14 September, 2014


Well hello there!  Yes, I do still exist.

Let's just say that the last few weeks have been a struggle for me.  While I love teaching, we have had a number of changes at school this year.  The one that impacts me the most is that all our lessons are now only 40 minutes long (make that 30 minutes with transition time between classes) and on most days I will have 3-4 of those 40 minute classes back to back, often changing between grades - logistically difficult when each grade is doing different things but I don't have time to set up the classroom differently.  This has create a frantic atmosphere at school where we all constantly feel like we have to watch the clock and never get anything done.  Add to that 20 minute breaks (if we are lucky) for lunch/cleaning/planning, and you can start to comprehend the manic-ness of the school day.

On top of that we had back to school nights over the last 2 weeks which meant 3 days of staying until 9 for me (as I teach across all 3 sections of our elementary school: early years, lower and upper elementary).  I'm not going to lie; 3 days of 7 am until 9 pm almost wore me into the ground.  Although I am still struggling to keep up with all our planning expectations even though I do most other days 7 am to 5:30 pm.  I have spent the last hour of my Sunday updating the 5 blogs for school that I am supposed to do every week: one for each grade I am teaching.  I have another few hours work ahead of me just to get up to where I need to be with my planning.

Needless to say, this blog is way down on my priorities at the moment.  Or at least it should be.

I've been thinking about whether I should pull the plug on it as I just don't have time to spend on it right now, but I love having it as an avenue to share with people.

So I will just have to say that I will do my best with it.

I'l post a few photos that I've taken over the last week.  Even those for instagram have been few and far between.  Matt's been in London for the week and is in NYC next week.  I have been coming home and jumping into bed, often without even eating dinner.  My one sanity keeper at the moment is listening to my audio book in bed and art journalling; it allows me to totally shut off from school.
From my art journal

Fortunately Ella comes to school with me in the car in the morning and home with me most evenings.  I've hardly seen Kit this week, and with Remi now working nights at a bar I rarely see him!  I am hoping that this will settle down and become more manageable...the sooner the better.

AND, just so I don't have all my family members worrying about me, I make sure to totally switch off on Saturday.  I go for my massage and then Ella meets me and we go and find fun things to do. I even went out this Friday to see Potted Potter which was loads of fun.  Matt booked the tickets months ago and then had to go off to London this week so we invited Ella's friend, and fellow Potter fan, and her mum to go with us.  It was at Jubilee hall which is an intimate old theatre in Raffles Hotel (I didn't even know it was there).  We had a lovely evening; laughter is the best therapy. 
Jubilee Hall
Raffles hotel courtyard
Singapore Sling at Raffles with a friend: my first
Out and about in Singapore
Yesterday Ella and I discovered this funky little shop which had a pet cat in it.  Right up Ella's alley.

07 September, 2014

postcard from Singapore: Bugis

For the last month, every Saturday morning I've been going for a massage.  Last weekend, afterwards, I decided that we needed to do some exploring.  I walked from Raffles City mall north to BUGIS.
 Bugis is an area that really fascinates me.  Really central, close to Orchard rd and really not that far from where we live; it's a place I'd NEVER been.  So I got Matt and Ella to meet me there.  We had lunch, had a wander around, and then Matt went home.
 Bugis Junction Mall is architecturally really interesting: old shop houses enclosed into a mall.  Ella and I had a great time wandering around there and then on the way to the bus stop discovered Bugis St indoor market which was a lot like the markets we went shopping in when we went to Saigon...except air conditioned.
 We had a great time and it's a place I want to go back to.

On the way home I was struck by the beauty of this papaya tree.
 Not only the shape of the leaves, but also the texture of the trunk.  It's something I"d love to have a go at rendering in print.

06 September, 2014


Last weekend I had such a great time using my Indian woodblocks that my friend brought me back from India (plus one I bought in the US) to do some block printing.
I just loved this soooo much.
From the peacock panel I made a new table runner to go on our teak coffee table that arrived last week.
 I even inspired Ella to open my screen printing kit that I got a number of years ago (seriously, it has just sat in the box) and watch youtube videos etc and make her own screen.
 I came home late on Monday night after a meeting at school to find her happily printing away

Love this, and can't wait to do more printing adventures together.

05 September, 2014


I have a class arriving in 10 minutes.  Things have been CRAZY busy here this week and I have quite a bit to share, but no time.  Working 7 am to 10pm last few days...ARGH.

Anyway, this is something I did with my grade 1 and KG2 classes yesterday.  SO much fun!

I sandwiched blobs of cheap poster paint between 2 table cloths, VERY well taped up; triple edge folds and taping.
 Smooshed them out...and waited for the fun to begin...
 The kids LOVED it.  At the end of the day my classes were pressing parts of their faces into it; making ear prints and nose and chin prints.
Even Ella had a blast with it after school
 And I'm loving the mono prints we made when we pulled it apart again.

Only issue: my table cloths were too thin and kept ripping  (tiny holes).  I managed it by taping it all up...but I want this to be REALLY interactive so they can lie on it and really use big motions.  I'm going to see if I can find some thicker clear plastic this weekend and set up a more permanent one.

29 August, 2014


Before I discovered Pinterest and Instagram this blog had many photos and links and ideas....
Unfortunately I have succumbed to the instant, to the visual, and this blog feels like an effort compared to other mediums.  Almost everything you see here these days is second hand; reposted.

However, I also like the room that I have in this blog to be more personal, more fleshed out, have more photos, and to have more of a "chat".

Tonight we received our stuff from Australia that over 8 years ago we put into storage.  I had an idea of what was there.  I had vague memories of what we'd deemed storage-able, however we were all quite excited unpacking what had almost become a time capsule.

This Chair, from our time in New York, for instant, I had totally forgotten about. I love this chair.  I love this fabric and rather than recover the whole thing, I think I want to have a go at adding patches.
 This well travelled table was bought in Singapore 14 or so years ago.  It has travelled to New York, Sydney and now finally back to Singapore (it's a very expensive and well travelled coffee table....and these opium style tables are out of favour here in SG right now, and are nearly impossible to find.  They were everywhere when we lived here before.)
 I made Ella make this pose: when she was 4 or 5 I let her try on my wedding dress and she was so thrilled.  She tried it on again tonight.  it is a beautifully simple dress and I still love it 20 + years on. (and no it doesn't fit right now)
 The crown, however, I found her in.  I let all the kids have a big plastic tub to fill with their special things.  She sat there for hours this evening rediscovering her things.  Rememberings form Kindy, drawings I'd saved, bits and bobs.  For people like us who have moved and moved again and again, these things, this "stuff",  have extra special meaning.
 In a moment of clarity and genius I put stickers on all the special things detailing their provenience.  Who's teddy was whose, what year etc.  In this photo we have my mum's 60++ year old dog, my 30++ year old bear and the various others that my kids had.
 And the pots that I've made, the trophies, the chair my mum had made for Oscar 20 years ago, Oscar's old school hat from 15 years ago...
 I have also found Matt and my year books (Matt's reading his now), clothes from when the kids were little, gifts and treasures the kids have given us over the years, even old letters to Santa and the tooth fairy.
 Not to mention this; made for my birth, and a baby blanket my mum crocheted for me...
 And, and the one thing I had totally forgotten about; my grandmother's knitting basket that I inherited when she died, along with a gorgeous basket my mum made.

Was it worth the thousands spent on keeping and shipping these things?  Why, yes, I think it was!

21 August, 2014

I don't wanna...talk about it

A line from ABBA which sums up my week at work.  However, after having a day from hell which left me feeling like I was going to burst into tears, I came home and, accidentally while working, found a really interesting and inspirational teaching blog which led me to this video clip which I feel COMPELLED to share.  I could not agree more with the sentiment of this speaker:

16 August, 2014

keeping busy

I've no photos to share.  It's been a crazy busy week, and I have been utterly exhausted the last few days.  The school had orientation for parents and students over the last 3 days and we were required to do long shifts of meeting and greeting and seating families (something I find tiring and draining beyond belief).  Neither of my class rooms are ready (I've still not seen the one in the new building as we only got signed off on the building on Friday and poor classroom teachers have had to spend the whole weekend moving in for school to start on Monday).  I took today off and went and had a one and a half hour deep tissue massage which was brilliant, but I am in quite a bit of pain from it right now.  I've spent the evening printing and laminating and I'll head over to school tomorrow and hopefully get into my second room to set it up a bit. If not, I still have things to do in my first room. It may be somewhat quiet around here over the next week or so as I settle into the routine.  

10 August, 2014

Birthday celebrations

****all photos screen shotted from our various instagram accounts****

So Kit is fortunate enough to share his birthday with the nation of Singapore.  15 years ago he was born on Singapore National Day.  Actually, it made deciding what to do on his birthday a bit of a pain.  As a public holiday, everything is more expensive and more crowded.
However, last week Matt short term hired a car.  Which means we basically pay month by month (not cheap here, but cheaper than buying).  And while I'm too scared yet to brave getting out on the roads here (they drive like lunatics) it's good at least in making it easier for us to get out an do things.  

So yesterday, for Kit's birthday we decided to go to Sentosa for the day. 

We took the kids to The Wave House which has flowriding.  This is the same "beach club" where Matt and I went to see Pete Murray in concert a few months ago.  All along the beaches in Sentosa they have these various beach houses and yesterday (and maybe every day) they have ridiculously loud music pumping out of massive sub woofers and speakers (a little unpleasant for my aging ears).
We ate some lunch and then Matt and the kids got up to have a go (we'd booked a 2 pm time slot).

I was in charge of taking photos of everyone with their various phones and itouches.  For the first 40 minutes that meant no photos at all as the moment they got on they were off and shooting up the back as shown in this photo of Kit heading up after falling off. (He did stand up, but I didn't get a photo).
It got to the point where I was scared to jinx them.
Towards the end of their time, though the staff changed over and these guys were really good at getting in and positioning them and showing them how to do it.
Remi got it first.  he's still holding the rope here, but did manage to stay up on his own (once again, I was too busy watching and too scared to jinx them by getting the camera out)

 Poor Ella looked so miserable the whole time.  But I actually think she did enjoy it.
Even Matt got up and going for a bit.
Kit and Remi are keen to go back again, and we may even do another family session there.  The verdict was , though, that it was a lot harder than it looked which justified my decision not to even try.

After that, we moved next door to another club for some drinks in the pool.
We were hoping for somewhere a bit more relaxed, but here they had a dj pumping out some overly loud beats, so it wasn't quite as idyllic as it looks.

By about 4 we were ready to head off, which is probably just as well as everyone (except me!) caught a bit too much sun.

 We went out to dinner at our local place which had TVs set up so everyone could watch the national day parade and celebrations, and picked up a couple of pieces of cake from a bakery as we were walking home.

I think Kit was pretty happy.


So our neighbours sent us this video yesterday.  SO EXCITING.  Maybe a little more grass and gravel than I'd requested (I'm trying to limit any mowing, and I want to make gardens) but hopefully (fingers crossed) at least I won't be having to pull out all the Bishop's weed next year.  I can't believe how quickly they've done this.  It's doubled the size of the side patio, and prepared the land perfectly for when we have a deck built off the back of the house.

08 August, 2014


So Ive nearly completed one week back at work.  It's been a bit frustrating with the new building not yet finished, a camp group in our other class rooms and lots of presentations that we've all heard before.  Typical school stuff really and we should have expected it all.  As far as I know, I've gone from no class room last year to TWO class rooms this year in two different buildings.  It's actually not so bad because I really do 3 days in the Early Years/Lower Elementary side and then 2 days in the Upper Elementary side. It will be a bit like having 2 part time jobs.  But that's two class rooms that I need to set up and it looks like it will all have to be done RIGHT before school starts in just over a week.

Meanwhile:  Our neighbours have been sending us photos of the work on our yard.  Remember how I left the yard a total mess?  Well. on Tuesday, Heather sent me this photo:
And then yesterday we got these photos from Steve:

 Very exciting!  I can't get over how quickly they built those walls!  It will open up that area on that side of the house so much more.  It's LOVELY out there in autumn and winter as that's the side that gets the evening sun (the house is almost directly south facing).  I'm not sure how much we will see of it when we go back in Winter (and by then the back roof may be finished too?), but I suspect this summer I will be spending a lot of time at the garden centre.