A Quilted Gift

Last week I received a beautiful gift in the mail from my mom – a quilted runner that she had made:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

A Quilted Runner. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

My girls and I opened the parcel with excitement and oohed and aahed when we discovered what was inside. I find the quilts that my mom makes since her retirement beautiful and was pleased to receive a small piece of her work.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Gracing my coffee table. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

I have placed the runner on top of the coffee table in the living room. I now see it everyday when I pass the table and can enjoy it when I sit on the sofa. It brings colour and beauty to the corner of the room.

What graces your coffee table?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspried by the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge prompt: on top)

Posted in Quilting, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , , | 18 Comments

Flute playing

I have shared with you a little about my daughter who plays the violin. My oldest daughter chose the flute as her instrument  and I often hear her practising her music. Makes me proud to know that my girls are learning how to play a musical instrument, especially as I never learned to do so.

When my eldest has her flute lessons at school, she often leaves her instrument and music book lying on the table until she is ready to leave for school:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Flute and music boo. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

When she has a lesson, I can expect to hear her practise afterwards. At the moment she is learning the song Demons:

I love that the teacher is teaching them a piece of modern music. Sounds a little difficult – but she is slowly getting better with practise. Here is the piece played by a futist accompanied by piano:

I look forward to hearing the piece played by the class at the year end school concert.

Do you enjoy flute music?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by Jake’s prompt: Musical Instrument)

Posted in Music, My Photo Albums, Sunday Post | Tagged , , , , , , | 20 Comments

A Winter Memory

The shiniest weather result I have ever seen was in December 2013, a week before Christmas. We experienced an ice storm and the ice covered everything. The Christmas decorations, which were shiny anyway, became even more so with the film of ice.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Planters after the ice storm in December 2013. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Nothing, though, was as shiny as this shopping cart we saw outside Ikea:

Icy Shopping cart. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Icy Shopping cart. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The ice took months to melt. We are now past mid-April and thankfully the ice has disappeared. We are still waiting, however, for warm and sunny days to melt the memories of a long winter.

What are your memories of the last winter you experienced?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge prompt: shiny)

Posted in Cee's Fun Foto Challenge | Tagged , , , , | 33 Comments

The Glue that Binds

It is glue that binds, that keeps everything together. All she had to do was find out what would bind this group of disparate people together: the woman who no longer believed in the good of humankind; the man who wished to aggressively attack anyone who approached their group; the child who could not stop crying over the horror of seeing his parents murdered in front of him; the couple who claimed they believed in no religion and no sharing of sources. One thing they all had in common, though, was that they had survived the onslaught of the warriors: they had survived the brutality and the massacre. Now all they had to do was survive the aftermath. She had never before wanted to lead, to be responsible for the actions of others. But now things were different. Now she was the only one here, in this gloomy shelter, that truly believed that they could survive – and survive together. She was going to have to convince these people that their chances of survival was better than if they were alone. She was going to have to be the glue that binds; the one person that would create a tribe.

5-minute-friday-1Have you known a person that binds?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by the Five Minute Friday prompt: Glue)

Posted in Five Minute Friday | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

An Art Attack

On Saturday I attended a workshop for educators run by the Canadian Wildlife Federation. We were introduced to a range of activities to help children become more aware of the environment and the way in which it works. One of the activities was to create a fish based on the characteristics we had been given on a card with the recycled material available. We let our imagination flow:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

A fishy art attack. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Once the art work and creativity had been admired, the items used were put back in the bins to be reused. What a fun way to teach children about the characteristics of fish. I would, of course, have to take many pictures before dismantling the art work :)

Doing the activity reminded me of a show my children loved to watch when they were younger: Art Attack. Here is a clip I found of one of the huge art attack’s that Neil Buchanan (the host) did on his show:

We always loved watching to see what he came up with.

Have you ever done an Art Attack?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014


Posted in Learning and Teaching | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments

Remembering Odette


© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

My grandmother, Odette. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

She was a woman whom I admired a lot. My grandmother, Odette. She was the matriarch of the family and everyone wanted to spend time with her: children, adults, and even in-laws. She came from an era in which women were expected to behave as ladies. And she always did. Polite. Friendly. Able to hold a conversation. A woman with a sense of humour and a beautiful singing voice. She knew modern music and opera – singing both to the delight of young and old. She could hold a conversation on current events, and also talk about the past or anything that interested the person she was speaking to. She was the glue that held my family together – my aunts and uncles, cousins, in-laws and family friends. We would do all we could to please her and to make the time she spent with us memorable.

When I began university, I made two decisions: to learn French, and to spend more time with certain people in my life. Ma grand-mère was one of them. With her not only did I practise my fledging French, but I also got to know her as an adult. She no longer was a grandmother, but a friend. I would cook with her on the weekends we spent together: sifting through lentils in search for stones, cleaning the leaves and stems of the Chou-Chou plant so she could cook them, watching her as she created magic tastes in the kitchen. I spent many Friday afternoons with her talking about her past experiences, listening to her advice, telling her my hopes and dreams. Time spent alone with her was magical and I never thought it would end.

I now think of her almost everyday; telling her the thoughts in my mind. I think of things that I know she would have enjoyed. I think of things I know she would have been proud of. I look at the photograph I have of her on my table and know that I would like to age as gracefully as her. She is still a role model to me and I can only hope to live my life out as she did filled with love and a warm heart.

How do you remember your grandmother?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by the A – Z challenge hosted by Frizz. This week O has been tagged)

Posted in A - Z Challenge, Memoirs | Tagged , , , , , | 50 Comments

A Voortrekker Display

The last time I was in South Africa, I took my children to see a monument I had seen many times as a school-going child.

In front of the Voortrekker Monument, and the first flight of stairs I climbed to get to the top. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

In front of the Voortrekker Monument, and the first flight of stairs I climbed to get to the top. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

I have posted on this unusual monument before (the architectural highlights, the voortrekker’s wagon, its unique characteristics, and its windows). In this post, I want to share with you some of the interesting displays that have been laid out for visitors to see in the basement of the building.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Voortrekker dolls. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

My children were impressed by the toys the voortrekker children used to play with. The girls used to play with hand-made dolls (shown above) and the boys used to take the jaw bones and teeth of animals that had been killed and pretend they were wagons and oxen (shown below).

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Voortrekker boys’ toys. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

In the days of the voortrekkers, people used to use gunpowder in their guns. Hollowed out horns were used to store the gunpowder in. These were slung over the hunter’s shoulder.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Holders for gu powder. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Even the guns they used were a lot different from what we see today:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Voortrekker guns. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The one display case held an array of interesting objects. The wood was all hand carved and the objects looked more unique than those we find today. Here is a shaving kit used by the men:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Decorated shaving kit. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Some embroidery samplers were laid out to show the women’s skill at sewing;

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

An embroidery sampler. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Each family would have a Bible from which they would read every night:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

A Family Bible. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

In the front of each Bible, the family tree would be inserted:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

A Family Tree. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The writing implements they used to use were a quill and ink. It is amazing how beautiful the penmanship was:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Writing implements. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Clothes during that time were handmade. Christening dresses were used more than once within a family:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Handmade christening dress. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Hats and personal items were uniquely embroidered:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Needle book with pins and thread. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The voortrekker women wore hats that protected their face and neck from the sun:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Voortrekker women hats. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

There was a display up showing us what the men and women wore during that time. My picture is a little fuzzy as the lighting in the basement is not very bright. The picture, however, does give you an idea of the clothes they wore. The ones pictured here would have been their Sunday best – the clothing they would have worn to go to church.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Voortrekker clothing. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The men wore shoes (veldskoene) made from the hide of the animals they had killed for food.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Veldskoene. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

On display was also a Zulu shield, assegai (spear) and animal hide that the warriors would use in battle.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

A Zulu warrior’s kit. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

We enjoyed strolling around in the basement and looking at these items. They helped to give us a sense of who the voortrekkers were. My children enjoyed their mini history lesson and came out of the monument asking many questions about the past.

Do you enjoy visiting displays of the past?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was created as a response to a comment made by Belinda at Busy Mind Thinking on one of my Voortrekker Monument posts. The weekly photo challenge at WordPress encouraged me to complete the post that had been sitting in my draft box.)


Posted in South Africa, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , , , | 51 Comments

View from a Playground

Yesterday I attended a workshop for educators on Wildlife Education given by the Canadian Wildlife Federation. We spent a lot of time outside exploring activities that we could do outside with the children we teach. From the playground, we saw the school building – which is an old house that has been renovated and extended for its new purpose. When I saw the following, I knew I had to take the photo in black and white to see what it would look like. I share with you the picture that I created on my Instagram account:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

View from a playground. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

I like that this huge old house is now filled with the sound of children learning. So much better than being pulled down and replaced by a condo.

mergeyes_widgetWhat did you see yesterday?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post, and photo, was inspired by Paula’s Black & White Sunday challenge)

Posted in Black and White Sunday | Tagged , , , | 19 Comments

A Patterned Floor

One of the things one has to do when visiting the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria, South Africa is to climb to the top of the building. From the top, one looks down and is about to see the beautiful patterned floor.

Sunlight lightens the interior of the building as seen from the top of the monument. From this view you can also see the Cenotaph. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

The patterned floor of the Voortrekker Monument. . © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

They have recently installed a small elevator so that those who are unable to climb the steep, narrow stairs can still look down from high.

Where have you seen patterned floors?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge. This week’s prompt is: patterns)


Posted in Cee's Fun Foto Challenge | Tagged , , , , | 38 Comments


I take the tubs put and fill them with tempura paint. Grabbing some brushes, I place them on the table with the paint. “Yay! Madame is putting out the paint.” There is space for only four at a time at the table. Eager faces look at me and I choose four children whom I know will not come and paint once engaged in something else. Taping the paper to the table, the boys and girls are already chatting about what it is they are going to paint. I leave them to it. Their imagination soars as they dip their brushes into the paint and begin creating art on a blank sheet of white paper. The happy chatter pleases me, and I look forward to seeing what the little artists will produce today.

Painting with tempura paint © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Painting with tempura paint © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Do you often gt the chance to paint?


© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by the Five Minute Friday prompt: paint)

Posted in A Quick Note | 24 Comments