Home of The Small Art Company and a bit of British all sorts about my family, kids, home, art, mixed media, craft, photography, illustration, travel, cooking, organisation, teaching... Good to see you:)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Family Line-Up!

Do you know what I would love to be able to do? Line up all my ancestors, starting with my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and go all the way back to the very beginning. Wouldn't it be amazing to see exactly where you've come from?

These are my paternal great-grandparents:

I love this photo. It's so British and 'of the era'! Sitting on the beach fully clothed!

I've always had a fascination with genealogy. My dad and I and one of my brothers have spent a lot of time researching our family history. We've got back to the 1700s, which isn't all that far. It's so frustrating when you just can't get any further.

And these are my maternal great-grandparents on their allotment:

Sadly, this desire to line up my ancestors is rather unlikely to ever happen!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Driverless Cars

Is anyone else excited about the driverless cars that have been in the news over the past few weeks? As a non-driver, I am so excited about them!

Think of all the things you could do instead of driving. You could have an extra hour's sleep on your way to work, surf the web, eat lunch, kids could take themselves to school...

I think a lot of people will hate not being in control, which is understandable, but for many, it will be a lifeline to independence. Blind people, children, anyone who can't drive for whatever reason, will benefit.

They say that cars will be able to drive at high speed almost bumper to bumper. The cars have already been tested in the States and Spain without problem. I guess the one issue would be whether the cars' computers could be hacked. A pretty big problem of course, but one I hope can be avoided.

Here's me at Legoland in Denmark back in the '80s!

That's about as far as my driving experience goes. I've always wished that I wanted to drive, but I just don't. I'm not sure if it's because I lost a lifelong friend in an accident (she was crossing the road, the driver thought it was OK to carry on through a red light) when we were 17, or maybe I'd have always been terrified at the thought of it. Or maybe growing up where I did, a car wasn't really necessary. Not driving though has stopped me from applying for certain jobs and prevented me from seeing friends, especially since I moved out of London. So you see, I've always dreamt of these sorts of cars, although my vision was more of little bubble cars on monorails!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Kids' Craft Organisation

So... I haven't blogged about my organisation in a while. I thought I'd show you how I keep my kids' craft area organised.

They've had this wooden table for ages. I covered it in sticky backed plastic so it's really easy to wipe clean. I love looking at all the paint stains and bits of Playdoh stuck on it though! Makes me smile to think of the mess they've got in.

Above the table you can see some boxes on the windowsill. The clear plastic one on the far left has colouring books and an old Argos catalogue for them to cut up, plus stencils, stamps and other bits and pieces. Next to that is this red box:

In here, there are various pots and containers. There's a tin of chunky crayons, a box of smaller crayons, a pen pot that Little W made, with felt tips, an old beaker with pencils and a box with smaller pens and pencils. Oh and an old Playdoh pot with rubbers, sharpeners, scissors. There should be a ruler and glue stick in there somewhere too.

The next box is a Weetabix box (I should really cover them and make them pretty!) cut to make a holder for letter and number work. There's lots of wipe-clean books where they can trace over the words (pen also in the box), some worksheets and other work books. Then the last box (Shredded Wheat I think!) has plain, scrap paper, scrapbooks and Toddler W's colouring books, so she can reach them easily.

To the left of the table is their painting easel. They've got tubs of chalk for the other side and all their painting stuff is in a big plastic box underneath.  There's yet another big plastic box under the table with all their Playdoh and plasticine as well. I love plastic boxes!

Generally, the area works well, as long as everything's put back in its place each day. The kids can sit down and help themselves to whatever they need.

How do you organise your kids' craft stuff? Have I missed anything??

Friday, May 25, 2012

Metric or Imperial?

I was recently watching something about whether Britain should go totally metric for the Olympics. Noooo I thought! The argument was that using both metric and imperial measurements will confuse visitors. Well, fair enough, I guess it is a little odd if you're not used to it, but I love the fact that we use both!

Here's my lovely Kirstie Allsopp tape measure in metric....

It made me wonder what other people think of using both? I grew up learning metric and imperial, although I now have to teach in metric.

I find it really useful to understand both systems. Depending on what I'm talking about, I'll happily use either. For long distances, it's miles, short distances can be either feet or metres! Temperature is celsius, a haircut is inches (although I do think I should have perhaps talked in cm to the young girl who last cut my hair!), measuring paper, or something of similar size, it's either inches or cm. This one's interesting as it depends on what gives me the closest whole number. Photos are always imperial though.

And Kirstie's tape measure in imperial...

Mr W confuses me sometimes though. He does lots of DIY and always talks to me in millimetres. Millimetres are only for very short measurements as far as I'm concerned, not long pieces of wood or whatever!

Anyone else use both systems??

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Far less stressed now!

I was doing so well... and now 2 months since I last blogged. I guess I kind of made a conscious decision to cut back on the online stuff. It was getting so stressful, trying to promote my little business and spend time with Little W and Toddler W, as well as working in my other jobs! I don't want to look back in 10, 20 years and wish I'd spent more time with my kids. I didn't even do that much online really, maybe half an hour a day, but it felt like a lot longer due to contstant interruptions!

I think it was more the stress of listing items, adding them to CraftJuice, Flickr, Facebook etc. and then all the different Folksy and Etsy forum threads. Anyway, I've been a lot happier since I stopped the promotion and have actually had 3 sales this week. I think I should continue the no promotion strategy:)

Then there was me being a Jack of all trades when I wanted to be a master of one. Regular readers will know I'm forever saying I'm going to be doing such and such from now on, then I'll try it for a bit and want to try something else! I've realised that that's me though. I've always liked variety in life, be it in work, travel, cooking... everything really! So when it comes to craft, I'm not going to restrict myself anymore. It may not be the best business move, but it's what I like to do.

I've also been concentrating more on my writing and illustrating. I would really like to make this a new career, something that pays me proper money (not that I'm expecting a fortune at all!). I am of course, extremely grateful to every single one of my customers! But crafting doesn't pay the bills unfortunately. 

I'm going to start posting my journey through illustration, from initial concept to maybe, just maybe, a published book. If it never happens, well, at least I'm having fun trying!

These pics are a bit random, but thought you might like to see some of my abstract work. Remember coconut mushrooms from Woolies' Pick 'n Mix??