Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Christmas and New Year

Christmas was lovely and we spent it with my parents. (Tony's are sadly no longer with us) During our summer holidays in near Kingswear we visited Kingswear Bears which has the most wonderful selection of bruins and friends. We bought a Meerkat for Ali, she asked my Mum to make a costume for him as she wanted him to be Alexandr Orlov from the comparethemeerkat.com website. (for those of you who don't live in the UK, Alexandr is head of Compare the Meerkat.com and has his own TV commercials complaining about all the people who visit his website searching for car insurance and his catchphrase is "simples" He is brilliant and to date has had five different commercials which you can watch on his website. Now he is releasing a 60 second epic film about his ancestors, it is due to be screened on Sunday night ITV 9.20pm. For Christmas we bought another Meerkat and asked my mum to dress him as Sergei, Alexandr's IT sidekick. She did a brilliant job and Ali never suspected a thing! Ali was delighted and amazed with Sergei, and here they are together. I hope your Christmas was a good one, and that you have a Happy New Year filled with happiness and good fortune. Jane x

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas To Everyone

Wishing you a Happy and Peaceful Christmas from all of the family here at craftyconundrum.

Thank you for all your wonderful comments throughout the year.

Monday, 21 December 2009

The Snow Came But Now Its Melting

The snow came on Friday, school was shut so we built a snowman and had a snowball fight. The snow hung around all weekend gradually disappearing here and there and turning the road and pavements into ice rinks! This afternoon as the temperature climbed to a giddy 3 degrees it rained/sleeted/snowed and the thawing surfaces are now so much more treacherous as they have turned back to sheets of ice again. Tony's journey home from work has proved difficult this evening, as it is snowing over the North Downs and several routes south are closed. He has rung to reassure me he is ok, just stuck in traffic nose to tail heading for the M23 in the hope it is still open. Jane x Added at 7.30pm Tony arrived home safely after a very long journey, normally his journey home takes one and half hours tonight it took four hours! The M25 and many motorways off it are blocked by the snow and at one of the services (Clackett Lane) cars are snowed in! Tony managed to get on to the M23 and home, but drivers heading toward London, Kent etc are all stuck in traffic/snow.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Christmas Preparations

Emily has been busy christmas baking in her food tech lessons at school. Last week she made a chocolate log and decorated it beautifully. This week she made biscuits which are delicious. We've decorated the tree and now the house looks very festive. Last night the English Department had their Christmas Meal and at the same time said farewell to Jo who is leaving us to spend time with her baby girl. The sampler I was stitching was for Jo and she was delighted with it. We also gave her vouchers for a pampering session which she loved, as well as an enormous bunch of flowers. It was a lovely evening but tinged with sadness at Jo's leaving. We finish school on Friday for Christmas which will be lovely as we will then have time for all those little things which still need doing. Jane x

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Nothing to post about!

Well I'm not sure thats true, but I haven't progressed much on the sock knitting nor have I done any stitching apart from hemming Em's school trousers. At school we took the A level students to GunWharf Quays Portsmouth, we were fortunate with the weather - it didn't rain. The views from the top of the Spinnaker Tower were very good. The students had questionnaires to fill in and all sorts of data to collect. We, the staff were playing host to a lovely teacher visiting on a teacher exchange from Africa. Sadly she is going home at the end of this coming week. Happy crafting and I hope you don't get too wet this week. Jane x

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Hoorah! I've Finished The Sampler

Its been another bad week healthwise, Em has been ill again! She made a good recovery from the tummy bug for last weekend, but then Monday morning had it all over again. She was off all week again, the GP suggested that we keep her off all gluten as well as the usual dairy products once she started eating. Finally she is well again so I hope she will be back at school tomorrow. Three weeks illness has been a real trial for Em but she has carried on working at home on Maths, English and IT set by her teachers. My crafting has been mostly cross stitch as I have finally finished her leaving sampler, I just need to hem and mount it, I think an over sized pencil might look good top and bottom. For the next two Wednesdays I am running a craft evening at Em's Girl Guides group, whilst half the group is learning to shoot then they swap over. Em is going to start off the evening showing the girls how to make pipe cleaner flower pencil toppers, then I will show them how to make the little Christmas Tree topper. They will also have a chance to make an angel and a handprint poem. I hasten to add that these ideas were borrowed from across the web and adapted to our needs for the crafting evenings. I wanted to find a pattern for an angel made from paper doileys - instead of which I came across an angel on a website which uses paper doileys for wings. Now doileys have all but disappeared in good old England, so I played with the pattern and borrowed wings from another angel and changed her halo to a pipe cleaner version. Hey presto she looks like an angel. I thought the Handprint poem would be perfect for the girls to make, usually these are made at toddler groups and pre-school with hand paints. So I decided it would be fun for them to cut out their handprint and put a toddler sized print on top with their name age and the year. I also adapted the wording to reflect the fact they are older now. I apologise for my photo being on its side I have tried to upload the photo three times, it was saved in landscape format but blogger keeps loading in portrait! You can still see the poem. The Handprint poem and angel I found at DLTK's website. The flower pencil toppers Em found in a book. but she designed the flowers and made her own templates. I hope you have a good week. Happy crafting. Jane x

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Progress on Knitting and Stitching

Thank you dear friends for your kind wishes for Em, she did come down with a chest infection over half term, she recovered in time to go back to school. Then Wednesday I got a phone call to say she was in sick bay feeling sick, dizzy and faint. So she has been off school again for the rest of the week with a horrible tummy bug. She recovered in time to help with the Guides Jumble Sale on Saturday - They were raising money for Sight Savers which is The Lions and The Rotary clubs in partnership with Moorfields Eye Hospital working to save the sight of children in Ghana, Africa. They did very well but we don't know how much was raised yet. Today was Rememberance Sunday with Church Parade, so the Scouts, Cubs, Guides and Brownies all attended the service and wreath laying in the village. During half term I knitted a Robin Hood figure, which a friend at work had requested from the Jean Greenhowe Book of Favourite Toys. I then made a little ghostie for Em to cheer her up as she was feeling so ill. Tony managed to find me the October issue of Simply Knitting magazine when he went up to visit Ali, so I could knit a Pudsey Bear. He is the mascot for the BBC's Children In Need Appeal, which is held every November to raise millions for childrens projects both at home and overseas. Finally I have been busy with my cross stitch, I have done more work on the sampler for my friend who is leaving school in early December. I hope you have a good week, and thank you for leaving me so many lovely comments. Jane x

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Knitting and Stitching

Progress on Mary Wigham has stopped since my previous photo because I have several other projects on the go. I returned to a pair of socks I started last year but because of the pattern I hadn't got very far with them. I frogged the sock, changed the pattern and voila! one sock down and the other on the needles.

Another friend at school is leaving, she came back from maternity leave and decided that she couldn't continue teaching and leaving her little girl at creche. So at the moment she is counting the days to the end of the Christmas term which is when she is finishing. I have started a sampler for her with all the things she has been involved in at school, in the six years she has been with us she has been very busy. On Friday we had another coffee morning, this time for Breast Cancer Care we raised approx £159 At the moment it is half term and we are enjoying the sleep-ins and lazy days although Em seems to be fighting a chest infection at the moment. I hope you have a lovely week whatever you are doing. Jane x

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Baby Care

Last week Em's year had to take care of a baby for a whole week as part of their development lessons. They were each given a hardboiled egg which they had to name and look after. Here is Em with Eadbert, many of her friends chose names for their eggs; e.g. Sheldon, Shelly, Spencer, Eggy, Phoebe and Shelly McEgg. Em decorated an egg box for Eadbert to live in with bed, tv, reading book, chair and table as well as a string of pasta shapes as a baby mobile. Finally I made a tiny pink teddybear for Eadbert. (Em was hoping for a girl) Em was going to make a power point presentation of her, her friends and their eggs but sadly by Monday most of the eggs stayed at home with their parents or went to school with siblings so she never got the photos she wanted. Instead Em took a photo of her rubber egg Eggbert visiting Eadbert for my blog. Em did really well and managed to get to the end of the week without any breakages. Jane

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Bytes and Bites

Our coffee morning raised £142 which was brilliant for Macmillan and everyone enjoyed the cakes. This week has been a difficult one as a virus has paralysed the school computers for two days, slowly things are returning to normal but at the moment the virus is still causing problems in the background. Emily has made a delicious ginger cake in Food Tech lessons this week, unfortunately some mixture dripped on to her cake from one on the shelf above. It made a funny mark across the top but the cake is delicious - dark, sticky and gingery but not too fierce and its all gone! Em did her usual trick of using vitalite instead of butter and lacto-free milk, so it was safe for her to eat.
Cross stitching Mary Wigham this week has been slow but I have made some progress. I may have to stop shortly as I need to start work on another sampler for a friend who is leaving school at the beginning of November. I hope you have a good week. Jane

Friday, 25 September 2009

Baking and Macmillan Coffee Morning

The staff at our school had a coffee morning for Macmillan - world's biggest coffee morning. Many of us made cakes and the money pot was looking good at the end of break (total collected to follow) This was the cake I made and half of it disappeared - hopefully the rest will go at lunch break. Earlier in the week Em made a victoria sponge cake in food tech lesson. (cookery to you and me) She changed the butter to vitalite - dairy free and added 1 teaspoon of baking powder to the self raising flour, which helped the mix to rise as the vitalite tends to be wetter than normal butter. Her cake was such a success she got top marks and it was delicious. Finally my stitching progress on Mary Wigham; It has been very easy to work with in the evenings, I love working in all the different colours. Ali is back at Uni now, so tomorrow we are planning to go and visit. This photo was taken in the summer hols in Dorset. I hope you have a good weekend/week. Jane x

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Mary Wigham Stitching Progress.

This is a lovely sampler to stitch, I love the colours. I have changed one or two medallion colours from cream because it didn't show up on the off white background, but I have stayed with the colours already in the sampler. Some of the MW's Samplers have been completed and they are beautiful as you can see on the Needleprint blog. The return to school has been busy, planning trips , getting data. etc. Em was delighted to be back with her friends, and the promise of a new academic year filled with many of her favourite lessons. Al has returned to Uni for her final year of English Lit, she's in a new house with old friends and she was glad to be back too. I have been looking around the web and found some lovely blogs devoted to both cross stitch and Quaker samplers. The Sampler Girl's Blog and her shop Quaker Inspired Blog The world's Greatest Collection of Smalls Too and the original blog The World's Greatest Collection of Smalls I also found a Cross stitch website which sells kits and charts and I fell in love with a chart called A Quaker Christmas 2007 and a chart called Spook-A-Boo So I've plenty of stitching to keep me busy. I hope you have a good week. Jane x

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Holidays and Stitching

We've had a lovely break, We stayed in a cottage on the National Trust Estate of Coleton Fishacre - Kingswear, Devon. It was lovely as there was a bottle of milk, tea bags/coffee and biscuits for you to have a drink on arrival, it was so quiet too. Greenway was close by in Dartmouth which was the holiday home of Agatha Christie, it is now owned by the National Trust. You have to pre-book parking if going by car but it was a fascinating house to visit. We crossed the river Dart by the historic ferry and wandered the streets of Dartmouth. We lunched in the station restaurant and on our walk along the sea front stopped to watch the children crab fishing. Babbacombe model village was a very interesting place to visit, they have even created the 2012 London Olympics construction site amongst all the other dioramas. On our final day we visited Brixham and stopped for lunch at Tiffany's. Al is an Audrey Hepburn fan so was delighted to have "Breakfast at Tiffanys"

My Holiday Stitching
I have stitched a gift for a friend who is leaving work to study to become a Vicar in the Church of England. I chose the prayer by Saint Francis of Assisi - Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace as the verse with other motifs of family and trains. I also stitched the two sides of a stork scissor Biscornu from a pattern by xstitch happy I haven't found time yet to sew it together. Then I moved on to a biscornu pattern I had saved from The world of Cross Stitching Magazine, that is also awaiting stitching up. Finally I designed a biscornu as a gift for one of Em's Guiders as she got married in July and Em together with five other guides formed a Guard of Honour with arches of ivy as the Bride and Groom came out of church. I used Jo Verso's hearts for the centre but the rest of the designs were mine. (I have blanked out the surnames to protect their privacy) The reverse will have the girls names and the ivy clad arches that they held. Finally I have started to stitch Mary Wigham Quaker Sampler from Ackworth School, Yorkshire. The pattern and SAL can be found on the Needleprint Blog.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Holidays in Dorset

We went to Dorset and had a lovely time despite the rain. We went to the cinema to see Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince, which we all thoroughly enjoyed. We visited Tyneham Village which is on the East Lulworth Firing Ranges, because of the summer holidays the ranges were open to the public. Tyneham was taken over by the Ministry Of Defence and the Army during WW2 and it has remained so since, despite the villagers being told they would be able to return after the War. It is a very melancholy experience as the houses are all ruined but there is a schoolroom and the church still intact, both of which have exhibitions. Later the same afternoon we visited Lulworth Cove, which is a very popular spot along the Dorset Coast. We visited Great Chalfield Manor which was used for filming Wives and Daughters and Lacock Abbey, which was used for filming scenes for the first two Harry Potter films. They are both National Trust properties. Finally we spent an afternoon in Lyme Regis which is a lovely place to visit, sadly the sun was not going to co-operate so we decided the sea might be a bit chilly for paddling. Al couldn't resist trying it out - brave girl! As you can see from her expression it was freeeeeeeeeeeeeeezing. On our final day it was raining so hard we went to the pictures to see Ice Age 3 - Brilliant. On the crafting front I have been making another sampler this time for a friend of Tony's who is leaving work to study to be a vicar in the Church Of England, I will post some pictures when its finished. Shortly we are off to Dartmouth for a family holiday, I hope your holidays are fun filled. Jane x