Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Taking Time

"In a minute!" "Hang on a sec!" "Just a moment more..... "
How many times do your kids hear these words?? Mine?? All the time :) Mostly, they have no concept of time, they know that if I say "in a minute", its usually longer than " just a sec". And thats about as far as it goes.
Today, I wanted them to see time "move" so to speak. And so I gathered the things I would need to make a sand timer.

To begin with, Amahli and I had to sift the sand to rid it of the big lumps.

Jared then helped the thump holes in two lids, making them match over each other.

We filled one jar with sand and sealed the lids to the jars. We added glue gun to seal. (NOTE: THIS IS NOT A PERMANENT SOLUTION. Dont ask me how I know. Just trust me. You need a really stong gorilla grip glue to hold these jars together)

We then wrapped them in ribbon (Also should have been a more secure twine maybe)
I then let him turn it over... and we watched the sand trickle through the glass.

They thought this was so cool! We talked about how long it took to all pass through the holes, the patterns the sand made, that we couldnt really speed it up, that it flowed at the same pace every time.

I then used it to time things around the house... it takes Jared 6 laps of the backyard for one sand cycle. It takes Amahli two sand cycles to go to the toilet and get dressed ( it would have taken one cycle but she panicked at being timed and thus chucked a wobbly mid cycle which lasted half a sand cycle).

But mostly, they just enjoyed watching time pass :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Winter :)

Lately, its seems, I am having a season of quiet nothingness.. days seem to be packed full of busy stuff but the times that are normally crafty have been filled with either two little people not wanting my input ( *sad face*) or kids busy racing around outside... the last few days have been beautiful and obviously calling to them to run, jump and be free :)
So I harnessed them for long enough to drive them to the beach and then unleashed them to do exactly as they wanted...

Port Macquarie Winter :)
Dont get me wrong, its freeeeeezing in the mornings still.. but the last few days have been absolute bliss :)

Amahli the clown

Amahli and her " it is my real cheese face!" ( as in smile face)

Running and stopping game.. run as fast as you can and then I yell STOP! and they have to stop. This is a great game to teach a child who runs away from you in shopping centres. Mine never did but maybe because this is one of our favourite games :)

Mid jump

Where are places you go to de stress, re centre, be calm with your kids??

Thursday, August 25, 2011

mixed media free for all

Desperate for a better day than yesterday, I decided today would include a craft free-for-all. This was for a few reasons, A) I am totally out of ideas at the moment, and B) having a whole heap of things ready to go means I dont have to leave the table to get something and thus giving Jared the chance to escape ;)
This is how it looked.

I was even tempted by it! Amahli, drawn by the mere smell of fresh paper and paint, was totally in. I called hers " mixed media art" as she pretty much had to use a bit of everything on the one page. She was in pure paradise :) And the best thing about her being so completely occupied was that I could work with Jared and encourage him to join in too.

He was happy to start, we talked about what he thought he might like to do first which surprisingly, was to draw. He started to draw and it quickly became a rocket, with windows, flames, stars and a moon.

He then wanted to use paint ( *gasp!* I know!) to colour in the rocket, which he did and was really proud of it.

Precisely 4 minutes after starting he was ready to stop but I gently encouraged him with scissors. He got pretty excited over these too as he realised that he was able to cut different shapes on.

We then glued them onto another page. Whilst he was gluing, I suggested one more thing we could do was something for daddy for Fathers Day.
And so he agreed and drew a picture of himself and daddy ( with only a small amount of encouragement.)

The thing about having everything was that he could leave paint if he wanted to and draw instead, or completely change and cut. He seemed much more willing to sit and do more than a few minutes which was great. Its also meant that I was able to sit and be with him instead of running back and forth with more supplies and things. I could sit and relax and enjoy watching them create.

The funniest thing was though, when he had finished his drawing of himself, I encouraged him by saying, " Now, where are you and dad in the picture?"

His response was " we are in the forest on the top of a mountain."

Me:" Why dont you draw some of the things in the forest? Or the mountain?"

His very quick response: " No Mum. We are covered in fog. Thats the white bit."
I guess he was done :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

red riding hood costume

Tomorrow is the book parade. A day I both look forward to and dread. You see, I love watching my happy princess parade in a gorgeous costume,... but dread the fact that it is I that has to see that costume come to fruition.
Last year, we did the butterfly from the Hungry caterpillar and I spent forever on it, only to watch her try to hide the wings because in actual fact shes really shy and 5 foot wings dont really do so well on a shy child.
This year, with more confidence and more ideas, she came to me and asked to be Little Red Riding Hood. Seemed simple enough. A hooded cape, white shirt, cute skirt... simple yes??
And so last weekend ( yup I work well under pressure) I began my project. After spending over two hours on the net trying to find a simple enough pattern, I gave up and decided I could wing it myself.
I bought red fabric for the cape and a white with red pattern fabric for a skirt.
And so it began.
Already, with laying the red fabric out, I realised I really didnt have enough. *sigh*
So I changed the idea a bit and began to measure a hula hoop to use as the cape part.

Cutting a hole in the centre using a plate I had the beginnings of a cape.

For the hood, I planned to have it look similar to the one in the movie "Red" ( a scary version of little red riding hood) that was quite a billowy hood and looked great.
I cut two semi circles out, and sewed along the curved part, thinking that the straight part would be the part that connected to the neck of the cape. Along the curved stitched line, I snipped for easy turning and a nice edge.

Once turned right way out, it became totally clear that this was NOT how to make a hood. It barely covered her head, and where it did cover, it flopped over one eye.
Somehow, and I still dont know how, at this point I folded it so the seam went down the middle of her head, and all of a sudden, I had a cape hood :) I then made a hem for it, and stitched half of the semi circle the to neck of the cape.
Really, these instructions wont get you anywhere but seriously lost. But Im sharing my pain because it turned out in the end :)

The skirt was the most brilliant part and I will make HEAPS of this style for both girls for summer. Using the hull hoop again, trace a circle and then cut it out. Using the plate ( again) cut a circle in the centre of the fabric. ( see the photos above) Now from the centre, cut one straight line to the edge of the fabric.
I then made a seperate casing for an elastic waist as the skirt was going to be a bit short for Jumeirah, made the casing and attached it to the inner circle. Stitch a hem and stitch the side seam together and its done! It sits beautiful and twirls even better :)

So this is Little Red Riding Hood. Done :) Its too short for her liking ( and mine too actually., it doesnt quite sit the way it did in my head) although because daddy said it was awesome, she now thinks it is too.
Im pleased with the final result, and I have a happy little girl who will no doubt hide in her costume tomorrow but she'll look fantastic anyway :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mondrian art

Today I had all three cherubs at home... ear aches, runny noses, normal, neverending winter stuff which I am truly over...I think for the first time in my life I am longing for warmer weather.
Watch me complain in a few months time :)
This week I am changing things. Last week I was so unorganised that they week past in a slow boring blur. I didnt really have any rhyme or reason to anything and it left me feeling Blah. So I stepped it up, got myself sorted for some fun activities and began the day with a sunrise walk to clear my head.
Twas perfect :)

At home, I got out some pencils, paint and paper and asked them to come create with me. Jared beelined for the mobilo but I let him go today, if he was going to create with something else, I was happy. The girls were up at the table faster than I could get the invitation to create out :)

Amahli, wanting no direction, was straight into it. Painting and chatting about what she was doing, being or so meticulous with her brush strokes, shes just so entertaining to watch.

I had something different for Jumeirah to do and she was keen to see what it was.
A friend of mine, who is a Kindy teacher, showed us his classes work recently that was inspired by the artist Piet Mondrian. I showed Jumeirah their work and asked if she wanted to give it a go.
We started by drawing straight lines on the paper with a ruler, both horizontally and vertically, making squares and rectangles.
Once drawn, she began to fill in different squares with colour. Its something that had to be done carefully, she took her time and did really well.

Once that stage was dry, each line is then painted in black paint. Another part that takes a steady hand and careful painting, she did get a bit frustrated by it but worked through it with me to complete what turned out to be a masterpiece.
The result is really striking and looks fantastic on the wall.

Im hoping she'll do one on a canvas for me :)
Thanks for the idea Mr Scott!!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

friday photo :Be still

Had one of those moments this week, just between me and God.

Its been a crazy week, one where I have been lost inside my own head, thoughts whirling through and out again, nothing really staying still, nothing really getting done, everything just all up in the air....

Yesterday I got up and went for a walk, mostly because I was awake and couldnt get back to sleep but also because I knew it would still my mind. ( Its funny that the one time of day I can be alone with my thoughts and more often than not, my mind goes blank :) )

As I arrived at the beach on the grey and stormy looking morning, I watched in awe at the sun, powering through the clouds at every possible hole it could. I was blown away by the quiet but awesome power it seemed to show in this beautiful display.
And I was stopped, the problems and things I had to sort out left as I just let the moment BE.

And how thankful for that moment I was. Remembering that though at times everything seems out of control, out of focus, off course, with no direction, God knows EXACTLY whats is, what has been, and whats going to be.


So I let go and was still, and enjoyed this moment of clarity when the worries drift away, even for a little while, and I can just enjoy the sunrise and a calm heart :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

from the achives: make a meal

Another archived craft today.. this week is crazy with sick kids and me in training I havent been able to do anything that I wanted to do..but trying hard not to beat myself up for it. The kids have been ok, happily playing whilst I try and deal with stupid mother guilt.
This was another really fun activity to do and we do it quite frequently.

Jared just comes in from the loungeroom where he is having "rest time" ( or quality spongebob squarepants time really) whilst Amahli is asleep, and says

"Mum, theres a Koala in the tree."

To which I reply, " ok mate I will come and sit with you in a minute".

His response: " No Mum, theres a Koala in the tree"

And what do you know?? There actually is :)

Well I can never be sure with him... yesterday it was a crocodile being chased by a dragon so do you blame me for being a little suspicious???

Today I have a little sick chick. I hate it when they arent well, she just wants to play, then dissolves in tears and curls up on my lap.... and there isnt much I can do....but after a dose of Nurofen she was ok for a bit and so I got out stuff for her to do really quickly.

I had cut up a whole heap of junk mail from Coles of different foods that we eat. I gave them both a paper plate and glue and off them went!

This was such a fun and simple activity. We talked about the foods we eat, what we like, what we dont like, the colours of food, things that go together ( Amahli, the clever thing that she is, found sausages, bread and sauce to glue on her plate) ( I dont recall allowing her to grow up faster than I am ready for!) and things we should try. Jared wanted scissors to trim down his apples which I let him do as well. Amahli did have a go but needs some spring loaded scissors to practise with first..

Amahlis favourite: bread, sausages and sauce. Actually if its got sauce, she'll give anything a go :)

Jared would be happy with noodles and prawns, and kiwi fruit for dessert.

Both of them did about 4 plates of food each and spent ages playing in the cut outs and making meals.
You could use the activity for so many things: cutting practise, counting, colours, pretend play.. its really limitless and loads of fun!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

designer fabric: from the archives

I took a trip to the beach with my littles today... WITHOUT the camera. I know, stupid huh. But I thought they deserved some full mummy time instead of trying to capture every moment on film.. or whatever it is today ;)
So I pulled a moment from the archive from this time last year.
It was a good one! I may just do it again this week :)

Yesterday was a bit if a funny day.. not so much funny "haha" but funny "hmmmm grrrr"....

I had Jumeirah home from school with green gunk oozing from her nose, and Amahli and Jared were a bit "off", and I seem to have somehow got some random head cold/ gunk thing too. So I didnt get a chance to blog BUT! I did get to do some fun stuff anyway!

I told them about the things I had planned to do: the changing the world part anyway, and how Daddy had printed off some cards for us to drop off for people we dont know. Jumeirah thought this was a bit funny but still was more than happy to go along and wants to help too. I also told them I wanted them to think about something they could do for someone else to make them feel happy too. I didnt push it, I want them to think of it themselves.
And so we began our day: A bit oozy, a bit grizzly but hopeful of a good day :)

I wanted to do something special with Jumeirah today, knowing she wasnt all that well and needed a bit of Mumma TLC ( the best kind, really!). I found a piece of white cotton fabric and took the idea I found at Filth Wizardry we got started in making some kid designer fabric to turn into a skirt. I gave Jumeirah a black permanent marker and she got to work.

I asked her to draw some flowers ( yeah I know, I shoulda just let her do it... sorry it was one of those days) and she did a brilliant job. I then watered down some acrylic paint and she painted them. I absolutely loved how this turned out!!

We hung it up to dry and then I had to convince myself that we had intended to make a skirt from it... I really didnt want to cut it or sew it, but want it for a hanging or something.. but I proceeded.

It turned out really well, although its a little stiff. But the colours and design is just gorgeous. As I was sewing it together, three cherubs were playing on the trampoline. Just as I turned to corner, I watched Jumeirah throw a soccer ball at point blank range at the back of Jareds head. I yelled ( yes yes I shouldnt have done that either) for her to get off and that she was banned from the trampoline for two days. "Its not fair!" I got yelled back and she flounced away. I made her come out and try on her new skirt.
As you can see she was well impressed, NOT.

As she took it off though, Jared came up and said "I do it for you, Mum" and he put it on and raced to the fence for a photo. I stopped and thanked this little guy for helping me. I tiold him that what he had done made my heart happy and that he was such a thoughtful person. And then I got these pics that really made me melt and realise yet again, how blessed I am with great kids.

Jumeirah watched all this, then came outside and asked to go on the trampoline. I said no, she was banned. I told her that she could see what it felt like by him throwing it at her, but she didnt like that idea either ( the third thing I shouldnt have done but it turns out well...).
Thinking of my resolutions, I told her there was one other thing she could do... do something kind for him that would make him feel happy.
And off she raced with a big grin.

After about 20 minutes she presented him with this.

He loved it and hugged her, and she turned to me and said this little piece of gold:

" Hey MUM! It worked! But guess what else?? I feel happy too so it REALLY worked!"

And so today, my work is done. And no matter how many times I stuffed up the little things, I know that I made a difference to them, even if it was only for today.

Kids dont have to be picassos for this to work out well. Its just great to have as a skirt or a pillow or anything! to keep as a momento of their young artworks :)