Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Sophie's Show and Tell: Episode One

Would you like to watch my very first video? It's called Sophie's Show and Tell: Episode One.

It stars Sophie Elvis (me!), Gemma-Rose the Great (my assistant) and the Mystery Box.

It was filmed with a Kodak pocket video camera and edited by me on Windows Movie Maker. I had a lot of fun doing it.

What is in the mystery box? I hope you'll watch my video to find out.

You might also like Sophie's behind-the-scenes story about how she made this video: Backstage with Sophie.

And here's Gemma-Rose's version of the same story: Movies, Cat Litter Boxes and Collages

If you are interested in the books in this video, here is a list of them:

The Long Walk by Kerry Greenwood

The Road to Gundagai by Jackie French

A Little Bush Maid by Mary Grant Bruce

The Whisperer by Fiona McIntosh

Nickolai of the North by Lucy Daniel Raby

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Black Tengu by Sandy Fussell

Chalet School series by Elinor M. Brent-Dryer

A note from Sue: Some of Jackie French's books contain language or themes which may not be appropriate for younger children. I usually read these books out loud to the girls so I can edit as I'm reading. I don't think the girls even realise I skip over words, or a sentence or two, here and there. 

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Fixing My Drawing Problems

I am sitting on the settee with my drawing. Mum is reading aloud from a book. Sophie is sitting in a armchair with some sewing. 

"What!" I say.

Mum looks over at me.

"I just can't get this person's head right," I cry, holding up my sketchbook for Mum to see the pear-shaped head I have drawn.

"Try again," Mum says.

"I've done lots of trying," I say, showing Mum my nearly full sketchbook.

Mum doesn't know how to help and gets back to reading.

Krista, a character from my novel 

Another time... I have just come back from a early morning run. My cheeks are glowing as I sit down at the table. Charlotte starts making porridge. What shall I do while I wait for my breakfast?

I get up again and grab my sketchbook. I have been drawing a character from the novel I am writing. All this character is missing is some colour. I find some colouring pencils and inking pens before settling back down.

I smile. All is going well. Just the eyes to go. I select a blue pen from the packet and try it out on a piece of paper. Yes, this looks like a nice colour. I colour in the eyes. Oh no, the pen is too dark. I look at my drawing. The eyes are way too dark. I have spoilt my picture.

I run to Mum's room shouting, "My picture! My picture!"

But this time Mum has an idea and comes to the rescue. "Just use some white-out on the eyes and we'll photocopy it and you can draw them on again."

 I smile, relief flooding across my face.

Gayla, a character from my novel and a pirate queen

"Maybe Charlotte can teach you how to put your pictures on the computer and colour them with Gimp," Mum says. "Then it would be easy to correct your mistakes."

So now I am now going to draw a picture, ink it and then scan it. Mum is going to help me download Gimp and then Charlotte's going to show me how to use it to colour in my drawing. And if I make a mistake I'm not going to get upset because I'll be able to delete it quickly!

Has anyone else ever used Gimp to colour in a drawing?

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Reporting In, Sergeant Slaughter

It's my second son Callum's birthday today. In honour of the occasion, I think we should post one of his stories. 

You didn't know Callum can write, did you? He used to write wonderful stories (until he got too busy with other things). I have quite a few stored away on my computer. They make me smile whenever I read them because Callum has a great sense of humour.

This story is only tiny. It was written many years ago when my husband Andy used to be responsible for cutting the boys' hair. Every few weeks or so, Andy would announce it was hair cutting day....

Dad says, “First victim.” I try and creep silently away. “Ahem,” says Dad. “First victim. “

I turn to flee but am caught and frogmarched to the operating chair. I gulp and say,  “Reporting in, Sergeant Slaughter.”

 “Sit here,” Dad says, as the blades begin to whirl.

“Eek, ouch, aargh, my golden locks,” I scream. After ages of torture I get down barely alive. I heave a sigh of relief. It’s over for a while. I have survived.

“Next,” says Dad.

Callum and Duncan, brothers who used to have their hair cut by...

Sergeant Slaughter!

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

A Three Times More Pretty Picture of Who?

A little while ago it was my birthday. My eldest sister Felicity rang to tell me she was sending me a present and it has arrived.

"Gemma-Rose," Mum said.

I hopped off the piano stool and peeked over Mum's shoulder at the computer screen on her lap.

There grinning at me was a very beautiful girl. Felicity had emailed me a very stylized and three times more pretty picture of who? ME.

"Do you want read the email?" Mum asked.

"Of course ," I said, taking the computer off her.

Felicity wrote that she had a professional artist draw the picture for me.

My smile stretched from ear to ear. It is always special when Felicity remembers our birthdays.

"You could write  a blog post about your wonderful sister," Mum suggested.

I think about it. Yes I could do that.

Thank you Felicity. It is a very nice picture.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Finishing My Abandoned Doll

I have a fleece doll that has been sitting abandoned on my desk for a long time. It has no legs and stuffing is coming out of the bottom of it. It is a sewing project that I never completed.

"Mum I would like to make this doll," I said shoving a sewing book under Mum's nose, and showing her a picture of a 'sausage' doll.

"Don't you think you should finish the doll that is sitting on your desk first?" Mum asked.

"I guess," I sighed.

Armed with a needle, the book and a legless doll, I started. First I stuffed the legs that I had already sewn. Then I sewed them to the body.

"How does she look?" I asked Mum.

"Great! Tomorrow I will help you with the hair," Mum offered.

Sophie decided to sew a doll too, so we went to the shops to get some fabric. Mum told us to get our shoes on, then we jumped into the car. The big girls stayed home so Sophie and I had Mum all to ourselves.

Mum parked in the car park then we rushed to the fabric shop.

I looked at a list I had written. "We need to get some white fleece," I told Mum.

We went whizzing round the shop grabbing  felt, fleece and embroidery floss.

                                              This is what I hope my doll is going to look like

"Is that all we need?" Mum asked.

"Yes thank you, Mum," Sophie grinned.

Mum bought the stuff then she teased, "I don't suppose you want morning tea."

"Course we do!" I cried.

"What kind of milkshakes do you want?"

"Chocolate," Sophie and I both said.

While we waited for the man to make our drinks, Mum asked us to buy some finger buns from Baker's Delight. Sophie and I chose our favourite kind, the ones with the sprinkles.

After we had morning tea, we went home.

Sophie and I turned Mum's bedroom into a sewing station and got to work. When I was done my doll had hair and a face and now I am sewing her a dress.

I love sewing even if it takes me a long time to finish some of my projects.


I finished my doll!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Birthday Banners With a Twist

Once upon a time birthday banners were boring. We’d draw out the words “Happy Birthday” and decorate the letters with spots, stripes, stars, triangles, whatever we could think of. Then we’d scribble on some colour and stick it to the wall.

For Imogen’s birthday I wanted to do something more exciting. It was up to me to draw yet another banner and I could not face the thought of another ordinary banner, nearly identical to the last banner we made. Then inspiration struck. With Sophie and Gemma-Rose’s help, I drew and coloured a banner with the characters from How to Train Your Dragon on it. We all love the characters from that movie, especially Toothless.

After my success with Imogen’s birthday, I decided to make another special banner for Gemma-Rose. And I knew just what to draw. We had just gone to see Frozen, so I decided that, as we loved the movie, I would draw a banner using some of the best characters from it.

Usually when I have my best ideas I only have a couple of days to do it in. But this time I was determined to start early. With a whole week to spare I found some paper, borrowed the sticky tape (to join the pieces of paper) and started drawing. I drew and rubbed bits out and inked and sighed and groaned over the pictures that refused to look right, but in the end I had finished a snowflake covered banner with the characters of Frozen.

It wasn’t perfect but Gemma-Rose loved it. So Mum took some pictures with her camera so that I could put them on the blog. I guess now I have to think of what I’m going to do for the next birthday. Dad has already requested a banner with all the characters from the Hobbit on it for his birthday. I have no idea how I am going to fit thirteen dwarves, a hobbit, a wizard and a dragon on a banner but I'll manage it somehow.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Doodling Favourite Words with Mum

For Christmas I was given two drawing books called Creative Lettering and Craft-A-Doodle. I was really excited and couldn't wait to use them.

Then yesterday I had an idea.

"Mum, do you want to do some drawing with me?" I asked hopefully.

"I would love to," Mum agreed. I grinned widely.

We flicked through the drawing books looking for something we would both like to do. We chose to make a page of favourite words from Creative Lettering. It sounded like a lot of fun.

We grabbed a rubber, some propeller pencils and our sketch books, then started. My first word was 'beamed'. Mum began with' family'.

So how did I choose my words? I wanted some happy words so I thought about my happy hairdresser story and some good words popped into my head. I had a lot of fun playing with fonts and drawing frames around the words. It was a lot easier than it looked and soon I was running out of room on my page.

I glanced over at Mum's sketch book. I was surprised at how different it was to mine. Hers had more doodles and really exciting frames.

Mum's B&W doodle

"Wow, that looks great," I told Mum.

"Yours looks lovely as well," Mum told me. I smiled from ear to ear.

My B&W doodle

Mum looked at her artwork. "Do you think this would look better with colour?" she asked.

"I bet it would," I agreed.

"Why don't we take photos of them how they are now and then put some colour on them?"   I nodded.

It was just about dinner time by the time we had finished taking the photos, so we cleaned up our mess. I planned to colour in my picture the next day.

In the evening when I went to talk to Mum, I saw her pens and coloured pencils all around her. She showed me her sketch book.

Mum's coloured doodle

"That is amazing!" I said. "It definitely looks better with colour."

Inspired, I couldn't wait to colour mine.

This morning I grabbed my pencils, pens and sketch book and tried to decide what colours to use. I sat there with no ideas. I picked up a random pencil and started to colour. I saw a green/blue pencil and used that as well. Before I knew it, I was almost finished.

I looked at what I had done and had to admit it was pretty impressive. I went to show Mum.

My coloured doodle

"Wow! I bet Dad would scan that for you and then you could write a blog post about it and put it on our blog," Mum told me. I thought this was a great idea and rushed over to Dad who was more than happy to do a bit of scanning for me.

Now I am writing the blog post!

Mum and I want to do some more drawing together. In the book Craft-a-Doodle there are two owl projects we both like. I can't wait to see which one we choose. We will post our drawings when they are done. Please look out for them!