08 April, 2014


ARG!  just no time for blogging these days.  So a quick round up.  
First, super cute in the MRT station.

A fun night with some old friends last Sunday

My second child turns 18!!!

Some favourite parts of the mural which is s l o w l y coming along.  We had another painting Sunday this weekend to fix some bits.

This wall still needs LOADS of work...
And if I'm honest, I've been spending all my spare minutes catching up with some old (as in started YEARS ago in Connecticut) embroidery projects, and actually getting them finished.
Both of these are about 20 cm square.  The "Ella" one I'm going to make into a little pillow for her bed.  The other I'd like to put in a frame.

I really enjoy this kind of free hand embroidery.  I love to just sit and listen to a book and go for it.  I'm really intrigued/inspired by this artist.

Only 4 more days until we head off to Tassie!!!

And 2 more months until we go to the US!!!.

Not that I'm counting....

03 April, 2014

So this happened

It's been a bit crazy around here lately.  Last week our live in helper left (she just wasn't cutting it in terms of what we needed...I made sure she found somewhere else to go, but have been dragging my heels about getting someone else), coinciding with another round of reporting and digital portfolio making at school and just the general lag we are all feeling as the term drags on and on and on.  Remi's on his second week of school holidays, whereas our school still has another week to go. It will have been 15 weeks of school with only one 4 day weekend in there...the kids at school are so tired, but not as tired as the teachers!

But I had to drop in and share what happened on Friday night.

Kit is supposed to be having his appointment to have his cast off on Friday of this week...

But he no longer has a cast on.
After dinner out on Friday night, he walked all the way home on his cast carrying his crutches.  He's been begging me to cut it off for about 3 weeks now.  And while sensible people would have waited/made an appointment, I knew the time was right and out came the bread knife and scissors..
 (I can't believe how much Remi's arm and leg look like Matt's there).  After having a hot from friction knife touch his leg a few times, Kit took matters into his own hands and finished the job himself.
 We face timed Oscar in Australia so he could be in on the action too.  Ah, family times.  Shame he couldn't experience the smell too.  First thing Kit did was have a bath.
 And while I had to strip and wash the couch cushions the next day, Kit is much happier.
He even got new shoes this week to celebrate.  I'm so glad his cast is off before we head down to Tassie next week.  He's tendons and muscles are very week, and he's limping mainly from lack of control, and tired again because of that.  It will be interesting to see what the singapore doctors say on Friday...

25 March, 2014

And more

 A bit of sewing over the weekend.  Arms on the right way up (that was bothering me), a shirt that fits, corduroy trousers, a tie, pocket handkerchief and a (pair) of shoes.
 I went around to a friend's house on Sunday and we had a chat and a sew, and it was lovely...

 But I do think I'm done now.

20 March, 2014

With Ease.

Today's mural painting was a washout. Yes, the drought has finally broken around here, but today was the first day since we started mural painting late last year that we've had to cancel due to rain.  Makes me nervous for the rest of the year.  I am enjoying the fact that the Haze has more or less gone with the rain.  I can breathe again!

Anyway, because we had some early minutes due to the mural painting being cancelled, Ella and I scampered home, played some tunes and did some sewing.  

So "Simon" the geography teacher has a shirt.  He also has limbs attached and a stuffed head (brain?) but I ran out of stuffing for his body.  Never fear, thought I, I shall make him a shirt.  I have never made a shirt before, but I have ironed plenty of them in my time, so I was aware of the basic pieces that go into the construction of one: Yolk, back (with pleat for ease), collar, two front pieces, sleeves and cuffs:

I am seriously a little in love with this shirt.  I have a bit of an uneasy feeling that when I do stuff him the shirt won't do up, but he's a kind of laid back guy and would be quite happy wearing that shirt open over a t-shirt.  Although I do get the full hipster look I was going for when it's "buttoned" up all the way.  At the moment he looks like he needs some chest hair for under that shirt...and some pants.  And looking at this picture I've realised that his arms are probably upside down with his "thumbs" underneath giving him the look as if he's walking along with his back to the wall or something.

Never fear!  I see a big weekend of sewing in front of me...  Let Simon's adventures begin!

18 March, 2014

Such a doll

One of the things I've really enjoyed doing this year at school is our after school Co Curricular Activities.  We're contractually obliged to do one.  I'm doing one on all 3 days I work.  The best bit is that for 2 of them, I get to come up with what I want to do (and the 3rd one is the wonderful mural)!  I made a decision right at the beginning of the year that I wanted to work with 6th grade and above.  A day spent running after 4-10 year olds is somewhat exhausting and it's just so nice to be able to hang out with some older kids in the afternoon for an hour.  I started the year doing crochet and needle felting.  The needle felting felt a little difficult as the kids just didn't have the patience to do a little bit every week; they wanted to make a whole project each time.  Strangely enough they had more patience with the crochet.  I now have a girl making a whole unicorn who couldn't even chain stitch for the first few weeks.  Yay.

When I asked them at the end of the last session what they were interested in doing, they resoundingly agreed that they wanted some kind of sewing class.  Now the school has a purpose built textiles room and textiles is offered as an elective, but many kids miss out as only so many can do the class.  Then there are those who LOVE sewing but can only do it once per year.  So a sewing CCA was what they requested.

I thought about this for a bit.  I didn't want to be taking the place of the textiles class and teaching them how to use machines etc., but at the same time I wanted to provide a project to suit all abilities.  So, I came up with the idea of making a basic doll pattern that they could adjust and alter to their own whims.  Now, disclaimer, I've never made a cloth doll before, nor to be honest that many soft toys.  I did some research and drew up a very basic pattern (quite big so as not to be too fiddly).  I showed them inspirational pictures and how they could alter their doll to be they way they wanted it...it could even be an animal.  They had to come up with sketches to show something really original.    I have 9 girls in the class and 3 adults (teaching Assistants and a friend) and they are all so invested in their doll.  3 weeks in and some have only just started sewing some pieces together last week.  I've really made them slow down and think about the planning process; the drawing up of their own pattern pieces BEFORE they start cutting.
Meanwhile I had yet to make a doll.  A week or so ago, Ella (who plays along at home because she can't come to the CCA due to rugby practise) and I had a go of sewing up the pattern.  We did it with the arms and legs stuffed first and all stuffed up inside while we sewed her inside out , or I should say I sewed her as this proved too difficult for Ella.  Which meant we had a problem.
While Ella has had a great time making Esme's face and clothes and doing amazing things with her hair (which is still a work in progress), I had to have a way of putting the pattern together that less sophisticated sewers than Ella could cope with.

So it was time to make my own doll.  In the back of my head it was always going to be a male doll.  I was kind of thinking: hipster, glasses, purple flowery shirt....
 Well, this weekend it rained (hallelujah!) and I had a lovely time working on my doll....

At present he's "flat packed" in that his arms and legs are stuffed, but his body isn't.  This is my new construction method: stuff the arms and legs and mark off holes for them on the back side of the body pieces.  Then sew from the outside corner of one hip all the way around to the other leaving gaps for the arms and all the way across the ...ah...crotch...  
 This is how I will take him to class tomorrow to explain how we can then hand stitch in the limbs, stuff  them and sew up the bottom.  Of course, I made the mistake of sewing together the torso BEFORE I added the glasses which made for some interesting hand sewing positions last night.
 And although I was going for kind of a hipster...he's actually ended up looking like a cross between my own husband and a 70's English teacher (corduroy jacket with leather elbow patches, do you think?)
He's very good at semaphore, though...

17 March, 2014

A trip to China Town

 On Friday I had to go down to China Town to sign some documents, and thought I'd have a wander around while I was there.  I had to use to loo after a while, and the main public toilet there is in a beautiful temple.  While I've used the facilities before, I've never gone in to the actual temple.  It's open for visitors, with a pathway roped off, but somehow it feels disrespectful.  Anyway, on Friday I could here monks chanting, so I let my curiosity get the better of me.

 The grey dried things behind the big brown ball shaped ones are lizards.  Never seen that before.

A lovely little outing.

14 March, 2014

Note to self...

Take more photos!
I have been very guilty of living in the moment recently.  Which in itself is not a bad thing at all.  However, it does make for dull blogging.
cute cat photo just because...
 So, last Sunday Lindsey (one of the other art teachers and the wonderful organiser of the wonder wall) and I went to the mural and did some tidying up.  After a few crazy community painting days, there were some things that needed fixing and we needed to get some background colours in.  We literally painted sky and hills for 3 or so hours.  If I ever do a project like this again I think I'd be sure to paint those things in before sketching out the rest as it was fiddly!  But it made a huge difference and we are once again moving forward.
Here's a before taken after the last community day:

And here's an after taken on Sunday:

The wall is getting so big now that it's nearly impossible to photograph the whole thing.  This is just one section up one end. 
Here's a panorama of the whole wall all the way down to the very end where you can't even see it properly:
 This week when we painted with the kids (and a some other teachers came along) we really had to divide and conquer because there are just so many sections that need work.
It really is a "slowly but surely, bit by bit" kind of thing.  See if you can spot any differences between the first photo and these two....

I suspect there may be some more Sunday painting days just to keep it on schedule and under control.

 Ok, so one of my highlights at school this week was watching class after class of my KG1 boys particularly, but some girls dancing to this.  HYSTERICAL.  In their unit they are doing on music and movement the 9 classes are being divided up to dance to different songs...it's a real mix from "Frozen", to Katy Perry's Roar, to a bit of Bollywood, Hip Hop and some slower ones. This week I got the playlist and played it on the promethean board while they were playing with playdough.  The idea was that they had to think about how the music made them feel like playing with the playdough, but often they just wanted to get up and dance, and that was fine too.  And fun, and really really funny! And I wish I had taken some photos, but I don't think I would have been able to capture it.

My sewing CCA is coming along so well and the girls are so excited by what they're making.  Ella has Rugby training that day, so she can't come, but participates at home and got way ahead and mostly finished hers.  She's still adding hair bit by bit.  She loves taking her out with her (this is us on the way home from school on Wednesday).  I have to get some photos next week of their progress.
 And I don't want to harp on about the weather, but I'm already over the haze this week, and it's only been topping around 80PSI, rather than the 400 it got to last year when we were, thankfully, in America.
 This photo was taken in the taxi on the way to work (we're taxi-ing now because of Kit being on crutches).  That big red sun glare is the sun through the haze.  It's exactly like when there are bushfires in Australia.  The air smells like smoke, it is thick and heavy.  You can taste it.  By the end of the day my eyes are stinging, my throat scratchy.  I've felt so exhausted this week, with headaches, dizziness and feeling just off.  I woke up last night coughing like I'd been in a smokey bar.  I hate it.  It's earlier this year because it is just so dry.  7 days of rain since January 1st.  The school is mostly open, so the small of it is everywhere throughout the school.  Yesterday it looked like this when we were walking to the MRT after being outside mural painting for 2 hours.

Look how dry the ground is!  This is the tropics people! It's supposed to be lush and green.  Ok, enough ranting...for now.
 And I'll leave you with the biggest blister I've ever seen...this is Matt's heel nearly a week after he went for his big Sunday morning hike with new shoes on (that'll learn him!).  If you are squeamish, look away...