Polymer beads

Although I haven’t posted in a while, I have been busy with work, home, children, and finding little pockets of time to create.  I have several paintings on the go at the moment and to catch my breath in between, I keep my hands busy by crafting beads.  I have tried my hand at paper beads and had a ball making them, but nothing beats polymer clay for textured beads.

I started a few years ago when I got a whole set of tools, clay and an instruction manual for my birthday.  Since then, I have fallen deeply in love with polymer clay and will play with it every opportunity I get.  Since it’s school holidays round here at the moment, and Littleman is every bit as hooked as I am, we’ve been bead making most afternoons, trying techniques and having a blast.  Here is some of what we made…love the design and love the textures…

Web-blog-beads-blue      Web-blog-close-up-bead      Web-blog-texture-beads

Hop over to my website to see the rest of the batch.         http://fiscorner.com/polymer-beads/

Once polished and varnished, I’ll be making them into earrings and necklaces.

Of broken hearts and acceptance

Few of you around here know that Littleman is dysgraphic.  If truth be told, this is not something I like to talk about.  If you don’t know what the heck dysgraphic means, and please don’t feel alone, I was in your shoes last year, here’s a link for you.

http://www.dyslexiaa2z.com/learning_difficulties/dysgraphia/dysgraphia_checklist.html

Basically, it’s a a problem with fine motor skills that affects writing.  When Littleman writes, he has to concentrate on each and every letter, remember what it is supposed to look like and how it is done.  It is a long, slow and extremely tiring process.  And because so much energy is channeled into writing letters, his spelling is not too good either.  I mean how can you remember if mummy takes one M or 2 when you are trying to remember how the heck an M is done in that lovely cursive writing that is the norm in French primary schools.  And just to make things a little trickier, he also happens to be left-handed…

Since he was diagnosed a year ago, I have been waging a war on dysgraphia.  Littleman has weekly sessions with a graphomotrician to work on his writing, he has regular appointments with an orthoptist to work on eye muscles coordination and now also works with an orthophonist  to fix his spelling.

I hate dysgraphia with a vengeance.  It has made our lives utterly exhausting and complicated.  Homework often feels like making our way through a minefield.  And school for him is the tenth circle of hell.

While Littleman’s writing is showing huge improvement, the battle is far from won and I am forever trying new things to find the fix-all that will boot the dysgraphia out.

Tonight, after a long and painful post-school homework session, I picked up The Dance by Oriah Mountain Dreamer.  As I read the opening poem, a line jumped at me “What if who you essentially are right now is all that you are ever going to be?”  As I was pondering this in relations to my life, my thoughts drifted to Littleman.  And I got ambushed by a tadam moment.

I have been trying so hard to eradicate dysgraphia as you would a flu bug, a virus, a foreign thing because I feel it is ruining his life.  And I have been so wrong.  His dysgraphia is not something alien on the outside, it is a part of who he is.   All this time I thought I was helping him,  when I have actually been sending him the message there is something wrong with a part of him.

The war stops tonight.  I have surrendered all weapons.  The remediation work will go on because the school system here is that unforgiving.  As for me, I am going to let my heart crack open and drop my need to change him through the cracks.  I am going to let my love for my son take me to a place where I can accept him as he is and embrace him whole, dysgraphia and all.  Changes may follow, or they may not. Righ now, my priority is acceptance.  Here is to vulnerability showing me the way.

Being gentle

Although it is now officially autumn, the weather around where I live has trouble catching up.  The mornings are starting to be cool and fresh, with a crispness that warrants a jumper but the afternoons are still stir-crazy hot, with bright blue skies and a beach like feel.  We’ve started to get the odd shower and spell of grey skies but it is still difficult to fathom that next week, we’re moving into October.

With kids being back at school and the weather being what it is, germs and bugs abound.  And two weeks ago, I caught one.  A deceptively simple cold, which has left me knocked for six.

If truth be told, I didn’t exactly stop to nurse my cold.  I ran a 5 k race two days after getting sick.  It was my first race and a couple of friends came down especially to run it with me so I couldn’t really back out of it.  Running is hard work.  Running in beach-hot weather is hard work.  Running with a blocked nose and about 2 hours sleep is harder still.  I made it to the finish line, walking when I couldn’t run anymore, and resuming running when things got better.  Proud of myself…but the cost was high.

I should have rested then but I still turned up for our every-other day run twice, which, added to my run-around schedule of walking to school 4 times a day (6 on a Monday) in between work and remediation sessions for Littleman, basically ran me into the ground.

I forfeited my run on Friday night and when I woke up on Saturday morning, my body let me know that it would appreciate it tremendously if I could just stay put for, let’s say, a day or two.  My monthly meditation workshop took place that very morning and I had so been looking forward to it but my body made it very clear that if I pushed myself and dragged it to the workshop, I would end up paying a much higher price.

So for once, I listened to my body, gave the workshop a miss, snuggled in bed and rested for the rest of the day.  I did sneak in two rounds of washing that needed doing but basically shirted everything else.  Today, I feel a little better but I still feel in need of rest.  Next week is going to be taxing so I’ve decided to be gentle and give my body some more time to recuperate.  I have a couple of chores on my to-do list but other than that, I’m going to park myself on the couch and veg.

I can’t help but wonder why we find it so difficult to listen to our bodies and be gentle with ourselves.  We are willing to push our bodies to their limits in order to keep up and perform what we want them to do but when our bodies need us, we are strangely deaf to their cries.  I firmly believe there is a lesson in everything.  Today, I am learning to be gentle with myself and listen to my body.  It will be a slow process, undoing years of running my body ragged and ignoring its cries.  But it is essential work.  And I am worth it.  Wish me luck!

At the moment

The beginning of the school year had us all whipped and it’s taken about two weeks to get into some sort of schedule.  We are still working out some kinks but things should start to settle down as of next week.

LittleMan is going through a growth spurt, suddenly being all arms and legs, as well as a creativity spurt.

Things like this have been appearing all over the house with ominous signs that spell “Please do not touch”

MaskWEb

Upon enquiry, we got a shrug and this cryptic answer “It’s a monster mask”.  This one is taped on the side of the bookshelf next to the front door.  Hubby and I are wondering if this is some kind of emergency monster grab mask for such occasions as would warrant the use of a monster mask….like before leaving for school.  I may able to tell you more after tomorrow morning….

Since we are on the subject of detecting, our cunning detective skills have finally provided the answer to a question that had us gripped all summer “Why are there holes in our kitchen curtains?”  Fascinating stuff as you can imagine, the kind that keeps you up at night.

The culprit was caught this morning red-handed, or should I say, curtain-wrapped.  Claws are being used in the wrapping process and when trapped, pulled vigorously until something (ie the curtain) gives….Never would have imagined that such a small cat could cause such damage…

Catcurtain

I’ll finish this post on a sneak peak of a painting I did for a very good friend’s birthday.

Detail-humming-bird-2              Detail-humming-bird-3

It was done on a square canvas and I enjoyed every minute of the experience, even though I was very pressed for time.  I have to confess it’s one of my favourites.

I got me some little stencils!

It won’t come as a surprise that I am slightly addicted (read totally obsessed) with stencils. I have in the past been known to make stencils and masks out of paper and cardboard but unfortunately, they are not durable enough to survive me more than a few weeks.

So when I decided that I absolutely needed some gothic stencils, I searched my house low and high for anything that could fit my purpose. And found my happiness with some of TeenMan’s discarded plastic dividers. TeenMan used to draw avidly, particularly when he was supposed to be paying attention to his classes. As a result, the dividers are totally unusable for any other purpose than what I had in mind. A few printed sheets, quite a few hours with an exacto knife and I am now the proud owner of some home-made stencils.

 

stencil2

stencil3

They are a little clumsy and far from perfect but I am looking for something to add texture to my paintings and these are more than adequate for that.

Work in progress

Work in progress by fiscorner
Work in progress, a photo by fiscorner on Flickr.

Last September, I followed an online course which threw me for a loop. While I loved every lesson, I struggled to find a way in which they could blend with what I do. After struggling for a while to complete the four paintings I had started, I left them aside for a while. In March, I chopped them up, hoping for a new perspective. I came back to them every now and then, glued some paper, added this and that but I was still unable to take them in any direction. Finally, yesterday, I added an extra layer with stencils, sprayed some paint, dabbed modeling paste and things finally started happening. Today, I decided to paint a face on this background. It’s not finished but it needs to be set aside for a while. In the meantime, I will get to work on the remaining 5. Once my cat stops using them as a mattress, that is….

Addicted again

Well, what can I say…once again, I have discovered a new technique I can’t get enough of. Since dabbling with the faux glass technique, I’ve been going through shrink plastic and making pendants like there’s no tomorrow. I’ve had a few unfortunate misses but a whole batch of successes too.

Here are the latest additions to my collection. And just in case you thought one addict in the family is more than enough, I have managed to share the bug with Littleman. He is the proud creator of the heart pendant and has pronounced himself satisfied with my glazing effort. Knowing him, he’ll give the pendant a thorough inspection tomorrow morning just in case. Can’t blame him….like mother like son!

shrink plastic pendants, a set on Flickr.

Pendant heart1Pendant mapPendant 1 sunpendant lotus1Pendant lotus sunLittle pendants sun