Monday, 29 October 2012

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Noah's Ark jelly

The ark on calm water

You will need (per person):
  • About 150-200ml of blue soft drink. (I used berry & tropical flavour Powerade - a 500ml bottle between 3 people)
  • Gelatine. About 1 leaf per 100ml of juice.
  • 1 finger of KitKat.
  • A small bowl wide enough to fit the KitKat. 
What to do:
  • Soak gelatine in cold water for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, put some of the juice in a pan, and heat.
  • Take off the heat, and add the gelatine. Stir to dissolve (it was pretty much instantaneous when I did it).
  • Add the rest of the juice and pour into bowls.
  • Put in fridge to set.
  • (Optional, if you want stormy water). Chop up the jelly small and stir around a bit.
  • Place KitKat finger upside down on top of 'water', to make an 'ark'. 
  • Eat.
 P.S. Don't be put off by using gelatine - it's actually even easier than using jelly cubes.

The ark on choppy water
The KitKat finger is - believe it or not - almost the same proportions as the ark. And, as an added bonus, when you bite into it, it has three floors!!!

Thursday, 25 October 2012


Pedantic: Focussing on details I think are unimportant or wrong.
Accurate: Focussing on details I think are important and true.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

In search of beauty

My brother's new blog - click banner below.

The unexpected

    God holds the key of all unknown,
        And I am glad;
    If other hands should hold the key,
    Or if He trusted it to me,
        I might be sad.

    What if tomorrow's cares were here,
        Without its rest?
    I'd rather He unlocked the day,
    And, as the hours swing open, say,
        My will is best.

    The very dimness of my sight
        Makes me secure;
    For, groping in my misty way,
    I feel His hand; I hear Him say,
        My help is sure.

    I cannot read His future plans;
        But this I know:
    I have the smiling of His face,
    And all the refuge of His grace
        While here below.

    Enough; this covers all my wants;
        And so I rest;
    For what I cannot, He can see,
    And in His care I saved shall be,
        Forever blest.
Joseph Parker

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Jesus figure

Here's a Jesus figure to go with the 12 disciples character sheet.
A couple of people have asked for one.

(new version uploaded 13th Sept 2014)

After posting this, I realised that it may not be what people are expecting when they ask for a picture of Jesus! It's not your typical picture, but it's how I'm drawing Jesus at present, so I'm used to it. 

There is a reason for all the things that might be considered 'strange'.

There's nothing in this picture that would tell you it was Jesus unless you knew. This is deliberate:

  • He is a man. Obviously very few people would argue with this in theory, but so often he is portrayed as a sissy. A 'girl-with-a-beard' as I heard this type of picture once described! Masculinity is not somehow less spiritual, and it's unhelpful to imply that it is.
  • He is middle eastern. Does an average middle eastern man have lily-white skin, blonde hair and blue eyes? Why do people draw Jesus this way? Especially when they draw everyone surrounding him in a realistic manner. The implication that fair skin is somehow more holy is dangerous. 
  •  He is not wearing white. At his transfiguration, his clothes 'became white'. The implication, I think, is that they were not white to start with (nor is it likely they were off-white; ancient people had much simpler colour vocabulary than modern English). White is also an impractical colour when travelling! I have chosen red for two reasons: a) it is symbolic of blood, and b) I often do main characters in red to stand out. Any story Jesus is in has him as the main character.   
  • He is wearing a short tunic. He is an ordinary working-class man, and archaeological evidence appears to show that short tunics were the norm at the time. Jesus didn't think much of people who dressed in special clothes to look more holy, so we can assume he didn't wear anything out of the ordinary.
  • He has short hair. There's no reason to suggest Jesus would wear his hair differently from anyone else. (Sometimes people think he was a Nazirite, but he wasn't - he was a Nazarene: i.e. someone who comes from Nazareth.) It seems that short hair was the norm at the time. The reason I have drawn his hair curly is simply to be different. I don't think it's helpful if all pictures of Jesus look the same - no-one knows what he looked like, but we can recognise a picture of Jesus at a glance - this is silly!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Magic Rubber stuff

I use a graphics tablet with my computer. 

However, carrying it back and forwards to my studio was not doing the flex any good.

 I tried taping it, but the tape came off.  I mentioned it to my mum, and she said a friend had given my dad a free sample of this mouldable rubber stuff (Thanks, Susan!)

It really works! It's called Sugru, and is just like soft Plasticene or playdough. But if you leave it for 24 hours, it turns into solid, but still bendy, rubber! (Please excuse excess of exclamation marks, bur it really does deserve it!)

Since you have to use a whole little packet at a time, I also replaced the rubber feet, as all but one were missing.

This will make my tablet last a lot longer.

Comes in several colours: I chose red to go with my laptop.

Class cards

A couple of ideas for if you want a group of children to make a card for someone. Particularly if you don't have loads of time, and need something that will be simple and effective.

In both cases, I used a sheet of A3 card folded in half, to make an A4 card.

Idea 1:

This one was a goodbye card for a Sunday School teacher.

  • Beforehand: Cut a selection of 4½ cm squares in four colours. This is especially easy if you use a guillotine, but it's not neccessary. 
  • With the children: Each child draws whatever they like - aliens were popular in my class, as well as some less conventional objects (a sock?!?). 
  • Stick them on, starting from the bottom. I did it in order of the colours, also trying to ensure there weren't too many similar drawings together.
  • As it is impossible to fit a whole number of squares on an A4 sheet, leave a space for the name or a greeting.
I have done a similar one as a wedding card (can't find a photo). In that case, I got them all to draw one or more hearts on the squares.

Idea 2:
This one definitely suits a short name.

  • Beforehand: Print out the letters as outlines. The font I used was Roger*, but you could use anything chunky, or draw bubble letters. Cut paper apart with one letter to a piece (but don't cut the letters out).
  • Cut up lots of little squares of tissue paper. Pile the paper up and cut through several layers at once. About 2cm square is good - and they don't need to be very neat.
  • With the children: Children stick the tissue paper on the letters. It should overlap the lines a little.
  • Cut them out. We had the adults doing this: one with scissors, the other did the holes with a craft knife. Older kids could do the scissor cutting themselves, but many 5-6 year olds don't cut neat enough for the letters to be legible!
  • Stick them on (preferably better placed than I did) and add stickers if there's time.
  • It really pays to be well organised, so you know exactly what you're aiming at. 
  • Have spare squares or letters, in case someone makes a mess/loses one etc. Keep the spares separate, though, so they're not used unless needed. You don't want to have too many squares to fit!
  • Have enough squares or letters to cater for newcomers or visitors (if your group is likely to have them). That's why I spelled out "Baby Sophie", not just "Sophie". This will also be helpful if some children are quicker than others - they can do several.
  • Do the actual sticking yourself, or it will be chaos. But if you have time, you can call the group together and get them to help: "First I need the 'B' - who's got the 'B'? What letter will I need next?" etc.
*The 'y' is not actually from Roger, as I don't like the one from it. So I made one from an upside-down 'h' and the tail of a 'g'. But if you are a normal sensible person you don't have to do that.

Window washing

Somehow it had never occurred to me that they actually wash the roof of Central Station.

In case it's not very clear, they're using a brush thing on a long handle which is attached to a hose, with water going through it.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Image Libraries

Just found my picture on another image library. This one seems far more legit - it has contact info, and legal stuff about copyright. However, my picture is on it completely illegally. This may not be the fault of the site owners of course.

Many people assume the internet is a copyright-free zone; it's not. Many people assume that everything on the internet is public domain; most of it isn't. Just because someone says 'this is free, you can have it' doesn't mean they have any right to give you it.


I've just spent over 5 hours going through my blog putting a copyright notice on each picture.

After reading this post, I thought I'd just check the internet for a few of my pictures. I did a reverse image search on my 12 disciples picture (as that's by far the most popular page on this blog) - and I discovered it was on some image libraries.

I'm fine with people downloading the picture for personal use - but I want them to do it from my blog, not a random image library. And certainly not a dodgy image library which brings up loads of popup ads and which my virus scanner warns me has threats on it!

I've probably overdone it now (I can't see why anyone would want to steal some of the pictures!). But you can't be too careful.