Yorkshire Crafts

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Yorkshire Crafts
Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Designer/maker of hand knitted, hand crafted, handmade items, avid collector and reluctant seller of vintage china, mum, home-educator and book lover. Blogging about our crafts and makes, our home education journey, and reviews of books we use.
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We really hope you enjoy reading about our projects and products, but just because they're featured here in public, doesn't mean anyone else can copy them or reproduce them for commercial gain. Except where otherwise indicated, all items are ©YorkshireCrafts.

Vintage Watering Can

Vintage Watering Can

Spring Flowers

Spring Flowers
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Saturday, 28 April 2012

A Eureka! moment

I read a great post the other day over on a fellow home-edder's blog, which tells us that if the child can't learn the way we teach, then we need to find a different way to teach the child.  Unfortunately, that doesn't happen at school.

I have a love/hate relationship with Fridays.  I love them because on Fridays we pick up Young Sir from school and he spends the weekend with us, much to the delight of little Junior who adores his big brother.  I hate them because with Friday comes homework, and the temper tantrums that come with it.

Personally I can't see the point of forced homework, and I certainly don't remember ever having any at his age (he's 7).  School insists the work is done, and so do most parents.  I can't help wondering how many parents insist on it just so they don't get into trouble, without giving any real thought as to whether the child is learning anything or not.  Just so long as the homework is done, that's all that seems to matter, apparently.

To my mind though all that this ends up achieving is a frustrated, bitter and resentful child who actually learns nothing from the experience but more frustration, bitterness and resentment.  He certainly doesn't retain or appreciate what the homework was supposed to be about, and certainly has no feelings of endearment towards schoolwork.  There's nothing fun about it whatsoever.

Homework also leads to extremely frustrated adults as we struggle to try and find ways to explain things to a child who has slammed up the "this is schoolwork" barriers and doesn't want to listen.  For us personally, this leaves us feeling we've failed Young Sir in some way.  Sadly, I know of parents who shrug their shoulders and say it's not their job, it's up to the teacher to teach the child.

Part of the problem is that I believe Young Sir is a visual learner, so no amount of worksheet written instruction sent by school is going to work for him.  He just doesn't "get" written instructions, and spoken ones are easy to shut out, but that's the way school does it so YS switches off.  Aaaaaaaaargh!

Last night's homework was, to most adults, what should be very simple fractions - halves and quarters.  Try as he might, Young Sir could not relate the written instructions to what he was seeing on the sheet of paper, and we ended up with the usual shut down.

This afternoon, Junior was doing his maths on the computer.  I use the word "doing" loosely as he doesn't really understand any methodology, he's not 3 yet , but he has worked out how to do most of the exercises and he gets great enjoyment from getting them right.

We use Starfall, which is an American site, but one which we find very useful.  We found it a few years ago and used it to encourage Young Sir to read, and the site has added so much more in the intervening years, including the maths, that we have bought a year's membership as Junior really enjoys it.

Young Sir was watching, and I could tell from his face that he was itching to have a go as well.  Junior treats the whole thing as a game, not realising he's actually learning the whole time.  Mr YC set YS up on his computer, and we left him having fun with maths for a while until I had that Eureka! moment.

I googled for 'fractions games' and found "Maths Games Online".  Bingo!  There were lots of different links listed, including one for designing your own flag using fractions.  Perfect.  Because Young Sir was already having fun, he was quite happy to move on to the new site and play with the flags.

He did look a bit bored, but he was actually enjoying himself and concentrating hard.  Within a very short space of time, halves and quarters were going swimmingly.  Eureka!  Young Sir appeared to have got it.  The test though, was to put the abandoned homework in front of him, which he was happy to have another go at.  Homework done in three minutes flat.

Now that's what I call a result!
Thursday, 26 April 2012

Fabric heaven

Having found out about a shop that sells fabric at a mere £1 per metre, I'd be insane not to investigate further, wouldn't I.

The downside is that the shop is only open on Mondays and Thursdays, so this morning we set off in the most awful downpour I've seen in quite a while.  Whoever said we were in a drought has got to be kidding, as there was water everywhere.   Reservoirs were full, rivers had burst their banks, waterfalls were catapulting down rock faces in torrents and roads were overflowing with water.

Once we arrived at our destination though, all thoughts of rain were forgotten.  Well, temporarily anyway.

Fabric-wise, the shop turned out to be a veritable Aladdin's cave, and if I'm brutally critical of it, then it would be to say there was too much fabric there.  There was so much fabric piled from floor to ceiling that it was impossible to really see what was there and although I came away with quite a nice sized haul, I might have bought even more if I could have actually seen what was buried in amongst all the rolls of fabric.

All the rolls are just one side of the £1 area - round the other side of the rolls on the left is another aisle with yet more rolls!  And this is the room at the back of the store!!

There's another room to go through before you even get to this one, with similarly large mountains of fabric, all tightly packed and higgledy-piggledy so again, it's not an easy task to actually see what's there.  Prices range from £1 to around £6 per metre, although there might be some fabrics that are more which I didn't see.

Our haul

I got some lovely cottons/poly-cottons, some great Winnie the Pooh material, some fabric I'll use for cushions, and some lovely embroidered material I hope to turn into some skirts.  Mr YC got some corduroy and some other stuff he wants to experiment with.

On the main road opposite the fabric shop, which BTW is called Immanuel Fabrics, and is on Bright Street in Burnley, there's a charity shop which has made use of an old school building.  Naturally being charity-shopaholics, we couldn't leave for home without calling in.

I got a lovely bone china tea trio for my mum and a cute teddy bear tin - both items came to a whopping £1.50, and Junior got some books which were a further £2.  Bargains!

All in all, despite the rain, a good day was had by all.
Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Hand Knitted Hat and Bootee Sets and more books

In yesterday's post, I mentioned I'd knitted up some hat/bootee sets for the Yorkshire Crafts shop.  Today, I managed to get one set made up, photographed and listed in the shop all in the same day. Quite an achievement for me!  I have a darker royal blue set to finish, and also a gorgeous plum set which includes a pair of mittens as well, but for now there's a lovely turquoise hat/bootees set available in the shop for £6.50, which includes postage to a UK address.

To see a bigger photograph, visit the shop listing.

I also got an email from the local library this morning, letting me know that some of the books I'd ordered were ready for collection.  Lots of Usborne goodies!  I do try books from other publishing houses, but for some reason, I keep coming back to Usborne.  It's simple really, their books are very, very good.

For some reason, they'd sent two different copies of "Prehistoric World", which I was in too much of a rush to notice as we were in a hurry to get to the doctors, so I ended up checking out both copies and only realising my mistake when I got them home.  Apart from the fact that one says "internet linked" on the front and the other doesn't, the content hasn't changed over time, just the cover.

Copies of all barring the "Big book of Christmas things to make and do" have now been ordered, so we should soon have our own books to add to our ever-expanding home library soon!  You can expect reviews of some of these appearing on the blog in the not-too-distant.
Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Handmade Envelope Pack

Apologies for the lack of posts over the last few days, but the entire family has been suffering from a particularly nasty bug and there just hasn't been anything worth posting about.

I've tried to get back into the crafting groove this evening (Monday, 23rd April) - although it'll be Tuesday before this post goes up!  I've managed to add another 5 squares to my growing stash for the bed cover blanket, knit up two pairs of bootees which still need sewing up to put with matching hats for the Yorkshire Crafts shop, and have put together another set of 6 handmade envelopes, again made from pretty scrapbook papers.

Handmade envelopes
What with it being world book night and all, I had fully intended sitting down to read something tonight, but other things just took over and before I knew it, it was well past midnight.

Not that we haven't done well with reading today, just not any of *my* books.  I must have read some Mr Men books to Junior at least half a dozen times today, and he also did quite well with "Pirate Pat", one of Usborne's very first reading books - although he seemed more interested in reading the page numbers than he was in reading the words!!

Pirate Pat (First Reading) (Usborne Very First Reading)

Later he did some of his favourite geometry on the computer and then we worked through most of an M&S "Bright Sparks" maths book for 3-4 year olds that I'd picked up at a charity shop, which, considering he's not yet 3, he did really well at.

It did make me laugh though when we were doing a matching exercise to watch him pretend to "click" on the book page and "drag and drop" it on its mate!  I don't think he's quite fathomed yet that this only works on the computer :))
Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Another handmade birthday

It seems to be birthday party season among Young Sir's friends, and as he's with us this weekend and the party's on Saturday, it's time for another handmade birthday.  The recipients might not appreciate handmade, but I like to give something that's unique and not found anywhere near a high street shop.

I've gone for a pirate theme this time, with a handmade and hand coloured card, a handmade pirate bookmark, and a pirate notebook/drawing pad.  I was going to make a holder for the notebook and some colouring pencils but discovered I had only enough pirate fabric to make a pencil case, so that's what I've made.

Handmade Pirate birthday card
Pirate bookmark, with matching sailing ships on the reverse
Pirate themed notebook/drawing pad
Pirate pencil case
Thursday, 12 April 2012

Book Review Usborne Mysteries and Marvels of Science

"Amazing photographs and illustrations reveal a world full of wonders - proving that science is truly more astounding than science fiction."

I have to admit that when I first started reading this book, I didn't like it.  There simply wasn't enough detail or in-depth explanation for my liking, but then I remembered to take off my science hat and to try and think about the book from an 11 year old's perspective.  Once I'd done that, the more I read of the book, the more I warmed to it.

Aimed at children aged 11+, Usborne's "Mysteries and Marvels of Science" contains "bite sized" scientific facts that are just enough to whet a child's appetite and curiosity without overloading them with information.  Some of the science fiction that's become science fact is so way out it had me shaking my head in wonder!

When you couple this book with the internet links which often lead to some cool experiments requiring no specialist equipment and items which most parents will have readily available, actually makes this a very useful book that positively encourages questions and further investigation.

Mysteries and Marvels of Science (Usborne Internet-linked Reference)

I can certainly see us using this book at some point as a springboard to more thorough investigation and study of science.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Recycling, Upcycling and Handmade Envelopes

At Yorkshire Crafts, we're very keen on recycling and upcycling wherever we possibly can.  To keep costs down, we use recycled packaging for all our parcels, and if we can't recycle a ready-made box to pack an item in, we'll custom make one to fit it out of recycled cardboard.  We also upcycle things such as cereal boxes to make book envelopes, so not only keeping our prices low, but also doing our bit for the environment as well.

As we also enjoy making handmade cards and altered stationery items, it made sense to progress to making some handmade envelopes.  These are currently available in packs of six, all different designs, and come with address labels.  We'll also be producing sets of handmade envelopes made from recycled magazines.

We'll be adding these to the shop over the next few days.
Saturday, 7 April 2012

Book Review Usborne Illustrated Stories from the Greek Myths

"Heroes and heroines battle with terrifying monsters, mighty armies and scheming gods in this thrilling collection of famous myths from Ancient Greece"

With its colourful cover, this book shouts out "read me", which is exactly why I grabbed it when I spotted it recently at our local library.  I often take books out from there first, with a view to buying a copy of our own if I think it'll help with home ed.  Ok, so Junior isn't old enough to read anything by himself yet, but by the time he is, I hope to have greatly expanded our home library.

A hardback book in a child-friendly size (albeit a tad heavy!), and with a built-in ribbon bookmark, Usborne's "Illustrated Stories from the Greek Myths" is beautifully illustrated on each page.  A collaboration of several authors and illustrators, many of the classic tales are retold here, and of course the stories include all the plots, battles, scary monsters and triumphant heroes.  Although it's a chapter book, the words are mostly limited to three or four lines per page so it isn't too taxing for young readers.

The book is internet linked, with links to lots of informative and fun websites giving more information and activities related to Greek Mythology.

Image © Usborne Publishing

Aimed at readers in KS1 (6+) and beyond, I found the book enjoyable as an adult, and what delighted me even more was that my reluctant-reader stepson Young Sir picked it up and sat down to read one of the stories (The Minotaur), and was sufficiently captivated to read the story all the way through.  He commented that he'd "really enjoyed" the story, and when I asked if he'd be likely to read any more, he gave an enthusiastic "yes".

Any book that encourages Young Sir to read gets the thumbs up from me!

Disclosure: The above link is an Amazon affiliate link
Friday, 6 April 2012

Knitted Easter Chickens

I saw a lovely idea yesterday over on a fellow home educator's blog, for making little knitted Easter Chickens.  Very simple to make, and if your children can knit, one they can join in with.

None of my boys can knit, so with a bit of left-over yarn from some squares I've been knitting up towards my knitted square blanket (133 down, 187 to go!), I knitted them one each, and you can see two of them below.  A bit of red felt sewn on for the comb, and as I didn't have any self adhesive googly-eyes, I improvised and cut a little black felt triangle and did the eye centre with a bit of Tippex!

I'll pop a little chocolate egg into each one on Easter Sunday, and they can form part of the egg hunt :)

Knitted Easter chickens
A great idea, thanks Lisa for tweeting about it!
Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Handmade Teacup Pincushion

I'd had this gorgeous vintage 1930s teacup sitting around for a while, and I've decided to keep as it was so pretty.  Trouble was, what to do with it, so when I spotted the idea for making a teacup pincushion here, I decided I just had to give it a go.

The fabric for the pincushion part is from a fat quarter I've had in my stash for ages, the ribbon has been recycled from some used to wrap a pack of card blanks, and the gorgeous mother-of-pearl look button is one I found in a vintage sewing box I bought at an auction.

I love the result, and I can see myself making similar unique items for the Yorkshire Crafts shop!

Handmade Teacup Pincushion
Comments appreciated!!
Thanks for stopping by
Sunday, 1 April 2012

Handmade Easter

As we won't see Young Sir until next weekend (Easter weekend itself), I've spent a goodly part of today crafting with all the kids, making decorated polystyrene eggs, Easter cards and paper baskets to hold little chocolate eggs.

The eggs didn't turn out quite as I'd envisaged - the photo in my Usborne "Easter things to make and do" showed some beautifully decorated eggs, filled with pretty patterns.

Usborne's prettily decorated eggs
Easter Things to Make and Do (Usborne Activities)

Our efforts

Our efforts though, didn't look anything like those in the book.  The children ended up mixing all the colours together, so we ended up with somewhat splochy eggs, but on the plus side they dried with a very attractive marbled texture so were actually very nice!

Next we did the Easter cards, one from the Easter bunny to all of us which I coloured in with Promarkers, and Junior and Young Sir each did one to me and Mr YC.  Tiger wasn't here today, and Possum can't write yet, so he didn't make one.

Mine on the left, Young Sir in the middle, and Junior on the right

My card also had the Easter bunny on the inside of the card.

The inside of my card

Last came the Easter baskets, which I'm going to use to hold some mini chocolate eggs.  I'd already printed out some Easter-themed papers, and Mr YC found a great tutorial for making origami baskets.  A bit of paper folding later, and we had four lovely baskets.  I finished them off with some Easter sentiment punched circles.

Origami Easter Baskets for each of the kids
A filled basket

Mr YC meanwhile, had been busy making a gorgeous little origami gift box from some of the leftover pieces of paper we used for the baskets.  The result?  A super little lidded box, just big enough to hold one egg, which we'll give to his Mum, who's on a strict diet at the moment!

Origami lidded box for MiL

I'm pretty sure we all had fun making our "handmade Easter".

Thanks for stopping by!