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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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At last I have finished (one of at least) the little owl matchbox zigzag accordions.

Little Owl Matchbox

The idea was to have a little character that can be moved from page to page as you read the story ( or poem ).

Zig Zag Accordion

Little Owl bookmark

This one is my own, but I have ideas for some other texts too. I have previously spent ages ( in small doses ) typing in Publisher to get the text formatted. It’s not Shakespeare – nor even a haiku, but I wanted 8 sentences so it neatly fits two booklets on an A4 sized sheet.

Sixteen pages are about the limit to fit inside the matchbox in lightweight card. I like to use this as it gives a crisp action to the accordion- but sometimes I have to use paper to fit more in ( as in the dark dark book , blogged here ).

WonkyGiraffe Accordiaon Book in a Matchbox

Sometimes there is an object in the bottom ( a mini owl stuffie is planned for the next one ) but this time I made a fold out nest to pop little owl in.

Little Owl in Matchbox

I still have lots of ideas; so there is a production line of sorts making a mess as it expands from the storage box, but it is under some sort control now. Here are some pictures of it all as a work in progress today.

I found a remnant of brocade woven as a colour test piece; perfect, as there are several strips just wide enough for a matchbox in just the right “bark looking” colours. I have forced myself to cover a handful so they will be ready when I do the next accordions (see- production economies of scale!)

Matchboxes

With this one I have gone for embellishing “print variation A”- (there are lots!) which has some line drawings done directly in Publisher, with pencil and wax crayon. I used some old ‘texture plates’ (children’s’ plastic ones) to get some interesting surface finishes along with the lovely soft Lyra pencils.

Colouring ZigZag Little Owl Matchbox story

The owl is one printed from one of several stamps I made out of some recycled scrap foam stuff. It is actually a little bigger, as it was originally made for the illusion rollers (for a movie workshop, and the owl funpack). I printed some with ink in the normal way, then I scanned them to resize and print them onto the zig zag.

Little Owl Story

The little owl was made in the same way, then cut out and backed with some teeny scraps of a vintage “it-looks-like-an-owl” fabric left over from the owl sew a softie kits! You can just see it in the photo with the pencils.

Phew! After typing and reading through all that I can’t believe I bothered! Completely time wasting, but it was actually fun to do. The next ones will be quicker!
Ha!
At least this one can go in the shop now.

Little Owl Matchbox FINISHED

Looks a bit worried about that doesn’t he?

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I wrote this a few weeks ago; and didn’t publish it, because I needed to look for the photos. I just found it scribbled on some scrap paper, and thought I really should just post it up anyway, because today is my last little baby’s birthday.

It was pretty traumatic at the time as I had eclampsia and she was 6 weeks early. Delivered by a real, full on emergency, “emergency caesarean” in the nick of time to save both our lives. A real little 3pound 6oz miracle. I didn’t get to see her for a day , so I didn’t feel like I had a baby at all until I did; anyway I guess it explains some of the feelings I have about creating. Hmm interesting…

It was some Spanish friends who gave her her first nickname “Muñequita”( Little dolly)!

My other babies arrived in a more normal fashion – also miracles of course, but just in a more normal way. LOL

So here it is:

When you make a creature – and you get to the last bit where you turn it right-side out, complete, that always feels (to me) like it’s being born then!
I know, nothing like as full on as really giving birth LOL.

However when I see the raggy object pop out of its bundle into something resembling a creature of some kind… well it feels like it has arrived – been born if you like. Of course it needs filling; or button eyes or something; but that moment when I see what I have made for the first time, right side out and all the bits attached, is when the thing becomes a creature, for me. I’m pretty sure I am not the only one who thinks like this. 🙂

Yesterday I “birthed” 4 pegbag creatures, the day before three “Owls”. Phew.

At least no actual pain involved with these babies!

Anyway; Happy Birthday Little Dolly.

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Very busy with a lot going on – more real blog later – but just for now because I have the photos ready, some earbud cosy pictures for my new listings
http://wonkygiraffe.folksy.com

They are fun to do !
Ideas just keep popping up, there will probably be wheels tomorrow – Singapore Grand Prix !

I need to amend the pattern for them as well… to include the little leaf widget.

cosies

Wonky Giraffe dennis menace cosy nests

wonkygiraffe earbud cosy nest

firework cosy

A gorgeous scrap worked really well.

firework wool

This one is very stretchy; a kind of boucle with a retro colour scheme.

pebble cosy

And of course some seasonal fare:-
pumpkin cozies

halloween cosy in ivy

Peepo…

smiley orange cosy

And because these are yummy
Liquorice Allsorts

liquorice  allsort cosy

pink liquorice cozy

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Another lovely event at the reserve.

Bug in a bag (there is that alliteration thing again).

The children love this one. I use my paper fold box/bag net with some printing on. These are easy; my original best idea (one of them anyway, she said modestly) for a really versatile event activity.

I’ve adapted the box net for loads of different things;

they can be decorated flat (Sooo much easier!) then assembled (OK, usually by “moi”) when done.

bug in a bag

This time the children made a little bug (more about that in a mo) and popped it in to the bag to carry home. The bag gave them scope for naming their bug and adding some facts (or even a back-story!!) and also an opportunity to think about habitats etc.

bug in a bag montage

Neat. More stealth learning.

For the bug to go in the bag we wanted a different bug instead of our normal paper and wire versions, and thought of making things using wood from the site.[ It’s great that we have different styles – together inspire each other and come up with all sorts of different things.]

My friend spent ages sawing and sanding bits of twig to use as the bug body; and we used up lots small scraps of nice card we hadn’t been able to bring ourselves to throw away.

So as a bonus it was practically free… if you don’t count labour 🙂

They turned out F.A.B !

A step up from the first idea! Add in the children’s natural creativity, and voila!
Bug in a bag, extraordinaire.

bug in a bag

bug in a bag

As you can see the children were very inventive, although we did have a lot of the ubiquitous butterflies they seem to love above all else!

bug in a bag

We also had a neat life cycle disc; mounted on recycled CDs for the older guys. Plus caterpillar bookmarks…

bug in a bag

…and one very LARGE caterpillar!

This little chap laboured on; working his way patiently through some old, almost exhausted, felt pens (we need more cash!)

to finish this Opus Magnus.

caterpiller

And we found these abandoned when we tidied up!

Probably someone’s idea of what we looked like by the end of the day.

finger bugs

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