Saturday, 22 October 2011

Holding the Space

To the casual observer, it may appear that things are a little dull around here. My blogging has lagged into “filler” posts. And it’s true: I simply don’t have as much time, space, or energy to put into it at the moment. So I’m reduced to the level of “oh my, I haven’t blogged lately… what can I think of? Meh, just post some photos of something cute Littletree did lately”.

Since this is my website and I can say anything I darned well please, and let’s be honest, my life has been interesting enough to fulfil more Chinese curses than one could possibly wish on one’s worst enemy, I’m allowed to post fillers once in a while.

Even the greatest of TV series has a “flashback” episode every few seasons. So I will flash back to a year ago, when I drove down to the Blue Mountains Rainbow Gathering with Littletree.

This particular flashback is apt, because I am currently planning and packing for the next Australian Rainbow Family Gathering, which will be, again, in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney (though not in the exact same location again).

Double Yay and all kinds of excitingness!

083 welcome home rainbow

I shall even – wonder of wonders – be driving down without Littletree! She will be staying home with Purple, and flying down after Hallowe’en, for which she has many plans. Even though only for a week, this will be the first time I’ve been at a rainbow gathering without Littletree since she was born (since even before that, if you count the three gatherings I was at while pregnant).

So though life is in stasis at the moment – or maybe it’s in flux… hard to tell, since my flux capacitor is on the blink again, I shall soon be relaxing in my hammock by my tipi, enjoying the sun.

079 morning mist

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Hangin’ with the girls

Life has been a little crazy hectic lately, since Purple came back from Israel and we’re dealing with the re-shuffling of our lives and living arrangements. Our friendship has been a little strained, and the plan to stay sharing the house together… well, it’s not always flowing gracefully.

I’ve been living downstairs in the basement-converted-flat, and staying with my girlfriend a lot, while Purple has been in a deep jet-lagged funk.

But still, we’re doing our best to make things work for Littletree, making sure she gets to her social engagements, Spanish group, Homeschool group, tutoring session, Circus class, Dance class, the library, the beach…

I’ve been making extra effort to spend time with her, just hanging out, working on her Altered Book, various craft and science projects. And of course, her favourite activity: hanging out down at the village pub for dinner with friends.

01 pub dinner

The best part being, of course, enjoying the cool night air in the beer garden and pretending that the ground is lava while jumping from table to table and along the garden wall. The even better best part is salad-eating contests!

03 pub dinner04 pub dinner

Because who cares for calamari and chips when there’s a salad?!

Friday, 14 October 2011

Plasma Globe

Littletree, being the science-geek that she is, got a plasma globe.

12 plasma globe

Which is very cool and she’s getting hours of entertainment out of playing with it, trying out cool stuff, learning how it works, and pretending to be a fortune teller.

08 plasma globe

Hooray for science – it works!

Monday, 10 October 2011


Looks like those years spent meditating are finally paying off!

59 trampoline

Littletree’s been playing a lot on the trampoline lately, now that the weather is warmer.

57 trampoline60 trampoline61 trampoline64 trampoline

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Experiment wildly. Have fun.

I received in the mail this week *drumroll please* a handwritten letter from the always-fabulous, Lady Demelza. I shall proceed to copy it out word-for-word, so that the world might bask in her words of wisdom. And people interested in the world of Altered Books might benefit.

Lady Demelza’s hints, tips, thoughts, suggestions, ideas for encouraging a child with an Altered Book

(Mostly in general, some are more specifically Littletree-oriented)

  • The most basic tools are scissors and a glue stick. Both are small fiddly things likely to be lost in black holes or become damaged. I find it’s best to have lots of extra spares all over the house. Cheapest, good quality glue sticks are to found in bulk packs at Officeworks.
  • Whenever there is something happening involving an interesting piece of paper or similar glueable object, suggest it could be stuck in The Book.
  • If she’s complaining that she’s bored, or wants ‘something to do’, put the book and/or magazines and/or papers in front of her. Small starting suggestions -
    - find a picture, shape, colour or word you would like in a magazine and cut it out. Can always be saved to continue with At a Later Time…
    - prepare a page by covering it with a blank or patterned piece of paper, or by painting it or colouring it in, for future work.
  • Print out photos for her to include in the Book – favourite pictures, photos of friends and family – to really personalise it. Maybe photos of people cooking or in the kitchen to go with the cook-book theme?…
  • Encourage writing out favourite household recipes into the book. It doesn’t have to be a ‘recipe’ as such, it could be a description of the cooking process more generally. Include accompanying photos??
  • Her science experiments could be documented. Write up the hypothesis or idea, take photos to document her carrying out the experiment, write up the results. Draw a picture of the results.
  • How about a record of the weekend market bakery business? Note recipe used, take photos of finished product or process, record profits. Write down costs of ingredients, etc. to work out accurate profits!
  • Learn about the structure of books. Maybe you’ll find an old hardcover book with a missing spine and let her see the stitches holding the book together and deconstruct it. Discuss types of paper and covers, styles of bookmaking over time. Discuss what makes a book suitable to become and Altered Book; the strength of the spine/ pages, how likely it is to last a long time or fall apart quickly.
    eg – stick pages together to make a heavier base for heavier stuck-in things. Cut a niche in the pages to allow for 3-D stuck-in objects.
    - different kinds of glue and paint used with different kinds of paper – how does the paper or insert hold up?
  • Cut out shapes from scraps of fabric as well as paper. Check how glues hold up with different fabrics. Small bits of fabric usually go well in Altered Books.
  • You may want to find a kind of tray-shaped box or basket that the Book can go in, along with a manageable quantity of materials, to travel around to different parts of the house, be used and tidied away.
  • If she produces a page that she’s not happy with, there are a few options.
    - Continue altering the page until it becomes something different.
    - Remove the page.
    Stick it to the next page to make a stronger, double-thick page for more sturdy embellishments.
    - Stick a piece of plain or patterned paper or a picture over the whole thing.
    This is meant to make it feel safe to experiment wildly.
  • Keep an eye out for second-hand magazines with good colours and visual style in the photography and advertising (if not content!)
    A quick trip to the oppy would quickly provide enough variety to give her something to get going on… you don’t need a big pile of magazines, but a variety of styles is good. New ones coming in now and ten are exciting and inspiring. Throw out the old ones if they’ve been hanging around a while
  • Experiment wildly. Have fun.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Holy Cows

Our friend and neighbour, Elf, who takes Littletree every week to help her with reading and writing, also takes care of a cow who birthed a calf recently.

17 calf

Littletree just loves the calf to bits, and the calf seems to like Littletree just as much.

18 calf

It’s just the sweetest thing. Awwwww