Anni’s BOGUK badgework blog

November 11, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — tbird @ 3:51 pm

1. Practice good care of books (not folding corners down etc), make yourself a bookmark & use it!

What? you mean last week’s play slip isn’t a suitable bookmark (ducks and runs…)  Oh, okay then, I’ll come clean, I print them out from here for me and from here for my little girl although she would love these Harry Potter ones too…. I tried laminating them but found I scratched myself if I didn’t trim them quite right and at the rate we lose them, we rarely have them long enough for them to get tatty.

I’m quite obsessive about keeping books clean and cared for, and audio books need looking after properly too, they are an expensive commodity to buy and the ones I borrow from Calibre (talking book charity) are a precious gift to all of us who use them and thus demand looking after!

2. Whilst working for this badge, read at least twelve books for pleasure. Keep a list of what you read, and make notes on them. The books you choose should not include more than three by any one author, and you should include books from at least 6 of the following categories:  My note….. I’ve set myself the challenge to read or listen to books from as many of these categories as possible!

* Non-fiction
* Two or more books from a trilogy or series

The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett (Calibre audio library discs)

These are the first 2 “DiscWorld” books, introducing Rincewind the rubbish magician, Twoflower the disc’s first ever tourist and the Unseen University where magicians try to look busy.  The two books run on one from the other and detail the disasters that the main 2 characters lurch between whilst “The 8th Spell” which is lodging in Rincewind’s head keeps him alive until it’s time for it to be said.

These are humorous books (well, okay they are very funny, humorous doesn’t cover it!) but not as good as some of the other Pratchett books in my probably not very humble opinion but are 2 that I’d not previously read making them “qualify” for inclusion in the Bookworm list!

* Written before 1900

* A “classic” (e.g. “Cider with Rosie”, “To kill a Mockingbird”, anything by Dickens, Shakespeare or Austen etc)

* Romance

Oceans Apart by Vivien Russell.  Well, I’m not a “romance” sort of girl really but this was written by the sister of a very good friend of mine so I bought it to support her more than any great desire to read a soppy book.  Well, I have to be honest, I really did enjoy it!  It’s a very short book, more of a novella really, with very short chapters making it prefect for dipping in and out of.  The basis of the story is of 2 musicians on opposite sides of the Atlantic who fall in love before meeting each other.  The Bad Guys get their come-uppance, the Good Guys get everything they deserve and everyone lives happily ever after and so what?  Every now and then it’s nice to read something with a happy ending for goodness sake!

* Biography/Autobiography

Dear Fatty” by Dawn French.  Dawn claims this not to be an autobiog, as that would, apparently be too boring!  They are “memmoirs” written in the form of a series of letters to friends and family.  It is a lovely book, full of humour but also honesty about the less funny parts of life.  I bought this as a “real” book (ie, it’s paper, not electronic or audio) and it’s taken quite a while to read.  I’ve since discovered I could have bought it for quite a bit more money as an audio download from Audible but not read by her, which, in my head, as I read it, it was.  It has to be a good book for me to make it to the end without the help of a reader, and this is, in deed, a very good book.

* Modern Fiction (written in the last 2 years)

* A Children’s book

* Science Fiction

* Mystery, crime or horror

The Number One Ladies Detective Agency – the Kalihari Typing School for Men (Calibre audio library)  Well, really, I’m not sure if this is in teh right catagory here!  It is a story of a detective agency, and she does indeed “solve a mystery” or two during the book but really, it’s not a mystery book!  It’s a book that examines the ins and outs of life in a sleepy backwater of a Botswanan town.  I have no idea if it’s a true representation of Botswana nor of it’s people but it was an interesting reflection of human nature and an exercise in people watching by proxy.  I enjoyed it, it was a gentle sort of book, read by a wonderful reader with a suitably gentle voice.  The “foreign” names would certainly have given me enough challenge that if I’d attempted it as a paper book I would probably have failed or at the very least struggled to hold onto the story properly, but once more the gift of audio made it accessible to me.

* Historic fiction, or a true story of a historic character

Shaddows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth.  I dithered which catagory to put this one into as I’m still not clear if it’s truly autobiographical or a gilded and embelished version of life.  So I’ve put it here.  This is not a Happy Ever After story.  What it is, is an account of the lives of some of the folk of post-war London.  There are the friends who grew up in the Workhouse and who eventually “escaped” but not unscathed and how their lives went on such different paths.  There was the lonely old Soldier who lost his independence when the tenaments were torn down and placed into institutionalised “care” in an ex Workhouse building (it put me in mind of my Grandma who fought desperately to not be put into a specialised geriatric unit which happened to be the old Workhouse).  There were the nurses and the nuns working together providing midwifery and nursing care to those who desperately needed it.  I loved it but needed a huge fist-ful of hankies to get to the end of it!

* Poetry

3. Read a book that has been made into a TV series or film, and watch the film (in either order). Evaluate the accuracy of the film/TV series against the book, and discuss why producers often feel the need to change what the author originally wrote.

4. Organise (or at least start to!) your own collection of books at home. Evaluate the books you have, donate any that you no longer want to charity and try to make the remainder easy to find. You may like to arrange them by author, alphabetically by title, or by subject.

5. Research the possible sources of obtaining books in your locality, including standard bookshops (e.g. Waterstones), cheap bookshops (e.g. The Works), libraries (public & university if applicable) and charity shops or second hand book shops.

6. Join your local library if you are not already a member, and learn your way round. Know the opening times, what types of books are available to borrow, how long you can have them for and know now how to use the library catalogues. Use your library at least twice whilst working for the badge.

7. Visit the reference section of your local library to research a particular topic. You may need to use almanacs, gazettes, encyclopedias, etc. Compare and evaluate the information you find with the information you can obtain from CD-ROM encyclopaedias, and the Internet.

8. Know what services and resources are available at your library, such as Internet access, local history information, microfiches, time tables, classes or courses etc.


September 5, 2008


Filed under: Uncategorized — tbird @ 1:33 pm

A – for novice Campers. Complete all clauses

1. Attend a Guide camp for the full duration, spending at least 2 nights under canvas. Show a good knowledge of Guide Camping.

Spent the full week at Bounce Camp in Northants this August.

2. Take an active role in the Guide Camp, preferably with a defined role.

Was allocated as working in the International Tent running various activities for the girls on a theme of some of the major continents.

Be aware of the roles and responsibilities of each member of staff on the camp, and how the staff could change roles in an emergency.

On a camp the size of Bounce, there were a lot of differing roles etc and some just would not be easily stepped into unless you were part of the organising team (I’d have had no hope of stepping into the Admin team but I could have taken on a craft if the need had been there) However, I am aware of the normal “jobs” within a more usual sized camp and how, for example, someone could take over and cook a meal even if not the planned one, should the regular cook not be able to.

Understand the need for Guiders “time off” during a week-long camp.

I’m a mum, I know all about needing time off!!!! Seriously though, it is important that no one is carrying the team from dawn to dusk and also that the girls get down time too, it’s not good for either side of the equation if the girls are being kept busy and entertained all the time. Being frazzled and over tired does not make for a happy time for the Guider and probably not for the girls who end up bearing the brunt, however unintentionally, of fraying nerves.

3. Help to pitch & strike two different types of tent (e.g. a frame tent, a ridge tent etc)

I regularly pitch and take down a large dome tent and a smaller tunnel tent (when I say regularly, I mean I throw up the dome every time I go camping and the tunnel in the garden to act as a sun shelter/rain refuge when we are having good weather!) I’ve also over the past year or so pitched a Kyam “rigidome” type tent with a first time camper who discovered that it wasn’t as easy as the nice man in the shop said it would be (sigh) and helped pitch more framed gazebo type things than I care to think about. I do know how to do frame tents and ridges, I think I’ve even, in the dim past,  put up a bell one but it’s been a long time……

4. Know where in your locality you can obtain the camping equipment necessary for a Camp.

My local specialist shop is Outdoor World which is somewhat of an aladin’s cave! For odds and bods I’d possibly try the Army and Navy shop in the next town to me first but as either way I need to make a special trip and I can always find other things I need round the A49 area I usually end up at Outdoor World!

5. Take part in preparing Guides for camp.

Not having any Guides to prepare, I settled for adapting this clause into preparing my very own Brownie for her first away from Mummy camping experience, even if I was only in the next subcamp to her…… I used the Go for It Don’t forget Your Toothbrush pages from Guiding and made it a series of challenges.  We had a great time working through it and I probably learned nearlly as much as she did. The only thing I omitted to prepare her for adequately was looking after her feet, she struggles with socks (she’s dyspraxic) so rather than risking being told off for being late or laughed at for not being able to dress properly at age 7 she went without resulting in blisters which she ommited to tell anyone about (rolls eyes, I have the nasty habit of forgetting her SLDs because she is usually so capable within her own environment) so by the time her camp was over they were pretty sore meaning she learned all about salt footbaths the hard way.

6. Show an understanding of the principles of camp hygiene and the importance of order and cleanliness in camp generally.

Being a seasoned “family camper” I’m fairly familiar with this.  It is more difficult to keep clean without all the comforts of home but that’s what Johnson’s invented Baby Wipes for!  Oh, and alcohol gels make life a lot easier too although I don’t really like using them too much.  We have a “posh” flushing camp toilet and obviously that needs to be maintained properly to keep it sanitary, for me that includes wiping the flush thing over too so that we know that’s clean!  I don’t currently have a washbasin stand but having now seen how easy one is to make from bits of wood I’ll probably put one together before my next big camp.

Obviously kitchen hygeine is very important as you are much closer to nature (ie rodents and creepy crawlies) on a camp than at home!  One rule I instigated on our very first camp was that we wash up after every meal, no arguements!  Actually, with communal sinks at a lot of campsites (although not at the Guide camp I went to) washing up is a sort of social thing anyway.  Again, I was aware that a stand would have been really  handy, washing up on the ground is a pain.  Also spills need to be cleaned up fast otherwise they attact pests and food wase needs to be disposed off promptly to avoid it spoiling and presenting a health hazard.  As an asside, we have a No Milk Rule in our tent as our groundsheet isn’t the best in the world and getting the milk smell out of it the one time we had a spill is an experience I do not wish to repeat.

Keeping stuff tidy is a safety issue in a tent, if it’s lying about it will get tripped over.  Also if you are in a patrol tent if it’s not in your bag it’s a good chance of being accidentally put into someone elses bag and lost or put everyone else to an inconvenience cos your stuff is in their way which is just not fair.

7. Know what clothes you need for different kinds of weather. Demonstrate that you are prepared to get out of bed in the middle of the night (eg wellies, coat, torch etc).

I would just like to point out that although I would, in theory, get out of bed, it would have to be a life and death issue.  My sleeping bag is very nice thanks!  I do keep a battery lantern in my sleeping pod as well as my wonderful head torch (I change the batteries before every camp, just in case) and my boots and coat are always by my chair just outside the pod so I can put them on in a hurry.  I sleep in trackies and socks so I’m already decent in case I need to leap into action in the night.  In fact the only time I’ve ever had to get out of bed at night was to rescue someone else’s tent in a gale last year, ours was so thoroughly guyed and pegged down that it just sat there looking nonchelant whilst some of the others were collapsing in soggy heaps.

Obviously, for British camping you need layers, usually waterproof ones.  I tend to have leather boots with gaiters for the usual sort of weather but keep something lighter handy in case it stops raining at any point.  I have a general purpose hat which keeps both rain and sun off me.  Usually I find that polycotton trousers are best, they dry faster than all cotton and seem to be not too hot and not too cold.  I’ve been known to wear a skirt whilst camping, but not often, it has to be blisteringly hot before I part company with trousers.  I have also been known to wear jeans, despite them not being really aproved of, they do indeed take forever to dry if the weather is nasty but I had to find that one out the hard way didn’t I! After that I have teeshirts topped with sweatshirts if I need them, body warmer and a waterproof, it seems to cover most of what the weather can throw at me as I can layer up or down.  This year I also discovered teh joys of neckers for camping, they really do keep the chill off your neck, I’m wondering how much of a prat I’d look on a normal camp with a necker on….. Oh, and, because I’m ever the optomist, I always have factor 20 sunscreen handy!

8. Evaluate your bedding against an experienced campers. Are there any changes you would make next time (e.g. more blankets, camp bed instead of air bed ….). Understand the advantages and disadvantages of using/not using bedding rolls.

I thought I had bedding all sussed until I discovered Bedding Rolls!  Now I am a convert! I can’t beleive how much nicer my bed is if it’s all bundled up against the dampness during the day.  the only downside is my self inflate mat takes a good 15 or more minutes to inflate these days (it’s a cheap one, it did used to be quicker I think) so I had to remember to undo it when I put the milk on for my bedtime drink otherwise it’s not ready for me to snuggle into.  I suppose it could be a downside that it takes a while to do in the morning and it does take a bit of practice to get the knack but compared to the luxury of not having clammy bedding it’s worth it!  I tried rolling just my pillow, sleeping bag and blanket but actually they don’t roll very nicely without the firmness of the bedmat to keep them under control.  I may buy just a cheap foam mat to lay ontop of the self inflate one so I can roll stuff up into that leaving the self inflate one flat.  I’m camping again in a few weeks, I will probably try it there!  The other advantage of a nicely done up bedding roll over just stuffing it into a bag is one taht we found out the hard way – stuff sacks for most sleeping bags, unless you buy an expensive one, is likely to only be showerproof.  My dd’s bedding got left out in the rain at the end of her camp and we pretty much had to wring it out.  I’m going to buy her a waterproof bag for next year, she’s not got the dexterity yet to do her own bedroll.

I abandoned air beds as a bad job after 2 years of camping, they are cold!  Even if you blanket them they just seem to suck the warmth out of you.  I currently have a very cheap self inflating mat, when this one wears out I will invest in a good quality one now that I’ve seen how good they are.  I’ve looked at camp beds but non of the ones I’ve tried seem to float my boat and actually my groundsheet wouldn’t stand up to it in all probability as we have damage to the main groundsheet from our chairs and whilst I can live with a bit of damp in my living area I don’t fancy water coming up in my sleeping area!  I have a very good sleeping bag and I would buy the same again when I wear this one out, but it’s still as good as new after 5 years of camping and sleepovers at friends houses so obviously you does gets what you pays for.

9. Take part in a Camp Fire

Did this at Bounce and also have gone to a campfire at our local Guide Campsite.

10. Lay and light a fire, either one for cooking or a camp fire.

I’ve done this at home in our fire basket, does that count?  Usually I do it with a wax and woodshavings in a bit of eggbox starter (fab things, way better than any of the fire or BBQ lighter blocks I’ve tried before) with a handful of stuff from under our May tree as kindling.  After that’s got a hold it’s whatever we have handy really, we made the mistake of doing it entirely with May a while ago, thankfully on the ground, not in our fire basket (I think it would have melted it!) and it was spectacular and very hot but not so good for toasting marshmallows on 😀  I’ve done fires in our chimnea too both for cooking (BBQ-ish) and for just keeping the chill away on nice evenings (anyone remember them?)

July 12, 2008

Boguk, (alegedly) gets healthy! (or that’s the plan!)

Filed under: Uncategorized — tbird @ 5:18 pm

Over a three month period, take steps to improve your health and develop awareness of healthy living.

Complete six clauses.

4. Take up a new fitness routine, lasting at least 15 minutes 4 times a week. This could be as simple as walking to the shop, or as intensive as an hour at the gym.

Started 12 July 08 – weekly 1 hour Kung Fu session with daughter (whilst she is there I may as well join in)

Still going strong with this, I think I can declare it a habit!

7. Eat (a healthy) breakfast every day!

Started 12 July 08 – porridge and dried fruit is now replacing my normal jammy toast breakfast unless all the family are home when it’s pancakes (it’s so rare we are all home all day that it’s not going to impact significantly on any healthy eating regimen!) washed down with fruit juice (watered down, pure juice rots teeth faster than lollipops aparently) to make it 2 of my 5 a day right from the start of the day.

Biggest problem with this has been remembering to load the dishwasher every night so that the porridge pan is clean in the morning.  Won’t be so much of a problem in winter when we put the boiler on and have hot water to wash by hand! (the cowboy who fitted the boiler in our house didn’t fit seperate controls for central heating and hot water, we have to have the heating on if we want hot water and much as it’s tempting to have it on in this awful weather it’s just too expensive!)  It’s working though, I’m not hungry until lunch now so I’m not snacking in the morning.

10. Set yourself a health-challenge. This could be stopping biting your nails, losing weight or eating less junk food. Evaluate your progress after 1 month. Do you need to make any changes?

Started 12 July – warm up and stretch routines daily plus re-instigating my knee physio excercises that tend to get forgotten until they twist out and I’m in pain again.

Had a few hiccoughs with this one and had to change some of the exercises as some were putting strain on my very wobbly knees.  Now I’ve got it fine tuned I’m feeling the benefits and it really has become a habit as I feel so much better when it do it in the morning and settle to bed so much better if I do them again in the evening.  I tried adding in a few other bits but really it’s the warm up and stretch out bits that are hiiting the spot.  I think I do need to find a few other bits to add in, probably strenght training for my upper body so I don’t collapse in a pathetic heap each week at Kung Fu when we do push ups!

11. Keep a record of everything you drink for a week. Check to see if you are getting 1.5 litres or five or more glasses of water a day – the amount needed by the average person. Over the time you are working for the badge, try to increase the amount of fresh water you drink and, at the same time, try to decrease the number of soft drinks or other sugary drinks you have. See how long you can stick to this.

21st July – No, not fessing up, sorry!  All I think I need to say on the matter of noting down how much I drink in a week is that it’s way too little, which would probably explain a lot.  So, as from today I’ve got 3 sport bottles filled, one by the PC, one by my chair in the living room and one in the kitchen so I’ve got water where ever I am.  Hoping that will remind me to drink it!

Had to go and buy more sport bottles as dd kept drinking my water!  I can’t say as I can see a lot of benefit from drinking more, other than needing to go to the loo more often which all adds to the excercise with all that running up and down the stairs but it’s making a difference to dd who has no sense of thirst so only drinks if she sees me drinking and thus often ends up dehydrated.  So, for her benefit, I’ll stick with this and just remind myself that stair climbing is good for my knees!  I suspect that dehydration hasn’t been at the root of my tiredness after all.  But at least now I know so I can start looking at other things.

16. Look at the amount of fruit and vegetables you eat on a day-to-day basis. Introduce one extra piece of fruit or portion of vegetables to your diet each day.

No where near enough! So, from a start point of maybe 1 or 2 portions a day (glass of fruit juice and a handful of dry fruit for a snack usually), I really have a lot of scope for improving don’t I!

This has been REALLY hard.  It’s not that I don’t like fruit and veg but our garden has produced b****er all this year except for some rather lovely carrots and adding good food to a diet seems significantly more expensive than filling up on spuds and bread.  I am consistently managing 3 portions by adding a lot more onion to a lot of our foods, they are cheap enough that I can be generous and then trying to make it 4 with whatever is cheap.  I’m in danger of turning into a baked bean though!

18. Every night for a week, spend one hour doing something that totally relaxes you, eg listening to music, crafts, going swimming, reading or yoga. This is your time so you decide what it is! Record in an interesting way what you feel before and after the hour.

There have been so many false starts on this one!  In fact, I did wonder if I was going to have to start all over again over this one clause 8-0 I tried Yoga, it was lovely but after 3 nights I was exhausted, and it was only a kid’s DVD!!!  I tried Tai Chi but I really need to go get some lessons as I just ended up frustrated with not knowing if I was doing it right, being pretty sure I wasn’t and tripping myself up, but it’s something I really want to learn.  I read loads to my dd anyway so, although I do enjoy doing it and find it the most relaxing part of my day (cos I only read books I can enjoy too and it’s the part of our home ed that doesn’t cause battles!) I didn’t feel that it really counted as doing something for me!  I dug out my drawing course that I abandoned when I started this yera’s OU course and tried to get back into that then realised I’d stopped because I just didn’t have the mental energy to put into it as well as dealing with my studying.  But eventually I cracked it!  I have been spending every evening using up my craft stash.  I’ve knitted (using various yarns to make a shrug that will be a thing of warmth but no real beauty but I don’t care cos warmth is good!)  I’ve crocheted a few baby things for the local SCBU.  I’ve had a go on my dd’s weaving loom and made me a bookmark!  And I’ve not had to neglect anyone in the family to do it as I can be in the same room as everyone else and still be doing something for ME!  It’s gone on for 3 weeks now and I’ve still not found the bottom of the yarn stash but I’m really enjoying the effort!

I’m not sure how to record that interestingly though!  I do feel different for doing it, I sort of felt guilty for doing stuff just for me when I “should” be doing mummy stuff or housey stuff or study stuff when I started but really, the evenings are often “dead time” anyway, I’m too tired to study, the house is as done as it’s going to get done and if dd isn’t in bed then she should be.  I like that I’m getting something for my time too, having something to show for it is nice.

June 22, 2008

Boguk on line – first 6 clauses

Filed under: Uncategorized — tbird @ 10:23 pm

Complete Clauses 1-6 and four more which provide a personal challenge to you

1. Learn how to use a computer to connect to the internet. Find out about the options for accessing the World Wide Web. Discover where in your area you can connect to the internet (e.g. libraries, cyber café etc)

We have broadband so connecting is easy, assuming the router is playing nice, if not then it’s just a case of resetting it! As all 3 of us use the net at the same time at home, broadband over a LAN is the only practical option. We use TalkTalk which is “free” if you have the phone with them (which means it’s included in the price really doesn’t it)

Locally you can access the net free in the library for up to an hour, at the Learning Zone if you are on a course there and also, if you just need somewhere to pick up a WiFi signal, you can get that in McDonalds and at Polar Palace soft play place. Oh, and there’s that un-passworded WiFi just up the street that Duke has accidentally logged into a few times!

2. Connect to the Guide Association site at and read the “Internet Safety Guidelines”.

Done! And discussed at great length with Aprilia (age 7)

Develop family and/or personal guidelines for use of online services and exploration of the Internet. Discuss issues such as costs, amount of use that is reasonable, parental guidance, shopping by computer, best times to use the phone line, sharing of the computer and phone line by family members, and safety on the Internet.

Guidelines for Aprilia are that she does not use the PC for more than half an hour, she wears her glasses and she only uses her own PC (which has a protection against nasty sites programme on it)  She also follows the Guiding Web Safety Code.

Guidelines for me and him are that we do not use the PC for more than an hour without a break, do not use our own names or give away any personal data on open fora and only use repuatable companies for on-line shopping.

As we have broadband and a wireless network there are no sharing issues or clogging up the phoneline issues.

3. Learn how to send e-mail to someone, and to receive/check email.

Done! Currently using “Googlemail” via the net rather than downloading as it makes it easier to refer back to mails if I’m nicking Duke’s laptop or accessing the web away from home. Not 100% happy with it (I like Thunderbird as a mail program) but it’s flexible.

Learn to attach a document from a file and send it as part of your e-mail message.

Done and (eventually) taught my mum to do it too.

Know how to zip a document using WINZIP or similar software when sending attachments.


Keep a list of favourite e-mail addresses.

Have both Googlemail and Thunderbird set to automatically add any address I reply to into my address book.

4. Find out how to join the GuidingUK mailing list and join! Take part in discussion on the GuidingUK list for at least three months, posting as often as possible (at least once a week)

Will have completed 3 months by the end of August

5. Take part in an online chat session with at least two other people.

shudder, I loath chat with a passion but, for you Master BOGUK, I’ve done it! Chat was via the First Class system within the Open Universtiy and was on the forum for the course I’m doing. There were about 5 of us and it was about an hour long.

6. Say hello to BOGUK by leaving a message on his guest book on the BOGUK site


June 13, 2008

boguk on line remaining 4 clauses

Filed under: Uncategorized — tbird @ 7:49 pm
*10. Find out about software designed to protect children from accessing unsuitable information on the Internet, such as Net Nanny. Look at costs, ease of use and limitations. If possible try them out. How effective are they? Do they hinder the “normal” use of the internet?
Glubble – provides a “white list” of allowed sites rather than you trying to “blacklist” sites you don’t want the child to visit. Very effective at stopping those nasty little pop ups from luring a child off to download Smilie Central or other such nonsense! Free and seemed very easy to set up. Any site she wants to use that I haven’t listed is sent as a request to me, I look at it via my PC and either allow or bar. I’ve tried to catch it out but it’s actually very tight. The major disadvantage is that your child can’t have your own “home page”, you get a “home Glubble” which isn’t pictorial enough for my pre-literate child!  Also, you can’t access your borwser’s “Favourites” list, you can only access what’s in “your” glubble’s version of a favourites list which is every site you are allowed to visit with no catagorising etc to keep it in some kind of order if you are logged in as a child. Normal access to net can be restored by logging in as an adult helper, it’s easy to switch users and as long as you remember NOT to check “remember me” then the child can’t log in as an adult!
PC-Cillin’s suite has a very good alternative “white-listing” function in it’s firewall.  This isn’t free but, as you need AV software if you run Windoze anyway and a firewall is handy then it’s no great shakes to buy this one as opposed to any other (and it’s faster than Norton!)  This doesn’t have the drawbacks of not being able to access your own prefered “home page” or being able to access your browser’s Favourites but adding new sites is much more fiddly as you need to log in on the PC that needs access to the site, go through a few menus in PC-Cillin and add the site manually.

*12. Carry out research on Guiding in a foreign country using the Internet as your main research tool. Find activities, information and pictures. Use the information gained to create an International evening for a unit.

*13. Go to the website of your favourite TV show, magazine or similar. Does the content repeat what the show said, does it support it, or is it totally unrelated?

*14. Investigate the various options for paying for goods when shopping on the Internet (e.g. paypal, secure credit card transaction etc) and evaluate the range of places that accept them, the security aspects, who they are open to etc.

*15. Become an Internet tourist by “visiting” a major city in this country or abroad. Access maps and information about weather, visit museums and other places of interest. Share your tour with others. or Use the Internet to plan a family or Guide trip, including travel options, costs, opening times, places of interest and accommodation.

May 20, 2008

how to make braid on a wheel

Filed under: Uncategorized — tbird @ 10:35 pm

start with a stiff cardboard disc. It really does need to be stiff otherwise you won’t keep an even tension. put a hole roughly in the middle and cut at least 16 slots round the edge.

You need 8 strands of thread or yarn, preferably in just 2 colours, more doesn’t give the spiral effect quite so well. Tie a knot in one end.

Poke the knot through the hole in the centre of the wheel.

Now, set your wheel up by putting a pair of “colour 1” at the top and the other pair of the same colour directly oposite. Then turn the wheel a quarter turn and put “colour 2” in place

Pick up the strand that is on the right of the uppermost pair of strands

and put it in the slot to the right of the bottom pair

Then pick up the strand on the left of the bottom pair

and put it in the slot to the left of the top, now single, strand

That’s the first pair finished with for now, turn the wheel a quarter turn so the second colour is now top and bottom

and repeat the same moves you did with the first colour

Easy hey? Just carry on making a quarter turn and moving the top right thread down and the bottom left thread up. If you need to stop and start, just be sure to finish a pair of threads to make it easier to know where to start again then check where you are up to by looking at whichever thread colour is on top, that’s the one you just did (okay, stating the obvious there but it caught me out!)

The result is a spiral effect fairly strong cord, the diameter is dependent on the thickness of the threads you use obviously, DK yarn gives a good thickness for things like the cords on my blanket, embroidery thread makes for good friendship bands or zip pulls.

And here’s how it’s done if you are a “civil war re-enactor” – sadly it appears that it’s not so traditional as it’s made out to be, it’s based on some wooden discs found in Viking camps but they now thing they were used for something else entirely!
braiding disk

March 27, 2008

BOGUK GETS CRAFTY – parts 2 + smaller projects

Filed under: Uncategorized — tbird @ 11:24 pm

2. Make three greetings cards using a different technique for each, e.g. pressed flowers, quilling, rubber stamps, decoupage etc. These should be of a standard you would not be embarrassed to send!

1 stamped, with added water colour pencil to bring out the design, forgot to photograph this one before I sent it though Usually I use th heat embossing powders when I am colouring in a stamp but I have loaned it all to mum and may not get it back for months! I have a couple of lovely Christmas ones that I do with a black sparkly embossing powder then fill in the colour, look like stained glass windows when they are done.

celebrate card

wedding aniversary card for mum and dad, embossed onto parchment. I will confess to buying a Fiskar gadget for the embossing as brass embossing stencils are just a nuicance unless you have a light box, I have a few sheets for it but this one just caught my eye for the project. The focus on the pic isn’t terific, my camera doesn’t cope well unless there is a definite, clear subject to focus on. It looked much better in real life! Usually I emboss onto the card itself but I fancied a change and with the parchment you can colour the back and get a softer effect.

3d effect birthday card for Duke

and a layered card for Duke. The effect is lost somewhat I think but it was fun to do and well recieved!

wedding card

Oh, and having forgotten to photograph the stamped card, here’s a Pergamano one I did for a wedding last week.

Complete three smaller projects, at least one of which uses a craft which is new to you. The others should extend your existing knowledge or develop new ones. You may like to choose some of the following, or develop your own challenges using crafts of your choice.

craft foam woggles

First one – made a range of woggles with craft foam, some plaited ones and some with stamped pictures hot glued to a strip of foam. All with pop-stud fasteners so they go on easier than slides. I’ve only ever used foam for flat deorations on cards before so this was a new method for me, have to say I rather like the effect and at least this way I won’t be worried about the cost of replacing any lost ones. The 4 coloured “plait” was fun, I knew the theory of how to do it from doing pillow lace as a kid but transfering that idea to foam was interesting! Actually, the hardest bit is securing the ends, the rest was really simple once I had worked out how.

badge blanket/cloak
cloak frontcloak back

second one – hand sew a “badge cloak” with a hood and braid fasteners, no pattern so not a candidate for “gets needled” it’s just a huge semicircle with a “bite out” for the neck and a semicirclular “bag hood” hand stitched in using “baseball stitch” to keep the seams flat and pretty much invisible. Embellished with cord fasteners made on a “braiding wheel”. It was not physically a small project (!) but not a huge project time wise, in fact it took significantly longer to re-sew all teh badges back on. Braiding this way is pretty new to me, I tried it briefly lsat year at a re-enactment we went to watch but set to with a vengance on a home made cardboard braiding wheel for this one to keep dd company whilst she did a friendship band for her Brownie Craft badge. The biggest learning point on this is that the wheel needs to be stiff cardboard, cereal packet will just not do the trick! If the wheel flexes then you don’t keep an even tension on the braid and it just looks awful (and you just know I found this out the hard way don’t you!)  It is an utterly huge cloak, comes right down to my boot tops, so I’ve plenty of space for lots of lovely new badges over the years so I’m going all out for mementos of all camps, trips etc as well as lots of BOGUKs!


Third one – jewelry making – not done this before. I started off easy with a “tiara” for Aprilia with pony and faceted beads on gold “pipe cleaners”. This was fiddly at times but the results are fab, the picture is of the 3rd one I made for her (the first was mainly pinks and was chunkier as they were the beads I had handy, the second was red and gold to match a dressing up outfit and was by far my favourite colour combo, this one is for a different dressing up outfit and has yet to get mangled out of shape or broken with constant wear!) After that I made a beaded necklace to match with it with a “safe break” fastener I created by making a loop of small beads which a larger bead just passes through. It holds safely enough but will come undone if it gets snagged without breaking apart the whole thing. Finally, just out of idle curiosity, I had a go at making a few stitch markers for knitting. Just a few co-ordinating beads on a jewelry wire that I could loop to allow them to hang off my needles at the required places. These are not a thing of stunning beauty as I couldn’t get the loops properly round like they are meant to be but they will serve their purpose much better than the scraps of yarn I usually use.  I’d like another go with the wire but with someone to show me how to do it properly but I tried my best and the results are perfectly good for what I want.

Looking after equipment etc

Hot glue gun – keep away from small hands unless I’m there to supervise.

Likewise craft knives and popper press (poppers have sharp spikes and you would really know about it if you got your finger caught in the press)

All cardmaking equipment is stored in a large toolbox to keep it contained and to discourage it from traveling round th house when my back is turned. Stamps are cleaned straight after use before the ink sets – forgot this once and ruined a new stamping pad with transfered ink, never again!

Knitting needles are kept in my old baby changing bag out of the way – it’s the only thing big enough with enough pockets. I use bamboo so they are more brittle than metal ones and take a little more looking after. I’d like a nicer way to store them but haven’t found anything I like and can afford yet. Obviously this is a candidate for a sewing project at some point!

Sewing equipment – having lost way too many needles and pins over the years I’ve got a bit obsessional about looking after these now. Anything sharp is stored in my needle case (little pop-studded wallet with space for lots of sharp bits!) or in a pin cushion. Thread is contained within a large bag just now but I’d like something better eventually so I can see waht I’ve got better. Maybe another toolbox but adapted to keep the thread from just rolling about somehow – definitely a future project!

Tools for bending the beading wire were actually my grips out of my first aid kit 😳 as it seemed an awful expense to get proper ones for a “have a go” project. Not being a dangly ear ring person I can’t see me having much call for doing this often (tehre are only so many stitch markers a gal can use you know!) so I’m not investing.

BOGUK GETS CRAFTY – part 1 – finished

Filed under: Uncategorized — tbird @ 10:41 pm

Complete Clauses 1 and 2 and a further three of your choice. Throughout, you should know how to use, store and clean the equipment and tools you use in your crafts.

1. Using existing craft skills, undertake a major project that extends your skills in some way. You may wish to try a new technique, a larger project or producing a gift for somebody.

top down hooded cardi

Hooded cardi for Aprilia. I have drafted this pattern from scratch so that it fulfilled several criteria that I couldn’t find in any pattern I looked at on the web. it needed to be seam free (seams bother her) which meant really it needed to be top down and it needed to be in Aran yarn as she had picked the yarn out so I was commited to it. I’ve never drafted like this before and I was surprised how easy it was really.

Pattern drafting- using the principles in “A Knitter’s Almanac” by E. Zimmerman and the information gained from a tension square (my tension was way different from the ball band so I’m glad I did it!) I worked out how many stitches to cast on for the neck. From the same book and tnesion squrea, I worked out how many sts to place between the increases to make a fake raglan shaping for the shoulders and give the right number of stitches for chest, sleeves and back ( 15%, 20%, 30%, 20%, 15% ) and how many increases I needed to do to get there. I used an increase of 8 sts each knit row (in pairs basically at the beginning and end of each sleeve section)

From the tension square I worked out how many rows long to make the garment to save me from the habit of stretching it a bit when i measure (I get bored with the plain knitting part sometimes and without realising stretch out the work to reach the required lenght!) Likeswise I measured her arms and wrist and worked out how many rows long the sleeves needed to be and also how many sts I needed to decrease to make a shapely arm not a baggy tube. It turned out to work out perfectly at dec 2 every 4 rows. These were done on the “2 circ” method of circular knitting again to make it seam free, the decreases make it look like it’s seamed from teh outside but it’s smooth inside.

For the hood I measured a hoodie that fits her and used the tension square to work out how many stitches wide I’d need to make it. It was significantly different from what I cast on for the neck but as most necks aren’t the same width as the head they hold up that was fine. I worked on the principle of making 8 sts every knit row (following the same increase scheme as the yoke) and noted how many rows I needed to do to get to the right number of sts. It wasn’t many so taht was fine, if it had needed a lot I would hve done it differently to be sure it would fit right. Then I measured her from shoulder to the top of her head (but not over the top, just the top edge IYSWIM) , added a bit for wearing and worked out the number of rows I needed to get there. the top of the hood is to be done by dividing the sts into 1/3s and doing a “Dutch heel” type affair to make a squared off hood again with no noticable seaming.

Finishing – I messed about for ages with this, I wanted a fancy bottom edge but she decided against it so waved bye bye to all my fancy edge plans (altough they will return for the edge of a baby item some time soon!) and she wanted a zip which I’ve never sewn into knitting before. I edges the entire thing with crochet to give it a good solid edge to support the zip and to coax it into not curling at the bottom, this has given me a place to maybe thread a draw chord through at the bottom too if she wants. I’d not done ribbing at the bottom as I’d planned on a fancy edge hence it was all curled up – yuck!

Final result – fits well, although the rate she’s growing I’m not sure how long for! Hood hangs nicely but with the shaped neck it doesn’t gape open so I’m quite pleased with that. Zip is awful, I am hoping it will free up with use but it’s too stiff for her to use and not easy for me to do. Naturally, it’s not going to gt zipped up much anyway but it does seem irritating really!

My thoughts – I’ve really enjoyed this one, working from the top down, and doing fronts and backs together has made the whole thing really much better. It takes away the temptation to give the work an accidental tug when measureing which has made for some utterly awful lopsided products in the past where a front has turned out noticably shorter than the back it’s being sewn into! Top down also made the neck shaping a doddle, I used to hate raglan shaping and really hate sewing it together but this way works!

The yarn was nice to work with, it’s Sirdar and I could only afford it becuase it was at a discount place, it’s noticably better than cheaper yarns but I never get the same tension as them and their yarns are thinner than my other fave which is James C Brett.

Next time I would ignore requests for zips and do a nice deep button band extending round the bottom to make a waist band and over the top of the hood too.


Filed under: Uncategorized — tbird @ 9:13 pm

Home-skills : Complete six clauses which provide a personal challenge to you. You should demonstrate safety awareness at all times.

1. Know how to clean windows. Try several different products till you find one that suits you. If possible try an “old fashioned” method e.g. newspaper and vinegar. Clean all the inside windows in your home, and the outside ones where possible. Completed


Using the paito doors as a “test bed” I tried soapy water with one of those shaggy things window cleaners use and a spray bottle with white vinegar and warm water both wiped off with cotton rag and then the same 2 again wiped off with newspaper. I also repeated the vinegar over an area where I had used soap. I hate teh smell of hemical window cleaning products so didn’t waste money on one as I knew it wouldn’t get used!

The soap did better on the outside of the glass and smelt better all round. the vinegar didn’t shift dirt so well, smelt a bit, but gave a really good finish to glass taht I’d got pretty much clean with the soap first. Newspaper was convenient (use, throw into a bag, throw bag away at end of job) but I wonder if modern inks are different as it didn’t seem to do anything magical. Cotton rags cleaned up the glass nicely but I did need a lot of them to get the glass really dry except on teh bit I soaped then vinegared which seemed to dry faster (maybe because there was no film left to absorb and hold water?) I would have used a squeegee to wipe off the worst of the wet first but I can’t find it and refuse to buy a new one when I know full well I have one!

edited – found the squeegee eventually and did all the windows inside and the ground floor outside with first soapy water, squeegeed off, sprayed with vinegar, squeegeed and polished with a rag. Took a bit more effort than perhaps a commercial product but did a great job and I can feel vaguely virtuous about not using unnecessary chemicals.

2. Thoroughly clean and disinfect a bathroom or shower room. Try several different products over a few weeks. Which work best? continue to keep bathroom clean for at least 1 month. Completed

Started 2 April 08

products tried (I have an upstairs bathroom and a downstairs loo so I can divide it up to try a few different things in a week)

Steamer – okay, so it’s not a lot of use for the loo but it shifted soap scum etc really well and I don’t know of many germs that can live after a thorough blast of steam. Downside was that (obviously) teh whole room got a bit hot and steamy and it needed filling up a few times as it’s only a little steamer.

Bleach – stank but shifted the spots of mildew that have sneaked in over winter when the window tends not to get opened. Not something I’d use often but handy for an occaisional blast when needed. Got the loo clean nicely, we don’t ahve hard water so don’t have to bother getting limescale off. Of course, if the loo was given a quick swish with the brush every now and then it wouldn’t need bleaching….

Flash multipurpose spray – fragrance chosen by Aprilia…. I’m not sure I like my bathroom smelling of lavender and chamomile but the bottle is a pretty purple colour 🙄 Quick and effective, bit hard on the hands (forgot to wear gloves) and, being multipurpose, will be used in other rooms if I can get used to teh smell. Aparantly it stops grot settling so easy again, will see how it does on the soap dish and windowledge then but I’m not convinced. – edited to add – I was right, grot settles just as well where I’d used that as anywhere else!

Soapy water – hard work and took a lot of time. Would be okay for surfaces etc but useless for shifting soapscum without a lot of rubbing. Should have done the soap scum with vinegar first.

SalSuds – ah, I love the smell of this stuff! Sad hey? Pretty good at cleaning and, being pine based, it’s a disinfectant too.Costwise, it looks expensive but you dilute it down a lot before use making it pennies cheap in the long run. Not as harsh as the multipurpose spray but not as tough on soap scum etc either. It’s a good compromise though for proper cleaning when a quick wipe isn’t going to do the job. Will confess this isn’t a new product to me, it’s an old favourite but it was interesting to compare it to the commercial products to see how it fared.

Barkeepers Friend – the ONLY thing that got the floor downstairs clean out of all of them. This is an “old friend” in my house, it comes out for any dirty job but I try not to use to much as it’s ££££ and very harsh. I need to find a way to seal the floor in the downsairs loo without making it all polished and slippery, it’s really old, porous tiles and they get filthy really quickly then take an awful lot of work to get clean.

Asda hard surface wipes – fab for a quick flash round the sink and loo once it was all cleaned properly, no good if the room isn’t basically okay and just needs a quick smarten up. Handy in the downstairs loo which tends to take the brunt of Aprilia’s “cleaning up” after art and craft extravaganzas! Much as I hate chemicals and disposable products I’ll confess to being rather sold on these and will carry on getting them. Surely 3 years of cloth nappy use and me using a mooncup or washable pads mean I am allowed a little disposable indulgance sometimes!

Edited 3rd May 08 – 1 month on and they are both still clean and smell faintly of lemons thanks to the hard surface wipes. I can’t believe taht all it takes for me to keep it clean is a little packet of wipes in both of them but it would appear that I have a deep seated need for lemony freshness and a quick swipe and throw cleaning methodology!

5. Thoroughly spring clean and de-junk the living room. Find a home for every thing, clean, dust, polish and sweep! combined with…6. Keep room clean and tidy for at least a month!

8. Clean a cooker hob and oven AND 19. Clean a fridge and defrost a freezer. Continue to keep it clean for at least 1 month.

15May08 – fridge cleaned inside and out – has been maintained clean and free of evolving life forms.

1 June 08 – freezer defrosted and cleaned inside and out – and indeed is still nice and clean and tidy, we even have a system now for what goes on which shelf

12 July 08 – yuck! how grotty was that oven! All clean now

10. Clean, dust and polish the entrance to your home to make it look inviting. This should include any curtains, windows, getting rid of cobwebs in corners etc

14 July 08 – half way there, need to pretty it up a bit but it’s clean now at least and no longer the home of all lost and lonely items.

24. Evaluate “hot spots” in your home where junk accumulates (e.g. the side of the stairs, the kitchen table). What sort of junk accumulates there? How can you reduce it? Is there an alternative (e.g. a designated filing tray) completed

My desk – paperwork! Household, OU, Rainbows and Red Cross paperwork everywhere! Plus stacks of text books on tapes, DVDs, CD-Roms…..

Plan of action – Empty the whole lot out onto the bed, sort it out, file what needs filing, shred old stuff etc. Make better use of magasine rack on desk “hutch” to store stuff. Consider a better household filing system as this one obviosuly isn’t working. Find a better place to store OU tapes when not in use – may involve emptying a drawer somewhere and decluttering to make space.

ETA – started this, got loads of paperwork sorted…. then Duke dumped CDs in the space I’d made. I assume he’s donating them to me as it’s MY desk but I don’t know!

ETA2 – cor, it’s all clean and clear! huge amounts of paper recycled, filed stuff going back nearly a year, re-homed the CDs and DVDs and the empty cases so they are all together now. OU stuff temporarly on 1 shelf of the hutch but going to go elsewhere once I find somewhere better. Ideally I want it in or by the night stand so I can study in comfort (which means in bed for me – I study much better if I’m really comfortable!) Can’t wait to be switched over to Daisy CDs instead of tapes, will take up so much less space!

unit by Front Door – harbour for all lost and lonely items in teh house. Will be sorted as part of clause 10 (I fancy a wall mounted phone and just 1 littel shelf for directories then we have no where to dump stuff…)

ETA – have compromised on the shelves by making them more useful for holding things like shoes, Aprilia’s bike helmet etc thanks to those hanging storage things from Ikea rather than long inviting planks for stuffing things onto. It’s much better now.

night stand – home to numerous small items, mostly which dont’ belong anywhere at the moment.

Plan of action – empty into a series of small boxs to work through one at a time and rehome the contents

Kitchen worksurface – home of random, usually kitchen-related items (but then again, you’d be surprised what sneaks in there!)

Plan of action – as part of a full deep clean of the whole room, make enough space in cupboards for it all. Evaluate if it’s actually useful or if it’s junk.

ETA – all clean and clear! Now I just need to train everyone that an empty space isn’t an invitation to fill it with something and we are winning.

Own extra challenge to clauses added in italics in order to address what I actually need to do to justify claiming to be any good at “home making”! Results/progress logged indented from main text.

March 23, 2008

Hello world!

Filed under: Uncategorized — tbird @ 5:24 pm

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