## Saturday, 28 January 2017

### In the woods

We are having the most beautiful winter, cold, fresh and sunny. The weather has been so warm here that the leaves clung to the branches much longer than usual, suddenly dropping in between our two visits to the woods.  I have winter in my heart and although I enjoy the long nights of summer and all the good fun that brings, winter is where it's at for me. Going out, getting cold, feeling our cheeks go red in the wind and then coming home for hot chocolate and blankets, snuggles and stories.

Jo x

## Thursday, 26 January 2017

Montessori maths materials. Need I say more. Well, yes, probably! The Montessori method for teaching maths involves a lot of manipulative materials that are tempting to touch and lovely to look at. The bead cabinet is one of my favourites but the price tag is a bit off-putting! This one is great and the cabinet to store it all in is too but together the cost is reaching thousands. Obviously not affordable, but crafty doesn't say can't, so here is my homemade version for considerably less (approx £40 total by buying the beads when on sale).

The materials. Beads - a whole load in various colours, wire ( I ended up going back for more), pliers, wire cutters, jump rings and plastic mesh.

The beginning - when I had no idea how long this was going to take!

The thousand cube! Yes it is solid and made of 1000 beads all wired together. Do you see the plastic mesh in between the edge rows and the second row in? That's what holds it all together.

The squares and cubes 1-10. I made one cube of each and the number of squares equal to its size, eg, 3 - 3x3 squares, 8 - 8x8 squares, 10 - 10x10 squares etc.

Bead bars, approximately 60 of each, although more of the 10 bars.

The bead chains. Short bead chains that show the square of each number (eg, 6x6), and the long chains show the cube of each number (eg 6x6x6). Let me tell you that the long chain of 10 is very very long and time consuming to make! It's extremely cool when you can compare it to the 10x10x10 cube and see that they are the same though!

I also made snake games which involve some more of the bead bars, some bead bars 1-10 in different colours for holding places, and again in another different colour for negative numbers. Somehow I forgot to photograph the snake game but here is one by another DIYer so you can see what I'm talking about.

I have plans to show you how we are using these beads in our homeschool, but for now I'm just taking a breath after all that bead stringing!

Jo x

## Saturday, 7 January 2017

### Winter Wood

Just before the new year we went on our annual visit to the winter woods, a truly magical experience from rogue theatre that includes meeting fairies in the dark, trees lit by strings of lights and disco balls and fire dancers to guide your way. After a story from old man winter you make it to the tent where hot chocolate and warm blankets wait and then a wonderful show telling a winter story. This is one of the things our family looks forward to most about the winter season and if you ever have a chance to see it then make sure you get there.

Jo x

## Thursday, 5 January 2017

### Catching up

A lot has happened in the 3 years (3 years!) since I was last here but when I look at my photos I see what is truly important, I see the occasions that made me reach for the camera, the things that I want to remember and cherish.
Most of it is pictures of the outdoors, my children, and knitting!
Our home is important to us, we spend a lot of time there homeschooling, baking, making, reading, sleeping, snuggling, nesting, but the outdoors is where we are free, where our minds can reach out, where we can see to the horizon and imagine what lies there. Getting out there every day is my tonic, my recipe for health and connection. We are blessed with living on a peninsula and having the ocean on 3 sides, it brings wild wind, warm sun, rain storms, mild winters and 'keep-you-on-your-toes' weather changes. That Cornish wind can really blow the cobwebs out if you've been inside for too long!
The last 3 years have been kind and cruel in the way that time usually is and is meant to be, we have all changed and grown in ways we wanted to and ways we never thought we would, and some things have remained the same, the constants that keep us stable and grounded. Life goes on and life is good, and I am so grateful to be here, talking to you in this space.

Jo x

## Wednesday, 4 January 2017

### Yarn along

Joining in with the yarn along today. Anyone else in the uk knows how much rain and grey january can bring so I really felt in the need for some colour...

These patterns were lots of fun to make. Revelry notes here. The original patterns use very different colours and are from the book fair isle basics and beyond. The fingerless mitts in particular are in very muted colours in the book and look quite different. I made the hat on bigger needles than suggested and I also made the large size and then I felted it down so that it would be really wind proof and snug. If you do this I would definitely recommend checking that your wool felts because I have ( more than once ) made something too big in 100% wool only to find that it's superwash and won't felt. Giant slippers anyone...

Can you see how the picot edging on the mitts curls up? That's because I was too lazy to block them!

It feels great to be knitting again after having quite a break and just not feeling like picking the needles up for a while.

Happy yarn along

Jo x

Ps. I also discovered how extremely difficult it is to take a selfie on an ipad and got many many photos of the wall, the floor, random colourful blurs, really strange expressions, etc so forgive me but the 2 I've put in are the only ones that show the hat and that I don't look like a complete loon in!

## Monday, 2 January 2017

Happy New Year!

How lovely it is to see this space again, it feels comforting and familiar here and just the right time to be back. If you are still here I welcome you with open arms and hope we can carry on this journey. I have so many things to tell you and lots of new ideas ahead, but for now I am going to wish you a very happy new year full of joy and beauty while I feed my nostalgia and peruse the archives!

It is good to be back!

Jo x