Rose-hips

20150909_152341308_iOSNear where I work, there are some massive beds of roses. I’m not great with botany, but I believe that they could be a strain of Japanese rose that is now completely naturalised in the UK. The used to grow behind my house as a child. During the summer they smell heavenly and I linger daily on my walk from the car park to the school entrance, just breathing in that scent. It fills me with happy from my head to my toes. I wish I could bottle it somehow as a natural perfume, but I haven’t found a way yet. If you know how – leave a comment, PLEASE!

After the summer holidays I returned to work to find the roses gone, but the rose hips in their place are so beautiful. They look so rosy and cheerful. Shining in the autumn sunshine and tempting me to pick them. But until I know how I can use them, I don’t want to collect any.

I hear that rose-hip syrup is a great way to get Vitamin C. There’s also recipes out there for rose-hip vinegar and rose-hip tea. I wonder if they will taste as heavenly as their flowers smell? If all else fails,  I could crack the open and use the little hairs inside as itching powder – that might wake my students up a bit!

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Woodland Art for Kids [Photo Tutorial]

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A late summer morning spend at Brandon Country Park led to some surprising results for the Munkie household. MoonMunkie had taken a trip there with her Reception class teachers before the holidays began. She’d been talking about mud splat tree art ever since.

 

We had no plans today, so we packed a seaside bucket and a full water bottle and headed for the forest. It was a glorious morning, warm and dry with a gentle breeze through the sun-dappled trees. Absolutely the type of day where the best memories are made. And then … then MoonMunkie showed us how to do mud splat tree art and we were hooked. I thought it was funny to make a sunflower out of last year’s beechnut pods and golden brown leaves. The photo tutorial below shows you how to make your own mud splat tree art!

 

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Clear the detritus from the surface of the forest floor and dig up some soil. Put it into a bucket. fill up the bucket until its about 2/3 full. Be sure to pick out any large pieces of bark, sticks or pebbles that get in there or it will be too lumpy.

 

 

 

11870934_10153445550375491_1270252316865435729_nAdd water to the soil. We took our own because we knew we wouldn’t find any there. But if there’s a river or stream nearby then you could get some fresh. Insert requisite warnings about water safety and Weil’s disease here. Mix the soil and water together with a handy stick until the mud comes together. It should be the consistency of a wet cookie dough, or a heavy porridge. “Claggy” is the word I’d use to describe it, but I suspect that’s a rather localised term, specific to the north Midlands of the UK. But my Granny would know what I mean.

11892208_10153445550935491_223441749195443816_nNext comes the really cool bit. Take a large handful of the mud and sling it at a nearby tree trunk. Make sure it’s a wide enough tree to catch the splat. And that there are no unprepared by-standers. It gets messy. The mud should stick to the tree in a clump which you can then flatten down to a thick pancake with hands and fingers. It it was too runny or too dry to stick, alter your bucket mix accordingly and try again.

 

11855801_10153445660225491_8875838516305530365_nThen it’s time to decorate. Use a stick to draw a face or push little bits of forest treasure into the mud to make a pattern. This was the point where MamaMunkie got really interested. It’s amazing what colours are available on the forest floor when you’re looking for them. Moon and Mini really wanted to splat more mud at the trees, so MisterMunkie was kept busy mixing. But Mama tracked down pretty coloured leaves and stones to brighten up her splat.

 

11902498_10153445551280491_5628156239489920261_nThis one reminded me of a dreamcatcher or a mandala pattern. A simple one, but those reds of the Mahonia leaves (and man are they PRICKLY!) just light up my autumnal heart.

If you’ve enjoyed this, why not follow me on fb, like or share it with others who might enjoy. It will help me to get a bit more “out there” and share my work with more people. You can also find more tutorials from MoonMunkie on the tutorials page.

If you’re here from Handmade Monday – HELLO! How are you? If you’re not, why not pop over there and bathe yourself in all the lovely pretties?

 

 

 

Happy Mail – Snail Mail

Green LadyI received this beauty through the post recently.  Happy Snail Mail. There is no better sort, and even more lovely because it was completely unexpected and had a really lovely message about my creativity on the back. I’m too embarrassed to show you here, but it was lovely to have someone say kind and complimentary things about me, completely unprompted.

Happy Mail –  Snail Mail

The postcard was a complete surprise from my friend Ruth Hinman, in Montana, USA. I’ve written about her and her work before. I admire her totally. She is completely open to any new form of media or technique and gives everything 100% of her time and effort. Ruth is the most prolific artist I’ve ever come across. Just take a look!

She is totally unafraid. (Except. I think she might sometimes actually be a little bit afraid and then just does stuff anyway! Boom!) As well as having a pretty high-flying job and a family. And then a bazillion friends to whom she sends random supportive postcards. Where she finds the time, I have no idea at all. I suspect she might be a witch. If I ever have the pleasure of meeting her face to face then I’ll be sure to use the infallible Monty Python Witch Test to check . If it’s not witchery, then she probably has one of those golden time-turners that Professor McGonagall gave to Hermione. Now I’m a big Hermione fan, having been something of a boffin at school myself. But if I’d been given one of those, I’d have  a whole list of stuff I’d be wanting as well as extra Muggle Studies.

  1. An hour between 6am and 7am – a lie in without being late!
  2. A hour-long bubble bath that didn’t involve small children with ducks and/or toilet needs.
  3. An hour or two added for marking school work without it eating in to my evening plans.
  4. Laundry Hour
  5. An hour between 10pm and 11pm to read, guilt free.

With all of this sorted in my “extra hours” only then might I have enough free time to keep up with Ruth’s work rate.

Did we ever find out if the time turner worked the other way in the book? Because I can think of a few times when moving forward an hour would be useful too. PD Day springs to mind this close to the new term. Dental appointments. Rainy February afternoons.

It all sounds so good. In the spirit of must-get-out-more-often I did a quick search for a golden time turner… and would you believe they’re available on Amazon here for the bargain price of £6.49 with free P&P?! I imagine that, with the end of the Harry Potter series and movies, Professor McGonagall found herself at a loose end and short of Galleons, so she set up her own little mail order company. I’d’ve thought she was more of an Etsy lady myself, but there we are.

Daisy Tattoo Design

Daisy tattooAbout a month ago I designed a tattoo for my friend. I’d never done tattoo work before, had never even crossed my mind. So it was a bit of a challenge when I was asked. She wanted a daisy with the famous Shakespeare quote from Midsummer Night’s Dream “And though she be but little, she is fierce!” It suits her down to the ground really.

The daisy was the easy part – an organic, loose-petalled flower head in simple black and white with grey shading. I found the lettering harder, because she’d chosen a specific font that I struggled to hand-letter. From what I understand her tattoo artist is going to be able to handle the font easily and just needed something for reference.

She got it done this week. allie tat1

 

A big hello to anyone popping in from Handmade Monday! Do pop over and have look at the awesome work being done over there.

Top 5 Zentangle Resources

It’s always exciting when a friend takes up a hobby that you already enjoy. I  heard from my oldest friend ever this week. We’ve known each other since she was 6 and I was 9 – let’s round that up to 30 years. She probably knows me as well as its possible to without living with me. She helped me out last October at the trade fair and has been a total support. And today she told me she’s started to Zentangle. We had a big chat about it and it got me thinking about my favourite Zentangle supplies. Speaking honestly, all you need for Zentangle is a piece of paper, a pen, 10 minutes and some imagination. But we all have our go to resources and my favourite are these:

A nicely proportioned book which allows lots of variety of sizes of tangle, but is still easy to carry around is essential.  I favour the Pink Pig Square 6×6 inch With 150gsm, archive quality paper your tangles will be safe forever. 70 pages, or 35 leaves if you prefer not to use the reverse side. The hardback allows for tangling on your lap. And at £4.52, you can afford to choose a few from the 36 different colours that are available. They also do a really wide range of sizes and orientations for other work.

 

Some people who tangle swear by the Sakura Pigment Micron Pens. If this is you then then there’s a great deal on them at Amazon here at the moment. These are the ones recommended by the Zentangle.com website. But for me,  they seem to be a bit hit or miss. They dry out so quickly and become scratchy, which I hate. I prefer these by Staedtler. I’ve had much better longevity from them. Smooth and clear in 6 widths: 0.05 mm, 0.1 mm, 0.2 mm, 0.3 mm, 0.5 mm and 0.8 mm although I get most use from the 0.2mm, o.5mm and 0.8mm. They’re designed so that the lid can be left off – even for a few days – without them drying out. Waterproof for easy colouring and the case is handy to for preventing them rolling away or getting stuck down the side of the sofa.

 

 

That’s the basics covered. But for inspiration and ideas I love the series of books by Suzanne McNeill. Zentangle® Basicsis the first one I owned. It’s got a step by step guide on how to begin and then lots of ideas for tangles and how to use them. The book as also been re-published as a workbook, whereby you can work alongside the instructions. I’m far too obsessed with books to be able to comfortably work in a text book, but for someone less … pedantic … this might be a good starter option.

 

 

 

Pre cut tiles  are a great way to make zentangles as quick gifts or to mount on greetings cards. There are 75 in a packet and it’s easy just to grab a few to keep in your bag for emergency tangling. 3.5″ x 3.5″ and made of white or black archival quality card, they don’t bleed and also handle watercolours quite well.

 

 

 

 

Dangle Designs are my favourite way to tangle at the moment. They’re so whimsical and full of flow. I find them easier to do out-of-my-head than the original tangles – where I want to get the official designs accurate. Dangles are very quick, feminine and a lovely way to put a border around a journal entry or sketch. I felt very proficient very quickly. The book by Joanne Fink is also available as a workbook.

 

 

 

 

“HM"If you tangle, I’d love to hear about your favourite resources. Drop me a line below. If you’re here from Handmade Monday, over at LucyBlossom – do you like my new blog header? If you don’t know about Handmade Monday, click here and go and say hello.

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Art Swap (UK)

If you are at all creative and you fancy having a bit or arty fun, join in our art swap! Please read the rules below before joining.

1) PM me on FaceBook or email me (jemmachan@yahoo.co.uk) with your postal address to join in BEFORE 12 noon on September 19th

2) Include some information about yourself – anything that would give another person a hint about what to make for you. For example, “I like the colour green, poppies and reading.” The person you swap with may choose to follow the hints OR NOT. They’re there in case someone is stuck for inspiration.

3) I will pair people randomly and send each person the name and address of the other

3) Create your art! I’m suggesting that we keep pieces to a maximum size of 6″x6″ – just so that materials and postage costs don’t get out of hand.

4) Have it made and posted by October 31st.

5) Comment on the MoonMunkie Facebook Page with a photo when you receive your piece.

If you enjoy it, we could make it in to a quarterly event!

#ShowYourWork

IMG_0219After almost a whole week of digital creativity in trying to get the new website set up (and making many, many a mistake!) I needed to get my hands dirty this evening. Loving the air drying clay. Love is like a butterfly! These are going to be little plates for keeping trinkets in. Keep a look out for the big website launch in the next few days. There’s sure to be a giveaway! Night night!

#ShowYourWork

I’m not getting along terribly well with this young lady. Something about the cream paper that means her skin is sallow. Usually I would use white paper to draw a face. I’ve not practised getting skin tone right on a coloured background. I’ve gone off her entirely. Looking forward to tomorrow’s class though. Better get back to making goody bags!

And, we’re back!

So. Between depression, a difficult pregnancy and a sparkly New Baby Munkie to care for, the last 18 months have been a bit of a write off as far as blogging has been concerned. But we are still here! My little Moon Munkie is so grown up now and doing all of the amazing things that you’d expect from a big Sister Munkie.

Moon Munkie as a business is undergoing some changes. I’ll still be here on WordPress. The Etsy shop will be closing in favour of a new shop front, which will be revealed soon! The facebook page is moving to Moon Munkie Makes and I’ll be trying to post more regularly there. Go over and hit like so you can keep an eye out for some giveaways and tutorials coming your way.