Stop Motion Animation workshop


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So, I ended up going to a stop-motion animation workshop. It is something that has always intrigued me and I follow a few people involved in this area on social media. When I received a text from a friend about a weekend course in stop-motion animation two weeks ago, I thought ‘that’s really interesting’, but…

The but…. comes from before Christmas my Mac, which is new, getting damaged and with it a hefty bill.  A series of unfortunate events comes to mind….

Anyway fast forward to last Friday night week and my friend rang and said “well are you going to go to the stop motion animation workshop?”. My answer was “no, can’t really afford it and the kids have different things on this weekend”. When hearing this, my husband said “go for it”.


I am a fan of Neil Gaiman and Tim Burton, so films such as Coraline, Corpse Bride, Frankenweenie, James and the Giant Peach  and Wallace and Gromit just leave me smiling and in awe of how the whole team of people put it together and bring all of the characters to life.


Instead of using computers to render images and smoothly move characters, stop-motion animation on films like The Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline, requires animators to move tiny puppets a fraction of an inch at a time and then photograph them. The photos are put together and become a film.

On The Boxtrolls, they were able to complete 1 to 2 minutes of footage per week. Stop-motion animation really is an incredible art form that is so beautiful. I discovered a video about Deborah Cook who is a costume designer who worked on The Boxtrolls, Kubo and the two strings, ParaNorman and Fantastic Mr. Fox. Her work is so very intricate and detailed. The video is brilliant at showing the passion that people have for what they eat, breath and love. I really have such admiration for her. I hope you enjoy watching her work.

Ireland’s first ever stop-motion feature film,  is in production at the moment.’ Morten On The Ship of Fools’ will be produced by Galway- based studio Telegael. It tells the story of a 8 – year old boy called Morten,who dreams of being a captain just like his dad played by Brendan Gleeson.

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<p><a href=”″>&quot;Morten on the Ship of Fools&quot; trailer</a> from <a href=””>Nukufilm</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a>.</p>

Saturday morning came and waiting outside the studio, I wondered what was in store for us.  I sat down in the studio not sure what I was going to make. But I decided to just go free fall and let my hands do the decision making. It is a lovely way to work as normally I feel restricted when you are working from a drawing. Not having a drawing in front of me or any predetermined idea worked for me over this creative weekend. I said to myself this is my creative retreat weekend.


We got handed some wire and Jennifer showed us how to make the structure for the figure. You can buy Armature kits online. It’s fun making up the little structures out of the wire.

The wizard with his hand up feeling a bit underdressed ;))

Jennifer kidd was the artist running the workshops. Jennifer studied Fine Art in DIT and now is studying for a  MA in Experimental Animation // Royal College of Art // London // 2016 – 2018.  The workshop  took place in Temple Bar Gallery and Studio.

What my hands came up with at first glance was a monk with big bare feet. He then turned into a wizard. I decided at the last minute on Sunday morning to give him some goggles. So he looked a bit like the Doc out of the film Back to the future or a steam punk character with his goggles.

He looks like he is being blown away. He has his steam punk googles down and ready for action..

I decided he needed a patch on the back of his jacket. I also gave the coat some tails that were movable.

By giving him such big feet he was able to stand up really well.

Once we had our characters made, we discussed storyboards. We then decided on a background for our stop-motion animation.

Drawing the background



All the characters are marching..

If you think your children are interested there is a course in Rua Red Tallaght for 12 yrs upwards in stop-motion animation that looks really interesting.

I will be trying this out with my own kids and will write a blog about it in the coming weeks. I hope you step out of your comfort zones and do something different. Money permitting…..



Draw your mother’s portrait for Mother’s day giveaway

Draw your mother’s portrait for Mother’s Day giveaway and allow us turn it into a softie cushion here at Scatterpillar Designs for Mother’s day. Maybe picture as your super human hero or whatever comes into your mind at the time. Send your drawings to

This is  also for the dads spend some time with your little ones being creative.  Take a photograph of mum or print a photograph and have the photograph on the table. Grab the paper, crayons, markers, paint whatever comes to hand and have some fun drawing.

It also can be educational have a look at how other artists draw portraits such as Picasso his cubist style using shapes. You can talk about the different shapes  and what shapes they can see within peoples faces. Have your child draw out the different shapes, colour in shapes, cut them out and make face collages.

Picasso Pablo (dit), Ruiz Picasso Pablo (1881-1973). Paris, musÈe Picasso. MP166.

Paul Klee is a particular favourite of mine, who taught at the Bauhaus in Weimar from 1921 to 1926.

The first objective is to have lots of creative fun with them drawing. they are lots of different ideas that spring from a child’s mind once they sit down to draw. So I am really looking forward to the results.

All you have to do is

Please note this giveaway is not sponsored or endorsed by either facebook or  Instagram and by entering you are over 18+ and agree to all the terms and conditions set forth in Instagram and Facebook. Looking forward to seeing all the creativity and have fun creating.

 Family portraits

Family Portraits of us, even though my son wanted blonde hair in this one ….

One lucky winner will have their portrait of their mum made into a selfie cushion. The competition closes on Wednesday 15th of March 9pm GMT. Open worldwide. Decision is final


The brightest sparks are at the RDS this weekend…..

yscientist164aThe brightest sparks are at the RDS weekend, attending the 2017 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition click here for the map and here for the timetable.

A phone call from a good friend and the offer of tickets made the decision easy. I have never been to it before and I was looking forward to bringing our children along.

It was a flying visit, as the kids were in school in the morning, so, by the time we arrived it was 4pm. We only had an hour and half to look around.

CoderDojo was the first to grab their attention in the industries’ hall. Our children are attending one their clubs and they love it. In the group 7-12 they learn how to code, build a website, create an app or a game and this is all possible due to volunteers in the technology sector giving their time and experience. It is all done in a very informal, creative way.

VR glasses for our ever changing virtual world

VR glasses for our ever changing virtual world

Our son got to try out the VR Glasses and play a game in the virtual world.

One of Ben's creations alias The MAKER Kid...

One of Ben’s creations alias The MAKER Kid…

There was a couple of kids explaining about CoderDojo and one in particular a ten year old boy called Ben, alias The MAKER Kid. He created lots of different gadgets, including a little car that he made. He picked it up at a workshop event during the summer at The festival of Curiosity.

Robotic car at the CodorDojo stand by 10 yr old Ben.

Robotic car at the CodorDojo stand by 10 yr old Ben.

The kids were very excited to see all the different technology, but my son’s eyes bulged and he grabbed my hand and led me to ARCkit. They got a present from Santa two years ago of this and they LOVE it. It’s up their with Lego; and the great thing is it’s Irish.

At the ARCkit stand

At the ARCkit stand


ARCKit stand

ARCKit stand

If like our kids, your’s love making and using their imagination, then ARCkit is for them. Our friend’s child is 8 and he never heard of it. They all got stuck in and started building straight away.



Damien Murtagh, who is an architect, invented ARCkit as a way of showing his clients physical models rather than 3d models on a computer, but he knew that it had the potential to be used by older children. There was quite a collection of kids circling the table totally engrossed in building homes of the future.

He is a very engaging friendly guy, who told me that his ARCkit is sold worldwide including Harrods, The Science Museum and The Design museum London. Stockists here in Ireland include Brown Thomas where ARCkit was in the marvel room at Christmas, The Science Gallery and Damien said more are going to be included this year.


The kids decided to stay as there was no shifting them from ARCkit, so I decided to venture off. I went into the main hall, where, as it was coming to the end of the day, a lot of the stands were empty. I got talking to two girls from Laois who attend Heywood Community College. Their project was in the social and behavioural science category.

Maeve and Ruth's stand from Heywood community college, Co.laois.

Maeve and Ruth’s stand from Heywood community college, Co.laois.

They were researching “What effect did praise and criticism have on Academic achievement”.  One of the questions they asked was “Do you think praise or criticism has an effect on your schoolwork?”: 78 % said yes, 4% said no and 17% said it depended on the subject.

One of the quote’s they had on their stand was by a footballer Timothy F. Cahill. He said “I take constructive criticism. Not everyone loves you. It’s the way you react as a footballer, I use it all to make me play better”….


When I went back to the industries’ hall the kids decided to go over to Analog Devices Limerick . Their stand was causing quite a stir with a lot of kids. They make lots of different components for everything from your camera, to amplifiers to sensors. Our children loved the different areas at their stand such as a large glass with lots of lead lights. When you looked into it, it looked like they had dug a huge tunnel right down to middle earth from where the kids were standing in the RDS. It turned out that it consisted of a mirror and just two strips of LED lights.

"Heres looking at you kid"

“Heres looking at you kid”

My kids trying to see down the tunnel.

My kids trying to see down the tunnel.

The next area had a box of what seemed to be a ariel map of mountain terrain projected down into the box. On closed inspection we realised it was a box filled with rice and the kids dug into the mountainous terrain and had great fun.

The mountains..

The mountains..

One of the very helpful people on the stand showed my children how to light a lightbulb by simply holding it in their hand. It works through the current going through their body from one source into the bulb.

The lightbulb effect...

The lightbulb effect…

As I said, it was our first time going to the BT Young Scientist Exhibition and it really is for primary school kids from 7 upwards to enjoy and learn. It is on tomorrow (Saturday 14 January). Make it a family day out, if you can. Get out there early and ENJOY learning through fun….

After all, our children are the “bright sparks” of the future ….



Marbling inks with kids

I decided to buy marbling inks for the kids during the summer. I thought in between summer camps and day trips it would be an interesting art activity to make with them.

Here is a list of what you needmarblingstirringinkwm

Old T-shirts

A tray we used an old pyrex dish



Marbling inks


Fill the tray with water. Allow your child to choose the colours, squeeze the different colours they have choosen into the tray. A small amount is needed from the different bottles.

marblingstirringwmOnce this is done your child can use a paintbrush to move the ink around and create a pattern or sometimes, we left the little droplets without touching them.

Gently pat the paper in the tray

Gently pat the paper in the tray

Now you can hold one corner of the paper and take it up out of the tray. This is where a big smile should  spread across your kids face once they see the patterns they are creating.pullingitupfrominkwm

marblingpullingitupwmAs one of our friends children was starting a big adventure in secondary school, we decided to send some cards to her. So the kids choose from all the different patterns.

Lots of beautiful paper

Lots of beautiful paper

They decided to draw and use some of the paper like a collage. Just tear up some of the sheets and stick them with pritt stick to the drawing.

marbling inks, fun with you kids

Using markers and different coloured paper to make a card.

Marbling Inks, fun with your kids

One of the cards made for our friend

Now be careful when your child hands you a blocked tube of ink. If like me you squirt it and an explosion happens, you look at your kids either side of you splattered with orange ink.  I don’t have any photographic evidence of this. But what you do then is laugh, because that is what this is all about it’s  about having fun with your kids….

Jacinta & Family xx


Sowing the seeds …….


The kids sowing seeds in trays.

The kids sowing seeds in trays.

Our kids have been sowing seeds since they were tiny. I grew up in the country, then moving to the city I really missed nature. As I said, our house is tiny , but we are lucky that we have a big garden. We wish it was the other way around, but it isn’t so. “Cest la vie”.

But, it really is such a great outdoor space. It’s a space to escape to and lose oneself in quite solitude for a couple of hours mediation. The kids love it. Unfortunately, in the past two years it has become overgrown and hasn’t received the love it had received in the past. So it was time to regain our piece of nature.

Making way for new growth

Making way for new growth

So, this weekend we decided to clear away the debris and make way for new growth. My dad used to slag us off when we first moved into the house saying we were like the couple from  “The Good Life”. Now I don’t think I would go to the extremes they went to. We did have a lot of fun though creating a little wilderness in our backyard.

Our garden Gargoyle standing gaurd over the cut branches...

Our garden Gargoyle standing guard over the cut branches…





Easter bread people


Meet the Easter bread people. We had great fun this morning making these motley crew.

I don’t know about you, but this picture  is a bit like what we are feeling like after all the Easter eggs.

I came across this idea on Mary Berry’s Easter programme during the week. It was so clever, I thought we should give it ago for breakfast on Easter morning.

DSC_0029The kids and my parents joined in cutting out the little people.

  • DSC_0034What’s really lovely is the kid’s  went outside collected the eggs from the chickens. The little Easter people hug the eggs and they bake whilst the bread is baking.DSC_0057

  1. They really were great fun to make and everyone came up with different variations.DSC_0049I really think it will become a family tradition  for Easter breakfast, all thanks to Mary Berry.😉
  2. DSC_0072DSC_0080

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Let’s get crafty…



Let’s get crafty.

Last week, the kids had a friend over on a play date. Now, I don’t know about any of you, but for me it means one eye on the kids while I get sucked into the housework: the boring mundane reality of cooking, washing etc, etc. I wish little gremlins would come out and magically do it for us parents.

We decided the chores could wait and we were all going to have a bit of fun. I was shopping during the week and bought a load of art materials, including key rings. I gave the kids a look at what was on the table and they decided on the key rings. They began by sketching their ideas.

Mmmm What will I draw next..

Mmmm What will I draw next..

They choose the colours and the materials they were going to use. I have lots of scraps of materials, but you could also use scraps of material from clothes. We began cutting out the shapes for the ideas.


   Smile your on camera

I showed them how to thread the needles and demonstrated how to sew. Just use scraps of material to begin with to practice on.  Now there was lots of troubleshooting, lots of knots, but they persevered.

Froozen chocolate banana pieces.

Frozen Bananas with chocolate and sprinkles

It can get frustrating for some children, so take a break and leave it aside for a while. Have something nice like we did: yummy frozen banana pieces with sprinkles.


Stitching the mouth onto the character.

We went on to sew the various bits and bobs onto the fabric once they had a few practice runs. I hope you like the photos. All my photos, except my product shots, are taken by me. I don’t have a team of people taking the shots either, so bear with me. Any tips would be gladly taken on board from like-minded photo enthusiasts…. and bloggers.



Two friends helping each other with their designs. It’s good for children to help each other and work out problems together. Stand back and watch.

My daughter decided on using some beads on her key rings. This is the joy of looking at your children creating arts and craft at your kitchen table. My son helped their friend with the sewing.  They get so involved in the creative process. The finished piece went onto the school bags beside a good message from The Road Safety Authority: “Be Safe, Be Seen”.


Hope you are enjoying the Easter break.

Jacinta & Family x





My dream dog…

IMG_20160314_094555 (1)My dream dog…..that’s what my daughter wrote the morning after we got Harry.

Harry came into our lives last Saturday. It was a bit of a surprise; one that is very welcome. He is such a chilled out dog. We have spoken about getting a dog for ages and, for us, that means for two years. Having twins, adding a dog to the madness when they were young was not in the equation. It’s only in the past two years that we really started to seriously think about getting a dog. We had always thought a rescue dog and on and off over the past couple of years we have gone to the DSPCA, Dog’s Aid and Dogs Trust. But trying to get the right match and to decide on a dog is really hard. As it is such a big decision.

Sitting in the car early last week waiting for my children to finish an activity, my heart skipped a beat when I saw a post from his owner on Miniature Schnauzer Ireland. Harry’s owner could not keep him due to work commitment.

I texted the owner and, needless to say, a lot of people did. I had been in touch with a lovely woman called Pam from The Miniature Schnauzer Rescue Ireland back in November and she said to stay in touch. So I decided to get her advice regarding Harry and she came back straight away with lots of advice. His owner told me he had met other people, but on Saturday he decided, once he’d seen the kids, that we would be Harry’s new family.

It was very emotional for Harry’s owner and we all felt very emotional for taking Harry from his owner and I kept saying “are you sure?”. But he felt it was the right thing to do, as his work hours had changed.

Harry batting his eyebrows;))

Harry batting his eyebrows;))

We all sat in silence for a while. I think we needed to pinch ourselves to realise we had a dog in the back of the car going home. All we could say on and off was “I can’t believe it, we have a dog”. We were a bit apprehensive and to add to the madness we had two extra kids over for a sleepover Saturday night. But Harry loves kids and was in his element with all the entertainment.harrydadinbackground

This is a photo of Harry supervising my dad :)) in the garden.  Derek from A.B.S  DIY supplies thank you for helping me out with the measurements for the fencing.

Harry is an absolute credit to his previous owner.  He is so named because when the owner brought him home Harry Potter was on the television.

When I brought him to the vet today he couldn’t get over how white his teeth were. He said he was so well looked after and a really handsome dog.

We agreed how, when you throw something out to the universe, it does happen sometimes that you get what you dream of…

Jacinta and Co x


Two heads are better than one (part two)


So here are the lovely newlyweds in question. When the kids seen the portrait that I did, they drew the couple also. I made them into the heads. They are a funny take on our friends.


We met up with the newlyweds in  Farmleigh over the weekend. We haven’t been there in a while. It’s great for the kids to run around in, especially the walled garden. They loved playing hide and seek.

If you are interested in one of the heads,  just get in contact .

If you want to subscribe to the blogs, just do so  below…

I have written a couple of blogs over the year, but I am still getting used to how to position the pictures and spend ages writing a post for it to suddenly disappear. This happened last night, but I managed to find it again. Sometimes social media drives me bonkers…..;))

Jacinta & Co xxx….


Two heads are better than one….



As the saying goes, “Two heads are better than one”. Especially when you find the right person. Last year we were organising a trip away to celebrate our wedding anniversary and 10 years of marriage, when we got a phone call from a friend. He rang to say that they had set the date to get married. When he said when, we went ‘what?’ Of all the 364 other days, they were getting married the day of our anniversary.

On the day itself, the heavens opened, but I think the couple were so swept away with each other that it didn’t matter. Myself and himself were so glad to get away for the night. As it turned out, the wedding was in Tinnakilly Country House. We had drinks in the house and then the wedding was outside in the marquee. Now, when I say marquee, this is no ordinary one. I walked into it with a friend of ours and it took both our breaths away. It was like a Christmas Fairytale, it was so beautiful.  We had a great shindig….

Now, when it comes to wedding presents, we didn’t know what to get. I was working on my heads and thought “Why not a portrait”. So I got a photo of the couple in question and began to play around with some samples. I have never worked on a embroidered portrait before. I have been known in the past to do some portraits for people. I have to say I so enjoyed working on it.


I sketched out onto the fabric the image and played around with the hat for a while. I didn’t want this portrait looking like a replica of the photo, so a lot of samples were done beforehand.portraitcloseupofeyes

I love people’s eyes; ‘the window to the soul’. I also played around with using different materials for the hair.


I wanted to make it very special to the couple in question so I added a line from a piece that was read out at their wedding. It was written by Maeve Binchy.



“Learn to type. Learn to drive. Have fun. Write postcards. (Letters take too long and you won’t do it, a postcard takes two minutes.) Be punctual. Don’t worry about what other people are thinking. They are not thinking about you. Write quickly. (Taking longer doesn’t usually make it better.) Get up early. See the world. Call everybody by their first name, from doctors to presidents. Have parties. Don’t agonise. Don’t regret. Don’t fuss. Never brood. Move on. Don’t wait for permission to be happy. Don’t wait for permission to do anything. Make your own life, and when you meet somebody who is more important to you than yourself, that has to be the most important thing in life.”maevebinchypoem1


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Jacinta and family xx