Saturday, 31 March 2012


for sale on Ebay
It was own-clothes day yesterday. The teachers were as excited as the students about showing off their individuality! They were all in jeans, almost without exception, with loads of preposterous hats with stickers on the brim, loads of Big Trainers, lots of waists and hips I've never seen before and some rare beauty (who knew R was so gorgeous?). Oh my, I love it when human beings strut their stuff.
I'm selling the vintage feed-sack quilt blocks above on Ebay as I am amassing too much stuff…sadly I can't justify having so many lovely pieces of fabric, neither our house nor my budget will stand it. These gorgeous blocks came from America, and I've used quite a few similar ones already to make various little things, some for sale in my Etsy shop…pot holders, brooches, bracelets. I love working with old, frayed and 'discovered' fabric, I'm hoping this lot will go to a good home!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012


The teachers were on strike today, so years 7, 8 and 9 were asked to Stay At Home. 'Oh good,' I thought, rubbing my hands with excitement at the thought of a whole day to practice my braille, to catch up on my vision impairment course, and maybe even time to have a cup of tea! But years 10, 11, 12 and 13 were still in and reacted to the strike day as though they were on strike - ie lots of wobbly-head attitude, giggling and Lots of Running About Inappropriately. One of the really challenging ones was so relaxed he forgot himself for a moment, raced past me to the bottom of the stairs and whipped round presenting his wrists to me in a strange gesture. 'Spiderman?' I asked, uncertainly. This broke the spell…'Yes Miss,' he admitted sheepishly and actually blushed! I just about stopped myself from saying 'Sweet!' Things were also very relaxed in the playground, which was a change from the usual underlying tension. But all of it really upset my autistic spectrum student…he doesn't like change, obviously, and hates loud noise and fuss. So we beat a hasty retreat to the calm of the braille prep room where we each got some work done and had a couple of custard creams each (I keep them for Friday night scrabble club).

Here's my latest make…a bracelet from some beautiful antique navy blue calico, part of a kid glove, feed-sack (of course) and vintage stocking-darning thread from the forties (soft and strong). Secured with a popper. Hope you like it - I'll be putting some similar ones in my Etsy shop pretty soon.


Tuesday, 27 March 2012

school dinners

All the staff of my school were treated to a wonderful dinner last Friday night at a beautiful stately home in Croydon, London. It was a special thank you from the school governors for the excellent exam results achieved last year, and for the very good Ofsted report we recently got. The food was lovely, and we had a very jolly party. The walls of our dining room were panelled with ancient wood - the sort which give way to a secret passage if you press them in the right place. We had all made an effort to look pretty, all wearing spangles and chiffon (even the boys!). It was a chance to see each other as human beings, even party people. My lovely boss picked me up and dropped me off at the end of the night, too! I felt like Cinderella!
The good feeling generated between departments has lasted well into this week, too, as we smile hellos in the corridor in passing.

Sunday, 25 March 2012


Overheard on the stairwell yesterday amid the hubbub, 2 year 7 boys. Boy 1: I'm growing a beard for charity week. Boy 2: 'S not working. You should ask Daniel how he did it. He's got a moustache. Or you could ask Mr N…he's got one too. Boy 1 (enthusiastically): Or Mrs G - she's got a beard. (all this without a touch of irony).
I kept very quiet - just in case they asked me!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Working with Mr Garrison

Our twice-daily tannoys from the headmaster are often amusing, sometimes hilarious. There is a striking resemblance to Mr Garrison from South Park - his nervous tic is ending sentences with '''Kay-right". Sometimes if he really wants to stress something important this becomes "'kay-right, okay". And on rare occasions he can stretch it out even further - "'kay-right, okay, right-okay". Today's 9.00am announcement was a classic. "'kay, stay where you are everyone, just to let you know that in 2 minutes I'll be making 2 very important announcements. "  Sure enough, 2 minutes later, he came on the tannoy. But I was laughing so I missed them.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Found…and lost…

Got home yesterday to find a message from an American ebay seller from whom I'd bought some vintage quilting. It was lovely stuff, all rather small fragments of various lovely feedsack quilts in degrees of disrepair. I've been excitedly looking forward to getting it too. But she says she mistakenly listed it twice, and has refunded me my money as she has already sold it and shipped it out! Nooooo! I'm so disappointed. So back on the trail then, hunting down quilting in the right state of decrepitude (not new and bright, not too far gone, nothing that looks smelly, not too costly) which I intend to use to make things like the above needlecase, currently for sale in my Etsy shop…

On a slightly different note, I have seen some sights at school in my short time there, but nothing so evocative as the science lesson yesterday in which Year 7 were invited to cut up some sheep hearts. Two girls refused, dramatically faltering as if to faint, several groaned in disgust at the idea and one already naturally pale boy went positively white and took on the pallor of the Corpse Bride in Tim Burton's film, and had to leave the room. Most students hacked away at the hearts with scalpels so dangerously close to the digits of their partners I had to half-close my eyes. It was only will-power which prevented me from leaping over the desks and grabbing said scalpels from their over-enthusiatic little hands. Eventually nothing recognisable was left to examine, and no-one was injured, which I guess is a satisfactory outcome. Not sure any of them will become surgeons…

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Circus Days

I have always loved circuses - in fact performances of any kind! My childhood dream was a classic, to run away with the circus and magically acquire the glamour exhibited by trapeze artists. Instead, I ended up training and working as a designer. This little brooch is by way of revisiting those dreams. The willing little dog in his ruff is complemented by the lovely old Victorian quilt fabric and the pink checked feedsack, which comes from the depression days of the 30s, when showbiz glamour was the perfect way to take one's mind off the troubles of the times. In my Etsy shop:

Monday, 19 March 2012

Specially for You

Forgot to mention the Mother's day present from Grumpy the cat. Obviously planned as a special surprise, I only found it when I pulled the sitting-room curtains back mid-morning to appreciate the lovely sunshine - an iridescent lump of cat-vomit on the windowsill! Thank you Grumpy! The perfect excuse to break open my pack of ultra-thick kitchen roll! In the words of the classic song, "…what are they feeding you?"

In which I am spoiled

Mother's day! Delicious breakfast cooked by number one daughter, very skilled! Flowers and presents! Morning spent larking around in the loft with my favourite vintage fabrics (feed sack and ancient old quilting), sewing, posting brooches and bracelets to rags&tatters (my Etsy shop), while simultaneously watching old films on Youtube (that's multi-tasking). Then we all had a wonderful afternoon catching up with family. It was lovely to see daughter and husband so relaxed and happy with aunties, uncles and cousins!