Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mixed Messages ~ charity shop cull

I really enjoyed watching Retial Guru Mary Portas' "Mary queen of shops" and Mary Queen of Charity Shops. "Mary Queen of Shops" featured Mary Portas offering her advise and design skills to shops that had seen better days, were left in the past, or simply did not have direction.  She put together plans that uplifted the shops and gave them a new lease of life and those running them the knowledge and plans to build bright new futures.
Mary Queen of Charity shops showed Mary taking over a charity shop and turning the design and methods of running it around.  She gave it a totally new outlook, engaged the community and left a thriving charity shop in her wake.
So why is Mary now bemoaning the humble charity shop, encouraging local councils to put a cap on the numbers allowed on our high streets?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Buy Local

Too Much Information

When I was growing up, it was in a time of  huge protection for children.  Things of a personal nature were not discussed out loud.  Matters of life and death were kept away from children and the news papers, news programmes etc did not show photos or details that would be graphic.
Whilst I beleieve that in modern society, children should be aware of life and death processes and be informed in loving and supportive environments There are certainly ways, means and limitations on what they should be subjected to.
How different it all is now.
This past weekend showed newspaper headlines, front page pictures in full colour and no holds barred.  The news programmes dealt in great detail of minute detailing.
I celebrate with Libya at it's freedom from oppressive leadership.
I do not however wish to see a close up of a bullet entry hole, the dead body of a man paraded, video's of the fear of a condemned man.
Let us instead celebrate a future, a new era and a free country

Friday, October 21, 2011

Crafts Tutorial ~ Papier Mache

I have been asked about making Papier Mache or Paper mache.
There are many recipes out there, but this one is the one I use and is a combination of many, resulting from much trial and error!  This results in a strong, thick and sturdy product which will last for many years.  It's not a quick method, but the quality is worth the process.
You will need:
wall paper paste
plain flour
Mold base or balloons etc

Use a ballon or upturned bowl as a base.  Layer up 3 or 4 layers of news paper strips and wall paper paste.  wall paper paste is used as it has anti fungal properties.  If making with children use watered down pva.
Leave to dry in a warm place.  (you could try putting in the oven on a low heat,  but be warned I tried and failed!)

Tear up the newspaper, add plenty of water.

 Boil until the paper disintegrates.

Use a liquidiser, food processor or wand masher to pulverise the paper (ideally you should keep one for none food use)

Drain water from pulp

Squeeze until it's as dry as possible

Crumble into a bowl
In a seperate bowl  mix flour and water and a dash of unmade wall paper paste into a thick gloopy paste.

Add the crumbled paper. Put in your hands and squeeze and manipulate until you have a clay like substance.

Cover the paper layered base with the clay paste.

Leave to dry.

Cover the pot with plain light weight paper or newspaper edges to give a good base for decoration.
leave to dry and then decorate with paints, paper etc.

Have fun

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Craft Tutorial ~ Hanging Hearts

The tutorial to make your own hanging hearts can be found on Things To Make And Do.
You could also add lavender for a fresh all year round aroma or for the winter months add pouches of mulled wine spices, cloves or cinnamon sticks.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

GiveAway ~ Christmas Creative

One of my other blogs is currently celebrating it's 300th post with a giveaway.
Why not head over there and enter with a chance to win Christmas Goodies.
Enter HERE

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Your beautiful ~ Phil Wickham

A Beautiful Journey

There are times when being a mum means playing mum taxi.  The chasing round and making sure everyone has everything in the right place, all the components they'll need for their day and the appropriate clothes for the weather. These times can be fraught, but once you are in the car and you've double and tripple checked everything, inevitably the journey is a time to chat and find things out.
This morning I had two of mine and a borrowed child to deliver to Beverley for music.  beverley is about 14 miles from us over the Yorkshire Wolds, undulating chalk hills.  The sun was shining as we drove up the hills and the sky was beautifully blue.  Below us on the flood plain the grey mist obscured the view, but we climbed into the blue sky.  As we travelled along chatting the most stunning site met us.  red Kites flying with the sun glinting on their wings.  The white boomerangs underneath the wings bright.
The colours of autumn were starting to become very evident as the trees have started to take on the acidic colours and the oranges and reds are starting to form, the deep red hawthorn berries and brighter red pods of the rosehips are bright in the hedges.
As we entered Beverley Westwood, the most amazing site greated us.  The dew last night was heavy and still glistened on the grass.  The cows grazed with steam coming off their coats and from their mouths and the mist hung above the floor shrouding the bottoms of the tree's and gave a surreal vision of lines of trees and St. Marys Church graced the scene as though selected by an artist.
None of us had a camera with us, the moments we had witnessed live  on only in our minds, but I did think how lucky we were to have witnessed such beauty.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Neglecting Our Elderly

20 something years ago I was a student nurse working in a hospital on the outskirts of London. When I was training, we were based on the wards (now they train in classrooms)  we were counted in staff numbers, learnt the value of communication, observation and practice in reality not in theory.  We had much time to sit with the patients and talk to them.
Why am I bringing this up now?
Because the news is currently full of stories of neglect of the elderly and of starved patients.
I know that when I trained,  many times I spent over half an hour spoon feeding an elderly patient.  Sometimes it took even longer.  Those patients who had suffered strokes or had difficulty swallowing took great patience to feed, but we knew how vital it was to get the food into them to aid the healing process.  It was frequently drummed into us, the importance of not just putting the food tray on the table, but to make sure the patient was sat up, had the table in reach, was competent to feed themselves etc.  We were taught to help someone overcome the shame of asking for help to cut up their food or to feed themselves.  We were trained to look for tell tale signs that meant someone wouldn't manage.
Who is there to do this now?  They took students off the wards, they squeezed the NHS so that staff were overrun and simply did not have the time to feed the patients.  I have heard countless stories of the elderly being neglected in recent years.
So what is the solution?
The government needs to fund elderly carers who are paid to go and sit and feed these elderly patients.  To give them the responsibility to make sure the elderly and infirm are adequately fed and watered.
This in turn would fund itself as the elderly patients would heal quicker and be off the wards faster.
Who could do this valuable job?
Well, the recent talk from the government that those on job seekers allowance should do work to gain their benefits is just one example of a ready market of workers.
Another is those with long term disabilities who can't "work" in standard jobs,  this would give them purpose etc and be an environment ready set up for access etc.
Thirdly volunteers, who want to do their bit to make the world a better place.
This could be "The Big Society"
The shame of the "Elderly Neglect" should be a thing of the past... we are all going to be old ourselves!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Throwing Away Christmas

I am sure that Rev W F Awdry who originally wrote Thomas the Tank Engine, would be furious at the latest turn of events.  The latest story is set at Christmas, with Christmas trees, Christmas party's and Christmas presents, however there is no mention of Christmas.
Christmas has been referred to as Winter holidays,
Christmas trees as decorated trees
Christmas party as holiday party
This is sadly being allowed to become acceptable and all because no one stops it.  Google are also offenders and won't wish you Happy Christmas.
But the great British public celebrate "Christmas" I'm not claiming they all get the true meaning, but they buy Christmas Cards, Advent calendars, Christmas tree's etc.  I personally find it offensive that the reason for the celebration should be shoved into a cupboard and re-branded as Winter holidays.  I don't have trouble wishing Hindu's a Happy Divali or Muslim's a Happy Ede, or Jewish people a Happy Hanukkah.  The world is made up of diverse cultures and we should be allowed to celebrate it.
We need to stand up and demand that our Christian rights are not removed.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Papier Mache Bowls

At Long last my first three bowls are completed.

 The first is a deep bowl suitable for fruits and nuts etc.
 The second is a classic fruit bowl style.
 Lastly is a large deep bowl
All the bowls are finished with a varnish and can be wi[ped with a rung out damp cloth.
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