilling for future projects. We were working in the vegie patch to get it ready for some summer planting. The other job Alexander and I did was banging down all the raised nails in the deck. This deck will need some attention prior to the heat of summer, but he was really good with the hammer - what a surprise.

The boys enjoyed playing outside and continue to develop. Oh - and yes, their pants are the same as the ones I made Alexander some time back. Sorry Robyn, I have so much of this fabric that I could possible make every reader of this a pair and then some. We could look like the von trapp family. Funnily enough - I dont have any - my thighs are not made for cords let alone striped fabric - oh the horror!
Speaking of horror I had to include this picture. Our dog, Imelda - yes she is trying to pick a lemon. Why - because not only does she chase them but she also eats them. I am sure they are not great for her diet but I cant get her to stop! You can also see that she has eaten through the fairy lights. Obviously these will have to come down - at least they are no longer a risk to her hanging herself!

Monday, September 15

Creative day 15 - Revised and Relieved

Finally its finished and delivered. The insert is filled with linseed and lavender oil in a silk skin. This can be microwaved or cooled in the freezer. The pockets worked really well and spreads out evenly over your eyes. I worried about sealing the outer pocket, but I made it like a pillowcase which works really well and finally, I put velvet elastic - which is meant as a trim but I had it in the cupboard, to fix it round your head. It fits well and looks good - and is on its way to Japan.

Sunday, September 14

Creative Challenge - Day 14

Throughout this month we have been talking about colours and seeing art in the everyday. This week in our vegie box delivery was a red cabbage. As we were having a BBQ, it became an artistic coleslaw. Alexander helped cut and grate the ingredients, and loved the patterns from the cabbage. I think this picture may become the basis of something? I loved the ways the colours jarred against each other - which I got to see up close when I was picking out each one of the bottle of peppercorns that spilt into our finished salad!