social spark Aisling Beatha: May 2012


Welcome to my blog. I hope you enjoy your stay, however short, and find something that interests and blesses you.

The tabs just below will take you to posts of particular topics. So if you are looking for my posts on food, fitness or creativity, you will find them there. You will also find my posts on thankfulness or other more contemplative posts, as well as a set of posts with traditional blessings from a number of different cultures.

You can find posts with labels not included in that list via the labels list over in the sidebar.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

100 miles in 100 days

Last week I started walking again.  Now I don't mean I had been off my feet or injured or anything like that, just I had had a few months where I had not been walking for exercise.  All that changed last week because I had signed up for the UK Race For Life in aid of Cancer Research UK.

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As I was preparing I began a few shorter walks last week.  A friend of mine who has been running for the last couple of years posted sometime last week that she had run 2 miles that morning and that meant 2 down 98 to go for the 100 miles in 100 days challenge she was setting herself.  So I wondered and I pondered and I decided to go for it.  This summer I shall be walking 100 miles in 100 days.

because our summer is different than for my American friends, I am counting my start date as my first practise walk on Monday last week.  That means day 100 will be Tuesday 28th August which is the day my 17 year old goes back to college (6th form, not university for my American friends).

I am logging my walks at MapMyRun using their app for android phones.  As long as I am not somewhere ridiculously out of sight of the satellites it uses for gps I just go into the app, set it to start recording and it records where I walk and how long it takes until I tell it to stop.  Brilliant!

Ignore the fact it has last Monday marked as a run, I hadn't worked out how to set the app to record a walk.

So, you can see, I'm on day 9 at the time of writing this post and my total so far is 9.91 miles, or almost a day ahead of myself.

You can see the longest walk was Sunday and that was the 5km of race for life.  It was a very warm day but an awesome one!  I finished in 1 hour and 3 minutes, a pace of just over 20 minutes per mile.  I was very pleased with that, especially for such a warm day.

Come back soon for more posts on my walks.

You can check out the sites I link up to over in my sidebar. Before you go, why not check out my recipes index page, or my craft projects index page, I am sure you will find something there to interest you.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bible Story Props - Money Bags

Following on from the last post about making coins for the story of the lost coin, we had to make money bags because the following week we did the story of the prodigal son and needed money bags for when the father gives him his share of the money.

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These were really simple to make and only need a few supplies.  First I needed to make a template for painting on the pound signs.

I printed out a large pound sign on the computer and transferred that to a piece of chipboard by placing the paper over the chipboard and using an embossing tool to press through the paper into the chipboard.  Because the chipboard is slightly soft this worked well, and I could easily see the marks and was able to go over it in pencil.

I cut the pounds sign out with a craft knife

Then I laid the template onto the fabric I had chosen, to get an idea of how big I wanted to the bags to be.  The ruler and binder clip mark the rough size I wanted.

So I cut 2 pieces of fabric (I was making 2 bags) the width that the black binder clip marks but twice the length that the ruler marks.

Next I used a stencil brush and black acrylic paint to mark pound signs at both ends of each piece of fabric, making sure that they would be the right way up at each end.

Acrylic paint goes through fabric and will mark the table underneath.  So, if you don't have a silicone mat as I do, make sure to put something down to protect your surface.  But as you can see, there wasn't an awful lot of paint that came through.

Next I sewed larger hems at both ends of each piece of fabric to make channels to hold the cord that would draw the tops of the bags together.  As you can see, I zigzaged the edge of the fabric first then turned it to the wrong side and just sewed a straight line across the fabric.  Nice and simple.

Next I folded the fabric in half with the right sides facing and the two seams already sewn meeting at the top.
I sewed down each side, but only from beneath the channel already sewn to the bottom of the bag.  This is to leave the channel usable.

I turned them back the right way out and pushed the corners out just as well as I could with my fingers.

Lastly I threaded cord through the channel at the top of the bag and they were ready to go.  I have a window blind in the kitchen that the cords are far too long on, even when the blind is at full length.  So, I re knotted that cord at a shorter length and cut it off.  Since I had used fabric from my stash and paint I already had, these money bags cost us nothing.

To use them, I wanted them to look nice and full, so I rolled other pieces of fabric from my stash to the right size and stuffed them into the bags.

And there you have it, two money bags for the story of the prodigal son in less than an hour (not including paint drying time).

Again, another great prop for our bible story assemblies in our local school that were easily visible from the back of the hall.

You can check out the sites I link up to over in my sidebar. Before you go, why not check out my recipes index page, or my craft projects index page, I am sure you will find something there to interest you.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Bible Story Props - 10 Coins

I haven't shared many bible story props recently, because the stories we have been doing have had us reusing previous props, so we haven't needed new ones.  The last couple of weeks HAVE needed a couple of small, easy props, so here you go . . . .

We had to cover the story of the woman with the lost coin.  We needed coins that would be able to be seen from the back of the school hall but that wouldn't be too huge.  Also, in the story text we use it mentions different types of coins, large ones, small ones, thick ones, thin ones and even dented ones.  I wanted to make sure all of those were included.

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I had some chipboard that I had kept from the back of notepads, and pads of watercolour paper and so on.

I cut the various sized circles out of that, using a circle cutter to mark the circle first, then a craft knife to deepen the cut and go all the way through.

For the thick coin, I used two pieces of chipboard and a piece of foam board and sandwiched them together, gluing well.  For the dented coin, I just cut a chunk out of the side of the circle.  All of the coins were then painted with metallic paint and decorated with a black marker pen.  Then went down well and were easily visible from the back of the school hall of over 300 children.

You can check out the sites I link up to over in my sidebar. Before you go, why not check out my recipes index page, or my craft projects index page, I am sure you will find something there to interest you.

Thursday, May 03, 2012


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Just a quick art journal page for today's post.  There's a piece I want to do based on something I wrote a few years ago.  I have always said that that piece of writing felt unfinished, and I think I now know why.

There wasn't more to write but there was more to come.  I need to get it down on paper in art.  And seriously I have no artistic training, so the idea of representing these beads, bubbles, whatever they are visually freaked me out.  So rather than make my first attempt the finished piece, I figured I would just practise in my art journal.

First of all I painted the bubbles using Neoclor II watercolour crayons.

I like the middle one and the one at the bottom left the best.  After drying them I got out my masking fluid and masked off the bubbles.  To save ruining a brush with the masking fluid I applied it with a cotton bud.

I used more Neocolor IIs for the background and finally peeled off the masking fluid.  Sadly the masking fluid did bring some of the colour up off the bubbles.

I definitely prefer them before the masking fluid, so I'll have to find another way of doing that background.  Maybe I'll mask the circles, do the background, remove the masking fluid and then fill in the bubbles.  Now I need to practise the positioning and size of the bubbles to make them look like beads on a necklace.

Then there's the really scary part for me, trying to represent those picture that were in the piece of writing inside some of the bubbles.

You can check out the sites I link up to over in my sidebar. Before you go, why not check out my recipes index page, or my craft projects index page, I am sure you will find something there to interest you.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Loaves and Fishes

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It's been a while since I have shared a craft project from our open the book team.  That's because we haven't needed anything new recently.  But today we are doing the story of the feeding of the 5000, and we needed 5 loaves and 2 fish that would fit in the average sized child's lunchbox.  I decided to make them out of foam board.  I grabbed a few pictures off the internet and printed them out at the size I needed.  Then I scribbled over the back of each image with pencil, making sure to cover all the areas where there were lines of the right side.

I turned them over, placed them on top of the foam board and using an embossing stylus, went over all the lines to transfer them to the foam board.

I cut roughly around each shape using a craft knife then I went over the outlines with a black marker.

Using the craft knife, I began to cut the shape out, bit by bit, removing the excess foam board as I went.

Finally each shape was cut out and I went over all the internal lines as well.

Finally, I grabbed some acrylic paints and coloured them in, going over the marker lines afterwards where necessary.

Why not check out my other bible story crafts and costumes,
  1. Quick and Easy Bible Costumes
  2. Tree from the Garden of Eden
  3. Joseph's Multi Coloured Coat
  4. Pharoah and other Egyptians
  5. Egyptian Princess Wig
  6. Jonah's Whale
  7. Goliath's Spear
  8. Wise Men's Gifts
or . . .

Before you go, why not check out my recipes index page, or my craft projects index page, I am sure you will find something there to interest you.  You can check out the sites I link up to over in my sidebar.
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