Friday, 31 October 2008

Happy Halloween!

For everyone not holding or attending a Halloween party,

The car became a ghost car,
I ran out of time but I was going to cover it all with tormented souls!

The wheelie bin was covered and the giant pumpkin my cousin grew was duly carved and displayed at the feet of the bin bag spiders perch....

The bin bag made up the body and I had strips of netting for the legs!

The bat from last night was stuck to the door and the hanging witch flew beneath.....

OOOOOOooohhhhhhh Happy Halloween to all !!!!!!

Halloween craft party......

I was up to 1am Wednesday night preparing templates cut out of lino squares and getting the bags of scraps into cardboard bins and plastic tubs ready for the big event........and sorting out my crafting paraphernalia, I managed to get plastic table coverings from the Scrapstore.

I decided to make witches out of old Costa coffee cups from the Scrapstore, I made a template to cover the cup and photocopied a reflected witches head that could be coloured in and stuck on top... I then drew witches arms and photo copied them ready to be coloured....
once she was assembled a blob of glue gun on the top of the cup and her cape could be attached.

A black flappy bat made out of card was my next creation, I also cut the templates out of lino squares (they are easy to draw around and are almost indestructible) and stuck on eyes using sticky back plastic, the wings were cut out of another piece of card and they can be stuck to the wall, or hung on a piece of string from the end of a bamboo stick.....
The whizzy witch was coloured in and stuck onto a circle of card that I then glue gunned onto a silver dish, I cut out a couple of stars.....
Unfortunately I completely forgot to take a photo of the hall after I had set up, and before I knew it people were arriving, children clamouring to make and do, and Danny man seemed to have this inane habit of not looking where he was going and walking into tables.....

we started at 3pm and (some arrived at 2:30) and everyone had snacks and drinks at 4pm and then we carried on making till 5pm, which really became 5:30 as the children did not want to leave and the 5 parents that stayed seemed to be having tons of fun too.......

The witches were very popular, a couple of the boys made daleks, and some of the girls made pots and pumpkins and their were even a couple of finger puppets, the bats were very popular.

I was astounded by how many of the children that wanted everything done for them and looked at me with disbelief when I said they needed to go and cut it out or draw round something or even colour something in.... is this due to to many gadgets to play with and they have never learnt how to make and do things?

All the children were year 5 and above, apart from one little sister that came, and they all had a wonderful evening and even though it cost me to hire the hall and to purchase the scrap it was well worth it. I would do it differently next time in the fact that I would ask for a donation to go towards the cost of the hall. One of the parents that stayed to help did ask parents collecting children for a donation but most had no money on them but some had a pound so I did get £7 towards the £25 cost.

All in all it was a lot of preparation and hard work but the end result was worth it, they all had a great time and made some thing for Halloween and hopefully learnt something new.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

School Gardens reborn!

The garden areas at school have been completed as much as can be at the moment.... and as we had no budget to pay for it we have done really well. The head had given me a letter for £50 worth of supplies from Wickes and we used it to purchase gravel, weed suppressant and wood for border edging. Personally Mr P and I have spent approximately £80-£100, which with any luck we might get back from the school or the PTA but if we don't I am sure it won't kill us to donate it to the school, we are by no means rolling in cash but at the end of the day its only money!

Daniel managed to survive the last 2 days with out his customary afternoon naps needless to say he is shattered, but after a quick snack of pringles he had enough energy to go puddle hunting and soak himself up to his knees!

Jamie was a real saviour and spent most of her time being Daniels shadow and steering him clear of most situations.... which is a lot to ask of a 10 year old when all her friends are racing around being children,
thank you Jamie... x!

Lily's Garden
Lily was a little girl that attended the school about 8 years ago, as I understand it she was waiting for a heart transplant and use to wear a back pack with oxygen to help her to breath. She passed away in 2000. The garden was planted in her memory but unfortunately it had become a little forgotten and needed a bit of tender loving care to remove bind weed and buttercups that were taking over the borders.

I have been collecting plants for weeks, but it isn't really the right time of year for lots of colour so I have planted mostly ever green shrubs. The soil is very cleggy as it is mostly clay.
The wall was given a coat of paint to brighten it up a little and I bought an evergreen honeysuckle and a pretty pink clematis to go on the trellis that we painted green. We rearranged the slabs and took out the planting that was in the middle of the patio as it is used by the children and the gaps tended to get trodden all over. The flower beds will be added to as the seasons change and they are filled with bulbs waiting to emerge in early spring.

Mr P went to Wickes Friday and again today (Sunday) and picked up 49 bags of pea shingle to be used on lily's garden and around the pond area.
He is a little worn out now, apparently he loaded up the trolley so high that he resembled Scrat from Ice Age trying to drag it down to the till, eventually a couple of hernias later he returned and the new gravel has really brightened everything up.

The little class room is used for music tuition, but we are hoping to be allowed to decorate it as Santa's grotto this Christmas and let the children visit Santa on their last day of term.

It has definitely been a long weekend but the parents who did turn out yesterday and today (especially today in the rain) were fantastic and I am so grateful for their generosity and for giving up a weekend for a school project.

The Pond
The pond area was a little over grown and I had an idea that it would be nice to have a slabbed border around the pond so that the children could investigate it safely when researching pond life and surrounding habitat. The liner leaked so needed replacing and the pond was wonky so it never filled properly before it leaked out over one side....I must admit I have never owned or taken care of a pond so therefore had no idea where to start so I was relieved when 2 dads took this area as their project, with the assistance of 3 mums they worked tirelessly from 10am till 4pm.

The end result was so fabulous that I almost cried. It was completely renewed using donated pond liner, donated slabs and gravel donated by Wickes Building Supplies. It is so satisfying to know that you have accomplished something so wonderful by reusing stuff that was no longer required, those people could so easily have thrown those items into land fill and instead we have renewed a valuable learning environment for our children.

It is wonderful, we still have to sort out the wooden safety frame to go over the pond, so that children can't fall in it but the slabbed and gravel area are more than I ever expected and I am so grateful to every ones hard work.

The surrounding is ready for marginal planting and I will be mooching around the local garden center this week to see what evergreen shrubs I can find to plant there. It would be nice to plant something with a berry that the birds like as it won't be accessible to the children on that side of the pond and they won't run the risk of eating the berries which always seems to be a concern for school health and safety policies.

There is a very healthy population of newts and frogs and hopefully they will appreciate their new habitat.

The fence panels could have done with a lick of paint but I will see if I can reach them without falling in the pond!

The area in the foreground to the right is very clay soil so I think half a dozen bags of mushroom compost will be thrown into it and some wood chippings and hopefully by the spring the worms will have done some soil maintenance and we can plant some raspberries or something similar.

This wasn't organised as a PTA event as Secretary I didn't even put it past the PTA as there are so few of us and it gets demoralising to keep asking the same few to do all the work...... as it turned out it was the chair (Mr P), secretary (me), 5 PTA committee members and 1 parent that turned out so it would appear that it will always be the same old faces that knuckle down and get dirty.

I am tired, dirty and can't wait to have a soak in the bath, Mr P and Jamie have taken Smudge the dog out for a walk as he has been a really good boy all weekend being left pretty much on his own.

I think we will all sleep well tonight.....

x Alex

Thursday, 23 October 2008

6 days to go.....

Well its been a dull chilly afternoon so the fire has been lit, and smudge our springador is a happy lad, being a cross between a liver and white springer spaniel and a chocolate labrador he has plenty of bounce but not a lot going on between his ears!

The 12 days of Christmas continued........

The 4 calling birds have been joined by their 2 missing friends, one is slightly larger scale than the other 3 but I am sure the Brownies won't mind....

5 golden rings are nestled in their own sprigs of holly....

6 Geese "a" laying, actually 3 are "a" snoring...!

and 2 swans "a" swimming..... the other 5 should be swimming soon, but I need to cut up some more brown cardboard to mount them on......

so I only have 6 more days of Christmas to complete, unfortunately that is still 55 pictures so I had better get tea on the go and get cutting some board..... plus Daniel has just woken up so he will want to get his toys out again.... its a bit of a struggle when you only have the lounge and the kitchen to accommodate everything but no doubt I will manage....

Hi Ho, its off to work I go!!!!!

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Mad as cheese and as busy as can be!

12 Days of Christmas

I have asked to draw the outline images of the 12 days of Christmas, and it is something I have always wanted to do as the images are so fun.... I have 78 pictures to do in total as she would like them individually drawn.

I have drawn the partridge in a pear tree...

The 2 turtle doves are done too......

3 French hens are busy laying......

and 2 of the 4 calling birds are singing their little heads off.....

70 more to go and I am afraid I will probably show you them all!

sorry, I am a very sad muppet!

Granny squares
Well I think they qualify as granny squares, I have learnt to read crochet patterns and I am feeling very chuffed with myself...... this is the second making of this square as when I got the end last time I hadn't counted enough stitches in the middle and it left me with a strange end result that looked as naff as it was.... I still have a couple of bits that I went wrong on but I think for my second attempt it isn't too bad.

Jewellery making

I made 3 necklaces Thursday night, I am getting better at the fiddly bits and after purchasing some Gold plated clasps and findings that have tarnished I am sticking to Stirling silver only.

Beaded Crochet gift bags

I pre-threaded some thin crochet yarn and made up a pattern for some little bags with a double crochet frill around the top. When ever you want a bead, you pull it up the thread and place it in the stitch and bobs your uncle fanny's your aunt...... I could probably get a less random effect if I planned it and counted stitches but I haven't gotten that far yet.

The canvas, table top easel, acrylics and brushes are poised to get started with April's painting but I think I would be a pushing my luck if I took over the rest of the kitchen with a painting project at the moment......
I think I have been bottling up all my artistic needs for so long that as soon as I took the lid of and let my fingers free and gave my mind permission to have creative thoughts again I just can't stop it ...... and to be honest I don't want to....

Thank you for reading my insane ramblings and feel free to leave me a comment...

tara for now

Alex xx

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Crafty Halloween and Scrapstore Heaven

I Think I must have had a sudden rush of blood to the head as I have organised a crafty Halloween afternoon for 18 children.....

I had loads of fun designing the invites

and even wrote a poem, I named her Ardnaxela as that's my name backwards

To cater for this many children, which incidentally seems to be growing as Jamie added two more today, I had to do a run the Scrapstore, I use to work at the Scrapstore and I loved it.
I actually got paid to fetch the scrap from companies, sort it, display it and sell it per basket or trolley and I even got to make projects and run workshops to teach adults how to make stuff. so that they could teach it to others, how cool is that!

It was a fantastic job but I couldn't stay as the stress involved dealing with company ideals was too much and the true potential of the business was not being utilized fully and I had to quit for my own sanity's sake.

It is chocker block with all manner of clean re-usable scrap be it fabric, paper, wood, plastics, carpet etc etc....

There is even an art shop.... it is a crafters paradise!

Some items are sold individually, while the bulk of items can be bought by the trolley load or basket full

a trolley of scrap is £14.50 and a basket is £4.75
Scrapstores can be found all over the country there is a really big one in Portsmouth, some have membership others like ours can be used by anyone for a membership of 50p

Daniel loves it down there, but obviously as its a warehouse environment children must be supervised

I bought a collection of items for Halloween and for my own stock, I managed to get 5 metres of baby blue windjammer fabric and 2 meters of petrol green windjammer for £1 a meter, the baby blue was going to become curtains for my landing but as it hangs so nicely I may use it for a table cloth, as I have been invited to a craft fayre in November.

I picked up ticking, scrap green and black fabric, paper cups and cardboard ice cream tubs, black paper, wool (50p per ball) red cord (40p per Meter) Swiss tulle netting and some small screw top pots for button and bead storage.

I only wish I had somewhere to make all my lovely creations where I could feel inspired without knowing that at tea time I will have to pack it all away so that I can dish up on the table I am working on, but alas the garage leaks like a sieve (plus Mr P's motorbike and tools are in their, I have another shed that has no doors and the elusive rat frequents, and my only watertight building is the old outside privy that has all my scapstore goodies in it and is the size of a .....outside privy to be honest!

Oh how I dream of a little space of my own, but preferably a little bigger than a toilet!

Once I have designed my witches, black cats and pumpkins I will cut all my templates out of lino squares from a sample book (also from the scrapstore) as they are very resilient and last for an age without getting damaged.

I will show you all my creations as soon as I have made them.

why not google scrapstore to see if their is one in your area!
you never know!


Crafty Halloween

I must have had a sudden rush of blood to the headm but I am arranging a Halloween craft afternoon for 18 Chidren..... by the time the event happens it may have grown as jamie came home from school today and added 2 more...

I had lots of fun designing the invites last night

Mr P has installed publisher for me and its really fun to design with

The back page ended up with a poem I wrote

Arnexela is me..... but a bit backwards, if you get what I mean.....

I have visited

Give a bunch of Children gloss paint.........

What would happen if you gave some under 11 year old's a selection of gloss paint and told them to decorate a playground wall?.......well unsupervised it would probably look like an explosion in a paint factory but with the guidance of 2 fab teachers (Jenny, and Terri) the end result was amazing.

The children really loved it and got very creative indeed, the end wall was drawn by me and painted by the children, I will pop back sometime this week and black out line the insects to show their features.

Whenever requested I would conjure up whatever insect they required, bee or a worm or a dragonfly to join the garden of beautiful flowers that were completely their own creations.

The children see the wall every playtime and get great satisfaction in talking about their artistry with their friends, perhaps next year we can add too it and end up with a wall chocka block with flowers and mini beasts.....

This is Jamie's school

and straight opposite the school is St Barnabas Church.......

I am not really a church goer but I can appreciate the workmanship involved with these structures especially as my grandpa Tucker use to build leaded lights (windows). My brother use to go to my grandpa's workshop when he was about 15 and help him, when he left school he went and worked with grandpa full time and has become a very gifted craftsman himself.

The PTA are organising a Christmas concert with Sherborne Town Band and we are holding it in the church this year, I think it will be a wonderful evening in a beautiful setting. Mum (the retired florist) has agreed to come and do a beautiful pedestal arrangement with a Christmas feel, so I will start coveting anyone owning a holly tree with some berry on it!

These are the thatched cottages next to the church, we live 2 villages away from Queen Camel as house prices in this particular village are a little out of our league and personally if I were to spend that amount of money on a house I would want land and a private driveway.

I hope you enjoyed a look around my local area...


Saturday, 11 October 2008

October give away results......

Well I am astounded by the response and I thank you all for joining in the October give away.......
I had 9 entries in total from:

1. April (Cake makes the world a better place)
2. Jellybelly*jellybrain
3. Karen (Karens play time)
4. serendipitylovesnewyork
5. mollycupcakes
6. Josie (sykesssillysite)
7. MarmaladeRose
8. Buffy (BuffysCharms)
9. Dawn Woodward

The lucky winner was drawn by Mr P and is ..........

Number....... 1

Congratulations April (cake makes the world a better place), I will be painting your canvas of cakes/cupcakes using lots of pinks.

If you have a particular style of picture that you would like me to mimic
feel free to email me on
also a delivery address would be good....!

I loved the other themes, especially the princess and the fairy cake, you never know I might work my way through the whole list eventually

I will have your painting ready as soon as possible April

Cheers Alex

Friday, 10 October 2008

October Give away update

So far I have had 7 entries and Joanne's order. I will be putting all the entries into Old Bushmill (I hope he doesn't mind) tomorrow morning and drawing the lucky winner, so if you have any blog land friends that you think might like to enter feel free to let them know.

I love the ideas that everyone has come up with and I really want to paint them all...

If I could afford canvases and postage I would paint one for everyone

Thank you for making me feel so welcome and

Good luck!