Saturday, 28 May 2022

Lathing Around

Bob, fully recovered, has been busy in his Lathe Palace. This week he took a piece of "spalted" wood and turned a bowl. Spalting is when a fungus gets into the wood and leaves a network of random lines and patterns. 
The bowl is 22cm across and 7cm high, with a small foot. In the centre is embedded a £5 coin showing the Queen's head. It's Jubilee Year! 
I think it is rather beautiful. It will be a rather special wedding present for my niece and her husband. 
I do hope the sun shines today for their celebration - they have had to wait two years for it. 

Friday, 27 May 2022

Happy Birthday Liz

This is the picture I see whenever I switch on my phone. And people often say "Is that Rosie?" and I reply "No, it's her Mum, Liz in 1986" . I love the photo - showing her brightness, her enthusiasm for life, her joy and love. There throughout her childhood, and as she has grown up. Liz has passed those qualities on to her children. Liz wouldn't want me to go on about it - but I am so grateful for her. The last couple of years have not been the easiest for our family [not just because of covid] - but her resilience, encouragement, and positive attitude have meant so much. I wish I could be with you today, on your birthday. God bless you today and always. 

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Put Out More Flags

I've never actually read this one - I know it is set at the start of WW2 and one of the main characters is called Angela, and it is regarded as funny, farcical and well observed. I enjoyed Waugh's "Scoop" - I must try and track this one down...

I thought about it because I went up into the loft for three specific items - and when I moved a box to get to them, I found my bag of patriotic bunting and Union flags!!

So there will be more patriotic flags than ever to display next week! 
What I went into the loft for - fabric, card and giftwrap. We have a wedding present for Saturday - but it had no box. So I wanted to custom-make a box, and also a gift bag.

Two of those large flat card packets used by online booksellers would make the box and its lid. 

And I had some fabric from Marion which made a neat bag for the gift. 

The box itself took a lot of time, measuring and cutting- but it is the sort of precision mathematical task I really enjoy. Covering the box neatly would be the greatest challenge, but I knew exactly what I would use.

About 5 years ago, I went into a fancy chocolate shop in Bournemouth which was closing down. The sort of place where you can select chocolates to go into a fancy box, and then have it gift wrapped and be-ribboned. All the products were greatly reduced. I picked up a couple of bars of plain chocolate for Bob, and cheekily said to the guy behind the counter "What's happening to all the gift wrap?" He picked up a large roll of silver kraft-paper, still in its cellophane.

"Five quid?" he said, clearly not really interested. "Done!" I said. When I got home, I discovered that I had 100 metres of quality paper, 50cm wide. And furthermore it was double-sided - choose gold or silver! Such a roll retails at around £30.I put it into the loft here, and decided that I would use up all my existing wrapping paper, and not buy anymore. And then I would start this roll. So now it is in use. 

Here is my box and the lid. I'm pleased with the way it has turned out. Now I just need a card for the happy couple. 

And a new pair of tights for myself .Dereham Tesco could only offer opaque black winter tights, or super cheap 5-in-a-pack 'nude' ones. Have stores stopped selling 'quality' tights since the pandemic?

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Right Royal Recycling

There's a Scarecrow Competition in the village, as part of the Jubilee Celebrations. I had this idea about creating scarecrow from recycled stuff. Nothing new, nothing purchased - maybe I could make it into Greta Thunberg? I started planning [I have a scandi hat like hers] After all, I said, no point in doing it if it doesn't say something.
Then I reread the rules, and discovered there had to be a Royal theme. Plan B - recreate January 22nd, 2020. Following his speech on decarbonisation to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Prince Charles met the teenage activist. I could make two scarecrows- The Green Prince meets The Climate Princess.  After all, you can buy cardboard masks on line can't you?
No good- I'm not buying anything, and also the rules say no commercially available facemasks. We move on to Plan C, I will just have to stitch them.
I found two faces online, printed them off, and used them to embroider onto a piece of scrap calico from the stash
Here's my stitching - all backstitched in a darkish brown, with the Prince's eyebrows in grey/brown/black.
Then I started assembling materials for the actual scarecrows.
  • lots of old clothes & boots
  • some old towels [stuffing limbs]
  • old pillows [bodies]
  • cardboard boxes [heads]
  • stockinette from the Lathe Palace [for covering the head]
  • wool [hair]
  • long wooden spoons and a porridge spurtle [stiffening the thighs]
  • the bottom 'table' units from the high chairs
  • two gazebo leg structures
[these last items were the Christmas bits from Joseph and the Virgin Mary here] Last week, whilst Bob was busy being ill, I was working away on my creations. 
I cannot find my patriotic bunting anywhere. I am sure I would not have decluttered it before the move, but it really does not seem to be here. So on Monday evening I grabbed some blue and white fabric [gazebo leg coverings] and some red and white stripe ticking, and cut out 50 [Not bothering with niceties like hemming or overlocking] Tuesday morning I spent half an hour stitching them all down.
It looks quite nautical, with all those stripes, but will add a red/white/blue element to my final display. The rules say that the scarecrows must be on display by noon on Monday 30th May. So as we get back from the wedding on Sunday, it will be an early start Monday to display my creations and hang the bunting. And once it is all sorted, I will post pictures for you.

Are you having any scarecrows in your area for the Jubilee?

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Give Us Today - A New Craft Idea...

 We have been studying the Lord's Prayer at CafĂ© Church, and on Sunday we reached "Give us today our daily bread". But what could I do with the children? They sit round a table at the side of the chapel, and we cannot make too much noise. We began by talking about food - why is it important?

  • It gives us energy
  • It helps us grow
  • It keeps us healthy
  • It makes us happy
I expanded the last point, and talked about 
  1. eating favourite foods, and certain tastes giving pleasure. 
  2. We discussed the fact that sharing food makes us happy [family Sunday Roasts, birthday parties- and sharing the food we have with others who do not have any]
  3. Food makes us happy because it reminds us that God provides for our needs, and he cares for us.
We had a worksheet to colour in. But before we did the sheet, I wanted to do some sort of different craft. I have a handful of children, all under 7 [and some adult help!] but we do not have very long - and we cannot make a lot of mess.
After some internet trawling I came up with the idea of a stained glass window. This meant preparation on Saturday evening.
First I printed off a picture of a child kneeling in prayer. I typed "Give us today" and "our daily bread" using WordArt. That meant I could curve the words, and  flip them to mirror image. Then I took a lamintor sheet, and opened it up. I put the template underneath and traced the words and picture with a Sharpie onto the inner, matte side of the 'top' sheet,

I folded an A3 sheet of paper round the sheet, and folded the other blank sheet over it, and paperclipped it all round. Then I cut lots of squares of tissue into 4 [random quadrilaterals, not perfect squares] On Sunday I gave each child a bowl of tissue shapes and a glustick and encouraged them to cover the plastic sheet with squares, overlapping to leave no spaces.
They all enjoyed this, and it was relatively mess free! Whilst the other adults supervised colouring the worksheet, I took the tissued sheets across to the laminator. I removed the protective paper, flipped the 'picture' sheet over and put the whole thing through the machine.
Voila! a stained glass window. The children were really pleased with them, and I suggested they could tape them to a window when they got home to let the sunshine through.
At the end of the service, Pastor Nick invited them to come to the front and show their work to everyone - and for once, they actually shared the all key teaching points!
I think this craft could be developed in all sorts of ways - you could put any picture or wording on the top sheet, and maybe use different tissue shapes or set colourways for other lessons - not just Bible themes
Leaves and flowers [nature stuff] Red/orange/yellow flame shapes [Pentecost - or great fire of London]
Blue and green waves...etc etc
Because the Sharpie is on the inside, it cant get washed off. You do not need to stick every piece of tissue down completely - just a tiny dab in the centre will hold it in place till lamination 'fixes' it.

Monday, 23 May 2022

A Plague On Both Our Houses...

 In Norfolk and Manchester. Last week was not a very healthy week for our family. I am not listing all those among my nearest and dearest who have been unwell [some worse than others] and thankfully all are on the road to recovery now, but I should mention that Bob has suffered a pretty dire case of food poisoning, and poor little George has chicken pox

Full marks to Steph, who realised that the produce bags I made her a while ago are ideal for filling with oats, to make a soothing bath for a spotty, itchy child.
We missed the closing sessions of the Baptist Assembly last Sunday, and came home straight after breakfast. Our hosts Peter and Jenny were so kind, and Bob waved goodbye as I manoeuvered the Skoda off their drive and began the long journey home.

From Sunday 15th to Saturday 21st Bob ate no real food, but drank copious amounts of water. His days [and nights] were spent in the bathroom or the bedroom. He slept a lot and had very little energy. We are awaiting the results of the campylobacter test from the GP. 

I had as little contact as possible with other people, and did a lot of gardening, and sewing [and, I admit it, binge-watching Grey's Anatomy* in the evenings as I stitched. I am now at Series 9, and there are 9 more series to go!] I sewed the Postcard Project piece, did some mending and alterations, and worked on my Jubilee Celebration Item. 

I'm happy to report that Bob is much recovered now [but considerably lighter in weight] and when I went off to Church on Sunday morning, he got up and prepared lunch - and we both enjoyed sitting together at the dining table to eat it.

I managed to get the last pack of rehydration medication in Boots. There seems to have been recent runs on the stuff [bad pun, sorry] Bob definitely picked up his bug in Bournemouth [we suspect dodgy chicken from a Japanese noodle place], but two other families at church have had problems this week too. 

Someone suggested that maybe in the early days of lockdown we were all super diligent about hand-washing, but now maybe standards have slipped a little, and the germs are spreading again.

This week I hope we can get back to a regular pattern of sleeping and eating and doing stuff together. The Wedding Weekend is going to be busy!

*I enjoy hospital dramas - but could never have entered the medical profession. My admiration for Florence Nightingale is very great, but I have only sought to emulate her in mathematical activities, not nursing care!

Sunday, 22 May 2022

Transform, Revive, Heal

I posted about this hymn last year - and last week, at the Baptist Assembly Meetings in Bournemouth, I was very challenged as the video was shared in one of the sessions. [Even if you are not a churchgoers, I think you will probably recognise the tune if you live in the UK.]
The recent behaviour of so many in public office has sickened me. Words like justice, truth and integrity seem irrelevant to them. This is a prayer for real change in hearts and lives... 

We seek your kingdom throughout every sphere

We long for heaven’s demonstration here

Jesus your light shine bright for all to see

Transform, revive, and heal society 

Before all things, in him were all things made

Inspiring culture, media, and trade

May all our work serve your economy

Transform, revive, and heal society

 Peace, truth, and justice reigning everywhere

With us be present in our public square

Fill all who lead with your integrity

Transform, revive, and heal society 

Forgive us Lord, when we have not engaged

Failing to scribe your heart on history’s page

Make us again what we were made to be

Transform, revive, and heal society

 Faithful to govern ever may we be

Selfless in service, loving constantly

In everything may your authority

Transform, revive, and heal society

[you can read the story of how the hymn was written here