Monday, 27 April 2009


I'm now blogging over here.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

The dangers of the parenthood

Watch out! Not only parenthood can destroy your social life, you are also likely to suffer physical pain.

Three weeks ago in the evening, while I was reading Katya a book, she suddenly raised her hand upwards and accidentally stabbed me in the eye. In pain and unable to read, I put her to bed and sat in the dark with tears falling down my face. As I was still in pain the next morning we went to GP clinic and were sent to the hospital’s emergency department by the receptionist. I expected to see a room full of chaos, gore and suffering (guess I watched too many episodes of ER), instead we found ourselves in a quiet clean room with only two other respectable-looking patients. My vision was fine, but I had a nasty scratch on my cornea and was prescribed antibiotic cream for my eye. For the rest of the day, according to my husband, I was behaving like a cross between vampire afraid of the light and a moaning ghost. I’m glad he managed to take a day off to look after Cat, so I could spend most of the day napping to avoid the constant pain.

I think Cat was slightly traumatized by the whole experience and kept on asking me to read her books, which I couldn't do for the next few days, and kept on saying
"Глаз, ou" pointing at her own eyes. (Глаз/Glaz = eye). For the next few days I was also unable to use the computer, watch TV, draw and craft.

Unable to do much, I did a lot of thinking. There were plenty of useful lessons in that experience: admitting inability to do everything by myself and asking friends for help; valuing the time I have to draw and craft; prioritizing important things instead of wasting time; doing things when I can instead of putting them off to a more convenient moment (which often never comes). I also had chance to contemplate how to organize my days better and how much I can practically achieve in a day – always not as much as I wish. It feels like an impossible feat to cross everything from my daily to do lists and so now I try to be realistic when writing them down.

With constant re-organization and improving of my life, I also wanted to re-organize and clean up my blog (notice that I still have the autumn header!). But at some point I realized that it will be easier to start from scratch and so you can now find me here.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Routine & first times

I'm glad that we are no longer traveling and finally established some type of predictable routine. I like to plan, I like to know what will happen during the day, I like being able to set myself few simple task to do and actually manage to accomplish them. Sadly blogging doesn't seem to be part of the current routine, though maybe I should just aim to write one post per week?

I'm trying to use my creative time in a more structured way and learn few basics. At the moment I'm concentrating on the colour theory (huge topic). However, I also want to have some fun, so hoping to make one simple item each week. Last week I learned how to make another Chinese knot and made this Pan Chang Knot necklace:
Pan Chang Knot Necklace
Last week Cat and I also got to try out felting in the Russian playgroup, which takes place only few train stops from us and was discovered by me complete accidentally after we made the decision to move to this area. (Did I mention that this area seems to have everything one may ever want?). The playgroup is very structured: dancing/exercise, singing & finger rhymes, snack with a short puppet show of a Russian folktale, simple craft activity (playdough or colouring) and free-play with lots of toys (I suspect that one is kids' favourite). Last week's felting took up most of the time. Like all the other kids, Cat is too young to concentrate for that long, so she choose the colours and the placement and I, like all the other mothers, got to do all the hard work of felting.
First attempt at felting
In a way doing or seeing something for the first time together with my daughter makes it more special to me. I'm aware of the uniqnuess of those moments to her, of the strong impression they have on her, of their power to expand her world view and therefore of the same effect they have on me.

We had another first last week - we went to the plantearium. I want to go again :-) and like my husband, who went many times as a child, wonder why I never did before.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Spring is here

The spring is truly finally here. On Sunday we went on a long walk and saw many flowers, bees, bumble bees and even a butterfly. And for the last two days I was able to get out of the bed early, before anyone else was up. It is such a pleasure to wake up to the warm house and the skies getting lighter, instead of greyness and chill air. I love having some quiet time to myself in the morning, even if it is only short 20 minutes that I use to make porridge or have a shower. Yet in winter I was unable to drag myself out of the bed. It's likely that there are still few cold gray days to come; but I'm glad to know that another winter is over, the days are getting longer and we can enjoy more time outside. Welcome spring.

Monday, 16 March 2009

The Royal Academy of Art curse strikes again

I’ve lived in London for over four years now and yet I’ve been to the Royal Academy of Art only once and not for the lack of trying. On Saturday yet again I decided to see an exhibition there. However by the time I got to London I was tired, hungry and very cold, so I choose to go to the closer National Gallery instead. And I was very glad I did. They currently have a main Pablo Picasso exhibition and to coincide with it a smaller one of his prints, including linocuts. Recently I was trying to make simple stamps following Geninne's tutorial (read from the bottom up), which is very similar to making linocuts, but on much smaller scale. Therefore I could truly appreciate Picasso’s mastery of the printmaking. Trying something for myself often results in better understanding and admiration of exceptionally skilled work of others.

Here is my first & not very successful attempt, since the eraser already had raised watermark image on it. I’m surprised I didn’t slice my hand open with the craft knife.
Handcarved stamp - snowman
Slightly better second one, using linocuter.
Handcarved stamp - matreshka
And third one, in which I actually followed Gennine’s advise and tried to carve simple shapes.
Handcarved simple stamps
The rest of the family enjoyed trying out the results and new ink pads.
Testing handcarved stamps

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Inside the Wunderknauel

Inside the Stagasaurus' Wunderknauel I found lots of little things:
Inside the Wunderknauel
And out of felt, some ribbon, the embroidery thread and a button I made this tiny creature - I think it's a jellyfish:
Jellyfish Softie