Monday, 30 December 2019

2019 fashion?

I was remembering the children through the ages pictures I drew way back in 1993.
The final one was a prediction of future clothes in the far distant date of 2019.

Thought I would do a quick redraw as a break from work:

I hate drawing legs!
Don't think I got it quite right :-D


A slice of ham, two different sorts of salami, a couple of spicy cocktail sausages, and a mini scotch egg.

You can put anything in scrambled eggs!

Monday, 23 December 2019

Ecotank ink

My new printer has ink tanks, not ink cartridges.

  • Better for me: last for ages, works out cheaper
  • Better for Epson: because it's cheaper, I'll buy their own ink, not compatible
  • Better for the environment: not wasting countless throwaway cartridges
Prints nicely, too.

Friday, 20 December 2019


Why does Christmas take me by surprise every year?

I've had 42 of them; you'd think I would be expecting it by now...

Thursday, 19 December 2019

Quick, easy Christmas decoration craft

Went well with the theme of our nativity being about God's gift.

You will need:
  • Coloured foam. I used sparkly A5 foam, from a pound shop.
  • Sticky-backed foam (or use glue, but sticky is easier). Or self adhesive ribbon, but I couldn't find any.
  • Suitable stickers. The crowns and hearts were actually taken from a fairytale set!
  • String
  • Single hole punch. Small hole if possible - a leather punch is good, because it can cut through a lot of layers.
Teachers preparation:
  1. Cut the foam into 'squares'. A5 gives 6 more or less square pieces. A guillotine is quickest.
  2. Cut the sticky foam into strips. 1cm (ish). 
With the kids:
  1. Stick two strips to a square. This makes it look like a parcel and also a cross!
  2. Decorate with stickers.
  3. Punch hole.
  4. Thread string.
  5. Repeat till parents come!
  6. Brush up all the backing paper from the stickers...

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

God Doesn't Have a Birthday

This is a fun song! And it says a lot, too.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Finger clicking

Me: We'll click our fingers on the chorus.
Child: I can't click my fingers.
Me: That's OK, just pretend. No-one will know you're not really doing it.
Child: But my mum and dad know I can't do it.
Me: That's OK, no-one else will know.
Child: But my gran and grandpa and aunt and uncle and cousins all know I can't do it...

Friday, 6 December 2019


A character in a fictional world is reading an article in a magazine, detailing some proposed changes:
"They have been published, it seems, for general criticism; and one gathers that in the modern Utopia the administration presents the most elaborately detailed schemes of any proposed alteration in law or custom, some time before any measure is taken to carry it into effect, and the possibilities of every detail are acutely criticized, flaws anticipated, side issues raised, and the whole minutely tested and fined down by a planetful of critics, before the actual process of legislation begins."
~ H G Wells (A Modern Utopia )
A utopia indeed!

Thursday, 28 November 2019

She waits

Came across this song recently - I like it! (I'd assumed from the title it would be about the church, but it's not.)

Quite a wide vocal range there!

Thursday, 21 November 2019

NEW Christmas posters and colouring

Based on my Christmas stickers, I now have a full set of printable Christmas posters and colouring pictures.

Both can be printed as A4 posters or A5 bunting. Individual posters are also available (A4 only).

My aim with these was not so much to focus on the events of the nativity (there are lots of those already!) but on who Jesus is and why he came. This means that they'll be particularly useful for older kids or kids with a good Bible knowledge.

Could also be helpful for kids who think babies are boring and want to know why we're making such a fuss about this one 😁

Establish the work of our hands

Another one from my Morning Songs playlist

Thursday, 7 November 2019

The obvious answer

"This thing is see-through
Half of your body is made of this.
It has no smell.
It has no taste.*
You need it when you're thirsty."

Child: Jesus

Earlier, a child also suggested 'potato'.

*I would disagree

Final Stargate episode

Just watched the final episode of Stargate SG1 last night :-(

10 series; 214 episodes!

Actually, SG1 isn't quite finished - there are also two movies, one of which ties up all the unresolved plot of the series.

And of course, I've still got two Stargate Atlantis series to watch (from what I've heard, I won't be bothering with the other spinoffs).

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Bible illustration

I quite like this illustration philosophy from the Word for Word Bible Comics:
  • Text is clear. = Draw it clearly.
  • Text is ambiguous but Bible clarifies it elsewhere. = Draw it clearly.
  • Text is ambiguous but good commentators agree. = Interpretation strongly implied by the images.
  • Text is ambigous and commentators divided. = Draw the images to be as ambiguous as the text.
How you do that last one, of course is not always easy...

Friday, 18 October 2019

Travel directions

Walk in a easterly direction along A8
After 350yds, continue into B700

This seems to assume:
a) I have a compass with me or can tell what direction east is by instinct/the stars/the smell of the trees
b) I can miraculously discern the number of a road from the name which will be printed on the sign
c) I can estimate a number of yards while walking.

I think I'll print a map!

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Interactive Passover lesson

I don't usually type out my Sunday School notes in full. But I had to pass them on to the teacher who'll be doing the next episode, as she wasn't there.

So I thought I'd share it here - might be useful for others. Our class is P2-4 (age 6-8)

This is one of these more elaborate lessons you don't do every week!

Passover Lesson

Main point: 
The Israelites could only be set free from slavery and death by the blood of a lamb. We can only be set free from sin by the blood of Jesus.

I made a ‘house’ with the old display boards and a doorway made of cardboard, and we sat in it for most of the lesson.

I wasn't planning to have a curtain, but I found this cloth in the Sunday School cupboard, and it really finished it off.

  • Who have we been learning about? (Moses)
  • What book of the Bible? (Exodus)
  • Where did God’s people the Israelites live? (Egypt)
  • Were things going well for them? What was the problem? (slaves. We discussed that being a slave was worse than a servant, and that you didn’t have a choice – you were a prisoner and you couldn’t leave)
  • What Did God send Moses to say to Pharaoh? (Let my people go)
  • What did Pharaoh say? (No!)
  • What did God do next? (discussed a few plagues)

Remember at the end of last week, Emma told us that God was going to send one, final plague.

I got a child to read:

every firstborn son in egypt will die

What is a ‘firstborn son’? (oldest boy in every family). Discussed with children which of them is a firstborn son.

All the firstborn sons were in danger! BUT God had a plan to keep his people safe.

He told Moses what to do. They had to do exactly what God said. It was the ONLY WAY.

I wrote bullet points on the board:
  1. Kill a lamb
  2. Paint blood round the door
  3. Stay inside
  4. Be ready to go (i.e. coats & shoes on, so they could go as soon as they were told)
  5. Eat a special meal (I explained it was roast lamb, unleavened bread (flat bread), bitter herbs.)

God said that, during the night, he would go through Egypt. Every firstborn son would die. BUT if he saw blood round a door, he would pass over that house, and they would be safe.

Imagine you were one of the Israelites. Would you think, I don’t need to do that, I’ll be OK? (No!) It was the ONLY WAY to be safe.

The people did what God said. At this point I went down the list with the children, and we acted it out.
  1. I showed them a sheep-shaped cushion (which several of them proceeded to grab and violently beat/stab to death, which I assure you I did not ask them to do 😆 )
  2. We got red felt tips and coloured round the door of our house
  3. We went inside and stayed inside.
  4. I made sure everyone had their jumpers/shoes etc. on (I was the only one who didn’t, but Eli took his shoes off so he could put them on again!)
  5. We ate some chopped up lamb burgers, pitta bread and watercress/rocket (Most of them didn’t like it!)
That night, everything happened as God said. God went through Egypt, and every firstborn son died.

Did the Israelite sons die? Was it because they were Israelites? Why was it? (blood round door) God saw the blood and passed over - the lamb died instead of them.

Pharaoh saw what had happened. (I pointed out Pharaoh’s son in the picture)

What do you think he is saying now? GO!

At this point the children went out and noisily ran round the room. Once I had managed to control them again… I got them to line up and we marched to the other side of the room. Were they still slaves? No! They were free!

God had done an amazing thing for them. He told them that, every year, they must have a special meal, to remember. They still do! Jewish people (who are the great great great great great grandchildren of the Israelites) have a special meal. Do you know what it’s called (no-one did, though ‘Good Friday’ was suggested!)? It’s called ‘Passover’, because God ‘passed over’ their houses. I showed them a photo of a Passover meal.

We aren’t Jewish, are we? We weren’t slaves in Egypt.

But Jesus says that everyone is a slave  – he says that ‘everyone who sins is a slave to sin’ (John 8v34) Sin is when we do or say or think wrong things – when we don’t live God’s way. We’re slaves to sin because we can’t help it (sounds odd - not sure if that’s the words I used). We need to be set free.

What did Jesus do so we can be set free from our sins? (died on the cross) I had a cardboard cross and wrote ‘Jesus’ on it in red pen.

I got a child to read 1 Corinthians 5v7 Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed. I made sure they knew ‘Christ’ means Jesus, and wrote it on the cross.

Just like the lamb died for the Israelites, Jesus died for us. We are set free by his blood – not because we’re good, not because our family loves God… but if YOU believe Jesus died for YOU, you will be set free.

We then all wrote our names on the cross, to show he died for all of us.

Finished with a prayer to thank him.

Then did this worksheet:


"Let the believer rejoice that the government under which he dwells has an immortal ruler at its head, has existed from all eternity and will flourish when all created things shall have for ever passed away."
~ Charles Spurgeon

Friday, 4 October 2019

Maker of Mornings

Here's another in my 'morning songs' playlist.

Even before I heard it, I liked the title. And you can hear the sunrise in the intro.

It's interesting - many of the ideas are similar to his older song Good to be Alive. But the second verse of this one adds something that was missing in the earlier song.

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

My attempt at using AI 'photography'

There's a site which allows you to create fake photos of landscapes using AI.

I thought I'd try it out with a scene I know well:

Quinaig & Loch Nedd

Here's what I inputted. Each colour represents a particular preset 'material' - turquoise is 'sky', grey is 'cloud', khaki is 'mountain', green is 'hill', lime green is 'tree', brown is 'rock', blue is 'sea', and olive green is 'bush'

And here's what it came up with 😆😆😆😆😆

Here's another with a sunset filter on it:

I know it's not really mean for recreating real scenes, so I tried a made up one (purple is 'river', bright green is 'grass', brown is 'house' and that weird greeny browny yellowy colour is 'sand'):


Sunday, 22 September 2019

You are all I need

Woke early this morning, my mind whirling with many things. Getting ready for church I was tired, and getting more and more uptight.

In church, the first song we sung was given out by an elderly widower who probably has more difficulties in his life than I can imagine. The song was We bow down and confess, and one line simply says, "You are all I need."

It got me thinking:

When everything seems terrible,  
  you are all I need.
When I'm aware of my sinfulness, 
  you are all I need.
When I think I'm actually good enough, 
  you are all I need.
When I think I can do it on my own, 
  you are all I need.
When I feel inadequate, 
  you are all I need.
When things don't go my way, 
  you are all I need.
When it's hard to believe, 
  you are all I need.
When I'm full of good ideas for things I want to do,
  you are all I need.
When I worry about the future, 
  you are all I need.
When I feel like a loser, 
  you are all I need.
When my to-do list is growing, 
  you are all I need.
When the world is confusing, 
  you are all I need.
When it's hard to live your way, 
  you are all I need.

Friday, 20 September 2019

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

More illustrations

Just finished these illustrations this week for Go Teach.

Top story is Jesus healing the demon-possessed girl (which is an incredibly difficult story for children - and adults for that matter. But I just had to draw it, not teach it!) Bottom story is Jesus bringing Jairus's daughter back to life.

The last two pictures are closely based on ones I did for my own PowerPoint. But a very different style, to fit with others in the series!

I really like the hands in this.

And finally, a set of illustrations for the 2nd commandment (no idols), based on Psalm 115.
If you think these don't look like my illustrations, that's because they had to fit into a set done by a previous illustrator, so I tried to fake his style.

The first picture is the writer of the Psalm. I wanted him to look like he was trying out ideas while writing his song, and I immediately thought of this album cover:

Only I've swapped out the guitar with a lute, which actually was an instrument at the time, though looks familiar enough to kids not to need explanation.

The last one, with the body parts, was actually the hardest to draw! That, and finding idols to draw that weren't nude or otherwise inappropriate :-)

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Colour wheel

Here's a colour wheel I made, for finding complementary colours.

Cmyk, and all steps are mathematically accurate (except that you can't have 0.5 of a colour, so I had to do some rounding!)

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie

Look what I met in town!

He was very small and round - I think he may be a wood mouse.
He was sitting on the pavement so I nudged him over to somewhere safer.
He even let me stroke him!

Monday, 9 September 2019

Nicodemus illustrations

Just finished these today. There was extra space, so I was able to add some icons to represent Jesus' metaphors in both this lesson and the next. Hopefully this will help! (The sun & moon were an extra because I'd still not filled my space.)

How to grill pizza

I learned this from one of my flatmates at uni, who learned it from her mum.

How to cook pizza without heating up the oven.
  • You will need a frozen pizza. If it didn't come frozen, you will need to freeze it. (I have only ever tried it on small ones - I don't know if it would work with big ones).
  • Remove the grill pan from under the grill, and heat the grill to hot.
  • Dampen the bottom of the pizza (I just stick it under the tap) and place it on the grill pan upside down.
  • Grill base until brown. (Because the pizza was frozen and the pan was cold, the cheese & tomato should still be stuck on, and not have melted).
  • Turn the grill down to medium.
  • Turn pizza right side up, and place on grid of grill pan.
  • Optional - add more toppings. Here I added more cheese, and herbs.
  • Grill until cheese is nice and melted and beginning to brown.
  • Eat!

Every Moment Belongs

Just happened to listen to this on Saturday night. Doesn't it fit well with what I wrote in the previous post?

Friday, 6 September 2019

In the desert

I'm doing the story of Moses' escape to Midian on Sunday. Just remembered this thing I wrote for someone online, who felt he'd wasted a year by being distracted by side projects that lead nowhere.

Just thinking about Moses. His mistaken idea of what he was supposed to be doing lead to him kicking his heels in the desert for 40 years.

But that time wasn't wasted at all (though I'm sure to him it felt like it - he didn't know how the story ends). He learned to live in the desert, he got a wife and kids and useful contacts for the journey ahead (father-in-law and brother-in-law), and he gained maturity and patience.

I guess sometimes when it seems like we've been on the wrong track that doesn't mean it might not be the best thing for us. Both professionally (learning what not to do) but also personally.

If we always made the right decisions and everything went smoothly it would be nice, but also probably detrimental to us. We'd get to rely on ourselves too much, and also get too comfortable here.
But the fact that everything doesn't go right, and we discover how incompetent we are makes us look beyond ourselves to our future hope when things will be perfect (but not because of us).

"Perseverance produces character, and character hope, and hope does not disappoint us"

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Baby Moses craft

Haven't posted so many Sunday School crafts recently - partly because we don't do so many in the older class, and sometimes I don't get round to it.

But I like this one we did today.

I believe it was a last-minute idea. Very effective!

Jumbo lolly sticks cut in half (you can use scissors), crepe paper streamers (we attached them with a mixture of pritt stick and sellotape), foil mini pie dishes. Some of us drew a happy face on one side and a crying face on the other. Also a tin from the kitchen and the plants from the book cases.

The kids started off carefully floating them - by the end, some were deliberately trying to drown him 😂

Friday, 23 August 2019

Poundland can see me coming :-)

photo of pencilcase with a monster's face :-)

Not sure what I'm going to keep in him yet, but I'll think of something. Chargers, maybe.

Monday, 19 August 2019


"How will you define "success" for this collection? 
Wow, good question. There are so many different metrics. At the end of the day, I need to feel like I’ve told the truth. So that’s the first measure of success for me. Beyond that, hearing that the songs found people where they were and helped them would be the second measure. And beyond that, I know my label and management hopes it succeeds commercially. I hope for that, too, because it will mean I can make another record and keep doing this work. Commercial success also reflects that you’ve struck a nerve and that it’s connecting with people, which is important to me as an artist who sees my music more as a way to serve than as a mode of personal expression."

~ Jason Gray

Thursday, 1 August 2019


I'm working on some commissioned illustrations about Nicodemus, to match with some previous illustrations I did of the woman at the well.

As always, apologies for paranoid watermarking - I do this when posting commissioned work to protect my clients' rights.

Interestingly, both stories mention the time of day the person spoke to Jesus - Nicodemus came to see Jesus at night; the woman met Jesus when she went to the well around midday. I might reflect this in the colours of the borders.

We are often told - as a fact - that Nicodemus came at night because he was worried that others would see him during the day, and that the woman came to the well at midday because she was a social outcast as a result of her immoral behaviour*, and she knew no-one else would be around at that time.


Or maybe Nicodemus was extremely busy during the day, and he came at the first opportunity he had. Maybe the woman had accidentally spilt the water she had already gathered at the normal time, and this was an unscheduled emergency trip.


The point is we don't know, and any suggested reasons - however plausible - should be clearly pointed out as speculation, and definitely not used to make important points.

*It's also assumed that she had been divorced 5 times. But maybe she had been widowed 5 times (or a mixture).

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Catch 22

To make a fire escape plan more useful,
you need to add more info.
Which makes it more complex
which makes it less useful...

Although, tbh, I doubt anyone looks at them anyway.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

The outward appearance

A game I've been working on as part of my next PowerPoint (David is chosen). Took waaaaaay longer than I anticipated!

I was originally just going to have two pictures in the PowerPoint: 1) the outward appearance, and 2) the outlines - some with red hearts (Christians) and some with grey hearts (not).

But judging by appearance is so ingrained that I was worried that it might backfire.

If the children were already prejudiced against a certain kind of person being a Christian, and that person was drawn with a grey heart, that might actually confirm their assumption that 'that kind of person definitely isn't a Christian' - even in conjunction with a verse that said the opposite.

Of course, I could make sure that all the 'less likely' people were marked as Christians and all the 'more likely' were not. But a) that would be silly and b) different people have different prejudices. Even in this country, never mind internationally.

So, in the PowerPoint itself, they all have red hearts. BUT there is also the game, and in that, random people are/are not Christians each time you play.

I suppose this could be classed as another example of Kirsty overthinking...
But I don't think so. As a Sunday School teacher, I am very aware of the unhelpful assumptions children make about these things. And the last thing I want to do is exacerbate them

Monday, 10 June 2019

The romanticism of the past

[Door opens with a spooky creeeeaaak]
And a drear enough place it was. Tallow candles glimmered in their niches, casting long flickering shadows out across the tall oaken desks and the ink-spattered ledgers that sat thereon. In short, it was the very acme of a soulless modern office.
"Why," said I, "This is the least spooky place imaginable."
~ John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme series 8 episode 1

Friday, 31 May 2019

A song for control freaks

Tbh I find the video a bit distracting (though fun). But the song's good.

Sometimes the things that worry us are huge things (for example, the singer's son is currently undergoing chemo). But sometimes the stress and anxiety and the 'need to control things' applies to much smaller things.

But "He already holds it all".

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Priority seating

Most trains have a small sign above the seats near the door, telling you to leave them for old/disabled/pregnant etc. people.

This is what a train I was on the other day has. Much more noticeable!

Monday, 13 May 2019


Your job here is to make one person look good, and that person is not you.
(Matt the speechwriter getting told off in Madam Secretary 1:18 The time is at hand)

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Outrageous grace


We do good, and we get rewarded.

Or, we do wrong, and we get punished.


(other hand behind back)

We do wrong, but we don’t get punished.


We do wrong, but we get a good gift.

My class of 6-8 year olds: WHAT?!?! No! That makes no sense!

Although I've taught the word 'grace' before, I think putting it in the contect of justice and mercy - and using the actions - really makes it clear how startling it actually is.

From Every Tribe and Language and People and Nation

Monday, 6 May 2019

Another DIY tip

If you can't find your sanding block, an old hymn book does a good job.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019


Sign in Glasgow Science Centre:

We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. George Bernard Shaw

I was there with my family - ranging in age from 39 to 77. We did lots of playing :-D

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Wild garlic & chicken sandwich


  • Chicken (I use frozen chunks)
  • Wild garlic leaves
  • Bread & butter
  • Black pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • A spot of oil 

  1. Heat oil in frying pan.
  2. Slice chicken thinly and add to pan (if using frozen, fry chunks until just soft enough to slice, and then return to pan).
  3. While cooking, grind on some pepper and add a dash of lemon juice.
  4. When nearly done, add chopped wild garlic leaves.
  5. Maybe add a (very little) water to deglaze the pan.
  6. Make sandwich.
  7. Eat!

I pick wild garlic when it's there (like now), chop it, and freeze it to use throughout the year.