Take a letter…or seven…

I have lovely childhood winter memories of sitting around a roaring open fire playing Scrabble with my mother, father and siblings when I was a little boy.  I am sure my selection of words was very limited, but it was such a good game to learn about new words and how to spell them.  It wasn’t until I was older that I played with the Triple Letter/Word Score and learned how to use the letters Q and Z (the letters with the highest score points) to my advantage.  From once being very reluctant to get these letters, I do love to get them now as they are a great challenge and can often help win the game ‘hands down’.

Scrabble box26forblog by Michael Quinlyn-NixonSorting out some of my clutter last year, in my never ending quest to get a tidy study, I noticed that my old Scrabble boxes were looking very careworn, fragile and shabby, but luckily my Dad came to my rescue (being a carpenter and joiner) and created two new wooden boxes to store my cherished games.

Of course, I needed to add my own input to these fine wooden boxes, and rather like the storage boxes last year, I decided to decorate the two boxes with my own designs.  So, after thinking long and hard, I did a different design for each box, with a little theme for each.  I chose some of my favourite things to decorate the boxes and decided to paint one with maroon figures and letters and the other brown (one of my Scrabble games has maroon letter tiles and the other has wooden).  As I play the game with younger relatives I kept the words on the box shorter, knowing things like ‘kaleidoscope’ and ‘telecommunications’ would take a frightful lot of space!

Included images on the box are things that I love, such as a quill, pocket-watch, stamp, giraffe, squirrel, owls, swan, and a deer… (oh, and my trademark ladybird!).

I am sure the eagle-eyed readers amongst you will be able to see some kind of pattern or theme to the maroon box, but if you can’t, I suggest you ‘start at the very beginning, a very good place to start’…  Have you worked it out yet?

Thank you for reading my blog...

Festive Foods (In a Jar)…

As part of my current weekly teaching role I have to find ideas and inspiration for session plans, which often come from friends and colleagues. One of my former colleagues suggested doing ‘reindeer noses in a jar’ and this set my creative mind aflame. The ‘reindeer noses in a jar’ I had seen in the past were just made up of a strip of brown felt around the outside of an empty jam jar, onto which were stuck goggle-eyes and a red furry nose.

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The reindeer heads take shape and are temporarily stored on a lampshade.

Probably setting it as a challenge too far, I considered the possibility of creating a reindeer-shaped head out of felt and then attaching that to the jar (with a piece of ribbon) and then decorating it with facial features. So, getting out my recycled pieces of cardboard I started drawing reindeer heads onto pieces of brown and fawn coloured felt and getting busy with the scissors…

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The jars are washed and decorated in various festive ribbons.

After cutting some heads out of felt (and attaching them to a lampshade so I didn’t lose them), I got busy cleaning jars and choosing ribbon (tartan was a nice choice, and another that looked like chocolate balls) to attach to the outside of the jars.

The rest, I am sure, is self-explanatory: adding in the facial features etc, but some of the ones in the class were given red fuzzy noses, which also gave them an extra 3D feel. You can see the results, below, which only took me a few hours. Hope they are popular with the buyers at the Christmas Fair… Watch this space…

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Finally, the jars are finished and filled with confectionery, with one chocolate ball covered in red foil, to represent Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.

Thank you to those who have followed my blog in the last year (or earlier), I hope you will continue to view my posts in 2017.  Happy New Year to you all 🙂