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Posts Tagged ‘Craft’

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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Messy Bible Reading

My ambitious Bible reading plan for 2014 has hit a few bumps in the road. Tiredness, idleness, busyness & illness have all played a part. But I’m persevering. Today I managed a full ten chapters in a single bite for the first time in a couple of weeks. And then I noticed that the ends of the ribbon bookmark I made for myself had started to fray at the ends. Rather like me really.

So I applied some Copydex. A spot of glue can stop everything unravelling. A bit like sticking with the Bible reading.

Glued ribbons. A happy solution.

Glued ribbons. A happy solution.

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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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Vicarage life has been as busy as ever this weekend. A few highlights:

  • Gone is back. He’s just out of prison and has set up camp under our hedge. He had a hostel place available, but he hates hostels so hasn’t gone there. He spent his release money on an mp3 player and a mobile phone (which he’s already lost). The Vicar gave him a hat, scarf, gloves and a big coat. The coat is also lost. We also provided a sleeping bag, blanket and mat. But it’s pretty chilly there out under the hedge and Gone is frailer again. Trouble is that he’s one of those people who struggle to operate within the system that’s provided. He reminds me of the Lady in the Van whom Alan Bennett wrote about. Do pray for him and for all those trying to help.
  • We had a Ladies’ Craft Night. Dreamer had printed lovely fliers and told lots of people about the evening. And she and I had a meeting on Monday all about the crafts and plans for the evening. But then family illness meant she had to be away from the parish. So a couple of valiant church ladies stepped into the breach and helped me to set up and heaps of people helped to clear up afterwards. And somehow, by God’s grace, I managed to prepare the crafts AND a talk – all very simple, I hasten to add. And we had a wonderful night of chatting, creativity, delicious puddings and thinking about how Mary prepared for Christmas. Happily, the only problem was that there wasn’t enough time. So plans are now afoot for an Easter Craft Night – a great way to get church and friends together and share both the gospel and our lives.
  • We went out for Sunday lunch at SOMEONE ELSE’S HOUSE. An unusual experience for us – and a lovely one. Our friends are Tongolese so we ate rice and fried chicken and sweet fried dumpling and lots of other yummies with spicy sauce on the side. It was so so lovely to have a Sunday off catering and God’s timing was perfect – the Craft Night was the previous evening.
  • A couple of people have posted reviews of The Ministry of a Messy House over the weekend: Rachel found it encouraging and Gary‘s favourite story was the one about the communion bread (I think this is everyone’s favourite). Martha hasn’t posted a review, but an interview with me about the book.
  • My kitchen is very chilly. So much so that I’m even going to do some ironing and hope the heat from the steam will defrost my fingers.

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Bee has been here over the last couple of days, helping out with Messy Church last night and with the school Easter service this morning. She and I got together this afternoon to talk about next Thursday, when Cake & Chat becomes DIY Holiday Club. She had some lovely Easter craft ideas and we sourced some others online. We’re going to be making:

I was going to get hold of Baker Ross colour-in cards too, but looking at the list above, I think we’ll have plenty to do.

The crafts will give us good opportunities to chat about Easter with those who attend. Some will be joining us at the Maundy Thursday meal that evening and will be in church on Easter Sunday, but others won’t be at anything official. So we’re very much looking forward to our informal Easter service over cake and crafts.

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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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