End of Term

This year has absolutely flown by and I can’t believe that my little one is finishing Year 3 already. (No longer a little one)  It only seems like moments that she was starting school at all!

Anyway with the end of term comes all the regular craziness, mostly around the school fair, which was a little different this year as it was arranged by the parent group instead of the school staff.  As such it was mainly lots of games for the children to play and a barbecue.  I didn’t have a craft stall of goodies this year, but I did manage to bake some biscuits (my third bake of the weekend) for the cake stall.  Unfortunately the weather wasn’t too favourable, so most things had to be brought inside.

I was roped in to run the craft table and spent a good couple of hours with a steady stream of under 7s making bee deely boppers, flip-flop keyrings and decorating pencil cases (all from Baker Ross).  I’d recommend the bees, very cute and the kits include everything you need.  They are great for little ones, although they will need adult help in attaching the springs to the headband.  I also struggled removing the papers from the back of the googly eyes, but the kids didn’t seem to have any problem at all!

We also had the obligatory ‘pot goody’ stall and Alice made her’s this year filled with homemade paper windmills and decorated with paper grass, bees and butterflies.  She didn’t win her class prize, the winner made a sandcastle out of hers!

The school fair always signals the end of term, so after we had helped pack everything away, it was time for getting end of term cards and presents sorted out for the class teacher and teaching assistants.  This year we’ve had two teachers and two teaching assistants as they had swimming lessons and one of the TAs is a trained swimming instructor.  I’ve tried to stick to the same sort of thing each year for the teachers , so I made some new apple thank you cards, this time using a new die set I bought a few weeks ago.  It’s an apple from the Market Fresh collection by Spellbinders.  It’s certainly taken the hard work out of cutting out individual apples!  I think I will have some fun with these over the summer.

I also made four little knitted apple keyrings.  These are so cute and pretty simple to make too, just a ball with embroidered details, a crochet chain stem and a small knitted leaf.  

My daughter then made a little tag for each one with her teacher’s name and a personal message from her.  Very cute.

Well, it’s another year over and six weeks now to fill up with lots of activities, and I’m hoping for a lie-in or two!

Happy Summer crafting
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Summer Holiday Crafting

While I’ve been off my feet for a while this summer and since the end of the Olympics, I’ve been encouraging Alice to get a bit more creative. To be fair, it hasn’t been that difficult as we’ve had a few rainy miserable days here and it’s always fun to empty the making box all over the kitchen table.

Alice traded in some of her lizard cards from Explore Learning for a set of t-shirt graffiti pens, so we ordered her a couple of cheap white t-shirts to have a play with. They arrived earlier today so she had a great afternoon finding her inner fashion designer.

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I love how she put a design on the back too!

I’ve also encouraged her to start making cards for her friend’s birthdays. Her friend Daisy was seven at weekend and she wanted to make a bird card like the ones I’ve been making recently, so I gave her a choice of some of the girly floral papers to make one with. This is pretty much all her own work with the exception of the mounting for the happy birthday flag. Her friend loved the card and I do too.  I think it’s great how she made the bird fly, adding in a second wing behind.

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Another craft I’ve tried to do with Alice is some basic sewing.  I think it’s a skill everyone should master, even if it only means being able to sew on a button.  I know it is a skill that will help with her Brownie badges.  So on a recent trip to Clark Crafts in Ramsbottom, I found this little kit.  As she loves cats at the moment, this looked like the ideal kit to start with.

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It’s a pretty simple kit and comes with everything needed to make the cat, including stuffing and a needle (plastic).  It took a few goes, but she finally mastered the basic running stitch to put all the pieces together, then spent a good half hour deciding where all the embellishment pieces would go.  She loves the finished cat and it has slept by her bed every night!  I need to make sure she doesn’t lose this liking for sewing and get out some of the other kits I have hidden away that she hasn’t been interested in up to now.

Well it’s back to school next week, so it’s time for me to get on with some more sewing – name tapes in uniform!  And I must remember to get a new dance uniform too.

Happy crafting
x

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Summer’s Here!

Summer has arrived at last!  We have wall-to-wall sunshine just in time for the flying ants to invade the patio.  How I love the summer.

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Actually I generally really do love summer.  There’s nowhere nicer than a warm sunny day at the beach in the UK (in my humble opinion).  I think my broken foot is taking it’s toll though this year.  Having a hot swelling leg and foot is just not much fun .  Anyway, I’ve managed to escape outside for a bit and it’s very relaxing to feel the sun on my skin again.  It’s been too long.

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While I’m out basking, I’ve been able to catch up on some reading and I’m thrilled to say that the Provident tips calendar has now been published.  And it’s a great read.  There are loads of ideas for the summer, ranging from things to do with children, to stain removal, crafts and baking too.  So do pop by and have a look, you never know what might inspire you.  For me it’s back to some more reading and the pile of work-in-progress while Alice does some nature work for her next Brownie badge!

Happy summer crafting
x

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Unexpected Setback!

This is not how I anticipated spending the school holidays.  I’m sat on the settee having to rest because last week I broke my foot!  I can’t believe it, just as things were going really well and I hadn’t been in a hospital for over a year.  There I was at my regular tap class having a great time and practicing some steps for our ‘Mambo No5’ dance routine and the next thing I know I’m in a heap on the floor thinking I don’t want to look at my knee incase it’s a real mess.  I managed to get up and shuffle my way through the rest of the lesson but I was in some pain.  Fortunately I’d been given a lift to the class so I didn’t have to drive home.

My foot was starting to swell up but we decided it was a bad sprain, strain or twist so a couple of hours with frozen peas on it and a good sleep would cure the problem!  I hobbled my way to and from school the next day and thought I’d better get over to A&E as I hadn’t been able to do anything else all day.

They were brilliant at Fairfield Hospital and I was seen very quickly.  I had a couple of x-rays which confirmed I had broken the fifth metatarsal in the left foot (my knee was fine, not even a bruise!).  I was sent home in a cast with crutches and returned to the fracture clinic the next day where they removed the cast and gave me an equaliser boot.  At least I can put my heel down now.  Crutches are no fun at all when you have to hop!

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So I’m now trying to work out how Alice will get to do any of the adventures we had planned for the school holidays.  Moving around is getting easier, but I can’t see me hobbling to the park any time soon.

Wish me luck
x

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Outdoor Summer Activities

Since I was invited to write my blog for Provident, I’ve been spotting all sorts of other things to do that don’t cost a lot.  Of course, many of the activities are local to me in Bury, but there are plenty of national activities to get involved with too.

IMGP1267I was struck last week by an article I read in the latest Plantlife magazine. The new edition of the Oxford Children’s Dictionary has had several nature based words removed and replaced with modern technology speak. This doesn’t necessarily sound a travesty at first, but these are words like catkin, beech, fern, acorn, bluebell, buttercup and dandelion! Surely these are words that every child grows up with?! It really was a shock that they have been replaced by broadband, chatroom and blog. Isn’t it possible to have space for all of these words in a child’s dictionary? Plantlife are encouraging parents to spend more time outdoors with their children and this links perfectly (I think anyway) with the Woodland Trust’s campaign to get children to play outside. They have launched their ‘Tree Party’ campaign and you can send off for a free party pack to take on a picnic with your friends.

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My pack arrived the other day and it’s great. Alice can’t wait to get outside and use it. The pack comes in a box made to look like a picnic hamper and is filled with games to play, face masks, straws, stickers, party invitations and even a bag to put all your rubbish in! The idea is that you invite a tree to your party and celebrate how important they are in our lives. I’m hoping we have some sunny days over the holidays and we can go for a picnic in one of local parks.

bury_d_treasure_2_sanvito_curved_displayIf we do get out and about, regardless of the temperature I will be encouraging Alice to have a go at a local initiative ‘Bury’d Treasure’. This is another activity to encourage children to spend time outdoors, only this time’s it’s about following clues to solve a puzzle. There are several set up around the local parks in Bury and some local primary schools have signed up to encourage their pupils to take part. I hope it’s a success and we don’t find they become targets for vandals.

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All of these outdoor activities will help with the annual summer keep active campaign run by the NHS and Change4life, the ’10 minute shake-up’. This year they have teamed up with Disney again and the free pack includes a Finding Dory poster and stickers. So we shall be aiming to do at least ten minutes of physical activity every day.

I am also hoping that Alice will be a bit more independent and I will get some crafting done while she runs, climbs, discovers and solves clues!

Happy holidays
x


www.mrscraftyb.co.uk

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Busy, busy, busy

Wow!  What a week.  They say when you’re waiting for a bus you can wait ages and then two come along at the same time.  Well, so it would seem do orders for handcrafted items!

I’ve been running Handmade by Katherine for around four years now with my blog and website, and at last the hard work is starting to pay off. I have been asked to write a blog for a summer tips calendar and I have been approached to supply a new local craft gift shop with handmade cards. So its all go around here this week.

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Of course, it’s also fast approaching Father’s Day (this Sunday) and the end of term, so my usual Saturday dance session with Alice has also turned into a bit of a frantic market over the last couple of weeks. This year my blackboard apple thank you cards have proved very popular along with the knitted fruit keyrings. When personalised with a teacher’s name they make a lovely little keepsake. So I’m busy making apple themed cards and gifts. I go to bed with apples dancing in the head, like the hippo’s in Fantasia! And I haven’t even started on Alice’s for her teachers yet…

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Best get back to the apples.

Happy crafting
x

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Wanderings

Once again I am waiting for Alice – this time at her tuition class.  But this time I opted for wandering around town for a bit before going for a drink in Costa!  I headed over to TK Maxx, as I love it in there and I haven’t been in for ages.  It’s always good for a browse and they have recently been stocking a few (often rather random) craft items.  I decided to give the clothes a miss and headed straight for the home décor, kitchen and gardening sections.  I was hoping to be spoilt for choice with papers, kits and accessories, but I was disappointed.  There were plenty of gorgeous notebooks, gift bags and painting tings, but nothing I could really justify So I browsed round the clearance aisles and found myself a complete bargain – right at the back of the bottom shelf – an A3 glass cutting mat for only £5 (RRP £19.99).  I’m so glad I went.  I’ve wanted one for ages and always forget when I’m out and about.  It proves it’s always worth routing  in the clearance items too!

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Thrilled with my bargain I felt quite cheery and browsed around the other aisles looking for some ideas and maybe a bit of inspiration.  I saw some lovely knitted cushion covers which made me want to completely redecorate the living room.  I will have to shelve that idea for the time being as the kittens are still doing a decent job of wrecking the joint, so I think we’ll leave that one for a little while.  I also saw an owl doorstop which reminded me of the pattern from an early issue of Craftseller magazine that I was going to crochet.  I really could do with a doorstop for my bedroom, I’m currently using my dance shoe bag which is not ideal – I’m forever tripping over the handles!  So that’s risen to the top of my to-do list – after my current order list and school teacher gifts that is!

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I also picked up a set of cupcake cases and little flags which I think will be great for some Summer baking in the holidays.  They were only £2 and are covered in little flowers, butterflies and ladybirds – what more could a seven year old want for her cakes?!

Time to collect Alice now, so

Happy crafting
x

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On My Way Back Home

I’m on my way back home now after a really lovely week.  I am well rested and ready to tackle half term next week.  I’ve even managed to sort out an order to start when I get back.

It’s been fabulous and I recommend it to everyone.  We all deserve a little bit of me-time now and again.  For me it’s a week on the sun,  something I’ve managed to do every other year since I had Alice,  My husband prefers a self-contained cycling and camping trip in Wales.  Whatever floats your boat I say!

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I’ve said goodbye to Carvoeiro with a coast walk on a decked walkway and a last forage on the beach.  I’ve left plenty of shells for other visitors though.

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I hope to be back again, maybe with the family next time.  I’m certain they would love it too.

See you soon Carvoeiro
x

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#Carvoeiroboxes

Wow.  It’s hot!  The weather has really changed now and I am struck by the vibrancy of all the colours around the town.

On my walk the other day I noticed some of the telephone cable boxes had been painted.  So I’ve been looking round on my trips out in the evening to see if I could find any more.  I have not been disappointed.  It would appear that all of the boxes have a different design on them.

20160514_152338It’s fabulous, really makes a feature of them and they certainly don’t look dull or boring anymore.  They all the hashtag #Carvoeiroboxes on them, so I’ll have to look that one up later.  I told my husband about them and he reckons I’m only interested because I’m still a phonebox nerd since working at BT in the 1990s.  I’m not so sure.

20160514_151821These are a great local resource as well as a necessity in the world today, so why not use them as an art gallery?!

The pictures I have taken of a few of the boxes I’ve seen, I think are rather lovely and very cheerful.

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I might suggest this to BT when I get home.  What do you think?

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Happy painting
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Carvoeiro

I decided to have a wander into the town today.  The weather has perked up – well it’s not raining – but it’s not quite lie out by the pool conditions just yet.

I started out at the bottom of the hill and had a walk on the beach.  It’s a lovely place, great for a family.  As is customary, I had a look for any interesting shells to take home for Alice,  There were loads, so I was disappointed.  Most were cockle shells but there were a few scallops too, all quite a bit larger than the one’s I’ve found on the beaches at home though.  I love hunting for ‘treasure’ on the beach, it’s so therapeutic and exciting looking at all the shapes and colours and how they change in the seawater.  I could do this for hours, but my handbag was starting to get heavy with all my finds, so I had a quick rationalise of them and headed off looking for holiday gifts for the family at home.

I saw an interesting shop selling tie-die and batik style clothing, so I had to have a look.  I found a lovely dress for Alice with a smocked top which I reckon she’ll be able to use as a skirt as she gets taller.  Bartering is not my forte, but I managed to get 3 Euros off the price.  Well, I was pleased anyway!  I’m sure Alice ill love the dress too.

It was starting to get hot, so I popped into a shop for a postcard – I know I’ll speak to home but I still think it’s nice to send a postcard.  Mind you, I’m rubbish at putting them in the right boxes.  Fingers crossed it arrives home before I do.  I checked where the postbox was this time.

Time to have a drink and a swim to cool off now I reckon!

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Happy Holidays
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