Thursday, 24 July 2014

End of the Year - a change of Pace

Well, my colleagues and I managed it.......we got to the end of the school year almost intact.  Every year is much fuller than any human can really cope with but this year has gone beyond even that.
Big structure changes, an Ofsted under the new guidelines, my timetable which even Superman would have blanched  at,various personal issues to deal with and much more.  Individually what we do is expected and accepted, it is the timing and trying to do it all at the same time which is the killer.

Anyway, I have borrowed the image above which Peg at Happy in Quilting used some months back and I also found on Google. it pretty much sums up how I look and feel  at the moment (without the fur and long tail I have to say).    So we finished on Tuesday and a close and long time friend is moving to another local school which is ideal for her but a shame that a colleague and close friend will no longer be around at work to say hello to day to day an work on various tasks and projects.  So I asked if she would like to go to a cute little coffee shop for tea and cake before we went home.
Well the size of the cake was MUCH bigger than we were expecting but it was gorgeous.  Mine is here, chocolate. caramel and something else which I forget (another symptom of being whacked out, little or no short term memory).  My friend had and iced lemon cake, equally as huge!
We chatted away for over an hour then decided we should make a move.  In my car it was registering 27 degrees and it felt like it.  Even the air conditioning was hot!  Hopefully we will have a record breaking summer for a change but some rain at night will stop all the plants etc struggling and everyone can sleep better.
I wish my friend all the best at her new school and hope that the gifts I gave her will be useful, forgot to take any pics never mind.  I gave a hard backed notebook for meetings and a hand made keyring for her classroom key and an embroidered zippered pouch, both made by me.
We shall meet up along with our other joint friends  in the near future but we have worked together for over 16 years which is a long time.  Many of my colleagues that I have worked with (and grown older with) have left I am beginning to wonder if it is time for me to also move on?
For now I shall stay where I am for several reason's which at the moment suit me and my family even if not for my career as such.
So we get to yesterday which was my first full day of the summer and my much looked forward to lie in bed
Google images
 and what happens........I wake up 10mins before the alarm at 6.30am!  I can not get back to sleep either so I get up and see Sophie off on her last day at primary school.
The rest of the day, which is too hot to sit outside, is spent work!  It is a myth that teachers do nothing for 6 weeks of the summer.  I have to boxes and two massive bags of work to do before September and the only reason I did not actually go in to school, which I normally do at the beginning of the summer, is because we have builders in and it is a Health and Safety issue.
I did get quite a bit done, paperwork mainly, class lists, timetable, and starting to look at my planner for the new year which I shall do another post on once I have finished it.
It is not going to be all work.  My Mum had knitted some little hats in preparation for The Big Knit which usually has a deadline in the Autumn and I am going to add some decoration such as mini crochet flowers and perhaps some buttons.  I shall take these with us as we make our annual trip to Seaford tomorrow to see my sister-in-law.  I like taking a little crafty project which will not take up too much room and sit outside and catch up with what she has been doing since our last visit.
Hence the need to do some more work later today but first I have a fridge to sort out, then I am off to have my nails done before the voucher my hubby bought me for Valentines runs out and then take Sophie to a dentist appointment then some packing.
I hope to see you all here a bit more over the coming weeks as I slot in some me time as well as everything else so please do pop back so that we can catch up as I know that I have been a bit absent from here over recent months and there is more news to share including my on-going crochet quest.
Take care and keep smiling.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Paper Creations - Making Cards

It has been ages since I made any cards and this week I was asked at work if I had any for sale.  I did but thought I should add some new ones.  I have decided to may be make a few each week over the summer and then advertise at work in September again.

I decided to make some Thank you cards which always come in handy.These ones have a raised decoupage look to them and I do try and not make them too 3D as you can get caught out at the post office if it does not go through their magic plastic gauge and you end up being charged more.
All pink and cupcakey.
More cupcakes.  I made some cupcakes for a cake Sale this week, the first time in ages, and time was tight so I forgot to take any pictures.  Pleased to say that they all sold.
This card could be used for any reason which is always nice to do.
Finally, something a little different,  a card made using Batik which I really enjoy doing.  Bright tropical colours on a slightly smaller card and I really like this one.  I sell them at work for just enough to cover costs so it is a little hobby which pays for itself.  I have some regular customers who even have requests and with a slightly different timetable next year I might get a little more me time in the evenings to make a few more and let my brain drift off for a bit.
I also hope to blog more over the summer and really get to grips with a quilt that is half made and to make some more items towards a swap that I have signed up to.

I heard from the ATC swap host and all is well.  I will be sending the ATC's off to America this week.  The next theme is Vamp but due to me being away I shall skip that one and do the next one instead.
The link is in my side bar if you are interested in taking part.
Take care and enjoy this lovely weather we are having, been about 6 weeks of it I think.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Le Challenge -June -SMALL

I originally knitted a little mouse for this challenge before I went away to Spain.  Got back at the weekend and do you think that I can find it?   NO!
So I have made another little felt cat.  I made one of these a couple of years ago to go on a card commission for a friend.
This pound coin shows roughly the size of the little cat.  The knitted mouse would have been even smaller but that might be part of the reason why I can not find it.
Ages ago I bought this book about making characters out of felt and I intend to have a go at several projects over the summer and have them as badges to put on cards which do not need to be sent.
There are templates and the characters to choose from are really cute.
Off to add this to the Le Challenge website.
Take care all.
My tutor group won the end of term award for earning the most merits.  It is the first time since they joined two years ago that we have won and they really did not think that they would be any higher than 5th.  The looks on theirs faces was a picture, so we are off to the cinema on Friday morning as a reward.
PPSS.  Can not upload to Le Challenge webaite to I will have to retake the pictures and try again tomorrow if you are wondering why you can not see it there.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

ATC Swap- June -Zodiac

Hello everyone.
Been absent from Blogland due to taking 46 students for an educational visit to Spain last week.  More on that once I have sorted out the photographs.  For now I have some details about a swap I signed up for but am not able, at present, to send off.
The theme for the June Swap was to design and create three ATC's using Zodiac as the starting point.  I decided to also include three envelopes as well.
I really found it hard to decide what to do but because I knew that I was going to Spain with the school I had to get a move on and I did finish them about two weeks ago.  I decided to go for a muted colour scheme which I would use across all three cards.
The colour scheme was influenced partly by the picture that I used shown above and I free machined the background before attaching the image and text.  I wrote details of the swap on another piece of card and then attached this to the back by sewing around the edge through all  the layers.
On this card I used some diluted coffee and dribbled it on the background before adding some symbols of the Zodiac with further stitching around the edge.
Finally, the last card I decided to use a collage approach with coffee, paint, images and text along the theme of Zodiac.  The details on the back were again written on tonal card and then stitched to the back around the edge.
 I am really pleased with how these turned out and I still like the colour scheme as it gives a sense of age and the Zodiac goes back centuries.
All I need now is the information as to who to actually send these to.  The deadline for sending is 15th July and despite 3/4 emails over the past 2 weeks I have had no reply.  There is nothing on the swap site and I do not know what to do next as it states that anyone who does not meet the swap rules is banned and not allowed to participate again.........ever.  So I shall pop over to the site and leave a comment there in the hope that something might happen.
Anyway, they turned out well and I really want to make some more of these as they are fun and half of the challenge is the size of the cards.
Hope you have all had a good weekend.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

The Guy's are back!

They started opening up Friday afternoon and the rain  last Saturday seemed to stop everything.
Then on Sunday most of them burst out in their full glory!
Welcome back guys, summer has now truly started and I am now going to look forward to the masses of other flowers to burst open!
Take Care.
PS I am reeeealllllly pleased with the first picture which I took after the rain had stopped.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Pin Cushion - Revamp

I took a tired old cross stitched cover off this pincushion and the layer underneath was not much better either!
So I unscrewed the base and took this layer off too.
I then went off to find some lovely, cheerful and summery fabric and I found this.........
I decided  to stretch it over the sponge and wooden base rather than gluing it or using a staple gun which did not work as I did try that first!
What do you think?
My much loved and much used wooden based pin cushion,  now has a new lease of life.
Have a good week and thank you for the comments left.  I shall reply now that I have completed my end of year reports.
Take care

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Zentagle Revisit - Sketchbook

It has been just over a year since I last created a Zentagle design in my sketchbook.  Where has the time gone and why is it so impossible for me to find time to draw them more often?  While I am pondering that  question lets have a look at my latest effort.
The main flower shape was already drawn in my book nearly a year ago and I could not think what my original idea was going to be so I just made this one up as I sat in the garden on Sunday afternoon thinking I hope that the lovely weather will last for another week.
(unfortunately it is going to rain tomorrow).
I wanted to use thick and thin lines and keep the flowers as the main feature of the page.
I also tried to keep the lines all curved and spirals also came to mind.
On the following page I had drawn some hex's, again not sure why, so I had a little go at adding some different patterns on this page.  Used more thick lines on this page to give a much bolder look.
I had forgotten just how much I enjoyed doing these and I have recently set Zentangle designs as a homework challenge for my Year 7 groups.
So hopefully it will not be another year before I create some more!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Home grown - Summer Flowers

Ever since visiting Hardy's cottage as part of the National Trust many years ago, I have always wanted to try and have a cottage style garden with lots of flowers which are suitable for cutting and having indoors.
Well finally this year I have grown some pinks that are now ready for cutting. I added the plants last summer and left it as much as possible and this year they have gone mad and I cut the above this afternoon.

I have also planted some other plants this year which will not really flower properly until next year.  I have added many that are bee friendly which should help my apple trees as well.  We have painted the house this last half term and sorted out some other little jobs in the garden so that hopefully if we have a nice summer we can  sit outside and enjoy it.
Today it has been very hot, in the shade it was 29 degrees and 40+ in the sun so under an umbrella I was marking and it made it go much more happily.
Tomorrow I need to put some plants in that I bought this  weekend but I wanted to give them a thorough water first due to the hot weather.
So another week at work but it is now the 2 week countdown before our school trip to Spain with 46 students and 6 staff!
Watch this space.
Hope you all had the lovely weekend that Cornwall was able to enjoy.
Take care.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Summer Fruits

The lovely weather that we have been having these past few weeks has suddenly worked wonders for our strawberries.
We normally have an on-going battle with the local slug population as to who will get to them first but this year the dryer weather has worked in our favour and slugs are not to be seen!

We have been very encouraged by the number that are waiting to turn rosy red, so many more than we usually get.
As they are ripening, we are picking them and popping them in the fridge.
Best get some cream in the house!
All of the flowers are also doing well and my apple trees are growing teeney tiny apples at the moment.  One of best years for our garden ever!
PS Hubby bought me a manicure pressie for Valentines and guess what.......i have finally booked an appointment this Saturday morning!  Can not wait, it will make a welcome change.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Crochet WIP- Finally completed.

I am ashamed to say that I started this Granny Square bag well over a year ago and it went together really quickly.  It was intended to use up yarn left over from other knitting projects and I wanted to make some squares but do something a little different with them.  There have been many versions of this bag but it was new to me.
I tried to keep the colours separated and once I had worked out how to get the shape I started to sew them together as I went.  My first problem was trying to make the straps because at the time of making this bag I was still learning how to crochet and achieve straight edges.  I was also in several minds as to the colour of the lining.  Then, as usual, I was side tracked with  subject changes at work and then of course I started by evening class.  Anyway, last week I decided to sort it out, sat down with Attic24 on my computer and refused to move until I had cracked it!  I tried to make the straps as tight as possible as I do not want them to  stretch with use.
I even managed to make them exactly the same size!!   Just before I attached them I did go around the top edge of the bag with a picot stitch which went right first time (on a roll here!) and  itdid make the edge much nicer to look at.
My next delay in the months leading up to this completion had been what colour lining fabric to have.  After just not being able to find the magic "oh yes that's it" I gave up and went for.....
....................cream!  Not very inspiring perhaps but nothing else seemed right.  So I cut, pinned and hand stitched it in place.
I even thought to add one of my own labels while I was finishing it off.
The colour is a pretty good match with my work planner, but it will not be put in this bag as it is genuinely far too heavy.  I am really pleased with how it turned out, I just wish I had completed it much sooner.  
Another WIP done.  It is so satisfying.
Next in line is a quilt ,now that is another whole story yet to be told.

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