Tuesday, 25 January 2011

saturday supper

I have mentioned before that John is a brilliant cook & is responsible for most of the culinary delights that we eat in our house. Saturday saw a new culinary delight created with the John twist, and definitely did not fail to disappoint.

He made burgers. From scratch.

And he made the bread, which was oh so perfectly soft on the inside, a tiny bit crunchy on the outside & still warm from the oven. Perfect.

Have I told you that I think he is brilliant? Well, let me say it again. John is brilliant.

The burgers? Scrumdidliumptious. 

Would you like the recipe? Well, just shout if you do, and I might just persuade the chef to come & guest post on this little space.

As for my kitchen endeavours of late, I had friends round on Friday and I made one of them wretch because she didn't like the mustard in her food (albeit subtle) and I made some very sad looking cakes. I blame it on the teaching sapping all of my abilities.

Monday, 24 January 2011

saturday sewing

On Saturday I had the pleasure of attending a baby shower for a friend who is expecting a baby boy. It was quite fun going to a baby shower where the gender of the baby isn't a secret as it allows more freedom in present choosing. So I decided to whip up another taggy blanket, this time in beautiful blues.

My expectant friend is the only friend I have who has required that the guests at her wedding wear wellies. I loved that. It is so fun to get to celebrate different life events with friends over the years - first weddings, then babies. Wonderful.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

ip dip sky blue

I find this shade of blue quite delicious. Is that strange to think of a colour as delicious? I know that I can't eat it, but there is something so wonderful about the pureness and smoothness of this blue that makes it seem fitting to describe it as delicious, no?

Having left school a bit earlier than normal today, I got to enjoy the sky gently giving way to darkness and arrived home while the blue was still holding its own before the dark of night came to settle over us. So, I resolved as I drove to try and capture the blueness of the blue with a little help from my tripod, which has been a much neglected piece of equipment, I am ashamed to say. It served me ever so well, despite my neglect, and I had forgotten how brilliantly lightweight it is. I think I should try and use it more often.

I feel like I should apologise for the lack of diversity in my posts lately. I am well aware that I have done a lot of talking about the sky and not a lot else. This is partly because my days are fully occupied with driving to school, admiring the sky, teaching some lessons which you probably don't want to hear about, then driving home, admiring the sky, and spending the rest of my evening planning more lessons. 

Suffice to say, there is not a whole lot of excitement in my life right now. Please bear with me during this slightly dull phase - I am sure it will get more exciting. In the meantime, if there is anything you would like to see happening when you pop by this space, whoever you may be, please let me know - I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

dusky blues

This year I feel like I am more aware than ever before of the light and dark. Starting back at school in the first week of January was a shock to my system. On the first day, I checked at least 3 times before I was sure that it was indeed 6.30am and not the middle of the night. It was pitch black. The wonderful consolation is that during my drive, the light is on its way, and by the time I arrive at school, the sky is glowing. (Unless, of course, it's a rainy day where the sky stays grey). I have so enjoyed watching the light rise over Portishead as I drive to school, then feel a sadness when it's pitch black when I drive home. 

Yet, just a couple of weeks into January, I am noticing the light change. Ever so subtly, but it is definitely changing. It is a tiny bit lighter when I leave the house in the morning, and a little less dark as I drive home. I love knowing that the days are growing towards Spring, towards more light in our days. Tonight, I smiled as I left school at 5.15 at the rich blue sky waiting for me to behold. It glowed through my entire journey home, and I loved it.

p.s can you spot the star?

winter sweet.

On Sunday, we spent the afternoon in the comfort of a lovely home in Long Ashton, the village where we got married. Some friends from church had invited us to lunch. 

Their cottage is such a lovely place to escape to, where they tend a trio of gregarious sheep, a chicken having trouble laying eggs, and a loveable dog called Bruno. We were treated with a delicious roast lunch and a gently warming fire while the Winter rain poured down outside.

As we set to make tracks home, Barbara, our host, donned her head torch & picked up a pair of secateurs - not the usual attire of a host bidding her guests farewell. The reason for the torch & garden tools? To cut us a cluster of flowers to bring home. 

We drove home, John, safely navigating through the rain, Ben in the back, and me in the passenger seat, gently clutching my collection of snow drops, iris & winter sweet, my head being pulled by the weight of sleep and raindrops rolling down the flowers, cooling my hands. A perfect end to a restful weekend. 

Monday, 10 January 2011

spoiled by pink

I was greeted by another beautiful pink sky this morning - such a beautiful way to start the day with this sight shining over school. I am tempted to apologise for posting another photo of a pink sky, less than I week from posting the last one I saw, but it was too beautiful not to share. I hope your Monday morning started off as beautifull as this.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

a little love triangle

Yesterday was the first day back at school for the children - I have had three days of quiet planning in school without children for the first chunk of the week.

On their first day back, the children were showing their wonderfully true colours in oh so many ways. Just to give a bit of perspective, the children in my class are 7 & 8 years old. 

We started the day with a circle time where everyone shared how they were feeling, the best present they gave, and the best present they received. Let's just say that apple have made a whole lot of money out of the families in my class this Christmas. I cannot count the number of children who received an ipad, imac, ipod shuffle / touch / nano, or just a plain old laptop or kindle for Christmas. Oh my. 

A little later on in the day, a girl turns to me and says, 'I'm just trying to explain what a landline is.' Oh wow. These children live in an age where mobiles have taken over. Once I'd added to the explanation, a glimmer of understanding came to the child who had no idea what a landline was and said, 'oooh, are they the ones that have a long cord?' 

My teenage years saw me putting in a lot of hours on our landline. I would carry it up the stairs as far as the cord would stretch to try and gain a little privacy. The result of which was a few phones being forever damaged, their spiral cords being twisted and contorted to the point of no return. Those memories are happy ones, and I am sad that the children of today will probably never experience the joy of twirling a phone cord while they chat away for hours to their best friends on the phone.

After morning break, a couple of children seemed out of sorts but did not want to talk about it to the rest of the group because it was a private issue. I thought nothing more of it as my focus was largely consumed by trying to keep a class on track, which is still a new challenge for me, being new to teaching and all that jazz. When I brought the children in from lunch time, the situation had clearly escalated and I was greeted by a flurry of children saying trying to explain the problem to me. What I gathered was this.

'Miss, I love Mia, and she loves me, but Sam's brother says he has to have a girlfriend and that Mia has to dump all other boys and that she can only be with Sam, but we've been in love since Year 2 and it's not fair that they are trying to make Mia do something she doesn't want to, and then Sam's brother brought a load of his friends and they are trying to beat us up...'

Wow. This needs some breaking down, I thought to myself. As I asked a few questions, I was very pleased to hear how mature the children involved had been at trying to resolve the conflict with the slightly more grown up and scary Year 4's, but realised that we were not going to get this little love triangle resolved there and then in the playground. So, myself and my colleague took each one of the three to the library separately to chat about it. In all honesty, I really struggled not to break into a smile at how I was giving relationship advice and hearing relationship problems to 7 and 8 year olds. My colleague commented that we were talking to 7 year olds going on 27. Honestly, I think some adults could take advise from these little ones. 

Having heard each member of the love triangle tell their side to the story, it was apparent, that they had all resolved the problem, and that Travis and Mia just wanted to be together and to be left alone, and Sam was quite happy being single, but readily acknowledges that he has a big brother who 'likes to interfere in other people's business'.
So we went on our merry way, out into the school playground to collect some leaves for a project. Travis said to me on our way out, 

'Thank you so much, Mrs King for really listening to us and helping to sort out our problem...I really appreciate you being so considerate.'

These were his words, I kid you not. Maybe I should become the school's resident Agony Aunt.... 

Thursday, 6 January 2011

for baby awesome

I know it's the new year so technically I should be sharing with you all of the things that are happening this year instead of last. But there are a couple of things which I did not manage to blog about before the year ended. My  hope is that I will have a few more sewing projects to show you over the coming year. Until they materialize (no pun intended), here's what I stitched at the end of 2010.

The brainwave came as I was thinking about my favourite baby. I decided to make her a taggy blanket. At the moment she's a little bit too young to fully appreciate the fun there is to be had with a whole lot of ribbon tags and some brightly coloured fabrics, but knowing how baby's tend to go, I am pretty sure in a few months time she will be loving it.

Here's how the process went...

I selected five different fabrics and cut them into strips of about 35cm long and 8-10cm wide.

Then I pinned them back to back and stitched together to create a row of strips with hidden stitching. 

Next, I went to my ribbon stash and selected 8 different ribbon styles. I tried to vary the ribbon texture where possible to make the blanket as tactile as possible. I cut two strips from each style of ribbon, measuring 6 inches long (15cm).

Once I had cut the ribbon strips, I worked out where they would look best against the different fabric styles and placed them on top of the fabric, aiming to space them relatively evenly, placing 4 on each side. I didn't bother with measuring the spacing.

Now, if you happen to feel inspired to have a go at this project yourself, don't make the same mistake as I did at this stage. Note how in the above photo, all of the ribbons are facing the right side up? Well, they shouldn't be. I went ahead and stitched the blanket together like this, which meant that the ribbons which were only patterned on one side ended up inside out Fortunately, there were only about 4 that this was the case, so my mistake was easily redeemed. 

Having made sure all of your ribbons are facing the right way (or wrong way if we are speaking practically), fold each ribbon in half and pin to the right side of the fabric strips like so:

Once securely pinned, I machine stitched each ribbon to secure it to the fabric and removed the pins. I then cut a piece of wadding to be the same size as the fabric square - approximately 40cm square.

Having chosen a plain, slightly textured piece of fabric for the backing, I lined up the backing, fabric with ribbons attached, and the wadding - placing the two pieces of fabric right sides together, so that the wadding lay on the wrong side of the backing fabric. Like so:

I pinned through all three layers then machine stitched around three edges, leaving one side open to turn it the right way out. Now comes the moment of truth where you discover whether or not you have put your ribbons the right way round and right side out!

If all is well with your tags & machine stitching, it's time to hand sew the top edge....

Ta da! It's finished! Simple as that. I wanted to sew another 10 of these right after finishing, it was that that straightforward (minus a couple of hiccups but I have learned lots from my little mistakes). Simple, satisfying sewing. Just the kind I like.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

the morning sky

The morning sky that greeted me today was more than enough beauty to satisfy my tired soul this morning, with a reminder of the glory of God. As I drove to school this morning the sky was ever changing hues, ending in gray sky broken by a most glorious rainbow. The perfect reminder of God's promise that he would never again flood the earth and that day will always follow night, the warm days of Summer will always follow the cold and snow of Winter, as long as the Earth shall be.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

a new year

Well, dear friends, 2011 is here already. To say goodbye to 2010 I thought I'd share with you some of my favourite memories from a brilliant year.

I started off with the plan to Bake 2010 cakes. I lost track when I got near to 1000, and I definitely baked a lot more than I managed to blog about. It was a great plan, and was totally achieveable, but my life got a little bit hectic when I got asked a certain question...

In February, I discovered that I had been accepted at Bath Spa University to study for a PGCE to become a teacher. One major life decision made this year. Check. (Although I still dream about baking for a living.)

In March, the favourite man in my life asked me to marry him. Second major life decision made this year. Check.

For the next six months, life was very hectic and fun, planning our wedding. I wanted to savour every wonderful moment of it, knowing that this was the one and only time in my life that this would happen, and oh how brilliant it was. I did lots of sewing to make an incredible amount of bunting, which was oh so satisfying, and starting nesting.

In July, I said goodbye to the three children who had become very much a regular feature in my life for the three years that I was their childminder, and finished working as a teaching assistant. 

The month of August arrived - the most exciting month of this year - and the final wedding preparations came together. I decided to bake my own wedding cake, with much help from a wonderful lady called Fiona, and settled on a rather unconventional cake which contained no butter, and plenty of oranges, carrots and courgettes.

Saturday 28th August was the most wonderful day when I got to marry my best friend, and wear a  beautiful dress. I would love to have this day all over again if I could because it was so wonderful. I became Mrs King and flew off to paradise in Barbados for our honeymoon.

The last few months have seen me settling into becoming a teacher and learning about being a wife, and having lots and lots of cuddles with my favourite baby, who my brilliant friend Hannah gave birth to in October. 

I am so thankful to God for His abundant goodness this year. I am looking forward to another year where I get to know more of the faithfulness of my heavenly Father, and learn to love my husband more every day. I hope to share lots of the moments with you...