a birthday

Why is it that I leave things to the last minute?  I leave tasks I don’t really want to do until my dreams are invaded in a most unwelcome manner.  And it’s not as if I’m doing anything enjoyable while I procrastinate; I deprive myself of pleasure until I have completed what needs to be done – except perhaps for a walk along the beach.   On Sunday it was relatively crowded with 21 people, Monday, just 4 and a dog.  Who among you can resist the call of the sea?

Sunday, October 6th 2012 facing east.

Monday, October 8th 2012 facing west towards the Tararua Range

So Monday was a little different in the procrastination department – I wanted to make a card for my grand-daughter’s 8th birthday so I gave over the entire afternoon to the pleasure of making it.  I started with a cereal box, gesso, some paint, the sheet music to Climb Every Mountain (it seemed apt) and pens.  The time slipped by and I suddenly realised I was ravenous.  Yesterday, Tuesday, was the party and today . . . oh today I need to do some day-job work.  Never be confused about educators just swanning off for the entirety their holidays; there is always, always some work to do before the term starts.

Now, time for a walk along the beach before lunch . . . just checking to see if the mouth of the stream changed course yet again and what’s come in on the tide.

beach sculpture – who can help themselves?

There are times after heavy rain in the mountains or a storm at sea when there is a lot of drift wood on the beach.  Last weekend was one of those times – the mouth of the stream, with its patient whitebaiters in attendance, had changed yet again, and the beach had rich pickings of beach treasure. Never go to the beach without a bag for collecting treasure – or a camera.  If my son hadn’t had his iPhone . . . .Adam started to poke sticks into a receptive piece of wood and before we knew it . . . there was a line of wonderfully weird, balancing sculptures installed along the high tide mark creating interesting shadows.We built a boat to journey to faraway lands just as we had done in childhood . . . surrounded ourselves with a palisade of sticks . . . and ended the afternoon completely tuckered out but still not wanting to go home.All of this was free . . . all of this was priceless.

blessings counted = bliss

The birthday weekend was wonderful – the food fabulous.  Unfortunately no-one took photos!  The cook is a photographer so it’s hardly surprising that she didn’t and I was busy catching up with the girls.

The weather was so brilliant that a lot of time was spent on the beach – the girls were worn out by the end of each day, as well as their Nanna, and they didn’t want to go home – in fact the youngest almost got quite stroppy about it but she was too tired to put up much of a fight and besides, she know when to cut her losses and that returning to Nanna’s house in a given.

A 360 view from the top of a sand dune close to my house (behind the next sand dune) taken on my iPhone using the DMD Panorama app.  Sorry about the wonky horizon, I nearly fell off my perch!

We crossed over the stream and headed north where Jeanne set about picking up horse mussel shells, they’re about 20 centimetres or 8 inches long.  The first thing she did on getting home was to create a maṇḍala on the deck.Horse MusselsMeg practice writing her name on the beach . . .. . . and lunch was al fresco.

On Sunday afternoon we all worked on a line of sculptures on the beach and a sandy boat at the high tide mark – photos to come . . . I didn’t even have my phone on me but fortunately my son did.

As I packed up for the working week and left yesterday morning, I was really happy that it was going to be the last time I did it – it’s hardly surprising that I don’t want to leave here during the week is it?   And it’s the school holidays next week, we have 4 10-week terms here with a fortnight off in between, so I’ll have a fine time making, playing, sewing and painting too perhaps.

Yes, blessings counted = bliss.

 

empathy, encouragement and perseverance

Without perverance, nothing will come of my efforts – I’ve been receiving that message loud and clear from many quarters.   Take a step, stumble, fall down, get up, take two steps, trip, fall down, get up . . . . no baby ever gave up on learning to walk!

Encouragement to take the next step is a sure-fire way to get anyone to move on to that next step so thanks for the comments yesterday everyone.    And talking of next steps, watch this little clip One Thousand Steps . . . maybe it should be required daily viewing for me for a while, like medication.    Maybe, because my 4 year-old grand-daughter loves it and watches it when she stays at my house has something to do with my readiness to take on some changes.

Encouragement can come from any quarter, but if I don’t publicise my efforts only I can provide it and that nasty inner critic needs some competition – easy solution, be brave and don’t hide.

Enjoy the clip, it will only take 2:19 of you life.

In her Harvard commencement speech J. K. Rowling said, “There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction.  The moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.’  Now along with parents, I think you can lump in teachers, friends, society in general.   Watch/listen if you have 21 minutes to spare while you play at something on your workbench she talks of the value of failure and imagination – it’s full of humour, wisdom and inspiring.

Another quote from Rowling who knows failure first hand and used it to create a magical world and turned millions on to reading for pleasure . . . “It’s impossible to live without some failure unless you live so cautiously that you might not have lived at all, in which case you fail by default.”

So what’s the worst that could happen if I leave the well-worn path?  I could trip over . . . and I have the strength to get up because around me I have wonderful friends and family.

Off the pathway

My inspiration . . . a 2 year-old who continues to explore off the established pathways for the sheer joy of it.   May it last for life!

Imagine a big smile here please.

wonderful weekends

I’ve had two fantastic weekends and a Blinding Flash of the Obvious – the BFO can wait until tomorrow.

But the weekends . . . I try to squeeze as much creativity into the day-job as I can and because I work mostly with primary school teachers, supporting their practice in the classroom, I sometimes manage more than a bit of creative problem solving.

I worked with a group of children scraping paint onto A 2 sized paper to make some books.  It was pretty slow so I finished them off over the weekend before last.A2 bookletsI am learning bookletWhile the students will be writing about the skills they are developing in class, mine will be about learning to play again!

I’ve been making these booklets in various sizes in the classroom for years and just in case you want to make one too, here’s an explanation of how to do it that I found for you on You Tube.  They can be made from any size sheet of paper – the booklet ends up 1/8 the size of the page.  I usually glue the pages after I have finished all the folding and cutting.

The painting was so much fun that I decided I would make some more the next time my grand-daughters came to stay – and that was last weekend.  So there we were, a old painting drop sheet on the floor, jars and tubes of cheap acrylic, old credit cards, brushes, corks carved into stamps and some sponges.Nonsense DreamlandBy the end of the weekend, the whole family had had a play, the dining table was covered in supplies and everyone is feeling very satisfied with two watching Milo and Otis. 

The dining table is still covered with bits and pieces . . . one of the few joys of not living there during the week is that I get to walk away and leave it all behind waiting for next weekend’s playtime. And as if having family to stay wasn’t joy enough I had mail! 

Quinn McDonald was celebrating reaching 1500 posts (I’m up to 55) and sent out these wonderful journals . . . where will I send it on to?  Any takers?  I’ve not got supplies here at my little mid-week abode so next weekend . . . there is much smiling going on here!

the simple things

One of my favourite songs is Joe Cocker singing The Simple Things and that’s the kind of weekend I’ve had.  A wonderful 3 day weekend that began with my son dropping off his delightful daughters for 3 nights.  We did all those things that make childhood happy and they were all simple things.

A pair of socks, transformed into a dinosaur and a banana to eat in the winter sunshine.

Doodling on paper . . .

Doodling is like letting the pen feel free in your hand – Jeanne, age 7

. . . and in the sand.

You can doodle anywhere – Jeanne, age 7

The discovery of a jellyfish washed up by the tide.Being alone with your thoughts ankle deep in mud .Heart-shaped puffballs to poke.There was a DVD of Curious George by candle light, in pyjamas with crisps, a cuddle any time of day and a dance recital for the toys.

Shadow puppets and a light show using a red tower torch – made with a lunch-wrap roll, toilet roll tube, cellophane and Nanna’s torch.And then there’s the surprise installation of a 4 year old.

We’re always wanting more than what we have
What I’ve learned, is what I really need are. . .

The simple things
That come without a price
The simple things
Like happiness joy and love in my life
I’ve seen it all from so many sides
And I hope you would agree
That the best things in life
Are the simple things

Writers: Rick Neigher, Philip Roy, John Shanks

Ah . . . such are the joys of little girls and grandmothers.

more mucking around

I’ve been playing around with my iPhone.   After reading a post on Traci Bunker’s blog I downloaded the Hipstamatic, Pic Grunger and Fish Eye apps and compared some photos – great fun!

Lion's Tail

Lion's tail - regular camera shot

Lion's Tail 2

Lion's tail - a Fish Eye option

The second example is a separate shot.  In the next two photos, the second example is a treatment of the first.  I don’t know if I’m using the correct terminology here – and if you learn something new it’s the short-sighted leading the blind as most of what I know is the result of just mucking around.

Sailing forth

Hipstamatic shot

Sailing forth 2

Pic Grunger treatment

I really enjoyed messing around with these apps – not as much as being down at the beach with my grand-daughters though.  They stayed for the weekend and the weather was perfect – it was sheer delight!