welcome rain

It rained for the first time in what seems like weeks yesterday, and again today.  So what? You might well ask.

New Zealand lamb and dairy products, New Zealand wines, all world-class, all contributing to this small corner of the world’s wealth . . . we began building this country and made a name with primary produce, farmers are known as ‘the backbone of the country’ and we have a clean, green image, although in reality we’re probably no greener than many other places.  Perhaps we’re a little greener though in that our native forests are  predominantly evergreen.

But I digress.  The entire North Island and much of the South is experiencing a drought, a severe drought that has everyone saving water.  There are often water restrictions through the summer however in Wellington the situation is such that there is a ban on all outdoor water use . . . no watering your garden, washing your car or windows, filling the kids paddling pool.  So the rain is very welcome even though it isn’t nearly enough.  This satellite picture, courtesy of NASA shows how parched the land is.

Satellite images from March 2012 (L) and March 2013 (R) show significant browning across the North Island. Photo / NASA

 Our lives can have their own droughts too.  It may be time, affection, money, but all, hopefully, temporary situations that will be relieved eventually – harsh circumstances are easier to accept when there is an end in sight.

Sometimes I feel as if I don’t have the time to do what I’d like to do and my weekends could be regarded as ‘drought relief’ as I relax with my family, catch up with friends, or work on some creative project.  Recently I have been making some pencil cases out of hand painted canvas.

I borrowed Canvas Remix by Alisa Burke from the library and started to play . . . with a little help. I used canvas fabric, acrylic paints, an old credit card and stencils – there’s still some more to sew up.  I even made a label for my laptop bag.

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Each piece will make 2 pencil cases. I did 2, and the others were done by my granddaughters aged 8 and 4 . . . I defy you to guess who did which ones!

Pencil CasesLaptop bagDrought broken!

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!