Tuesday 30 September 2014

Amsterdam Colour

We went to Amsterdam at the weekend to meet Linda Sue and Stella. It was brilliant! We went on Friday-ha ha no work! We did quite a lot and I took loads of photos as usual. It is such a lovely place. So different from any other European city I have been to. There is so much to look at. It is quirky and relaxed and I want to go back soon. I am not going to waffle on but just post photos, lots and lots of them. Today-colourful photos. 

This last photo is particularly colourful! Zoom lenses are so useful. 

Thursday 25 September 2014

Crisps, Create and Craft

Only linked alliteratively of course. 
I had not realised how much crisps are subdivided nowadays, and when it struck me in the garage the other day I took this panorama photo. Five categories!  In case you can't read the titles, you can now choose from 'lifestyle options', (how rice crackers are a lifestyle option I have no idea), 'retro snacks' such as monster munch, 'snacks', 'crisps' (at last), 'ridged crisps' and 'healthy options'. Ridiculous! The other annoying thing about the current crisp market is the way that you can only buy a huge bag now. A 'grab bag'. I don't want a huge bag I just want a small one. You can still get normal sizes in multi packs in supermarkets but less and less in other places. 
 This is Dean Wilson, my favourite presenter on Create and Craft because he is funny, and has lots of personal anecdotes which appear to be quite spontaneous. In my opinion this makes him a good salesman. Not that I have bought much from them, apart from my ebosser, but if I did it would be from his shows!
Create and Craft TV has inspired me to try card making again. I used to make cards a lot, but not in this way, more just painting them. I have a fairly limited range of dies as I am trying to pick things that I can use in different ways. I have shapes, a few birds, a couple of butterflies, a typewriter, some swirls, and a few other things. I have enjoyed using the holes left by the die as stencils too.

Wednesday 24 September 2014

An Afternoon with Crafters

On Saturday I went to the Handmade Fair with my crafty friends and one of their Mums. It was at Hampton Court Palace, a place I have not been to so that alone was worth it. Look at these trees! Conical yew trees all over the lawn. They are so whimsical. 
One of the things going on was 'world pomination' an attempt to break the world record for the most pompoms made or collected or something. Here are some of them.
This is a galleon made from an old silver teapot. This is not a very good photo but I loved everything on this stall. It was run by a daughter, mother and father, the daughter made jewellery, the father amazing things from reclaimed objects and the mother paintings. 
The fair was organised by Kirsty Allsop, and throughout the day she was hosting chats with various heroes of the craft world. Cleo and I went to watch her talking to Kaffe Fasset. It was very interesting and he seems a very nice man.
We wandered around looking at all the goodies. I didn't really buy much-at first, but had a bit of a naughty splurge in the last tent we looked in. I bought a giant crochet hook-24mm, and had a lesson on how to do tunisian crochet from the woman who sold it to me. I have never really looked at how to do this as I assumed it would be horribly difficult. No-it is incredibly simple! I have had a couple of goes on a small hook, but the giant hook I bought is designed particularly for this as it is long and has a stopper on the end, so I will make something with that too. So far though I have made a strip and a small rug, just finished tonight to replace the now tatty t-shirt rug in the bathroom.
Love the eye scarf.
And this little alien creature; 
More pom-poms. 
Nearly home, past the allotments with the gorgeous sunflowers. My feet were hurting but I enjoyed the walk from the station. My feet hurt because of the ridiculously worn heel on my favourite boots. I successfully got them re-heeled today near the school I was at. I spotted the shoe repair place the other lunchtime. Two days worked this week, and one of them year one! It was ok, and today with reception was lovely.

Thursday 18 September 2014

Itinerant Ice Cream Sellers

Update on the supply situation-a bit rubbish at the moment. While it is lovely to have so many days off, I am beginning to worry that there is just not enough early years supply work. It is now the third week of term so where is all the PPA cover?! I keep being offered other year groups but so far have said no as I am just not confident to do that now after so many years teaching nursery and reception. I will probably branch out into year one though if nothing much comes up next week. I will ring again in the morning and hope for the best and then if nothing comes up will try to speak to someone later on about what they can do to find me work. 
I am having no problems filling my time though, getting lots of things made, the washing etc done and time to wander somewhere most days, though I have been a bit bad at Bleeding London this week. Today they were asking for Mc or Mac streets in honour of the Scottish independence vote. I know of Macbean Street in Woolwich as it is where I park when I need to park there, in an underground carpark with an actual parking attendant who sells you a ticket, and an exit through the gym or Lidl. Today they were doing work on the entrance ramp meaning it was only one lane so slightly dicey up and down as you can't see around the corner! I also found Culloden Close really near to where we live. That was a quite boring photo but a Scottish place name at least. 
 This sign is at the end of the street. What terrible goings on with itinerant ice cream sellers can have gone on, to cause the production of an actual street sign I can't imagine!
 Another thing I have been doing quite a lot of is playing scrabble on my phone. I much prefer it to interactive with humans scrabble as it is so much quicker. It has helped me with the real game though so I am not such an easy player to beat. This is a screen shot of my scrabble statistics. You can see that my games won percentage is at 93%. It has been 93% for ages so every game I win now I check to see the magical 94! I play the quick game, have not updated my game app and use the best word if in danger of losing so I rarely lose. (I am not bad at it now either!) I did lose one today and drew one yesterday though. I am yet to score more than 500 which Andy and my brother do quite often. Mostly I get 300 and something.
Below are two random photos from our lovely holiday in Northumberland. This tractor was on the beach at Boulmer where we went on our last morning. I love all the colours on the tractor and the crates.

This is The Angel of the North, a sculpture by Antony Gormley. I always look for it from the train and have seen it from a car a couple of times. Frustratingly near yet far. On the way to my sister's I suddenly thought why not visit it? It is only just off the motorway so I did and took lots of photos. It is really impressive close up, quite awe inspiring. There were lots of happy people in the sunshine, taking photos and eating ice cream. I can reassure you that there was only one ice cream seller though, and he didn't look very itinerant. 

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Little Things

A small selection of things that made me happy this week...
 A tulip on my delicious coffee, at the end of a lovely meal with Andy when out on Saturday.
 Morning sunshine on the thermometer by the back door. 
 A man at Marble Arch feeding pigeons. There were lots of people bustling around and he just sat there in the middle of it all peacefully being with birds.
 Seeing this horse head sculpture again. We were at Hyde Park for a music festival which was fun.
 Sunset the other night as I was coming home.
Taking photos on the way home from work yesterday. This is Wapping High Street, a very interesting road.

Friday 12 September 2014

Work and Play

After going to the tip the other morning, when driving back,  I turned away from a massive queue and explored new streets. I roughly knew where I was, but was happy to find myself at the top of one of the many hills around here, looking down over London on a beautiful morning. I parked and wandered around to take a few photos for Bleeding London. (An activity which, although play, involves some effort so counts as work in a sense). This allotment was next to where I parked, and the photo I chose for that road was the one below the sunflower picture as I thought it was more interesting, but I did love those sunflowers. 
 There was indeed a big pile of manure behind the gates. You can just see the river below in the distance.
 This was the other photo I took and used on that day. I just loved that tree!
This is a page from my current journal. I was using a black pen with water and drew this girl and wolf. Then I gave her a ship necklace as I have seen so many ships in the last week. 
 Then today (no work again-I did ring to check) I played with the picture in photoshop along with a ship photo from the other evening when I met my friend from work for coffee before walking back to the car along the river, and seeing one of the last ships left.

I used Kim Klassen textures and saved loads of versions, and these two are the two I like best.

Yesterday was a good first day, finished off nicely by seeing this amazing dog painting on a building near the DLR. I thought about putting it on Bleeding London but when I checked it was there (unsurprisingly) and only put on recently.

Wednesday 10 September 2014

Crochet and Cats

I decided to crochet a Kachina doll. So far I have done the head, face and collar and am working on the headdress now. 
Having finally tidied the bedroom yesterday I rearranged the very important cat sleeping and viewing the street area. There is still a lot of stuff in there but at least it is reasonably organised. Cassie likes the basket I found and filled with one of the woolly baskets. She crammed herself in there for most of the day.

I made these granny square slippers last week, following a pattern on The Purl Bee. It was an easy pattern to follow. I find the slippers slightly too wide but am not sure how to make them narrower. If I do less rounds on the squares then they would just be too small. Maybe if I use a smaller hook it would work.
This is Lily holding my hand. She loves to do this sometimes-she deliberately puts her paw on your hand then stays like that. She likes the top of her paw being gently stroked. It is so sweet!
Tiger likes to curl up next to the wall at the point in the afternoon when it catches the sun. In the morning she sleeps perilously close to the edge of the decking.
Today has turned out to be the last day of my extended holiday, as I have a booking for tomorrow! I am quite excited though a little nervous. It is at a school in Poplar so I am going to leave nice and early just in case. I am covering PPA in Nursery and Reception. Wish me luck!

Monday 8 September 2014

River Views

By Monday night Sunday always seems so far away! Even when you have not worked all day but have had time for a walk, some crochet and some pottering around. I tried to work today but there was nothing. Which made me rejoice although I am sure I should be worrying about money but I am not-yet. Anyway, these photos are from the walk Andy and I had yesterday. We parked at Sainsbury's and did the shopping, then walked to the dome, around the dome, around it a bit further, until at last we got to, you guessed it, more boats! But it was not just the boats, the whole walk was lovely. Living near the river is one of my favourite things about this area. Yesterday was so busy on the Thames path, and in some spots we moved along at a shuffle. We went almost to Greenwich, then back through streets that two years ago were wasteland and industrial areas, and are now new and fancy flats. We were on the way to a lovely pub where we thought we might have lunch, but it was so busy we had crisps and a drink (shandy, my favourite refreshing pub drink when I can't really drink) then got the bus back to the car. 
I like the colours of this little boat. 
The barrier lights were green. 
Picturesque warehouse across the river. 
The cable car, advertising a view of Melbourne!
I had to zoom in on these flowers to see what they were. (Evening primroses I think) This pier seems to have been deliberately left to grow wild. I really like that.
Canary Wharf dwarfing the little row of old houses in front. 

Only 91/2 miles to Waterloo!
Another lovely colour combination seen on a boat. 
This diver carrying historical man I found disturbing! He was blowing bubbles. I wish I had taken more notice whether the dangly legs are false and it is only one man-I think that must be the case.
More boats...