Saturday, 17 September 2016

Craft Club Box September

This is the second craft club box I have bought and again I was not disappointed. Both boxes so far have included a good selection of sewing notions and haberdashery which have been added to my sewing kit. The projects are aimed at creating gifts for Christmas. Last month was the rabbit softie and this month it is an e-reader case (kindle).
This months box contained:-
  • wadding
  • linen tree fabric, either blue of beige
  • plain cotton for the lining
  • 1m of elastic for the button close
  • a beautiful wooden button
  • crochet trim to add a special touch.
  • instructions
There was also a bundle bag that contained:-

  • 5 clover clips - a great alternative to pins when working with bulking projects
  • 15cm zip
  • 18cm zip  both could be used as a closure on the case or for a pocket.
  • some neutral coloured ribbon, patterned ribbon and navy tape ribbon
It was very easy to make, took less than 2 hours and looks very professional. There is a large pocket on the front for popping in a small notebook and on the back I created smaller pockets to store pens in.
 Overall I am very pleased with the project and the contents in the box and will definitely be making some more of these for friends and family. I planning on using the inspiration boards from the emagazine to try my hand at free hand machine embroidery.

If you are interested in trying out this subscription box go here.
Use the code:-Im a crafty friend to receive a discount on your first order.

(Disclaimer. I bought this subscription box with my own money and all views and opinions expressed are my own. No monetary gain was made from this review.)

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Wednesday Workspace

Tonight I have a few little work related things to be getting on with but as they have the children's photographs on I can't really show then to you. However I can show you how the nursery was set up for todays session. We had another 4 new starters this morning so our numbers are slowly creeping up. I find it a very slow and tedious process which we are going to review for next year in the hope that we can have all the children in much quicker and settle them all together.
 In the water tray we have boats to float, large sea creatures, people and rocks. Some of the children are making up rescue games with a strong narrative as they play. Other children are just delighted to drop the rocks into the water and create a splash. It supports Communication and Language, Personal, Social and Emotional development, Physical development, early maths skills (pouring, scooping, filling), Understanding of the World and Expressive Arts. Basically water play covers most areas of EYFS development.
 In the sand tray we have spades and castle moulds to create their own style of sandcastle. The children have asked for shells and people to add to their play tomorrow. Lots of physical development used in making sand castles and some super peer support in helping each other create the best castles.
 The small world table changes every 2 days or so and I add in and take out elements depending on what the children have asked for. Today we had a campsite with a bridge crossing the river. Tomorrow the children have asked for some dinosaurs to live by the river, so we'll swap them in. This is where we hear a huge amount of language as the children narrate their play. It's also where we see social skills in action (or lack of in some cases!)
 This week we celebrated Roald Dahl day on Tuesday and have been reading some of his poems. To go alongside the poem "Porcupine" we created a make your own porcupine on the play dough table. They have loved this and extended their models by asking for things to make legs and mouths and altering their porcupines into other animals. Play dough supports physical development as the children use fine motor skills to manipulate the dough and tools.
 The art table has had a mixture of free painting and directed art. We have been rolling paint covered marbles to create patterns which we are turning into apples to hang on our "who's who" tree. We leave a name sheet on the table and encourage the children to have a go at writing their name on their art work. 
 Last week some of the children built this amazing train track and have asked for it to be left out. They have taken so much care of it. Fixing bits that are broken and extending the track each day. They have added animals, people and some signs since this picture. I have been blown away by their sustained play in this area and the co-operation in creating and caring for this track.
 The Autumn table is slowly filling up as the children are encourage to bring in things they have found around and about. We have a glut of conkers which I love.
 In the creation station the children are supplied with a variety or mark making materials and crafting tools and allowed to make whatever they want. We have seen cards, fringed book marks, self portraits and lots and lots of snipping! We are going to extend this area as it is very popular.
There are many other areas not described here like our maths areas, the reading space, the role play area and outdoors. I'll save those for another day.
And finally a photo of the tiny bit of crafting I manged to cram in at the weekend. This is a kindle case that I made using the Craft Club Box Kit. It was so easy to make and I will be making some more in the future for Christmas pressies. 

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Work/Home Life Balance

This week saw me returning to work after the 6 weeks summer break.
Now I know lots of people have no sympathy for people in education as we get so many holidays and I get that, but I only get paid for 4 weeks annual holiday the same as most employees and  I cannot take those 4 weeks when I choose but always in school holidays, the remaining weeks are unpaid! Plus, I give my all during term time. My set working hours are 37 hours and 41 minutes (?)  but I work way more than that, both in school and at home. I always feel that the more I put into my job the more I get out of it. Not a complaint, just the way I roll.
So this week was filled with training days, prep days, parent meetings and finally the new children. It's always so exciting to meet these tiny people and start to get to know them. We spread our intake over a few weeks so that we can get to know each child well and help them settle into the nursery routine. There are assessments to do and art work to create but mostly it's a time of making friends and discovering what nursery has to offer. And it's busy, boy is it busy! Which means I am dog tired. I get home sometime after 5pm having been at work and on my feet since 7.30am and I just want to sleep. But there's dinner to make and chores to do and more school stuff to sort. And already after one week I am feeling wound up and unable to relax. What is the answer? Where is the work/home life balance?
My second daughter moved out on Friday, she's in her final year at Uni and felt it was time to spread her wings. I wasn't there to help her, I was at work, with other peoples children while my own child flew the nest. She hasn't gone far and can pop home anytime she needs to but I wasn't there and it breaks my heart. I love my job, really I do, but it consumes my life, I can't switch off. Even in the holidays I'm thinking "oh we could do that at school" or I see something in the shops that would be perfect for ... I need to find a way to be present at home as much as I am at work. What the answer is to getting the balance right is uncertain. Education in the UK is becoming so stressful, we asked to jump through hoops and when we are just about there they raise them higher. We as educators are never good enough, there is always something more we should/could be doing, no matter how hard we work there is always something else we should be doing. And in all of this I ask "What about the children?"

It's time to rethink my life.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Craft Club Box

This is the most recent subscription box I have bought.
I saw the advert on a social media site and thought I'd give it a go. 
For just £13 a month (inc p&p) you get enough fabric bits and pieces to make at least one project. The price also includes access to an e-magazine which takes you through the project in detail and offers additional ideas in using all the goodies inside the box.
I decided to give it a go as, even though I am experienced in sewing, I seem to have lost a little of my mojo and I'm hoping this will spur me on to start sewing again.
So what was inside the box?
Well first off the box was small, small enough to fit through my letterbox which is a brilliant idea, no need to wait in for the postman.
This months kit is to make either a bear or a bunny. They weren't able to send enough stuffing to make both but it will be easy enough to do it at home.
So, inside the box was:-
  • 30x40cm natural linen
  • 20x25cm light pink cotton fabric
  • 15x15cm wool felt in white and candy pink
  • toy stuffing
  • black embroidery thread
  • 1m of 3mm lilac ribbon
  • 1m think pink elastic
  • 1m white ric rac
These are the materials needed to make the project. More than enough, so I will probably be able to make both softies just adding my own stuffing.
Also inside the box was a number of extras so you customise your creation and the e-magazine had plenty of suggestions. These are the extras:-
  • A fat quarter of pink cloud fabric
  • 1m pink printed ribbon
  • 1m padded heart trim - very pretty
  • 1m pink bias binding
  • 1 rabbit button
  • 1 bear button
There were lots of clear photographs for inspiration and links to sites offering free patterns . They suggested making clothes, pillows and bedding for your softie. I need time to follow the links and decide what I will make.

I feel the box is good value for money and I am looking forward to giving it a go. I have already printed out the pattern, so that's a good sign I think.
For more information look here.

I'll leave you with a picture of the mermaid I created with the Little Box of Crochet kit.

(Disclaimer. I bought this subscription box with my own money and all views and opinions expressed are my own. )

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Wednesday Workspace.

Today is all about finishing off those little jobs I need in my classroom.
Cupboard labels, draw labels, etc.
I want to be able to relax in my final week of holidays, knowing everything is done and ready for the new term.
The nursery is just about set up, but looks very bare without any of the children's work on display. That will soon change though. Here's a little peep inside.
This is our "Who's Who" tree. Each child will have their picture taken and added to the tree inside an apple. This is in our cloakroom.
Their draws are all labelled up and ready to be used. In the background you can see the kitchen area. It's also where our sand and water trays are kept.
These are the self registration apples. Each child finds their name/picture and sticks it onto the felt trees which are on the side of this unit, so we know who is in nursery. Of course most of the children need prompts to complete this task in the first few weeks. We have green apples for the morning children and red apples for the afternoon children.
Here is the start of our home corner. The children get to decide which resources need to be added as the weeks go by. We add or remove items to facilitate their needs. Last year they children wanted a home laundry! So we removed the cooker/fridge and added ironing boards, a washing line, and lots of things to wash.
This is our reading corner which I am busy revamping. It needs the chairs covering and some big squishy floor cushions, then I'll be happy. The children like to share books in here. I also add book bags so the children can retell the story with puppets and toys. This was very popular last year.
This is going to be our Autumn discovery area. On the table I have placed Autumn word cards with pictures. The table is then covered with a clear plastic table cover and objects that match the words are placed on top. The idea is that the children handle the objects and match them to the word cards which remain safe under the plastic. We will add their pictures and discoveries as the weeks go by. Plus we will be going on an Autumn walk in the local area and will capture some action pictures for this space.
I hope you have enjoyed this little peek inside my working world. I'm going to try and take a walk about video or the whole setting in the next few weeks. So watch out for that.