Sometimes you wonder about nature and nurture, how much your child will take after you and how he/she will develop his/her personality. Noe is really rather different from me. She's extroverted and smiley. And she's quite a girly girl. She likes to carry handbags and walk around with them. I wonder why, I haven't carried a lady's handbag since Nat was borne. And somehow she's afraid of creepy crawlies though I'm not and her brother is not too. I really wonder...
Since I was young, I've been interested in art. I remember sitting at the table, drawing and colouring, copying and creating, for hours and hours. I had many sketch books - big ones, small ones, on-the-go ones. I even took money from my father secretly (i.e. stole) and bought a giant box of oil pastels to add to my collection of colour pencils, water colours, poster paint, magic pens...
But that enthusiasm died when I hit a creative block in my upper primary. In secondary school, the art classes were just mindless drills, countless pages of English and Chinese calligraphy with no teaching about its history and culture. And in my school, if you score well in math and science, you do not go to the art class. I did actually asked the teacher whether I could go to the art class but it was impossible. So I, the obedient student got into a science stream and I didn't even like physics or chemistry nor math.
Many times I did attempt to find out more about going to an arts school after my O levels but that came to nothing. I didn't have money to go to one. I couldn't get a scholarship too since I wasn't from an art class. I completely stopped drawing and painting after secondary school, and I threw away all my sketchbooks.
I asked God what happened to my creativity.
Recently I stumbled into some resentment towards my parents. I thought about how they knew I loved art but didn't send me for any art classes and yet forced me to learn the piano. But my ever-so-wise husband told me that it was not their fault, it was just a lack of awareness of what art is especially in our economic driven country.
After a tiresome period at work, I took a break and I took up the pencil again. That's where I relived the passion. This time I felt liberated because I wasn't creating art as a student or to pursue a career, I was creating art as a child again, for my soul and spirit. That's when I realised that I don't need to do art in terms of art education or go for art classes. Art is just a different form of exercise for the body.
Perhaps that is why I enjoy creating activities for my children, DIY projects and some occasional doodling. They're a form of art too. Art is not just about paintings, "Art can be anything you imagine with your head and make with your hands," as Piglet says. And art can only come out from a place of rest as you pause from the craziness of the world and interact with the materials in your hands, and in itself through the process, produces rest for the soul and spirit.
I hope as you read about all the art I create, be it for myself or for my children, I hope it inspires you to rest and create something, for that joy will be overflowing. All that I share here are very simple to create, they're not for professionals, they're for those who yearn for a break, those who think they never have time to do something they enjoy, those who always have been wanting to try something new but are a little hesitant or those who think they're not good enough to do it.
You can start with something as simple as colouring. I finally got to using my new box watercolour pencils as I coloured the picture below! Just as Winnie the Pooh said, "Because a day filled with art makes me feel so very happy!"
So after sensory bottles, we've sensory boxes. The great thing is that the boxes are stackable. I got this idea from Mess For Less, which showed rather tiny transparent boxes that are quite difficult to find so I just opted for the food microwavable containers. I also didn't hot glue the boxes because I will like to reuse them again next time for other activities. The cons about using a rather big box is that my baby gal started stepping on them once she learned how to stand so now I make sure the boxes are played on her playmat and with supervision.
I used whatever's available in my house, didn't buy anything at all, except for the really budget boxes. The items in each box are: torn paper (look at the happy baby!), pom pom balls, uncooked pasta. She looks at them, shakes them and sometimes as I've mentioned, step on them! And now that she's older, I let her play with the contents inside like getting her transfer them to a bowl or to a basket. Sometimes she just enjoys throwing all the pom pom balls around for crazy brainless fun. The activities are endless! Soon, she will be able colour sort the pom pom balls, do a collage with the torn paper or try to scoop the pasta with a spoon. Actually we've not bought Noe any toys since she was born but she's got a lot of all these interesting DIY ones!
I love wedding preps and I had the honour of making a 'bride-to-be-sash' for a dear friend of mine on her hen's night. I'm not into makeovers or makeup but I like the fun and wacky dress up bit, perhaps influenced by my children. Haha.
I like the whimsical and cheery look to this 'bride-be-sash' from Seeds and Stitches. The materials are simple and easy to get, and felt cloth is very easy to manipulate for the amateur seamstress like me. Those silk sashes will be really difficult to make, perhaps that's why they're so expensive. I printed out the words using the free font Peach Milk, then traced and cut out the alphabets and I stuck them down with glue. The only thing I had difficulty buying was a thick bias, I traveled all over but the thickest ones I could find were still not thick enough so the sash was a little wobbly when I sewed the pieces together.
Look at the bride-to-be, she's having the time of her life! May she have many fun-filled adventures with her husband-to-be! It's going to be a blessed journey for them!
I also made the banner from the same tutorial at Seeds and Stitches for my girl's birthday party, will share about that in the next post!
Today's inspiration comes from a few sources - a family member, a mommy blogger whom I've known recently and a piece of equipment. Today's recipe wasn't an overnight success. It was from countless experimenting, research and luck.
I was first introduced to homemade yoghurt by my sister-in-law, Rach (the family member). The yoghurt she made look so yummy and even looked more yummy when my nephew was eating it. And then she said it was easy peasy to make. Jugging from her post on how to make it, it really seemed easy peasy.
Then I tried doing it twice but failed. Rach and I suspect that the yoghurt culture I bought was too old because I got a discount as it was nearing it's expiry date, or the organic milk I was using was too thin and not suitable for making the yoghurt. And so I gave up after a long while, buying store-bought ones instead. But when Noe came along, buying yoghurt got a little too heavy on the wallet. It's not economical and I also read that the quality of shelved yoghurt is very poor as compared to homemade yoghurt.
Thankfully I chanced upon Ing's blog (the mummy blogger) on this Easiyo Yoghurt Maker. I decided to give yoghurt making another try. I first bought the Easiyo Yoghurt Maker using it's yoghurt powder, and it worked! Yeah! The sachets area quite expensive and since you can only get them from Phoon Huat, the original flavour that I like is always out of stock. So I decided to venture further, I tried making yoghurt with maker using yoghurt culture starters. I think the yoghurt maker helps me regulate the temperature and the yoghurt can form evenly.
And tadah! Success! Woohoo! I do hope Noe come to like yoghurt as much as Nat, she seems to really dislike sour things :P
(Taken from Sustainable Suburbia)
- 1 litre UHT milk
- 1 packet Yoghurt Starter (I used Yogourmet, or just follow the quantity that your yoghurt culture states because they all use 1 litre milk)
- 1/2 cup milk powder (makes thicker yoghurt)
- Pour half of the milk into an Easiyo 1 litre container and add 1/2 cup of milk powder. Put the lid on tightly. Shake until mixed.
- Take about half a cup of the milk and mix it with the yoghurt starter, until they are well blended.
- Add this mix and the rest of the milk to the yoghurt container and shake some more to mix thoroughly.
- Fill the Easiyo with boiling water, up to the top of the red baffle.
- Put the container of milk into the Easiyo and leave for about 10 hours, depending how tangy and how well set you like your yoghurt (the longer you leave it the tangier and better set it gets). Then take it out and put it in the fridge to finish setting, for 6 hours (this will stop the culturing process).
If you can finish 1 litre of yoghurt really fast like in 3 days (that's the lifespan of the healthy probiotics in it), you can just replace the yoghurt with just 2-3 tablespoon of the yoghurt that you previously made. Check out all the different ways of making yoghurt with the Easiyo in the pin. I may try making yoghurt with baby milk powder next time!
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