Friday, November 29, 2013

Buddies~ advent spiral

**In September 2011 6 families got together and started Buddies Home School. Each week we meet in each other's home and follow a simple rhythm: movement and music, craft/ baking, snack time, free play and story time. Each part of the session is led by a different family. We are sharing this week's session with you here...***

This week at Buddies we made a salt dough advent spiral. All along the spiral there are 23 little dents the size of a marble, each day of advent the child can move the marble one space closer to the middle of the spiral where a little tea light candle will sit waiting to be lit to celebrate the 24th of December.
To make one spiral we mixed 1 cup of plain flour and half a cup of salt together in a bowl,
then we added half a cup of water
then mixed it together well
When the dough has come together (you can add more water or flour if appropriate) roll it into a long sausage.
The with a little help from your mama make the sausage into a spiral on a floured baking tray
Gently press a little tea light (or any other candle) into the centre of the spiral and then remove (as obviously baking a candle isn't a great idea)
Then using a marble make 23 (or several thousand more depending on your self control and enjoyment level) little dents in the dough going from the centre out.

Bake in a very low over for a few hours to harden. Then, if you like, you can paint the spiral or cover it with greenery or glitter or anything you fancy.

I think this is a lovely, tactile way to feel the days of advent passing by.

To finish we read this sweet little story:

Us Buddies mummies are all very excited this week because we are going out for a meal and a few drinks together, just us girls :-)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Welcome to Week One of the month-long Carnival of Creative Mothers to celebrate the launch of The Rainbow Way: Cultivating Creativity in the Midst of Motherhood
by Lucy H. Pearce

Today's topic is Nurturing a Culture of Creativity at Home. Be sure to read to the end of this post to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Join the Carnival and be in with a chance to win a free e-copy of The Rainbow Way!

November 27th: Creative Heroines.
December 4th: Creative Inheritance.
December 11th: The Creative Process.


Today I am joining my dear friend Lucy in her blogging carnival to celebrate the launch of her new and gorgeous book The Rainbow Way. 

It is, as the title suggests all about cultivating creativity particularly for mothers. It is a wonderful guide and handbook, filled with amazing insights into both creativity and motherhood and also has loads of great practical suggestions to cultivate your own and your family's creativity.
(I'm also very excited because I'm in it)

I have always been a  creative person, as a child I spent so much of my time drawing and painting and sewing and making. My mother was and is an incredibly talented and creative person and always encouraged our creativity too. My favourite subject at school was art and all through my teens I spent many hours in the art department working on some project or another.

Reflecting on this subject has made me realise how much creativity is an expression of my happy and true self. I create best when I am calm and at peace with myself and the world. It feels then, at those times, that creativity happens through me, not by me. It is effortless and joyful and I am able to loose myself for long periods of time in stitches and brush strokes. In the same way when I look back I can see that during the darkest period of my life I created nothing, not a drawing or a painting, nothing at all. I was void. 

When I first moved to Ireland I started to feel a bit better and the urge to create came slowly creeping back. I asked for some oil paints for my 23th Birthday and taught myself to use them. There is some of my work on this blog post here. I think it would be fair to say that I dabbled and that was about the extent of it.

And then I fell pregnant with Rebe and this tidal wave washed over me. The need to create was unleashed and I felt frantic trying to find a way to satisfy that craving, every bit as gnawing and real as any craving for chocolate. I continued painting, I didn't really know what else to do, but it just wasn't doing it for me. I did have another problem in that we were broke and I felt I couldn't justify spending money on expensive supplies, especially as I was unsure what or how I wanted to create. So I just made do. I had 2 and a half balls of scrap yarn and a few crochet hooks so I made a tiny, tiny baby hat, making it up as I went along. I cut up old t-shirts and sewed them into little toys to hang above the cot. I went back to painting a little after Rebe was born but I had no space to paint in and my heart just wasn't in it.

my raglan jumper from handspun teal yarn
Then, dear friends, I discovered knitting! By this time I was expecting Benny and it was so much easier to learn to knit having a small little somebody to knit for. Knitting was and is wonderful for me. You can pick it up, have a 2 stitch fix, then put it down to take someone to the loo. Not only are you doing something creative, but you are creating something that is going to wrap people in love and warmth and, if you can pull it off, make them look super funky!

A year or so later I discovered doll making and haven't really looked back. It ticks all my boxes; it allows me to be creative. I can pick it up and put it down as required. I can be as imaginative as I like with them and it is also a way to make a little extra money for the family. I like also the political statement I make quietly through making them, that handmade things, made with love and natural materials are better for the planet, the buyer, the maker and the recipient than any mass produced, chemically laden-ed plastic rubbish. 
Now I am getting better at sewing too, I tend to make the kids many of their clothes, like these trousers I made for Rebe last week,
really soft organic cottons, stretchy waist and elasticated around the ankles so they won't drag in the mud or sand.
Another way that I like to create is here, I love writing these posts and I think that perhaps writing is something I may do a little more of in the future, who knows?

Cooking and baking too is a creative act, and I do plenty of that!

Because creativity is so primary for me, I feel it is very important that my children live in a home where their own creativity is encouraged and celebrated too.
I see in Rebe the same frantic need to create. Some mornings she will be pacing around in her nightie muttering 'What should I make? What should I make?' before an idea strikes her and she's off and running. It's times like these that I find it important to have the necessary means to create.
getting the felt box out
benny's finished christmas tree ornament

So we always have paper and good quality pencils and paints in supply. Glue, card, pipe cleaners, felt, fabric, needles, stuffing. All essentials in our house. Also things like lego, playdough, baking, simple open ended toys like play cloths all encourage and allow creative expression for all ages groups.

Something I have found really useful is having a 'work table': a second table in the kitchen where the kids can get as messy as they like, as close to meal times as they like and if I don't feel like cleaning it up straight away I don't have to.

All 3 kids have a different need to create. Rebe, as I already mentioned has a very high need to create, it's an important part of who she is. Benny on the other hand, has less of a need to create physical things, his is all in his imagination and play. Joa....

toy dog completely wrapped in sellotape 

scribbled face
well I think Joa's creativity might need a little more channeling ;-)

--> **********

and grab your free extras (first 200 orders only!):

- exclusive access to a private Facebook group for creative mothers

- a vibrant greetings card and book-mark of one of the author's paintings.

Kindle and paperback editions from,, Book Depository, Barnes and Noble

or order it from your local bookshop!
Carnival host and author of The Rainbow Way, Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares an extract from the chapter Nurturing a Family Culture of Creativity.

Lilly Higgins is a passionate food writer. Now a mother of two boys, she's discovered a new calling: to instil in them a love of food and creativity in the kitchen.

DeAnna L'am shares how visioning the New Year with your child is an invitation to be inspired: use creativity and resolutions to create a fun road map for the year ahead.

Molly at Talk Birth on Releasing Our Butterflies - balancing motherhood with creativity.

Laura shares some of the creativity happening at Nestled Under Rainbows and a few thoughts about creativity.

Georgie at Visual Toast celebrates her own unique culture of creativity at home.

Esther at Nurtureworkshop spreads the love of the ordinary, the delights of everyday things that can be an adventure of the imagination.

For Dawn at The Barefoot Home creativity is always a free form expression to be shared by all in a supportive environment where anything can be an art material.

Naomi at Poetic Aperture is a mother, artist and photographer who tries to keep her daughter away from the expensive pens and paints.

Aimee at Creativeflutters writes about keeping your sanity and creativity intact with small kids in the house in her post: Mother + Creativity - They Must Coexist.

Amelia at My Grandest Adventure embarks on a 30 Days of Creativity can too!

Becky at Raising Loveliness explores creating with her smaller family members.

Jennifer at Let Your Soul Shine reveals how children help us connect to our souls, through music and movement.

Mary at The Turquoise Paintbrush shares her experiences of creating with kids.

Brooke at violicious spent too much time worrying and trying to be creative instead of letting it flow.

Joanna at Musings of a Hostage Mother explains why creativity at home is important to her in her post "I nurture a creative culture."

On womansart blog this week - nurturing a creative culture at home.

Creative woman at Creator's Corner loves color and uses it to paint, draw and decorate to inspire herself and her family.

It took until Amy at Mama Dynamite was pregnant aged 35 to discover her dormant creative streak - she has found lovely ways of tuning into it every since.

Anna of ArtBuds is a trained educator and art therapist. She has been creating all her life and nurturing her daughter's creativity at home is a priority.

Deb at Debalicious shares how her family enjoy creativity at home.

Emily at The Nest explores how creativity runs through her family's life together.

Jennifer at OurMuddyBoots sees that encouraging creativity in children is as simple as appreciating them for who they are: it just means overriding everything we know!

Lisa from has discovered that a combination of writing and traditional crafts can provide a creative outlet during those busy early years of new motherhood.

Anna at Biromums shares what nurturing a culture of creativity means to her.

Zoie at TouchstoneZ argues that the less they are interfered with, the more creative children become as they grow up.

Darcel at The Mahogany Way celebrates creating with her kids.

Molly at MollyLollyLoo explores her family's shared creative times.

Liz at Reckless Knitting shares how she celebrates creativity with her family.

Sally (aka The Ginger Ninja) of The Ginger Chronicles is continually inspired by her own mum and grandmother.

Just being creative is enough, says Nicki at Just Like Play, as she ponders her journey of nurturing a creative family.

Allurynn shares her creative family's musings in her post "Creativity... at the Heart of it" on Moonlight Muse.

Laura at Authentic Parenting explores how being creative saves her sanity.

Mama is Inspired talks about how she puts an emphasis on the handmade in her home, especially in the holiday season.

Kirstin at Listen to the Squeak shares with you several easy ways for busy mamas and dads to encourage their children to be creative every day.

Chiswick Mum believes that a healthy dose of chaos is the secret to nurturing creativity at home.

Mila at Art Play Day always lived in her dreams, sleepwalking through life ... now she is finding out what creativity is all about.... her inner child!

Sadhbh at Where Wishes Come From describes how picture books can nurture creativity in young children.

Monday, November 18, 2013

lots of dolls

For the past 2 weeks I have been working every hour I could find to try and build a little stock for my etsy shop in the run up to Christmas and I thought I'd share with you the sweet little dolls I made in that time.
Last night I finished this heavy baby doll. She is weighted with 2 little cotton bags stuffed with organic grain and then tightly wrapped in wool roving. She is button jointed and her arms and legs both move making her gorgeous to pose and she sits alone beautifully.
She has detailed fingers and toes.
Her hair is of softest mohair boucle knitted into a cap and then firmly stitched onto her head and brushed out to give it that baby fuzziness.
She comes wearing a little cloth nappy, a pink organic cotton nightie and matching hat. She also comes with a newborn sized babygro, handknitted cardi and booties in pure wool yarn.

I have also made her a mei tei sling in this really funky, retro flower fabric. If you are interested in buying her please pop over to my facebook page and message me there of you can email me
 She was so much fun to make and I hope she'll find her new mama or papa in time for Christmas.
 I have also made a host of angels this week;
 four tiny 3 inch ones,
 and one Christmas tree angel. She has a hollow tube instead of legs and will look down from upon the tree smiling love and good wishes over the people of the house.
And finally I made a bundle of snuggle buddies, all perfect for a babies first or second Christmas. The 3 in the front row are all organic cotton and they will all make wonderful snuggle companions :-)
Please pop by and have a look at my shop and see if there is anyone there calling you to give them a home.
I have ambitions this week for 1 custom 16 inch doll, 2 tiny fairy dolls and a requested 2nd set of clothes (and then I might think about crafting for our own Christmas lol) x

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Lifeboat ~ Courage on our Coasts

If you are around these places at these times you should try and get along to the open air exhibition of Nigel Milard's work 'The Lifeboat - Courage on our coasts'
Dublin: Grand Canal Square
​15 November to 2 December
Cardiff: ​Millennium Square
​5 December to 27 December
Edinburgh: ​Castle Street
​4 January to 24 January
​London: South Bank, Tower Bridge
​28 January to 10 March

I can't wait to see the book from which the pictures are taken, depicting the day-to-day life of the RNLI. I'm particularly excited to see pictures of one crew member in particular...Garry!

In fact if you are free on Monday the 18th of November and are in the Dublin area then get yourself down the the opening of the exhibition there. Garry and a couple of other members of our amazing Courtmacsherry Lifeboat crew will be there and I bet he'd sign a copy of the book for you ;-P

Garry: top right (swoon)
Of course if you can't make it have a look at some of the images from the exhibition here and follow the links to make a donation to support this amazing organisation!

Thursday, November 14, 2013


**In September 2011 6 families got together and started Buddies Home School. Each week we meet in each other's home and follow a simple rhythm: movement and music, craft/ baking, snack time, free play and story time. Each part of the session is led by a different family. We are sharing this week's session with you here...***

singing with finger puppets

the Buddies choose a puppet from the bag and we sing an appropriate song

 free play outdoors
the Buddies love these puppet stories, this one is Scary Sid

Monday, November 11, 2013

1000 likes giveaway

Just to let you know that to say thank you to the more than 1000 people who 'like' my wee Under Rainbows facebook page I am giving away this tiny angel doll...

All you need to do is pop over to facebook and leave a comment under her picture. A winner will be randomly chosen in the next few days.
1000!!! However did that happen! :-)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Buddies - playdough

**In September 2011 6 families got together and started Buddies Home School. Each week we meet in each other's home and follow a simple rhythm: movement and music, craft/ baking, snack time, free play and story time. Each part of the session is led by a different family. We are sharing this week's session with you here...***

This week at Buddies we started as usual singing some simple songs with the kids. Our 'Old MacDonald has a farm' is getting funnier and funnier every week. This week he had asteroids, cars and bees on his farm. 

We had thought about going for a walk in the woods but the weather was really unfriendly so we decided we would make playdough instead and really simple activity that leads to lots of play and is also warming on the hands.
 Each child had a bowl and a spoon and we put in...
1 cup of plain flour
1/2 cup of salt
1 tbsp cream of tartan
1 tsp of food colouring
1 tbsp oil
1 cup of boiling water (mummies did this)
 and we mixed and mixed until it was just right, adding a little more flour here and there where needed
 and then we played...

 Joa very kindly did the washing up while the rest of us had a snack and a drink, then the kids played while mummies had tea and cleared up.
We finished with Beth reading Allan Ahlberg's 'Each Peach, Pear, Plum'