Moon sand

Marcus turned two recently, so Grandma brought him a birthday present when she came to stay last week – sand toys and moonsand.
Marcus spent a happy two and a half hours playing with it that afternoon, so I'd say that gift is a hit! And because I love watching children playing intently, you get to enjoy my overload of photos! :)
The moonsand was made from flour and baby oil (recipe here) so it smelt nice, and was nice and soft to play with (it doesn't scratch like real sand! And it was easily swept up at pack up time.


Thankful for…

Here's something I am really grateful for, and have been wanting to share for a while: fit2b and the Tummy Team.


I am grateful that my dear friend had the courage to refer me to the fit2b website when she learnt of it. Anyone who knows me in real life will know that I always have a 'mummy tummy' ( in other words, I always look five months pregnant even when I'm not). For many, many years I have been asked at least once a week 'when are you due'.


I have known all that time that something wasn't right w.r.t. my tummy, but the only response I ever got from midwives and doctors was 'well, you've had a baby/two babies/three babies/etc'. So I pushed on with life, and exercised hard, including running. I tried to research tummy support for running, because I knew that, although my pelvic floor is strong, my tummy wasn't 'holding itself' as well as it should.


Discovering fit2b and the Tummy Team has filled in the empty spaces that have been there for so long. I finally have a good understanding of how my core works. Although a mummy tummy is often due to a large diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal muscles), my DR was not too big. My muscles are simply weak. I now also know how to build up these muscles all day long, and avoid activities which damage them.


Being pregnant again, I am particularly concerned with how weak my core is. Towards the end of my last pregnancy, I could hardly walk. There were muscles which simply wouldn't work anymore. I found out about fit2b about a week before I found out that I was pregnant – and I am so glad I did. My bump is already quite large heavy, and I am nervous about having to carry the baby for another four months, but having my new knowledge (and people to go to for help if new issues arise) is a huge comfort.


The two companies work together. Fit2b is an online fitness company. Taking out a monthly membership gives you access to 70 or so online video workouts that are all tummy-safe (none of them include exercises that damage your core. Starting with very basic workouts that teach you how to engage your core, the workouts cover all levels of fitness.


If you have a larger diastasis recti, or a very weak core, fit2b will refer you to the Tummy Team for core rehab. I am currently completing a 6week prenatal core rehab program (online) with the Tummy Team. I have learnt so much about how our core was created, and how to heal it and care for it. I wish I'd known all this years ago.


Both fit2b and the Tummy Team credit God as the Creator of our amazing bodies, and stress the importance of our core as our God-given girdle, and how we were designed to be able heal. (Many women have been able to heal their core with these companies, where the doctor's only suggested solution was surgery.)


I could go on all day about the things I have learnt so far, but will spare you that here. I just really wanted to share, on the chance that this might be a great help to someone who reads this. Do go and visit the two companies online. There is so much good information there! I'm not sure how different this pregnancy will be compared to previous times, and I don't expect to have a flat tummy after six babies, but I am confident of gaining new strength in my core – strength to help me in all the tasks that go with the territory of being mum for many years to come. I'm super grateful for what fit2b and the Tummy Team have provided for myself and so many others around the world,




The Cat in the Hat comes to stay

The Cat in the Hat!
“We can have lot's of good fun that is funny!”
“I know some new tricks,”
Said the Cat in the Hat.
But our fish said, “No! No!
Make that cat go away!
Tell that Cat in the Hat
You do NOT want to play.”
“My tricks are not bad,”
Said the Cat in the Hat.
“Why, we can have
Lot's of good fun if you wish,
With a game that I call
UP-UP-UP with a fish!”
“Put me down!” said the fish.
“This is no fun at all!”
“Look at me!
Look at me now!” said the cat.
“With a cup and a cake
On the top of my hat!”
But then the hat fell off and the cup fell down and mummy pulled the cake off the hat too.
So then we had a grumpy Cat.
Ok, so someone got a bit carried away for dress up day again. Next time, tie my hands and feet together and don't let me anywhere near a fabric shop or a hardware shop! (My theory is that I potentially have three more children going through Grade 1 Dr Seuss Dressup Day, so any investment made now will pay off in the long run.
But yes, maybe the cake was taking things a bit far. My engineering studies failed me, and the hat proved too difficult to balance (even though it was made completely of polystyrene).




My time at Aspects of Kings Park is over. (The artworks will remain in display for the rest of September). It has been so nice to meet with so many people in the gallery shop. Thank you to everyone who stopped by!
Last week when I shared pictures of the shop, Ellen asked if I was managing to be productive there. I was! Actually, many people came to see the work-in-progress. People are always curious to know how the artworks are made, and this was a good opportunity to share! And with many curious people watching, you feel a bit obliged to work hard ;)
And I'm glad I had my work with me – it makes it so much easier to look interested and converse with people for four hours at a time. I should say, though, that the sewing machine was the star attraction! It brought people over for a look, who might have otherwise had no interest at all, and certainly triggered many memories!
Here below is the quilt I was working on, right before I packed up on Saturday – so close to being completely pieced!



Last night's task was to photograph my most recently completed quilt, for entry into an international juried exhibition. Scraping in before the deadline! (I don't usually like to cut the timing so fine, but that's just how it worked out this time. I can't share a picture of the quilt (that would disqualify my entry), but there are a few close-up photos here.

The quilt is titled 'The Boundless Energy of Children', and I was rather pleased to finally have a reason to pull out some of my engineering textbooks again (I completed a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Engineering before becoming a mum), to inspire the background stitching design, and to incorporate some energy-inspired formulas. (Just don't ask me what those formulas mean – it's a bit frightening to realise how much I no longer know!)


A Mere Impression

My days in Aspects of Kings Park have been wonderful so far. It's been great to meet so many people and share my work. Thank you to everyone who dropped by. Your enthusiasm is so stimulating. It's always rewarding to see people enjoying one's artwork.

Some people comment on all the wonderful colours in the artworks, or the shapes. I don't say it enough, but I do want my artwork to make people take a second look at the trees and shrubs around them. My artwork is merely an interpretation, aiming to capture some element of the beauty of the greatest work of art ever – Creation! The colours that I use in my artworks are all there in God's wonderful creative work. I can never do justice to the textures, colours, diversity and complexity of His Creation, but hopefully my artworks can serve as a small reminder.

I'll be in the shop again on Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week, between 11am and 3pm.


In My Portfolio: Nine Tiny Screen-Printed Art Quilts

These are such fun little pieces to make. I made this batch with botany in mind (in keeping with being feature artist at Aspects of Kings Park during the 2014 Kings Park Festival). Each artwork incorporates some of my hand-screen-printed fabric.

They are all around 19cm square and are available at Aspects of Kings Park for $60. They come unframed, but mounted on foam core board all ready to be inserted into a 25cm square IKEA RIBBA picture frame (check out some of the framed pieces in the shop when you visit to see what I mean). If your budget extends the far, I love how they look displayed as an array of four – a perfect feature for a gender-neutral nursery!


Thankful for…

Right now I am thankful for routines. We had a rough week last week. Not because of any one thing, just a combination of things such as a clingy, unwell one year old; an ongoing enuresis (bed wetting) program which didn't go so well last week week; associated lack of sleep; more appointments and two solo-parenting stints in two weeks. Our routines helped us to get through without too much aftermath.

I know that people often view our household from outside and assume that everything always runs like clockwork. Usually things do run smoothly, but only just. I picture it a bit like standing in the middle of a seesaw, trying to balance it at horizontal. That takes effort – you can't relax your guard. That's why I say 'only just' – it doesn't necessarily take much to upset the balance and tip the see saw. Especially when you are tired. Having routines in place means that even when I'm not on top of things, many things happen mostly as they should just because everyone considers them to be normal (e.g. the get-ready-for-school routines and the 5pm-pick-up-the-toys routine.

Now we are back our normal two-parents-vs-five-children status, and things are more manageable again. Still awfully thankful for those routines though – they help all of us to know what's expected and when!




Artwork delivered

It’s already a week ago that I dropped off my body of botanical artwork at Aspects of Kings Park. The day before was still spent mounting and wrapping artworks. Small artworks were mounted with Velcro onto foam core board (all ready for framing!). Some were mounted into frames ready for hanging. Larger works were rolled onto cardboard. Everything was wrapped in cellophane or bubble wrap and labelled.
There are so many things that go into preparing for something like this. Each time I have an event of any kind related to my artwork, I learn something new, and adjust my systems a little bit. That means that my preparation this time involves an accumulation of learning over many years. I would have found it a much bigger deal to prepare for something like this eight years ago! For example, this time I was very conscious of a point made by art business coach Alyson B. Stanfield, that you should always deliver your artwork well- and neatly packaged if you want others to value it – no wrapping it in a used shopping bag, or a garbage bag (unfortunately I can’t find the original post where she wrote about this).
It felt so good to know that I had done what I could to design, make, present and package the artworks when I dropped them off last week. It was lovely to meet some of the staff at Aspects, and a real treat to be able to leave it all in their capable hands for hanging and pricing. Hanging a body of artwork is a huge task! Marcus and I got to enjoy a relaxing coffee next door instead!
Phil popped in two days later during his lunch break and snapped these two photos for me. What a thrill to see them hanging in such a beautiful setting!

I’ll be at Aspects between 11am and 3pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, both this week (4-6 Sept) and next week (11-13 Sept). Maybe I’ll see you there?






In My Portfolio: Leaves Rustle 1

Leave Rustle

(c) Ruth de Vos 2014

Size: 60cm by 60cm

Materials: Procion fabric dye, cotton homespun, cotton linen blend, cotton batting

Techniques: hand-dyed, machine-pieced, machine- and hand-quilted


There are six pieces in this series. You can see them all below, and if you'd like to see them in real life (or even purchase one), be sure to pop in to Aspects of Kings Park during the month of September.