Sunday, 25 March 2018

Bits and Pieces

The view from the flat of this week's cat. It was a very misty morning yesterday and not cold. The  cat I am looking after this week is my most tricky client. He is very nervous and his nerves can turn to aggression quite quickly. I have looked after him twice so far and this is the third time, and I feel I am getting somewhere. I have worked out what he doesn't like, and what the danger signals are with him, and know how to react so as to soothe him and calm him down. He doesn't like to be touched with hands, and will strike out if I go to stroke him. He may try to get me when I touch his food and water, and also doesn't like it when I get ready to leave. He shows his stress with a certain tone of miaow, a wide eyed and small pupiled stare, and walking quickly towards me. It is usually enough now if I just stand still and talk to him in a firm but soothing voice. During this lot of visits, I have only had two incidents of him either biting or clawing so feel very pleased with our progress! He likes to sniff my hair, will put his paw on my head and will stretch up my legs all without claws. He also, I have discovered, likes to play over and around my feet if I sit on the floor, and does not use his claws on me at all. I bought a long feather toy for these visits as he loves to play and is quite frustrated by the birds he can see but can't chase! Today I took a broom and dustpan and brush to his flat to have a sweep up of his litter. He did not like those! He prowled round the outside of the room over and over again, gradually getting closer to the broom until he was close enough to sniff it. The same with the dustpan. I had to wait for him to calm down, then enticed him out of the room and shut the door while I cleaned, as I couldn't possibly have done it with him in there! Once I had finished I let him back in and, after checking that the broom and dustpan were no longer there, he played quite happily! Needless to say I love him!
 Yesterday we decided to take a quick trip to Sheppey. We went to our usual stop of Leysdown. The beach looked promising, as the tide was right out, but when we got out of the car, there was this terrible smell! It was like the normal sea smell but really stinky. So bad that you could taste it. We decided that we would not go for a walk there after all and left very quickly! We then went to Minster where it didn't smell at all, and had breakfast there instead.

Today, as well as feeding my cat, I tidied the desk. It had got very dusty and cluttered. We had to buy a new lamp, which spurred me on to do the job. Where B&Q is, and Sainsbury's used to be, there is a new IKEA being built. It will make the traffic around here even worse. Yesterday, I had to feed the cat, then go to get Andy from Sainsbury's. The football had just kicked out, and there was something wrong with the Blackwall tunnel. This combination added up to traffic nightmare, and, despite my best attempts to use the back streets and avoid the congestion, it still took me about an hour to do a ten minute journey!

 I made room on my mini bookshelf for these pretty books which I am afraid to say I buy specifically for the covers!
The orange buckets in B&Q are not all the same orange I noticed. This may only be interesting to me.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

More Snow

I love snow. Despite it causing me lots of inconvenience this week. it just makes me happy walking around in it. I had to feed cats yesterday, and thought I would leave about 3 as more snow was predicted and I wanted to drive. It started to snow about 2 so I thought I had better leave now, but it was coming down so quickly, and my car was so icy-I had trouble scraping any of it off the windscreen, so I changed my mind and got the bus. My phone died so I have no photos of the lovely walk from Greenwich to Deptford for the second cat house. When I got home, I walked to Sainsbury's for Cornish Pasties, and took loads of photos then to make up for earlier! 
 My school-which has been closed for the last two days. 
 Snowy tracks.

 I love this sign.
This is a road near me which I used to use as a walking or bike shortcut. You could never drive through it as it is a private road. The snow was great up here, not touched at all.

 Face on the wall. 

 Now it is fenced off so you can't even walk through. I don't know when that happened!
 A tiny snowman. This is not good snowman snow, so they did well to even get that much together.
 The allotments near my house. 
A lonely chair. 

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Monster Toe Hat and the Beast From the East

Having made Paddington, and being halfway through making two more, I have learnt a technique from making his legs. Make two tubes, then join them in the middle, crocheting all the way around the top of one then the other, eventually making one big tube for the body. I suddenly realised that I could do however many tubes I liked, and thus invented the monster toe and also gloves.(!) This is my prototype, and I didnt want to go on and make a full monster, so have turned it into a hat for a doll. It makes her look like a queen so she likes it. 
 This morning one of the Reception children said to me, "Sarah, there is snow everywhere." Having just watched the news I see that there truly is, covering most of the country and bringing things to a standstill as usual. We had quite a lot last night here, which stopped me using my car this morning for my latest job, (I have three now!) of cat sitting. I started doing this in November and now have a list of nine clients so far. I am working for someone else, but am thinking I could do this myself at some point in the future. I have two lots of cats I am feeding this week, and on my teaching days I have to get up really early to do the morning visit. Even earlier today, as the Beast from the East has arrived, a cold weather system from Russia, made all the worse by the jet stream reversing. I have no idea how or why but it is cold! My school was open today, much to the disappointment of staff, but not me as I don't get paid otherwise!
 It was beautiful at 5.45 this morning, and the bus I needed was running. All went well and I was home again in time for work.

This view is out of the third floor window at school.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Paperless Post Review

A little while ago, I was asked to try out and review the Paperless Post site. I had not heard of it before, and was excited to find out more. It is a site offering, as you may have guessed, an alternative to posting actual cards or invitations. As with all virtual services, the instantaneous nature of it was the first thing that appealed to me. For those times that you may have forgotten a birthday, or have not been organised enough to send a card abroad in time, it is perfect.
Sometimes a handmade card is still in this state, and tomorrow is the big day....

...Only one place to go!

My thoughts on using the site are to be found below, along with a few examples of the beautiful artwork from some of the cards available.

If you would like to receive a card to see for yourself, please leave me your email address in a comment, and also any preferences for subject matter if you wish, and I will send you a beautiful virtual card!

1. There is a huge choice of cards on the site, from a range of designers. There are lots of photo cards, and many have customisable text on the front as well as inside. Here is one I did of Cassie...
 And a multi -photo card too..
2. As the item you are posting is virtual, no trees are harmed in the process. I really like using paper, card and all manner of products made with both, but the chance to not do so sometimes, and therefore feel a little less guilty, definitely appeals.

3. You receive the card in an email, and are taken through the card opening process. The envelope appears, the card slides out, and is then displayed against your chosen background. I like this. It is simple, yet fancy enough to be fun. It is so much better than my attempt below using Giphy. And takes around a tenth of the time.

4. I love to have all the colours, in whatever medium I am using, so that I can make what I want when I want to. Paperless Post may be virtual, but there is that handmade element in that you are making your own choices. Which backdrop, envelope, liner and stamp you choose all adds to the final result, and can be customised to your recipient. You can also use filters such as colour and card shape when searching. I love that about the site, and found that the most difficult thing is making a choice!

Here are a couple of the envelopes and liners...

5. You purchase coins to use on the site, which makes paying for your card a simple matter. Most of the cards I have sent so far have been between 4 and 6 coins. You can save on this by not choosing some of the elements. Coins start at 20 for £5 but the price goes down per coin the more you buy. There are also free cards to choose from. Below is one of the free cards-a vintage postcard. It would be fun to use these for your holiday postcards, and include photos of where you had been that day.

6. As well as cards, the site offers invitations to events. This would be so useful I think, and would be an easy way to manage invitations and RSVPs to an event such as a wedding, as there is a reply facility with the things you send.
So, overall, I am impressed with Paperless Post, and will continue to use it. I would like to try the invitations but a suitable occasion has not come up yet!
Here are a few I have sent. The recipients so far have liked their cards.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Paddington Bear is Nearly There!

I have been making a crocheted Paddington bear, and he is nearly finished. I am not sure that he looks that much like Paddington though! I have been following a pattern I got free with a magazine. Well-mainly following it, with a little bit of improvisation, such as making a second hat, as my first one turned out far too small. I decided I wanted these eyes, rather than black ones, as they are more like in the film. I had to stop and start the pattern to make a hole, then regulate the holes by crocheting around the inside of them. I might yet embroider some dark brown around the eyes to give them more depth. So, although not perfect, he is making me happy to look at!

 Below is how I made a guide for sewing the mouth. Normally, the mouths I sew are far smaller, and I don't need to do this, but this mouth was big!
Tomorrow evening I will start on his coat. I would also like to make some prison clothes, like in the film, but have yet to find some suitable fabric. I have got an old t-shirt that might do. I also need to make him a marmalade sandwich to keep under his hat for emergencies!

Sunday, 14 January 2018


The week before last, I went to Jenny's, my sister-in-law, with Linda Sue, for a crafty day. We did needle felting. Linda Sue made a flower, Jenny made a heart, and I made a little robot. He started a minor obsession with making felted robots and here they are!
 This one has cogs, Linda Sue's flower, button wheels and wire attached moveable arms. 
 Robot number two was inspired by the tin toy type robots of the fifties, and by the fact that I found these copper elbows, (their real name) in B and Q.
 Number three is inspired by the latest Star Wars, the little BB-8 robot. Not the colours but the shapes. The one copper elbow caused a balance problem. I have had to make him a little ramp to correct this, so that he will stand up.
 This robot is inspired by the ones that look a little like humans, and have that strange way of walking, like Asimo. I wanted to use some open and shut doll eyes I have had for ages. They were quite hard to put in. I didn't want to use glue so I made a hole and lightly felted it smaller around the eye once it was in. That wouldn't have held it though, so I made a little flat piece of felt, cut a slit in it, put that over the eye and lightly felted that down.
Her hair is made of metal scourer pieces. It is held on by little pieces of roving felted through the gaps, being careful not to break the needle. 
I am pleased with the way she looks, but have made her too tall and skinny to stand up on her own. I will need to make her a stand of some sort.
My last robot is actually a boy pretending to be one. This is inspired by an episode of  "The Flight of the Conchords", where Bret and Jemaine are dressed up as robots.

 The little pieces of cardboard left over from making the robot head made this cow/dog. 

 Family group.