The Good, the Bad, and the Grumpy


I’m a pretty optimistic person, but like anyone else I have my low, mean, grouchy days, today is one of those days.

I have forced myself to write this post today, because writing a blog post often puts things in perspective for me, and I can stop being so self absorbed, move on, and smile again.
Grumpy Me says “Forget about that ******* blog! Forget about everything, and just eat chocolate, wear sweatpants and sulk all day”. Luckily, I  remember the last time I took advice from Grumpy Me – didn’t turn out too well.

Anyway, here is a round up of what I have been doing so far this week. For your convenience, I have color coded the good and bad stuff. Pink for good, green for bad, it’s that simple.


Writer’s block: I had to move all the furniture around in my living room, in order to get comfortable while writing. Everything faces the windows now, and my family is very confused. I need to work somewhere else.
It worked! I managed to finish writing all the curriculum for my Summer camp, and it is going to be awesome.

I had a major panic session because my venue fell through for the Summer camp.
I finally found another, slightly better venue nearby. So there!
Booking the new venue requires a long stint in insurance/tax ID/online-form-filling Hell.
All that time waiting for things to process online helped me to discover, a heavenly website full of ideas and resources for parents and teachers.
Still in in insurance/tax ID/online-form-filling Hell.
It will be over soon
Both my kids fell sick, and took days off school. Both need to be pinned down daily to take eye drops/nose drops/cough syrup every few hours. Both sleep less than four hours a night.
The sick days gave me some time to read Printmaking + Mixed Media by Dorit Elisha, which has helped me hugely with a summer camp project. I now realize how little I actually know about printmaking. Very inspiring.
As usual, my Summer childcare arrangements for my youngest child fell through at the eleventh hour.
Surprisingly, I managed to find a great alternative childcare solution for him….
…despite this, I still can’t stop worrying if he will be okay.
Both my kids’ birthdays are around the corner. The planning has started.
Both my kids’ birthdays are around the corner. The planning has started.
I have a new YouTube channel for Noctiluna
I have lots of video footage waiting to be edited for my new YouTube Channel.
The T-shirts and onesies are sewn and done, and they are beeyootiful, even if I say so myself.
I have no idea where I am going to sell them. I haven’t had time to contact any shops.
Another sick day advantage – I finally went through the mess of fabrics in my work room, and organized them into neatly cut swatches to use for my upcoming projects.
I threw a major tantrum this morning, because “my plate is too full!” and “I don’t know where I’m going with this!!”
Tantrum over; time to regroup.
I received encouragement from all the way across the Atlantic, and realized just how wonderful my friends and family are. Thank you. xx

Well, I feel much better after that, how about you?
See? Even if nobody ever reads this, it worked. Time for a cup of tea.





Art, Books, Kids, and Ideas

Yet another post about books. This time it’s Art books.

I’ve been thinking about my upcoming Summer Camps, and which artists I would like to introduce the kids to this year. This is my favorite, most dreamy (and short), world-is-my-oyster stage of lesson planning.  This is the sweet spot, when I go to galleries, and libraries, trawl the internet, get obsessed with Pinterest projects, and inspired by everything and anything, before the mundane reality of putting pen to paper (or rather, finger to keyboard) takes place. Everything I look at has possibilities; chopping peppers makes me think of a printing project, visiting my pediatrician’s office makes me think of kids painting murals.

Two weeks ago, I took my kids to the National Gallery of Art. They love visiting museums and galleries, and I  was looking for some inspiration to hit me. Our favorite thing to do at the NGA is to visit the kid’s book shop in the East Wing, words cannot describe the deliciousness of that place. We found a lot of cool things. The eight year old found an architecture sticker book, and knitted mice in matchboxes. The four year old found a pop-up castle, dragon puppets, and a half sucked lollipop under a table.

I found these beauties:

Both of the books I bought are great for kids, and interactive (although the Calder one is pretty fragile, so the 4 year old will not be playing alone with it). The book on Alexander Calder makes my thoughts go: Hmmm….. mobiles, paper sculptures, pop up books, balance, working with wire, drawing with wire, using found objects, ooh, toy making!! Galimotos.
The Keith Haring line of thought is more: Old Sesame Street animations, Mr Men books, Street Art, Basquiat, Banksy, Warhol, marker pens, poetry, fingerprints, symbols, street signs, color symbolism, emotions. Twister contests!

My brain is doing a happy dance, and my face is kind of dazed. I’m definitely getting that book on Mythological Beasts as well, can you imagine my line of thought on that one? I see Minotaurs, maps, and mazes in a future camp, I’ll get back to you on that one.




A Sparkly Book Review

“You should read this book” my eight year old told me “I think you will really like it”

The book in question is Neil Gaiman’s Fortunately The Milkand she was right, I loved it.
I’m not above reading kids’ books, in fact I love kids’ books. Actually I love all types of books, but lately I’ve been adding a healthy dose of  fantasy and magical stuff to my reading diet, preferably with a pinch of goofiness thrown in – what my daughter and I fondly refer to as ‘sparkly fiction’. She is an expert in sparkly fiction, and recommends some great books to me.
Interestingly, I have actually been wanting to read a Neil Gaiman book for a while, I had no idea that he wrote books for kids as well.

Here is my 8 year old’s review of Fortunately The Milk:

The book is really funny, and kind of realistic, but is still a fantasy story. It had lots of science facts in it, so I learnt a lot. My favorite part is all the funny names that Professor Steg uses for things. For example, he says “Floaty-Ball-Person-Carrier” for a hot air balloon. Also the illustrations are scribble-y and funky. 

The whole time she was reading the book, I kept hearing giggles and snorts from her. The only other author that made her grin so much was Roald Dahl, another kooky British author, who doesn’t talk down to kids, and likes to make up silly words. Another author who writes great books for adults as well.

If you like the idea of time-travelling dino-professors, intergalactic breakfast chasing, and dads who tell tall stories, read the book. It’s hilarious, and the illustrations are really beautiful.

I have just started reading The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, also by Neil Gaiman (but for adults), and am already hook, line, and sinker-ed.
One of my favorite things is discovering a new author to love.


What Happened at Spring Camp ?…

And so, the Spring break is over, it blew past me like a brisk April gale force wind (yes, Mother Nature, I am taking a dig at your weather).  I thought I would be conscientious, and write my review of the Spring camp on the Saturday after the camp, but it was sunny and beautiful, and there were far too many chocolate bunnies in the universe, so I went ahead and had myself a (long) weekend of pure pleasure. It did me a world of good, and now I’m ready to spill the (jelly)beans about the week.

The theme of the camp was Color and Nature, which meant a LOT of color theory, which tied in nicely with looking at work by Alma Thomas, and Henri Matisse. Pretty much all the work was big, bright, and happy, and the kids oohed and aahed over all the lovely colors they mixed up. As usual, we kept things as messy as possible (I have never been so happy to not be making art at home – the new venue worked beautifully) and did some painting, some printmaking, and some Matisse inspired paper cuts.
The kids particularly enjoyed a big group project inspired by Alma Thomas. I particularly enjoyed the fact that each kid actually managed to carve a printing block, and print successfully with it – a major feat for their age group (7-9 years old). I’m seriously impressed by those kids, they really explored each project fully. And guess what, the weather was nice enough to play outdoors almost every day, pretty pleased with that.

Here are some thoughts/memories from the week:

  • Seven, eight and nine year olds ALL want to be the boss. There is a constant, low key, Machiavellian power struggle in the classroom. It kept me on my toes for the whole week.
  • The playground was just as important as the classroom for learning. Watching a bunch of kids organize themselves when playing a game is fascinating. Creative thinking, problem solving, teamwork, conflict resolution are all learnt in the playground. Shorten a recess at your own peril.
  • I managed to teach the kids to play ‘What’s the Time Mr Wolf?’, and ‘Sticky, Sticky Grapes’, and they taught me to play ‘Museum’ and ‘Pac Man tag’. I realized that they NEVER get tired.
  • When two kids meet for the first time, the first question they ask is “how old are you?, often followed by “How much do you weigh?”. The answers to these questions will decide the nature of their relationship for a very long time.
  • After telling the kids over and over again to be very careful around smaller children at the playground , I heard a piercing wail from the play set. Running to the rescue, I discovered an eight year old crying “a baby stepped on my hand!”. Hmmmm.
  • Elementary school kids LOVE white boards – writing on them, erasing them, pretending to be the teacher; as far as they are concerned, it’s the best thing about my new room!
  • Most overheard statements during the week: “I’m telling on you!”, “that’s unfair”, “I loooove this piece, it’s the BEST!!”, “I’m the master  of the playground!”, “You’re my best friend now”.

I guess it is time to start planning the Summer camps now!