Tuesday, 29 October 2013

How to Make Pebble Monsters

We're not renowned for our crafting skills at Quirky Kook Towers but in extremis we have been known to do our fair share of slapping on paint and sticking stuff. And a rainy, half term holiday in October is definitely the time to resort to rolling out the messy mat and getting stuck (sometimes literally) in.

pebble monster craft halloween
Mostly because it's Halloween this week (but mainly because our collection of pebbles was becoming mountainous) we've been busy making Pebble Monsters.

Pebble Monsters are, like all my very favourite crafting attempts, very simple and require absolutely no special skills, talent or equipment at all. What you do need are pebbles, obviously, acrylic paints, paintbrushes, PVA glue, a selection of googly eyes and a bottle of wine. 

The bottle of wine is essential

pebble monster craft for halloween First give the pebbles a couple of coats of white acrylic paint to seal the surface, it makes it much easier to apply bright colours later. Then get painting. Build up thin layers of acrylic paint leaving the pebbles to dry between coats.

This is when the bottle of wine comes in extremely useful. Remove the cork, pour a glass and try to drown out the little one's continuously "Are they nearly dry yet?" 

Keep painting layers until a) you're happy with the colour and finish on your pebble and b) Mummy has drunk all the wine.

Apply a thin layer of PVA glue over the surface to seal and add shine. Glue on googly eyes, as many as you see fit and, when dry, paint on a mouth with a thin paintbrush.

And Ta- Dah... Pebble Monsters

pebble monsters halloween craft

*Slips off chair* 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

It's Just A Phase .....

It is a whole ten months until The Tween becomes a Teen but she's already in serious training. Gone is
the little girl who used to babble constantly about her days, ideas, wishes and dreams, and in her place is a glowering individual who treats each, every and any query as an infringement of her basic human rights.

Though I've asked the same question each and every single day since she started in school: "Did you have a good day, honey?" now she merely grunts or, on good days, I get a: "WHY?" 
And a suspicious look.

Not so long ago her favourite colours were purple and pink and her only worry about what she wore was if it was on the right way or not. Now her favourite colour is black and ALL her clothes have to be black too, though she will tolerate the odd skull motif. And, obviously, she wants her bedroom walls painted black. Obviously.

She isn't actually followed around by a storm of rainclouds and the occasional lightning clap, but if she could be, she would. Instead she has resorted to a series of withering, dismissive and hostile looks with which she impales her enemies. Sorry, family.

We, of course, hate her, don't understand her, don't want her to have a life/ fun/ stuff/ hamster/ anything (delete as appropriate). At least she says we do, and don't. And she, of course, hates us, wants another family and is going to run away (well, as soon as she's worked out where to run to).

Do I despair? No, I do not because I've been here before, in stereo, with the TeenTwins and they were, in their individual ways, just as explosive and emotional as The Tween is proving to be. Though TeenTwin2's chosen form of rebellion was developing a passion for Jedward, and that was worrying.

So I miss the little girl that The Tween once was, but I know she's still in there, somewhere. I know that this is a phase, just like all the other phases .. the one where she wouldn't wear knickers, the one where all she would wear were fairy wings, the Thomas the Tank Engine years, the one where she would never eat Macaroni cheese because Daddy called it Worms in Poo Sauce.....though, thinking about it, that's a phase that hasn't passed yet. *Looks pointedly at The Man*

But still this is a phase like all the other phases and it will pass. It looks like anger but it's an assertion, the beginnings of expressing individuality and the first steps towards independence. It's growing and there are pains, and not always for the one growing. All we have to remember to do is to be there to give support if she grows too far, too fast, and not despair. At least not too much.

Oh, and not paint her bedroom walls black. *Tuts at child.*

Saturday, 19 October 2013

A Weekend in Whitby

The Boy's passion for steam engines is only equalled by The Man's. No holiday or day trip away is complete without a steam engine to either ride on, look at or stand on the footplate of. Apparently.....I've stood on far more footplates than I ever imagined (not that I ever did) or intended (I never did) during the past few years, but that's what marriage and motherhood can do to a woman. Nobody warns you about that when you're taking your wedding vows.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

When I Grow Up I Want to be Just Like Daddy ......

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

This is my entry for The Gallery for this week, the theme is One Title: No Words so you haven't seen this, right?
Go check out everyone else's entries over at Sticky Fingers  

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Growing Pains ....

Children change all the time when they're growing. There's, of course, the huge milestones of first tooth, walking, talking and managing the first trip to the supermarket without a tantrum (though I'm still waiting to reach that one myself, never mind the children).

And there's the little changes that occur in the every day that you don't notice in the day to day. Others always do, invariably making the comment: "Oooh, haven't they grown" causing suddenly surprised mothers to look at their children and think: "Bloody hell, when did that happen." And, if you're me, panic a bit that time is slipping by too fast because I can tell you on experience the passage of time between the babe in your arms becoming the Babe slamming the door on the way to the pub is the merest blink of an eye. *Sighs*

But there is one thing that doesn't change apparently and that's a child's complete inability to hide her contempt for posing in front of a camera ... at least not if The Tween is anything to go by.

The Tween, aged six.

The Tween, aged 12.

The Tween definitely suffers from growing pains .... And they're me and my camera. *Hangs head* 

Thursday, 10 October 2013

The School Photo ...

It was School Photo day for The Boy this week.

In the morning I checked his face was washed, his uniform clean and ran a brush through his hair even while suspecting when his turn came to pose his hair would be dishevelled, his face and hands grubby and his uniform mysteriously spattered with unidentifiable stains. I am nothing if not optimistic though.

At hometime the same day he came out of school clutching two proofs and, of course, a price list in his, yes, grubby hands. The photos themselves weren't that bad. I suppose....

.... considering the photographer had taken well over 200 pictures of individual children, family groups as well as all the class photos during the same day. *Rolls eyes*

They're not bad photos but they're just not-that-bad photos, they're simple headshots on a plain, white background. And every child's in the school, taking the usual playground hand around as evidence, were much the same. The price list was, of course, as eye-wateringly expensive as normal and had a full menu of options, selection packs and gift items.

I was perusing the pricelist, boggling at who would pay £102 for a not very stunning shot on a large acrylic canvas, when I wondered why I was thinking of making any kind of order at all. It's not as if I'm short of photographs of The Boy. He's been shot more times than JR and I have hundreds if not thousands of photos of him. Like this one .....

The Boy photobombs his big sister's profile picture for Facebook 

...taken two days before the school photo and SO much more The Boy than the one in uniform smiling politely. Trust me. 

So I'm not, after 13 years of buying all the school photos (even in the year of the Badly Photoshopped School Photo 2011), buying The Boy's school photo for this year. Thank you very much.

I'm not. No. Not me. Definitely not...... 

*Buys them anyway just in case the school think I am an uncaring mother* 
*Sighs at self* 

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

The Gallery ... Through The Eyes of My Phone.

I'm joining in with The Gallery this week and Tara's prompt is Through the Eyes of My Phone...

You can guarantee the moment I threaten to take pictures with a "proper" camera all four offspring do their best Usain Bolt impressions. But aim the phone camera at them and they barely bat an eyelid, just as if a photo taken on a phone is less real than one on taken on a "proper" camera. I don't tell them any different obviously, I just make sure I've got a really good camera on my phone.

And I always, always have my phone with me so it's always at hand to grab the shot that would have got away if I'd had to dig out a "real" camera, which inevitably leads to 20 minutes of someone faffing with their hair before you can even focus.
Me: "No,no, no... Do what you did 20 minutes ago..."
Them: "I don't remember what I did. *pout* Does my hair look alright?"

But one of the very best things about the phone camera (apart from it's ability to capture bees) is those photos that turn up on the camera roll when you least expect it, because it's not a camera, it's a phone and the TeenTwins just can't resist taking a selfie on a phone. *Rolls eyes* They don't even faff with their hair first...

So, obviously, I'm going to share them with the world

The TeenTwins, selfie queens extraordinaire.

This is my entry for this week's The Gallery
Check out everyone else's over on Sticky Fingers

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

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