Friday, 1 April 2016

Things I Have Been Making This Month

It is safe to say that I have been a bit knitting obsessed recently. Since learning how to use the double pointed needles I can't stop making balls, and now eggs. I seem to have given myself a very sore arm though. which I think is tennis (or in this case knitter's) elbow. Crocheting has the same effect. It doesn't really hurt at the time I am doing it, but afterwards when I straighten my arm, and at other times when I am trying to lift, turn or generally do anything with my right arm. I am going to have a break from knitting over the weekend and see if it improves. 
 The pig is an Arne and Carlos design and the toadstools are my own. 
 This is also my own pattern. I added the red stitches afterwards at Andy's suggestion, as it looked a bit dull.
 A bit of light relief Granny Square making, followed by Humpty and his eggs, for Easter week at school.

 Then back to knitting. This was my first egg. This is from Arne and Carlos' 'Easter Knits' book. I now have four of their books. They are lovely, as they contain other things than the projects, with little snippets and photos from their idyllic life in an old train station by a lake in Norway. If you don't know who they are, google them, they are great!
 I want to make a bunny but have not had time yet. 
 This lonely egg now has four friends, but I don't have a picture of those to share yet.
 'No Sarah, you can't use this lovely little basket to hold your projects, as there is only room in it for me.' If I had bought it for her then Cassie would not have been interested, but I didn't.
The egg obsession continues. These eggs are from my egg collection, and are kept in an old wire egg basket. The two painted ones are among the first presents Andy ever gave me, so he is responsible for this collection!
I made some Fabergé inspired card eggs. I used alcohol pens to colour the stick on gems which worked really well.
The silver bits are a squeezable gem stuff that you leave overnight after blobbing it on. I also like the effect of these.
Well the Easter holiday is half way through, and I have just finished a week of Arty Party, so I am glad that it is the weekend and I have a week off next week. Hope your Easters were good!

Friday, 18 March 2016

Whoosh!

Five aliens in a flying saucer, flew round the world one day. They looked left and right, but they didn't like the sight, so one of them flew away. Whoosh!
A song I taught my children today. Whoosh is the pertinent word as that is how time is all the time. This post is filled with photos of a great weekend in Northumberland that is already two weeks in the past. We went to meet up with old friends from Andy's childhood (for everyone's recent or soon to be fiftieth birthdays) that he has stayed in touch with all his life. This always amazes me as I have failed to do that. I am still in touch with one friend from secondary school but we don't see each other. We hired a huge house on a hill in Embleton, which overlooks the sea and Dunstanburgh castle. It was a lovely weekend and a complete change from life here. It went by in a flash. It was followed by a week filled with parent's evenings, and then this week has been all about our nursery assembly. (which went well-I was so proud of them. This time we didn't just sing songs, but showed a piece of art work, and a skill!) On Friday last week we had a visit from the SIP (School Improvement Partner), a particularly joyless woman from the local authority, the same one that served my old school. Apparently, the early years did OK in her estimation, so that's OK. Then next week we have the head of education in our borough visiting on Monday. All these things mean that we have to be looking our best and everything up to date, so this weekend is going to be one of working. But at least I can sit indoors, watch a bit of craft tv and drink coffee, while I spend my unpaid hours doing my learning journeys! I am also hoping to crochet 25 more eggs for next week and finish crocheting Humpty Dumpty, as Easter and Spring will be dominating. I am going to enjoy looking through these photos again and remembering the weekend, while waiting for my dinner to cook, the dinner I thought was microwavable, but isn't. 
 The house was huge. This is the beginning of the first evening, chatting, wine drinking, and waiting for the big room raffle to begin. Phil, Ali, Bob.
 Room numbers are given out. Andy and I got one with a bathroom that is bigger than our bedroom at home. The bath was in the middle and there was a walk in wet room style shower too. Phil, Rob, Andy.
 Ali, Rob, John. In the huge kitchen with the log fire set into the wall. 
 The view of the castle from the front window, where you could sit on the huge window seat. 


 Loved this sign. On the way down to the beach, a ten minute walk away. Andy, Phil and I went for a really long walk on Saturday, first towards the castle, and then back through strange wooden holiday chalets on the dunes to a small village to have lunch in a cosy pub.
 It turned into a beautiful morning for a while, though later we had rain and sleet and freezing wind. 
 The castle looks like jagged old teeth. 
 This little plane flew over during the sunny part of the day. 
 Rusty stuff. 
 Andy doing what he always does, climbing on dangerous rocky surfaces. he is good at it but I always worry. This is a strange rock formation that almost looks manmade. It is like a wave of rock. On top were very regular square shaped steps. I was very slippery near the bottom of the sloped part so I didn't climb up!
 My favourite of the many chalets. It felt like being in Norway.
 The sleety and freezing winds part of the day-luckily just before we got to the pub. The pub immediately filled up with queues of people, just after we got there and got a table, so we felt lucky.
 Mmmmm, soup, warmth and a rainy view. 
 Leaving. 
 Making it back to the house on the hill. Ours is the left one of the two white houses. The little building to the side is also part of it, and had artwork in there, but was open to the elements, and in the process of being done up. It is two storeys and would make a perfect studio.
 The hedges all look like this. It seems a combination of the wind and neat trimming. 
 Bob, Maisie and Andy. Maisie wanted to dip her feet in the sea. She did, but not for long as it was freezing! I also dipped mine the day before, but with their shoes and socks on and by accident!
 Aaah lovely!

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let Down Your Hair

I spent quite a large part of the weekend making this tower, to use in storytelling. This week was book week, and we read the story of Rapunzel. It is actually quite a disturbing story, but I lightened the disturbing bits and the children thought that if the witch apologized then everyone could be friends at the end! They used the tower and the dolls I made a few years ago to retell the story themselves, and did so really well. I love story telling and I love to pass that on to the children if I can. Apart from being fun, it is such a great way to learn about so many things. 


I found this face in the newspaper I used for papier maché and stuck it on the ceiling of the room. Nobody commented on it as far as I know. Today was world book day, and the whole school dressed up, with hasty arrangements made for children who didnt have a costume. It was a really lovely sunny day, so we got some great photos. My favourite two were Spiderman (Daily Mash headline today was something like 'World book day sees thousands of children dressing up as film characters') doing the hoovering with the Henry Hoover I found in a charity shop a few weeks ago, and Iron Man sitting on a small stool in sunlight, looking pensive. I also got an amazing one of Cinderella eating an apple.
I couldn't resist doing a mini photo session using the tower and some dolls before I took it in on Monday. Results below!
These are Chinese tumbling dolls. They arrived with their feet tucked into their hands in a very uncomfortable position, so I untucked them.
This family was a recent very naughty purchase. They are modern dolls, made by Djecco. There are three families and this is the Gaspard family. I bought them from a lovely but very precious toy shop near here. The lady who runs it asked me who they were going to. Instead of telling her the truth, for some unknown reason I lied and said 'a nephew'. 'A nephew', not even 'my nephew'. I don't know why I did it, but somehow I felt embarrassed. Stupid I know. Anyway, they are mine all mine now and live in one of the dolls houses with some very old furniture. They are making the best of it, and enjoyed their outing to the tower.

This little man looks right at home. He reminds me of the Swiss Guard at the Vatican.

This rosy faced doll liked the blue of the room. 

Not a doll strictly. I got her from the boot fair ages ago. Beautiful!
Alice popped in. 

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Lots of Photos and Rambling About My Favourite Beach

Everywhere was very windy today, and Dungeness was too. It was fine walking away from the wind but walking back the other way was an eye streaming and ear aching experience! There were lots of gruesome finds on the beach today-gruesome and smelly. I found a bird skull-which still had some fleshy parts on, and I did pick that one up. I have just been boiling it with washing liquid and now the flat smells very bad and I am quite unpopular with Andy, though the cats don't seem bothered! I have put it outside to cool off and then I will see what to do with it tomorrow. Most of the smelly things stayed where they were though. 
 I don't suppose these two met when they were alive, but have ended up sharing a square foot of beach together now that they are not. I don't like to imagine what that fish is with its tooth filled beak.
 This is just pretty rather than gruesome. 
Back to the horror. There were lots of parts of birds like this. There is always a recurring theme at Dungeness, and today it was these, mermaid's purses and beautiful clam shells.
I picked this up but didn't take it, as I was not sure what the mysterious pieces of machinery were inside it, and whether it was made of lead or not.
This was amazing-quite large-about two and a half feet long. Its mouth is fascinating. Those things are kind of rubbery, not hard like teeth. I think it is either a Small Eyed Ray or a Thornback Ray. I wish I had turned it over to have a look at its top side. I think they are also called Skate, and are the fish that produce all those egg sacs and mermaid's purses.
 This Cuttlefish has strange sharp, purple marks in it. Not sure what they are. 
 This little skeleton must be a crayfish or lobster or prawn-not at all sure. It was extremely stinky!
 There were lots of dead Dogfish again. Having looked back at all our other visits to Dungeness it seems that this is pretty common.
 Andy in the distance past a blurry piece of wood. I liked the rust mark and meant it to be in focus!
 A single crab leg. 
A snorkel mouthpiece. I did actually pick up some rubbish to bring home, rather than leave it on the beach. Maybe on our next visit I will take a bin bag. I would certainly do that if I lived there, as there is so much rubbish.
 This piece for example, which caught my eye because of the OFFSHOR and SEA wording. 
 Not sure what this is. Maybe a root. 
 The underside of whatever this is has a very pretty spotty pattern on, like delicate lace curtains or that spotty glass you get in bathrooms. 
 After seeing all those dead fish, we thought we would go and eat some. I wonder about myself sometimes. It was delicious though and the pub was cosy and warm. Then we drove along past the shacks and wooden houses, found the cafe was closed, so went somewhere else in search of tea.
 We found New Romney, home of this lovely Norman church, a good charity shop, and a lovely tearoom. Last time we were there we visited the Sainsbury's, but I preferred today's visit. I got some exciting things for school in the charity shop-a monkey toy for next week's Chinese New Year activities, (he is battery operated, and, against all hope he actually works-it is the cutest toy ever) a toy Henry Hoover, and three of those magnetic drawing boards that you then swipe a switch down to clear.
 We parked in a back street, and walked past this lovely old building on the way to the main road. It said 'The Priory' on it, and I had a strange little conversation with a lady who saw me taking pictures. She said she thought that lepers were kept there-but she couldn't remember the name of the disease, and thanked me for helping her to.
 It had some very ugly but endearing gargoyles. 
  
I liked the bike parked in front of the wall. It reminded me of France. 
 

New Romney is one of the Cinque Ports, and I think this coat of arms is related to that. I am not sure though, as some of them have boats instead of the back end of the lions. I have just spent an interesting half hour looking at lots of information about them but it is too much to share here!
 Lemon cake and proper Earl Grey tea in bone china cups. Delicious! Andy had Assam and chocolate cake. 
Aaaaaah!