Saturday, 6 November 2021

"Fungi are the grand recyclers of the planet and the vanguard species in habitat restoration"


When we hit this time of year I feel a little more at one with the world. The temperature drops to how I like it, the autumnal colours are amazing and the fungi starts popping everywhere. There's something so satisfying about stomping through the woods and being greeted by something beautiful growing from the ground, on logs or high up in trees. Opeie started showing an interest in fungi after we spotted a bright red toadstool one afternoon about 5 years ago, we had no idea what it was and needed to know more. Then a couple of years back we read 'The Grim Grotto', one of the books from Lemony Snicket's 'A series of unfortunate events', which got him hooked again and it kickstarted an ongoing Mycology project that we add to every autumn.

After turning over rotting logs and crawling around on our knees may-september looking for beetles, its nice to change it up a little on the build up to winter time and we are never disappointed by what the autumn months have to offer. I thought I'd share some of the great fungi we have found...



I love these outdoorsy projects that we start because they are never ending, we're always spotting new fungi and Beetles meaning we can keep popping back to the Entomology and Mycology projects to add our finds. I really feel like revisiting these projects is great for Opeie's development as he is looking back on how he was covering the work last autumn and he can see his own growth which is really satisfying for  him (and me).



We're still not confident enough to eat what we find but the excitement of finding new ones is more than enough. Now to try and identify the ones we don't know for a Popes and Twink video.









Monday, 1 November 2021

"I Will Be Haunted By My Actions Forever, Hoot Hoot!"

 It was a lovely build up to Halloween this year, For once Popes knew exactly what he wanted to dress up as and we had plenty of time to make the things that he needed. It's been all about Owl House over the last few weeks so he decided he wanted to dress as Golden guard. The mask and props meant there was plenty of need for fun sewing activities, which has been our favourite thing to do together now for quite some time.

I had big plans for what I wanted to make for my costume but that went out the window because of other craft things that I had going on, so I decided to work with what we had going on around the house and went with 'zombie hockey player'. 



Popes decided he wanted to do my make up so I lay on the floor and let him go wild, I think he nailed it. Hotdogs and excessive sugar at our friends, a little sweet swapping and a spooky woodland walk and that pretty much summed up a perfect all hallows eve. For me, this will always be my favourite time of year.



Saturday, 30 October 2021

“The more I know about people, the more I love zombies.”

It's almost Halloween so what better time to stick the Popes and Twink zombie video on here. We are having so much fun making these videos and making random puppets is definitely keeping us out of trouble... for now.



You can also find Popes and Twink on Instagram: @popesandtwink


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.