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This post is the update on the last event of 2010, all about getting ready for winter; hibernation and food storing etc.

(As an aside; I am SO over winter… I cannot see to make anything much after 2:30 in the afternoon, it gets so dark because we are in a north-south valley.)

It was a cold day- a bit grim to be honest, but there was a very good turnout and the log burner was great so we were all cosy in the barn! We made frog homes, night and day door hangers, clay and twig hedgehogs, and used a lot of shredded paper in dormouse nests and hedgehogs sticky pictures. Here they are (well some of them).

The frog homes were just flower pots to put in the garden- but they were suitably embellished as appealing homes – with info on what frogs might like! Very popular!

craft painted plant pots

decorated plant pot

This one already has an occupant! (you have to look closely)

We had a heap of old gardening periodicals (not valuable – don’t worry) with lovely mellow aged print. They looked fab shredded (along the font lines) as hedgehog spines and for dormouse nests on the ‘sticky pictures’. The idea was to put the spines on in layers… but this sweet little one looks like he has literally been “through a hedge, backwards”. Hope his creator doesn’t want to be a hairdresser.

paper hedgehog

The door hangers were very simple, and again popular with the younger visitors. They were actually reversible, the two cards stuck together with “day” one side and “night” the other, and suitable woodland creatures in fluffy fabric added.
wonkygiraffe door hangers

For older children we had clay hedgehogs and dormouse nest. Much concentrated effort involved!

Colouring mice
wonkygiraffe colouring

this little girl likes pink- see his little nose.

Then winding nests for them- ranging from minimal, neat and ‘sartorially enhanced’ to ‘everything on’!

Some quite natural looking.

mouse house nest

mouse in a nest

some less so!
wonkygiraffe mouse nest
WG mouse nest house

and some very well housed indeed , LOL!

mice nest

The nests were shredded paper and odd bits of wool etc, glued on, wound around, and in, plastic globes. These were mainly Activia yogurt containers, and some laundry soap measure balls. Not that it mattered because you couldn’t tell what was inside once they had been enhanced!
However they all turned out to be really cute.

As did the twiggy clay hedgehogs.

hedgehog and mouse nest

clay hedgehogs

some of whom had a very piratical air!!

wg hedgehog

this one is actually called Sidney Black Eye!

sidney

At the end of the day we were very pleased to hear that is was a good way to educate children about hibernation.

Result! Thank you that daddy 🙂

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I ‘m a bit out of step with the blogging of events- what with the festive season etc, so here are a couple I prepared and didn’t finish (last autumn- oops). I’ll do the next one later on!

I love autumn, and this yearly, countrywide, celebration epitomises all the beauty and bounty of the season as far as I am concerned. Plus I love it that Apple Day events actually spread out over several days – so, depending where you are, you can get to at least one.

We had a smashing event on the reserve, lots of traditional games, trails, orchard talks, stories, tasting, planting and cooking tips and, of course, arty stuff.

apple day

There was Apple Printing (very popular with toddlers, bam bam bam!) with extra printed ‘appley’ poems and words for older children to embellish their work with.

apple print pictures

We made an apple game –a simple blockade game called horseshoe- a bit like noughts and crosses. The visitors (even grandpas) liked it even more once they worked out the winning move. There were several “Ta Da” moments when the penny dropped!

apple games

We used disks of apple wood to make coasters and pendants with (sawn from branches cut from last years poor old dead tree- but much better than burning them).

I apologise for this poor photo; it was the only one, a shame because some were lovely. The green cylinders are laundry “softener” bottle tops with thin foam shapes stuck on as print blocks.
apple circles

Then there were hanging apple decorations; super easy and endlessly variable. I will post a tutorial on this idea (later on!) as it would adapt to Christmassy shapes too.

paper apples

Lastly, local orchards supplied masses of traditional English apple varieties for tasting and local supermarkets donated apple juice for sampling. (Very popular!)

apple tasting

Sadly no cider LOL, probably not a good idea anyway in combination with all the children, paint and water.

In true British fashion it was wet and windy but we were all very cosy inside the barn.

I am not sure the story teller in his yurt felt too cosy, poor man; we had to thaw him out with hot tea…

A good day.

apple day view outside

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Well I can’t believe another year has passed zip zap!

So many things not finished… sigh

hey, a new year.. so many things to start LOL

but for now Happy New Year and do look back at my last (first!) blog year if you like.

I’m not making resolutions but I am going to try to blog more frequently- or at least more regularly; the long gaps mean things get passed by as something else happens!

FOR EXAMPLE “here is one I prepared earlier” THAT NEVER GOT FINISHED AND POSTED UP. I would like to use it as it is a good way for me to remember a start of a project. ( so, sorry, but I’m going to inflict it on you too)!

This is the first publisher template I made for the matchbox accordion booklets. I’ve adapted it a few times now but at the time I felt very pleased with myself! It has made new ones much quicker.

It also shows me how much I can prevaricate and get sidetracked! ( cue; sidetrack)

My favourite author Terry Pratchett has a bit in one of his books where he describes ideas as sleeting through the universe- sometimes the best idea “hits” the wrong brain and is wasted; other times there is a lightbulb moment for some bright spark!

This idea so resonates with me; I often feel like I am standing ( or to be honest, more probably sitting) under a veritable rainstorm of ideas- sorting them out and getting a proper solid hit to work with has always been a problem. I like the metaphor of all the randomly crashing, sleeting, rain better than butterflies fluttering. It feels much more like what happens to me at times. It stops me actually finishing so many things- I prove concept and then get distracted by the next thing.

Of course sometimes I just can’t be inspired, or bothered, (impatient and lazy?) Know thyself! 🙂

Anyhow here is a sequence taken which to me shows how I work things out ; or how i should not to do it if i ever want to finish it!
!Idea! This well known rhyme “Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home, your house is on fire your children are flown”.

Firstly a 3D paper house using my bag/box/house fold. I wanted it all as one piece but the flames are added separately on these rather scruffy tryouts. [idea 1]

wonkygiraffe origami house

Then messing about with a little paper doll [idea2]

WonkyGiraffe paper dolls

Then I think it would go well in a matchbox (at this point I had done only the doll and beetles in them) so made a rough working out of layout of the text…

WonkyGiraffe paperdoll

…and decided to try out Publisher.

Much gnashing of teeth ( Publisher was, is a learning curve all by myself!)
but started messing about with seductive clip art [ ideas3 and 4] Oooo, great fun.

WonkyGiraffe Accoridion zigzag books

Covered a matchbox with fortuitous tiny scrap from friend quilting leftovers and thought about maybe using my nice vintage ladybird or house buttons. [idea5]
WonkyGiraffe vintage ladybird buttons

Which led to the idea to use even- more- tiny scraps as individual ladybird children (as can’t bear to waste such an apt bounty) glued onto card with threads so they can dangle..! [no.6]

WonkyGiraffe ladybird fabric

Then had idea to make mini fabric ladybird ( like Agatha beetles ).[idea7]
Tried it but at about an inch long a bit frustratingly fiddly- so not really happy with it and left that.
WonkyGiraffe miniature ladybirds

I also made up some individual booklets for my cousins’ children, with their names in the text and the – second verse ( more clip art fun and games)[no 8]

Abandoned whole boxful to do other rhymes.!!!

I did actually finish baa baa black sheep ( but there is a similar abandoned boxful of other ideas for that too!).

Hmm.

But today I feel like doing the ladybird one again- can’t find the energy to start anything completely new- even if it is New Years day!

Watch this space- I may actually finish one.

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Well – Tinkerbell did go to the ball, or Never Never Land…

Fairy Dress

The dress was a success, and has therefore moved off the ***(insert expletive of choice) *** sewing list, to the “I made it, yeah!” list.

sewing machine

green net

Just a tip, if using a (stretchy) leotard as a base for a (gathered and stiff) tutu, looks like a good idea; make sure the model is on hand to fit it on at all times! Otherwise you need a willing pair of hands to hold it into stretched mode whilst you fight with the gathers to pin them on. Not to mention while you herringbone petal points all round.
Such fun! Not really. More a labour of love.
The shoes were a labour of love too, but much more fun and we all agree looked fabulous. If only you could wear shoes like this everyday… then we would all feel like Tinkerbell.

TinkerBell Shoes

pompom shoes

I hand crocheted the pompoms with eyelash yarn. They were made as little spheres and then I stuffed them; I think they worked better then normal pompoms but eyelash yarn is weird to work with, in the end I was going on blind faith because I could hardly see the stitches for fronds…

And then…

There were some lovely left overs – lots of bits of bright green sparkly net (tulle) and beads. Some of the bits of net (those not trodden ALL around the house) were put to good use in the last event – “Trees”.

We had tree sprites, leaf bowls and lollypop trees.

The latter two were made with leaf rubbings from real leaves collected onsite. All pleasantly eco minded – the leaves were placed under old envelopes and rubbed with crayons to get the imprint of their veins; the beautiful patterns looked great against the blue print inside the envelopes.

green leaf rubbing

envelope rubbed leaves

The “bowls” were lots of bits of packing card from Ikea, helpfully cut into cross shaped disks!
They use them to protect stacked china bowls, so it was quite nice to give them a new life as bowls themselves.

card leaf trimmed box

leafy bowl

We also made miniature trees with the imprints and wooden twigs and sticks;

wooden tree

but my favourite was the tree sprites. I have always loved making little dolls from found natural “found objects” and also from wooden clothes pegs. This time they were both combined and the children made some gorgeous little creatures.

tree sprite

green peg sprite

clothespin sprite

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I love prints of all kinds; and the print making process.

I think it is the all- the- same- but- all -different bit that gets me…

Looking at various artists work I enjoy seeing how different colourways of the same set of lines and shapes affect the look of the finished image. I like monochrome and colours- simple and detailed, all sorts of print and processes. From a more philosophical point of view I think I’m drawn to the suddenness of it, the irrevocable mark. No matter how long it takes to conceive of the block- and the time it takes to create it- once the ink or paint is on, there is that “bam” moment (ok , sometimes more than one, I know).

But the thing is it is done.
No alteration.
You can do another one if you don’t like it
You can do another one if you do like it
You can do another one to try another effect
Bam Bam Bam!
Love it!

Children love it too; and I love the “Oh look! Another one – another one -and-another one….” Realisation that they can make the mark they have created over and over again. Magic!
While drawing is sometimes hard to feel happy with- printing is such a simple joy.

bam bam bam. Look what I can do!

After an unfortunate incident with linocutting during ‘A level’ art, I went off printmaking for years. So most of my printing has been on this simple level; with children as the excuse to do it.
Lots of “this is a sample “efforts that I secretly want to keep- even if it they are in poster paint.
Like these “I made earlier” ! (a classic Blue Peter children’s’ TV quote for those of you not grown up in the UK)

printed birds

I made them when we had no photocopier at the environment centre- people were always asking for colouring pages. So I printed these with paint, for them to colour in.

printed bird

printed bird

They are made with cut out sticky-backed foam, on cardboard. The foam was (I think) a kind of gasket; an unusable / left over industrial product from a scrapstore. I just cut out the shape directly into it with scissors as it is quite thin. ( Good job it too, because I was later challenged to produce a helicopter and a footballer! ) It is very useful!
Then I made these when the actual printing was so appealing they wanted to have a go!

printed painted bird

printed painted bird

We did birds, trees, birds in trees… great fun.
Later on, on “Apple Day” we printed apple pictures with real apples ( only the ones we could not eat because they were unripe etc. ). More about this when I have some pictures from Apple Day at the reserve, later this month.

Which brings me to a handy tip for those of you who are uncertain about the paint/ children/ home furnishings combo, and clearing up.
You put the very slightly thinned paint ( ordinary poster/school paint ) onto a *plate and cover it with a thin sheet of sponge foam ( mine is from motherboard packing boxes) . You hold down the sponge with a grid of sellotape or elastic bands across the edges; so it stays put. This can then be used as a giant printing pad or with brushes instead of a paint pot. I will get some pictures of this – it sounds more trouble then it looks.

I’ve had a table set out with these for a whole weekend “drop in” event- and hardly ANY cleaning up!

*You can use ceramic plates or even paper disposable ones if it is for a one off event ( but you need to make sure these don’t get too soggy ). If you cover them with cling film between sessions they will last for a few days too!

So no excuses now! LOL

and no excuses for me to do some printing, thanks for the encouragement Chantal.

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Well, I’ve just thoroughly enjoyed watching the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa.

Wow it was so exciting!
And while I’m on the subject don’t the BBC team do a fab job.

Congratulations to Hamilton, but huge commiserations to Jenson. Even a small knock on ordinary roads is upsetting, with a shunt like that I’m amazed he didn’t have a real tantrum. What a gentleman.

If you have any little Hamilton fans that need to re-enact the victory or Jenson fans that might need cheering up… here is a freebie from one of my old 1970’s craft books, for them to enjoy.

Click on the link below the picture for a downloadable PDF for Cork Racing Cars.

TheRainyDayBook front cover

WonkyGiraffe Freebie RDB Cork Racing Cars

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The shops have been busier lately – which is good…

Some pegbags and earbud cosies have sold. Bizarrely two things, almost at the same time on the same day to different ‘Suzanne’s – how weird! Especially as I was just off to visit a Suzanne too…

Curiouser and curiouser as Alice said.
Maybe there is a Suzanne asteroid whizzing over in transit to my second house… or something.

I also sold the Baa Baa Black Sheep matchbox accordion. I was very pleased, but a bit sad about that too.

It is all such a nice feeling when a bit of my ‘art’ stuff sells. However I have only made that one, sometimes I make two or three variations of an idea, and I now realise I didn’t actually show it to anyone here; oh well at least I have some pictures…

Matchbox

Matchbox

Matchbox

And the lady who bought it liked it…

Maybe I will get some time this week to finish some more matchboxes. Alice, Mary and the Ladybirds are all languishing together in one of my work boxes. Note, that was ‘one of my work boxes’. I am not telling you how many more than one I have; but the house is a veritable hub of UFOs and WIPs (unfinished-objects and work-in-progress, to those unfamiliar with these modern knitting abbreviations).

I almost forgot; I sold another Punch and Judy matchbox…

Matchbox

Matchbox

Matchbox

…and one of my Art Activity PDFs to a great fan of mine.

One of the really nice things about selling online is that you get to make contact with so many nice people.

Celebration Activity PDF

So I am having a little celebration of my own…
But first I am off to help make a Tinkerbell outfit! As you do…

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