Tuesday, March 31, 2009

basket case ... or a case of baskets



I have an addiction. Besides purple. And stationery. It's baskets. 

Oh how I lurve baskets. And I have many of them but it seems I can never have enough. 

In my recent clearing of plastic toys I have realised that perhaps we needed some more little baskets here and there to house the bits and pieces that are left (and can I just add here that not one of the plastic toys I gathered up has been requested? I may be speaking too soon but I knew it!). Then last week I drove by a little vintage/shabby chic type shop which had a very lovely looking basket outside and almost burnt rubber doing a U-turn to race in, "and just have a little look"! And lo and behold they were having a sale on baskets! It was meant to be I tell you!

Here is some of my collection ...




I must say even the plastic toys look better when housed in cute little baskets. 







And they seem to have inspired in Sienna this very aesthetically pleasing process of creating 'collections' ...








And if you love baskets as much as I do check this out! Ah love it!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

'The Artist's Way' anyone?

so I am really interested to hear from anyone who has actually completed Julia Cameron's twelve week course? I bought this book many years ago and I think I got about three weeks into it before I let it go for reasons I cannot recall. Anyway lately it has been calling me and today I finally pulled it off the shelf again and am really keen to give it a cracking good go this time but I think I might need support!

If you haven't done it and you wanna give it a go I'd also be REALLY interested in getting a little group together to work on it as a kind of 'community' (which she actually suggests in the book). And if you have done it I'd love to hear any tips for how you managed to keep going and what you felt you got out of it.

So ... whaddaya reckon? Anyone interested? 

Saturday, March 28, 2009

earth hour

some essential items I for needed for my solo Earth Hour 2009 (taken with my little digi point'&'shoot so bear with me)...


I figure the computer was ok to use since it wasn't plugged in? And the books weren't so easy to read by candle light after all!

And some 'just because' shots 






Ah ... everything looks better by candle light ... and it's better for the environment too!


scenes from my backyard



the great thing about starting this blog has been my increasing use of our camera. Jamie went out and bought our you beaut little number about a year ago (I think it's a Canon 400D but he has absconded with it up to his parents place this weekend so I can't double check! And don't I feel like a part of my body has been stolen!)

Anyway when he first brought it home I was a bit scared of it - all those numbers and lenses, who could be bothered learning how it all worked? Jamie seems to have a good eye and has taken some awesome shots with it over the past year and so I think I just left the photography up to him. Also my sister is a photographer and teaches it at a local college and so I guess in my mind, photography was 'taken' (how weird - I am only just realising this as I type. Talk about stream of consciousness!). 

But since discovering Amanda's blog I have been inspired to start snapping away. Even before I started my own blog I decided using the camera was a great way to document the 'extraordinary ordinariness' of our days (in fact, that was going to be the potential title for this blog!). Again, this is something I did every day when I worked with children and yet hadn't used nearly enough with my own. 

So enough of the rambling. Here are some shots of our (very tiny) backyard taken in the afternoon a couple of days ago just before a storm hit. 





The quintessential Aussie gum tree from two doors down.









Trying out the big lense (not sure of the technical term!)





Wishing you all a happy (and snappy?!) weekend! 

Thursday, March 26, 2009

the gardener



A week or so ago the kids and I went to stay at my parents place so I could do a course (the coursework for which, I should be doing now ...). My guys don't get to see their grandparents on both sides all that often due to distance, but I guess the great thing is that when they do it's for extended periods of time.

Anyway Luca is totally besotted by my Dad (and who wouldn't be? He is awesome!), and basically shadowed him the whole time we were there. 

I just couldn't resist taking four million shots of the fun they were having watering the garden...





Love the intense look on his face in this shot. Such concentration!

Got out of the way just in time with this one! The camera was saved but my legs were drenched! I think he realised the power he was wielding!


All finished! Now onto the next job ...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

spaces

grab a cuppa it's a doozy...

ok time for something slightly more inspiring than piles of plastic. Recently we decided to merge the kids bedrooms for a variety of reasons. Firstly, poor Luca suffered from far too many chest infections last winter which my doctor said would not have been helped by the dampness in his room. Secondly, I was hoping to perhaps promote a little more harmony between Sienna and Luca, and thirdly I had a strong desire to create our own version of a "studio" or "atelier" inspired by many of the blogs I frequent. And I have to say so far it is all working a treat! I was slightly concerned that any night waking on the part of one would disturb the other but so far, amazingly, they each seem to sleep through any disturbance the other makes. On the harmony front it has been so delightful to hear them both giggling in the morning and more often than not we walk in to find Sienna in Luca's cot! 

And our studio (or 'art room' as Sienna has dubbed it)? Well it has a way to go but it is coming along quite nicely ...



I know this photo is terribly dark but the flash really would have ruined the lovely light that the room has. Hopefully you can see the little drawing/writing desk in the corner and also the dolls house. I love the windows in this room.



Another view of the desk. In the top right hand corner is some of Sienna's work trying to perfect heart shapes. The water colours on the wall above are also hers - a study of rainbows.


One of the sofas that was struggling to fit in our lounge room has a new home and is large enough for my sister to sleep on when she comes to stay. Ideally I would like this space to be cleared for a desk and a place for my sewing machine (which I WILL be winning!), but have no idea where this great hulk of a sofa would fit elsewhere in our tiny house. 



This bookshelf (which used to be Jamie's as a kid - gotta love that), houses about one tenth of the books in this house but is now also a place for all my reference books collected over the years. For some reason these had all been stored away in boxes (did I not think books about children's spaces, development, experiences and learning would be relevant to my own children?! Duh!). Now it is a great place to flick through these texts and feel inspired myself while Sienna and Luca are busy creating, playing and working.

Are you still there? Got time for more?



I just love how Sienna has decorated the inside and outside of the dolls house!

















Tuesday, March 24, 2009

plastic #2

an update from the trenches ...



Hilarious I know to try and take a half decent shot of a pile of plastic *c--p* but I felt I needed a visual. This is my haul from a sweep of the cupboards and the toybox (ok and the lounge room floor), this morning. And yes, that is a plastic tub holding the plastic stuff but it will be used later to store out of season clothing, which in my damp house means being in plastic. Believe me I've tried other options.
 
So what to do with it all? Donate it? Sell it in order to purchase some of the wooden toys on my wish list? Now to find a place to stash it all while I ponder these questions ...

Monday, March 23, 2009

plastic


How did it get here? Did I buy some of it? Does plastic multiply without me noticing? 

I have decided it is time to do a major collection of all the hideous plastic *crap* that has found it's way into our home. This is going to be a major exercise requiring military precision and timing and will most likely also need to be done under the cover of darkness in case I am spotted by the plastic lovers (a.k.a my two children and various family members). 

I don't know how we got to this place considering I was diligent at work choosing wood and natural, sustainable materials for toys and equipment wherever possible. I think the dominant culture in seemingly every children's store I walked into since having Sienna eventually took over from my common sense and so we have ended up with far too many brightly coloured plastic toys that quite frankly, assault my senses. 

Now for the tricky part - convincing family and friends not to gift any more of these items in favour of more simple, natural, open-ended play materials! Eeek! Sure to be tricky but I think it's worth having the conversation. Any hints for how to approach this are most welcome!
(p.s the photo above is not even the tip of the iceberg!)

Friday, March 20, 2009

cross your fingers

I have been so inspired lately by all the gorgeous sewing going on in my favourite blogs (see here and here especially), and a while back purchased some gorgeous fabric from good-ness without really knowing what I was going to do with it. All I knew was that I wanted to get sewing again! My sister has an old-ish machine which she kindly loaned me and so not long ago I sat down with a very simple pattern and some of the gorgeous good-ness fabric, thinking I would whip up a skirt for my girl only to realise I had none of the cords required to power the thing! And unfortunately they are deep in storage at my parents place, not likely to see the light of day in a hurry - or not quick enough for me anyway!

Anyhow about two weeks ago just by chance I picked up a magazine I don't usually buy at the supermarket and whilst flicking through it back at home I noticed a competition to win a sewing machine! I saw it as a sign and immediately my brain whirred into action thinking of how I could communicate (in 25 words or less), how much I WANTED this machine! I came up with the following ...


I cut the letters free hand (can't you tell?), from fabric off cuts I bought for a $1 a pop at a local quilting store and then used some special fabric glue to stick them on to these three sheets of A3 paper. Believe it or not it took me about three hours per night over four nights to get it all done! I hope I am not jinxing myself but I must admit I am having a very good feeling about this! Oh and do you think it helps that the winner will be announced on my birthday? I do! Stay tuned for the results ....

Thursday, March 12, 2009

purple



I have an obsession. It's with the colour purple. No not the movie, the colour (mental note: must see "The Color Purple"!).

I am not kidding I literally want to "eat" this particular shade of purple! So yeah please be patient with me because I am bound to prattle on about purple in all it's various shades. A LOT!

my drawing boy



If early signs are anything to go by I think my little man will be a very creative bean. Being a second child has so many advantages, one being the early access Luca has had to Sienna's many art materials. Of course this has often been fraught with difficulties as Luca, also a very adept climber, is regularly found sitting atop the drawing/writing table texta in hand making some very expressive marks all over the walls! 


The control freak in me wants to keep all these implements as far away from him as possible and yet I still want Sienna to have the freedom of ready access to a range of creative tools. At this point I am thinking the only solution is a crash course for Luca in how to use all these items as well as the very repetitive laying down of some ground rules ("Not in your mouth, on the paper" seems to come up a lot!). 

Some work from this morning ...

Oh and one last photo that I could not resist ... 

No show without Punch ... or in this case Maxie cat! 

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

art supplies

Well I was just thinking last night that although this little blog'o'mine is quite fresh and new it seems to be heavily weighted so far towards the creative pursuits of one Miss S and not so much towards the person who really should be getting her creative juices flowing ... ME! 

I have been happily living vicariously through Sienna's artistic expression and then laying awake at night twitching with excitement after reading the extensive list of creative blogs I have recently become addicted to (see sidebar). One such AMAZING blog is Geninne's Art Blog which I spent hours pouring over the other night while Jamie twiddled his thumbs beside me waiting for his turn on the computer! Anyway Geninne very generously shares her 'secret weapons' on her blog and so armed with this list I ventured out this morning and stocked up!! 

Oh how I love love LOVE an art supplies store. If it weren't for a tired and hungry toddler I could have happily spent all day in there. With a few minor alterations to the list (I am starting with some basic water colour discs first), I have ended up with the following gorgeous collection ...





There is another story to the fabric stash I also picked up this morning, which I shall share later (just thought it added to the photo!). So now, I guess I can't just arrange the tools and photograph them and write about them, I better get to using them! 
                                                                                                                           

Friday, March 6, 2009

frangipani flowers

ok so I have been fairly vocal about my desire for this summer to be O.V.E.R and I am very glad to be experiencing that cool, crisp autumn breeze BUT of course now that it seems summer is on it's way out I am suddenly realising all the things I love about it! Like for instance, the fact that I can peg out a load of laundry at 2 in the afternoon and it's dry by 5pm (or the fact that I can leave it there till 7pm with no problem!). Or that the kids can run about wearing next to nothing and I don't have to worry. And that our massive frangipani tree smells and looks divine. Check this out for a comparison of seasons ...


 














Anyway seasons change and that means that the mass of frangipani flowers are starting to drop onto the ground creating a beautifully perfurmed carpet. Sienna enjoys picking these up and using them in her play (see 'it started with a table' below). A couple of days ago she picked up a  handful and declared, "I want to put these in a bowl with some water and some pebbles" - a florist in the making perhaps?! Sounded like an excellent plan to me so we got to work collecting some pebbles and a suitable shallow bowl. 
And the results?


























































Yeah. I think I will miss summer. 

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