Thursday, 13 May 2021

"Come on, step out of your cage. There's a whole twisted world out there."

 There is something incredibly relaxing about sitting with my headphones in, sewing of an evening. Which is why I'm all over Opeie's new interest in puppetry. I'm looking forward to making some random characters next but this weekend was spent making an Alice Angel puppet from Bendy and the Ink machine. The puppet was fairly easy to make until I got to the hair, if I'd have had any myself I'd have probably pulled it out. 

After I'd finished it Opeie made a pretty cool video for the channel. Check it out Here!

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

“Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is.”


I love that every time we go for a walk Opeie picks up an object to take with him to photograph  Sometimes it's a toy and sometimes it's something he has created, whatever it is though he wants it photographed in a tree, in grass, next to a mushroom or on moss which to me always says a lot about how he feels about nature and being outdoors. Today was Yoda's turn for the star treatment.

"As children, we all live in a world of imagination, of fantasy, and for some of us that world of make-believe continues into adulthood."


It has been so long since the last time I wrote, for so many reasons. But it feels like the right time to give myself a push to get going again. Like many of us it seems, I have been struggling for motivation with many parts of my life recently, waking up each morning and feeling like we are just repeating the previous day... and many before it. One thing that hasn't been lacking motivation though has been my creative side and I put a lot of that down to that amazing boy of mine and his constant need to be making something new. 

A few weeks back he came to me with his latest idea and I was over the moon as it was something I had tried to get him interested in years ago (with no joy). As with many things with kids though, they initially don't share your motivation for an activity until they see a YouTube video (with completed product) and its all the motivation they need. So Opeie started playing me some vides by a very talented chap called Adam Kreutinger and I was hooked from the get go. I went on a bit of a binge for a week after that watching design videos and learning various creative techniques every evening before buying various supplies to get us creating. 

 Once things started to arrive, I tried not to over think the process and just throw ourselves into it and learn from our mistakes etc, that way of creating has always worked out well for me. There's something really magical about learning new creative skills and it always puts me in a happy place.

The plan was to build puppets of ourselves and we were both very excited. We wanted to create something really playful and not too serious. Making the Foam bodies was super easy and I think contact adhesive is my new favourite thing. Once those were made it was on with the sewing and thankfully we had a few good days of weather in a row so we threw the beanbags outside and sat in the sun chatting while we stitched. It was so much fun watching them come together and really great seeing Opeie so focused on what he was doing. As expected we made a a few mistakes along the way, like cutting the fleece the wrong way round and losing the stretch but that's the great thing about learning this way, that will never happen again.

One of the things that I love about attempting these new projects is realising that actually, craft wise, I can put my hands to most things and come out with something I'm pretty chuffed with. But more importantly, the confidence that it gives Opeie in his ability to create is incredible to watch. I love a creative project but that is massively magnified when the two of us are creating something together.

Making the outfits for the puppets was really satisfying. I made myself some dungarees using the leg of an old pair of Opeie's shorts and although the thought of it seemed quite daunting I managed to pin, cut and restitch an old shirt of Opeie's to fit his puppet nicely. I love being able to use things from around the house, sadly my washing rail is looking a little worse for wear now though as I've pulled lots of the rails of of it to make the army rods, oops!

And now it's time for the real fun to happen. Opeie wants to learn how to make videos about all the things we get up to which I think is going to be lots of fun. So we're setting up a Youtube channel to document that and hopefully have a ton of fun along the way. Check it out HERE.

Tuesday, 15 December 2020

“Learn something new. Try something different. Convince yourself that you have no limits.”


It kind of felt like 2020 was going to go out in exactly the same grey and stagnant way that it has been festering the entire year. I know I shouldn't moan, we're all going through this but having a mass of other rubbish thrown in to the mix was making this year one I was desperate to put behind us. Even without the lockdown madness this time of year has been a testing time for Opeie, shrouded by a mix of emotions and upset. I tried so hard the last couple of years to make 'Christmas' fun again but with no joy, so this year we talked and said 'no more!'. If this year has taught us anything it's shown us what is actually important and also what ever we decide to do (even if it doesn't fit in with other peoples views)... its okay. 

So instead of 'Christmas' this year we have decided to have a celebration of our favourite little creatures 'Beetles', With the build up being filled with beetle related creative activities to decorate the house 'our way'. We've been busy doing all sorts but my favourite thing so far has been decorating the wall in the LEGO room with a series of hanging beetles. This really got us pumped about the upcoming festivities.

What has really made this for me is how much it has taken the strain off of Opeie and has given him the chance to see the end of the year in a different light. This morning he said 'Dad, I'm so excited about Beetlemas!'... and that is all I needed to hear to feel like we are taking control of 2020 again.

Saturday, 5 December 2020

'There are friends, there is family, and then there are friends that become family.'


Ive spent so much time worrying about Opeie since this whole covid fiasco started. Stressing about the impact that this situation is having in him, the fact that he's not seen some of his friends for a while and his general well being. The parent guilt is constantly banging at the door even though I know it is out of my control. As I stood in the house this week and watched him sitting on the shed outside with his besties watching the sun set I was reassured that actually, despite the confusing government guidelines and the massive change to our lives, he's actually got everything he needs. A calm, loving home, a doting dad, and the kind of friends that you could spend your whole life hoping for... (the excessive amount of LEGO is a bonus too). 

Sunday, 1 November 2020

"We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones."


                                                                       Day 1... (part 2)

With another 4 weeks of national lockdown starting now, I'm feeling like the only way through this is back to daily activities concentrating on creativity. The creative lockdown project really helped to keep us in a Calm and focused headspace while the whole world was falling apart. So for the next 4 weeks our home-ed will be focussing solely on a variety of creative activities base on a word of the day. It's been a really tough month emotionally and I think we both want to be feeling better about the path that we are on. I'm kicking off our project with our LEGO Halloween build for this year, an explosion of black and orange.

Stay safe people and keep on creating.

Monday, 24 August 2020

"Don't get your feathers all ruffled. Just chill."


I can't believe it's been a month since the last post, its crazy how quickly time seems to go in this new world. I've been in such an awful headspace for weeks and really need to shake it off but on a more positive note, Opeie has been able to see his friends a little more and tomorrow he's finally going to see his bestie after not seeing her since march.  I'm so glad its happening now as I get the feeling that another lockdown (maybe just in Telford) is inevitable. Plus with the schools going back, I don't think we'll be seeing anyone that we know that goes to school for a few weeks to see what happens. I kind of feel like were at the start of some insane science experiment. 

Anyway, doom and gloom aside, we have been playing a lot of Animal crossing new horizons over the last few weeks. Opeie wanted me to join him in playing and despite looking at it and thinking 'there's no way I'm going to enjoy that!' it turns out its really bloody relaxing and has spurred on lots of creative projects too. This week we drew our Animal crossing characters and the villagers that we most wanted on our island. I love having all these pictures of ours around the house, they are a constant reminder of just how awesome our Homelife is.

Thursday, 23 July 2020

"Sometimes brightening up the outside of your store is just the thing to perk up business, yes?"

Day 126:

Conversation in the house recently has been heavy on the Animal Crossing. Since picking up a copy of New horizons a couple of weeks ago Opeie has been busy building his island and creating and it has been so much nicer hearing about that rather than Fortnite. While he was having a chat with his friends yesterday I decided to build him Nooks Cranny. His smile when he came off the phone and saw it was contagious and leaving the build empty means that that smile can continue tomorrow when we are building the furniture together. Another win for those amazing bricks.

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

"Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway."

Day 125:

I love it when Opeie shows me a picture he's found on the internet and says "Can we build this?". Mainly because it means an afternoon of sitting down with the LEGO and working something out together. Its rare that he ever wants to add Technic functions into builds but this kinetic cowboy build by Tankybrick had really got him excited. So we watched their video about 50 times to try and work out the functions. After building pretty much the entire thing no matter haw many times we watched the video we couldn't work out the final piece that got the horses moving as the video wasn't very clear. After a stressful 30 minutes or so of trying all sorts of different elements we finally cracked it. It definitely wasn't the same piece, and the horses the finitely don't run as smooth as theirs but overall it came out great and ended up being a fun afternoon building with my bestie.

Sunday, 19 July 2020

"You're gonna need a bigger boat!"

Day 121:

I have been so rubbish at writing and taking pictures since my birthday and I really need to get back into the rhythm as it was doing me the world of good mentally. This week has been lush hanging out with Opeie, painting and playing LEGO. Opeie is loving his LEGO photography at the moment so we've been putting a lot of time into that. Hopefully these pictures are all going towards something amazing. Watch this space.