Facebook Friday

November 23, 2012

In case you missed this ‘do good’ story during the week.

Thanks Rory and Duncan.


Facebook Friday

September 28, 2012

Click on the image for a fabulous story on patience. Thanks Heather. Image from ‘IAAW’


Day 1: Big smile in her skirt into dress....oh and a sneaky owl!

Day 2: A Mary Poppins impersonation before leaving home. Another skirt made into a dress.... yes and am "Over it" Brooch to finish it off.

Day 3: Orientation done! I think a song is in order. Men's shirt into a skirt and top.

Leading up to orientating 5 year olds to school, she began getting very excited about upcycling skirts into dresses.

We had made one in the past, and she really enjoyed wearing it….bit small now…

On a recent trip to the Op Shop, 5 year old bought me the two ladies skirts and suggested we make dresses for her ‘try out days’. She called them this because  she was under the impression that she would try it…ask the teachers a few questions (Like what is 2+2… because if they didn’t know, then she thought they wouldn’t make very good teachers)…..

Anyway we thought we would turn it into a fun activity together. She would pick some pieces from the Op Shop and I would make her some things to wear. While I sewed she sat on the floor and floated around watching and learning what Mummy does.

These are what we ended up with!

The first one is simply made by attaching ribbons to the top of the skirt and tying them together at the shoulder.

With dress two, I made fixed straps with ribbon and attached the ties. I also added a little ribbon on the skirt yoke to draw the ribbon print into the overall dress.

The skirt and top is a little complex to explain in a sentence, but I hope to share a tutorial of how to do it soon. It’s a great (cheap) way to introduce children to sewing…..

Advent 2011

December 1, 2011

An idea has been percolating since June to use the story stones idea for advent.

Since fixating on the idea I have been noticing stones and rocks everywhere.

handpainted beach pebble winter tree by natasha newton

Word Stones- Support Theme: Support, Hope, Strive, Motivate, Encourage & definition.

hand painted rock house primitive style by The Owl Shop.

Painted stones by Geninne.

So many beautiful ideas….

So, yes, while children all over the world are getting chocolates and goodies in their advent calendars… ours will be getting stones. So if you know us personally, and my children tell you they are getting rocks instead of chocolates….. please ….

  • don’t call DOC’s….
  • feel sorry for them
  • assume they have misbehaved
  • but…. ask them about it!

We have been brutally realistic about how often we will actually sit down and ‘open the box’. The number we arrived at was about 3 times a week.

We will still use 25 pockets. …we aren’t trying to cause undue stress! The difference will be we ‘plan’ to open a number of them each time.
The contents will be a mixture of previous years activities, and readings, but we also want to look at some of the biblical references that talk about rocks.
As the month goes on Tim and I will encourage the girls to recall bible stories using the rocks as launching pads.
That’s the idea ….anyway…. we will see how it goes:) It could go down like a ton of bricks rocks.
I will (as in previous years) blog through our advent adventures, but it will be once a week only (different to previous years).
I always enjoy hearing how others are celebrating the lead-up to Christ’s birthday. Please fill me in by leaving a comment….. even if it’s a disaster! It’s encouraging to know that it’s not just my household  that can’t sit for 15 minutes talking about Jesus without an issue…. some days.

Image from Book Depository.

After what felt like a long wait, the book club got back together. Because we are all mums, we haven’t been meeting in the school holidays, so sometimes it feels like a while. Even though it was a long break I didn’t manage to get the book from the library even though it was on hold for over 2 months….. does that say something about the book?

So, for the first time since the start of book-club I listened to the book rather than actually read it. Yes, I felt like a bit of a cheat, but I didn’t want to let this one pass….and I had been looking for an excuse to listen to a book-club book for a while now. One of our members ONLY listens to the books and she retains so much. I was keen to give it a try, and now I have. I like it! I think I might even have loved it! Now if I can just get my earphones to say in my ears!!

The first thing to note is that this Lionel Shriver is a female, which came as a great relief to all of us as the book is written from a mother’s perspective and it was a little unnerving that a male author would have such finite understanding of women’s emotions and thoughts. The second point to mention is that the book is a hard read. Very dense metaphoric passages left some of the readers going back over sections to make sure the meaning was fully captured. It also has a full serving of bad language which can be quite confronting to read. Listening to it …I ‘m sure was easier on this ….. it was like a close friend downloading and reminiscing and regretting aloud. Getting things off her chest. Explaining her perspective.

The content also is heavy going. ‘Kevin’ is a story of a mother’s uncertainty before conception and during motherhood…. mixed with a bit of defensiveness about her choices and her lack of action, and lots of what she goes through resonated with us. As I mentioned before, we are all mothers. We came to motherhood with mixed feelings and have felt different levels of ‘success’ across the years so far. Some of us share similar issues to the ones she experiences. None of us have older teens, so we haven’t yet reached some of the years she describes. Kevin has done something unthinkable (I don’t want to give too much away). Something we all pray and hope our children never come close to. But as she describes his childhood the reader is left wondering at what point does a parent seek help. How do we assess if something our child does is ‘normal’ or ‘passing’? Other big questions like ‘Should women who don’t want children have them?’ and ‘Are our children a product of our parenting successes (whatever that means) and failures?’…and lots of other questions and uncertainties.

I wouldn’t recommend it to parents who already lean toward the anxious, because it is unnerving. I, we, began to second guess ourselves in the choices we are making as parents, which at one level is helpful, but can be in itself pretty destructive. It can leave the reader feeling powerless.

Image from Book Depository

Have any of you read it? What did you think?

Next month we thought we would lighten it up a bit, while exploring the genre’ of periodical writing. We will be reading ‘The Unbearable Lightness Of Scones’ by Alexander McCall Smith. My first of his (I know, I know where have I been…..hiding under a rock?)…. should be interesting.

Oh to live in a tree-house!

October 23, 2011


Image from the tree-house tour via Apartment Therapy.

The story behind this is quite sweet.

You can read it here if you like here at  Apartment Therapy 

The house was designed around the tree...... image from Apartment Therapy.

I think it has all the makings of a great children’s book.
The tree the house is built in has a story.

Most of the materials used were recycled and reclaimed.

Most of the work was voluntary.

The result is gorgeous!

 Take the (tree)house tour

Ooohhh I would love to have this in my backyard! Photo credit Apartment Therapy.





Folded book Tutorial

September 1, 2011

A3 size paper.... (A4 works too but gives you a very small book)

Fold paper in half lengthways....

Open the fold back out.

Fold paper in half the other way....

Fold it in half again the same way...ie last 2 folds parallel to each other.

Open it all back out flat again. Your page will be divided into 8 even rectangles.

Fold the paper in half again....(the long side halved by the fold).

Cut along the crease line from folded side to where the creases meet.

Open the page out again then fold it in half lengthways again until you get this shape.

Push the ends together until the paper forms a + shape.... then fold the paper onto itself to form the book.

After you have done that... lay the book out flat again. The page sequence is shown in the picture.

Write and Illustrate your book ...closed...

....or open. 5 year old looking back at a finished book to check her mermaid drawing.

This one is so easy you could do it today ….I love craft activities like that!

P.S. Sorry about the quality of the pictures. The light in our lougeroom is a shocker.

Image from Lauren Childs book 'Who's afraid of the big bad book?' source: bswigshoppe

Author/Illustrator: Lauren Child

Genre: childrens picture books

Artists medium: collage, pen, photo montage

Age Appropriateness: 4 and up.

Introduction: Of course, I had seen Lauren Child’s artwork used to animate the Charlie and Lola series of books but one Christmas I came across “Who’s afraid of the bog bad book?”. After looking through it quickly I saw that it was perfect for our no. 2 who at the time was about 6. It’s a fantastic read aloud and talk about the pictures….. as your read the font becomes part of the illustration and experience. Turing the book this way and that it makes for a very fun experience.

Other work: Beware of the storybook wolves, many of the Charlie and Lola series, The Clarice Bean series, The Princess and the Pea, The Pesky Rat,I want a Pet, My Dream Bed, Hubert Horatio Barten Bobten -Trent…



For all the surface brio of illustrations that are crammed full of everything from photographs to fabric scraps, in person, Child remains as tentative as her books are bold, as hesitant of her success as her characters, with their crimped mouths and vast, wary eyes, appear to be of their exuberant environments.

Video Interviews: An extended  interview about how she became a writer illustrator.

Her website: Milkmonitor…. a very fun and arty website.

Other things they do: Lauren works with UNESCO to help children in need.

Her work can be purchased through the Illustration Cupboard.

This one I find super exciting…. Lauren’s illustrative style has been commissioned  by Liberty of London for fabric. Beautiful and playful.

You can find out about the design process here.

Image of Lauren Child fabric for Liberty from Design Wotcha

Image taken from the Design Wotcha of Lauren Child fabrics for Liberty.

Illustration from Hansel and Gretel by Anthony Browne. Image from The apple and the egg.

Author/Illustrator: Anthony Browne

Genre: childrens picture books

Artists medium: Pencil and very controlled watercolour.

Age Appropriateness: a bit book dependent…. baby to older primary…… through to adults.

Introduction: Although Anthony Browne is best known for his books featuring gorillas, my first real exposure was very recently while in the library with 5 year old ….researching for this series of posts. I came across and read ‘In the forest’. I love how the pictures are predominantly  black and white with the subject being in colour. I also loved the way the story required other book knowledge.

This book lead us on the path of revisiting fairy tales (which we hadn’t read a lot of recently). The experience reminded me of Tim’s english literature lecturer who said (20 years ago) …. much of the imagery in literature is lost because students don’t have a good grounding in biblical literature….I wondered how much children miss out on when not exposed to the ‘old fairy tales’. Interestingly enough….at least to me … academics are starting to acknowledge that reading the ‘old fairy tales’ and experiencing books from moments in history when thinking was different to ours, aids in encouraging the imagination. Nic blogs about it  this idea here.

Other work: Voices in the park, My Dad, My Mum, Zoo, Willy and  Hugh, Little Beauty, Gorilla, Willy the Wimp, the tunnel, Silly Billy, Piggybook, Changes, Willy the dreamer, Look what I’ve got, Hansel and Gretel, Bear Hunt, Willy the Champ, The Shape Game, Willy the Wizard, Through the magic mirror, Willy’s pictures, Bears Magic Pencil, Me and You, The night Shimmy, My Brother, Things I like, King Kong, I Like Books, The Tunnel, Willy’s pictures. (Over 40 books if you include translations)


…again too many books to show the covers of all of them


 Anthony Browne is an internationally acclaimed author and illustrator of children’s books, with nearly 40 titles to his name. He creates strongly narrative watercolours that blend near-photographic realism with fantastical, surreal touches and ingenious visual puns. His skilful use of colour, pattern and background detail subtly conveys an exquisite empathy for his lonely and sensitive child protagonists (both human and ape). Gorillas feature in many of Anthony’s books. He says, ‘I am fascinated by them and the contrast they represent – their huge strength and gentleness. They’re thought of as being very fierce creatures and they’re not.’

Children’s laureate website.

Interviews: You can read CBBS’ author spotlight…including questions from kids here.


Activities from books: Play the Shape game.

Art: book illustration plates available as artworks from the Illustration Cupboard.


Image from 'Can you catch a mermaid?' by Jane Ray

Author/Illustrator: Jane Ray

Genre: childrens picture books

Artists medium: mixed media

Age Appropriateness: kids get it at about 4…… It’s very girlie…..

Introduction: I bought ‘Can you catch a mermaid’ for our oldest when she was in kindergarten. I picked it up in the book shop because it was so beautiful and my daughter loved/s mermaids. When I read the story I cried at just how suited this book was at the time. The girl in the book struggles with understanding friendship and lives in her own little world. That’s exactly where she was…….

Other work: Noah’s Ark, The story of Creation, Snow White, The Apple-pip Princess, The Doll’s House Fairy, The story of Christmas, Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden, Clasic Fairy Tales, Ahmed and the feathered girl, the twelve days of Christmas, Lines in the Sand, Nativity, The Children’s book of bible stories-Let there be light, Hansel and Gretel…..and an advent calendar.


Her Words:

 “Historically, from medieval times through Victorian and Georgian periods there has been a strong tradition of exquisitely illustrated books for very wealthy people,” she says. “It is only recently we have stopped putting pictures in books for adults. I love the idea of adults having pictures in their books. It’s a great shame that you’re not allowed to have illustrations in your book if you’re over seven.”

Video Interview: A look inside the theatrical Snow white pop-up book

Other things they do: Look here for some colouring bookplates based on some of here books.

Art: Jane Ray illustrates for other authors.

She has illustrated  Christmas cards for a variety of organisations including greenpeace and UNICEF.

The Circus Trundled..... by Jane Grey from the book Ahmed and the feathered girl.

Dreamed of Aurelia From the book Ahmed and the Feather Girl by Jane Ray.

Painting by Jane Ray. Image from Primaverauk site.

Painting by Jane Ray. Image from Primaverauk site