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.


Saw this in Pollok Park on Easter Sunday.

I thought cormorants only lived by the sea, but evidently not.

Saturday, 20 April 2019


Today I met a wee girl who had one of these:

Sound marketing ploy:  unicorns are in; stick a horn on everything and it'll sell.

Friday, 19 April 2019

Brought near

... you were without Christ, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Ephesians 2v12-13

I thought of this verse because of the incongruity - and appropriateness - of celebrating a Good Friday meal with pulled pork. Non-kosher gentiles brought in to God's people by the death of the Jewish Messiah.

Thursday, 11 April 2019


Looking at a map of Sicily. First two things I see marked are Lidl and McDonalds.

Sunday, 7 April 2019


We were discussing what you could use to mend broken things:

Photo of needle & thread, screwdriver, wood glue and polyfilla

Me: Sometimes other things can get broken – like a friendship. Could we use any of these things to mend a friendship?
Children: No!
Child: You could use some of them to make it worse, though... 

Unfortunately I had no time to explore this interesting suggestion :-)

Friday, 5 April 2019

A bizarre thought

Every time Jesus celebrated the Passover, he was celebrating the fact that he himself (as God) had rescued his own (human) ancestors from Egypt.

It's worse than Back to the Future!

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Golden bogey

We did Isaac & Rebekah in SS on Sunday.

Does she have a golden bogey? No, it's a nose ring. (Discussion on how nose rings work - I was surprised it seemed so odd to them). Would it hurt? No, it's just like earrings - it doesn't hurt to put them in. Assuming she already had her nose pierced. Then why can't you see a nose ring on the other picture? That's a small picture, you wouldn't be able to see it. And maybe she didn't wear jewelry to go and collect water...

Only much, much longer...

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Christian book covers

Recently I've been reading a great site where self publishers submit their book cover designs, so that people can critique them and they can make them better - and not end up with a cover that screams 'self published'.

One of the books recently was a Christian book, and everyone seemed concerned that it didn't look 'Christian' enough. Which puzzled me, as there are so many genres of Christian books that I would expect them all to look different. And I certainly wouldn't expect any explicitly Christian imagery on them.

Anyway, I thought I'd check it out. So I did a quick survey of Christian book covers - ones on display on my church bookstall, and ones from my own shelf that have new-ish covers (after 2000).

Photos below, with captions which are not really relevant to the question :-)

Conclusion: Out of 37 books, only two had explicit Christian imagery (a Bible and a small cross).
Typographic covers with no imagery at all are very common.

Of course, a selection of books from a different church (or even the same church in a diffeerent month), and from another individual's book case might look completely different.

The point is that what matters is not that it 'looks Christian', but that it looks like the kind of Christian book the ideal reader likes to read (because all Christians do not like all Christian books, obviously).

[Edit: I was looking at imagery only, someone pointed out that the titles of most of those books do make it clear it's a Christian book. The problem is if nothing does.]

*I really like the 'FOR  YOU' series of book covers. This is one of the less interesting ones.
*Some of these covers are terribly boring.
*My church is not unhealthily obsessed with Revelation - we just happen to be doing a preaching series on it just now!

*Could the cover for The Historical Reliability of the Gospels be any more boring?
*A Biblical History of Israel has typical commentary design - brown, with a historical painting.
*True Friendship looks like a book on homosexuality, which it isn't. Adding another figure to one group would have solved that.
*The CS Lewis covers look nice, but don't reflect the content at all. Miracles gives the impression it's about seeing life as a miracle with childlike wonder or something. It's not. It is about do real supernatural miracles happen?
*I would never have chosen God knows your name based on the cover. But as it was a present I read it, and it's good. And not the kind of book suggested by the cover at all (but maybe the kind of cover the target audience likes?)

*These fiction books have more saturated, warmer colour scemes in general.
*The ones written by women all have a large photo of a face. The ones written by men either have no face or a small one.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

DIY tips

In the absence of a rubber mallet, a large broom makes a suitable - if unwieldy - subsitute.

Saturday, 23 March 2019

An evening dress - with pockets!

I've been watching Madam Secretary as a wee change from Stargate.

This is a sensible evening dress. Elegant and practical.

Thought I needed a completely frivolous blog post for a change!

Tuesday, 19 March 2019


A captcha consisting of fluorescent green numbers scattered on a white background, heavily scored through with random black lines, may well be unreadable by evil robots.

It's certainly unreadable by humans.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Biblical geekery (patriarchs' ages)

As I pointed out previously, when you do the maths, Jacob was 77 when when ran away. BUT the patriarchs lived a really long time, so maybe they didn't age as quickly?

This affects how I draw them. Jacob and Abraham were more or less ages with each other when they left home, yet we think of - and draw - Jacob as a young man and Abraham as an old man. Which makes no sense.

So, I made a graph.

I set three points:
  • I made 17 the same on both, because I can't imagine Jacob sending his treasured son 50 miles on his own when he was a little kid.
  • I made Sarah's age at the birth of Isaac the equivalent of 60. This made her definitely too old to have a baby. I didn't want to make her much younger, as Abraham also doubted that he could father a child.
  • The oldest to die were Isaac and Abraham - and they were a lot older than the others. So I set the upper limit at 120, the oldest age that people live in modern times.
Then I made a curve, and drew lines.

Grey shaded bit = 'old' but not necessarily very old.

What I like about this is that all the age equivalents (except the ones that are meant to be laughable) seem sensible. People die at sensible ages. Jacob gets married late, but not ridiculously old (George Clooney, not Hugh Hefner 😀).

Now I'm going back over my other patriarchs PowerPoints to make greyness of hair a bit more consistent - though of course people vary widely.

Here's a list if you prefer. Equivalents in brackets.

Joe sold - 17 (17)
Esau married  - 40 (34)
Isaac married - 40 (34)

Isaac when J&E born - 60 (46)
Sarah leaves - 65 (48)

Abraham leaves - 75 (53)
Jacob runs away - 77 (54)
Jacob gets married - 84 (57)
Abraham has Ishmael - 86 (58)

Sarah has Isaac - 90 (60)
Jacob has Joseph - 91 (61)
Abraham has Isaac - 100 (65)
Jacob when Joe sold - 108 (68)
Joe dies - 110 (69)

Sarah dies - 127 (77)
Jacob goes to Egypt - 130 (78)

Isaac blind - 137 (82)
Jacob dies - 147 (88)

Abraham dies - 175 (113)
Isaac dies - 180 (120)

Did you know?

If all of the American presidents stood on each other's shoulders, they would be slightly taller than the leaning tower of Pisa, but shorter than an unrolled toilet roll.
(Info from Thing Explainer by Randall Munroe)

Monday, 11 March 2019

Fixing angel

I wasn't happy with the angel's clothes, so I redid them in clip studio (I'm not yet comfortable doing a lot of inking in it, but it's fine for small amounts.)

Much better!

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Biblical geekery (Jacob)

This is some stuff I worked out ages ago.

Sometimes we can get the completely wrong idea about how old people in the Bible were, or how long stuff took. But sometimes all it needs is careful reading and simple maths.

Here's some working for Jacob.

  • Jacob runs away
  • Works 7 years, then marries Rachel & Leah
  • Works 7 more years, during which time he has 12 children - it is possible! (see below) Joseph is born near the end of this time. (Gen 30v25)
  • Works 6 years to gain his flocks. (Gen 31v41)
  • After 20 years with Laban, he leaves. (Gen 31v38,41)
  • Joseph was 17 when he was sold (Gen 37v2)
  • He became Prime Minister of Egypt at the age of 30 (Gen 41v46)
  • There were 7 good years 
  • Two years into the famine, (Gen 45v11) Joseph sent for Jacob - Jacob was 130 (Gen 47v9)
If Jacob came to Egypt when he was 130, and Joseph was 39 (30 +7+2), Joseph was born when Jacob was 91.

Here's a chart showing how you can fit the birth of 12 children into 7 years.


This means that what we are often told - Joseph was much younger than his brothers - is wrong.

And here's a table showing how old Jacob and each of his children was at each point in the story.


Jacob seems very old - but presumably, since they lived so long, they also got older slower. We could perhaps imagine Jacob as being the equivalent of in his 30s/40s when he leaves? I need to do more work on this. [Edit - I have now done so, and he's in his mid 50's!]

Which also has implications for how we imagine Abraham - he was 75 when he left Harran. And if Jacob wasn't yet old at 77, Abraham wasn't yet old either. And all it says about Sarah at this point (aged 65) is that she was unable to have children - not yet that she was too old.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

John Wesley

"He liked church; he liked doing churchy things; he was very well behaved - but he wasn't Jesus' friend. One day he found out from the Bible that he could be Jesus' friend - not because he liked church, churchy things and being good, but because Jesus died on the cross for him"
~ Claire Heath-Whyte (Everyone a child should know)
Such an important thing for church kids to learn.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Inking video

Another video - inking the same illustration as the previous pencil video.
Real time - inking is much quicker than pencils, if I do the pencils properly.

Friday, 22 February 2019

Pencilling video

This is me drawing 'pencils' for an illustration for a new PowerPoint. Took about 40 minutes in real life - this is 4x speed.

This took far longer to edit than record!

[Edit - just discovered that, while the word used for 'spring' does not necessarily mean a well, it clearly is called a well in v13 - oops!]

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink

I was watching an episode of Stargate Atlantis in which someone comments that 'it takes forever to get things from Earth that aren't vital to the success of the mission'.

Elsewhere in the episode, there are several scenes in the cafeteria:

From Stargate Atlantis 3:17 "Sunday"

Is it vital to the mission that they have Evian water to drink?

This is Atlantis:

Admittedly, the water surrounding it is salt water. But surely an ultra-high-tech city like this would have a desalination plant?

Or, if they really want spring water, the mainland isn't too far away.

I can easily suspend my disbelief to accept that they have found the lost city of Altantis in the Pegasus galaxy, and that they have a ship with hyperspace drives that they can use to get there.

But importing bottled water 3 million light years? That's unbelievable.

Different horizon line

This is how I drew it at first. It's fine:

This, however,  looks so much better:

(Her left arm is far too short in both)

Thursday, 14 February 2019

How to confuse people.

You're making a video demonstrating a website plugin which people can use to add features to their online shop.

The product you demonstrate buying from the shop is the plugin itself.

It would be much easier to follow if you made a dummy shop selling T-shirts or something.

(Also, give people no info on how to download the plugin once they purchase it. [Edit: I contacted them and they had updated their site and accidentally missed out the download button 😂])

Friday, 8 February 2019


I liked this scene anyway, but something I read made me think of it in the context of God the Father, Jesus, and the cross - vague parallells only, of course. (Now that I think of it, Vala is basically Peter in Matthew 16.)

Brief context: Daniel is trying to make a vital weapon, using a machine which nearly killed a former member of their team a few years ago.

He did not even spare his own Son but offered him up for us all.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

A spoonful of sugar

A couple of years ago I did a poster about sugar in drinks for a friend who is a teacher.

From Hillpark Secondary's Twitter - click for complete tweet.

Unfortunately, a ceiling leak ruined it, so she asked me to make a new one.

What was fascinating, was how much less sugar there is in many of the drinks than there used to be.

I also added a teaspoon beside each, with the approximate number of teaspoons of sugar written on it. Much more meaningful than grammes. Frijj has 10¾ teaspoons!?! (although that is two full glasses).

Wednesday, 16 January 2019


Questions I was expecting to be asked during our lesson about Jesus growing up:
  • Did he go to school?
  • How many brothers and sisters did he have? What were their names? 
Questions I was actually asked:
  • Would the rest of their family and friends have got back to Nazareth by the time Mary and Joseph found Jesus?
  • If Jesus never did anything wrong, how come Mary gave him into trouble?
  • How can we be Jesus' brothers and sisters (referring to Heb 2v11) if God never got married?

Monday, 14 January 2019

Jesus grew up like us

Glad to see our Sunday school kids don't seem to be influenced by the heresy of Docetism.

(Although if I did this activity again, I would omit the word 'toys' because there's no proof either way, and despite the teachers suggesting that he probably did have some simple homemade toys, the kids decided he didn't, so it sits awkwardly in among the sins, doing nothing useful.)


The covers of my church's new hymn books are all different colours. This makes me happy.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

DIY tip

Putting Vaseline on screws makes a huge difference.

Don't listen

Don't listen to the snake
for he lies and he takes
your faith, your hope away from you.
~Josh Garrels

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Nice design

Maybe this is common on lots of phones, but I never had it before this one.
When you have music playing but the lock screen on, the wallpaper is taken from the album cover and the controls are colour matched to it.


Monday, 7 January 2019

'Life' drawing

Got out of the habit of doing this. But it's useful. And fun!

Poses from Senshistock sketch.

Friday, 4 January 2019

Pilot me

This seemed a good song for the beginning of a year.
(The words aren't very clear so I've put them below.)

I will arise and follow you over
Savior please pilot me
Over the waves and through every sorrow
Savior please pilot me
O Lord

When I have no strength left to follow
Fall on my knees - pilot me
May your sunrise lead me on
Over the seas - Savior pilot me
O Lord
Josh Garrels

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Happy New Year!

Was reading this the other day and it seemed a good quote for the New Year.
When you met your father on the hill tonight, you stood and spoke together on the same spot; and although one of you was going up and the other coming down, at a little distance no one could have told which was bound in the one direction and which in the other. Just so two people may be in the same spot in manners and behaviour, and yet one may be getting better and the other worse, which is the greatest of all differences that could possibly exist between them.
~from The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald