Saturday, 6 March 2021

Saturday Story

What do you think of when someone says they're a Drama student?  I don't know about now, but in the late 1960s people thought that drama students were wild, whacky and weird!  They danced on tables!  They just weren't the same as normal people!   They were thought to be exceptionally extrovert shall we say.

I was a Drama student.  Not at a drama school, but at a teacher training college where Drama was my main subject.  I wasn't extrovert and I didn't dance on tables.  I didn't much like acting but I did like the history of theatre, costume design and being the wardrobe mistress for the end of year play at the end of our 3rd year which acted as our exam.

In addition we could choose from a variety of things and I chose to make a full size costume.  I had to choose a character in a play and make the appropriate costume.  It also had to be modelled.  Here's my friend Kath (in 1970) wearing the costume I made for Sylvia in The Recruiting Officer.

I eventually got to see the play at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in 1985.

D is for Depression.  I'm not going to talk about it again today but you can find out more about my dealings with depression in theses posts: Time to Talk Day, One Little Word and Mental Health Awareness.

What other D words describe me? I'm a daughter and a daughter-in-law.  I like dogs not cats.  My favourite colour is Duck Egg Blue - which in America is inexplicably called Robin's Egg Blue.  I've taken classes by Dyan Reaveley and Dina Wakley.

What D words describe you?

Thanks for joining me today

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

A Sketchbook from scratch

In Simply Create I have been showing folks how to make their own 15cm square sketchbook.  I started with nine A4 sheets of cartridge paper from Hilary Beattie’s £10 paperpack.  I used 3 sheets of 100gsm, 3 sheets of 140gsm and 3 sheets of 220gsm paper.

I found some painted papers and various music papers and text papers. I began by ripping up bits of the papers and gluing them onto one side of the 100gsm paper. I used gel medium underneath and on top of each piece.

I trimmed these sheets down to cut the random edges off.

I painted all the sheets of paper, whatever gsm weight they were. On some I used a sponge and others I used a sponge roller. I used acrylic paints to colour my papers.  I randomly stencilled on all the papers.

I cut along the long edge of the paper to reduce the width to 15 cms.  When folded this would make a 15 centimetre square book.

I set aside 3 of the folded papers to be the outside of each signature.  I cut different sized pieces off one end of each of the other 6 pieces. Using double-sided tape, I attached one of the cut pieces to another of the painted papers. Because I had used the same colour scheme on every piece of paper the new pieces match in some way the original but disrupt the flow of the page.

I made covers by cutting 2 pieces of cardboard just slightly bigger than the closed folded pages. I painted a thin line round the edge of the cardboard on both sides.  I stitched the signatures together - there were 3 folded papers in each signature and then assembled the sketchbook with the covers.

I decided to use Florida as a theme for my sketchbook. I collected together bits of papers, photos etc to do with this theme. 

These pages have images from paper napkins.

The collage is made from the inside of an envelope, a piece of scrapbooking paper and a word. The writing from the previous page shows through. I drew dotted lines with a black pen on the white stencilled shape. And sketched round the paper napkin shells with a black pen. I used a white Posca pen to put the dots in the orange swirls.

I hope you have enjoyed how I put this sketchbook together.  Full details of step by step instructions on how to do this are available at Simply Create.

Thanks for joining me today

Saturday, 27 February 2021

Saturday Story

I hope you're excited to find out what letter my stories are based on this week?

It's T.  T for television, technology, truth, treasure, thoughts, talent, travel, teaching, time.

The last 70 years has seen amazing leaps in technology.  Some forms have come and gone in that time.

As a child in the 1950s, the radio is one the main form of technology, with the fledgling BBC television just becoming popular.   My parents bought me a radio when I was about 7 years old.  Some of their friends thought it was wrong to buy it for me. But I loved Saturday nights when I went to bed and listened to Variety Playhouse and then Saturday  Night Theatre.  I'm pretty sure I must have fallen asleep during the latter as it didn't end until 10pm.

In the daytime there was Workers Playtime and  of course Listen with Mother.  Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin!  And on Saturday mornings there was 'Uncle Mac' introducing children's favourites.  Who can forget Max Bygraves singing 'You're a pink toothbrush'. Or other records including The Laughing Policeman?  Or Nellie the Elephant?  Or The Teddy Bears Picnic? But my favourite was How much is that doggy in the window?

Sundays were favourite listening to the radio as a family.  There was Two-way Family Favourites, The Goons, Round the Horne and The Navy Lark.  Quite often on a Sunday afternoon my Dad would take Mum and I on a mystery trip.  This involve him driving us around the country lanes of Warwickshire and Worcestershire and listening to Sing Something Simple on the radio.  We used to call it Sing something Sinful.  There were always Fox's Glacier Mints and it seemed like every week we ended up at Tardebigge.  We probably didn't!  However on the day Roger and I got engaged we went for a walk and guess where we went!  Yep! The canal locks at Tardebigge.

I went off to college in 1967 which co-incided with the BBC changing the Light Programme and the Home Service for Radio 1, 2, 3, & 4.  And now there's Radio 5 Live, 6 and 6 Xtra.  The first song on Radio 1 was Flowers in the Rain.


Now I hardly listen to the radio.  Just Classic FM when I'm in the car.  And I haven't been in my car much the last 12 months!

As I said the television was just becoming popular in the 1950s.  The televising of the Queen's Coronation in 1953 caused a rise in purchases.  The screen was tiny, the box was big and the pictures were in black & white.   As a child I watched Andy Pandy, Muffin the Mule and Bill and Ben.

And there was Billy Cotton's Bandshow - which had moved from the radio to television in 1956.

I don't remember when we got a television that received ITV.  The channel started in 1955 but we certainly didn't get it early on.   I remember going on holiday with my parents and my cousin Hilary, who sang me the adverts that she had seen.  In particular the Esso Sign means Happy Motoring.  I don't ever remember seeing it so I was quite surprised when I watched it on YouTube this week.

One thing that came, went and is now returning are vinyl records.  My cousin had a Dansette record player in the early 1960s. It played records at different speeds: 78, 45 and 33rpm.  We must have had something to play records on at home because I remember buying my very first record in 1961: Are you sure?  The Allisons came second in the Eurovision Song Contest with this.


There were reel-to-reel tape machines, and then tape cassettes and the inevitable trying to record the top 40 from Radio Caroline on a Sunday night!

I remember in my late teens being taken to visit the computer room at a local insurance office.  It took up almost a whole floor of the building with all its metal cabinets and whirring bits!  It had less power and memory than a current smart phone.

I saw one of the first mobile phones in the early 1970s.  It was about the size of a housebrick and the guy was carry the battery with it.  That was about the size of a car battery.  Maybe it was a car battery!

The BBC Acorn computer was introduced into British schools in the early 1980s.  In my last full time teaching job I was responsible for the computers in the Junior school I worked in.  I got lots of training.  And fortunately when I was a Girl Guide (see last Saturday's post) I was taught how to type.  Who would have thought that back then that our smart phones would be pocket sized and be so powerful?

I've only scratched the surface of all the technological changes that have happened during my lifetime.  I haven't even mention video and PVRs!

What memories do you have?

Thanks for joining me today