Tuesday, 29 December 2009

a scottish winter...

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So we've finally moved up to Scotland and are settling in. It's mighty cold up here and gets dark quite early, but hopefully it's the worst of it and it will only get better in time. There's been snow on the ground since before Christmas which makes it feel wintry. I'm setting up my studio and sketching the boys a bit which is nice...

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

avocado smoothies...

So we just got back from our trip to Langkawi and Bali, and it's amazing how it disolves so quickly, how quickly you forget about lying on the beach and wading through the water. At least we have some photos to help us remember. There were many beaches and pools and dinners out. Lots of exotic fruit to try (some very strange smelly ones!) and small and large animals to see: monkeys, iguanas, flying lemurs, geckos, enormous spiders, sharks! The boys had a great time and we relaxed which we needed. Oh, and probably all of these photos are Matteo's....

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

From summer sun to autumn weather

crossing the Channel...

somewhere in Sardegna...

auntie Nicole's

Finally we're back to our normal little lives for a bit. We had quite a long summer vacation in Geneva and Pisa, and Isola della Maddalena in Sardegna. It was all beautiful, with nice family time all around. Now we're back here in Hathersage and we have a month to pack up our little house before moving on... It's amazing how much stuff you accumulate, even in only the short time that we've been here. Autumn is lovely though, it's nice to enjoy a brisk walk and a hot shower and not be drenched in sweat or not be able to turn the oven on because of the heat. Quite different lives we have, here and there...

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

painting paterns

pink on pink, a new title for a show? I'm loving this soft new style... We're off to Geneva soon to play with our cousins, and then down to Italy for some summer sun and Sardinian beaches! Will be back in the fall to pack for our big move... Have a lovely summer all!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Wet Felting

I've been having fun with felt and soapy water during the heat wave here, even though I should be packing! The boys have been making loads of colorful wee willy worms too, and playing with the water...

Thursday, 18 June 2009

More Life Drawing...

I'll be sad to leave my drawing class, it's been great to pick that up again. We went to the Robert Gordon degree show in Aberdeen this weekend and that was inspiring too, who knows what will come in the future...

Tuesday, 16 June 2009


Matteo and I went away this weekend to look around Aberdeen and the area in general. We stopped in St. Andrews to see a friend and then drove around in the city of Aberdeen and down lots of country roads outside...

Thursday, 4 June 2009

ribbon wands & doll houses

We made ribbon wands with the children as a spring craft acitivity. They wave them around outside or wear them as crowns.

I helped make some doll houses for the summer fair, and they're lovely and so simple.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

A cup ah...

Ah, the English and their tea. I've really gotten used to English tea, with milk and sometimes sugar, redbush too, though now I'm sitting down with a lemon, fresh ginger & honey concoction (you can also put in cayanne pepper for an extra kick!)

Saturday, 9 May 2009


a commissioned work which has sadly left my wall....

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Chalk drawings

what a lovely medium, just being allowed to draw on anything is so liberating.

here's Julien's first face, funny little guy...
Damiano's palm tree...

Wooden blocks

I made these last week with a friend of mine, they're just slices of wood, but with a childs' imagination they can become castles, trains, pancakes or whatever else they like. I still need to sand them down so they're softer to play with...

Saturday, 2 May 2009

keeping cats away...

So there's a neighbor who uses orange peels to keep the cats at bay. I thought we'd try it too, as they seem to visit our garden every other day! The kids are quite happy to collect and replace the oranges with new ones, it's become a game. And Matteo loves the fresh orange juice in the morning...

Friday, 17 April 2009

white on white

There's something compelling me to work on these white on white paintings again, which are not quite white on white, but shades closely related. They make you look a little closer at what the painting is depicting, which recently has been patterns, reinterpretions of patterns.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Happy Easter!

Family is here and on it's way, looking forward to a lively Easter full of children, cooking and an easter egg hunt all in our little house and garden!

Happy Easter to all!

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Spring nature table

There was a workshop not so long ago by Ann Druitt who came to Sheffield and talked about early childhood and preparing children for the Easter celebration. She brought a small nature table full of moss, a small tree, pond, rock paths and animals. So I was inpired to try it, we'll see how it progresses...

Monday, 30 March 2009

Cloth Rabbits

We just made lots of these cloth rabbits at our parent and child group this morning. It's a really easy knotted cloth rabbit pattern I found in a craft book. I think I'll put one in my boys and their cousins easter baskets, along with some other crafty/useful things, all to lessen the intake of chocolate on that fated day.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Parent & Child Group Spring Story

I thought this might be useful for some of you on the Steiner Yahoo group. This was the story we had last spring, and I just left in all the details as well, just to let you know what went into the running of it. I was a bit nervous and so was overly prepared, but it went well and was good to have everything written down. Over time I learned the story and songs by heart and then was able to add and change them as the season progressed.

Circle Time

Transition song:
Who will come into my small ring, my small ring, my small ring
Who will come into my small ring, and make it a little bit bigger

Set down a doll and recite verse with gestures:
Down is the Earth
Up is the sky –
Here are my friends
And here am I:
Two eyes to see,
Two ears to hear,
Two feet to walk and run.
Here are my hands-
Give yours to me,
Good afternoon/morning everyone.

Once upon a time there was a little boy named Jonny who was sleeping in his cosy bed one day. He was watching the breeze come in through his window and suddenly he saw a little blue bird fly straight into his room!

Blue bird, blue bird go through my window (x2)
Oh Jonny what a day!
Catch your partner and tap him on the shoulder (x3)
Oh Jonny what a day!

... He got up and washed his face, combed his hair and brushed his teeth...

This is the way we wash our faceWash our face, wash our faceThis is the way we wash our faceAll on a spring day morning
This is the way we comb our hair...
This is the way we brush our teeth/put on our clothes/boots/coats...
... And he went out for a walk to the farm to get some milk for his mother. It was warm outside and there was a little breeze in the air. Flowers were starting to blossom and it was as if everything was saying Spring is Coming, Spring is Here!

Spring is coming (x2)
Birdies build your nest
Weave together straw and feather
Each on doing his best
Spring is coming (x2)
Flowers are coming too
Roses, lilies, daff-a-dillies all are coming through

... He walked up the hill and past the pasture where he saw some sheep in the field.

Ba ba black sheep, have you any wool
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full
One for the master, one for the dame
And one for the little boy who lives down the lane

... John walked on and into a forest thick with trees. Up high on a branch he saw two little birds chirping along together.

Two little dicky birds sitting in a tree
One called Peter and Paul
Fly away Peter, fly away Paul
Come back Peter, come back Paul

... Walking on he came to a wide river with a little boat just his size that he could row across in. So he sat down and began to row.

Row row row your boat, gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream

... He tied the boat to a tree on the shore and ran up the steep hill to the farm. When he got there he went straight into the barn and there in the corner of the large doorway was a beautiful web and an itsy-bitsy spider.

The itsy bitsy spider climbed the water spout
Down came the rain and washed the spider out
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain
And the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again.

... The farmer came and said hello he gave him a bottle of fresh cow’s milk, which was still warm. Jonny said thank you and then good-bye and he was about to go when he heard some strange sounds and went to see the donkey arguing with a little bird, a cuckoo.

The Cuckoo and the Donkey
Were quarrelling one day
As to who could sing the better (x2)
In the lovely month of May (x2)
The cuckoo said now hear me
And so began to call
“But I can sing the better, for I can sing much better”
And the donkey sang he-haw (x2)
They sang so sweet and lovely
It echoed wide and far
They sang so well together (x2)
Cu-ckoo cu-ckoo hee- haw (x2)

... Jonny walked down the hill and back to the boat which he rowed across the river. The cuckoo, who had followed him, flew overhead greeting the spring and saying, “Summer is coming!” to all the animals he past.

Summer is a-coming in, Loudly sing, cuckoo! Groweth seed and bloweth spring the wood anew. Sing, cuckoo!

... He went back through the forest and past the pasture where the sheep were still grazing. He picked some flowers for his mother and gave them to her when he got home, and they sat down for a nice warm lunch of bread rolls, jam and fresh fruit.

The End

Stand for good-bye song:
Children good-bye, children goodbye, we may no longer stay, our work is done today
Children good-bye, children goodbye, now it's time to say goo-bye to everyone, good bye!

Seasonal Steiner Craft Activities

This is a list of craft activities that worked for me in our Parent & Child Group. Most are activities for the parents to undertake while the children play, older children usually are keen to do them as well. Some of the crafts are for young children though. Some of the activities I found in All Year Round, or the Children's Year, and some I've just made up. I hope this is helpful, and let me know if you want to know more about doing a certain craft!

· Small cloth people, wool for head (wool, string, small coloured squares of cloth)
· Butterflies (string, pipe cleaner, coloured tissue paper)
· Drawing (paper, block crayons-usful to always have as an option)
· Dandelions (green & white fleece, string, yellow felt)
· Paper birds (paper, sticks, needle & thread)
· Pinecone birds (pinecones, string, stick, feathers, beezwax for beak)
· Paper boats (crayons, paper)
· Rag doll gnome(fleece, thread, two colours of cloth for body and cap)
· Wool birds on a stick (white & yellow fleece, thread, sticks)
· Small felt gnomes (fleece, thread, felt)
· Hanging pinecone gnomes (pine cones, string, felt, fleece)
· Bouquets of lavender (lavender, ribbon)
· Ribbon ankle bells (wide and thin ribbon, bells)
· Potpourri sashes (cloth, ribbon, spices)
· Felt ball (colours felt, needle/thread, fleece to stuff)
· Leaf drawings on canvas or paper
· Beanbags with ribbons (cloth, needle/thread, beans/rice, ribbons)
· Boot gnomes (clothes pegs, felt, needle/thread, fleece)
· Sewing books
· Pinecone people (glue, cloth scraps, conkers, pinecones)
· Leaf pictures or lanterns(stock paper, tissue paper, leaves, glue)
· Snowflakes (paper, scissors)
· Cleaning wool fleece
· Fleece Sheep (pipe cleaner, brown/white fleece)
· Aprons for the group (tea towel, needle/thread, ribbon)
Possible: (haven't done these yet, but would like to...)
· Cloth and crocheted rope
· Stick spinning
· Felted horse head, older children
· Felted rock
· Felted bracelets
· Bark boats
· Hanging puppets

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Steiner Inspiration

I've been leading a Steiner parent & child group for the past year already. It's been a challenge and a joy. We make bread, have a crafty activity for the parents and older children, sing some songs and eat our warm bread rolls for snack. It warms the heart and I usually walk away tired, but happy that my boys have been able to have this wholesome experience. It takes me back to my childhood and my Waldorf experience of gnomes and faires and make believe play. It also gets me going on lots of crafty projects, making puppets, dolls, wood working, and loads of easy projects with them too, regularly painting with the wet on wet method and drawing with block crayons. It's brought alot back into my life that really helps with parenting, rythm and ritual which is so important at this age and seems to bring everything together and minimize upsets. Just bringing songs into our daily routine does wonders, a candle at mealtimes, some music at bedtime.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

the beach in winter...

I do miss the beach this time of year, we had a great time in California this winter, lots of walks on the beach, sand in our shoes, and hair. I think Italian's have some affinity with beaches, even if it's cold, and Matteo loved beach walks most of all. We went to Miur Woods to see the redwoods too, or 'big big trees' as the boys were saying. Lots of city walks for me though, which was nice for a change. We've gone back to a nice rythm now, lots to do with the boys, but I do enjoy when it's just the three of us making bread or painting. We've been doing alot of gardening recently and they are just so calm out there digging or collecting things.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Sprouting Potatoes

Hopefully spring will be here soon, and we can start getting the garden ready. We're going to start sprouting potatoes today in egg cartons and then we'll plant them after the last frost. Our garden didn't do so well last year, only lettuce, rocket and loads of green tomatoes that never ripened. The boys loved it though, the digging, the weeding, all the worms. Slug hunting in the evening. A friend had a good book on that, 50 ways to kill a slug, but the boys just collected them in buckets and dumped them on the lawn in front of the train station.

Sunday, 22 February 2009



Thursday, 19 February 2009


...the curiosity of children and of baloons, especially the first ones to hold onto or be tied to your wrist. The stillness before it flies away or pops. I remember some lovely baloon books from my childhood, and line books too.

Monday, 16 February 2009

drawing from life...

had an amazing time at a life drawing session yesterday. It's been years since I've drawn the model and I was practicly racing around the room to sketch different angles.

There's also some sort of strange creative energy that happens when thirty people are concentrating so hard on the same thing. i loved it!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

time is slipping by

evening sunlight
Leonardo DaVinci once said that the only time to paint is at dusk and dawn, when the light is at half mast. Everything becomes illuminated and takes on their richest colors.

Monday, 9 February 2009


I guess it's like the calm before the storm. The kids are napping, and I've got some space to think. I need to meditate, I need quiet, I need time in my studio. Once an art teacher told me to just spend time in your studio, and I do feel that that helps, to just be there with those ideas for a while and if nothings coming then something eventually will if you keep at it. It's important to keep doing the things we believe in, or feel passionate about. Painting's something I just can't get away from. Since we moved to England I haven't painted much, my boys have taken up alot more time than before and I've been side tracked with crafty things, but about a month ago I finally created a small studio space and it just feels so good to be in it physically and with my thoughts. I'm not sure where I'm going though, I've been working on a new book project which has been fun, new collage images. And I started a new oil series, white on white. I'll have to write down my musings about white, but that'll be for next time...

Friday, 6 February 2009

Tea for Two

Winter's finally here, snow, and sledding, snowmen and the cold that gets into your socks and up your sleeves. Wet, slushy snow today. But still fun to shovel and throw around. Tea is lovely and warm though! Been painting again, little doodles, small oils, as well as the usual crafty stuff. The boys were so good this morning at May's, making bread and paper mache fruit. Thought it might be interesting to have a blog, such an odd world, but there are such lovely ones out there, and I just wanted to add my two cents. Enjoy!