Friday, 1 August 2008

Doggy visitors, scrapstore visit, and that darn machine again!

Over the past few days we've had a large, but very friendly, lodger staying with us. His name is Arlo.

Arlo is a lurcher crossbreed and one of Jack's friends. He's the one dog we've found that truly puts Jack in his place (usually on his back in 'submissive' pose) and who tolerates his 'puppiness'. No matter what Jack does to annoy, Arlo can bite his ears (quite a large surface area to get hold of there) and literally squash him into submission. It all makes for a fairly good relationship.

Arlo does have the distinct advantage that he can easily outrun Jack. A few gentle strides for Arlo is equivalent to a 100-metre sprint for Jack. Poor chap, no wonder he's been so exhausted since his friend arrived!

Jack 'discovers' Arlo's bone. Nope, not giving that up.
Jack 'discovers' Arlo's food. "Mmm...tripe...yum.
Much better than that dried dog food I get fed."

"Ok, ok, I'll share it. Darn it! Got my ears in it now!"

We took a visit to the local scrapstore on Thursday and I bought 3 carrier bags of material with the intention of making some new cushion covers (cushion covers currently in use are pretty scuzzy, even by my not-very-high standards). Of course, I'm totally ignoring the boxes and boxes of material we already have in the loft and which I also bought under the guise of making cushion covers/curtains/clothes for the kids/bags to sell. As dh says, reassuringly, 'It all makes for very good loft insulation'.
S0, while the kids were quiet and otherwise occupied I thought I'd sneak into the conservatory and start making a cushion cover. Bad idea. Or perhaps a good idea. John Holt says in one of his books (I forget which one) that the best way to encourage kids to learn is by doing the things you love. Not doing these things with the intention of 'teaching' your children, but purely because you enjoy doing them. Holt predicts that if you do this children will see what you are doing and try to emulate it. my case they will spot that I'm no longer focusing on them, but that I've sneaked off to focus on something that I want to do. They will immediately want to interfere/destroy/ sabotage the activity or - if I'm fortunate - want to do it too!
So, I got as far as measuring and cutting some material and that was it. Then they were begging me to get the hand sewing machine out and I was cursing it, trying to thread the darn thing, untangle the bobbin and master it's stubborn, antiquated personality. The neat pile of material on top of the newly-tidied art cupboard, was pulled down, cupboards opened, and my finally-clear-after-3-weeks table was once more full of stuff. Home education and a tidy house just don't go together.
Ds2 decided he was going to make a sleeping bag for dd1's toy dog. As you can see, it all went fairly smoothly (thank you scrapstore for felt! I don't think I can cope with stubborn sewing machine AND trying to show a short-tempered child how to hem fraying material in one lifetime).

Just had to take a film of it doing what sewing machines are meant to do, cos usually it's angrily chewing up thread and rucking up material.

Dd1 helps

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