Sunday, 23 February 2014

Natural dyes and paints

Yesterday I went to Firstsite, Colchester and worked with natural paints. First I needed inspiration so I headed to the roman mosaic to look at the patterns. I created a design of my own that represented water and lightning. 

Then I transferred the pattern onto special foam using a cotton wool bud with no cotton wool on. I choose a blue dye which looked like the night sky.

 I printed it onto different colours of paper.
The artist, Nabil Ali, told me that the dyes were created using natural materials. He used stinging nettles, madder, and egg shells.

When I got home I made my own dye. I picked some beetroot from the garden then cleaned and chopped it into little pieces. Next I cooked it and then waited for it to cool. 

It was quite runny and the image didn't really work well.  I tried it on different paper and that worked better. I was surprised that it was red and not purple as I expected.

Next time I might try a sharp pencil for the lines and normal lino painting ink as it seems stickier. 

Another great day at Firstsite.

Friday, 14 February 2014


My avocados are growing well aren't they? The tallest one from tip to pip is 51cm. The tree can grow up to 20 m. That's 40 times more. That won't fit in my house!

They are known as The Alligator Pear because their skin is rough like an alligators and it is shaped like a pear.

Mexico produces most of the worlds avocados.

Weird fact
In Ethiopia avocados are made into juice by mixing with sugar and milk and then served with Vimto and a slice of lemon. Yuk!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

The Willow Pattern Story

I've discovered stop motion animation this week. 

I was surprised that after hours and hours of hard labour the whole video only lasted 55 seconds.  I took 271 pictures. 

I used free 'Stop Motion'  on my ipad. It was easy to us. You could easily edit and upload the scenes. 
The hardest part was getting the people to stand up. It was also really difficult to add music. I also found it hard to move the birds. I would use strings next time.

I can't wait to see the new Lego movie. i wonder how many shots that took.

Review of Aquila Magazine

Aquila Magazine Review by Lex

The blogging brothers were sent a few Aquila magazines last month to review. I've finally got around to looking at them after reading all my Christmas books. ( By the way my favourite was Hunger Games) The magazine is aimed at bright 8-12 year olds. It is 'designed to provide children with challenges and of course, fun'. Aquila Magazine

I'd seen an advert for Aquila  inside other magazines but was not keen on subscribing as the drawn front covers looked like the magazine was for children younger than me. I received one with a photo on the cover and was more drawn to that one.

Each issue has a particular focus. I particularly enjoyed the one on Planets because this was my topic at school. There were space facts and lots of science activities but also maths puzzles, stories, making activities and games.

The magazine is aimed at smart 8-12 year ols. I don't think many 8 year olds could read this. Also a 12 year old wouldn't be seen dead reading a magazine with the drawn front covers. The cover and the contents do not match at all.

For me there was far too much information that was not really that interesting. If the same information was in smaller chunks and presented differently I may have read it and enjoyed it.

I really liked the joke section and I'd not seen these before.

Book titles:
Danger by Luke Out
Sweets by Candy Cane
In the garden by Rose Plant

The back page has a article called' Who told you that? ' and the idea is that it tells the truth about sayings. For example. ' Dogs only wag their tails when they are happy' We all think this is true but it is not the case. The article explains that dogs are trying to communicate with you. I really enjoyed these.

This magazine would make a great alternative to Google to find out homework facts on a particular topic.

I think this magazine would work in schools. In my classroom we read after lunch and I think being allowed to read a magazine (educational) would make a change. Even reluctant readers might be interested. 

To sum up... give it a go, it might be for you.