Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Two weeks later

As of today we have a working fridge! And an oven (though I didn't try using it yet, there are too many controls - may have to read the manual)
Downstairs renovations
After two weeks of odd food, Katya finally asked for peas. She loves frozen peas and good luck to anyone, who offers to heat them up - warm peas trigger bouts of loud screaming. After explaining my inability to produce frozen peas, we went in search of a place that has peas on their menu. No luck (to my horror I found out months ago that the local pub serves tinned peas with their fish & chips! yuck). But fortunately the local veggie shop had some fresh garden peas and they were met with enthusiastic approval.
Shelling peas

Now I wonder how long it will be between Katya realizing that the fridge is working and asking for the frozen peas.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I wish

Here’s the truth: if you want something, you can have it, but only if you want everything that goes with it, including all the hard work and the despair, and only if you’re willing to risk failure.
from Clockwork or All Wound Up by Philip Pullman

Some wishes are carelessly uttered and are as easily forgotten. Some dreams are harboured deep inside for a long time and become part of our being. I had few of these hidden dreams for a very long time. They grew and shrank as my life followed its unique course; sometimes they hid away even from myself; occasionally I would re-examine them only to put them away again for later. And now I have the chance to turn them into reality. But remember that old saying “Be careful what you wish for”? So I need to think carefully about the implications of finally living my dreams and how they will affect the rest of my family. And to help myself focus and to find some time for contemplating my future I created a little dream book by altering an old kids board book.
Dream book
The stamping of the flowers didn’t work, especially after the little hands grabbed the book before the stamped images had time to dry. I didn’t want to repaint the cover, so used some of Katya’s glitter and shiny shapes to fix (or at least somewhat hide) the problem. The butterfly was crocheted from one of My Picot’s patterns and hand-dyed together with some fabric using Procion MX dyes.
Dyed fabric
I know it sounds silly to spend time on altering a board book in order to carve the time required for the self-reflection, but doing something with my hands helps me to relax and switch off from daily tasks and worries.

If you want to try your hand at modifying an existing book for your own purposes Art Junk Girl has a post with Chunky Book Tips on her blog.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Lucky me

I learned to crochet as a child and crocheted on and off for most of my life, so it is one craft area in which I feel reasonably comfortable. It is also one of the things I can do while Katya is awake. So when talented Barmyowlscoo mentioned having idea for the quilt with crocheted doilies I offered to make some for her.

Swap package
In return she sent me all these goodness: tinny owl, kiddie fabric (I should write down all ideas I have for it, so I can choose one and get it done), potholders created by herself and a painting set for Katya (not included in this photo as the Little One wanted to try it out straight away). Here is a close up of the potholders - aren't they gorgeous?
Quilted potholders
Why do I always feel that I got a much better package than the one I sent?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A week later

Downstairs renovations
I took this photo today in the morning, so there was even more progress by the end of today. I find the noise and presence of strangers in the house somewhat stressful, specially because Katya thinks that they are great fun and periodically screams about going downstairs to help the builders or calls them upstairs to play. So most of last week we spent outside visiting museums and parks until I caught a cold. This week we spent at home with only short escapes to get food and tomorrow is promising to be even worse than today (and it was one long boring & tiring day) since Katya is now also sick.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Quote for my husband

My daughter's drawing
The artistic temperament! What nonsense! There's no such thing. Only amateurs have temperaments. Real artists get on with the job and don't fuss about it. If you hear anyone talking about the artistic temperament, you can be sure they don't know what they're talking about.
from Clockwork or All Wound Up by Philip Pullman

Friday, July 17, 2009

Starting again

I'm trying to get back to drawing everyday. I know that eventually I'll want to draw everything: I'll see interesting lines, combination of objects, unusual angles everywhere. But for now the hardest thing is choosing something to draw. So to prevent my indecision from sabotaging my resolution I printed out Every Day Matters challenge list, but to make it even easier for myself I'm starting with watching Channel 4's Life Class: Today's N*de and drawing with the great artists.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Days without naps

Pencil Sketch: nap
I drew this sketch back when I was drawing everyday. I’m glad I did, as it helps me to remember the exact way she looked while sleeping at that age. So many moments fly away too quickly to be savoured and remembered.

She no longer naps, I no longer draw. There are advantages to the days unbroken by naps, but I’m still too new to this stage to savour them fully. She wakes up so early, we enjoy the day, she falls asleep also earlier than before. However, as morning person myself, after the fullness of the day I feel stuck in the dim fog. What were those brilliant ideas I thought up in the morning? Why was I excited about all the little things I noticed throughout the day? What did I want to share with you? Too tired and lost I start doing whatever happens to pop into my mind first. I used to wake up before everyone else to plan my day, to assign priorities, to choose few tasks to start or even to get done. Without the morning planning I feel that my life and my surroundings are too cluttered. I wish to step outside the front door, to hide away from my own life. Yet I know that I will adjust, I will figure out a way to simplify, to plan, to keep the excitement, to dream. I just need to give myself enough time to puzzle out this new shifted landscape of my life.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Renovations started

The builders (or Bodie Builder as Katya calls them, though she means to say Bob The Builder) started today. Bye-bye old kitchen! Bye-bye the wall, Bye-bye ugly carpet and ceiling. Bye fridge (I miss you already)!
1. Today: Morning, 2. Today: Late afternoon

Question to self: Why didn't we try all the various colours on the bit of the wall that was destined to be removed? (and we still have no idea what colour we will paint the walls)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Something to Watch

I was hoping to blog today, but instead we watched Yann Arthus-Bertrand's Home. Breathtakingly beautiful and breathtakingly scary, definitely worth watching.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I'm glad the builders are coming on Monday to start work downstairs, as our kitchen is starting to fall apart

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Summer week

This week I was grateful for the shade these trees provide.
After two damp grey summers I'm glad to have a lot of sunny days to enjoy, but at the same time I'm realistic about my ability to deal with heat, which is pretty low. So we mostly stayed at home playing in the new sandpit, splashing in the tiny paddling pool and enjoying picnics on the newly made picnic rug (Tutorial is over here).
Picnic rug
All week I was planning to make a skirt for Katya and maybe one for myself, but at the end of each day I didn't want to be anywhere near a hot iron. Eventually over the weekend with the help of the intended recipient and following very clear, detailed and illustrated tutorial from Erin of House on Hill Road I made the Strawberry skirt.
Strawberry skirtActually the Picnic Blanket tutorial is also Erin's - she writes great ones, specially good for beginners like me, who have to be told all the steps. Maybe I should make her Sunny Day Dress or Top? Or maybe I should start thinking about autumn and knit Them Apples cardigan? I'm still a horribly slow knitter due to the lack of practice. I was thinking a lot lately about my inability to concentrate on one craft, yet with every new skill learned the more I notice the relationships between various things; the easier it becomes to pick up a new skill; the more appreciation and understanding I have for the work of others and the more I want to learn. Maybe one day something will capture my interest and hold it for the rest of my life, but even exploring the depths of one area I'll always keep in mind words attributed to Socrates:
The more you learn, the more you realize how little you know.