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Glittering Shards

Glittering Shards: May 2011

Glittering Shards

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Turning garden pavers into mosaic beauties

This is what it was like before...plain (boring) paving slabs.

Here's how it looks now....

Five more to go (a snail, a ladybird, dragonfly, cricket, bee!).

If you want to know how, I will post instructions soon (in haste right now, as we are packing to go off camping in our new tent...and there's a story to be told there too!).


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Make your own champagne in 5 easy steps!

Now, I wasn't planning on making champagne this weekend - I didn't even know the possibility was available to me. Yet, I kid you not, I now have a huge vat of champagne brewing in my kitchen,  thanks to a serendipitous chat with a good friend at the school gates on Friday afternoon.
"Come to the woods with us to pick elderflowers" she said. (Lets be clear, by woods, we are talking about a very precious group of 'urban' trees near our home). Just for the fun of the outdoors we went. It was a beautiful, sun-soaked day after all. But, by the end of the morning, the freeganist, nature-loving maker in me was enrolled in the whole escapade.
And so it was that my Saturday evening was spent  duly counting out how many heads of elderflowers we had collected so that I could calculate exactly how much champagne I could make (24 litres to be precise) before embarking on the task of brewing. Want to give it a go? Here's champagne making in 5 easy steps:

1. Collect elderflowers (when the flowers are open, not little bobbles - the smell was the giveaway)

2. Put elderflowers, chopped lemon and juice, sugar and white wine vinegar in a bucket with water.
Ok....yes, there's a little more to it and I followed this recipe by the ever-wonderful UK pioneer of self-sufficiency, Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall from River Cottage)
3. Wait a few days for it to ferment.

4. Bottle it (be careful what you use as bottles have been known to explode!) and leave for another week.

5. Drink and be happy.

So, champagne party at mine in 2 weeks..?

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

When art and community meet...

You are never to young or old to make mosaics.  And here is the proof.
These are pictures from one of the mosaic community projects I have been running in the last two months (yes, I've been a busy bee). Lots of women are gathering to make this mosaic celebrating our unity amidst our diversity.
Some of the participants - May, Caroline, Belle and Joti
The youngest participant has been 2 years old, and the oldest, Belle, is 91! She wins the prize for being my oldest ever student (and what a fantastic job she has been doing in the last 5 weeks).
Here's a little technique I invented to help people create neat borders to elements of the picture.  Use blu-tack to create an edge to each 'form' so that pieces are not stuck in the wrong places. Once each form is stuck, you just remove the blu-tack and voila'! Good for working with children too :)

We have 3 weeks left to finish this piece of community art (eek!) before it is unveiled in the community centre where it will live.  It has been wonderful sitting together, nipping, sticking and sharing stories with people of different ages and backgrounds (we have counted true Londoners, Scottish, Ugandan, Indian, Italian, Albanian, Pakistani, Sudanese, Jamaican and more amongst our origins!).  Don't you just love it when art and community meet..?

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Thursday, May 12, 2011


A new mosaic commission, made for a 40th wedding anniversary, has flown all the way to South Africa to its happy new owners.
Made of iridescent stained glass, Van Gogh glass, nuggets, crystal beads, vitreous tiles and amethyst beads given to me by the person who commissioned the piece. I think its a bit of a beauty.


Friday, May 06, 2011

A little loving ritual for mama's (& papa's!)

Every year, on the eve of my sweeet babes' birthdays (after the cake has been made and the birthday table laid out) I plod upstairs with a sheet of paper and an envelope. I sit up in bed and I start to write...

I think of the birthday boy or girl...what I remember of them in the year they have just lived, the funny stories, what they are into, the milestones they have memories and how I feel when I think about them. Then I put the letter in an envelope and address it "To ..... on the eve of your birthday".  And it goes into a memory box for them to discover in future years.

I don't know why I started this. Its just something I did instinctively on the eve of my daughters first birthday because I was so full of feelings about her first year and reminiscence about her birth that I just had to pour it out. And so this ritual began.

I do it because I just don't want to forget the details, the little things that make up this amazing journey of childhood-parenthood that we are on together. I do it because I imagine that one day, it will be meaningful for them to sit and read words about what they were like as little ones. Can you imagine what a gift it would be to have 18 letters like this, one for each year of your life?

Last Friday, my sweet baby boy turned 4. Our home has been hosting two bouts of chicken pox (all done now - phew!) so we had to rejig the birthday plans - and after watching a real princess being made (!) many of us gathered in the back garden, adorned with metres and metres of bunting for lots of fun and eating and singing to celebrate the day our beautiful Toby came to us.
Extra sweet was the little note I found taped to the dining room floor by daddy, to mark the spot where Toby splashed into the world!

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