Tuesday, November 20, 2007

BoulieBags - The new and growing collection

I have finally gotten my head out of painting. I think I've been painting non-stop (well, pretty much so at least) since September. I can't complain because I'm one of those lucky people who truly enjoys her work. Not many people can say that, I fear.

And yet it does still come with a certain amount of stress, although I'm not entirely convinced that my stress is taken very seriously. When I talk with other mums at school who are juggling office jobs with daycare and sick children and the likes and I tell them I'm harried because I have 2 pirates, 3 cupcakes and a collection of hippos to paint, I'm not entirely certain they understand my stress. So be it. Pirates can be stressful too!

But for the moment, at least, I have finished all my paintings on order. I still have a handful to post out and that will be completed this week. I still have some prints on order and they too will be completed this week. But what you ask, does all this mean? Am I technically unemployed?

Well, perhaps, but unemployed or not, it also means I've had time to play! And playing for me means taking out my fabric stash and strewing it all about the sitting room. And the kitchen. And there' a bit in the conservatory...

I've been wanting to get back to my sewing for a while yet, but with painting, kids, house and the lot, time is precious. So after sitting amid my fabric for a good hour at least, taking it all in and enjoying the whole process, I decided to make a few bits and bobs for fun. I started off with a few lavender hearts as I also have quite a bit of lavender lying around as well as some odd bits of hand-embroidery and painted fabric. And then I moved on to bigger and better.

BoulieBags! Adorable little totes for girls, young and old. Very simple in their design I'll be the first to say, but cute all the same. I've just listed my first 2 on Etsy and we'll see how it goes. If I get some more time, I may actually add a button or two to close the tote. Or perhaps a bigger size. Possibilities are endless really. But for the time being, they remain their simple, happy selves waiting for siblings and cousins.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Just call me Mrs. Griswold

Ellen that is. And for that matter, you can now refer to my darling husband as Clark for we are the Griswolds reincarnated.

I've often thought it. I've suspected it on a number of occasions. But last weekend's outing has solidified my fear that we are, in fact, the real-life version of the National Lampoon's Griswold family. Not exactly the roll models I had aspired to in my youth, needless to say. Much, much less graceful.

It began before we even got married. I should have heeded the warning signs. But I didn't. Since then, the Griswold-ness has shown itself on numerous occasions as we blunder through one event after another. And last weekend was no exception.

It started out as a relaxing Sunday afternoon walk in the park after a lovely roast lunch. Our oldest had her bike, our second had her scooter and the baby of the family would be in his all-terrain buggy. Except hubby took the wrong pump to inflate the deflated tire. So our 13 month old ended up in a kangaroo carrier meant for babies and that resembles all too much something one might find in an S&M catalogue with all its ties and buckles hanging about.

A big sigh and off we went...

Up the path, the happy family. And then Clark suggested we take a right because that's where, he was certain, we would find mushrooms (despite the then lack of rain). Our oldest charged ahead on her bike followed closely behind by her scootering sister. We followed up the rear as our toddler struggled to climb up papa's back, most likely to escape the humiliation of being seen in such a reputation-destroying contraption at such a young age.

On we walked. Through the forest, down a hill, around a bend.... And then we were confronted by a massive hill, especially in the eyes of a 7 year old with her bicycle and a short-legged 5 year old with a scooter. When looking back at these events, I often wonder what exactly I was thinking and why I don't speak up when I should, but as in the past, I again chose not to say anything. Instead I put on my best happy face and encouraged the girls to do their best to climb that hill. I ended up pushing the bike to the top. Clark trudged behind, dragging the scooter. Baby was still on daddy's back and was still attempting an escape. The girls plodded on.

The top of the hill was the breaking point and I finally questioned our destination, only to find out that Clark's internal navigation system was as broken as ever and we had been headed in the opposite direction for the past 15 minutes. But lest I fret, he had a solution and it was, according to him, simple: we had to go off-road.

Again, I need to stop and question these things, but I suppose I still have faith despite it all.

And so we went cross-country. 3 kids, 1 bicycle, 1 scooter. Lots of trees, roots, rocks, leaves, mud. Too much whining, whinging, "Mummy I'm tired", and "Are you sure we're going in the right direction, daddy?"

We did finally emerge from the thick of the woods, much to our surprise as well as that of the other families out on their Sunday stroll. But we didn't look like those families, the ones who stayed on the trails and remained all cleanly attired and civilized. We were aware of our mud-covered shoes and slightly disheveled coiffures laden with bits of pine needles and branches as we slunk off to find our car.

It wasn't exactly the Sunday stroll that you read about it books. Just in blogs.

Wonder what we have planned for this weekend.

Tagged - Oh Dear

Well, I've now been tagged twice. Of course, being me, I have no idea what this means so I've had to go hunting on others' blogs to figure out just what this all means and whether or not I should be happy about the whole thing.

As it turns out, being tagged means I have to choose 6 or 7 (depending on who has tagged me) random facts about myself. Share them with the entire world apparently, though I sincerely doubt the entire world is subscribed to my blog. But maybe.....

So here goes. 6 (or 7) random facts about me

1) My driver's license claims I am 5ft3 although I am only 5ft2. I had high hopes at 16 years old of growing at least another inch.

2) I constantly move my feet when lying down. I can't help it. I don't even realize I do it. But I do.

3) I speak to myself in various languages, but fortunately none of which is made up!

4) I was asked to leave an outdoor piano bar when I was 10 for playing Scott Joplin's The Entertainer on the piano. The customers boo'd the staff who asked me to leave, but I was mortified anyway.

5) The song I most can't resist dancing to is Waterloo.

6) Mums who think that good parenting means following the rules 100% bother me. I try to avoid them.

7) I teaching myself to speak Dutch. Just because.

And now I guess I get to tag 6 more people.... please excuse me for this and feel free to ignore me!


Saturday, September 22, 2007

ChichiBoulie's First Collage

Here it is. My first attempt. Not 100% sure it's the final result I've visualised in my mind and there are a few mistakes I won't mention. For a first try, I'm pretty happy with the result, but I have more things planned.
Printed bits of my watercolours are then hand-finished before being pasted to a decorative paper and watercolour paper backing.
I think it would work well in either a child's room or adult area....a first for me!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Shake Rattle & (Loo) Roll

It doesn't seem that long ago that my now 1 year old was enthralled by simple things like his fingers, a speck of dust in the sun's rays, or even a baby rattle. Back then, it seemed, we were off to a good start. All babies delight in the discovery of their fingers after all. And what baby doesn't love a good shake of the rattle?

The good old days. They are gone. For now my darling son has moved on to grander horizons, no longer satisfied with these simple things that life has to offer. Even the brightly coloured, battery operated train that we bought him is no longer proving interesting enough. He's had to seek more intriguing entertainment elsewhere. And elsewhere (much to my dismay) happens to be the bathroom.

Yes, this entry is dedicated to my 1 year old's obsession with all things toilet related. I'm not sure if it's because he's a boy and as such naturally attracted to dirt or all things dirty (or potentially so). My daughters certainly were never more than passingly interested in the loo. But but my son? Well, he is obsessed.

He senses when the opportunity arises and is not one to pass it up. It's an innate ability to know when the bathroom door is even slightly ajar, thus allowing him access to the forbidden territory, sneaking in when no one is watching.

But we know. Oh yes, we know when he's been there. The signs are too clear to go unnoticed. Some are blatant such as miles of loo roll piled on the bathroom floor, sometimes torn to bits in fits of glee, other times dragged throughout the house in a trail leading back to the scene of the crime, most likely pasted to the perpetrator's foot or sticky hand while making a hasty retreat. Other are less obvious. Signs like the bits of rubbish found behind the sink, bits that have been removed from the bathroom bin for closer inspection and determination of their potential, then carelessly discarded once they have been found to be no more interesting than a speck of dust or baby rattle.

The worst though.... the worst this fearless intruder has offered up to us is the dreaded Toilet Cornucopia. What ,you ask, is a Toilet Cornucopia? Simply put, it is toilet filled to the brim with whatever isn't nailed down and is able to be lifted by a slightly undersized 1 year old. Yes, he has found a way to satisfy his curiosity and zest for throwing and splashing with a highly amusing game of throw everything into the toilet. Nothing is sacred to this young hooligan as I have fished out items ranging from deodorant to loo roll to magazines to brushes. Once, in a very bold yet brash act, even his dummy (pacifier to you Americans) went in, only to be found later by my 7 year old, only a little too late....

It has thus become part of my daily ritual to make runs around the house, checking that the bathroom doors are firmly closed. I tug firmly at each door and am satisfied only when I hear that confirming click that tells me all is safe and no little fingers will be able to pry it open.

Yet all the while, I know it's a futile effort. I sense it. Those tiny ears listening, seeking out any weakness when maybe the click wasn't strong enough and perhaps an opportunity still exists to sneak in. He lurks. Waiting. Planning the next bathroom attack...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Can snails reproduce in the vacuum cleaner?

I've heard people discuss the merits (or lack thereof) of vacuuming up spiders. Does it get rid of them or rather allow them to reproduce in your vacuum bag only to further colonize your house? I have heard arguments from both sides and still remain undecided on the true answer. I, for one, do hoover them up (animal rights activists my apologies). And then I try to run my vacuum long enough after the deed. My theory is that by running the vacuum for a certain amount of time once the spiders are in the bag, I can suffocate them with the dust. Sounds dastardly and somehow I'm sure I shouldn't even be admitting this. But there it is. I hoover spiders.

But what about snails? If you hoover up a snail, can it go on living in the dust bag and escape during the night or does it die?

I ask only because I did recently hoover up a snail. I honestly didn't mean to do it. Given my above admission regarding spiders, I'm sure there are a few of you with your doubts. But I assure you, it was an accident. I was trying to avoid it while cleaning a very tricky area in the conservatory, but one fateful flick of the wrist and it was gone. I felt a shiver up my spine at the thought of it living in my dust bag. But what I found even more disturbing was the thought that perhaps it wasn't in the dust bag. Perhaps it was stuck somewhere between it's out-of-vacuum hiding place and the dust bag, a sort of snail purgatory if you will. What if it were stuck somewhere in the hose, desperately clinging on with the hope of future escape? During the night. When we're all asleep.

I did finally manage to put the snail incident out of my head. Until today. Today I hoovered up a piece of beading around the floorboards that we haven't nailed in yet. I knew right away that I was going to have to go after it. I couldn't let that carefully cut out tiny piece of molding be whisked away by the vacuum. It had to be saved. And then the second thought flashed in my head. The snail. What if the snail were still alive. Still slimy and wet and waiting for my hand in the dust bag. What if I reached in and...gasp...touched the snail. Shivers.

I finally decided the only way to solve my problem was to carefully dissect the dust bag over the bin bag, picking through the dust ever so carefully so as not to miss the piece of molding but still avoid the potential snail. I did eventually find the molding.

I never did see the snail...

Are all French people lefties?

I love having a 5 year old around. I loved having a 4 year old as well and was very sad to see 4 go. But 5 is good too. 5 year olds can do things like put their blankie on the floor, lay their heads on top of it and turn around in circles. Then they can let out big sighs of satisfaction. 5 year olds can have a blankie. And they can take long, satisfying sniffs of it when they want to without having to explain themselves to anyone. Although sometimes they do anyway. I like it when they do.

5 year olds are very proud of their accomplishments and they aren't shy about telling you so. My 5 year old has had a particularly achievement-ridden summer and is feeling very satisfied with herself. She is proud that she has learned to swim by herself. She is overjoyed by the fact that she can now ride her bike without stabilizers - and now wouldn't dream of being seen at the park with them (gasp!). She is quite impressed with herself since she learned how to play Dominoes. Dominoes are important to 5 year olds.

But most of all, 5 year olds say really, really great things. Point in case, when my father asked my 5 year old what hand she writes with she correctly answered "my right hand", but when it was pointed out that her father writes with his left hand, she quickly responded with "he's French you know." This is a perfectly respectable and logical answer in a 5 year old world where apparently all French people are left-handed. She also lightly giggles when she tells her teacher that her daddy "doesn't speak very good English", but gets away with telling people to do things "in a jippy" and is allowed to comment on her sister's "junkbeds" without anyone taking offense.

I love having a 5 year old around. It puts life into perspective and makes me smile. I hope 6 will be just as good.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Getting ready for the holidays....Swedish style

In view of the upcoming holidays, I have finally decided to do something somewhat festive. Whenever the holiday season rolls around I revert into Swedish mode. I'm not sure if it's a genetic trait that all Swedes share regardless of their degree of Swedish-ness (in my case, my grandfather was Swedish), but I want to have everything red and white and woody at that time of year.

In celebration of that, I have created 3 adorable little paintings of Swedish inspiration. Santa Lucia is my favourite as I've always found images of her so sweet and peaceful. I love to picture my girls dressed up as Santa Lucia and tiptoe-ing around in their nightgowns.

Of course, with my daughters, giving them lit candles to wear on their heads isn't the best idea and tiptoe isn't actually in their vocabulary. I'll stick to watercolours instead.

Help! Everyone else seems to be able to Blog but me....

This is my first attempt at a blog. It seems like it should be so simple. So many other people have them. 5 year old children have them. And yet I'm lost. I'm a bit ashamed to admit, but I've been working on this masterpiece before you for 3 days. 3 whole days have been spent trying to figure out how to put photos on my blog without having them be distorted (as you can see, I haven't yet succeeded in that journey). 3 days hoping to be able to layout this blog just as I want it. 3 days for the realization to dawn on me that it just wasn't going to happen.

Finally, I've decided to give up and just go with it. Test the waters and see what happens.

Here goes. I'm going to press publish.....