Jan 14, 2011

Rumble, and jumble.

Boxing day was the anniversary of Ma's passing away. But it actually started quite early for me; with earthquakes. Not everyone in the house felt them then already, but I felt the one at 2:o7 (4.2Magnitude), closely followed by a faint tremble at 2:08am(3.8M.) The creak of the house, as if a windgust hit the walls, is what woke me, and a very distinct rumble. Like a truck was driving down the street.
I had just dropped off to sleep again, when a 4.3M. shook at 2:38am.
It sure gets your heart going in the middle of the night.
The next one was at 3 minutes past 8(3.8M.) Everyone felt that one. We checked the Christchurch earthquake map to see how big they were. You can do that too if you click on the link and go to 26-12-2010. You will see that there were 33 that day. Some so small that you don't feel them.
Some beautiful dunes at the Christchurch beach. I love the way the wind is moving the grasses.

We all felt the next one though at 10:30(4.9M.) This one caused more damage in town and parts of the shopping areas (all ready for the big Boxing day sales) had to be closed off.
Where was I?
All soaped up in the shower, with my eyes closed... Rumble, rumble!
I squealed, held on to the wall, saw that the walls were moving in opposite ways to each other, realized the wall I was holding was a glass one (not good!) . Took a breath, realized the power was still on, and the water was still going, and just waited.
It stopped.
I rinsed.
Husband came running, "Yup, I'm o.k. That was interesting!.."
I don't usually feel like having a stiff drink that time of the morning, but I did that day.
I think we felt 2 more during the day. I have never experienced more than 1 in a day, and I felt very on edge; I think I can understand how frazzled the people of Christchurch must feel.
And they are all deemed aftershocks from the big one in September.

The 6th, 7th and 8th of January saw me doing a printing course at my bookarts club. We tried our hands at lots of different methods of mark making, with printing ink on lovely thick paper.

I really liked this method of creating my own plates with sealed cardboard cut-outs. I tried to make it look like late 50's early 60's botanicals. The teal and mustard colours helped .
The composition is terrible, but I know what I meant...
Wouldn't it be cool if I could have my own yardage of fabric with these, just like tiny happy has done?
And this is the best, I want to frame it. I used the same method.
Love the birches!
We took all the pages and bound them into a book. I used some nice green linen thread from Ma-L. and green glass beads.
This way I have a neat record of different techniques all tidily put together for later reference.

Treasure Hunt Show Case.
These haven't even been washed yet. I was so pleased to be able to go op-shopping again, since most of them close for 3 weeks around Christmas.
Yellow seer-sucker with little chickens destined for kids' clothes, several floral tablecloths for bunting or such like, quite a few stains I'm afraid. But they are soaking in the nappisan as we speak, so they might turn out o.k.
A red rosed serviette for zipbags, and a very sweet pussy-cat tapestry. Would look good for a bag I think.

I got a treasure of vintage doilies in December. I get picky , I only buy the ones with the finest stitches. One has the willow-pattern on it, just like the tablecloth on the right.
And a nice dutch souvenir tablecloth as well, good for the dutch bunting I make.

A child's sheet and pillowslip set from the 50's or early 60's; to be used for a little dress or a pinafore.
And another tablecloth in very good condition.

Weird Impulse Buy.
Knitting needles.
I don't actually like knitting very much. But these oldies have such pretty lollie colours, I think they look as good as a bunch of flowers!

Jan 13, 2011

The end of a school- and craft-year.

A Happy 2011 to you all!
Aren't they cute... The teachers of year 3 at the primary school where I work decided to give each child a little blackboard with the child's name on the back. The kids had to paint on the layers of blackboard paint and chose the colour for the back.
They then asked their enthusiastic teacher-aide (yes that's me!) and an arty student teacher to put the child's name on the back with some nice twirly letters. Well, we started to outdo each other, and it got out of hand, didn't it...
I spent about 3 schooldays painting with the kids hanging over my shoulder. Boards for about 85 kids, of which I did over 60. No matter, since the last 2 weeks of school were very irregular, full of singing practices and finishing off art projects.
I painted moths in the moonlight, bats and cats, snails, hedgehogs, owls, crickets and bugs and spiderwebs, blossomtrees, rain on ponds with dragonflies, 2 gnomes and 1 fairy. Each board different. And oodles of spirals, because that's my thing.
They loved it, and the parents were suitably impressed! I got lots of hugs from the kids and many thanks. It was great fun!!

I'll show you some photos from my working/school life about the End of Year Assembly or Prizegiving for our school.
Since there was no way all the kids (over 400) and their parents could have fitted in our small school hall, we had it at the nearest highschool, the one our youngest daughter has just said goodbye to.
All the children had been practicing their repertoire of songs for this evening. You can see their school uniforms and the principal and deputy sitting on the stage with all the silver cups and certificates .
I am not personally in favour of children wearing uniforms; I can see the advantage of keeping teenagers in line with behaviour and fashion competition by wearing uniform, but I feel children should be able to dress in all the colours of the rainbow or come dressed as spiderman or a fairy for the day.
It's all very British from a long time ago.....
The evening starts with a welcome song, followed by the national anthem in English and Maori.
So the boy in the foreground obviously scored big time in the cup department, but luckily they also give out certificates now and during the year for being the one with the most cheerful or helpful manners, or the most improved in work, not necessarily the best at a particular subject.
It's time for the Kapa Haka group (Maori song and dance) to show their stuff. Accompanied by guitar and singing, the girls show welcoming hand movements, the boys singing behind them.
Now a song complicated by rhytmic waving and slapping of the poi (soft white balls on a string). It looks spectacular. The girls look most confident in front of hundreds of parents.

Some speeches are made about the seniors leaving, people that have helped the school during the year, some teachers leaving or getting married. Our senior pupils get a weekly rock'n roll lesson , our principal is a big fan. So the best dancers get to show off their steps, it's great for confidence and boys and girls having to interact. The other kids think it is so grown-up!
Everyone cheers and claps along!!
Apart from all the holiday songs sang by all the children, the kapa haka group has another go, this time it is the boys turn, with a spirited haka(challenge), with much footstamping, shouting and chest slapping. The leader memorized a long haka in Maori, all about making the right choices and finding your mana (self -worth and respect). The 4 new Young Leaders for 2011 are standing behind them on stage, all the kids can go to them with a problem, or they have to represent the school at events.
And that was the end of the evening, all the parents find their kids and it's a madhouse for 10 minutes! See you all in 6 weeks!

I hope you found this interesting, especially if you are not from New Zealand! Here is a link to a haka done by another local school, it looks like they had many of the same movements.
The boys love doing it, and it boosts their confidence.
Originally a haka was used to call up the influence of one's ancestors to gather strength before going into battle. But anything can be a challenge; doing the right thing, starting something new, giving up a bad habit, and sometimes to gather strength after a sad time. Hakas are sometimes performed at the end of a funeral, at which time they feel very raw and overwhelming. It is also a controlled way of letting anger out.

Here some more of the gorgeous things I made for the Christmas Fairs I had a stall at, some sold, some will sell later. (think Positive). A few of the brooches I made using beltbuckles dating from the 1930's to 50's, embroideries of the same date and words cut from an ancient book.
Also some little zippered pouches made from vintage embroideries and serviettes, even the zips and lining are recycled. They are fun to make and can be used for anything.
This was a big post, but I'm on holiday and have lots of time!