Tuesday 28 April 2020

What are you doing in lockdown?

I've painted and decorated cotton reels to use as beads
I'm challenging myself to produce a painting a day
Inspired by Grayson's Art Club on tv I drew some faces today
I'm enjoying nature on my permitted one hour walk a day

How are you doing?

 Most people reading this live in the States. Hundreds read this but I don't know who you are or what you are going through. I'd like to know. 

Here in England I am on Day 37 of lockdown. I am alone and my kids don't live nearby. Luckily, thanks to Face Time/ WhatsApp video and Zoom we see each other on the screen daily. But I do miss face to face meetings with family and friends. Is it the same for you?

 I do not want to get ill so I keep to social distancing (at least 2 metres or over 6 feet) away from everyone I see when out for a daily walk. I am lucky that I live in an area of "Outstanding Natural Beauty" so there are nice walks nearby.
I try to walk at 1pm when most people are indoors having their lunch. Otherwise it can get uncomfortably crowded.

Do you have enough to eat? Getting food in can be difficult. I go early in the morning ie 7am to one shop for the week's shopping. When this is all over it will be nice to be able to buy wholemeal flour, risotto rice, eggs and pasta again. I find I spend more time preparing meals and baking than I used to. Do you?

I like to be creative. A friend is producing a painting a day for 100 days. I doubt I'll go on for that long but I do find painting (or drawing) therapeutic. 
I don't know if you can watch this online or on "Catch Up" but Grayson Perry has a new series called Grayson's Art Club which inspires you to do art. Highly recommend that. 

I wonder how your routine has changed because of the pandemic? I rely on Joe Wick's exercise routines on Utube to keep fit.  
Maybe you have small children and a partner at home. Maybe you are working from home and bringing up children at the same time. That must be so difficult.
We don't know how long this is going to go on for. We must try to stay positive and cheerful, for our own sakes and for our families.

I hope you are well, physically and mentally. I hope you have fun sometimes and that your family bring you joy.

My two year old grandson told me he was coming to get me to take me to his house . He sat on his plastic pedal car and zoomed towards the front door. He only lives about 200 miles away. And sorry but there's no passenger seat. I'd have to curl up in the space under his lift up driver's seat. But I love the idea sweet boy!!

Monday 20 April 2020

Lockdown Birthday

Ready for my birthday 
Weekly shop finds...

I had a Happy Birthday despite being alone . Normally my family would visit and we would have a meal out somewhere. But my three children organised a Zoom chat at 8am when they watched me open the presents they'd sent.  I felt lucky all day. Lucky to have a roof over my head and enough food to eat and a loving family. And lucky to have lots of creative projects on the go so that I am rarely, if ever, bored. 
The children also came back on Zoom later for a family quiz they had organised. Which I lost. However treat of the week was seeing the Rolling Stones live on tv last night. Did anyone else watch ?

What changes are you experiencing since 'lockdown'?

My shopping habits have changed a lot. No longer can we just dash to pick up milk or just one ingredient for a recipe. Now we have to think through what we'll need for the week ahead and then try to find those things in just one shop. I like Tesco Express because it's near my house and they have tape on the floor so customers find it easy to 'social distance' and the staff are lovely.

 I find I am baking and making complicated dishes more often than before. And often ingredients have to be changed or left out because you can't find what you thought you needed. This can lead to some nice surprises. For example I didn't have olives but I did have dried prunes and would you believe the dish tasted even better than usual!!

I haven't been able to find flour for ages. I like wholemeal or spelt flour but all I could find this morning was plain white flour which I would never normally  buy but I want to make a cake and a cheese sauce so plain flour it will have to be.

No pasta but it's surprising how even ancient pasta at the back of the cupboard has proved absolutely fine to use. I'm also using tins of pulses I've had for years. Now nothing can be ignored!

Eggs have also been as rare as 'hens' teeth' so I was pleased to find some in my 7am shop this morning. Even though they cost 3 times as much as the ones I normally buy... Ditto with the cheese pictured. It cost £3.65 - too much normally but no choice if I wanted a strong cheddar... Small compromises really.

Another vital part of my daily routine is Joe Wicks with his utube exercises. I find if i do them first thing in the morning everything goes better in the whole day. I walk at 1pm when I reckon most people will be having their lunch so it's nice and quiet. I hope you have nice places to walk. I have never been so aware of birds' singing and all the little wildflowers and wild life before.
Keep well and keep strong. Lots of love.

Sunday 12 April 2020

Paper Dolls

Paper doll drawn by Jenny Stacy
Doll, painted papers and clothes templates by Jenny Stacy
Twin paper dolls made for grandaughters by Jenny Stacy
You can cut clothes out of gift wrap or painted paper. Clothes templates drawn by Jenny Stacy
Happy Easter everyone!

This week's online session for my grandaughters was paper dolls. It took me a while to get the proportions right for the dolls themselves. I drew them then traced them onto thick card and the same with the clothes, not forgetting the tabs to fold back on the doll.

The easy way to make clothes is to draw round the clothes templates onto the back of gift wrap or even better, gift wrap you've glued to thin card to give them a bit more body. But I like the look of painted clothes better so I painted a few sheets of thin card and cut some of the clothes shapes out of that.

You could also glue pieces of fabric to thin card with a glue stick and draw round the clothes templates on the back of those. That would look really good using any bits of linen or printed cotton that you have.

I am very conscious at the moment that people can't get out to the shops the way they used to so any art project has to use things most people have already got lying round the house. Hopefully most people will have scissors, white paper,white card (although a cereal packet or other cardboard food box would be fine) glue, gift wrap or bits of fabric and paint.

I hope that you, dear reader, are managing to keep well and cheerful in these difficult times. If there's anything more you want to know about making paper dolls like these you can always email me on jennystacy6@gmail.com
Next week's project will be inspired by Nature. Now that walking for an hour has become a precious part of our day I think we are appreciating the sights and sounds of plants, trees and birds more than ever before.

Friday 3 April 2020

Make an Easter flower crown - step by step

White card strip and strip with torn pictures or painted bits glued on.
Draw round your templates on white card and colour them in before cutting them out.
Glue cut outs to crown strip. Lastly add scrunched  yellow crepe paper or yellow tissue paper to flower centres.


white card, torn pictures from magazines and painted papers (optional), food box to make templates from, pencil, scissors, paints or crayons, glue and yellow crepe paper or yellow tissue paper.

I drew two flower shapes, 2 leaf shapes and a bird onto strong food box card and cut them out.  These are your templates.

Cut a strip of white card for each crown to fit round your head plus an overlap of 2-4 cms.  Mine were 4 cms depth by 54cms long.
Glue torn pictures of flowers etc to the crown to completely cover the white.
Remember you don't want these to stick out over the bottom of the crown but it is fine to have them sticking out from the top of the crown.

Then using your templates, draw round each of them as many times as you like onto white card. Do at least one of each shape. Paint or colour them in.
Cut out your shapes and glue them wherever looks good along the length of your crown strip.

Lastly add your flower centers. Draw some circles on white card to fit into the centre of your flowers, cut them out and glue them to your flowers.
Now, if you have yellow crepe or tissue cut off a strip about 16cms long by 3 -4 cms deep.  Cut a fringe all the way along the strip but only cutting half way down.   Add glue to the centre of your flower.Wrap the yellow strip round your finger and crush it in circular fashion into the centre of your flower. Repeat for all flowers that are on your crown.

Finally sellotape the ends of your crown strip so it fits your head perfectly.

Now you are all ready for Easter!

More roses

Paint crepe paper, cut out petal shapes and glue them around a bead. Two more roses (back to back) made yesterday.

Wednesday 1 April 2020

Making flowers - and staying sane

The lower one is made by me
Not realistic but still fun to do

Daffodils from crepe paper

I'm trying not to leave the house and the challenge of making something different is keeping me happy! I'll try to make more roses today.  For the rose above I've painted crepe paper and glued cut out petals around a round bead.

My tips for staying sane and happy when you have to be indoors:
1)   I find getting dressed as soon as I wake up makes me feel positive about the day ahead. I've tried staying in a dressing gown half the morning and I found the day drifts a bit aimlessly. Being dressed, washed and ready puts you in the right frame of mind to enjoy your day.

2)  Exercise first thing. This is for my mental and physical health.  During this period of isolation I have found 10 minutes with Joe Wicks in the sitting room really beneficial. Check out utube Body Coach to find one of his sessions that looks like your level.

3) Try to shop just once a week.
 People seem to be getting creative with what is in their cupboards and fridge now that we can't just pop out for one thing. Being at home so much is a great opportunity to get creative with what we cook.
 I make a basic soup with onion, carrots and potatoes regularly. That's a base soup, you can add whatever you can spare to it. I can't do without Marigold stock powder. A heaped teaspoon of that in hot water added to soup, stews etc makes it taste great! 
Being a vegetarian I also make risottos, pasta and pasta sauces, lentil stew and ratatouille regularly too. Spice I'd find it hard to live without? CUMIN

Keep spare milk and bread in the freezer.

4) Have a routine. My very simple routine is just Exercise, Housework and Making. That works for me. What works for you?

I find housework very very boring. But yesterday I enjoyed it. I imagined the house was going to be photographed for a magazine and I was the stylist!!
I only got one room done to my satisfaction but I'll do another room today. That works for me. Would it work for you?

5) Walk somewhere you can avoid other people.  Not sure what the restrictions are like in the USA but I hope that wherever you are you are allowed to go out for a walk once a day.
 I've found quite a good time is between 1pm and 2pm. It breaks up the day and most people are having lunch at that time.  I went later yesterday and I was constantly having to detour round others. 

I hope you enjoy your day however you spend it.
Now back to that rose challenge. X