Sunday, 29 August 2010

The Fifth Bean

I've been so so rude. I have neglected to introduce you to a VERY important member of our family. Really, he should have been posted about before Vampire Dog made an appearance. I hope he will forgive me. I hope she will forgive me. (We're never quite sure what the gender will be from day to day.) He (let's just call him a boy today for the sake of argument) arrived when SmallerBean was about six months old. He was a complete hit from the that day and he goes everywhere with her.May I introduce you to Puppy?

SmallerBean looks undressed if she is without Puppy. Sometimes Puppy has clothes, sometimes not. He has a birthday about three times a week. He goes on lots of holidays (in the sitting room), he eats lots of (plastic) food and his favourite food is flies(?). Puppy and SmallerBean are a great team. I love the way she uses Puppy as a vehicle for what she wants. 'Mummy, Puppy wants a biscuit.' 'Puppy likes painting.' 'Puppy doesn't like tidying up.'

Puppy has to go everywhere with us. It is likely that just as we are leaving the house, SmallerBean says 'Where's Puppy?'
I have lost count of the minutes I spend looking round the house before we go out, trying to find Puppy. It is exasperating. Usually, Puppy is in a cupboard, or under the bed, or behind a cushion. If Puppy ever got REALLY lost I can't imagine what would happen to The Beans.

The situation is so critical that we bought a second Puppy. We have to swap the two puppies (known as Clean Puppy and Dirty Puppy) quite frequently so if the disaster of Puppy being lost actually happened, we would have one of a similar worn-outness and smell. (But I won't dwell on that...) My paranoia about losing a puppy got SO bad that I bought some name tags with no name but our phone number on them. Just In Case.

I'm sure you'll catch up with him again soon. It could be a new bloggy competition- Spot Puppy for a prize. Mmm. I'll think about that.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

A new bean is created...

Having spent rather a lot of years making crafty things with three and four year old in my previous life as a nursery teacher, I have a cupboard full of treasures to do makey-crafty-nasties and a head full of ideas to use the treasures. Imagine my horror when SmallBean arrived and grew and made it perfectly clear that he Didn't Like Craft. Cajouling, persuading, bribing and beating (only kidding) didn't seem to work so the cupboard remained full and tidy. Making junk models and tissue paper crowns and finger painted chickens with string legs on my own aged 37+ just seemed a bit odd. So imagine my delight when SmallerBean made it equally clear that she was going to be the Makey Queen. Now I sometimes wish that the cupboard had a lock on it...

To cut a long story short, I was determined that over the summer hols we would all do lots of stuff together at the kitchen table. Small overdid the eye-rolling (he's practising for his teenage years in seven years time) but then those big brown eyes lit up when I mentioned that we were going to try to make a soft toy of his design. A long time ago I came across a website which turned childrens drawings into soft toys. Very exciting but toooo much cash for us Beans. Small is into design at the moment. I think that it must play a large part in the KS1 curriculum for Y1. Anyway. He did a drawing. Then I made him do another when I saw the absurdly thin legs he'd given his design. We went through the trunk of fabric and he chose the material for the body, legs, arms and head. All very tasteful and complimentary. I was totally surprised as he is the type of boy who wears camouflage shorts with a stripey t-shirt and socks and crocs... We (I) cut out the parts and he began to get bored and went off to play Lego Atlantis and I pinned it together and he came back and changed the design so I repinned and began to sew.

Slowly, painfully, painstakingly, it began to take shape.

The legs and arms were stuffed and joined to the body. Then tugged away form being all joined up inside as I turned it the right way round.
The eyes, ears and fangs(!?!) were attached.
I stuffed the head (at this point Small had come back and was beginning to be a bit more interested although he was still not showing 100% attention).

He then said that the fangs looked like a moustache and was a bit disappointed although he tried very hard not to show me quite how bad he was feeling- I think he realised that I might blow a gasket at this stage in the proceedings.

Finally the body got stuffed and the head and torso were united.

Drum roll drrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Introducing Vampire Dog. Small loves him. I hope Vampire Dog's head stays attached or there may be tears.

Now I have the little problem of turning this design into something for SmallerBean. Wish me luck.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Sea Glass

I've always had a bit of a thing about sea glass.

The gorgeous colours, all muted and, well, sea-ey. The opaqueness, the smooth-but-rough feel of it and the excitement of finding it amongst the shells and pebbles.

Over the last couple of years I have been more and more drawn to it and it has taken over my lust for shells. Just. I spend back-breaking hours looking at the treasure on the shore picking up, discarding, stashing and wandering over the same bit of beach until I am certain that I have all the sea glass that the Atlantic or North Sea has to offer. Quite often a beautiful little shell finds its way into my pocket and if I go home without a pebble or two I have not been looking properly- stones with a line through them, a heart or a hag are my thing.

The sea glass makes its way into a rather splendid jar in our bathroom and it is good to look at. But recently I have been wondering if there is something else I can do with it. I think the sea glass is magic. It could be beans. I am going to make beautiful jewellery with it. For now I am experimenting with wire wrapping just to see what can be done (not very much by me at the moment, it's not beautiful) and if there is love between the glass and the magicbeans in the box. I think a big romance could be on the horizon.
Just look how stunning the glass looks with the magic beans. Perfect. Now I just need the drillbit...

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Waiting for the right equipment

I have an idea going on in my head for some slightly different jewellery using some new beans. But until I buy myself a tiny drill bit, that magic beanery won't be happening. I am though, VERY excited about it and cannot quite contain myself so I have had to get the makey makey urge out of my system by doing more conventional jewels.

A little mother-of-pearl and garnet bracelet.
A mixed stone bracelet.

Little turquoise birdy hoop earrings. (Excuse the empty but used wine glass.)
A lilac, mauve and purple garland necklace. A flowery garland made with many different stones, most of which I don't recognise. But I do quite like the slightly odd mixture of colours. A bit 1975 I feel...
...and an amazonite bracelet which is the nearest I can get to the idea which is whizzing through my head.

With any luck, the new bit will arrive very soon and then I can experiment and create and get the annoying buzz out of my head and around my neck. I wonder if any of you know what I am planning?

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

We've been busy. Very busy.

Want to see some of the things we've been up to?

This was a BIG success. Great fun to do and they have a big impact on the kitchen wall. I keep waiting for one of them to fall off in the middle of tea and scare SmallBean half to death...

SmallBean got these Shrinkles for his birthday and they caused great hilarity as the Beans watched them magically do their thing in the oven. I think we used to have these but they were called Shrinkidinks. I also remember putting crisp packets (no crisps of course, they were long scoffed) into the oven to shrink. Must try that again sometime.

A trip to Byron's Pool for a walk and a barbie (q). Seven children aged ten down to two and a labradoodle building a den and playing together for hours was just amazing. We caught tiddlers (and threw them back), spotted huge dragonflies, ate hotdogs and explored the woods. They were not impressed when we called it a day and we had to head home.

Mmmm. That'll keep the baddies out...

A wonderful day at the north Norfolk coast at a friends beach hut. (Just been looking for photos and realised there are none as my camera battery died soon after we got there. But take it from me, the pink and blue beach hut is SCRUMPTIOUS and the sun shone and shone all day. Even the North Sea was warm and inviting.)

The Beansprouts have both spent lots of time dressed up as alter egos. At the moment Ancient Rome is Smalls favourite, so it's togas-a-go-go.

A farewell party for FrenchBean with three families from the street. Another very mixed children age gap group who chatted and danced and ate and played tremendously until very late. And we had a delicious barbie and lots of delicious drinks.

A visit to Milton Country Park where we spied this happy happy sunflower. We had to find a shelter to eat our picnic out of the torrential rain. But I always think that soggy cheese and pickle tastes better, don't you?

And in those very few and far between minutes where we have not been doing things together I have been looking and choosing, threading and twisting and snipping to make new pieces of jewellery. Not sure that this is the most effective way of photoing the magic beans though. I really have a makey urge at the moment and not having enough time is frustrating. Maybe the beanbox will have to come on holiday with me?