Thursday, May 22, 2014

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

sewin' growin' drawin' bakin'

a pair of custom boy dolls
me working taken by my trusty work companion Joa
another custom boy doll

a little 11 inch custom doll
I've been very busy in the studio these last few weeks and I have enjoyed every second of it. I am particularly happy to see so many orders coming in for boy dolls, not only do I love making little boy dolls but I do think that they are so important, or rather I think it's so important that boys have access to dolls to play with.
 In the kitchen we've been baking...
digestive biscuits
and we are enjoying bringing in fresh green leaves from the green house to eat with our meals.
 I am also so happy that all of my herbs have stood the winter (and neglect) and are thriving, meaning delicious herb omelettes. Even better shared with friends!
 Last summer I made the pledge to myself that I needed to find an activity outside of the home, something just for me, to meet new people and to try new things. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do apart from something expressive and fun.
I was very lucky and found a wonderful acapella singing group in my local town, about a 20 minute drive away. Even luckier that I found a wonderful neighbour who would babysit the kids for me on my singing nights for free. And I have loved it, they group are so friendly and welcoming and fun. The songs have been interesting and diverse and I have found the release and joy of singing really therapeutic.
However since Christmas I have only made it to singing 3 times. It seems that someone was always ill on that night, or I was just too tired to go after getting the kids into bed, or I had a headache.
 I have been getting a little frustrated with it, feeling I was missing part of my new balanced approach to my life. Then Garry suggested I might try an art class given in the backroom of a pub in our village on a Monday evening, an evening that he never has to be at work and can mind the kids.
So last night I packed up my pencils and a fresh, new pad of paper and went along.

Oh what a wonderful time I had! There were 8 of us in the class, everyone working on different things. The class teacher wanted to start me off drawing. My first exercise was to draw an apple that I saw in my mind's eye...
 Then she set up a little still life of 2 apples and asked me to draw that...
I haven't really drawn much since school, so it was really lovely to sit for an hour and a half, in the peace, with the smell of turps around me just drawing. The time sped by. I knew I was going to enjoy it, but I didn't realise just how much.
 I am really looking forward to next weeks and having the chance to try out lots of new techniques and media and make new friends and spend time away from the house.
Funnily enough those weren't the only apples I drew yesterday...
In a few weeks time Rebe's class is making their first communion. As this is something that we don't celebrate we are having a ceremony of our own for Rebe; an apple seed ceremony. I will post more about that soon, but it was funny to have drawn and painted so many apples in a day!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Buddies ~ food crafts

**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...***
Our songs at Buddies seem to be getting sillier and sillier! The kids are taking so much pleasure from changing the words of nursery rhymes, we rarely sing 'normal' songs any more. This week we had fun variations of 'Incy Wincy Spider' again, including incy wincy dog, there were several others including inanimate objects, that most definitely couldn't climb a water spout, but my mind has gone blank as I sit here and I can't remember them!!!
We did 2 crafts this week, first we did some potato prints. I find the most satisfying and easiest way to make potato prints is to press a cookie cutter into an oldish cut-in-half potato and then use a very sharp knife to cut around it.
We gave the kids several plates of paint and a large sheet of paper and let them work away.

We had a little break then and the kids went off to play outside in the garden or in the playroom while Flo prepared our second activity....
awesome edible caterpillars and butterflies. She cut up all of the fruit then set it out in bowls.
The mummies helped spread nut butter on slices of banana which the buddies stuck together to make caterpillars.
Then they used other fruits and vegetables to make their butterflies.
Little Z's butterfly (which I totally love!)

These critters were gobbled up straight away for their snack along with some lovely, freshly baked raisin bread Zoe made.

Over tea we outlined a few of the coming sessions. For me I am very aware that these will be our last 6 Buddies sessions!!

We finished the session with a couple of Winnie the Witch Stories and our good bye song.

Friday, May 9, 2014

a wee catch up...

Life has been so busy here, so full, so happy that there has been little time for taking pictures let alone finding the time to sit down blog about all our goings on. So this post will be a mish mash of the last few weeks, a little taste of our lovely, happy busy life.
 On Good Friday the pubs are closed here so Garry has a tradition of having his first BBQ of the year. He brought down his big BBQ and we invited some friends and neighbours. It was brilliant, with kids running around, music playing, lots of chatter and eating and drinking.
 The lifeboat went out on exercise and as pretty much everyone present was in some way connected to the boat we all lined up to wave and cheer.
 Easter Sunday was a beautiful sunny morning and the Easter Bunny had been here hiding tiny chocolate eggs all over the garden.
What treasure!
A few days later we met up with my friend Lucy and her kids for a damp picnic in a park...
 before we headed over the airport to pick up my mum.
Bubs was with us for a whole week. It was really lovely, we hadn't seen her since last July when we visited her in the UK, so we had loads to catch up on and of course she met Garry for the first time. They really hit it off and she left promising to sew him an Elvis suit for his birthday!
 We did some lovely things with the kids like swimming and going to a puppet making workshop. We took them to the pub for dinner and to the park. We also had lots of child free time while they were with Andy so we could wander round the shops, have lunch and coffee and sit quietly together knitting. I have a particularly special memory of sitting next to my mum in the garden knitting away watching the clouds thicken and darken on the other side of the estuary and listening to the thunder as they rolled in.

We've been busy at home...
We bought a new car! It's fab, lots of room for all the kids and dogs, a real family car and we're delighted with it.

We have also been busy in the garden trying our very best to make it dog proof although Spartacus seems to be able to squeeze through the smallest gaps to take himself off for a walk on the beach or in the woods.
Garry, with lots of supervision and help from Benny and Joa repaired the green house and I spent a few days washing the windows and preparing the beds for the seedlings to go in.
 Everything is planted now, and doing well, we have cucumbers, tomatoes, courgettes, spinach, lettuce, beans and rocket.

The kids are doing great, they've been busy in their own way too, discovering new likes...
 We found some goose eggs in the farmers market last week and Benny loves them, and they make super paper to draw on!

The boys have definitely had a growth and development spurt, not only do all their clothes look suddenly ridiculously small on them, they have both found new skills.
Joa can write his own name and last week, quite by accident, Benny discovered that he can swim. We found a pool locally that we can use without being members and have visited 3 times so far. On our last trip Benny was trying swimming with a float and it got away from him. He swam after it and found out that he can swim! He built up his confidence a little swimming from the side to me before setting off and swimming the whole length of the pool.

The staff at the pool were so delighted for him they 'awarded' him a smoothie for his achievement.
With all the busyness and being back at school again I often find the kids like this...
cuddled up to a dog or two. They find so much comfort and peace and also fun in the dogs, it's very special to see.
In other news... the bluebells are out....and the pictures speak for themselves...

 I have been back at work in the studio this last week and find myself working on 8 dolls did that happen!!!
 But I'm having so much fun and enjoying each project I'm working on.

And finally....
Today was my first experience of Garry getting a shout to go out on a rescue with the lifeboat. We were getting up and getting the kids ready for school when his pager went off. He quickly got dressed said 'I've got to go' kissed me goodbye and went off. A short while later we saw the boat leave the harbour and we went out to the garden to wave them off. I found myself feeling quite anxious, wondering if I should go about my normal day, feeling torn and wanting to stay here, close to the window to watch for him coming back in again. I decided to go to the market after the school run and met a friend there who's husband is also on the lifeboat. She filled me in a little more about what the shout was (Garry's phone was out of credit so he couldn't text me himself to tell me). A trawler had lost power about 25 miles out to sea and needed to be brought back in. I felt much better knowing that everyone was safe, but my heart went out to them knowing it would be a very long and tiring trip. I posted my feelings on my facebook page and my friend's husband saw it and very kindly reassured me with this picture and these words....
'I think he'll be OK'
Which made me laugh and laugh and did make me feel relieved. I just got a call from Garry, they are back in Cork and have delivered the trawler safe and sound and are now facing another 3 hour trip to get back home again. I am so proud to be with this man, who does this out of kindness, out of respect and for nothing in return. He's some man and I am so happy that he is part of my life!

So that was my wee catch up, now back to work on all those dolls :-)