I'm now officially on holiday!! Hurray! Two blissful weeks of guilt laden lounging. Why the guilt laden? Well, I just know that I won't do as much as I need to with my TESOL assignments because it's Christmas and I need a break! M's Birthday was on Thursday and I bought him MarioKarts for the Wii so we had some time playing that (after the tantrum caused by the Wii needing changing to 60 khz or something, very confusing, especially for a man with the patience of a gnat - don't worry, it's all sorted now, a quick trip to the WWWeb cleared the confusion). Thursday was also the last day of term (- hurray!) and although lessons were 'as normal' for the morning, we had the Principles Lunch (free grub in the nice restaurant - where usually old ladies go to eat the meals cooked by the catering students and served silver service) we were promised that the afternoon lessons were cancelled, then they weren't, then it seemed that students went when they handed in their last assignment. One of my students has been away for a couple of weeks and was way behind, so I stayed till about 3pm, then left him with one of the other tutors who had a student behind too. I sneaked off because I wanted to take M to see Quantum of Solace which was showing for the last day. Daniel Craig is probably the best Bond, you can definitely see him as a soldier, Secret Service, trained to kill, while I have to say the others never were plausible. I did enjoy the film, although I think the storyline was weak. M is a big Bond fan and has read all the books, and this was definitely an all business film, so he enjoyed it. Afterwards we went for a meal so that M could have his obligatory steak and chips, his all-time favourite meal, then we spent the rest of the night playing the Wii.
Quantum of Solace
Daniel Craig, Mathieu Amalric, Giancarlo Giannini, Jeffrey Wright, Jesper Christensen, Rory Kinnear,
Friday was spent doing necessary health stuff, dentist and hospital, so I was glad to get that out of the way. Then Friday night, the girls and I went round to Linda's house where she cooked a Christmas meal for us all, and we had Secret Santa and all manner of fun and games. We are quite rowdy when we get together and it's probably best that we didn't impose our rowdiness onto some unsuspecting establishment. We all have to be so proper at work and set a good example to the students, that we do tend to let it all hang out when we're off duty! I think Linda's family of males (husband and 3 teenage sons) were all hiding upstairs, poor things; they must have been terrified by the army of shrieking women that descended on them for the night, although it must have been nice for Linda having female company for the night.
We all had to spent a fiver (£5) and buy a generic Christmas present which we then put into a big Christmas sack and we all drew a present out at random. I actually made my presents for the draw as you would expect. I made this very autumnal coloured bracelet (not really my colours, but alot of the girls wear neutral colours, so I thought it might suit someone there.) The beads are glass and quite pretty in real life.
Then I made a couple of Christmas Tree decorations by needle felting inside cookie cutters. This tree was the first one and I trimmed it with sequins and beads, and some gold trim.
Then there was a gingerbread man, unfortunately I didn't have any gingerbread-y coloured fibre, so he's a very dark gingerbread! I sewed the icing in embroidery thread first of all, but I didn't like the way it finished, so I piped some glitter dimensional paste on to give it a raised edging.
I drew a picture frame and magic scarf from the bag. The scarf is sort of a long stretchy tube which you can wear as a conventional scarf, or expand the tube to wear as a snood, or a sort of poncho type thing, it supposed to have a load of possibilities (hence the magical title) but I haven't examined them all yet.
I've been playing with my kiln which you may remember I got for my Birthday? I've been trying to get hold of some dichroic glass to play with, but haven't managed to win an eBay auction for any yet, and haven't found a source near me, so I shoved a couple of glass nuggets in last night to see what would happen. I put in a clear one and a black one, and I put the black on on top of the clear one and fired them in the microwave. Well, after only 3 minutes, the hole at the top of the kiln was glowing really red hot so I took it out carefully, left it to anneal for 30 minutes (annealing it is where you let the glass cool down really slowly so that the glass doesn't get thermal shock and crack) and then looked at it excitedly. The 2 blobs of glass were fused together but you could still see them as distinct shapes, so I fired them again for another 4 minutes and they became one bigger blob with a darker colour in the middle and a pale colour on the outside. So then I was going to fire a piece of microscope slide glass with some PMC flakes and some glass beads to see what would happen, but the slide wouldn't go into the kiln, too long you see. So I put a few flakes and a couple of turquoise seed beads on top of the blob and put that back in, and it sort of worked!
Look, you can see the PMC binder fired off and the silver is exposed. The green blob was originally a silver lined turquoise seed bead, so I don't know what happened there. I may pop it back in today and see what happens if I fire it again! I can't believe I did this in my microwave!!!! I can't wait to get some proper glass to play with!
Today is fudge making day and I may make some cookies whilst we're in the kitchen. What do you have planned?
Today is the Winter Solstice - Happy Yule and Solstice to you all!