Thursday, 28 February 2013

Making Wedding Invitations

 Jouni and I sat down this Sunday to begin the long and tedious but sometimes hilarious process of making our wedding invitations. I'd estimate we got about halfway through before we had to stop. We worked solidly for 2 or 3 hours. Here are some of the results!

Inside one of the cards: (each one is a little different. This was the only one where one of the ghosts had a tiny moustache!)

I'd like to point out that it was Jouni who chose the pink ribbon with the hearts and Jouni who tied it around every invitation! We also got some other ribbon to eventually tie around the outside of the envelopes.

I guess they will be finished a few days from now, when we have the energy to resume the task of hand making every invitation with appropriate vigour! After hand painting all the little pictures I thought the hard work was over. I was wrong!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

South Africa published my poem!

I send out poems to magazines every now and then and sometimes they print them in magazines. But they always email me before the print them to ask if the poem is still available, if I want to change anything, etc. But not this time. A printed magazine, 'New Contrast', just turned up in the post with my poem in it.  I was pretty excited. Well, VERY excited if I'm being honest. Below are the pages with my poem on and my writer bio.

And check out these cool stamps! I've never been to South Africa or received mail from there before, so it was really awesome of them to publish my poem and send me a copy. Thanks, SA!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Holland Party!

On Saturday we went to a party at our friend Monique's house. She has a beautiful garden. Because she is from Holland she also has some excellent, pointy wooden shoes!
Vera enjoyed her soda so much that she pretended to keep drinking it for hours after she was done. The big kids had fun in the hammock swing and the little kids played in the sandpit that they made last week from building blocks.
Whenever I go to parties I talk to the people I already know. People always tell me I should mingle more. But the friends I already have are my friends because I want to hang out with them!
I am sad to leave friends scattered all over the world. People in the UK tell me all the time that I have an amazing life, and I agree. But there's downfalls to every lifestyle, and all this travelling makes me feel a bit homeless sometimes.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Swimming Gala

On Friday we had a swimming gala at school. It was a lot of fun despite the hot hot sun. Here's some pictures:

The small kids who didn't know how to swim had to do a balloon pop race. They wore hoops on their heads and popped a balloon at the other end of the pool, then came back. it was really funny!
I actually took a lot more photos, but most of them looked pretty silly. My friend Liz also took pictures and had the same problem. I think people don't know how funny their faces look when they swim!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Wedding Location

Y'all should come to Zanzibar for our wedding! It's completely brilliant in Zanzibar. Here's a few photos we took the last time we were there:

I'm so excited to see friends and family in such a fabulous location! (And a bit excited about the wedding, too). 5 months to go today! I need to buy a wedding dress. Jouni has his shirt already. It's really cool, in sort of a Muslim waiter kind of a way. It's got all this silver embroidery of moons and stars.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

How to make 'Cloud Water' to play with

Like a mother trying to sneak vegetables into the diets of unsuspecting children, I find more and more elaborate ways to sneak English money into the worlds of these kids who will probably never need a pound coin in their lives. They need to be able to use English money (rather than Tanzanian Shillings) because of the curriculum we follow.

I poured some English money into the water tray and no one wanted to play with it. Can't really blame them. So then I invented CLOUD WATER and suddenly everyone did!

How to make Could Water
- Fill your container with water
- Get some white, washable poster paint (half a cupful for about 10 litres)
- Fill half the cup with the paint, half with water, and mix with a big paintbrush
- Add it to your water tray/container and mix again
- The water will look like a cloud
- Fill a quarter of a cup with liquid soap
- Add it to the cloud water and mix. It will look all frothy and inviting
- Sprinkle some glitter in. The glitter will sit on the surface and look magical
- Surreptitiously toss in a few handfuls of English coins (optional)
- Finished!

(We also added elephants. An unusual match with the coins, but hey. You're only five once).

Friday, 22 February 2013

Sun Prints

 I wanted to make some sun prints with the kids, partly because they are cool and partly to try to make them wear their hats when they play in the sun (look kids, the sun is so dangerous it took all the colour away from this paper!)

I gave each child a sheet of black construction paper and let them choose what they wanted to make the print of. We chose things from our classroom and from the natural environment.  The guidelines I read on Ehow said that sunprints on construction paper should take about a couple of hours. Because we live on the equator I thought an hour would be long enough, but nothing had happened after an hour. So we left them 24 hours. I still think the contrast could be greater!

Puzzle pieces and a hand print looked really cool:

One boy had the smart idea of making a house:

Most of the compositions were pretty random. We taped down everything that moved when we blew on it, as well as taping the whole paper to the concrete.

A school is not the best place to make sunprints, because there are so many children that want to lift up all the pieces to see what's happening underneath. That's totally understandable, but it did mean that some of the prints came out looking blurry from being put back down in roughly the same place, but not exactly.

I'd like to try it with different colours of construction paper to see which one gives the best contrast.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Retro Swahili Books

 I'm learning Swahili, and one of the things I enjoy most about learning is the retro textbooks we use. I wanted to share some images with you... I hope you'll enjoy them as much as I do!
 I feel as though the one with all the pictures has been designed for first language kiswahili speakers: little kids who are learning to read and write. But I'm still learning from it! Although it sometimes doesn't feel like it, I am improving and I feel so happy when I'm talking and can think of all the words I need for my sentence.
 I've got pronouns, person markers and tenses sorted (even the hard ones like past perfect). Now I have to actually learn some useful verbs and nouns!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Karama Lodge

It's sort of funny that we keep visiting lodges whilst living here. In the UK I wouldn't think to go to a hotel for a drink or lunch, but here lodges are some of the most beautiful places.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

I made a Japanese Schoolgirl Doll

 About a week ago I said I was going to try to make a doll, for the first time in my life. Well, I finished it, and this is what it looks like! I think it came out okay. It could be a bit more 3D, but since I made up the pattern myself I basically just drew around a drawing to get the pattern. Here's the drawing: 
 It came out quite a lot like the drawing I made, although the hair is bigger in the drawing (I didn't account for how the head would change shape once I stuffed it). In case you are wondering what that furry thing behind is: it's my new cowhide chair.

It was fun to follow my instincts and see what would happen and I felt more free than when following a pattern, so I was happy making it. I've drawn out a lot more ideas for dolls to make and the next on my list is a frenchman carrying a baguette and walking a sausage dog. The idea is that these dolls (and some felt food) will eventually form the basis of my etsy pdf pattern business.