Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Tonight, for the very first time, I went trick or treating. K. has been asking about Halloween for a while now so I asked an American friend of mine if she was doing anything for Halloween. She asked us to join her and her friends for trick or treating and a Halloween party.

K. had so much fun, and so did we. There were about 15 kids in our group going from house to house (any houses in the area put out a pumpkin or other halloween paraphernalia to let the kids know that they were taking part in trick or treating) between the ages of two to six. It was lovely to hear them calling trick or treat as they approached a friendly door. (K. was dressed up as Snow White and was very pleased when someone commented how beautiful she looked as we passed them on the street).

One house in particular went all out with decorations on the roof, the garage door and the family were dressed up and handing out sweets and stickers in the front yard. The kids loved it.

And then at the Halloween Party my friend carved a pumpkin, getting the kids involved helping her to remove the 'pumpkin guts!' What a fun night. I'll celebrate Halloween again next year for sure!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

To do Fine Arts Diploma or not, that is the question...

I have sent in my application to do a Fine Arts Diploma at TAFE today. It is 2 years full time (4 days a week), which is more than I really want to commit to, what with K. starting Kindergarten this year. I spoke to the head teacher at the campus who said that the course can be tailored to suit what I am willing to commit to, but that is going to increase the cost quite a lot. So, I really have to think hard about what I am going to do.

We had an interview at the school we want K. to go to next year and have been told that they are going to recommend to the principal that they take her. They have before and after care on site at this school, so that is a big positive. The TAFE course runs between 9am and 4pm, so if I go to TAFE I am going to need to have her in care at some stage. But, and this is a big but, this year I'd really like to be there for K. as she starts school. For the first 6 weeks she'll finish at 2.30pm - I don't want to leave her at school until 4.30pm.

My mum lives half an hour away, so I don't feel right asking her to come over and look after K. for an hour or so each day - she is 74 after all, and I don't have anyone in the area that can take her for that time.

It's funny - where I grew up we knew all our neighbours, and in fact, one close neighbour looked after me every day before and after school so my mum could go to work. I've been living here for 13 years and only know one neighbour really well (another one died a few years ago). When I was working full time, I never saw any neighbours as we left early in the morning and got home late at night. And once K. came along I was busy with her, and most of my neighbours were out at work. It's a really nice neighbourhood, but I hardly ever see kids around when we go for walks, nor any people gardening or pottering around. Does everyone go to work everyday nowadays? (Out of the 10 mums in my mothers group, I was the only one who didn't go back to work).

Anyway, I digress. Diploma. Will I do it? I really don't know. I want to but I only get this one chance to be there for K. when she starts school. I can do the diploma next year once she is settled in. I'll decide once I know if I get in. If I don't get in, all this angst is moot, isn't it!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Australian Museum, Sydney

Another school holiday outing to the Museum, which I haven't been to since I was in high school (most probably on a school excursion). K. was most excited to see the dinosaur bones, and I must admit I was too.

The Australian Museum is really kid oriented. K. had a great time finding all the things you can touch and play with around the museum. She's a little too old for the kiddie play area, but that doesn't stop her wanted to explore it. And the search and discover area where you can touch bones and fossils and dead animals was a favourite. But the most favourite were the computer screens in the dinosaur area (where you can create and colour your own dinosaur) and the insect world exploration in the discovery area. There were queues for the computer screens in every area. And she was fascinated by the skeletons and bones.

I must admit that the best bones display I've ever seen was at te Papa in Wellington where they have an X-ray room full of all kinds of bones, but the Museum is so well set up for kids to explore.

K. brought along one of her many puppy dogs and he enjoyed the visit too!

Here are some images from the day...

K. had the most fun with these skulls. She had them lined up as mummy, daddy, and children, and had us moving their jaws (wired to move) and talking to her as the skulls. It was hilarious and lots of fun. She has no qualms about handling skulls and bones!

Taronga Zoo Visit

On Monday K. and I visited Taronga Zoo for the day - well, for about 5 hours or so, which was long enough!

We actually saw a platypus this time - haven't seen one in ages, and the red panda was wandering about for once, instead of curled up asleep. We missed the seal show, but as it was school holidays it was so crowded, so we'll go and see that another day when there is not such a crowd.

Here are some images from the day...

K. fell in love with this bird

I loved the colour of this duck's feathers

The gorillas were busy eating. One of the females
took a wide path around this silverback

One of the things I love most about Taronga
is the views of the city from many different places around the park.

Red Panda

A zoo keeper was walking past as I was talking to K. about this bear. He said it was 102 years old in bear years. No wonder it looks so tired!

We missed seeing the new baby elephant except from afar.

The giraffe is such a beautiful animal. This one
was heading as quickly as it could towards food.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Advent Calendar

K. and I started and finished a craft project I have been meaning to do for a year or so - an advent calendar. I have looked for one for her (other than the cheap chocolate ones you find in the supermarkets) for ages, so when I saw the instructions for this in 'Handmade' magazine I was very happy. I have always liked scrapbooking, so this was going to be a piece of cake!

Took a while to find all the bits and pieces we would need (especially the numbers - do you think I could find big numbers anywhere!), but it was worth the wait. (Many thanks to Scraploot for having a great sale on their Xmas papers just at the right time and to Karen for telling me about it).

K. is very excited about what we are going to put in each pocket. What she doesn't know is that she doesn't get to decide that!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Another creative form - a Newsletter

Something completely different on the creative front this week.

My local Arts & Crafts Group has been without a newsletter for quite a few years now. I am a member and make use of their art space, so I asked why we didn't have one. The answer: no one had volunteered. So I did.

Tonight I finished Edition 1. And tomorrow it will go out to the members. I'm quite excited. I haven't created something like this before. Sure, flyers and brochures, etc, for my pre-motherhood career, but not something quite as much fun as this.

Th Group is made up of three different areas - needlecraft, art and pottery - and they are quite separate groups, who don't know much about each other. Hopefully the newsletter will fill some of those gaps.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Greyhound Pastel Painting on Velour - Finished

Amy is finished. She is such a beautiful animal, I hope her gentleness shows through in this painting.

I am still not sure about the velour but I am going to do some more paintings on it. It certainly gives the paintings a softer look than the sanded papers. I just have to keep using the velour and find the techniques that work for me on this surface.