Monday, 30 March 2015

How I Spent my Holidays

At this moment I have a cat's tail in my face and am managing to touch type. Cassie wants something! I got up early today in the hope of getting work as Newham still has schools open. No luck though so am getting things done such as wrapping a parcel for my sister's birthday and looking at how much the Sylvac apple sauce pot I bought for £1.50 is worth on Ebay. (£-10-£15 but there are quite a few of them.) I need to go to post the parcel but may have breakfast first. I also saw the book below in the same shop but didn't buy it as it was £20. I did take a sneaky photo though as I loved the inscription and the hand it was written in.
 I suppose 'curiosity'is one word for what is happening to this man.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Before and After

I have been using photoshop again after a long time not really using it. I coloured this wide eyed person. No pastel mess. No paper. Just a mouse and a programme.. So clever!

Skies, Silhouettes, Buildings and Flowers

 Fair on Weaver's Fields in Bethnal Green.
 Church in Bethnal Green.
 Looking over the A2 at a purple sky.
 Perfect Magnolia tree in Charlton.
 Small girl on anchor in Greenwich. 

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Friday, Saturday and Sunday

The much talked about partial solar eclipse on Friday was covered by cloud in London. I took this photo on my phone though, using an app and a screenshot. Technology beat the weather! I am not sure I like eclipses anyway as they feel so wrong. 
 After school I was boosting the soil content in some soil and grass seed stuffed tights (to make monsters for the school's book week next week) and looking out the window I saw a shape on a far off roof. After a while of looking at it I realised it was a helicopter. The building it was on looks from here as if it is just a roof on scaffolding. It flew off before I had finished with the tights.
The flowers in the park next to the museum are looking good. I was on the way back from the wool shop after a very naughty splurge on pretty colours.

 The sunset was lovely as I got home that evening. 
 A little white daisy was glowing in the garden. 
On Saturday morning I saw the cats charity shop has this Alice/Easter display. They work hard on their displays in that shop!
Some weird pink wool came home with me which I made into a nest. I couldn't resist trying in on Tiger for a hat first though.
 I was playing with nests and eggs in general. I have a small collection and a larger one of eggs.
Last night we were out in North London to celebrate out friend's birthday and also leaving drinks as they are moving to York on Friday. I think they are going to be inundated with house guests! The pub has two resident dogs and this cat George. He was sitting on the stairs on the way up to the loo so I made a fuss of him for a little while.
Today has been spent cleaning then crocheting. I also made a plum and ginger cake and some play dough. The cake is quite nice. I made it up-basic sponge with plums and ginger added.
This is what I am crocheting at the moment. It is quite a bit bigger than when this photo was taken. I think I will just carry on with it and make a blanket. I have a lot of wool to use up!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

School Stuff-Bears and Buses

Last week I did this display in the nursery. From start to finish including all the work with the children, mounting, doing the labels and putting up it took about four days with three late nights. I am not sure how I fitted in displays before when I was doing everything else as well. I enjoyed having the time to just do it without worrying about anything else though. I am pleased with how it turned out. The children enjoyed making the various parts for the house, especially using the porridge oats and glue. The face of Goldilocks was drawn by one of the children with ongoing instructions from me and practices of lips and eyes on the back. I think he did a great job! This week it has been all about the pigs and goats. I love the traditional stories, telling them using props is such fun.

 Then on Thursday, at the other school, I had year one in the afternoon. They had papered and painted boxes red the day before and had to turn them into buses or fire engines on the afternoon I was there.
 I love all the details they included. The one below is my favourite. It started out as a bus, but then became an emergency bus as it has a ny nor  and siren on the top!

I also love this one, with all the happy people going to Mile End. I wish the people on the tube in the morning were more like this!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

The Witch Cafe

On Saturday Andy went off to Essen in Germany to visit an old friend from college. I dropped him off at the Eurostar at Ebbsfleet, a convenient 20 minutes away, then continued down the M2 to see my Mum. I had decided to surprise her for Mother's Day which was on Sunday. 
I love this photo which I took as I was leaving. My Mum doesn't like her photo being taken really but I think this is a good one! Bertie the cat is in the window, waiting for Mum to come back in and make a fuss of him! We had a good day. On Sunday she was surprised again by my brother and his girlfriend, chocolates and scrabble!
This is my card. Crocheted Forget-Me Nots. My brother's card is below. As is my sister's.

After she had got over the surprise (!) and got ready, we set off for Headcorn and a late breakfast/early lunch at the cafe we like there. They do a lovely ham, egg and chips which is what I always have. I don't actually know the name of the cafe, but it might as well be called 'The Witch Cafe' as it is full of them. It sells all sorts of gifty type things, witch dolls being one of them. They hang up on their broomsticks all over the front and back rooms. I love looking at them. There are one or two that have taken my fancy before but I have always resisted. This time I found a little one who came home with me. On reading the label I discovered they are named after the witches of Pendle. This is a place in Lancashire, famous for its witch trials of the seventeenth century. I remember reading about them in my favourite childhood book, 'Folklore Myths and Legends of Britain. I also borrowed a book about them from a girl at secondary school which, to my shame, I never returned and still have. I have not read it but thought that I might now. The story of the witches started with one of them, a woman called Alizon, who was begging, and asked a pedlar called John Law for some pins. He refused and she cursed him. Immediately afterwards, he had a stroke, which he blamed on the curse. A local magistrate, Roger Nowell, got involved, Alizon confessed, and spoke about her involvement with witchcraft. The magistrate got confessions out of the women named and the witches went to trial and were hanged. 
The laws regarding witchcraft had changed during the reign of Henry VIII, who passed laws which made it a felony punishable by death. Elizabeth I changed this to apply only where harm had been caused to others. Then in 1604, in James I's reign, it changed again to include anyone who invoked evil spirits or communed with familiar spirits. Matthew Hopkins, the so called 'Witchfinder General' operated at this time. (He is thought to have been responsible for the deaths of 300 women over a two year period) It was not until 1735 that the law changed again to a different view. The more general opinion by then was that witchcraft was impossible, so pretence of witchcraft was what was punished-people claiming to be witches were seen as con artists. 
All of this makes a cheerful looking little doll seem quite trivial doesn't it? However, the leaflet that came with her gives some information on the origins of the dolls, and describes a tour you can do of the main sites involved in the lives of the witches so I suppose they at least are informative.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Sunset and Vets

It was time for the annual booster trip for Tiger and Lily last night. The park is open in the evenings for traffic to drive through (which I love doing-I go very slowly) so I stopped briefly to take a picture of the sunset. 
Lily was first on the table. She is getting very skinny so the vet took a urine sample. It was not quite as it should be, so they then recommended a blood test. They had to take her upstairs for that. Lily is so sad at the vets. I have to tip the basket right up to get her out, and she leans on me the whole time. She never protests but just puts up with it until she can slink back into the basket. They said she was very good for the blood test. I don't have the results yet but hope she is OK. She might have hyperthyroidism which apparently is easily treatable.
While she was upstairs Tiger and I were left alone. I let her out of the basket and she happily explored the table. Suddenly she shot her leg out and under the weighing machine. A stray treat had caught her attention and she wolfed it down. When the vets (there were two of them-I think one was training) came back they got to work on her. The last thing was to give her a worm pill. She was not impressed and was moving her head and snapping her teeth with amazing speed! When he first saw her the young male vet was really laughing at how big she is. She got her revenge with a good bite which he attributed to her being called Tiger! They had to use the squirty stuff in the end.

Sunday, 1 March 2015


Over the last few weeks I have been busy making things for a variety of reasons. The first is Golden Time on a Friday afternoon. We made pompoms, my intention being they would make their pompoms then make something out of them. Making the pompoms was more challenging than I had thought-lots of tangled wool and help needed. I decided to make a load so they could have extra ones to make something with. Making pompoms is one of my least favourite craft activities. boring and repetitive. Especially when I need to make loads. Using them to make other things is much more fun.I did a few sample things, and this acorn lady was one of them. Her hair is the result of a pompom gone wrong. Her skirt is two pompoms squashed together. The original idea is from pinterest.
The butterfly and caterpillar are puppets for the groups at nursery, to make it slightly more exciting lining up for group time. I appliqued the butterfly. A stick fits in the back of its body so it can be made to fly. 
Pompoms were the obvious choice for the caterpillar!
 He has a cardboard tube as a hanger-finished with a shimmery wax and buttons. 
Arty Party had a space theme this time and the kids made some great things as usual. Below is a selection of one person's work, including the astronaut she made to go on her orrery. I helped by making his black helmet glass (a small piece of black tissue paper) and showing her how to fix him onto the sun.
This is the aftermath of Golden Time! I took my hot glue gun in to enable the kids to finish stuff then take it home. I think they liked that best. They all made good things, including two cats and a ballet dancer.
My latest obsession. I happened to see a thing on Create and Craft TV about Indian Bead Looms. I have not heard of these before, though I can't understand why. I ordered one as they are only £6.99. If you want a craft where the results look as if it was very difficult to make, but was in fact totally simple, then this is the one for you! The most time consuming part is the initial stringing up of the loom, then the process of making the results into something neatly. I have made a bracelet for me, one for Andy, and a pair of earrings. This was a strip to try patterns and is not anything yet.
 These are the earrings before finishing. 
This is my bracelet. 
Hopefully this week will be good. Hope yours is too!