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Hoop & Stick

March 19, 2011

More good object manipulation:  Nicolas Longuechaud plays with hoop and short staff.  Hoop isolations + point isolations make for some interesting patterns. Nice! 🙂

Kidult Konkokshuns #2

March 16, 2011

More poi geekery by my beautiful boyfriend, Jean.  🙂

fun with hyperloops!

How a Small Idea grew into Something Special for a Big Girl

March 15, 2011

Sewing Project ~ Fabric Activity Book

It was a very special little girl’s birthday yesterday – daughter of our long-time friend and neighbour, Hayden.  Emily turned 6 and this is the gift I made for her.

It started with me thinking that Emily needs an activity pack of some sort.  Her father is absolutely wonderful and makes more effort than any dad I know to make their time together special:  outings, beach, zoo, etc.  But I was thinking of something hands-on to keep her busy during the quiet inbetween times.

So I thought:  she needs a clipboard (so that she can draw anywhere, at home, in the car, etc.), things with which to make marks (pencils, pens), cutting things (pair of scissors), things to cut (coloured & patterned papers), sticking things (clear tape, glue stick), stickers, a sketchbook, colouring-in pages and something to contain all these things.  (Of course she already has some of these things as well as stencils, crayons and so on.)  Then I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if this whole pack was a contained unit.

And so I put aside a sewing job (a custom djembe drum bag) and I began pulling out some materials.   I found a plastic covered clipboard that had lost it’s clip, some dolphin-print fabric my mom had sent in a bag of fabric scraps, clear plastic leftover from the Stuffed With Love plushies, turquoise shower-proof fabric from my box of practice poi-making materials, some blue zips in my zip box, velcro and webbing, both of which I always seem to have, and red polar fleece which I’ve been using to create flaming scarves.  And so I could start.

I didn’t have a very clear idea in the beginning but I knew it would be some sort of folder with a hard back cover for pressing on and zipped pockets like pencil bags stitched into the facing page.  I measured up the dolphin fabric according to the folder (folded around one side with seam allowances top, bottom and the other side):  2 pieces (front and back).  Then I started with the pockets (what would become page 3).  The short zips got fabric sewn onto each end to bring them to the same width as the folder.  Using fabric strips I bound the long edges of the short and long zips  (you could use bias binding).   I then top-stitched the zips in turn to pieces of folder-width clear fabric.  As I hadn’t planned in advance and was making it all up on the fly, after the third zip I realised there was only place for 3 pockets.  I realised I could not attach these to the inside of the front cover because I still needed to make a place for papers and besides I had another long zip over and obviously 3 pockets were too few.  So I decided on including another page within the folder (page 2/3).  I’d keep the drawing things facing the drawing surface.  On the back of this page, with shower-proof fabric backing for ease of sliding, I sewed a clear plastic pocket for papers, a sketchbook etc.  I used an X-ray sheet cut to size and inserted between the fabric layers for just the right amount of stiffness for the page.

Now I needed a place for pens and stickers.  These pockets I sewed on the back of the front cover, positioning the pens in the middle so they wouldn’t take up the same thickness-space as the pencils on the following page so making the folder too bulky.  Below was space for a sticker pouch.  I cut the sticker packs up into smaller units to fit in.  Luckily the space was perfect.  This left a space at the top of the page and I found one more small blue zip.  Instead of clear plastic I decided to sew a small fabric pocket for “secret” stuff.  I have no idea what kind of “secret” stuff but every little girl needs a tiny bit of mystery and privacy and a place to put little bits and pieces.  This page (front cover on the other side) is padded with a soft carpeting which I am using as one of the layers of padding in the djembe drum bag.  This gives it structure while at the same time being puffy.

Now since this book/folder/activity pack is specifically and especially Emily’s, of course she needs her name on the front, don’t you agree?  I admit I was not keen to applique individual letters so I found a legible font and adjusted the kerning between each pair of letters until they touched.  I then flipped the word image horizontally (so I could mark it on the back of the polar fleece), printed it, handed it to Jean to cut out then pinned it to the polar fleece (back), marking around the edges with a permanent marker (be prepared for black fingers if you try this at home), cut the joined-together letters out and stitched them down with red cotton.  Then I stitched between the letters with dark blue cotton, about 4 or 5 times back and forth.  This divided them into individual, legible letters.  Clever, hey?

Now I could start putting it all together.  First I had to sew the velcro tab to close the folder.  I made a rectangular strip, padded with batting for puffiness and tactile satisfaction when closing and opening the folder and attached the soft side of the velcro.  This is important as (assuming a right-handed child) this strip will be to the right of the drawing surface when the folder is open.  The scratchy strip is attached to the front cover.  I stitched the outside edges of the back cover (right sides facing) and inserted the clipboard, stitched the outside edges of the middle page (right sides facing) and inserted the X-ray sheet, and stitched the outside edges of the front cover (right sides facing) and inserted the carpet-padding.  Then I turned the inside (spine) edges of the of each page in and top-stitched down.  After breaking 3 machine needles in the space of as many minutes sewing the front page to the middle page (due to the thickness) I resorted to hand stitching them together.  Now I had to stitch the pages to a spine (a strip of nylon webbing).  This I had to do by hand too.  I didn’t have any strong nylon thread so I pulled 3 strands from a piece of soft nylon cord and used that.

Lastly I sourced, adapted and printed some colouring-in pages from the internet:  dolphins (to complement the fabric theme and because Emily loves the sea), groovy girls doing things like surfing, camping, skate-boarding and playing soccer (activities Emily and her dad enjoy together), some African animals, butterflies, her name, the number 6, etc.  I glued one of these pages to the front cover of the sketchbook.  Now the best bit:  putting all the bits into their appropriate pockets and pouches.  Yay!!! all done:  a complete activity pack – oh so pretty and organised, just like Emily!  🙂

( link to Unwrapping pics)

Kidult Konkokshuns #1

March 11, 2011

My incredibly talented boyfriend, Jean,  is a self-confessed poi geek.  🙂  Here he is recording some exploration of the potential of some technical moves and combinations.

Jean’s description:

The 1st in a series of clips where Im just recording some ideas and patterns from various poi moves.

This one has some butterfly and extension ideas, an almost made hyperloop thingy, some floor plane to wall plane stall / pendulums.  And lastly some flowers to stalls plane changes.

Geeky Goodness

March 11, 2011

Cleverness + Playfulness = Amused Satisfaction.  Lovely!  I have a kind of Buddha-smile on my face right now.  🙂

Some of the comments are pretty cool too:

  • HEY. Congratulations. You’ve been linked on Geekologie. That’s something to be proud of.

  • my goodness you are brilliant. algorhythms, fractals, logic, all in the form of plastic snakes. and you are funny too. if i was a dude i would be dying to be your boyfriend. as it is i am a chick and straight, so i will just wish to meet you someday irl =]

  • i do enjoy a fractal curve from time to time

  • why did i like this video so much? must be something about your voice. Soothing in a charming way

  • Do I want to know what she does with those snakes when the camera isn’t rolling?

  • she has the sexiest brain i’ve ever listened to…

  • …now i’m tempted to go out and obtain some snakes….

  • I want to marry you. RIGHT NOW!

  • this video turns me on. it kinda says a lot about what i find attractive in females. i like observant, enthusiastic, intelligent, curious, confidant, females.

  • I think I love you 😛

  • This is probably one of the most charming things I’ve ever witnessed in my entire life

  • snake snake snake snake snake snake snake

First Burn ~ Blaze Beginners

March 10, 2011

Blaze Firedancing / Poi School

My current Beginners  class is the sweetest, keenest, fastest group I have ever taught!  Look at these happy, smiling faces (left to right):  Jo-Ann, Megan W,  me, Sue-Ann, Karinne,  Megan D, Stef (Kasandra had already left) and Kiba (aka `Fire Dog’ ~ she manages to photo bomb most firedancing pics and videos).

Wow, these girls are on fire!

Their happiness, enthusiasm, consistency of attendance & evident practice make them a pleasure to teach.  🙂

This Monday was their sixth poi class and I’d said they could light up with fire poi.  They arrived super excited and during the flow session I could tell they’d been practising.  At the end of the class I taught them about fire poi equipment, fuel, procedures and safety.

Their First Burn was fantastic ~ every one did so well!  I am so proud. 😀  Happy faces lit up by spinning flames, big smiles and shiny eyes; vocal appreciation of each others’ achievements, pride in their own ~ just lovely.

Photos by Estafanio Romero (Stef).

Dubstep Dance

March 1, 2011

“Just Upright”.  Just incredible!  The possibilities of movement are explored with such clever creativity, coordinated precision, isolation, flow and discipline in this video clip of La Preuve par 4, performing at Juste Debout 2010 in Paris France ~ Pre-Selections Show:  Hip Hop New Style.

Featuring dancers Marvin “Mar20” Gofin (R.A.F Crew), Marion Motin (quality street and swagger crew), Julie Moreau (swagger crew), Nicolas Medea – Niko “So Fly”  (R.A.F crew)

Thanks, Richard Hartnell, for the heads up.

The YAK Films version.

Juste Debout (“just upright”) is an annual dance competition originating in France.  It is an international meeting of over 2 500 hip hop  dancers, selected after an international two months tour. The 6 disciplines represented are: Locking, Popping, Hip Hop New Style, House, Experimental and Top Rock.

Just Debout Blog.

More marvellous movement in March!