Friday, November 1, 2013

All in a Hallowe'en Afternoon

The Bean was the topic of some mild twitter hoopla yesterday. You see, this year her hallowe'en costume was based on the adorable super sneezing panda Chu from Neil Gaiman's and Adam Rex's picture book for preschoolers Chu's Day. It's a big favourite in our house, as is Fortunately the Milk and all other Gaiman books and Adam Rex illustrated books.

As I have posted before, I like to make the Peanut and Bean's costumes. The more every day use items I can find to concoct their hallowe'en costumes the better. This year I hit the jackpot at Old Navy in the toddler boys section with a super green stripped shirt and again at the Canadian Superstore with a Joe Fresh aviator cap (again from the boys section because I'm all non gender specific with the girls) I Added a pair of black leggings, a pair of her sisters clean white underwear over top. Black face paint (with added sparks) on her nose and eyes with a pair of bear ears pinned on to her cap and she was Chu.

After her costume was complete; at around 10am she refused to take any of it off until sometime around 3pm. On top of that she carried her Chu book around the house all morning and pretended to sneeze every few moments with an, "ah ah ah ahhhh no" peppered in every once in a while.

I snapped a picture of her in full Chu gear and tweeted it to Adam Rex and also to Neil Gaiman. I didn't expect anything to come of it, twitter posts are buried almost as fast as they are typed up, and then nothing happened.  Until about two hours later when Mr Rex re tweeted and then oh holy of holies Neil Gaiman re tweeted. Using all caps. And my brain exploded, well not literally but Caps! My Bean all done up as her favourite book character got my favourite author excited enough to tweet in all caps.

To add some extra sweetness to the Gaiman Rex excitement we went to the Peanut's Hallowe'en Assembly and watched the spooky performances, and costume parade, then we went in with the Peanut's class and helped celebrate with the class party. The Peanut dressed as a gorgeous Phoenix. We used an old red tunic of mine with flowing sleeves for wings, I painted her face with flames and topped it off with a hand made fire feather. She looked stunning and her face paint stayed pretty close to unmarred all day and into the night.

We went out trick or treating for an hour and then it headed home amongst the bangs, pops and booms of fireworks. The candy stash is huge and we haven't even dived in just yet, so our sugar hangovers are pretty nonexistent today but I'm sure that will change over the weekend.

Did you buy costumes for your littles or yourself; or were you able to get a costume together from your tickle trunk? I love to hear about costume concoctions.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

I Want Only to Haunt You

And the countdown to Halloween is on and the race to get costumes ready is on as well.

The Peanut had decided at the beginning of the summer that she wanted to be a knight dragon. I spent a number of hours considering how I'd pull that one off. And then this morning she declared her new choice; a Phoenix. The scrambling for that get up is on. At the very least I have a few ideas for this one. Once I've pulled it together I'll try to post it. If it looks a 10th of how I'm picturing it she'll look fabulous.

The Bean declared she would be yellow and then green when I asked her. While I could pull those two choices off with minimal effort I just can't take the easy road so I'm taking advantage of her lack of desire to demand an exact costume and she'll be going as the sneezy panda Chu. I found a hat and shirt to fit the bill and I'm just on the hook for goggles and panda ears to have her done. With the Bean I don't have to worry about getting a great look. Her sparkling eyes, infectious smile and corkscrew curls will make up for any shortcomings I have in getting her costume completed.

This past month has been a whirlwind with me getting started teaching, getting the Peanut settled into school, getting the Bean settled in without her sister around every day and then reworking everything  with the Peanut. Last spring she was accepted into the Challenge Program in her school district; which means that she goes to a special class once a week at a different school.  On top of that we have both girls enrolled in classes in the center I'm teaching at. With all the comings and goings I'm barely able to keep up with the laundry and dishes.

I now have full and near full capacity classes in two of my programs and I have some very talented and engaged students. I'm learning what types of lessons work best, how to deal with different personalities and challenges and on top of it I'm trying to do a dry run of each class each week so that I can make any changes to fit within the time I've got for each class. My weeks are flying by.

With all of that I found this lovely sound today and thought it would be a nice soundtrack to get into the Halloween spirit. Are you getting costumes ready?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

And Just Like That; It's Over.

What a loaded title,right?

Of course I could have been talking about how fast Summer seemed to fly by which it did:

We went camping, swimming, and to the park among other things. Most everything on our bucket list was crossed off and a few things were added in that were completely awesome; me being offered a job for instance. 

What's that you say? Yes I was offered a job at the beginning of the summer break right after the Peanut's birthday party. I am currently part of the teaching faculty at Burnaby's Artspace for Children. I teach toddlers and their parents, Preschoolers and school aged children art on Saturday mornings. It is so much fun and so nerve wracking too. Fortunately I have two tester kids to practice my classes on and tweak them accordingly. So far we've painted circles and op-art, drawn a still life and made an autumn leaf collage. You can see some pictures of me in action;  and some of the other amazing classes available at Artspace if you click on this link here

Also added in was a great night out for me and a friend where I got to go and hear one of my favourite authors read. While I would have liked to get a personalized autograph on my book I made due with a pre-signed copy I might have been waiting until 1AM had we stuck around. And then we were off on our camping trip and then back in time to scramble for the beginning of school. Which leads me to September. September just flew by.

It could have been that the first week is full of the unknown, new teacher, new class and nothing is settled until the second week. It could have been that I began teaching the second weekend and getting each lesson planned and organized takes up a lot of time. It could be that juggling our schedules has just swallowed up a lot of time and it could be that each week something new has started or finished or popped up and when that happens time seems to fly. In any case September is nearly over and I feel like I have whiplash.

How was your summer? What did you do? It's been so long, let's catch up.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Time Sure Flies

Looking over the posts from the last year I notice that I've been posting more and more on regular family things and not on being creative. This last year has been a challenge that way.

Most of our focus has been on the husband's pedal building, music playing and getting into school. Then there were bucket of other family matters. The last time I had a spurt of creativity was around the winter holidays. Until now that is. I'm getting myself busy getting ready for the holiday selling and craft show season. I have felt ready for sewing, birds sculpted and right now, between typing paragraphs (you know, to let the tips if my fingers recover in between) I'm working with wire to make bird feet to go in the sculpted birds.

There are a few things that I've been doing to stay creative this year. One is a daily photograph on Instagram (my instagram name is PeanutButterPie if you're interested in following my stream). I've been trying to incorporate a smallish diary type entry with each photograph and that is getting me to think labels and hashtags too. What I'd like, is to look at these together and see what patterns arise; what images really get me excited and happy and perhaps use them as a spring board for art projects or just to get my brain working.

I've also started to draw and paint again as you can see in the image below, there are a few of my quick watercolour sketches included on my instagram feed. And I'm gearing up for the Peanut's birthday party but this year it will be much more about baking than crafting as she's having a drama party at the ArtSpace for Children instead of a back yard party.

On top of that I've been working on a separate project that I have kept away from here. It's a guerrilla art project that you can read about on the blog; The Paper Heart Project which I've created just for it.

So I may not have been blogging here lately but I've been doing stuff. What have you been up to? anything you're doing that you are excited about? Share in the comments.

Friday, March 8, 2013

this and that again again again

We've been doing laundry dryer free since before December of last year. It sounds like such a long time ago when I put it like that and then I think about it and it is a long time. On sunny days like today it's actually kind of nice, sheets and towels outside on the line is a nice image, even every one's clothes on the line outside is nice. The rest of the time we've been using the multi-tiered drying rack that we got from IKEA but it's slow going. Toss in a few days where the family has been sick and then it feels like we have laundry piles from a year's worth of living.

The Husband is in school now and re-shifting his priorities as he figures out what it is he wants to do.

I'm in the midst of a project that is taking me outside of my comfort zone and also hopefully bringing a happy moment to strangers in my city. On top of that I've challenged myself to submit a piece of art to an art magazine which is giving me something to mull over while I'm playing with the Bean or picking up the Peanut from school.

Add to that trying to get organized for my niece's wedding in less than a month and it's busy around here.

What have you been up to?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Book Review: Chu's Day

When Chu Sneezes bad things happen. How bad? So bad that his parents always ask Chu with great concern if he is going to sneeze.

We got the Bean the latest of the great Neil Gaiman's books, which was illustrated by one of our favourite artists Adam Rex; Chu's Day for her Birthday gift. She thinks making pretend sneezes are the ultimate in comedy.

The book was a smashing (or should I say nose tingling success at the first ahh ahhh ahhhh... and since then we have read it to her multiple times a day. Until today; when the reading wasn't at nap time or snuggle time but when the Bean pushed herself between me and the kitchen counter where I was doing kitchen things and demanded Chu Day Chu Day! and like all Moms of a just starting to speak child I looked at her in bafflement and said "what is that you want today?" and she replied with "Chu Day!" and I said "yes it is Today" and she looked at me with infinite patience (which in a two year old is a miracle in and of itself) and said again "Chu Day" and then the light bulb of comprehension kicked in.

The Bean was demanding that I stop and read her a book. A specific book, the book we got her for her birthday and the book that in the deepest part of my heart I had hoped she would adore so much that I would be reading it over and over and over. Wish granted.

In case I've not been clear We love this book. It's short and sweet and so lushly illustrated that we can look into the art and tell more stories to each other based on the characters in the pictures. The tale of the snail for example. So I read it to her and then I read it again and I recorded me reading it to her and though I'm not Mr. Gaiman I think it went well and the bean is watching the video and shouting Achoo achoo so it's a keeper.

If you would like to read Chu's Day to your little one click on the picture above of Chu with his father at the diner and you'll be transported to Harper Collins where you can find your very own copy.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


time flies when both kids are home, the husband is awaiting news of entry into school and the holidays are keeping every one very busy. This holiday season was declared the best one ever by the Peanut and I'm sure the Bean would agree if her vocabulary was up to it.

Since we're now in the second week of January I won't deluge you with holiday news and pictures. Suffice it to say that lots of quality family time was spent, lots of baking, cooking and eating was done and everyone got what they asked for as well as some things they weren't expecting but hit the spot. New Years eve was spent in a quiet fog. A fog rolled in just before midnight and midnight was so quiet and still that I slept through it.

The husband was accepted into the program he's been upgrading for which means that we are moving into a year of changes. I'm looking forward to them and also to the other changes coming down the line. He starts at the end of the month, until then we're getting last minute house organization things taken care of and cramming in as much family time as possible. His courses are intensive and we'll see very little of him for four months.

What new things are going on for you?
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