Dear August…

dear august roses

Oh August.   Our relationship started so well.   You gave me time to start blogging again, I started creating, I got things done.
keyringMy nephew came to stay and then later on there was the celebration of his Christening.
baby nephewchristening cardHusband’s birthday came and went, and the Craftyguidelets’ vision of a sailing themed birthday cake was realised.
birthday cakeThe Craftyguidelets and I found 38 Books About Town book benches in 3 different areas of London, did some sightseeing, fell in love with the impressionists in the National Gallery, and completed the summer reading challenge at the library.   Oh August, you kept us busy.

But towards the end it went wrong.   A trying extended-family holiday culminated in little Craftyguidelet breaking her arm and spending 2 nights in hospital.   hospitalHow could you let that happen August?   My little girl looked so tiny on that big bed as they wheeled her away for surgery under general anaesthetic.
hydrangeasYou brought me flowers – hydrangeas to remind me of our lovely holiday in Cornwall and roses from husband for our wedding anniversary.
anniversary rosesBut it’s too late August.   The pain of the hospital stay and seeing my poor little girl’s deformed arm, and now the huge cast that she has to carry around is too much.

It’s over August.   I’ve decided to give September a go.   The Craftyguidelets will be back at school and my volunteering with Guiding, the WI and school starts up again.    I’ll need to be busy preparing Craftyguider for Christmas, as well as starting my own preparations.   I’m also joining the Trefoil Guild and hoping to start my Voyage Award.

So long, and perhaps I’ll see you around some time in the future.

Craftyguider x


Smash Books

smash book title
One of my many crafting loves is scrapbooking.   I enjoy the process of selecting a photo, working out a layout, choosing the papers, thinking up a title, adding journalling and enjoying the result.smash book I am...

A version of this process which doesn’t take as much time and finesse is smash booking.   Whereas a lot of preparation is needed for a scrapbook page, a smash book is more of a ‘bung it in as you go along’ type of process.   You go with the flow, pasting in photos, leaflets, ticket stubs, feathers, stickers, notes, new year resolutions and anything else that will glue (or usually in my case, attach with washi tape) on a page.   A smash book doesn’t have to be pretty or perfect.   Just ‘smash’ your elements in.   There are no rules.
smash book lino printI have a couple of smash books by K & Company which have preprinted pages that you can either use to theme your page, or you can just cover them with your mementos.

smash book St IvesThis year’s summer holiday was to Cornwall, and I took my smash book supplies with me to journal the day’s events each evening before the memories faded.   It is much more portable than a scrapbook, and all I had to do when I got back was to add a few photos.   Job done!
smash book Tintagel we're outta hereI have a pinterest board on smash books and scrap books.   Why don’t you have a look!

Follow Louise Craftyguider’s board Smash Books and Scrapbooks on Pinterest.

Books About Town Trails

As a family, we love trails.   Mr Craftyguider loves orienteering and the Craftyguidelets and I have done a couple of string courses.   Going round a museum captures the interest of a child more if they have a series of exhibits to find.   We are also geocachers and spend time lurking around trying to look nonchalant whilst one member of the party digs out a hidden tupperware box to log our find without being spotted.
This summer we are looking for brightly painted benches in the shape of books on the Books About Town trails in London.
IMG_4094There are 50 benches to find on 4 trails.   We started with the Brick Lane bench near the Museum of London on the City Trail.
IMG_4093There is also a quiz to download so for some of the benches you need to look a bit harder at the detail to answer the questions.
IMG_4123The backs of some of the benches are as stunning as the fronts.   This is from the Great Expectations bench on the Riverside trail.

The bench I really wanted to spot was the Dr Seuss bench which is near More London outside the London Assembly building.
IMG_4139IMG_4140The Craftyguidelets loved the Axel Scheffler and Julia Donaldson bench.
IMG_4154I love the bench, but we took ages to spot it.   The list of benches says it’s in the Hay’s Galleria near London Bridge station.   We walked round, underneath, around, through, and eventually found it a few metres down the riverbank and not in the Galleria at all.
IMG_4099The Mary Poppins bench was a bit damaged.   It was the first bench of many where we had to ask an unsuspecting tourist to move so we could photograph it from all angles!   Luckily everyone was OK about it, especially when two cute Craftyguidelets were looking hopefully at them.
IMG_4109We have now found all the benches on the Riverside trail and 5 on the City Trail.
IMG_4121New events are being added to the website all the time including a competition to design your own Shakespeare bench to win prizes.
IMG_4102The book trail runs until 15th September, after which the benches are being auctioned off in aid of the National Literacy Trust.   Could someone get one for me please?   With the exception of the Fever Pitch bench though.   As a Spurs fan, I have to draw the line!
IMG_4106IMG_415116 benches done over 2 trips to London.   Can we do the other 34 by the closing date?

Summer School

Summer Reading Challenge 2014

This year, the Craftyguidelets have been given homework to do during the school holidays. School work for a 5yr old and her 7yr old sister in the holidays?   Shouldn’t they be enjoying themselves?

It’s not boring study though.   Their new teachers have given them a blank A4 book to fill in with whatever they want.   There is a sheet glued in the front giving ideas, but it could be anything they want to do.

The Craftyguidelets like ticking things off so we are using some of the suggestions, and we have already worked on a diary for our holiday in Cornwall.   I have started a new smashbook, and they are using this idea to illustrate their diary with photos, entry tickets, leaflets and owl feathers, as well as drawings.

Also on the list are ideas based on their topics when they go back.   5yr old Craftyguidelet has the Great Fire of London, which will mean a trip to the Monument and St Pauls, stopping off at the Museum of London to see their War, Plague and Fire gallery.   While we are there, we’ll visit the London Before London gallery for 7yr old Craftyguidelet’s Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age topic.   For me, we’ll have collected lots of Show and Tell material for next term to avoid the last minute scramble at 8.29am for something topic related.

From: Books About Town

Another activity we’ll be trying is the Books About Town trails.   Each trail has around 15 book benches to find, and there are 4 trails to choose from.   I’ll be searching for the Dr Seuss bench on the Riverside Trail.

Eldest will be learning about Claude Monet next term.   This will give me the opportunity to share my favourite painting with her – La Gare St Lazare – at the National Gallery.   I used to go to the Impressionist gallery a lot when I was younger and am looking forward to rediscovering it.

There are also suggestions for nature walks, creative writing and art projects, to go with our plans for the library’s Summer Reading Challenge, loom bands, gardening, lego, Minion Rush, Brownie badge work, Rainbows summer treasure box, music, drama workshops, play dates, fancy dress catwalk shows, baking, playing and craft days.

Less than a month to go until the holidays end.   Best get a move on!

Breaking up is quite easy actually!

photo (3)

July, you are history.   You were good, but I guess it was never meant to last.   Our 31 days together had it’s ups and downs, but I’ve moved on.   I’m with August now and we’ve got plans.

As I type this, I am waiting for the imminent arrival of baby nephew for a sleepover.   July, you never met him.   It seems a bit premature in my relationship with August to make introductions to my extended family so soon, but the timings of things just happen like that.

August and I also have plans for husband’s birthday to share together.   The Craftyguidelets have big designs for a birthday cake that will put Master Baker and Confectioner Grandad to shame if it comes off.   What they plan to do with a pack of icing and a gluten free cake recipe will have them on Bake Off before you know it.

Ah, the Craftyguidelets will miss you July.   The month in which they left their old classes at the end of term.   And we’ll always have the week in Cornwall that we shared.   We won’t forget you as we get the photos printed off to put in their school topic books.   And Brownie Craftyguidelet will put together the evidence for her Friend to Animals badge and Gardener badge that she worked so hard for with your glorious sunshine to inspire her.

August has also promised me more time for crafting.   I need to get the shop sales up so I can meet my fundraising target for the year.   I also want to create for me and you just didn’t allow me enough spare time for that.   I’m also going to spend more time with the Craftyguidelets.   Lots of day trips are planned to keep them busy, and loom band sessions for when I need to be busy!

So July, we will always remember you, and perhaps a break of 12 months or so will strengthen our relationship to give it another go.

Craftyguider x