Beowulf and The Pied Piper

Craft Day 1/365
Hubby’s just made me a prop for school where I will be teaching Beowulf along with other myths and legends. He drew out the shape on some ply after a bit of research on the shape, then cut it out. He left the decorating for me to do!
I have painted the Viking broadsword using metallic paint for the font to add a bit of shine to it in the light and outlined some of the lettering with ink. I particularly like celtic patterns or those which interlock. One day I hope to have a go at silver jewellery making. The first piece of jewellery I designed was when my first baby was born and I wanted her to have a keepsake for when she grew up. Although I designed it, I commissioned a jewellery maker from famous Glastonbury in the UK to make it.
Regarding my class, all about the age of 12/13, they were thrilled that we were going to create a wall display of our work on myths and legends. After the focus on Beowulf, we moved onto The Pied Piper and the children’s task was to then write their own epic poem. My youngest daughter is always inspired by the ideas I plan for my lessons and wanted to take part even though she’s younger and attends a different school. She drew me a picture for a slide on The Pied Piper, having already studied it at school!

A further update on National Novel Writing Month …

My progress chart … This is one of the reasons why I like taking part: there’s a word counter which informs you how many more words are left to go.

Although I’ve not been posting a craft daily this month, I’ve been busy beavering away at the keyboard and creating my first draft of a novel; working overtime at work and being a mum! Hope you lovely people who take time to visit my blog are all well and I promise there will be some more handicrafts in the run up to Christmas including a fun giveaway. Yay! :-)

Hand printed felt and an update

It wasn’t my intention to stay away from blogging for long, if at all, but illness meant I had no choice but to stay away from the computer. Sadly, that meant also not being able to showcase what I’ve been working on in secret as it’s not quite dry yet. Watch this space for a special Christmas giveaway coming up shortly; I do hope you lovely people will like it and want to take part. In the meantime I managed to do a bit of handprinted felt this afternoon and catch up on my novel writing – I had to even miss two days of writing because of a migraine :-(. But, I’m back on track with my characters jumping off a freight train and my word count is almost up to what it should be for this weekend.
As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, my daughter is also writing a novel … She’s up to chapter 34 now and over lunch we discussed the excitement of knowing other people have been reading her story-in-progress as she writes each chapter. I haven’t read any of her book yet but she tells me that if you type the title in Google it comes at the top of the list. She gets a buzz out of that. I hope her enthusiasm continues and who knows, maybe next year she’ll join in National Novel Writing Month or even win a creative writing contest :-)

My printed felt which will be turned into a journal cover.
Also, an update on the craft fair I took part in recently. I received a letter yesterday informing me on how much was raised for
Children’s Hospice. Thanks to everyone who braved the thick fog and either participated in running a stall or bought from the stalls, we raised a respectable £635 :-)


31,129 words … Still going in the right direction

NaNoWriMo update: today is the day we’re able to validate our novel by uploading and verifying our word-count – can you believe some people have already gone passed the 50000 word mark and we still have ten days to go! I can’t verify mine until I’ve reached 50,000 words (so for now, you’ll just have to believe me). I have some catching up to do over the weekend with a surge of writing and flexing my typing fingers. In the meantime, I’ve saved it all and it’s stored on here

and on my computer. I’m tempted to print it all out and see what that many words look like on paper! I can always remember when I owned a computer which had a floppy disc drive and the printer was a dot matrix (very noisy and to create bold type, it would ink over the page once then go over the text again!). Not only did it go through a lot of ink, there was not much else it could do apart from play ‘Snake’ and word process letters!
When my son was about eighteen months (he’s now 18 years) I was busy typing up letters to publishers and sending out submissions and manuscripts. While busy typing a new story, my son became very inquisitive and before I knew what had happened, he’d pressed the power button off and I lost pages and pages of creative writing. I could only hope that the second draft was better than the first! Thanks son!

Nano journey continues…

Just over 28,000 words and reconsidering the title of my draft novel. It’s definitely a journey and I’m encouraged by the fact my twelve-year-old daughter is inspired. She’s currently on chapter 30+ of a novel she’s writing using the Whatpad app. Her friends can log in and read what she posts daily and comment. They tell her how frustrating it is when she leaves the chapter on a cliffhanger! She’s learning fast. The only snag is she won’t let me read it until it’s finished (I’m hoping it’ll be complete for my birthday in December, but she tells me she has no idea how long it’s going to be).
I wrote my first ‘long’ story when I was ten. It was called Beno. I also began to write a long tale as part of English at school when I was in year 6. There was a number of us chosen in the class to write about an imaginary family. When I joined secondary school, my English teacher organised for me to meet the author, Jean Ure, who went on to read and comment on three chapters of a novel I was writing. I wonder if my youngest child is going to follow suit? She says she wants to be an author … So watch this space :)

Nano update

Well, it’s day 17 of the National Novel Writing Month where there challenge continues – to write a draft novel in 30 days – the month of November.  To keep up the pace, the task is to try and write more than 1667 words a day for the whole month.  I was, I admit feeling I’d run out of steam yesterday as I needed sleep and took a break, but then new life hit the story today and before I knew it, I’d written way more than the minimum word count!  I’m finding the characters are beginning to set the scene and take over; they’ve become more than two dimensional and they have a purpose.  There’s already been a death and an underground explosion in the subterranean world built out of metal cogs.  Of course, it’s a rough draft, but I became excited by what was happening tonight as the characters are acting how they want to act.  Oh, and I went with the name Damascus in the end.  Someone on Facebook made me chuckle by suggesting I went with Damascus ‘brother to Remington’! when I called for suggestions on which name to go with out of a selection of five (Tyvek, Damascus Steel, Yew, MEK, or Glass). I  had various reasons for choosing these five.   The name Yew would have been interesting, depending on whether my potential novel was going to be read aloud or not as you have yew, you (singular), you (plural) all sounding the same, and yew relates to the tree which is used to make bowls, medicine and weapons. MEK referred to the chemical solvent methyl ethyl ketone (used in printing inks).  Glass on the other hand can be smoked, hammered, clear, etched, melted, monoprinting traditionally was done on glass sheets when I was studying printing at college) and Tyvek can be printed on (and notoriously difficult to control on a printing press) and so strong that it can’t be ripped.

Now I’ve reached 26,200 words (still a long way to go for that 50,000 mark), I have a deliberately unnamed character.  His anonymity is paramount for the safety of the rest of the characters.  So, for all you budding writers out there, is it absolutely necessary (in your opinion) to name every character in story?  What do you think?


Well, I admire those people who work on architectural drawings and on CAD software. I’ve tried it … using the computer programs to form lines for 3D shapes. My son’s at uni using software and has been creating some fun hats in 3D in preparation for making models.
I, instead, picked up a biro and did a sketch of a building while watching Sherlock. Having seen plans drawn out on CAD by the structural engineers, which are printed out on large sheets of A2 paper and admired the beauty of balastrades and cornices, turrets and pillars I have to remind myself that these were drawn using computer software rather than relying on the eye and hand coordination. Despite my wonky lines, I’m pleased with how this turned out because I don’t plan to study autocad anytime soon!


Update on Craft Fair

Today was the day of the fair and we woke to thick fog.  Pleased to say people braved the elements and came out to support the fair. both as stall holders and visitors.  Yes, it could have been busier, but there were other craft and bazaar events on nearby all competing to sell their handmades.  If anyone of you has ever done craft fairs before, you are often faced with people admiring the handicrafts and going away thinking that they can replicate what they’ve seen rather than depart with their money.  I’ve also experienced how positive the effect is, if you can sit and demonstrate what you do, what you make and what you’re selling.

My DH shared part of my table today.  It was only when he demonstrated how to use the items he was selling that people began to take an interest, then they became fascinated, then they parted with the money as happy customers.  I believe this is the way forward for the survival of craft fairs.  Crafters need to be prepared to demonstrate their skills and show that what they’ve created wasn’t done in five minutes flat, but has been built; made; created; drawn or designed with love and passion!  Sadly, space today didn’t allow for me to demonstrate Gelliprinting as I’d hoped.  There were too many stalls for that, yet one lady making lace sat diligently working on her next piece while her helper dealt with the sales.  Gelliprinting needed more space so that no paint or ink could spash onto other stall holders’ goodies.  The lace maker was the only stall holder actually doing any demonstrating.  I had no choice but to keep my brayer and Gelliplate stored under the table, bringing the clean plate out only when there was call for an explanation to a potential customer.  There’s always next time.  The next venue is bigger (and if I can’t do it there, maybe it’s time to organised my own artisan fair).

Running this blog this year has given me opportunities to try my hand at a range of crafts including pyrography; pewter casting; decopatch; embroidery and so on.  Some crafts have been difficult to master and taken many practise runs which may not necessarily be evident on the blog.  Making a patchwork chicken as part of a competition was actually quite challenging.  I’d never done patchwork before and I made at least six before I was happy to release one as a prize for the chicken run.  Most crafters I’ve made are their own worst critics and will not think twice about screwing a drawing up into a tight ball and tossing it into the trash.  I threw some of my patchwork away – to me, it just wasn’t good enough.  I’m pleased with the crafts I had on offer today, but then I also know the journey I’ve been on to produce them in the first place :-)  Thank you to all those who managed to make it today.  We’re grateful.


Craft Day for Children’s Hospice

Hi everyone! Today is the craft fair I’ve been busy preparing for. We have thick fog outside, but I hope that doesn’t deter people from coming – it’s better than rain, don’t you think?
Yesterday meant stepping away from WordPress and Facebook to manage my sewing machine. I made my first string of bunting for the table and this cute Kissen bear (a bear made from a cushion). Cute isn’t he? I’m sure he’ll be a winner today.