Sunday, April 28, 2019

G is for...

The time has finally come to let the cat I've been keeping under wraps for six months out of the bag. In two weeks - to the hour - I will be on a plane. When I started planning this trip it seemed so far away. I can't believe how time has flown and of course, I don't feel nearly ready.

The reason you haven't seen any posts about the Del Prado house and I've been generally quiet, is that I've been busy preparing for a three-month stay in Germany. It's not a holiday. I'm going to attend to family matters, study, work and do a legion of other things.

On one hand, I'm so excited my toes are curling; on the other hand, I'm already missing my husband and animals and I don't know how I'm going to be able to take leave of them.

Fortunately, a lengthy journey needs a lot of preparation and I'm being kept very busy making sure the dogs have enough winter blankets and the tarantulas enough food to see them through till I come back. I made a mega-batch of muesli for Henning (he won't eat the shop-bought stuff) but apart from that, I know that he will be able to keep himself fed and warm. He likes to remind me that he was a happy bachelor for years before he met me. Still, there are so many little details which I routinely take care of that he doesn't even know about. I'm sure I will return to find crocodiles lounging around a swampy swimming pool and all manner of colourful fungus growing in the fridge and in the shower.

I have to confess that my main concern for this trip has been finding a way to stuff as many art supplies and tools from my studio into my suitcase as possible. I would rather go naked than be short of paint and brushes!

The ghostly toy blocks in the photo are one of the projects I'm taking with me. Cast in white resin, they're ready to be painted and accessorized.

If blog readers in Germany would like to make contact with me, I'll be staying in Karlsbad, and I'm trying to wrangle things so I can be at the show in Rheda on the 25th May.

While I'm gone I won't bore you with lots of pictures of forests and castles on this blog, but I do plan to check in weekly to let you know how I'm getting along. If you prefer to share every little detail of my adventures, I'm vlogging on Instagram HERE.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

F: Frogs and Fountains

These little frogs are so tiny that my camera squints when I try to photograph them. Only about 5mm long, they're perfect for a 1/12 scale dollhouse garden. I'll be making a fresh batch soon, and I'll show you process photos and some ideas on how to use them in and around your dollhouse.
Rainbow with the first rain - August 2013

In our real-life garden, there are several ponds and a fountain. Needless to say, there are frogs and in summer they have very loud concerts at night. They're not the only noisy ones though. Just look at how the grey loeries enjoy the fountain. Their real name is Corythaixoides concolor, but colloquially we also call them kwêvoëls or go-away birds, for the sound they make.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

E is for Endurance

I've persevered with my resin experiments over the last few weeks. Also been exclaiming in exasperation quite often. I switched to white resin. It's great for hiding bubbles and imperfections, but it comes with a new set of challenges. Still, I managed to make quite a few embellishments and they're ready to be sanded and painted.

Here's a bit of biographical chat.

 Denoting or relating to a race or other sporting event that takes place over a long distance or otherwise demands great physical stamina.
2. The capacity of something to last or to withstand wear and tear.
Very often when we use the word endure, we mean that we're suffering. I know, because in pity-party conversations with myself I regularly ask why I'm forced to endure this or that. However, endurance also has powerful affirmative connotations.
There’s something about an item or activity which has stood the test of time that grounds us and helps to make sense of life. To me, it's ballet.
Geared up for class.
Ha, I bet you didn’t know that I’m a secret ballerina! This month marks my fourth anniversary at the Dance Hub adult ballet studio. I started dancing for the first time after a prolonged illness. My life was in tatters; my body was weak and scarred, and my mind dwelled in dark places.
When I enrolled in ballet classes, I promised myself that I would not give up until three months passed, no matter what. I hated the first weeks; I was excruciatingly self-conscious, I was so tired all the time, and I couldn’t do the simplest things such as balance on my toes. I endured those classes with a capital E.
My favourite ballet shirt.
Gradually, I started understanding ballet terminology, I learned which muscles to use, and I became a bit stronger. While I was doing battle with the physical aspects of mastering the most difficult form of dance, something else was happening in the background. Every slight conquest boosted my self-confidence and  I learned to relax. 
Our beautiful teacher, Louina.
That's me against the window on the left, balancing on my toes :-)

One day I burst out of class and exclaimed, I love ballet! I realized then that I’d found the other kind of endurance; the kind that lets you push your body until you become hot and sweaty and it feels great.
Practice, practice, practice.
Don’t imagine that I’m any good at it. No matter how much I practice, I will always be the clumsiest ballerina in class but ballet has become a part of my life, one of those enduring things that give meaning to everything else. There are such lovely people in the class, the teachers are fantastic, and working on my body, mind, and attitude has had a tremendous spill-over benefit to other areas of my life.
Jump for joy! That's me in the centre.
May you find joy in everything you do this week.