Saturday, 31 December 2016

Happy New Year!

Happy Blackheath in the fog and sunshine two days ago. It looked like I imagine heaven would look if you believe in that kind of thing. 
 New year at home this year. We have had a lovely evening. I spoke to all my family and my friends in Holland where we would normally be. We have had seventies themed food-prawn cocktail, coq au vin and chocolate mousse and lots of various nice drinks. We ate at the picnic fold up table as the kitchen table has too much stuff on it. It was like our own little restaurant!
Hope all of your New Years are fun and wishing you a great 2017! x

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Happy Little Faces

I found a book of knitted teddy bears in the charity shop the other day, and have been knitting little bears ever since. (Well I am on my third one anyway) I have made two of the same bear and am now trying a second pattern. I am quite pleased that I am managing to follow a knitting pattern, as I never could before. Since teaching myself the double pointed needles my knitting confidence has increased. 
 This is bear number one, or 'proto bear' who I made all my mistakes on-mainly by sewing the wrong sides of the legs together instead of the right sides. Unlike crochet animals I have made, the bears are not made in the round, but as pieces to make up, like you would fabric. This one is done in stocking stitch, but the bumpy side is the right side and I got confused. I knitted two more legs and tried again! The jumper is much harder to make than the bear.
 This is bear two, who now lives with Linda Sue in her mouse flat in West London. I used the larger of my glass beads for this one's eyes. I also did a different colour for the jumper sleeves, as in the first one I think I used the front as a sleeve-the arms are significantly different in width!
 The bear is posing on a book bought purely for the cover. I have quite a collection of books bought for the cover. Oh dear. These books were £1 each in the cheapest second hand bookshop in the world-in Greenwich. If you are willing to put up with piles of books that you search through, and piles of book collectors who don't really like to move out of the way in the narrow aisles then it is for you. I just remembered somewhere cheaper-a place in Barnet where we went with Andy's sister was giving away books free. I seem to remember I was quite restrained.
 Apart from the happy bear faces, I thought I would share a couple of things from school recently.
 This is a robot made by one of the boys in our morning nursery. He was hammering nails into a piece of wood outside.(He is good at hammering and was able to make the nail stick into the wood) I asked what he was making and he said "A robot." I thought I would help him, so went to cut some arms and legs. He was able to fix them onto the wood, which I then finished off by hammering the ends over. He wanted a triangle head. Then he went inside to paint and decorate the robot. He added buttons, drew a face and stuck on an eye. My favourite part is the one eye! I had to do some minor surgery on the robot tonight as the arms and legs had stuck and stopped moving. They move again now!
 This is our adult led task this week. It is the mum from our story "Biscuit Bear". You never see her face in the book, so we talked about her and how she might be feeling. We looked at the clues-a big mess on the kitchen floor, the folded arms. We practised different expressions and talked about feelings that we have. Then they have to draw Mum's head and show her feelings in their drawing. We ask them why she feels a particular way. It has been a fun activity and the talking/drawing have been impressive. This is my favourite so far. This girl drew Mum's face and could say how she was feeling, also adding her own family, and describing their feelings too. I love the hair and eyes on her faces!
The final happy face is the gingerbread man. He probably won't be happy for long. Last week, one of our parents brought her little girl a gingerbread man at home time in the morning. My colleague jokingly asked where hers was. The Mum then generously went and bought enough gingerbread men decorating kits for the whole class, morning and afternoon, to make their own. I took photos for their books, as, obviously, they were soon to meet their fate.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Boot Fair Treasure

Having resisted its lure for months now, I gave in last week and went to the boot fair. I also went this week. There were lots of great things to be found and I found them! As a demonstration of the greatness of the fair, I have included the prices of the things I bought. And the purpose if there is one, if there isn't then it is just that I loved them. 
 Domed lady. Art for one of my dolls houses, if I ever get around to arranging them. 20p.
 Fighting cockerels. Bought after I found the two horses below. £1 the pair. 
 These horses are beautiful. I am not sure if they are brass or copper, but whatever they are they certainly have a lovely coating of verdigris. I googled Chinese flying horse and found out that they are modelled on The Flying Horse of Gansu, a 2000 year old bronze sculpture found in 1969. £5. They are my second favourite thing I found.
 Glass pumpkin. Added to my small Halloween display. It picks up the light and colours around it beautifully. £2.

 Classical bust of a lady. For dolls house purposes. 50p.
 The glass bottle smells like sweet old ladies. It is not from the fair but the charity shop. 50p.
 Another red London bus, bound for Petticoat Lane. A black cab. The Knight Bus from Harry Potter. No purpose. £4 for all three.
 This is my favourite find. I was informed that it is a Morris dancer's hat. Whatever it is I love it! It fits me too. It makes the most beautiful jingling noise. £3.
  A biscuit stamp and a Chinese signature stamp (I think) I plan to actually use the biscuit stamp for its intended purpose and the other one for decoration in journals etc. Can't remember how much they were but it wasn't a lot.
 They are on top of this tin. It is really worn in a delightful way, and has embossed scenes on each side and the top. Not sure if it is London or not. I love it and think it would be able to be used to take rubbings of, though have not tried it yet. £1.

 Old tools. £2.50 for the set square, 50p the screw driver and £1 for the spatula. The screwdriver has a lovely shaped handle which feels great to hold.
 Small brass Welsh woman. 50p.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Cats Sleep Anywhere

Cassie in her box which is in her play area. If she wants to play, she goes and sits near to the box in the background which she loves because it has holes in the end, through which a feather thingammy can be wriggled. The big box was supposed to be temporary but she loves sleeping there.
 Lily likes plastic to sleep on. This piece of bubble wrap was on the floor for a while last Saturday and she sat there for ages in the sun. On the bed is an old carrier bag which is her favourite place to sleep. I think they must be warm.
So glad it is Friday. I have a pile of work (literally!) to do but at least it is half term next week so I dont have to rush to get it done for Monday!

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Birthday Dolls

It is my birthday today, so I thought I would share my birthday dolls. I met Linda Sue a couple of weekends ago and we visited the Foundling Museum. We had a bit of trouble finding the Foundling but finally did. Linda Sue gave me this amazing doll for my birthday. She is very old and beautifully shabby, and wears her face around her neck so that it looks like a neckerchief. 

 I have had a couple of goes at painting her as she is very tempting to paint. 

 Andy's sister Helen sent me this sweet doll for my birthday last year. She has been waiting for her bigger friend to arrive and they look as if they were made for each other!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Wrabness and Mistley

At the end of the summer holidays we visited a couple of places in Essex. Wrabness was the first. I chose there because of the recommendation about the beach I read somewhere which said you could find bones. First we visited the community cafe. The lady in there told us how to get to the beach. We drove where directed and parked near the church. This little structure is in the middle of the churchyard. Not sure if it is the lychgate or not. A lychgate is a roofed entrance to a churchyard which used to be used for sheltering a coffin until the vicar arrived. 

We walked down quite a long track. In the distance we could see this intriguing house. It turns out to be an artwork by Grayson Perry.
It's called  'A House for Essex' 

Dilapidated greenhouse on the track. 
Beach houses. 

Next we went to Mistley, not far away. 
The Edme building dominates one end of the village. It is a malt products producer. You can smell the malt in the air.
Buildings have been converted into fancy looking dwellings. 
Mistley lies on the edge of the Stour estuary. There were loads of swans on the water and I think this must be a regular thing as there is a large ornamental swan in the middle of the village.
Another shipwreck.
Said swan. 
Small political doggy in the window. I am not sure what the campaign is about but it is to do with the maltings on the river side.
Some tastefully painted houses. 
Mistley Towers. They were part of a church but the middle part has gone. 

The best cup of tea I have ever had. All of the fancy glass teapots and timers were fun and the tea was delicious! I had Earl Grey.
The cafe is The Tea House at Mistley Quay. Right in the middle just to the left of the swan.