Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Animal Birthday Party

Sophie said that she had the best 8th birthday party ever. I'm so pleased because it was so simple, and it wasn't the sleep-over that she'd hoped for.

Here are some photos. The theme was animals. So the cake was a bear; actually a Mummy bear with her baby bear.

Everyone had to make an animal mask when they arrived.

We played a few, simple games and then had dinner together.

Then we sang happy birthday and "happy long life"...

...cut the cake, ate it...

... and watched portions of a wildlife video. Sophie and Bethany both did a great job of helping prepare for the party. It's lovely seeing them grow up!

happy birthday

anyone know how to make puppets?

I've been having some fun recently repairing some puppets.

One of our students has some ex-SU puppets and has been using them for children's talks in church, much to everyone's delight. Only when they appeared for the first time a few months ago they were held together with enough gaffa tape to make a sound-techie jealous. They were first admitted to hospital a while ago for mouth reconstructions and they have returned this week for eye-jobs.

This has been quite a challenge. You can see here how age has wearied them...

The first difficulty was getting off the old eyes without pulling holes in the fabric. To do this I used a hot glue gun without any glue in it. This melted the existing glue and I was able to prize apart the layers of fabric.

Then I had to remove the eye-lid fabric without damaging it, as I would need to use the same fabric on the new eyes. This I was able to do, again with the hot but glue-less glue gun.

We ordered some ping-pong balls on the internet and I cut them in half and painted them, guided by a template cut from the best of the old eyes. Then I recovered the eyes (just one pair)...

...and glued them back on. Here is one happy chappy!

But now I have a problem. The new ping-pong balls are slightly larger than the old ones. This is making it difficult to use the remaining old eye-lid fabric, just as it is, to recover the eyes. There is enough fabric to fold them differently so they will fit but this brings to the outside some old blobs of glue that are still in the fabric, which doesn't look great. I can't work out how to get the glue out. I can't use an iron (not enough power) and turps didn't work at all (although it worked on some blobs of glue from the glue gun, so I suspect the old glue is something different).

I would also like the new eyes to shine like the old ones. Any suggestions? Keep in mind that I can't pop down to the local hardware store.

So here are my questions,
  1. how do you get glue out of fabric?
  2. how would you make the eyes (ping-pong balls painted with acrylic paint) shine?

Saturday, 14 August 2010

on the definite article

Matthew had some friends over for lunch the other day. One, only a month younger than he (3), still finds our customs a little strange; has not eaten with us much and doesn't speak English. However, when the usual question was asked (who's going to say grace?) this small friend volunteered, and then proceeded:

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all,
now and forever,


And then we all ate.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Bethany's Dance Party

It seems to be a favourite activity in correspondence school material to require the children to organise a party. It occurs in the first few weeks of Kindergarten, which was OK as for both Kindergarten years the girls organised a birthday party for Matthew, whose birthday fell in that week. That was in the name of learning about writing lists. This month Sophie has to organise a party and that will be OK too because it's her birthday this month.

Last week Bethany was learning about procedures: recipes, science experiments, instructions for things to make and do, rules for games... And, yes, she had to organise a party. She had to write out recipes for food, rules for any games and instructions for what would happen at the party. Believe me, this was quite a lot of writing for a six-year-old. And yet another party for a thirty-five year old.

So, we decided to have a family dinner party. It was, because it was Bethany, a dancing party. We had her favourite food: rice paper bundles and lemon juice. We had custard tart for dessert. We had read about this a while ago in a book and finally were able to enjoy one. It took three times as long as the recipe stated to cook, but in the end it set beautifully and was very tasty... and even better the next day, cold.

We had a lovely time, everyone enjoyed good food and great dancing.

Then, to top it all off, Bethany had to produce a poster of the party, including all the recipes (which, except for the custard tart, she wrote out from her own knowledge of what to do, rather than copying them) etc. It's probably the best piece of work she has produced yet. While organising a dance party isn't my cup of tea, it is certainly Bethany's. She really enjoyed every piece of this work, even the mammoth amount of writing it required.

Here's the poster:

Here are close-ups of the recipes:

Instructions for the party went:
  1. Dance
  2. Dinner
  3. Dance
  4. Dessert
  5. Dance
The custard tart recipe was from the common sense cookery book.

For close-ups of the photos on the poster, look here.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

the life of a ....

... a what?? See how long it takes you to work it out. It's a short story Sophie (almost 8) wrote for school today.

When I was born the first thing I knew was being carried away from my mother. Then I was put in a packet and thrown into a trolly with heaps of others. Then I was put on a shelf. No sooner was I put on then I was taken off again and was held in front of a thing that beeped and then was stuffed into a box and left there for an hour.

Then I was taken out and something long and thin was pushed through the hole in my behind. Then I was pushed in, out, in, out through a big piece of cloth. Then a voice called out, "Lucy, Lucy" and I was dropped and left on the floor.

After a while I found myself being pushed into a person's foot and heard a voice scream. I was yanked out and wiped clean. Then I was left alone for a week.

Then I was polished and wrapped in paper and left for a day. Next I was given to someone in the paper and the person said, "ugg" and put me away for a year.

When I was taken out, I was covered with rust and thrown in a fire and now I am slowly melting and I am only two.