Sunday, 23 February 2014

Woolly Pursuits

I haven't been chasing sheep. I have been making things from wool. Nothing unusual there I suppose, and a good way to spend the last few days of the week. Below is the finished scarf. It is not easy to photograph a scarf and make it look good so I got out my plastic French lady to help. 

 I thought I had better get on with making some things for the fair I am doing in April. These granny squares are for bunting which I finished this afternoon. I have made one little doll blanket. I have no idea if little girls (or boys) want blankets for their dolls but I am going to make a few in case. It is knitted. It doesn't look much but took ages! Thirty little squares to knit, join and sew the ends in of. I found out how to do neat and fairly flat joining which I was not very good at. That was mainly done on Friday whilst watching the curling. I have also nearly made a crocheted flower wreath using a white wire coat hanger as a base. I like how that is coming along. The flowers are from Lucy of Attic 24 via a crochet magazine. Each flower takes only a few minutes to make so that has been quite quick. I still have leaves to add.
 This is my prototype mushroom pincushion. I also like how this turned out and it was fairly quick to make. I have ordered some plain cotton reels from eBay as mine all still have cotton on them. I keep all my ends of yarn in glass jars, ready to be used for something or other. They look pretty in the jars.
 This is what Cassie liked best about my activities. The soft pile of balls of wool to snuggle against. I had to get loads of balls out as I needed to be able to choose from lots of colours. I am gradually working my way through my vast wool reserves!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Pastel Hats

 Pastel hatted people who look like swimmers. They were not intended to but I quite like that they do. 

Half term improved today-no work, a bit of crocheting and knitting, dyeing my hair, (during which process the postman knocked-but I am not proud and our postmen are nice!), hoovering,  then visiting my brother in his new house in Rainham. It is a good house with lots of space and very light and bright. My Mum visited too and we watched the curling in the Olympics together. It is actually really good. We watched Sweden and GB. My Mum is quite an expert on it! I missed the part where GB beat Sweden as I was stuck in a queue on the motorway because of animals in the road (I found out after the traffic started moving again.) But I am in on Friday so will be able to watch the final then. Hurrah!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Half Term

So far half term has been work and not much else. I worked most of Saturday, half of Sunday and till lunchtime today. All in all about fifteen hours on my tracking. The management and outside people are taking an unprecedented interest in it all, with the implication (in my mind anyway) that we either haven't got sufficient evidence, or that we are making wrong judgements. We have an advisor coming in to do moderation with us in a couple of weeks who will work with each of the Foundation Stage teachers, so I want to be very well prepared and have been extra thorough with my tracking this time. The whole system is heavily flawed I feel, but it is the system I have to work within and so have to do the best I can. I have been reading this book about early years education and how it is too much too soon for young children. It has been reviewed and re-written (the curriculum not the book) but I don't find it any better. It is in fact more confused in many aspects and so the levels of the children in certain areas of learning do not make sense to anyone who isn't using the document to assess them. It is one of those reading experiences that confirms everything I suspected but puts it so much better than I ever could. On Monday three of us worked all day to continue sorting out cupboards and storage. The mice had been in one of the cupboards we were working on and had covered every shelf with droppings and urine. So we had to spend a lot of time cleaning stuff as well as sorting it out. I came across two of them, one in a lovely tissue paper nest he had made for himself, and another-a little fat one, who was sitting behind a cupboard in my room that I was moving. He just sat for a couple of seconds staring at me! We did have a nice pub lunch so it wasn't all bad!
Still thinking about tea...
 I found this in the charity shop. So sweet! Possibly to go in for small world play, or possibly not. 
 Tea cosy hat and jammy dodger earrings...
 A cut out paper person-I am not sure what I was trying to do here-I wanted a paper doll in my journal but the mechanics eluded me so this came about instead!
We watched a top of the pops disco special the other night and one of the songs was YMCA-the McBurney branch was the one they were dancing in front of. I wrote it down so I could look it up-it has nothing to do with the girl.
 Cassie has had a bonanza week for boxes with two so far.

 This is her waiting for me to start work this morning. 
 This is a picture of some of the new lunch tables delivered this Monday. I liked the view from the top of the stairs. The school is full of delivery men (bringing new furniture), removal men (taking away old furniture), workmen and Andy-our premises manager, who has too much to do!

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Outside in and Inside Out

It was all go up at the shops the other day. Things were topsy turvy. 
The Newsagent was having the window replaced, which made it open to the street.
 And someone had recently been at work painting large capital letter signs announcing that the squares of pavement in front of the cashpoints are private. I have not noticed this before but it is an interesting technique, to create an imaginary barrier with neon yellow paint. Maybe it belongs to the bank. Or maybe it is to ensure that someone does not look over your shoulder as you enter your  pin number. It needs some sort of creative graffiti to enhance it and make the meaning clear.

Thursday, 13 February 2014


I have not crocheted or woven anything all week-most unusual! I have not got an idea what to make next. I am doing a craft/vintage fair in April and the pressure to make some things to try to sell has made me idealess. Never mind though as I have had a bit of extra time to paint faces. I used goache which I love for its opacity. Though once it has dried out on the palette it is just like watercolour really. I should squeeze out less really as it seems a waste to wash off the palette without using it. 
 This is face is wishing for Spring. The relentless rain and wind are getting a bit wearing now, and we have got off lightly here, compared to the areas of the country that are being flooded and destroyed. The main railway line to Cornwall was washed away at Dawlish in Devon the other day. It is a lovely line that does run very close to the sea, though not now! There is a man who has built a mud wall around his house in Somerset which has so far held the waters back. It is amazing!
 This girl is smiling through the wind and rain. 
 This one is out of an old Country Living magazine. She is a very pretty lady pegging out washing in an idyllic setting using wooden dolly pegs and wearing a lovely cardigan and flowery dress. Not very realistic but nice wishful thinking, and at least she still has to do washing!
This is a two minute made up cat!
Have just painted a teacup. Fun doodling really. The tea parties went fairly well. The first day was a bit tiring as I had three parties in one morning, and some tears/moodiness from a few children who couldn't accept the fact that either it was not their turn yet, or they had already had their turn and couldn't have another one. But after that had all calmed down we all had fun! They loved using the real cups and saucers, they really loved adding sugar, milk or lemon to their tea, and the biscuit was definitely the best bit! I am going to make us all tea for our snack times tomorrow. And we are having a biscuit too!

Monday, 10 February 2014

Lily Being Silly, Colours and Weaving

Lily sometimes becomes a Meer Cat. This is her last night, captured by Andy,  when Tiger came back in from the garden. She can sit like this for ages if necessary! 

 I have not seen Tommy since mentioning him on here. Thanks for all the advice. I will keep you updated!
 A quick piece of tape weaving as a background for a face. I am missing painting and drawing as I have not done any recently. Mainly because of work taking all my time. When I have had a bit of free time I have been weaving or crocheting, or doing the washing! Work continues to be baffling but I am enjoying my days despite continuing negative and petty comments. Last week we had a couple of Chinese tea ceremonies, where, amongst other things that happen, 'the black dragon enters the palace' (putting the oolong tea in the pot). As a follow on this week, because it produced so much interest, enjoyment, and talk about their homes,  I am inviting all the children at different times to a tea party. There will be china cups, a pottery teapot, a milk jug, sugar bowl, lemons and milk, and a choice of two types of biscuit. So, although I am teaching, I am basically going to spend quite a lot of this week enjoying cups of tea and biscuits and chatting with my lovely class! What a great plan!
 This is a map I got recently, one of five , all with slight variations of the tones of the blue and orange. I love these colours together.
This is my woven scarf about half way through. I have now finished it, sewn in all the ends and trimmed the fringe at the end. I shall take a photo of it when at home next in daylight. I really like it, and learnt quite a lot about what not to do whilst making it. It is interesting how the tension is affected by the winding process. You have to wind it tightly or the up and down of the threads doesn't work, but this does distort it a bit. it seems to be solved by pushing up the threads quite firmly as you go. So the beginning end of the scarf has some loose patches but by the end it is quite good! I think it could possibly be solved by winding it back the other way and firming the first part before cutting and tying. I will try this on the next thing I make.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Needle Felting and Advice Please.

This is Business Bunny. He was made over the last two evenings when I suddenly had the need to needle felt. He has a little briefcase where he keeps his rabbit money, but is waiting for a basket of eggs to take to the Easter market. 
The advice is work related-but not in the recent way of work related posts on here, with which I am boring even myself! No, it is about a little visitor I have to the basket with the parachute in it which lives outside my classroom door. It is a little male tabby cat I am already thinking of as Tommy. (There is so much on the telly about the first world war at the moment that it just popped into my head-and of course Tom cat-I am so unoriginal!) He has been appearing since we went back to school. He seems to be sleeping in the basket (which has now had the parachute removed as it smelled of cat wee-but I put a blanket there for him instead) as he leaps out of it when I get to school and also has appeared before I have gone home at night. At first I thought he looked quite healthy, but on closer inspection looks very thin. Apparently he turned up in the day today, and John, the other teacher, said he had also seen him in the kids' tent. I bet you can guess what the advice is can't you? I am worried about him and basically want to bring him home. Obviously there are great difficulties in this with the girls and with actually making friends with him and persuading him to come home. I can't see it really happening but I don't know what to do for the best. I don't want to start feeding him so that he relies on me but am not sure how else I would entice him home. I might get the teachers of the older kids to ask their classes if anyone knows if he belongs to anyone. The nearest houses in both directions are not that far and I know male cats tend to roam, it is just the fact that he is sleeping there. Why would he do that if he had a lovely warm home to go to? Any ideas about how to proceed would be gratefully received!