Thursday, 26 November 2015

Garbage in, garbage out

On two occasions I have been asked, "Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?" ... I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Google helps you clear out

These are all books I was able to clear out because of Google. Before, I would always pick up cheap books with pictures of children or animals, in case I needed to draw them.

Now there's no point in having books about these things - you just Google it.

Odd one out game

This game was to go with a lesson on Daniel - about how sometimes if we love & obey God we'll be the odd one out.

The children took turns to pick out the odd one out from each set of things. Some were easy. Some were a bit tricky. (The one where they had to choose between 3 English Narnia books and one French Narnia book was well-nigh impossible!)

Wooden spoon Bible people

These were the Pharisee and the Tax collector, but could be anyone.
A nice easy craft for the teacher - very little to prepare!

You will need:
  • Wooden spoons. The small disposable ones used for parties etc. (Or plastic spoons, but you'd need permanent markers to draw on them.)
  • Pipe cleaners.
  • Felt cut into rectangles with a small slit in the middle. (I say felt - I actually used this kind of cleaning cloths!)
    Non-woven absorbent cleaning cloths make excellent cheap thin 'felt' for kids' crafts!:  
  • Felt tip pens.
  • Loom bands, small rubber bands, or wool.
What to do:
  1. First, poke the handle of the spoon through the hole in the felt.
  2. Below this, wrap the pipe cleaner round the handle to make arms. 
  3. Fold the felt down front and back, and use a loom band or wool as a belt.
  4. Draw a face.

Easy shield kids' craft

Looking through my photos. Expect more random old crafts...

These were for Sunday school, but could be used for knights or history without the Christian stickers.

Sorry for odd colour - very difficult to take a photo of shiny silver on a dark background in poor light!

You will need:
  • Cardboard - e.g. cereal packets.
  • Foil tape - not duct tape, but the kind you use for joining insulation. It's like thick foil, adhesive on one side.
  • Pencils or scratch-art tools*.
  • (Optional) Stickers to decorate. I only allowed one per child, as some of them go crazy with stickers, and I wanted them to enjoy the foil art! You could also use stick-on jewels.
Preparation beforehand: 
Or older children could do this themselves.
  1. Cover the cardboard in strips of tape. Overlap slightly.
  2. Cut out shield shapes. These were about 10cm/4" long I think.
With the kids:
  1. Stick a sticker in the centre if using.
  2. Draw designs, pressing firmly.

*The pointed plastic sticks that come with these kits - since every kit has one, you soon accumulate a few millions :-)

Mission Focus poster

Did this a few weeks ago, but I was wanting to pin it on Pinterest, so I've put it here to link to it. 


We did this on our Mission Focus Sunday at church with the two youngest classes (3-5 year olds) We sellotaped it inside the glass front door for the following week, so all the people who come to the building could see it, and then took it to its permanent home upstairs.

A roll of black milskin frieze paper. The paper was cut to fit exactly between two doors on the landing, so both classes could see their poster when it was finished.

The words are printed in 220 point Janda Manatee Bubble - a very useful font, as it is drawn as outlines. And the reference is in Janda Manatee Solid. Ideally, if we'd had time, the children would have coloured these.

The children were split into three groups of 3 or 4 kids, and each did one shape. Took about 10 minutes.

Cut from A3 pale pink card (paper would do) as big as I could make it. 
Red and pink scrap paper (I keep offcuts from crafts), tissue paper, wrapping paper, self-adhesive foam hearts and 'God' stickers. They didn't quite get the 'tear the paper into small pieces' idea!

I printed an outline globe on pale blue card to give a bit of guidance for the children, although you could just use a circle. And I printed a coloured globe for reference, so they'd know what was land and sea. I gave this to the oldest kids to do.
Offcuts of scrapbook paper and some sparkly stuff I found in the cupboard, cut into little squares; blue, green, yellow and white scrap paper; tissue paper.

Cut from A3 pale yellow card.
Yellow and orange scrap paper, gold wrapping paper, gold foil stuff, 'Jesus' stickers and sticky stars.

Friday, 13 November 2015


The set of pictures I'm working on just now consist of: rocks, sand, dried grass, dead bushes, bread, sticks, stone walls, and mud plaster; and characters with olive skin, brown hair or black hair, wearing dull black clothes, haircloth and leather.

Just as well there's some sea, sky, and a beautiful Phoenician glass jug* to break the monotony a little.

*slightly incongruous in the poverty-stricken setting, but I want to draw it so I've decided it's a family heirloom they couldn't sell :-)

Tuesday, 10 November 2015


"Grace doesn't have to, but it does."
Quote from the video we're using in my Bible study group

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Books set on a rock

Just finished the Lord of the Rings (umpteenth re-reading), and I was thinking; there's something about fantasy written by Christians that you don't get in other books.

Concurrently, I've been reading other books, as is my wont; a bunch of Dick Francis and other things, but also some fantasy such as George MacDonald's The Princess and the Goblin*, and Philip Reeves' Scrivener's Moon.

The latter is set in a fascinating and very well realised world, with a lot of interesting ideas. But although there are a lot of good SF & fantasy books, what Tolkien and MacDonald have is something solid underneath. Neither book is explicitly Christian - nor would I agree with all of the writers' theology. But (and I'm probably misquoting C.S. Lewis here) the message of a story comes from the whole cast of the author's mind - they don't have a 'moral' but truth and wisdom permeates them. And you discover more each time you read them.

Of course, that's not to say that non- Christian authors can't write truth or wisdom, and many of my favourite books are written by non-christians, but at the end of the day, anything without an eternal perspective falls short. Nor is it, alas, to deny that there's a lot of shallow drivel written by Christians!

*Which is not a patch on its  sequel, The Princess and Curdie.

Friday, 6 November 2015


Third post of the day!

I have also just opened an Etsy shop called Kirsty's Stuff. I thought that was nice and vague, as I can then sell anything I like.

At present, what I'm selling is cutouts like these for cardmaking / kids' crafts:

Getting things finished

I've listened to a couple of podcasts recently which encouraged you to start a project and finish it.

This is not something I'm very good at. I'm full of ideas, and I've got loads of just started, or partly finished, or nearly there projects.

But this week I finally got finished a game I've been working on. Getting something finished really helps psychologically. It's not hanging over you, and you can now get on with the next thing.

God is everywhere game

I made it originally for my Sunday School class, to go with the Joseph in Egypt/prison story - but put a lot more work into it than I would usually put into a SS activity, because I thought it was the sort of thing others might like to buy. Certainly my wee ones enjoyed it - we'll be playing it again.

I've put it up for sale as a download on Teachers Pay Teachers. As it's an American site I did both a UK and a US version. That was interesting - different paper size, different instructions ('cardstock' instead of 'card'), different words ('back yard' instead of 'garden') and a few different pictures (no school uniform, red barn instead of highland cottage).


The blurb:

Where is God? Is he in church? In your bedroom? Under the sea? At school? In space?

This game shows that God is everywhere!

Players move about a grid, turning over cards. The player who turns over the "God is everywhere!" card is the winner.

For two or more players.
Age 4-11 – can be played with different levels of complexity.
Takes about 5 minutes, but can be played over and over. Can be used as a time filler or for a main activity.

Included are:
  • 42 full colour location cards
  • A numbered spinner (or use a dice)
  • 24 playing pieces (or use toy figures or plastic/wood pieces)
  • 2 optional compass spinners for older children
  • Full instructions

5 years ago...

5 years ago today, a friend emailed me asking if I knew of anywhere she could find clipart of Bible stories. She was trying to make PowerPoints for school assemblies, and was searching for suitable illustrations with little success.

I gave a couple of suggestions, but they weren’t what she was looking for.
It seemed like there was a gap in the market, and I said that maybe one day I’d do something about it… Later in the month, I realised that, if there really was a gap in the market, I could do something about it. If I drew the pictures she was needing, I could also sell them to other people. I suggested a simple style, as that would be quick, and she was thrilled.

So she gave me her rota, and I got to work. The first ever lesson, for the start of the new term in January, was The Boy Jesus. I was enjoying the freedom of illustrating for PowerPoint (where you have unlimited pages, unlike print) so much that I drew 14 illustrations! I have to say I didn’t keep that up :-)

It wasn’t until mid 2013 that I felt I had enough illustrations to start a website, and I made my first sale in November of that year.

But 6th Nov 2010 is when the Lamp Bible Pictures story really started.

So, to celebrate, I’m offering my very first PowerPoint presentation, The Boy Jesus at half price until the end of December this year.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Colours II

I've managed to make an animated gif to go with my post about colours:

(It seems to have tweaked all the colours slightly, but it's fairly close)