Sunday, 25 December 2016

Wishing readers of the Scribbles a blessed and peaceful Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Crafting for Christmas

I like to make things at Christmas. Only trouble being, there's never enough time to do everything I want to!

However, this year I've been forced to take it easy. The chest infection I wrote about recently? Well it came back. Another dose of antibiotics for twice the number of days, more feeling tired, more feeling - strangely - hungry, which I think is down to the antibiotics.

The upside was that as I didn't have energy to go into town and 'do stuff' for Christmas, I had to take it easy at home. Which gave me a good excuse to be creative.

Squidgeling J and myself began the Christmas crafting with a wreath. Dead simple to make; take one polystyrene 'polo', cut what feels like millions of 2" squares of fabric, and push said squares of fabric into the polystyrene with a metal nail file. Simples. And very effective. We opted for mainly green with some splashes of red to make our faux wreath look more like the real thing...

Next on my list was a quilted runner for my Christmas dinner table, made from two-and-a-half inch mini squares which I bought last year but didn't do anything with. It's bordered with the-wrong-side-out of a fabric which was exactly the shade I needed but couldn't find on the right-side-out. Unfortunately it turned out too small for my dining table, so it's on the hearth in front of the stove.

I also found this lovely little kit for a fabric heart at Quorn Country Crafts, so that's hanging up too.

Squidgeling J took on decorating our Christmas cake, with a precision cut snowflake and the most wonderful blue glitter.

I have to say that this week, I have begun to feel a lot better, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow...

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Bit quiet on the Scribbles front...

No, I've not been kidnapped by aliens or tied myself up with tinsel or given up writing...but blogging posts are definitely a bit thin on the ground this month, thanks to a recurring chest infection that is making life rather difficult at the moment.

In spite of being 7 days into a 10-day course of antibiotics, I don't feel much better than when I started them. What I've been getting up to recently (reading, sleeping, watching really bad Christmas movies, knitting) doesn't really bear writing about.

So for now, the Scribbles are a bit quiet while Squidge takes the time she needs to recover. I'll be back blogging as soon as I can.

In the meantime, enjoy all your preparations for Christmas. It's not long now...

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Rainbow cake and VIP-ing

Remember my blog about the Loogabarooga Festival?

One of the schools I visited was Sacred Heart Catholic Voluntary Academy, where I worked with Years 5 and 6. A few weeks ago, I went back for a morning, voluntarily, to help the children to edit the stories they had started on the day of my visit. (Brilliant morning - I used a genuine Granny Rainbow story written by a child and we worked our way through it looking for how it could have been improved before applying the lessons learnt to the Sacred Heart children's stories).

What I didn't expect after that, was an invitation to Year 5's class assembly, all about what they had learnt from the author visits they'd attended as part of Loogabarooga. (They were lucky enough to have spent the morning listening to Philip Reeve - of Mortal Engines - and Sarah MacIntyre - Oliver and the Seawigs - and then have little old me in the afternoon).

I was honoured - but wasn't sure quite what to expect...

The parents filed into the hall and I followed. Year 5 were all sitting at the front with their English books, and on the stage behind them was a rainbow house and other rainbowy items - one of which was a rainbow layer cake, made by a Y5 child's mum! Someone spotted me, yelled "Katherine Hetzel!" and everyone started shouting and waving.

I now know how celebrities feel!

All the parents turned to look, no doubt wondering who the heck had just walked in (one dad did remark he thought it might've been a visit from the Queen), so I sat myself in the middle of the back row, out of the way - only to be told by Mrs D that the children were going to invite me to say a few words at the end of the assembly... So I stepped on toes and brushed past knees to get to the end of the row while the rest of the school came in.

The assembly was brilliant!

The children began by explaining what they'd learnt with the different authors, and followed it with a demonstration of how to write a story - BY WRITING A BRAND NEW GRANNY RAINBOW STORY AS A CLASS, which they acted on stage during the reading AND supplemented that with identifying the different writing techniques used on boards, which were held up at the relevant time. (I learned what a fronted adverbial was!)


And yes, I said a few words afterwards. About reading lots and keeping on writing and keeping on learning. And how bowled over I was at how much work Y5 had done by writing yet another Granny Rainbow story. (It was about Dr Lettergo and his potion-enhanced, first-letter-stealing cake, in case you were wondering...) I felt so proud of the children, and honoured to have been invited to such a special celebration of their learning.

After the assembly, I was invited back to the classroom for a slice of rainbow cake, (DELICIOUS!) and Mrs D told me that she has seen a big improvement in some of her class's writing - particularly for some of the boys - since my visits. The work I did on editing seems to have boosted confidence and enthused even the most reluctant writer, because I demonstrated practically how we can always make our writing better.

THAT is what makes these author visits so worthwhile; in a small way, I can make a big difference.

Perhaps I ought to extend my strapline? Katherine Hetzel, the short author who tells tall tales and makes a big difference...