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.

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.

Sunday 9 October 2016

To the North

Last weekend we went up to Northumberland to go to the Allen Valleys Folk Festival. It was fun and lovely to get away to fresh air. We saw a couple of bands on the Friday night, one of which was my favourite of the whole weekend. They are called Stick in the Wheel and are from London. Their songs are a mix of traditional and their own. There are two singers, one main and one harmonizing, a guitar, a drummer-hand drums and a violinist. The main singer and the other girl did a lot of chatting in between songs and were really funny. (Hard Times of Old England, Me n Becky)  Other than seeing the music, we ate lovely food, saw friends, wandered around in the woods and generally relaxed. Below are a few pictures from around Allendale where we were staying. 
Black Lion
Boarded Up
Bunk House
Cross Keys
Labor and Wait
Methodist Chapel Window
Mossy Roofs
Victoria House

Sunday 25 September 2016

Sunflowers in the Park

This morning I met Kim from work and we went for coffee in her local park. I have been there before with our friends Devi and Jeremy, or else I would never have known it was there. It is called East Greenwich Pleasaunce and is indeed very pleasant. It has a sweet little cafe and lots of friendly dog walkers. It is hidden away in the middle of the streets with quite concealed entrances. It somethimes has a fair on the last Sunday of the month which is why we decided to meet up. That wasn't on today but coffee in the park was just as good! These two cheery sunflowers stood out and there are lots of huge and beautiful trees. It has a graveyard of naval and merchant sailors which is why we went with our friends before. 
 After coffee, Kim invited me round for more coffee and to meet her dog. He is, as you can see, a very handsome boy. He is called Bruiser and is very friendly and sweet. He has the most amazing chestnut coloured coat with lots of shades in it. I wanted to take photos of him so Kim bribed him with treats!
 He is wearing his sock here as he chews his paw and is making it sore. He soon whipped the sock off though!
 This is a drawing by Kim's grandson. He was in the nursery when I first started at my current school. He was always very good at drawing, really concentrating and looking closely and I loved his pictures. This one is amazing. There is real depth and composition in it and lots of detail.
 I went to buy ink this afternoon so have now printed out the pictures for Tiger's shelf. I had these three tiny frames as a present from a friend a couple of years ago and they are perfect.