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

Saturday, 28 February 2009

Saturday Morning

While my husband was recovering from the late night out with friends, Cat and I melted some crayons in the oven.
Crayon Cookies
And later it was Christmas time. Ok, maybe not, but it sure felt like it. Clive got two packages with the tile samples on Friday and while Cat was helping him find the tiles in the packaging pellets another package arrived for me.
Swap Package
So the Little Girl switched to helping me unwrap all the wonderful things from Stagasaurus.
Swap Goodness from Stagasaurus
First we unwrapped a little wallet with jelly filled marshmallows for her. Next one was the Wunderknauel made out of Rowan little big wool. On seeing it my husband came up with a new word youreffic - terriffic for you. I unraveled it in the evening and will have to share a photo of what it contained inside a bit later. There also was a journal with beautiful cover, which Stagasaurus bought from local crafter, who sadly doesn't sell online. And last but not least I found a set of four hand-embroidered by Stagasaurus napkins. I looking forward to using them once we have a dinning table. What a fantastic swap package! It sure made me feel extremely happy.

Friday, 27 February 2009

Some crafting

I woke up today to the blue sky and found this tiny daffodils in our garden - the spring must be close
Tiny Daffodils
I seem to be addicted to making Chinese knot necklaces. At the end of last year I made some for my sister and mum, but didn't take any pictures. And before going to Cape Town I made two more. This one for a swap with Stagasaurus
Chinese Knot Necklace Red
And this one for my sister-in-law.
Chinese Knot Necklace Silver
And I have plans to make few more for myself - they are so easy to make and don't require much space. Today I realised that the main reason I'm struggling to get anything drawing or crafting done is lack of clear space on my desk, so I moved almost everything off it. Now I just need to find time to unpack and re-organize all my craft supplies, so I don't waste time looking for them.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Back from Cape Town

We got back from Cape Town late on Monday morning and yesterday I was feeling out of sorts. From the house full of relatives, conversations, sunlight, kids running around, refreshing swims in the pool and open blue sky to the quietness of our small family, uncomfortableness of the house in the midst of renovations and grey blanket of London sky. And then out of our bedroom window I saw a huge bumblebee (shouldn’t it be hibernating now?) and it felt like a good sign of the spring to come and the reminder that the love and happiness we were gifted with while in Cape Town are still with us no matter where we are. Thank you my new family and friends for the wonderful holiday. I just wish we could spend more time together getting to know each other better.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009


With fires still raging in Victoria I don’t feel that I have anything worth saying. None of my family and, as far as I know, friends are affected. But as Assemblage says in her post “our state is relatively small and interconnected”, so I keep on praying for everyone’s wellbeing.

Here is a list of various ways to help, including donating money. PeaSoup linked to few additional ways to help and personal stories at the end of her post.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Additional snowmen

Being stuck inside the house with a toddler, who thinks that she no longer needs an afternoon nap, isn't much fun. Specially when I know that she'll be tired and grumpy by about 5pm. So yesterday we ventured outside again to build more snowmen.
And afterwards we had a good excuse to drink hot chocolate.

Monday, 2 February 2009

From cold to cold

Our exploration of the new area was slowed down by both Cat and I catching a cold and spending a whole week mostly at home with occasional short trips to the shops. And just as we got better the weather turned really cold (for London), the snow came down (London has seen the heaviest snowfall in 18 years, weather experts said.) and we are staying indoors again. We did brave outside for few minutes to play with the snow and build a tiny snowman.
Poor Clive didn't have the same option and just spent TWO and A HALF hours getting to work, since most London public transport is suspended or experiencing sever delays.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Book Meme

Saw this meme at Rachael's:

The rules:
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open to page 56.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next 2 to 5 sentences, along with these rules.
5. Don't dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual book. Pick the CLOSEST!
6. Tag five other people to do the same!

Surprisingly the book next to me wasn't The Little Red Train Storybook or some other kid book from Cat's current favourites. Few minutes previously I picked up Elisabeth Kubler-Ross' autobiography "The Wheel of Life" from one of the many boxes filled with books. Here is the quote from the book, if I follow the rules:

Dr. Braun's fate was as unclear as his whereabouts. Either he was hospitalized for one of his manic episodes or he was in jail. Who knew when we would see him again, and it turned out the answer was never.

I think you'll all agree that this isn't a very exciting quote and doesn't do justice to the book or its incredible author, so I thought I'll post the bit from the end of the book, which I loved:

It is very important that you do only what you love to do. You may be poor, you may go hungry, you may live in a shabby place, but you will totally live. And at the end of your days, you will bless your life because you have done what you came here to do.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Review of 2008

Some of the files on my Australian photo DVD got corrupted and my computer is struggling to read it. I asked my parents to make me another copy from the one they have and until the new DVD arrives in the mail I thought I’d do a review of 2008. It feels a bit premature to do so, as the year will truly end for me with the trip to South Africa. Lately the starts and ends of my years don’t coincide with the calendar ones.

2008 was definitely a year of travel: starting with our New Year trip to Berlin (Germany), followed by Utsunomiya (Japan), Odessa & Kiev (Ukraine), New York (USA), Melbourne (Australia) and few small trips in UK. I’m planning a quieter year at home: maybe do some camping in summer, explore London and surroundings, do a lot of walking and train riding and less air travelling. Long trips to far away lands feel wrong for our family at the moment.

I made few things this year, not as many as I could’ve if I was more organized and less timid in starting new projects.
My creations of 2008
However I learned to knit thanks to my mum, attempted to sew few simple things and discovered the joy of embroidery. I’m looking forward to improving my crafting skills and making many items for our new home (despite the horrified look on my husband’s face, who is probably imagining floral curtains and crocheted doilies covering every surface).

And my main project is growing well and bringing me more joy than I ever could imagine. Should I have another one?

Thursday, 15 January 2009

In love

Early in the morning
I thought we managed to switch back to London time, but yesterday Cat fall asleep at 1 pm and slept until 4 am today. After being stuck inside the house all day yesterday I really wanted to get out and we went for a very early morning walk. Navigating in a new area in the dark was hard, but we got to see a fox and after finding a big park had it almost all to ourselves.
the pond
On the way back I went to a little local veggie shop to get some potatoes. After all the cold of outside Cat wasn’t in the mood to interact with the sales lady, but it didn’t stop her from giving Cat a mandarin. Made my day. I’m sure it makes business sense to be extra nice to the new customers, but I think the little kind gestures like that make a world much nicer place. And with my desire to be part of the community I definitely prefer shopping at the local shops instead of the big supermarkets.

I was completely in love with this area before we moved here and was slightly worried that I was seeing everything through the rose-coloured glasses. But I keep on falling more and more in love with it everyday. There seems to be so much to discover and enjoy here.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Upside down

We are back from Australia. Back to OUR OWN tiny house full of boxes to be unpacked. There is so much to be done: renovation, furniture buying, curtain making, etc. But for now Katya and I keep on waking up at 2am and sleeping through big parts of the day.