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Archive for the ‘Craft’ Category

I’ve not been fasting from blogging for Lent. Just a normal blogflop due to life and everything. But here I am again. With some fun pics of my friend Kirby, who made some Resurrection Eggs last week in preparation for the fortnight leading up to Easter.

Resurrection eggs are a sort of Jesse Tree for Easter and a creative way to get kids to engage with the wonderful gospel story at the heart of our faith. Kirby used the verses preprepared on this blog. There’s plenty of time to gather yourself an egg box and some plastic eggs. You can use 15 eggs (as Meredith does), a dozen (as I did) or even a simple six. Why not give it a go?

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My social media timelines are full of reflections on 2013 and resolutions for the New Year. Here in the Vicarage we’ve had some great down time since Christmas to gather our thoughts. Whilst we’ve not been sleeping or waking up feeling like we’ve been dozing in the middle of the M6, that is. There’s something about a busy run-up to the festive season that makes you feel like you’ve been run over by a few dozen lorries.

On reflection, 2013 was pretty good here in the Vicarage. The kids grew up a bit and are still speaking to us (except when they’re watching telly, when it’s impossible to extract even a monosyllable from any of them). The encouragements in church outweighed the discouragements by a good margin.  The clutter in our hallway has threatened but not actually managed to submerge us. I gave a Christian talk which wasn’t mainly ums and ers. I wrote a book and some people have bought it. We have seen over and over that the Lord has been faithful in the big things which concern us and the small things that bug us.

As I’ve done every year for the past few, I have been going through Don Whitney’s 10 questions as I’ve reflected. I think many of the questions will be addressed in my plan to read my bible more in 2014. And I’m going to start off by following Professor Horner’s bible reading plan – a system involving reading 10 chapters a day. You can get this reading plan if you use YouBible, although one of the recommendations is to use a single bible that enables you to become familiar with the location of passages, so I’m going to start with a comfortable softbacked ESV. Obviously this is pretty ambitious and I’m sure I’ll stumble along the way. But I want to see if I can read at the pace I normally read a work of fiction – gathering general ideas and making links, not getting bogged down in the detail. One of the hazards of too much social media consumption is the tendency to skim lots in short chunks and not sit down to read and reflect. This is what I’d like to work on this year. I want to know God through his word and be filled with thoughts of him. Dave Bish offers a similar approach in a blogpost from 2012.

Resolutions in hand...

Resolutions in hand…

My other main resolution for 2014 is to knit more. And do crafty things in general. One of the things about living in a busy Vicarage, where home is the workplace and work is in the home, is that it never quite feels like everything is finished for the day. So I usually feel guilty  (to a greater or lesser extent) about sitting down to anything that’s not *really* needing to be done. Telly and the internet don’t seem quite as deliberate as taking up the knitting needles or sitting down at the table with craft equipment. But relaxing creatively is good for me. It makes me feel refreshed and there is something there at the end which makes me smile. So I have a scarf pattern, and I have taken up my knitting needles again. And the Queen has got herself a PInterest board and I am planning to join her in having a craftier 2014.

Do you have grand (or small) plans for 2014? You might like to take advantage of the free download offered by Christian Audio this month – the entire ESV bible on mp3. And if you have an Apple device, you can now download PrayerMate for free until the end of March courtesy of London City Mission. I’ve got to hang out for the Android version… If it makes a difference just for a bit, it’s worth a go. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.

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We had a Messy Church planning meeting in the Vicarage this morning. We’ve been thinking through the crafts for the next few months, so we can make sure we have all the materials ready. In the process we came across this great clip of Aussie music teacher Jon Madin showing you how to make a rubber glove bassoon. We are *so* going to make these. Bet you can’t guess the bible passage, mind. It was a bit of a stretch…

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Last night we had a great time at Messy Church – the next one in our series on the ‘I am’ sayings of Jesus. This time we were looking at ‘I am the True Vine’ and the craft team decided that they’d like one activity to be making playdough grapes to place on a vine drawn on a paper plate. The Vicar then volunteered me to make the playdough, knowing that I had a recipe up my sleeve.

Every playgroup leader has a  recipe for playdough – that ubiquitous soft dough which mums hate to find in carpets. But many folk I’ve spoken to have found their homemade dough to be too sticky or oily. This recipe always seems to come out well, though, as long as you don’t mind your fingers getting a bit stained with food colouring. It lasts a few weeks if kept in an airtight box in the fridge.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (250ml) plain flour
  • 1 cup (250ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) salt
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • Few drops food colouring

All you do is pop all the ingredients together in a pan (preferably non-stick) and heat it up, stirring, until the dough magically forms. You can also do it by heating it in a covered dish in the microwave for 1-2 minutes but it’s so fast on the stove top I use that method. Also, the food colouring can make the inside of a microwave dish look rather interesting.

I know these were meant to be grape coloured, but the local shop only sells colouring for pilau rice and Indian sweets, so the colours are a little lurid and approximate. For Messy Church I made a quadruple batch, which was ample. It’s great fun to hold and knead – we gave a couple of handfuls away to some of the teenage tearaways who were lurking in the church yard. One came in especially as he reckoned it would help him to deal with stress.

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Last year I made a set of Resurrection eggs to talk the kids through the Easter story over 12 days leading up to Easter Sunday. Actually, last year, I started rather late, so it went on post-Easter too.

After Easter I discovered that they sell empty plastic eggs in The Works – those shops seem to be nearly everywhere. Much easier than sending off to Baker Ross. So you could pop out this weekend and sort out a set. I was thinking that making a set would be a fun activity for the holidays. We’ll dig out our set from the cellar and maybe tweak the contents a bit.

Just to save you clicking through, here are the readings and fillings from the original post.

Day 1: Cottonwool ball soaked in perfume (not sure how authentic Elizabeth Arden Green Tea is as a fragrance)
Day 2: 5p pieces for the silver – thankfully I had some in my purse.
Day 3: Matthew 21:1-11. Donkey or palm leaf – Playmobil pot plant pieces.
Day 4: Matthew 26:26-29. Cup or bread – a Playmobil wine glass and a piece of bread.
Day 5: Luke 22:39-46, 54a. Praying hands or pipecleaner man – I stuck together some pink foam which I cut into the shape of praying hands. A little lurid in colour.
Day 6: John 19:1-7. Purple cloth. Well the cloth is maroon, but it was the best I could find.
Day 7: John 19:16-17. Cross. I made this by snipping off the bottom of one of the kids’ palm crosses and sticking it together. Shhhh – don’t tell them.
Day 8: John 19:18. Nails. Sourced from the Vicar’s tool cupboard.
Day 9: John 19:33-35. Toothpick (for the spear). Actually I used  half a cocktail stick (no toothpicks in the Vicarage), covered in silver foil.
Day 10: Matthew 27: 57-60. Rock. Some gravel from the drive. Washed.
Day 11: Mark 16:1-3. Cinnamon/cloves/spices. Had plenty of these in the cupboard.
Day 12: John 20:1-8. And nothing in the egg! This was easy.

If you’re really keen, Meredith commented last year with fifteen readings from Mark or even a series of 21 readings which you could use instead. And a Twitter friend mentioned that she’s adapted the idea for her Sunday school class. I’m hoping to extract some details from her later!

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On Wednesday, when we had an enforced day of holiday because of the public sector strike, Wonderfriend came round to play with the Queen. I was able to keep the two big girls and both my small boys occupied for a good part of the morning using a great present sent by Auntie Icklesis. I had to draw the figures but they did all the colouring.

From left to right, Wonderfriend, the Queen, the Joker, the Engineer

From left to right, Wonderfriend, the Queen, the Joker, the Engineer

So many thanks to Auntie I and to the inventors of Paint a Puzzle. Now we only have to do something similar on the other side!

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My granny was a fantastic knitter, but I only decided recently that I wanted to try my hand with needles and wool. My helpful mother-in-law gave me a knitting book for Christmas and this is one of the results – a gift for a friend’s 40th birthday.

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while… I suspect most of my huge array of readers will have seen either the bag or the pictures before. But just in case you haven’t….

Thanks to Louisa Harding for the pattern from her accessories book.

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