Monday, June 28, 2010

Needles Clacking

If the knitter is weary the baby will have no new bonnet. ~Irish Proverb

Writing a previous post about focus must have been just what I needed as I have found that the last week or so have allowed me some more creative time, space and energy to begin working again on the blanket I have been knitting for little Eee ever since she was a baby. I am determined to finish it this season. We have both been using it lots already as the mornings have been very cool these past few days, leading into the house staying cooler during the day. This is particularly so when the pilot light on our central heating refuses to light and we are left waiting for the tradesman to replace it. (Fortunately it is all repaired as of this morning).

I really love this blanket, as do most visitors we have here, and I will find it hard to give away to little Eee however it will stay around our home for many years to come.

I have even got my hook out also in order to make a little gift for my nephew. I hope he likes his little 'blue' pear.

I'm hoping this newfound energy will last so I can complete some unfinished projects (am counting on the nesting phase to take care of that) and then to create something new for our new little cherub.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Decorator Chalk Drawing

Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world. Constantly color your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak. Try adding some bright colors to the picture by including humor, and your picture begins to lighten up. ~Allen Klein

Today I was somehow inspired to allow my girls to use decorating chalks for some artwork. Perhaps it was the uniquely shaded illustrations in The Story about Ping which combine multiple colours of pencils or crayons that led me to thinking the chalks would work well. Perhaps I knew they'd like the large palette of colours to choose from, or it might even have been the practical me, resisting getting out paints when it is a bit too chilly to enjoy the outdoors with no sunshine.

All three of us had a lovely time using the chalks to create different effects, combining colours with ease using our fingers and simple cottonbuds.

I don't consider myself an artist at all but I do love sitting down with my girls to create colourful fancies for each other, admiring each other's drawings, observing and trying new techniques. And I absolutely adore Ess' fingerprint ducks paddling under the setting sun on the Yangtze River in the very first picture.

Simply being creative together.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Focus - the new growth in winter

I adore bare wintry branches with buds forming upon them, set against the blue sky of a clear sunny day.

It reflects a little the way I am feeling at the moment, being with child!

Each time I have been pregnant my usual nurturing and creative pursuits seem to go on hold as my body assumes its full role in nurturing a tiny one within.

My desire to pick up a needle and stitch seems to be taking a little break.

The urges I usually have to go outside and dabble in my garden wanes, although I still visit there daily to harvest greens for a lunchtime salad. It was fortunate that my girls and I spent a sunny morning in Autumn planting out some winter greens for this purpose.

It is very fortunate it is winter and the rainy season as getting outdoors to water the plants doesn't happen as regularly as it might need to during summer.

It is not that I am tired these days. In the middle of my second trimester I feel well and healthy and full of life and energy. It is just focussed on my family, the ones I am raising and nurturing day by day.

So my life is very focused at the moment on keeping this little one growing well inside me just like the bud on the wintery tree, waiting for the right time to blossom.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Glorious Flight

The desire to fly is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors who, in their grueling travels across trackless lands in prehistoric times, looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through space, at full speed, above all obstacles, on the infinite highway of the air. ~Wilbur Wright

The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Bleriot

Taking a flight from France to the white cliffs of Dover in England is not something I have ever done, or even imagined really, until this past couple of weeks when we explored the antics of Mr Louis Blériot in the story The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Bleriot. After our visits to France with Madeline we joined with Papa Blériot as he ventured into the unknown with his exploits of invention of a flying machine which would cross the dangerous English Channel. He made it after many attempts at creating something which would actually fly. We made many discoveries along the way.

Ess explored Roman Numerals and enjoying telling me which invention we were up to as we read along together. She enjoyed making the little window book we found at Homeschoolshare writing in her own Roman Numerals to peek at through each window.

Onomatopoeia was a concept we had lots of fun with creating words which make the sound they are describing. In the story we hear the sound of an airship overhead clacketa, clacketa, clacketa, followed by the sound of a motor car crashing into a vegetable cart on its way to market. Crump is the sound we hear when all eyes are fixed to the sky rather than the road as perhaps they should be when one is driving a new motor. Our words were animals sounds and sounds of transport which young minds delight in so.

Ess wrote a lovely little piece of descriptive writing in the style of a section of descriptive prose in The Glorious Flight describing her favourite magic pony.

Our art exploration was that of perspective. Ess couldn't wait to climb our retaining wall to sit on top to draw what she saw down below, after sitting just outside to look up and draw what she could see over the fence. She was very curious as to how differently her apple looked when she drew it from above and then from underneath it through my glass chopping board.

This exploration through drawing has led to many discussions of perspective and how things appear to change when our viewpoint changes, yet in actual fact that are no different at all. We talked of concepts of 'near and far' which little Eee has been drawn to inspired by Mem Fox's fabulous story Where is the Green Sheep? [Board book]. While playing in a playground directly in the flight path to the airport we watched as aeroplanes moved closer and became seemingly larger. We have also discussed the idea that everyone sees things differently according to their own experience and perspective and that it is important for us to realise that we have different viewpoints on certain topics so we need to be open to listen to others in order to understand and appreciate them. It is so easy for misunderstandings to arise when assumptions are made and different viewpoints are not taken into consideration.

We have explored making our own angry faces during a roleplay where I took on the role of the angry cart owner after it had been run into. Little Eee was particularly taken by this roleplay and it was very amusing to watch her sweet little face trying to become angry on demand. :) Ess made the comment that it was very difficult to make an angry face when you are happy. This was evident all over her smily/angry face and mine was surely amusing and oft-requested after our initial roleplaying activity.

Our musical lives this week have continued to reflect our love of French children's songs with the addition of a few aeronautical favourites such as Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines and Soaring, Soaring, soaring, aeroplanes are soaring.

Of course we have learnt lots more about aeroplanes by increasing our aeroplane vocabulary to include words such as aileron, fuselage and elevator. We labelled an airplane and even attempted to make a few of our own using paper. We enjoyed an aeroplane matching game and learnt more about parts of planes and different types of planes which have been invented this last century. All thanks to the resources found at

We have also made a Flight Timeline to discover how flying has developed over the past century and as I type Ess is enjoying reading about Amelia Earhart, woman aviation pioneer along with playing games etc over here. We found some fascinating footage of the Wright Brothers as well as a Blériot commemorative flight made by a Swedish pilot last year.

We continue to enjoy watching planes fly overhead and land at the nearby airport and have added a new dimension to our understanding of aeroplanes and flying thanks to this lovely piece of literature.

Credit for many of these lovely ideas for educating my children must be given to the authors of Five in a Row. A resource we are finding very appropriate and enjoyable as well as informative and educational.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Early Winter Walking

"Hear! hear!" screamed the jay from a neighboring tree, where I had heard a tittering for some time, "winter has a concentrated and nutty kernel, if you know where to look for it." ~Henry David Thoreau, 28 November 1858 journal entry

These cooler sunny mornings beckon me outdoors in order for us to enjoy the remains of Autumn before the winter frosts and rains set in. We three were all intrigued by this spangly, precariously standing toadstool.

We looked up to see the birds we heard twittering as they flittered from tree to tree, almost too fast for the eye to see and certainly too quickly for the camera to capture.

The beauty of the bare branches being a sure indication that winter is here.

We hugged the bare trees, they just seemed to invite little arms to embrace them.

We picked Correa Dusky Bells, our native fuschia.

Rounding up petals by our neighbours rose garden was the perfect thing to do in order to make up a batch of Princess Poppy's petal perfume. Ess has made this many times and she intends to give this batch away as a gift to her friends.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Blossom Beauty on the First Day of Winter

Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius. ~Pietro Aretino

On our first day of winter, with the sun hiding behind the clouds and the temperature becoming much cooler, these blossoms just outside my living room door remind me how lucky we are to have winters with blossoms.

I hope these begonias remain throughout the season as we look forward to the new life of Spring. New life will be coming in more ways than one for me this Spring :).

Our New Treasure

Lilypie Maternity tickers


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