Monthly Archives: December 2013

2013 stats

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WordPress has kindly created an overview of the things that went on in blogland in the last year. Feel free to skip this entirely if it’s not your cup of tea, but I know I like being nosy and looking at other people’s stats, so thought I’d share this for those of you who are as nosy as me!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,900 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Christmas 2013 – thoughtful gifts from lovely people

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I love choosing (and often making) gifts for people, and I love opening gifts too! Working in a school means that I’ve ended up with boundless supplies of chocolate and all sorts of other goodies. But I want to show you some lovely gifts from people that know me very well indeed!

This first gift was from my lovely friend Helen. She’s a crochet addict too, so is great at choosing gifts I’d like!

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The book is really cute and I’m looking forward to trying out some of the patterns. The purse is for all those odd bits and pieces that go along with crochet – scissors, darning needles, stitch markers, etc. I’ve already attached a safety pin and stitch marker to the zip (so I can easily find them) and filled it with all sorts of other things!

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Another crochet related gift was made by my wonderful friend Ness. She’s a crazily busy lady with 4 young children, so the fact that she’s spent time making me such a beautiful and useful gift makes it even more special.

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I’ve been meaning to make one of these ever since I took up crochet again – about 2 years ago! Somehow it’s just stayed at the back of my mind without becoming a reality. I love the little ribbon flower and button on the back.

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And all the different red fabrics are great.

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Here are my crochet hooks, all nestled in their little sleeping bags!

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This next item was made by a girl in my class (probably with some help from her Mum!) and it’s so cute and lovely! And it certainly makes a nice change from a box of chocolates 🙂

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For our Boxing Day Family Gathering we did secret Santa presents this year. I had a gift from my cousin – but as she lives in America I think her Mum, Debbi had a lot to do with choosing it for me!

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Debbi is a quilter and knows I’ve done some in the past (and generally like all things crafty!) so this is a perfect gift!

I had some great gifts from my parents too. They bought me a ticket to a craft fair in February – very exciting! I’m going with a couple of friends and I’m sure we’ll have a great day! They also had some family photos printed for me.

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My Granny passed away earlier this year and Mum found all sorts of old photos as she was sorting out her things. I love family history (although there are so many ancestors it all gets quite confusing!) and I’d asked for some of the photos. I love how they’re arranged. The individual portraits are my great-great-grandparents, James and Emma. The top right family photo is of them on their Diamond wedding anniversary with their 4 children. The bottom left family photo was taken on their Golden wedding anniversary and is of their 4 children + spouses and 6 grandchildren. The boy on the right of the front row is my Grandad when he was 6!

Over the years Granny wrote lots of poems. They were found in all sorts of notebooks and pieces of paper (all quite organised) which my Aunty took and typed up.

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She presented each of us with a book of poems at our Family Gathering. It was a lovely surprise and one that I’m sure we’ll all treasure.

Christmas 2013 – wreaths

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The last couple of years at school we’ve had a craft swap morning in the last week of term before Christmas. Each teacher prepares a different Christmassy craft and the children choose which two they would like to do during the course of the morning. It’s always lots of fun, and the older children are fantastic at helping the younger ones. This year I stole an idea from another teacher (one who’s on maternity leave at the moment, so I didn’t feel too bad about it!) and decided to make Christmas wreath decorations from puzzle pieces.

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They’re very simple to make (even with lots of children!) and there are several tutorials around if you want to see a step by step version. Basically start with a circle of card and tie a length of wool/string/ribbon to hang it with later. Stick puzzle pieces to the card then add a second round of puzzle pieces on the top, preferably to cover the joins as it makes the wreath stronger. At this point you could paint it if your puzzle pieces are not green on the back as mine were. Then add any decorations – we used sequins for holly berries and added a bow (I just googled Christmas bow and found lots of suitable options).

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The ones we made weren’t very big, but were just the right size for the children to complete in an hour. The puzzle I used was kindly donated by a local charity shop – I asked if they had any incomplete ones and they came up with a 3000 piece puzzle that had 2 pieces missing! I offered to pay for it, but she said that I could have it because I was using it in school – so kind!

The other wreath I made was one for the back door. In previous years I’ve reused a willow wreath, changing decorations according to the seasons. But this year I decided to keep the flowery wreath (which has been up since the spring!) intact and make an entirely new one for Christmas.

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It was fairly simple to make – I used an embroidery hoop as a base and wrapped the ribbon around it, securing the ends in the hoop. I added a bow at the top and stitched baubles, bells and decorations around the edge. The bottom of the wreath gave me the most stress as I wanted to add a cluster of baubles, but they didn’t hang right no matter what I tried. In the end I gave up and used a big bell instead! It makes a very pleasant jingling sound whenever the door opens or closes.

Christmas 2013 – Minion hats

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I’ve been in touch with Santa more than usual this year. My class and I had 2 letters from him, the first asking them to write to him and the second thanking him for their letters. The looks of wonder and excitement when they saw these letters were just lovely! We also had a visit from one of Santa’s elves who arrived by helicopter on the playing fields up the road from the school.

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She collected the letters from the whole school and delivered them personally to Santa. She had to use Santa’s magic dust to make herself big enough to collect the letters, but she took too much which is why she’s so tall!

I also had a particularly special request from Santa – could I make 2 minion hats for my cousin’s children? Well, I couldn’t very well turn down Santa, so I found a couple of patterns and got started using this pattern. Then I started again. And again. And again! The problem was that I played around with the pattern I had because I wasn’t happy with how it was working out. But the playing around created other problems.

At one point I actually started knitting – but gave up when I realised it had taken me an hour to knit about an inch, and (when I’ve got the pattern right!) it only takes about an hour and a half to crochet an entire hat! In the end I used a combination of the pattern above and this pattern, making up other bits as I went along. And this is how they turned out…

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And this is what they look like being worn by their new owners…

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I think they like them!

Christmas 2013

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Well it’s been and gone – how was it for you? I always love Christmas (and start listening to Christmas songs from about August!) but it’s also a pretty busy time of year. I love being in school in the run up to Christmas as the children are all so excited, but it has meant that there has been very little time for blogging. So to make up for that I’ll be writing a series of posts about all sorts of Christmas related things over the next few days. These are a few of the things I’ll be telling you about…

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In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your weekend 🙂

Hello!

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Just thought I’d pop by to say a quick hello and see how you all are. I’m sure this is a busy time of year for most of you too, so I’m sure you’ll excuse my absence recently.

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I’m afraid I don’t even have much to show you today – most of the things I’m working on at the moment are for Christmas presents. However, I can tell you that I’m in the middle of making a couple of minion hats, a star garland and several warm and cosy things. The doily in the photo above was made on the spur of the moment just because I loved the pattern. I now have no idea what to do with it! Any suggestions? (This feels like deja vu…)

Anyway, I’m just off to town to see if I can find some essential supplies for more Christmassy crafting. Have a lovely day 🙂

Edit to add: the doily pattern can be found here. There is also a link to it from this page, along with lots of others that I want to try!