Monday, 24 January 2011

Meeting Masai Warrior teachers

 Meeting Kephus
(Alex looking very proud!)
Wow, what a lovely time we had at a local event where two Masai Warriors were guests talking to us about their school in Tanzania - a Teacher and the Headmaster. They are in the UK promoting the charity that has helped set up and run the school. Inspirational.

Deciding what songs/dance to do

We also learnt about Masai bead bracelet making and had a go at this, the tiny beads send your eyes funny after a while threading them, Imogen was much better at this than I was. One of Imogen's friends came along too with her little sister (who joined us with the picture above) as did her classroom teddy bear Bernie who we had for the weekend as Imogen is Star of the Week this week.

Making Masai bead bracelets

Afterwards there was some singing by the warriors and dancing which Imogen joined in with and enjoyed. One of the Masai, Kephus, shook her hand towards the end as we thanked him for his time and he was very taken with Imogen and told her it was a pleasure to meet her, which she loved.


 Dancing with Masai 
(what an opportunity)

Inspirational and great fun.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Knitted dolls

Some finished projects over the post-Christmas and New Year period, some of these were started last Summer but I get easily distracted and often park a project to start another. But hey, better late than never and Imogen loves these - she gave me advice on what hair to do for them!

Family of dolls for Imogen

I made a couple of extra ones for a couple of her friends too just because.

Dolls for friends

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Woolly days

Remember this picture?

Well, the farmer had another bag which we couldn't get in the car so we are going back this weekend to pick it up. More wool you say? Do we need more wool? The alternative? ... farmers burn it if they can't find someone to take it and the wool board aren't interested depending on the amount of sheep they keep. Sad, isn't it.

Such a wonderful resource, and there is such history in British wool - British woven cloth was a favourite of the Romans when they came to these shores. It is seeing a revival now though, with the Campaign for Wool launched in 2010, spinning wheels and spinning as a craft seeing a resurgence, and knitting and crochet becoming more fashionable again.

So yes, more wool. So I better get washing and carding the wool I still have. Also I shall be washing the lesser quality wool for Alex to do some peg loom rugs. So it's all good, none will be wasted - the dirty bits will go to the allotment for mulch or deep trenches for moisture retention.

Portland white wool washed

So today the washing basket is full of this. Just look at the difference when washed, it's amazing how dirty the wool gets.

Zwartble - pre-wash

Zwartble soaking

Zwartble washed and dried
waiting to be carded

This week will be a week of washing, drying and carding of wool. Some of the Zwartble will be on its way soon Jacqui - I promise, just need some time with the carding machine.

Season swap and corner update

Now the PC is back that has the photo's on it, I can show you what I received for the GP season swap for Winter. This lovely Winter gnome doll and beautiful, delicate snowflakes and stars - really brighten up the bare Winter tree. Some chocolates and peppermint creams too - yum!

Winter season swap gifts

Season Corner Winter
- see the lovely snowflakes on the tree?

Here is what I made for my swap partner which was lovingly received.

Yule Log for season swap

I've now been commissioned to make another - yippee as this was fun to create. I have plans to make more later in the year to sell in an online shop that I really should get up and running, it's just finding the time to make enough things to initially have a stock of things to sell. Stop procrastinating and just do it eh!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Story making ...

Imogen loves to draw, loves to read, loves to write ... all things she has been doing for a while now. She had drawing materials from a young age, learnt to read aged 4 quickly followed by writing - phonetically at first and then spelling things pretty well and now very well, she asks for help with big words though. All these things learnt before formal schooling started and she has surprised and wow-ed her teachers. Her writing is really getting good now - she writes lots of things, lists of animals her toy fox is going to eat, adventures she is having, etc.

She wrote a little story in her phonetic writing style a long while back, I blogged about that here, and has often told stories with pictures she has drawn ... often with several pages of pictures!

She has now progressed to drawing and writing little stories. Today she has written a little story about a princess and a dragon, and one about a Chinese dragon dancing - one of the subjects for this half term at school. We've watched some videos on You Tube which she loved and we are going to go along to a Chinese New Year festival in the City in a couple of weeks time. ETA - she's written another 3 stories now too, although not sure I should share a story on here about a pig who needed to fart! (5 year olds think it's funny!).

Princess and Dragon story

Chinese Dragon story

Here are her stories from today. She excitedly said she was now an author and illustrator just like Emily Gravett - something she said she wanted to be after meeting Emily at the Wessex Book Festival which I blogged about here. She wants to take them to show her teacher tomorrow and the other children in a "show and tell" thing they do.

Oh, go on here's another one, but not the pig story!

Shark story

Friday, 14 January 2011

... more bird spotting with friends

Today as I was leaving the school playground this morning with a couple of other parents, I stopped as I heard another woodpecker. They both heard the noise too but didn't know it was a woodpecker, so we all stopped and looked around the lovely large trees in the school grounds to see if we could catch a glimpse.

As we stood there, another couple of parents heard it too and joined us. And yes we did locate it, this time it was a greater spotted woodpecker, and then it took flight.

Lovely, and great to share the moment with others, especially those who didn't know what bird it was and had never really spotted one ... learning all the time, even adults.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

A walk with the senses

Walking with Imogen to school this morning and then returning home, the air was filled with the most beautiful birdsong.

Without a camera in my hand, I paused in the woodland to see whether I could identify what I could hear, helped by spotting a few of our beautiful British birds. How lovely to just use my senses, and my improved identification skills of birds since I have a very inquisitive daughter. For many years (years ago) I wanted to be able to identify more things in the natural world - birds, trees, etc and the passion was re-ignited as Imogen grew and asked lots of questions. We have learned together.

So today, what did I see and hear.
  • The usual gulls flying inland no doubt as the weather is about to turn out at sea - strong winds and heavy rainfall forecast later.
  • Robins and Song Thrush who regularly visit our garden too.
  • Bullfinch - beautiful song, but it was the colour of the male that helped me recognise it, red/pink body with the black cap head.
  • Pied wagtails - one of Imogen's favourite birds to spot
  • Green Woodpecker, always lovely to hear them in the woods, they seem to be quiet through Winter so I think of Spring approaching when I hear them.
  • Fieldfare - I remember trying to photograph these last Spring without much luck, lovely to see them return again - a large group of them on the ground finding food.
  • Sparrows, wrens, blackbirds, blue tits ... all beautiful
It was amazing to see and hear so many just by pausing there for a short time.

The one I couldn't recognise and had to check on the RSPB site to identify was a beautiful bird feasting on some berries - a reddish brown colour with a crest ... I had no idea what it was but have now identified it as a Waxwing - a visitor to these shores in the Winter. Beautiful bird, just wish I'd had my camera ... maybe there will be another opportunity as it was on the hedgerow for ages, so would have hopefully got a great picture.

Wonderful sights and sounds, what have you seen and heard this morning?

Friday, 7 January 2011

The Month After Christmas ...

This made me laugh so I thought I'd share it here ...

'Twas the month after Christmas, and all through the house,
Nothing would fit me, not even a blouse.

The cookies I'd nibbled, the eggnog I'd taste,
At the holiday parties had gone to my waist.

When I got on the scales there arose such a number!
When I walked to the store (less a walk than a lumber).

I'd remember the marvelous meals I'd prepared,
The gravies and sauces and beef nicely rared.

The wine and the rum balls, the bread and the cheese,
And the way I'd never said, "No thank you, please."

As I dressed myself in my husband's old shirt,
And prepared once again to do battle with dirt.

I said to myself, as I only can,
"You can't spend a winter disguised as a man!"

So--away with the last of the sour cream dip,
Get rid of the fruit cake, every cracker and chip.

Every last bit of food that I like must be banished,
'Till all the additional ounces have vanished.

I won't have a cookie--not even a lick,
I'll want only to chew on a long celery stick.

I won't have hot biscuits, or corn bread, or pie,
I'll munch on a carrot and quietly cry.

I'm hungry, I'm lonesome, and life is a bore,
But isn't that what January is for?

Unable to giggle, no longer a riot,
Happy New Year to all and to all a good diet!

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Looking back and looking forward

Looking back over 2010, wow it's hard to pick highlights in the form of a photo a month when you take as many photo's as we do, so I cheated, here are some highlights from 2010 ...

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

April 2010

May 2010

June 2010

July 2010

August 2010

September 2010

October 2010

November 2010

December 2010

And looking forward ... no, there are no resolutions being made here (we don't do that) but January is a good month to be planning things for the year - what to sow, what to grow, what we want to do and where we want to go.

Happy New Year everyone, hope 2011 brings you everything you hope and wish for, and a little bit more.