As Winter wanders away….

…I am feeling so much brighter and happier.  I do dislike the greyness and general coldness of winter, and to be honest, if I won the Lottery I would probably buy another home somewhere that was warm and sunny.  Why buy another home and not just relocate?  Because I do love the UK bizarrely.  I’d just like it to be warmer and sunnier…

As it was half term last week I did some tidying up in the garden and my next thoughts should what I’ll try and grow (and most likely fail at) in pots in the garden this year.

As last week was a busy one with the children generally I didn’t get a huge amount done, but I did just about complete a necklace that I was embroidering (you’ll get a proper picture once it’s all finished) and I got some fabric flowers made. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do with them yet…..

Once I’ve decided what I’m doing with them I’ll let you know..

And in dance news, well, I’m working on something for my solo at Hipnotic in March, will be tweaking and honing what my Tribal ladies and I will be dancing to at the same event, drilling my learning disability class in readiness for their performance in May, practicing with Covert Bling for the upcoming performances with them, researching what I’m going to do in my new fitness and drills class and start teaching my daughters Primary school class a (hopefully) simple folklore/fakelore dance as this term they are learning about ancient Egypt.  That should be enough to keep me out of trouble….

Temple to atheists

As a recent convert to Richard Dawkins I think that the idea of an Atheist monument still gives credence to the idea of a god.  So read some Richard Dawkins with an open mind and read journalists as having agenda.  Dawkins says seeing someone as an Atheist means having an inherent belief in god…..

Up until about 15 minutes ago (a lie) I still believed in supernatural beings, ghosts, mediums, astrology, crystals, tarot cards and distance healing.  (By the way I am lying, I have been thinking about this for some time….)

About 12 years ago I went to a weekend event about psychic ability and how to develop it. The most vociferous adherent of this was the man running the event, backed up by the most pale and weak looking of the participants who described his experience with a UFO and it’s inhabitants.

Having spent more than 2 pence on this weekend I was keen to see something positive, but when I left after the first day I realised that I had left behind my sleeping bag (don’t ask) and so I went back to the venue – to the very room where I and others had been *advised* by someone who had greater psychic powers that I did – when I went back into the room I was greeted by a sheepish looking man, a down-trodden looking woman (his wife) and three slightly taken-aback young women (all participants in the weekend workshop).  Hmmmm.  The most vocal of the participants so far had been the pale and weak looking young man – he was no-where to be seen………..

After more than 10 years of *trying things out* I can honestly say that Richard Dawkins seems to speak the most sense.

If Darwin was correct then there is no Creator.  If there is no Creator then there is no other supernatural being. Jung had a hold of something, but it would seem to be that he had a hold of an idea that Dawkins has been able to describe a little more easily…..the ideas that seem to *us* to describe our view of the wider world…..

I have no problem with a temple that articulates our human and widening response to what we and (separately from us) biology can achieve…..

Belly dance headdresses – and other things….

The week to come is a busy busy one….

Amongst the motherly duties and volunteering that I do I have a new class promote via posters and fliers.  I hope it doesn’t rain this week as I really do not fancy walking around posting the fliers through doors in cold wintry rain.  Monday evening?  Not sure yet – might complete a choker, write a choreography (or at least start one) or have an evening off as I’ve got a full and busy week ahead.

On Tuesday evening I have troupe dance training/practice to go to as usual, and then on Wednesday we are all attending a baladi workshop with a fabulous dancer from the US who is here for a few days, Ranya Renee (very excited about this!)  Baladi is a traditional style of belly dance, a very beautiful earthy and folky style and the workshop with Ranya will be both hard work and a great treat.

On Thursday I’ll be sewing/promoting and I may well get to finish these two flower and feather headdresses:

 

I love making these kind of headdresses, and I have deliberately made these ones quite simply so that the pricing isn’t over the top.  As I have some of the base fabrics left I think I shall make another version of each but this time with more jewellery and bling attached so that customers can choose between a simple version or a mega-version.  Once they are completed they’ll be listed in my Etsy shop and then I really need to get on and complete the purple one that’s sitting on a head in my living room….

Friday?  It’s Bollywood night at my daughter’s school and although Bollywood dance isn’t really what I do I AM the only mum prepared to get up in front of everyone and perform as well as try and get some adults up to join in with a *copy me* version of the same dance.  I’m going to be doing a belly dance/bollywood fusion number that I performed in a troupe some years ago; the music is fun, and I can make the choreography a little simpler so that people can follow along more easily (note to self, I really must upload the track to my MP4 player….)

Once the Bollywood event is over I shall drop the children off at their dads for the weekend and next morning get to have that most coveted of things….a lie in!

At various points through-out this week I will be practising/reminding myself of a choreography that I shall be performing at a belly dance event (known as a Hafla) I’m going to on Saturday evening.  Now that I’ve decided what I’m going to do I’m feeling quite happy; I couldn’t decide on what to do until I realised that I have a choreo that hasn’t been seen outside of my Sunday class so I’m going to use it on Saturday.  As I have a small stall at the event I’ll need to make sure I’ve got everything packed into my wheelie bag by mid afternoon so that I can do a last double check of my costume and make sure I’ve got everything else I need.

It’s just as well I’m writing this down – I was thinking that by this time next week I’d have had a lie-in, taught a class and would have the children home, but in fact I shall be at the Hipnotic belly dance event I co-run every two months……wow, busy week it is!

As I feel as though I have been slacking on the making front I’d better point you in the direction of the 1st Unique Gifts Blog – by the time I’ve had a look at what everyone else has been up to I shall feel exhausted all over again but it’s great to go and see what people have been doing and making – all very inspirational!

 

Picture of Santa

My son (aged three) has gone though a milestone I wanted to share.  This week he drew a picture of Santa.  In fact he has drawn multiple pictures of Santa.  What’s fabulous about them is that I can see they are a picture of someone.  To be honest they mostly look like Mr Tickle but I am loving the fact that he can now articulate more fully what is in his mind rather than it being a random scribble that to him looks fabulous and to me looks like random scrawl.

Santa has made an impact on him this week – we’ve been to two toddler group parties where Santa visited – the first was a pretty poor representation (although well meaning so I mean no disservice) and the second was a fabulous example of an amply proportioned man in a bushy beard and moustache with equally opulent costume, glasses and a cheery demeanour.  I recall being scared witless by my first encounter with Santa (when I was in Infants School at 3 years) and although my son’s general exposure to the man in the red suit has been less than favourable (understandable as per my own recollection) he has obviously been able to  compute his experiences this week and make meaningful marks.

To those of you who do not have children this will seem like a meaningless, boring and petty observation, but I can assure you; the point at which a child can meaningfully portray an image that they hold in their mind and that they can convey onto paper so that an adult can interpret the marks is a wonderful and meaningful one.

 

The body incorporates the head, but the head has eyes and a smile, arms have hands and fingers and has legs (no feet but I can forgive that!)

I hope that Santa/Mr Tickle makes you smile.  🙂

 

Busy waiting for Santa…..

…or rather, ensuring the small people in my life have some pressies from Santa to open on the big morning : )

My last post talked about the playing around with photography I was going to do and I did manage to get a couple of hours playing around.  Trying to use the natural light available to me is something of a mission – I live in an old Victorian terraced house and the way they are built pretty much ensures very little light seeps in through the windows.  There are certain times of day in particular rooms where it’s great for a couple of hours, but that very much depends upon the weather outside too – and this being the UK it can be a a bit dismal this time of year.

First up is the photo of a carnelian bead and glass lamp bead bracelet I made recently.  Not perfect but better than some of my other photos recently.  What I should have done (and will do in future) is tape a piece of semi-transparent paper to the window that was offering me the natural light.  That will hopefully get rid of the glare on the bottle.  The pretty perfume bottle is a nice way to show off the bracelet don’t you think?  I’m a bit distracted by the gap I can see in the frame that’s sitting behind the bottle too, so I shall have to make sure that doesn’t happen again either.

Next up is a picture of a choker.  Now, the colours in this are a little off, so I’ll have to tweak the photo again I think before putting it up on Etsy.  They’re only slightly off – the red flower is not quite as bright as this in real life, and the fabric is slightly more red than it appears here.  And I’m distracted by the marks on the bust – I had thought I’d cleaned her up but in my keenness to get some photos done I obviously managed to overlook these.

Something that I’ve been puzzling over is how dreadful my Macro photos look with this camera – I just can’t get close to an object.  After Googling the problem I discovered it’s one of the failings of the camera (as is the over-saturation of reds) so in the next photo I tweaked it with Picnik to get the look I was after:

Pretty don’t you think?  I’m going to play around with that little option a lot more – I love those arty shots of an item that have something in the foreground in sharp focus and everything looking all soft and fuzzy….

Last up is a pretty straight-forward detail shot of a second choker.

So although this may not look like much really, I think it’s a pretty good jump forward with regard to my photography.  In fact, I was seriously considering buying a new camera but realised that in the end it had to be down to me, and that as I can’t actually afford a swanky new camera I ought to just get down to being a little more clever with it.

What I don’t have a shot of is the light-box I made with a card-board box, some gaffer tape and parchment paper, but the next time I have a free weekend (not until after Christmas now) I shall be playing around with that.  So I’d best get to making some small items that can be placed inside it!

Getting busy….

Here in the UK the Autumn nights are drawing in and Winter is peeking around the corner.  As much as I want to curl up every evening with a book and a glass of red I am making an effort to *up* my game as a maker and seller of quirky jewellery and costume items.  “How so?”, you may be asking….

Well, photography is not my strong suit but I’ve been reading up and taking notes from various sources (ok, yes, that means I eventually read the same stuff over and over….) and recently I was inspired by some photos that were taken by a member of a craft forum I belong to, using just angle poise lamps and tissue paper as filters for the brightness of the bulbs along with his digital camera.  The pictures were great and it has inspired me to have a go this weekend.

Alongside this I have been spending a bit of money on some items to help display the jewellery I make.  I’ve got three nice picture frames and with a little shabby-chic paintwork and the addition of an inner of wadding and cream fabric I’ll have something new to place/pin items to, both for photography and for general display purposes when I’m at an event.

And I’m seriously considering buying a plain dress form too (although goodness knows where I’ll put it in the house….) so that I can get better photographs of costume items.

I’m determined to crack the photography problem!