Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Microraptors and other stuff

We're a dino house, at the moment.  Have been for some time now.  When Niamh gets "into" something, she really gets into it.

First, there was the balloon phase, in which our entire house was covered in balloons for much of the time.

Next came the ball phase.  Ditto, with some balloons thrown in for good measure.

Then ducks.  (This photo was of her standing with her "goose" stick.  Which we had to leave in NSW.  Causing much angst.)

Then penguins.
And now, of course, dinosaurs.  (Or as they are sometimes known here, "bloody dinosaurs."  Especially when stepped on in the dark.  Not that I don't fully support her expensive, loud and at times incredibly painful and annoying obsession...)

Masses of plastic dinosaur figurines are one thing.  But today, we decided to make one of Niamh's favourite dinosaurs, the microraptor.  This spiffy little dinosaur was a bit of an evolutionary experiment - a four-winged, feathered dinosaur who could glide from tree to tree.  It was a bit of an on-the-hop activity, hence the questionable quality of the final result.  Materials to hand consisted of 3 toilet rolls, some aluminium foil, some feathers and some popsicle sticks.  So - not much.  Not enough, in hindsight.  But we did have fun anyway.  Mine looked a bit like a robot and a chicken had somehow managed to produce a robot rainbow chicken child with locked-in syndrome...but that's a whole other story.

Colouring in the body with permanent markers (toilet roll wrapped in aluminium foil)

Final product (feathers on popsicle sticks for the wings and legs).  This one was Niamh's.

And mine.  Go on.  Laugh.  I dare you.  I choked half to death on feathers to make this thing.  I suffered.

Mama, make me an incisivosaurus.

Yeah, sorry, Niamh.  Mama just isn't very good at making dinosaurs.  But I can make you into a princess:

Well.  Almost.

Oh, and in case you're wondering if we sit around all day, making crafty things and drilling ourselves on dinosaur facts, I must ruin the illusion.  I spent at least twenty minutes today throwing cusions at Niamh's butt, which was pointed in my direction, trying to make one stick on top.  Okay, so apparently she was a Bruhathkayosaurus and I was supposed to be a Gorgosaurus, but aside from the semantics, it was basically a mother pegging cushions at a child for 20 minutes.  Yep.  That's just how classy we are.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Shocking, I Know...

Here I am, blogging for the second day in a row like some sort of blogging superwoman...  Sadly, I think this might actually be a record for me.  Which tells you a lot about the sort of things I usually get up to in life.  Living life on the razor's daring edge - that's me.

Anyway, since once again I have nothing meaningful to say, I will bombard you with pictures.

Firstly, today's activity.  Window stars...or rather, window star, because today's activity didn't actually take place until around 4pm, after the 3 hours spent earlier in the day at an indoor play centre...oh, and then there was that batch of blue play dough I made, which probably counts as an activity in that it required stirring and swearing.

But I digress.  The window star (singular)

Did Niamh have a hand in its creation, you ask?  No.  She did not.  Apparently, the 10 billionth re-run of an episode of Hana's Helpline that we have recorded was far more important.  Actually, this gave me time to figure out how to make the bloody thing, because paper-folding and me have one of those kind of hate-scrunch-swear-obliterate type relationships, so now I can help her make her own one tomorrow.  If the tv isn't more important...  Anyway, if you'd like to make one (or an entire universe) of these lovely little hangings, the tutorial can be found HERE.

Sadly, my solitary star pales in lame comparison to THIS incredible creation, which is on the cards for the Tassie house as soon as we move in.  But given the "house on the market" status of our current house, I thought it better not to get too over-excited in the sticking-paper-onto-the-window department just yet.  Though I am excited.  And I do have glue and tissue paper.  Just sayin...

Anyway, while rifling through all the dino island photos I snapped yesterday, I couldn't help but notice a few funny pics (well, I found them funny.  But then my sense of humour is both warped and easily entertained).

Firstly, this caught my eye.

I call it "Pteranodon's Bad Day," because, well, he's flying through lava.  He looks fairly surprised about it, too.  But not nearly as surprised as Deinonychus (orange guy, shocked expression) in the background.  I swear he's saying, "Whoa!"  Or maybe, "Holy crap!  That guy's flying through lava, man!  Check it!"  While in the foreground, we have Ceratosaurus, who has managed to pull off a simultaneous impression of Godzilla while also looking like he is on the receiving end of a sucker punch from the volcano.  Nice work, Cerato!

And just to prove how hot it was, flying through the volcano, I knocked up this little heat-map:

 Deinonychus still looks pretty surprised.

I call this one, "Hi Mum!"  Deinonychus, once again, in the background.  I think he's the kind of dino who would be in the background of those live news stories, giving the camera the dino peace sign...(easy for T-Rex, because he only has 2 fingers on each hand)

And as if to prove his status as serial photo gate-crasher, he's bloody done it again...

And one more from today...check it out...volcano, dead centre, doing a fabbo Joan of Arc impersonation.  Serves him bloody right, too.

You know, I think there's the potential for a "where's Deino" type game in all this.  Kind of like Murphy, the rubber chicken, who travelled around Scotland with me (don't ask), and who sneakily managed to appear in many a happy snap.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Play Dough

I love play dough.  Niamh - poor, neglected waif that she is, has been begging me to make her some for over a week now.  However, play dough + mess + house on the market = point where mama puts her foot down and acts like some sort of tyrannical nay-saying overlord of fun killing oppression.  (Have you ever tried to dig play dough out of floorboards?  It's crap.  That's all I'm saying.)

After a busy weekend of open house, however, today I decided to lift the ban.  Partly, because I was also bored from the distinct lack of fun around here, and partly because well, what the hell.  But mostly because I was wracked by mummy guilt every time my foot-dragging, down-trodden oppressario scuffed her way past me, flashing me looks to see what effect her obvious and abject misery were having on my heartlessness.  (None.  Cough.)  Also, well, I was inspired.  I have discovered Filth Wizardry.

Whoa.  Talk about uber-mum!  It's the kind of blog you read and then instantly wish you were a child in that house.  Or a mum with that kind of awesomeness.  In fact, I heartily recommend you stop reading my pointless blog immediately and link over there at once.  I am not worthy.

Anyway, (why are you still here?!) while perusing page after page of awesomeness on the weekend (hours spent sans offspring and dogs left me with WAY too much time on my hands), THIS particular post caught my attention.  Dinosaurs?  Play dough?  That sounds like something a certain dinosaur-obsessed child I know could enjoy!

Here is our effort, in photos.

The underlying structure (made from two boxes, some balled up paper and aluminium foil).

Layering on the play dough

Cellophane for erupting volcano, lake and waterfall (Niamh's stingy mother drew the line at adding a real water dough ingredients were in too short supply to risk ruining a batch with a real water feature!)

Adding a few pipecleaner trees and some dinosaurs (it was around this point that I was regretting my decision to put ALL my craft supplies in storage until we move...)

Life on dino island is a little crowded.  Like Ibiza in summer.  But with an erupting volcano and neighbours who eat each other.

Final version, Mark I, with rosemary and mint trees.  Oh, and some of the dinosaurs are wearing "coats" which is apparently why they have pipecleaners balanced on them.  (Think I might need to work on offspring's application of effort, though obviously not her imagination, cos really...coats??)  And don't even mention poor Pteranodon, who frankly is having a really bad day after flying slightly too low to check out the volcano just prior to its Vesuvius impersonation...  Don't feel too bad for him, though.  He had a swim in the water, which apparently washed the lava right off him...  Some of the other dinosaurs weren't so lucky, and got "dissolved" by the lava.  (Once again, Ibiza springs to mind, only it's a different kind of fire-water that does the dissolving there...)

The brilliant thing about layering the play dough over the top of an underlying structure is that when you're done playing, you can just peel it all off and put it in ziplock bags to build all over again next time (which we've done, twice).  And then you can wrap yourself in cellophane and dance like the sun:

This performance inspired the creation of a sun mask, which is still a work in progress since we ran out of sticky tape halfway through.  And also I just realised that my elastic, which would have affixed said mask to sun child's head, is now packed.  In storage.  Dagnabbit.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Black and White

Playing around with my camera lately.  Some black and white shots today.

Play time at the park.

Oh, okay.  A few with colour.  Just a bit of colour.

First pic again.  This time with saturated colour.

 (Please note:  No image from this blog may be copied or reproduced without my express written permission.)

Saturday, 15 September 2012

What We've Been Up To

Lots to say, but no time to say it.  So I'll just upload some pics of what we've been up to.

Making her own dinosaur book

Typing on the computer using Word (bit hard to see, but she has copied the word "Compsognathus" - a type of dinosaur).  This was all her own idea.

Making dinosaur scenes out of construction paper and dinosaur foam stickers (great activity thought up on the fly by mother desperately trying to get dinner ready for hungry child!)

Part of birthday haul (yes - now we are three!)

Sleeping (rare, so photographic evidence was required)

Doing some experiments with motors and colours (parts came from a kit we bought at Scitech, which will be explored in more detail once we have moved)

Playing at the park

Writing our first word (oviraptor - a type of dinosaur.  Surprise, surprise!)

Helping Daddy wash the deck and patio

It's so much fun being 3!