Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Up close and colourful......

Being half term I have quite a lot of things to do around the house that may otherwise get left during term time, so not much crafting so far. So I thought that you might like to see some pictures that I took last week. The above plant was growing in the school veg garden. Not entirely sure what it is though. No label either. Any ideas?
Twice a week I work either one to one or with a small group in another part of the school. Last Friday I was due to help a student with their photography work. Last time I did not have my camera and thought that next time I could have a go with mine to show encouragement.
The topic this time was to take 12 pictures close up using colour and then 12 close ups using black and white. We did not have long so we decided to tackle the colour close ups first. These are some of the ones that I took using my little Canon which has 4X optical zoom and 10.0 mega pixels. Does that make any sense to anyone? Hubby bought it for me for Christmas and has been constantly used.

I put the setting to close up which happens to be a picture of a flower and we then wandered around school looking for flowers as that was the theme that he wanted his close ups to be on. It was a very very sunny day and digital cameras are not easy to use on bright days, but we clicked away with our cameras and crossed our fingers. Some of the best pictures could be found in the school veg garden. I love the one above and it is fairly close to the colour of the flower. Often I find that purple turns out blue.

I had to get on my hands and knees by the maths department for this one! We think that most of the rooms were empty at the time. Exams on you see. I was really pleased with this one as there was quite a wind blowing and I had to keep still and click when there was a break in the breeze.

Lovely bright colours and the pollen really shows up in this picture. There were a lot of bees flying around this plant.

This was really good fun and the quickest hour I have spent in ages. I did take some more but I am going to use them for a little project I have in mind. I am going to take some more after half term and ask if I can borrow a black and white camera as you can not switch mine, unlike you can the school cameras. I have not yet seen how the student's pictures turned out but hopefully he will be pleased with his pictures too.

Another great day of weather today and Sophie and I plan to go to the park tomorrow.


Monday, 30 May 2011

Needle Felting

As a way of taking the edge off revising, I like to link in as many practical tasks as possible. learning through doing works better. So as part of their bonded fabrics my students had a go at needle felting.

As a base they cut out a shape that they liked using shop bought felt and then needle felted their own design on top.They then chose from a range of cross grain ribbon that I brought in and hand stitched a backing on with some stuffing inside to bulk it out a bit.They really enjoyed this, especially the freedom to do this by themselves. The dinner jacket was particularly inspiring and may have been partly due to the fact that they recently had their leavers ball. I also showed them the Janome embellishing machine but did not get any pictures. so I will come back to this another time as I really fancy one of these. Perhaps a birthday idea(?)

Sophie loves needle felting and seeing as hubby is going away again for a few days, I think some needle felting and other crafty things will be going on in the attic.

I was really pleased with the keyrings and after half term it will be Batik and Tie Dye for the younger group.

Off to my BIL birthday this afternoon. Sophie and I made some Rocky Road yesterday using a recipe from Nigella Lawson's Express book. We adapted it slightly. I now need to go and cut it up into mouth size bits after being in the fridge all night......wish me luck.


Friday, 27 May 2011

A very thoughtful gift

I came home from work to find a postcard from the Royal Mail saying that there was a parcel waiting for me at the depot.
The note saying"Live Plants" made all of the staff laugh and I thought that I ought to say they were garden plants, daises in fact.

Inside was this lovely card. Inside is a detailed list of what was in the parcel.

They were all very carefully packed inside, a work of art really and due to this all of the plants survived their trip from Yorkshire.

Carol very kindly offer to send some Ox- eyed daisies when I mentioned in a recent post that I have been looking for some. Little did I know that they would need travelling companions which included:

London Pride

Iceland Poppies

Perennial Poppies - Red

Perennial Foxglove

Black Hollyhock



Very much a generous gift which I am putting in pots to establish and then into the garden. Everything has grown really well in the garden over the past 12 months, so hopefully this time next year I will, at last , be on my way to having the little cottage garden that I would very much like to look after.

Thank you soooo much Carol. I still think that it is gestures like this from a lovely person who I have never actually met sets blogger users and visitors apart from other social network sites.

My hubby and I are very grateful.


Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Sophie's Cereal Maker

Sophie asked for a cereal bar maker featured in Argos for Christmas. We had a go in the New Year and last weekend we had another try. We used cooking chocolate, just one bar. Sophie is an only child, so we do not want to make much other wise it takes ages to eat it. Not healthy to have too much anyway.

So I melted the chocolate while Sophie got the cereal bar maker ready.We then added some rice crispies, just judged it by eye.We also added some cranberries which are lovely. I put them in buns and all sort of puddings. It says that they are dried, but they are not hard at all. Very soft really. I buy them in Asda but I am sure that they can be found in other shops too.This is the cereal bar maker. It works a bit like a press and squashes the ingredients together in the two moulds that are provided. You need to line the mould with cling film. Put some mixture in the mould and press it a bit in the corners. Then wrap the cling film over the top of the mould before popping the lid on top.
There is a little flat lid that goes on the top of the mould and then you wind down the top clamp to squeeze the bar in the mould. (I hope that this is making sense).The kit comes with labels!You keep turning the clamp slowly until it makes a little squeak, then stop. Raise the clamp and pull out the mould. The above picture shows the lid still on.It should look the above.There is also a false base to help push the bar out of the mould.
A label is then put on the bar and then popped it in the fridge to finish off.

Do not leave them in the fridge as we have found that they go a bit too hard and could damage teeth. It comes with a little book and there are other ideas to try out. Sophie likes this as she can pretty much use it by herself and by mixing in some fruit and keeping the chocolate a low as possible, it is a way of getting her interested in making things in the kitchen.
Hubby is going a away on business next week so we shall be having a go at making some of our dinners because it will not matter how long it takes!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Student Knitting Club

For just over a year my a TA and myself have been running a little knitting club after school. They come and go and the projects are quite small to maintain interest. We have been using a book that I found in a cheap bookshop but has been its weight in gold. There are also sewing ideas and I think that we are going to finish the year sewing some items. We shall come back to knitting in the Autumn term.

The above purse was made by a Year 7 student who is very new to knitting.The above parrot was featured on the front of the pom pom kit and it is so close to the picture and it it really cute. We stitched some of it together and glue gunned the wings, tail feathers and beak. I did the google eyes to prevent any injuries.Another student came up with this caterpillar idea after making one pom pom for the first time and simply looking at it to decide what she could make. The sections were strung together and the eyes and pipe cleaners attached again with the glue gun. Two very happy girls who are coming back Tuesday to start something else.
Another point to handmade, told I was on a crusade to keep this alive, because they are coming after school to this it is not part of their timetable!
I have more pictures of a different project that they did just before Easter which I shall post tomorrow.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Proud moment....

I have often mentioned here of proud moments with Sophie, but this time I am proud of some of my students.

After a nail biting week of application letters which needed my endorsement, a few days waiting for selections to be made. Followed by interview letters being issued, interviews taking place and then 24 hours of waiting for the outcome........

My classroom door opened at 2.30pm today whilst I was doing some lesson planning and three of my students were stood there with big grins on their faces!

The reason?

Out of 90 application letters(some were after Prefect jobs) they landed 3 out of 6 jobs to be deputy head boys x 2 and deputy head girl. To have clinched three jobs when the field of applicants was not only large, 18 letters from my tutor group alone, but also very strong, is an achievement.

To have three from one group is very lucky indeed. There are, of course many disappointed youngsters, within our own group as well as other groups, but if the cheering and clapping that one of the boys got when he walked back into his lesson is anything to go by, they were popular choices as they asked about the others as well.

This may not seem very important in the scheme of things but for these 15 year olds it was. They had very little time to sort out their letter, they were very well written, their English teachers would have been very pleased, and they took it seriously but with a maturity that showed that they are now indeed ready to move on to their final year in school.

I have some cards for the lads, thought we could have given them out this morning but the result was delayed. Plus a little gift to mark the occasion. The group signed them but luckily due to absences and a Drama exam I decided to hold off which is just as well as a third student was added to the list. Off to find something for her tomorrow.

I really am pleased with this outcome and very much deserved there are, of course, some students whose confidence has taken a bit of a knock and next week will be spent making sure that it is put back.

Have a good weekend everyone.


Thursday, 19 May 2011

Smile Please!!!!!!!!!

Hubby and I like good table manners and we have always promoted eating at the table etc. However, a couple of days ago Sophie did make me smile when she produced this arrangement on her plate

Sorry, but we like any excuse to have Yorkshire puddings even though it is not a traditional roast here.

It did raise a smile on our faces a funny picture, and the end result was an empty plate and a full tummy!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

OPAM 2011- Corsage for Sophie

You can imagine the scene. Sophie sits down really close on the sofa and says "What are you doing Mummy?" I am checking my scraps of wool.

"Hmmm, right, are you going to do some crocheting then?"
I might Sophie why?
Long pause..............
"I was just wondering............."
Wondering what?
"...............If you could make me one of those flower things for my school bag?"
So watching The One Show Sophie sat (very close) next tome and chose the colours that she would like for her crochet corsage and I made it up for her while she watched really closely.

I love the fact that even with my limited crochet skills I can sit and literally whip up this little something which brought a huge grin and a bone crushing hug from a little girl who still thinks Mummy is just brill.
Roll on handmade, it is the best tonic ever!
Her friends loved it and I think it went surprisingly well with her school bag, which is quite patterned.

Monday, 16 May 2011

A sunny day in the Garden

Due to yet another lovely sunny day, it was off to the garden centre again. I have been looking for a borage plant for over a year. I had pretty much given up too but one last look at Duchy Nurseries prove fruitful and I found my plant. Yippeeeee, in fact I found two plants! So hopefully my Pimms will be just that little bit more special.
I also bought this daisy plant. I have also been looking for some Ox-eye daisy's. Lovely large headed daisies. My search continuous.

We saw the above plant when we went to the garden centre last week.
It is called Senetti. It is a purple/blue and is gorgeous and within a minute of planting it I had bees on it. We are trying to attract more bees to the garden for the apple trees and fruit plants. Plan going well then.

The above plant is Cherry Red Argyranthemum which is a lovely plant with great shaped leaves. I think that I may be going back for another one of these.

The plant is called Blue and it is much more blue than it picture looks. I even managed to catch a bee with my camera. When we went to pay for this plant there was a bee on it and we had to carefully move it on to another plant. Sophie has offered to help look after these so we have read the tickets on how to care for them and this is now here job. She is really interested in gardening and getting involved. Hubby and I are not experts by any means but most things survive too.

Tip of the day?

How do you stop your plants from falling over in the boot? Put them in some boots. This is how the borage made it home, Hubby's idea!

You had to be there really but it was very funny and you know what?.....it worked.

I also planted a courgette plant and a butter nut squash which I swapped for cabbages.

What is your favourite plant?

Take care this week and see you tomorrow.


Sunday, 15 May 2011

Knitted and Crochet Summer Bag

The above is a happy accident! I was trying to crochet a flower and during round two it changed a bit so I kept going and it turned out like this. This flower led onto a happy project.
I did manage to sort myself out and made the flowers above.
Two of my students wanted to knit a bag so I found a pattern that I could understand (!) and we have been knitting away for ages. I did cheat a little by using bigger needles and thicker wool so that I could get further ahead faster so that they could "see" where they are heading.
I made the flowers using left overs from my recently finished crochet stripey blanket. It is lovely wool to use and glides over the hook really well.

To prevent the edges of the bag from over stretching I crocheted along all of the edges.

The happy mistake has been attached to a knitted flap which I decided to add to the bag and it acts as a weight to help keep it shut. I may add a large popper, but I am still thinking about this.

I arranged the flowers in the bottom corner. I stitched them on using matching wool by going over the central part of the flower and leaving the petals free, to give a more 3D effect.

Sophie kindly offered to model it for me so it does look a little big. Again, to prevent the bag from over stretching, I added a pink gingham lining, a summery fabric I always think. I continued the fabric along the handle as well, by slip stitching it on using ordinary sewing thread.

The girls are still working on the main body of their bags but I shall take this in on Tuesday for them to see the next stage. They have asked for blue fabric of which we have several to choose from.

I am now offically in between projects.

Then again I can feel some more of those crochet flowers being made.

What have you recently finished?


Friday, 13 May 2011

Made to measure shoes.......................

I found this on craftzine earlier this week. Clever are they not? I would never have thought of doing this. Not sure if the tape measure would rub after a while but these brought a smile to my face none the less.
At the moment I am searching through all of my Sew Hip mags for additional ideas for easy accessories to make with a largish group of youngsters in June.
I have found quite a few that I like, I may have to narrow it down a bit.
I like to make up an example or two because it gives the youngsters an idea of where to start and then hopefully go their own way with their own ideas.
I have a few more mags to look at whilst watching Tinkerbell on DVD ( for the millionth time) she is just about to save spring time!!
Enjoy the evening, the weekend is here.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011


Well, I actually wrote this post, posted it then it vanished from my Blog. So it is in fact Sunday 15th May today not what is says above. I which I knew where it had gone, oh well It took me ages as well. So I shall do it again but it may not be as long as the first attempt.

People feel differently about awards but I think that if someone who lives on the other side of the world has thought to include me then I shall be gracious enough to say thanks you.

Now, I will be honest as say that this was given to me a while ago, I said thank you at the time but other things got in the way of posting it such as losing the picture!

It was given to me by Molly. Molly makes lovely crochet items among other things so do pop over and take a look.

Molly also included some info about herself. I have done this before but it was ages ago and there are some new followers to this blog so some of it may be of interest. So....

1. I am left handed but I have to use scissors right handed.

2. Following on from that I knit and crochet right handed too.

3. I used to do archery and still have all of the equipment but not the time. Pity.

4. I teach textiles/sewing and I am carrying out a crusade to keep these skills alive, but it ain't easy!

5. I have an eight year old daughter and her best quote to date has been "Mummy I am the best thing that you have ever made!" Cute, eh?

6. I love to read and wish I could fit this in more often and I have a book mountain by my bed to work through gradually.

7. We have started our second year of growing our own and so far things have gone well. We planted lots of cabbages expecting most to die and guess what......they have all grown so we are giving them away and swapping for other veg.

8. We have two lovely cats that are a constant source of amusement which is possibly due to their vast age gap. The young whipper snapper and the grumpy old man.

9. I love baking and decorating cakes, mainly cupcakes as they are manageable and not too expensive to make.

10. I enjoy watching Desperate Housewives, harmless fun which does address a few of those annoying traits that you find in people.

Well it a again a lovely sunny day here in Cornwall so off to the garden centre for a couple of daisy plants I think.


Monday, 9 May 2011

Sophie's first Brownie Badge - Home Safety

Sophie had a first last Tuesday when she was presented with her first Brownie Badge! It is shown above and I think that all of the Brownies worked on this together. There was quite a bit that Sophie had to do over several weeks to earn this.

* Had to prove that she understood about safety in the home. She had to know what safe and dangerous things were such as keeping tablets out of the way of small children.

*Draw a room that was unsafe.

*Sophie then had to memorise some important phone numbers such as 999, Grandma and Grandad's number, home number, where she lived.

*Had to circle dangerous things on a picture for homework.

* At Brownies Sophie had a sheet of paper with dangerous and non-dangerous things and they had to circle the dangerous things and hand it in to the Brownie leader.

*Sophie had to make a game up with our own ideas to help little children learn how to be safe at home.

Then Mummy had to sew it on.

Surprisingly difficult to get the badge straight on a fabric that stretches and has been worn before It will do.

Sophie is now working out which one she would like to tackle next.

She took this really seriously and she really enjoyed the challenge of working towards this badge. I think she will benefit in many ways from her weekly brownie sessions.

Well done Sophie.


Saturday, 7 May 2011

Winners are.....

Not many entries but they are keen none the less!

So, using my trusty ceramic cupcake pot all of the names were put inside.
Sophie swished them around for me and.............
pulled out Brynwood Needleworks!!

Congratulations and please email me your mailing address so that I can send off your prize. Hopefully on Monday, that is the plan anyway.
I intend to have another one in the summer for all to enter. This was for a specific group of people due to the occasion.

I am pleased with the way the red white and blue corsage came out. Bit of of an experiment and I have started some more.

It is the Queen's Golden Jubilee next year so I shall perhaps have another giveaway along the same lines for any internationals bloggers and visitors who may wish to take part.

I would point out that you do not have to have a blog to take part. Just leave a comment and add the letter code which cuts out any spam comments and that is all you need to do.

I have so many hits from abroad that only 5 entries was a bit of a surprise. So having a blog is not a condition of joining in.

The day looked pretty grotty when when I got up but the sun is trying to shine through. I have a courgette plant and a butternut squash plant to dig in. I swapped them for one of my cabbages. We planted so many expecting half to be lost but ended with enough to feed the street.

I love swapping like this, adds to the fun of growing your own.

I have worked hard this week to try and free up the weekend so I am hoping that I may actually and finally get my marmalade made!

What do you have planned this weekend?

Whatever it is, have fun.


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